Water on Mars

The Phoenix Lander has tested a sample and confirmed that water is on Mars:

“We have water,” said William Boynton of the University of Arizona, lead scientist for the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer, or TEGA. “We’ve seen evidence for this water ice before in observations by the Mars Odyssey orbiter and in disappearing chunks observed by Phoenix last month, but this is the first time Martian water has been touched and tasted.”

Sustainable energy in African villages

Nairobi businessman bringing sustainable energy to unpowered villages – Boing Boing Gadgets

Solar is, in Africa as in the west, mostly impractical. But wind, like sunlight, is “everywhere,” providing a natural, inexhaustible supply of energy. Among the most interesting of CraftSkills’ installations is the one at Chifiri, which uses a turbine’s power to run a pump, which filters 422 liters of water an hour from a brackish pond that is the only source of water for 500 villagers.

This is just the kind of business growth that needs to be encouraged in developing areas. It’s exciting to think of the possibilities – the clean drinking water alone will do a great deal to improve health conditions and increase a village’s abillity to move from survival mode to production and growth – not to mention that electricity could be made available. When wealthier nations decide to support developing ones, these are the kinds of projects to support. Is there a foundation for supporting sustainable energy projects out there? It would be cool if there is.

LifeStraw for water purification

l-s-family.jpgMeant for use in developing countries or in areas with few sources of clean water, the LifeStraw seems to be a promising product:

  • Arrow Filters a minimum of 15,000 litres of water – provides safe drinking water for a family for more
    than 2 years (calculated approximately on a family’s consumption of 20 litres water/day).
  • Arrow Has a high flow rate.
  • Arrow Removes minimum 99.9999% of all bacteria.
  • Arrow Removes minimum 99.99% of all viruses.
  • Arrow Removes minimum 99.9% of all parasites.
  • Arrow No electrical power or batteries required.
  • Arrow No spare parts required for the lifetime of the product.
  • Arrow No running water required.
  • Arrow Easy-to-clean pre-filter as well as purifier cartridge.

ls-f-user-c1-3.jpgSounds pretty ideal, and not as impractical as peddling for clean water. The design is simple and straightforward, with good water coming from the blue spout, and the remaining non-potable water coming from the red spout. It would be really great to see these offered for little to no money for those who really need it.