Home » Tech Diary — March 17, 2023

Tech Diary — March 17, 2023

by admin

It is blown on, but much quieter

We sit in a park on a bench in the sun and talk. A few meters away from us, a park employee is busy blowing up leaves that have fallen from the trees onto the path. He uses a leaf blower for this. That’s remarkable, because this leaf blower is so quiet that we can keep talking. So far, all my encounters with leaf blowers have been such that conversations in close proximity have not been possible – as the devices are powered by internal combustion engines and make a remarkable amount of noise. The people who operate such a device therefore often wear noise protection over their ears.

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Leaves fall from trees. If too much of it falls on a path, for example, it can be perceived as a nuisance there. To remove it from the path, there are basically different possibilities: The leaves can be swept up with a broom or a rake. Or it can be blown up with a leaf blower or sucked up with a leaf vacuum. Leaf blowers are backpack-sized devices that are carried on the back. Such a leaf blower generates a strong stream of air, which leaves a tube that is flexibly attached to the backpack in a directed form and with which the leaves can then be whirled up and moved in a reasonably controlled manner. With a leaf blower, blowing leaves is much easier, more convenient and faster than raking them up with muscle power. With the leaf blower, it is also possible to blow leaves out of hedges, for example, with a reasonable amount of effort if you think this is necessary. However, this endangers smaller animals such as insects or hedgehogs and, especially in this case, destroys their shelters.

A quick internet search tells me that electric leaf blowers have been around for a few years, I just haven’t noticed them until now.

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Combustion engines are predominantly powered by fossil fuels. Most fossil fuels are thought to have formed hundreds of millions of years ago. Dead animals and plants sank to the bottom of the sea and became petroleum in kilometers of sediment under high pressure in a process that lasted thousands of years.

Petroleum is used for countless things in our everyday life. It is an important raw material in the chemical industry. It is used to make all sorts of plastics, which in turn are used to make computer cases, mattresses, buckets, clothes, food packaging and everything else that surrounds us in everyday life; also for paints, varnishes, detergents, fertilizers, etc.

Or the petroleum (after being refined) can be burned.

To this day I have only been aware of leaf blowers that contain an internal combustion engine.

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I’ve wondered for about 20 years, living in a world where society thinks it’s a good idea that it’s economically possible to produce this stuff that took nature so long to make and we’re only one of have a very limited amount available, under controlled conditions with great noise within fractions of a second, in order to in turn drive a motor in order to whirl leaves and small animals around and thus the valuable, limited raw material in mostly fine dust, nitrogen oxides and convert carbon dioxide.

But I’ve also been warned that it’s not my place to judge other people and their priorities.

That’s why I’m just happy here in the technology diary about this progress towards electric leaf blowers (even if the problem for the animals is unfortunately not yet solved). Maybe politicians will still take heart and ban these things.


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