Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hamster-Powered Mansions

It’s about time for another estimation contest.  The rules are the same as before…

Rules:  You can win a free copy of How Many Licks?  To enter, estimate an answer to the question below and send it to “aaron at aaronsantos period com.” If your answer is closest to my estimate1, I'll mail you a free, signed copy of How Many Licks?  To be eligible, you must submit your entry on or before July 15, 2010.  Don't worry; I won't spam you or share your email with any third parties.

Question: Rotating a turbine is common way to generate electrical energy.  You can find turbines in wind farms, the Hoover Dam, and bicycles.  While watching reruns of Family Guy, I came up with this question: How many buff hamsters would it take to completely power a mansion?  

[1] I know, I know.  How do I know my answer is correct?  I don’t.  I make no pretenses that my answer is correct or even close. Your answer may very well be a better estimate than mine. In fact, your estimate may even be exactly right and you still may not win the contest if somebody else's answer is closer to mine. Sorry about that. This is the best way I could come up with to pick a winner and I'm not changing it now. Like any good game, there's an element of luck required even if you do have great skill. With that disclaimer out of the way, good luck and happy calculatings!

Edit: After the comment I got below, I did some searching and found the hamster night light.


  1. It really depends how much electricity the mansion needs. I just watched a video about how to get light from a rodent powered wheel.. and the tiny LED he used only lit up every 3 seconds.. so my guess is it's going to take TOO MANY hamsters to completely power a mansion. Who's going to clean all that poop?!

  2. True, I haven't specified the size or energy needs of the mansion. That's one of the things that needs to be estimated.

    I definitely want to see that video. Do you have a link?

    No idea about the poop.