As Herman Melville said, “Meditation and water are wedded forever.” While washing the dishes yesterday, I realized that the sound of the running water had made me lose track of time. I wondered how many gallons had gone down the drain while I stared out the window, and thought it’d be useful to have a faucet that tells you how much water you’ve used. I imagine people’s water usage might change if a bell rang every time a gallon came out of the spout. Plus, if it were programmable, you could use it in place of measuring cups.
If no one’s thought of this before, and you make your golden fortune inventing it, that’s fine. Just drop a penny in my tin cup as you step daintily over my spavined, feebly twitching legs.
Speaking of water, here’s an extraordinarily cheap way to protect people from cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and other waterborne diseases:
Putting contaminated water in a 2-litre bottle, shaking it and then leaving it in the sun for up to six hours could save the lives of millions of people.Some African villages are using interesting strategies against drought, such as sand dams:
The sand retains 40% of its volume in water, protecting that water from evaporation. Wells are then dug into it, supplying local villagers during the subsequent dry season. The idea of the dams goes back more than 2000 years, to the Babylonian era, Aerts explains. It was later picked up by the English who built sand dams in India and Kenya.There’s apparently a new way of treating chronic nerve pain:
Cone snail toxins named RgIA and Vc1.1 can treat nerve hypersensitivity and pain by blocking a molecule in cells known as the "alpha9alpha10 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor."If the idea of cone snail toxins is too exotic for you, Effect Measure recommends good old-fashioned human saliva:
Scientists at the Institut Pasteur in Paris have found a simple molecule in human saliva that prolongs the lifetime of naturally produced human painkillers, the enkephalins. They say it has six times the analgesic potency as morphine without the addictive or psychological side effects.It does have side effects, though. You’ll have to read Revere’s article to find out what they are.
In other medical news, there's hope of a vaccine treatment for recurrent gliomas:
Derived from each individual's tumor, vitespen contains the "fingerprint" of the patient's particular cancer and is designed to reprogram the body's immune system to target only cancer cells bearing this fingerprint....Vitespen has been granted fast track and orphan drug designations from the Food and Drug Administration in both metastatic melanoma (skin cancer) and renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer).You can add water filtration to the list of prospective uses for discarded tires:
Dr. Yuefeng Xie, associate professor of environmental engineering at Penn State Harrisburg, has developed a method that uses crumb rubber to filter wastewater, which can help ease the tire problem and clean up the environment at the same time.A new edible coating for produce allegedly kills E. coli:
Composed of apple puree and oregano oil, which acts as a natural antibacterial agent, the coating shows promise in laboratory studies of becoming a long-lasting, potent alternative to conventional produce washes, according to a team of scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the University of Lleida in Spain.Research into the sonic qualities of gunshots could pay off in a number of interesting ways, including monitoring the health of ecosystems:
Technology that could sort desired sounds from background noise could be used to monitor wildlife habitats. Microphones could record a month's worth of sound in an area and then computer software would sort that massive amount of data into useable chunks: elk bugles, aircraft noise, wolf howls, gunshots, etc.One thing these mics might not overhear is the Quiet Revolution Wind Turbine:
[I]ts small scale allows it to fit seamlessly into an urban environment, providing a renewable energy resource in places where space constraints previously made it impossible to hook up green power systems….It is also quieter than your typical wind turbine because the tip speed is slower, due to the triple-helix design, which in turn allows it to be situated closer to buildings and on towers.Treehugger reports on combined heat and power generators:
[T]he big news in CHPs is that they're becoming ultra-decentralized. That is, you can put one under your sink and heat and power your house with it.While hunting for drawings of bowerbird nests, I stumbled on a gorgeous series of photos by Michelle Bates, taken with a Holga plastic camera.
Click here and here to see more. From there, you'll probably want to proceed to Toycamera.com.
I've recently been poring over an incredible collection of magazine and pulp covers by Ellis Parker Butler, whence comes this cover for Radio News:
Here’s a more lurid cover, just in case you're unmoved by the domestic woes of radio operators.
If this merely whets your appetite for vintage graphics, you can visit Dime Novels and Penny Dreadfuls. And, of course, Octopulps. Also, just in from Coudal, a gorgeous gallery of vintage Hungarian posters.
But for me at least, all this pales in comparison to BibliOdyssey's Bee Books.
(Photo at top is from Souvenirs, a Flickr set by Michael Hughes. Via Coudal.)