Lifestraw a Life Saver

he looks highGlobally, about 6,000 people a day die from water-borne disease. These are preventable deaths but, in many places it is too expensive to provide clean water for everyone and as a result people contract water-borne diseases. A fancy new drinking straw can stop 99.99% of parasites and bacteria from drinking water.

It’s called the Lifestraw and is currently being tested in the field. It is not as small as your average straw, but it’s small enough to wear around your neck. The manufacturing costs are low too – only $3 per unit. 70,000 units were handed out to earthquake victims in Kashmir last year. More testing is needed, but this is off to a very promising start!

Thanks, Kathryn!

Sonic Fabric

dressEver wanted to wear your favourite bands, well how about their album? Now you can!

Sonic Fabric is a a fabric woven out of old audio cassettes. The great part is not just that reuses otherwise trashed material, but that it can still be used to play music. Since the fabric retains the audio signature all you have to do is run a tape head over it.

One of the members of the band Phish has even worn one on stage and “played” it live.

Australia to Build Huge Wind Farm

Australia seems to be turning green. Last week they announced that they are making a massive solar power plant and now they’re making using wind to generate electricity. The wind farm will be the biggest one in the southern atmosphere.

“The wind farm would have the capacity to generate enough power for almost 190,000 homes every year, Victoria state planning minister Rob Hulls said of the 55 square kilometre (22 square mile) project to be built at Macarthur in the state’s west.”

Economic Incentives to Fight Climate Change

graphI don’t think we need another reason to do all we can to curb climate change, but Sir Nicholas Stern a British economist has found one more. Climate change is obviously going to hinder economic progress, yet large corporations argue that there is nothing to worry about – well Stern is predicting massive economic repercussions if we don’t act on curbing climate change. The BBC reports that Stern argues “global warming could shrink the global economy by 20%.”

So, what is this story doing on a good news website? Well, there is good news in all of this. The Stern report can hopefully influence those who decide policies to act in favour of the environment and sway those who still doubt climate change is going to hurt us. British PM Tony Blair is already arguing for action.

We also have time to react to climate change according to Stern. He said “That’s why I’m optimistic – having done this review – that we have the time and knowledge to act. But only if we act internationally, strongly and urgently.”

Gas: A Real Knockout

Some researchers have found that stinky sewer gas can really knock you out. They found that they could put mice into a state of near suspended-animation by exposing them to the smell.

“Hydrogen sulphide, a toxic gas that smells of rotten eggs, occurs naturally in swamps, springs and volcanoes.

But in mice, it was found to slow down heart rate and breathing and decrease body temperature, while keeping a normal blood pressure.”

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