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Earth Science Idle

Gates Foundation Makes Progress On Reinvented Toilets 167

Posted by samzenpus
from the the-emporer's-new-throne dept.
Julie188 writes "Last summer the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged to spend millions to reinvent the toilet. That investment has born fruit with teams from around the world coming up with many different ways to turn human waste into energy."
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Gates Foundation Makes Progress On Reinvented Toilets

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  • KISS Principle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EnempE (709151) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @02:48AM (#39133981)
    Some of these things seem rather complicated and use materials that aren't easy to obtain.

    To provide greater benefit the machine should be able to be manufactured without specialized tools and be able to be built with universally available, preferably recyclable or re-purposed materials. If people can make a living out of making and servicing these toilets then the sanitary and economic (from the created industry) benefit will spread quickly and independently without requiring the oversight of a foreign NGO.
  • Crucial (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BoydWaters (257352) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @02:51AM (#39133997)

    Anyone who thinks this is a silly idea needs to spend two weeks in a city without modern plumbing.

  • by GumphMaster (772693) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @02:57AM (#39134027)

    Why reinvent the toilet when we already have perfectly functional, no-energy (or very low energy) composting toilet [] and urine diversion [] options? What is it about these options that does not meet the criteria?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 23, 2012 @03:11AM (#39134095)

    Why reinvent the toilet when we already have perfectly functional, no-energy (or very low energy) composting toilet and urine diversion options? What is it about these options that does not meet the criteria?

    Somebody influential won't make a profit.

  • The hate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by santax (1541065) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @03:27AM (#39134159)
    Long time linux lover here. Long time hater of MS policy and business practice. However, this man, who was once the richest man in the world has in the latest 15 years of his life great things for humanity. Things that actually make a different for people. I don't care how much you hate windows or Gates as the former president of that company, but surely you can't be against him spending so much of his fortune (and sure, he has enough money to have a comfortable life even with doing this) to make lifes better... Give the guy a break on this part. He has spend a fortune on his foundation and did so with many great projects that actually got shit done. (no phun intended)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 23, 2012 @04:38AM (#39134479)
    Look, we can separate this into 2 different camps: developed vs. undeveloped.
    In the developed world, we have plumbing throughout, so the flush sends it to a central area. Now, how useful is that? 2 words: Joules Biotech. They are using genetically modified cyanobacteria, to kick out ethanol and diesel fuel. So, why is this special? Because this uses our sewage as feedstock. IOW, it turns crap into fuel. OTOH, the ideas being pushed here, require loads of energy to try and get rid of crap.

    Then you have the undeveloped world. Basically, we are talking, no plumbing. So, what matters most to them? Soap and a water bowl. Yes. For the vast majority of the world, they use their left hand to wipe their ass(which is why you do not use your left hand in nearly all parts of the world). We could help the undeveloped world by simply getting them resources such as soap to kill the bacteria that are on their hands, esp. the left one. For those of you that think that this is funny, keep in mind that the single highest killer of babies in 3rd world nations is diarrhea. Much of that is from the parents or siblings having dirty hands.
  • Re:The hate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by billcopc (196330) <> on Thursday February 23, 2012 @04:57AM (#39134565) Homepage

    If I'm reading you correctly, you'd rather see him widen the wealth gap between the U.S. hyper-rich and the 3rd world ? The funny thing about wealth gaps is they tend to trigger acts of extreme violence to rebalance the equation. It is FAR more beneficial to humankind, to help the 3rd world deal with some of their most basic problems. Who's to say, maybe in 30 years from now, an African that was given access to education, sanitation and employment might discover a (realistic) cure for AIDS.

    I'd go as far as saying that there is not much hope left for the U.S., because its control structures are far beyond repair, its human capital bottlenecked by the very pursuit of wealth. Throwing more money into a broken hyperpower only makes the rich richer. Throwing money into a 3rd world nation has the potential to bring sweeping changes.

    Ultimately, it's about inching toward a unified world view. To think or act otherwise is notihng more than racism and elitism.

You know you've landed gear-up when it takes full power to taxi.