I sometimes berate my firstborn because, while he has an advanced degree in electronic engineering, and the powerful advantages of the cis-male gender, his lily-white privilege, and a few text books with pretty illustrations, he has failed to invent a portable device for drawing hydrogen from water.

Eheu: perhaps my instructions were insufficiently clear.

You see, I have long been convinced that water — plain, no additives — contains hydrogen and oxygen, just as the manuals say. Aware of the difficulties of transporting hydrogen (which tends to evaporate quickly at room temperature), I have further noticed that water is the most reliable carrier, far in advance of expensive high-tech alternatives. Now on the U-Boob, you will find several videos suggesting that my mechanical gizmo has already been constructed, but frankly, I don’t trust them. The same for Meta, Instagram, and Facebook, which have attracted lawsuits in most of the states of America and Europe: they are entirely unreliable. But my son I would trust.

The invention I desire would be modest in scale. It would be a small portable device that splits water into its components (hydrogen; oxygen) such that the hydrogen could then be used in fuel cells to power land vehicles, such as cars and carts, at, say, one hundred nautical miles to the gallon. I imagine that variations would provide home heaters and a thousand other “consumer durables.” All would be powered exclusively by water, which I think is cheaper than oil, petrol, lithium, or uranium. It is also by reputation safer, although there is the ever-present risk of drowning.

Indeed, the “beauty” of this invention, as soon as my son has made it, is that it will put most of the big-league capitalists out of business, along with most of their eco rivals. However, governments would naturally intervene, to raise taxes on water to five dollars per liquid ounce, citing the emergency of Global Drying. So we would still have to overthrow them.

The people who manufacture our spiffy (yet cosmically simple) new engines would flourish, mightily. They are the craftsmen upon whom, together with the farmers, God usually smiles.

I suppose I should give my son more time. Patience is a virtue. Meanwhile, those who travel short distances should continue to walk; and those who would travel long distances may use horses and tents in their pilgrimages.