Breast power! Just another alternative energy option...

I knew it! Despite the declarations of every male I've ever known who had reason to so opine, big boobs ARE better. Yes, small and sincere is all very fine and nice. But if you're looking to generate some serious energy, a pendulous rack is far superior.

To wit: A Japanese company (who else?) has unleashed a solar-powered bra that allegedly can generate enough juice to power an iPod or charge a cellphone (the potential advertising tie-ins here dazzle the imagination).

A rather fetching idea, to be sure. But to date, this solar-powered bra is nowhere to be found on the markets. Among other problems, few women outside Los Angeles or Rio di Janeiro would think of running around outside on a sunny day clad only in their bras. And let's face it: How many dames in Papua New Guinea own iPods? (much less bras?)

Still, one writer at Slate, Adrienne So, was intrigued enough to ask around about this budding technology, and to her surprise, she found the the idea has been bandied about for years. She spoke with former exercise science professor-turned Nike consultant LaJean Lawson, who liked the idea but agreed that it would be tricky to pull off.

One would need the right breast size and also the right material and design. "It's just a matter of finding the sweet spot, between reducing motion to the point where it's comfortable but still allowing enough motion to power your iPod," Lawson is quoted as saying.

Lawson and her colleagues compiled measurements that show that a D-cup in a low-support bra can travel as much as 35 inches up and down during exercise, while a B-cup in a high-support bra barely moves an inch.

This was eye-popping news to me. Probably not so much to the menfolk.

There are other challenges involving wiring and fabric and design that scientists are grappling with. But with gas prices pointing upward and more people walking (or hopefully jogging) to work, this is a product whose time has come at last. So while there's still no electricity-producing bra out there, rest assured: the best minds are hoisting the challenge.

Meanwhile, we small but sincere A-cups will have to power our iPods the old-fashioned way.
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