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"Bureaucracies hide their mistakes, because people's careers are tied to those mistakes. Therefore, bureaucracies are a perfect mechanism for perpetuating mistakes."
- Frank Herbert

Shipstone  
  A lot of power in a small, manufactured package.  

The Shipstone complex is mammoth, all right, because they supply cheap power to billions of people who want cheap power and want more of it every year. But it is not a monopoly because they don't own any power; they just package it and ship it around to wherever people want it...
From Friday, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Not Known in 1982
Additional resources -

In the story, Shipstones come in various sizes, some large enough to power ocean freighters and even spaceships. Others are smaller, intended to power a home or even a small tool, like a drill.

...the place was dark as ink...

So whip out your pocket torch, Friday, powered with its own tiny lifetime Shipstone, and search.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Friday
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
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  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

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  - EEStor Ultracapacitor 'Battery' And Heinlein's Shipstone
  - Betavoltaic Battery: 30 Years Of Power
  - Hyperion Power Module Neighborhood Nuclear Reactor
  - Bloom Box Brick Powers Your Home
  - Russia's Self-Contained Nuclear Lighthouses

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