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Earth Science Idle

Gates Foundation Makes Progress On Reinvented Toilets 167

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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  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @04:02AM (#39134295) Homepage Journal
    I've been pondering this recently. Here in the USA we tend to feel pretty holier-than-though, but for the most part we have pretty dirty assholes. I mean, poo touched that and we just wipe it off with some paper. If poo touched your hand, would you be content to wipe it off with paper? So why do we tolerate it with our assholes?

    I'd love to see some demographics on countries sorted by asshole cleanliness. I'm guessing that just like education and health care, the USA would be solidly in the middle of the pack. I suspect that Japan probably would have the most-clean assholes in the world, just based on their high end toilet technology. I'm not sure I want to speculate on the dirty end of the scale so as not to risk diplomatic incident.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 23, 2012 @04:29AM (#39134433)

    He is a wolf in sheepclothes and in bed with one of the most dangerous companies in the world, Monsanto.

    No amount of good can make up for the criminal acts of that company.

  • Tree Bog (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pfafrich ( 647460 ) <rich@NoSpAm.singsurf.org> on Thursday February 23, 2012 @05:06AM (#39134599) Homepage
    Best and simpest idea for a toilet I've seen is the tree bog. Its a raised platform over an enclosure space fenced off with chicken wire. Around the bog you plant willow or other greedy trees which rapidly consume the nutrients, effectively turning the poo into biomass. Aerobic decomposition has advantages over anaerobic decomposition and there is no smell if you use a layer of sawdust. The whole thing requires no maintenance as the poo decomposes very quickly. Not good for urban situations but ideal in rural environments.
  • by KiloByte ( 825081 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @05:38AM (#39134705)

    A good part of that money goes into ensuring that developing countries will never be able to produce drugs they need on their own. They get pre-made drugs, counting their worth at a few orders of magnitude above the manufacture cost, with a string attached: in order to receive free drugs, they need to pass laws forbidding domestic manufacture of said drugs, aka "respecting intellectual property".

    Also, promoting Monsanto. Or, putting $50M into promoting male genital mutilation in Kenya while civilised people try to stop that barbaric practice.

    So Bill Gates' charity is double-edged at best.

  • by donscarletti ( 569232 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @05:48AM (#39134749)
    I recommend the arse cleaning hoses found in Malaysia. They don't have the size or expense of a seperate bidet and they're not resident in the unhygenic toilet pot like Japanese integrated bidets. You just lift it off its hook on the wall, point the spray nozzle at your butthole, twist the tap and bam, no more shit on your o-ring. But either way, the European bidet has existed for a century now, there's always been that option at home, the Malaysian hose is the only option small, cheap and simple enough for institutional toilets.
  • Re:Salt Water? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rie Beam ( 632299 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @07:02AM (#39135011) Journal

    I did find this little gem.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_in_Hong_Kong#Seawater_flushing [wikipedia.org]

    "In 1960 legislation was introduced to promote seawater flushing on a larger scale, followed by substantial investments in a separate network although the system was unpopular due to the need to build a separate plumbing network in each house. Seawater initially was sold, but from 1972 on it was provided for free and the costs of the system were recovered through the drinking water tariff. In 1991, about 65% of Hong Kong's households used seawater for flushing. By 1999, this percentage had increased to 79%"

  • by An dochasac ( 591582 ) on Thursday February 23, 2012 @07:57AM (#39135239)
    Markus Kayser's solar sintering 3D printer [greenprophet.com] shows what is possible when you use ingenuity, technology and two abundant desert resources, sunlight and sand. Mr. Kayser says he is already working with Kohler on the possibility of using solar powered, sand fed replicators like his to make sanitation products such as toilets and plumbing.

He: Let's end it all, bequeathin' our brains to science. She: What?!? Science got enough trouble with their OWN brains. -- Walt Kelly