The silly season is almost upon us again (well, I say almost but it pretty much started in September this year if I recall correctly) and your houses and, in some cases, lawns will soon be festooned in fairy lights and fat plastic snowmen. I never understood the whole covering your house in lights thing at Christmas time as all I could think of was how astronomical the electric bill would be, and in these days of rising fuel charges and static salaries surely more people will think twice about inflicting so much yuletide cheer onto their neighbours?

If you are worried about the cost but you just love your Christmas lights too much to stop then you could take a leaf out of the Enoshima Aquariums book. Situated just south of Tokyo, the wiley marine biologists have hooked up their Christmas tree to an electric eel and yes, it does actually work. An electric eel generates up to 800 watts of electricity every time it moves, and 2 aluminium panels within its tank act as electrodes passing that energy into the Christmas tree. Granted, the lights are powered slightly erratically but it works, and it’s free. It also raises a few possibilities in alleviating the energy crisis by using this sorted of bio generated power.

Indeed, scientists at the aquarium already seem to be thinking along those lines. Well, almost. The inventor of the tank was quoted as saying: “If we gathered up all the electric eels in the world, we’d be able to light an unimaginably large Christmas tree!”

Yeah you’re right. Sod the energy crisis. Let’s have the world’s biggest eel powered Christmas tree built instead.

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