The Power of Potato

Today at work we started talking science. My only contribution to the conversation was the fact that I once made a potato clock. The funny thing is that the moment the word “potato clock” rolled off my tongue I had this revelation. Why, if we can run a clock off a potato, can we not run a car off a potato? Hmmm. Makin’ you think, huh? 

I think my idea was immediately shot down at work but I brought the idea home to ponder it over with Mr. Engineer Boyfriend figuring if he saw promise in my proposal we could retire early. He of course did not. But we did spend the next few hours debating it because I wasn’t going down without a fight.

The reason was of course, because M.E.B. made the mistake early on of saying, and I quote:

One f*ing potato could maybe get you five feet OR run your radio for maybe a second. That is the most ludicrous f*ing thing I have ever heard.

Huh, so you’re saying there’s a chance…

As you can assume I immediately jumped all over this five foot thing – the ‘ole brain started working. I imagined finding a way to grow bigger potatoes. If a standard Chicago potato could go five feet how far could an Idaho potato go? Could I somehow grow a three-hundred pound potato that could go three-hundred times the distance? And that begged the question, how would one get a three-hundred pound potato on the back of a Toyota Prius? A ha! I would mash it! I would mash hundreds and thousands of potatoes and stuff them in a box and then sell “potato boxes” on the side of the road. A mashed potato had to be way more mobile then a potato shaped potato. Genius!

Are you kidding me?!? (M.E.B. was getting frustrated now) Have you ever tried to stuff a bunch of mashed potatoes in a box? (Um actually, no M.E.B, I haven’t….but I am quite intrigued that you obviously have!) Potatoes expand (blah blah blah some engineering speak here) when they are mashed and mixed with milk. Yuck! Who puts milk in their potatoes?!? – whatever.

Mashed and Monster potatoes aside all I kept coming back to was the fact that said potato could power my car about “five feet”. He said it. I think you all heard it. With that as my inspiration I went to work on what may soon be in every Physics’ text book around the globe, the theory of spud-taneous combustion.  And the following equation that I plan to submit to the EPA or the Emissions’ people or the Department of Energy (whoever deals with this stuff) soon, explains it all to the layman.

(*** In order to present this internationally I have decided to perform all calculations using the metric system)

P = Idaho (big) potato
p = Chicago (standard) potato

P = .7112 meters
p = .3048 meters

My house to the nearest Panera (no radio) = 3862.43 meters
Radio multiplier .75
My house to the nearest Panera (with radio) = 2896.8225 meters

Number of Potatoes (P) to Panera (no radio) = 3862.43 / .7112 = 5430.86
Number of Potatoes (p) to Panera (no radio) = 3862.43 / .3048 = 12672.01

Now if we are selling Potatos for a penny a piece we’re looking at a mere $5.43 to get to Panera. You can’t beat that! Or wait, is it $54.30. Crap. I need a calculator. Either way someones’ makin’ money! I think we all can agree its time to buy futures in potatoes!

(*** Futher note, since I started writing this M.E.B. has continued to argue with me on this idea (which makes me laugh really really hard at the fact he is continuing to research this on the Internet as we speak) and now insists that it allegedly takes five potatoes to power an LCD watch so there is no way a potato could get me five feet. But whatever, he said it. No take backs.)


7 Responses

  1. You know, you can buy instant potatoes in a box. That’s like 5000 taters. I think you’re onto something.

  2. ok, I can’t sleep now!!
    But let’s think this thru. If the Prius is 78 hp, the question I have is how many boxes of Instant Potatoes could run a Prius for a day.
    The answer lies in how many calories a horse needs in a day. Its about 10000 is my guess. (If a man is 3500, and a horse must be about 3x that – and a Prius is a small car so its runs on small horses).
    So the next question is how many calories does a box of instant potatoes provide – it varies by brand but about 6000 calories per box.
    Easy math. 78 hp X 10000 / 6000
    = 130 boxes of instant potatoes should run a Prius for a day.

  3. Holy Potatoes! Another use for the Idaho potato! We were wading through the math to see what to do with our extra spuds, and those calculations were just too much for us. Now, thanks to you, we have brain lock!

  4. I like the logic here. I followed this one, although I was there during this conversation with the customer, so that might have helped. I think we can get even further mpg with potatoes if we use Sweet Potatoes, I mean they are sweet and orange and that has to account for something.

  5. @marc ha ha. I never thought about the sweet potato. I was going to add something in there about “Marz” but figured no one would get it but us picked lasters.

  6. Since Panera is 2 miles away, you coud just eat 2 potatoes (126*2) and burn 200 calories walking or jogging there and save your self lots of heated discusions with YEB.

    But I like the thought.

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