Why the modern bathroom is a wasteful, unhealthy design (The Guardian): "Piped water may be the greatest convenience ever known but our sewage systems and bathrooms are a disaster" [more inside]
A massive fireball and explosion has happened at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas (just north of Waco). Hundreds of injuries are being reported. [more inside]
Rovt shakes his head. “I would not pay $88 million for an apartment,” he said. “For $88 million, I would buy a house.”
Cats have toilets. Dogs have toilets. Even rats have toilets... but according to the World Toilet Organization, 2.5 billion *people* worldwide still do not have access to sanitation. Peepoo (YouTube video), developed by Swedish entrepreneur, architect and professor Anders Wilhemson, is a new biodegradable single-use toilet that could help grow crops (New York Times). A layer of urea crystals in the bag kills off disease producing pathogens and breaks the waste down... into fertilizer. If you prefer patent-free alternatives, Joseph Jenkins offers Humanure. You can get his Humanure Compost Toilet System Instruction Manual (Direct Download PDF) free of charge. All you need is a bucket, cover materials (sawdust, rice husks or coffee grounds) and the knowledge in his handbook. Peepoo or Humanure? Poo decide.
Long revered for its value as a fertilizer, and as a raw material for explosives, guano is the dried droppings of various birds and bats. The New York Times has published an excellent account of the Peruvian harvest of this valuable resource including a multimedia slideshow. Guano was superseded by synthetics in the early part of the 20th century, due to the development of the Haber Bosch process, which fixed atmospheric nitrogen. An attempt to harvest bat guano from a Grand Canyon cave in the late 1950’s was beset by technical problems and was ultimately unsuccessful. The remaining structures at the canyon rim are now a tourist attraction.
Fritz Haber's story is the story of the double edged sword of science. He won the Nobel prize in 1918 for his groundbreaking work in breaking the nitrogen cycle for Germany's WWI efforts, but it's been estimated that two out of every five people now living would not have been born if it weren't for artificial fertilizers created using his process. He also spent much of the war developing poison gases; first chlorine (after watching its first use, Haber's wife committed suicide) and later Zyklon B (the cyanide insecticide later used against his fellow Jews in concentration camps). He died alone and in poverty in Switzerland. But the lessons of his life haven't quite been forgotten.
A new way to go How would you like to get to the next world: burial, cremation, or alkaline hydrolysis?
30,000 tons of turkey poop to turn an old mine site in Indiana into wetlands. Memo to self, avoid driving anywhere near Lynnville Indiana anytime soon. This is so neat. I mean what else are you going to do with 30,000 tons of turkey poop?