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Do Electric Cars Need Batteries - Talk during COP Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen

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Do Electric Cars Need Batteries - Talk during COP 15, the 15th year of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, Dec. 7 - Dec. 18, 2009, in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The two men sit on box-like, bronze-metal stools - one short, one tall - the men, not the stools. One is 35 years while the other is only six. Jad the dad reaches into his paper sack, pulls out paper-wrapped squarish objects; he pulls at the wrapper - open-faced sandwiches, stacked and separated by more paper.

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"Dad, what is all this?" Trev turns up his nose without even knowing. Jad uses the paper sack as a tray on his lap, and separates the sandwiches; now they begin to take on some semblance of food, but Trev still isn't convinced. He shakes his head, winces on eye (it's something he's gotten good at doing; he can also smile with one side of his mouth).

"These are Danish sandwiches," Jad hands him one of the sandwiches that looks most recognizable as American food. Trev takes it, puts his face into it, takes a bite - shrimp salad on his cheek and nose.

Still balancing the sandwich, still chewing, Trev stands up - now they're closer to the same height - he kind-of dances around, munching and dancing. When his mouth is almost not full, he stands over the bronze box-like thing he was sitting on and looks at it closer.

The thing has some round and square shapes on top, an inch high and the size of a spool of thread, with lines outlining the edges and other protrusions. The box-thing is a replica of a car battery only larger - the height of the seat of a chair. Trev can see writing incised in the bronze, "What is this funny writing - this 'o' with the line through it; they're all over the place."

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"That's a letter in the Danish alphabet," dad goes on, "we don't have those in English."

"What does it sound like?" Trev asks. Trev gets his ability to wince from his father, who does it when he doesn't know something, "I'm not sure; I'll have to ask someone." Jad goes on, "These things we're sitting on are a larger version of a car battery. They used to be in every car"I guess this is some kind of memorial to the car battery."

Trev is quizzical, "It's weird; why would anybody put a big heavy thing like this in a car? Wouldn't that slow it down?" Jad nods his head in agreement, "Now that cars are electric, we don't need these things." He puts the leftovers back in the paper wrapping and into the bag. He stands up, and they both step closer to an even larger metal battery with a bronze jagged form to symbolize a bolt of electricity coming out of it.

Father and son are in a sculpture garden, with other large forms in stone and metal scattered around the grassy plain and a hill slopping down with water in the distance. The two walk around the larger battery and examine the bolt of electricity. Trev can reach the lower part of the bolt; he runs his hand over it's smooth surface.

Jad tells him, "This metal here is cold, but if it were really electricity, you couldn't run put your hand on it like this. It would knock you over, maybe kill you." Trev pulls his hand back, looks up at his dad, wondering.

"Electricity is something we just don't completely understand, but it's very powerful," Jad points to a plaque next to the bolt of bronze. "The first part is in Danish but under that, it's translated. Trev, you're learning to read, tell me what it says?"

The boy scrutinizes the dark metal, "To on-or the," he smiles; Jad nods, and says, "2010 - To Honor the Invention of Electricity Without Batteries, by the American Peter Paul Sumaruck. The Country of Denmark Values Technology and a Car Without Batteries."

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"Major technology," Jad says, "It's 2014 now, that was only 4 years ago. When you were born in 2008, the economy everywhere was in bad shape; people were out of work; lot's of people didn't want to depend on oil to power their cars - so expensive - and the thing called pollution - not so much now."

"Oil like we put in the salad dressing?"

"Similar," Jad answers, "that's olive oil; olives come from trees, but petroleum-oil, that comes from under the ground. Now we use it to make chemicals, they use it to make our clothes," he fingers the fabric of Trev's jacket. "But we used to put it in our cars and trucks."

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As well as being a publicist, I am an artist (primarily a painter), and a writer (one book and 2 screenplays, as well as articles on my website). I am most interested in unusual people, what they have to say and what they do (what you do is not (more...)

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