Is America Burning - a Forum To Discuss Issues

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Skyline - Houston, Texas

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Sure Could Use a Little Good News Today

Here is some news which appears legitimate.

First take a look at this post. It's written by one of my favorite people who has recently begun writing for Blogging Baby.

BB was my introduction to blogging some time ago. I lurked, I finally commented, and never stopped commenting there and elsewhere. Their writers encouraged me to start a blog and one of them even set it up for me and came up with rocrebel granny for a name.

And then take a look at this.

We wonder sometimes what one person can possibly do to make a difference. Here's something simple that could save children. At the very least, it's worth learning more.




  • At Wednesday, July 12, 2006 6:20:00 PM , Blogger JBlue said...

    That LifeStraw is very cool.

  • At Wednesday, July 12, 2006 9:19:00 PM , Blogger yellowdog granny said...

    wow, that is so cool...does bono know about this? and angelina jolie? they could put some of their money in it...

  • At Wednesday, July 12, 2006 11:35:00 PM , Blogger Progressive Traditionalist said...

    Sorry to be such a skeptic, but I question the value of the LifeStraw.
    Boiling the water for 20 minutes should be sufficient to eliminate the bio activity.
    Far worse is the problem of chemical pollutants. As more modern fertilizers are introduced, the frequency of incidence will increase. And many of these chemicals cannot be removed by distillation, though there are methods such as reverse osmosis that will reduce the contaminant level.
    These chemical guys like to say that "The solution to pollution is dilution;" however this is not always the case. Some chemicals are very dangerous at very low levels, others have cumulative effect.
    I did not see any information regarding the chemicals contained by the LifeStraw, and this concerns me.

  • At Thursday, July 13, 2006 12:12:00 AM , Blogger Krupo said...

    In other news,

  • At Thursday, July 13, 2006 1:50:00 AM , Blogger McGlee Historical Preservation Society said...

    Progressive Traditionalist... Yes, boiling water will kill the bugs just as well. If it didn't I might not be here to write this -- I used to boil water a lot in the backcountry in my younger days. There are a couple of problems with boiling, however, as a solution to water quality in developing countries.

    First, it takes fuel. If they had that much extra fuel, a lot of problems would be solved. They can't afford to spend fuel to purify water. Second, "boiling the water for 20 minutes" takes, at minimum, 20 minutes. Add to that a few minutes (at least) to get the water to boiling and a fair bit longer to get it to cool down to the point where you can drink it. These people work for a living -- work hard and long. You want them to stop working for 1/2 an hour+ just to take a drink?

    One thing I didn't put in the original article is that the LifeStraw is supposed to cost about $2. I couldn't find confirmation of that on the LS website, so I left it out. If it does cost a couple dollars or so, that's pretty cheap for a year's supply of water.

    Ann, thanks for the compliment!

    It wasn't relevant to that story, but there was, not too long ago, someone who figured out that you could make a refrigerator by putting a container inside another container filled with wet mud. The water evaporating from the wet mud cools everything, including the inner container and its contents. All you have to do to keep it going is add more water when the mud starts to get too dry. Won an award for ingenuity.

  • At Thursday, July 13, 2006 2:02:00 AM , Blogger McGlee Historical Preservation Society said...

    Okay, I found some info on the refrigeration system I mentioned. I misremembered some of the details, but it's still a pretty damn cool (pardon the pun) invention!

  • At Thursday, July 13, 2006 2:26:00 AM , Blogger Granny said...

    For anyone who hasn't figured it out, McGlee, etc. is Roger S. He needed a name to comment on Blogger.

    Krupo, I saw the link earlier but I have to wait for a quiet time for the audios.

    Too much competition from my husband's sci-fi.

  • At Thursday, July 13, 2006 12:19:00 PM , Blogger The Future Was Yesterday said...

    I think this posted prematurely. If it did...sorry. I'm having trouble with my "commenter" today. I suspect it's the one on my shoulders. But anyway, I wanted to say....

    This was so incredibly refreshing to read!! Human Beings actually putting their brains to work for something other than fighting with each other! When I was a kid on our farm, we had an old, old windmill connected to a pump, for the cows. I remember catching handfulls of water from the spout and drinking it. It was so cold and delicious! Dad always said "It's 'Windwater', that's what makes it so good." It took me the longest time to understand that.:) When Dad was near the end, Mom called me at around 3 in the morning and said; "Dad wants a drink of Windwater. Do you know what he means?" I told Mom I did, and I would go get some. I returned to the hospital a couple hours later with a plain old mason jar filled with water, cradling it like a baby. People looked at me like I was nuts.:) Mom held Dad's head up while I helped him get a drink. He smiled broadly and said: "That's just as good as it ever was...." and fell to sleep for the last time. Whenever I see wind powered anything, I like to think it's Dad blowing the blades of the fans. Like his Son, he certainly has the spare air!:)

  • At Thursday, July 13, 2006 2:45:00 PM , Blogger Progressive Traditionalist said...

    I would like to respond to the issues that MHPS raised, and I hope to do so in an orderly fashion.

    In many of these places that water is scarce, wood-burning remains the predominant fuel source. While this is of grave concern as a matter of particulate pollution, while in use, its use of energy per lb of pollutant should be magnified (to head off increased demand for fuel). It seems to me that the boiling should be done at night, when fires are made for warmth, or when cooking. A fire typically generates a lot of excess energy (no way to capture it). And so a day's supply of water could be boiled the night before, and cooled overnight. It seems like education would be the main issue to take this approach.

    The LifeStraw runs about $2 right now, and certainly the price will be somewhat lower in the next 3 - 5 yrs.

    My concern is the chemicals involved. Does it remove chemical contaminants?

    In America, the tap water has been known to be carcinogenic since the early 70's due to the by-products (THMs) of the water treatment chemicals. The thinking has been that it's ok to initiate a cancerous growth in X number of people per thousand to reduce the incidence of such-and-such to whatever rate; and it's particularly effective in this. But now that we've gotten that far, why not see what we can do to reduce the incidence of cancer? That's my way of thinking. And so, I'm very leery of adding more chemicals to the water.

    Incidentally, my previous statement about distillation wasn't quite correct. The fact is that it can be done, but requires an evaporative tower with traps and filters.

    The evaporative mud pit is an adaptation of an earlier design. In earlier times, wicker lean-tos were constructed and water poured over them to produce the cooling effect.

    In ancient Egypt and India, pourous earthen jars were used to provide the evaporative cooling effect. There is also evidence that some of these produced ice.

    At issue is not to do away with the product, but how it might be done better, to provide better safety; and of course, to do so without being cost prohibitive.

  • At Thursday, July 13, 2006 10:17:00 PM , Blogger Ingrid said...

    PT, perhaps that is where Bono's and Angelina Jolie's money can go into.
    And I was thinking today about the lack of water in Gaza...wished I remember which modern day philosopher said that future wars will be over water..what am I saying?? As if it isn't already a factor in the Middle East. silly me.
    Still, even if the water pump thingies are not totally up to snuff so to speak, I guess it's somewhat better than what they have in S. Africa and when you're thirsty, as in REALLY thirsty, anything at some point will do. Let's hope they don't have as many chemical nonsense in their environment as we do..


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