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Topic: Another Example of the Big Brain Advantages, May Save Us Again< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 13 2014, 7:55 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The amazing creativity and the tenacious nature of the human bean is a wonder to behold.

This is the kind of creative solution that has been saving our species for a couple of million years now, I think.

Could be a huge life saver in Africa and Australia and some parts of South America, not to mention Death Valley.

This Tower Pulls Drinking Water Out of Thin Air

The invention from Arturo Vittori, an industrial designer, and his colleague Andreas Vogler doesn't involve complicated gadgetry or feats of engineering, but instead relies on basic elements like shape and material and the ways in which they work together.

At first glance, the 30-foot-tall, vase-shaped towers, named after a fig tree native to Ethiopia, have the look and feel of a showy art installation. But every detail, from carefully-placed curves to unique materials, has a functional purpose.

The rigid outer housing of each tower is comprised of lightweight and elastic juncus stalks, woven in a pattern that offers stability in the face of strong wind gusts while still allowing air to flow through. A mesh net made of nylon or  polypropylene, which calls to mind a large Chinese lantern, hangs inside, collecting droplets of dew that form along the surface. As cold air condenses, the droplets roll down into a container at the bottom of the tower. The water in the container then passes through a tube that functions as a faucet, carrying the water to those waiting on the ground.

Using mesh to facilitate clean drinking water isn't an entirely new concept. A few years back, an MIT student designed a fog-harvesting device with the material. But Vittori's invention yields more water, at a lower cost, than some other concepts that came before it.

"[In Ethiopia], public infrastructures do not exist and building [something like] a well is not easy," Vittori says of the country. "To find water, you need to drill in the ground very deep, often as much as 1,600 feet.  So it's technically difficult and expensive. Moreover, pumps need electricity to run as well as access to spare parts in case the pump breaks down."

So how would Warka Water's low-tech design hold up in remote sub-Saharan villages? Internal field tests have shown that one Warka Water tower can supply more than 25 gallons of water throughout the course of a day, Vittori claims. He says because the most important factor in collecting condensation is the difference in temperature between nightfall and daybreak, the towers are proving successful even in the desert, where temperatures, in that time, can differ as much as 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The structures, made from biodegradable materials, are easy to clean and can be erected without mechanical tools in less than a week. Plus, he says, "once locals have the necessary know-how, they will be able to teach other villages and communities to build the Warka."

In all, it costs about $500 to set up a tower—less than a quarter of the cost of something like the Gates toilet, which costs about $2,200 to install and more to maintain. If the tower is mass produced, the price would be even lower, Vittori says. His team hopes to install two Warka Towers in Ethiopia by next year and is currently searching for investors who may be interested in scaling the water harvesting technology across the region.


http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovat....?no-ist


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 14 2014, 12:21 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

A device that generates 25 gallons of water per day is going to save us "again"?  From what?
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 14 2014, 12:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yah, I guess the sabre tooths are all gone, nothing more to concern ourselves about.

How many days can you live without water Ken??

Ahh, I forgot again.  You have prayer to fall back on.  My bad.   :p


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 14 2014, 12:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(KenV @ Apr. 14 2014, 12:21 am)
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A device that generates 25 gallons of water per day is going to save us "again"?  From what?

WHO: Waterborne Disease is World's Leading Killer

Waterborne diseases are caused by pathogenic microbes that can be directly spread through contaminated water. Most waterborne diseases cause diarrheal illness [Note: not all diseases listed below cause diarrhea]. Eighty-eight percent of diarrhea cases worldwide are linked to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation or insufficient hygiene 1. These cases result in 1.5 million deaths each year, mostly in young children 1. The usual cause of death is dehydration. Most cases of diarrheal illness and death occur in developing countries because of unsafe water, poor sanitation, and insufficient hygiene. Other waterborne diseases do not cause diarrhea; instead these diseases can cause malnutrition, skin infections, and organ damage.

Amoebic and bacillary dysentery
Amebiasis
Buruli Ulcer*
Campylobacter
Cholera
Cryptosporidiosis
Cyclosporiasis
Dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease)
Escherichia coli
Fascioliasis
Giardiasis
Hepatitis
Leptospirosis
Norovirus
Rotavirus
Salmonella
Schistosomiasis
Shigellosis
Typhoid Fever
 

http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/wash_diseases.html


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 14 2014, 2:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(KenV @ Apr. 13 2014, 10:21 pm)
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A device that generates 25 gallons of water per day is going to save us "again"?  From what?

Here in the states, where access to purified tap water seems a universal privilege, and is freely available from drinking fountains everywhere?  Not much.

But the impacts seem pretty obvious elsewhere.  Maybe I assume too much with the term "obvious."


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 14 2014, 3:11 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

But only up to 25 gallons per device that depends on local relative humidity?

How that would solve a population-wide problem might not be so clear. The question arises on how scalable is the device?
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 14 2014, 3:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Apr. 14 2014, 1:11 pm)
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But only up to 25 gallons per device that depends on local relative humidity?

How that would solve a population-wide problem might not be so clear. The question arises on how scalable is the device?

That was kinda my question too.  Seems awfully big for something that (in comparison) isn't collecting a whole lot.

I'm not saying this particular idea will work, but the need for more ideas like this seems painfully apparent.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 14 2014, 3:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(GoBlueHiker @ Apr. 14 2014, 12:19 pm)
QUOTE

(High_Sierra_Fan @ Apr. 14 2014, 1:11 pm)
QUOTE
But only up to 25 gallons per device that depends on local relative humidity?

How that would solve a population-wide problem might not be so clear. The question arises on how scalable is the device?

That was kinda my question too.  Seems awfully big for something that (in comparison) isn't collecting a whole lot.

I'm not saying this particular idea will work, but the need for more ideas like this seems painfully apparent.

Agreed and something essentially passive as noted in the article has distinct advantages over something requiring parts, energy and maintenance beyond the rudimentary.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 14 2014, 4:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sam Kinison figured out the solution a long time ago:

http://youtu.be/P0q4o58pKwA
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 15 2014, 2:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(wwwest @ Apr. 14 2014, 12:30 pm)
QUOTE
Yah, I guess the sabre tooths are all gone, nothing more to concern ourselves about.

Ahh, I forgot again.  You have prayer to fall back on.  My bad.   :p

Cute reply.  Pretty much a non sequitur, but cute.  However, it ignored the question.

So let me rephrase.  How will 25 gallons of water per day "save us again" and what will it "save us" from?

QUOTE
How many days can you live without water Ken??
Kind of a pointless question, don't you think?  I have access to WAAAAAY more than 25 gallons of water per day and I don't have one of these contraptions set up in my backyard.  And BTW, prayer had nothing to do with that.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 15 2014, 2:46 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(GoBlueHiker @ Apr. 14 2014, 2:51 pm)
QUOTE

(KenV @ Apr. 13 2014, 10:21 pm)
QUOTE
A device that generates 25 gallons of water per day is going to save us "again"?  From what?

Here in the states, where access to purified tap water seems a universal privilege, and is freely available from drinking fountains everywhere?  Not much.

But the impacts seem pretty obvious elsewhere.  Maybe I assume too much with the term "obvious."

This device's applicability in poverty stricken areas with limited or no acces to clean water is very obvious.  But that was not what my question was about.  I assumed the point of my question was rather "obvious".  Clearly I "assumed too much."

The title is rather melodramatic.  The title states this device may"save us again".   Who is "us"?  The readers of this forum?  The citizens of this nation?  The citizens of this planet?  How will it "save" us?  What will it save us from?  And since it's saving us "again," what were we saved from previously?
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 15 2014, 12:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(KenV @ Apr. 15 2014, 2:33 am)
QUOTE

(wwwest @ Apr. 14 2014, 12:30 pm)
QUOTE
Yah, I guess the sabre tooths are all gone, nothing more to concern ourselves about.

Ahh, I forgot again.  You have prayer to fall back on.  My bad.   :p

Cute reply.  Pretty much a non sequitur, but cute.  However, it ignored the question.

So let me rephrase.  How will 25 gallons of water per day "save us again" and what will it "save us" from?

Ken I'm here to help again.

When normal people read a comment such as, "I'm hungry enough to eat a horse," we recognize it as hyperbole. We don't spend post after post ignoring the actual point being made, while attempting to prove that no one can actually be hungry enough to eat a horse.

Likewise the term "save us" above was clearly not meant to be taken literally. Yet that's the part you want to harp on. You do this on practically every topic. You harp on a use of hyperbole, idiom, metaphor, or any non literal language to debate some minor issue while ignoring the main one.  This is a sign of autism. Are you autistic, because if so it would certainly explain why you such difficulty communicating with so many other people. So if you are, why not just tell us so we can work to communicate with you instead of just assuming you're some sort of moron who can't understand plain English?
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 15 2014, 3:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That is really cool. I remember the story of the fog harvester, which I believe was installed above a village somewhere on remote coastal Chile. Sadly, the thing fell into disrepair when its progenitor left the village.

The water tower is revolutionary. 25 gallons is easily enough for a family of 4 to meet their daily intake and cooking needs while also leaving a surplus for bathing (navy style or maybe a bath 2x per week), the graywater from which could be used for very small scale farming.

Keep in mind that in many villages, the women are forced to walk hours to fetch water, keeping young women out of school. Air-harvested water is also very clean, which reduces waterborne disease.

This sounds very scalable--as simple as erecting a tower for each household (not sure how big these things are). If I were living in coastal California, I would be looking at these things (though the property Nazis would probably balk at having a structure like this on a property).

What a cool idea.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 15 2014, 5:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Allow me to rephrase some comments:

"I do not personally know anybody who is thirsty, so why should I care?".

or, "25 gallons won't keep my lawn watered, much less fill up my swimming pool".


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 15 2014, 8:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

At $500 per household it strikes me as too costly. Heck the entire project can apparently only figure out how to fund TWO of them for the entire year...

Less artistry and more affordability please?
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(High_Sierra_Fan @ Apr. 15 2014, 8:09 pm)
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At $500 per household it strikes me as too costly. Heck the entire project can apparently only figure out how to fund TWO of them for the entire year...

Less artistry and more affordability please?

I cannot attest to the economics of water development in Ethiopia, but you have to compare the capital and operating cost to the cost of building wells, dams, distribution systems, etc in the same locale. $500 is a fortune to an Ethiopian family, but it probably a reasonable cost to NGOs and governments trying to address the issue. The other HUGE advantage is at the operating cost is effectively zero.

If the concept works and the thing produces water as described, it is major step up for these impoverished villagers where clean water is a luxury. The same challenges exist in India and China.


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(HighGravity @ Apr. 15 2014, 12:36 pm)
QUOTE

(KenV @ Apr. 15 2014, 2:33 am)
QUOTE

(wwwest @ Apr. 14 2014, 12:30 pm)
QUOTE
Yah, I guess the sabre tooths are all gone, nothing more to concern ourselves about.

Ahh, I forgot again.  You have prayer to fall back on.  My bad.   :p

Cute reply.  Pretty much a non sequitur, but cute.  However, it ignored the question.

So let me rephrase.  How will 25 gallons of water per day "save us again" and what will it "save us" from?

Ken I'm here to help again.

When normal people read a comment such as, "I'm hungry enough to eat a horse," we recognize it as hyperbole. We don't spend post after post ignoring the actual point being made, while attempting to prove that no one can actually be hungry enough to eat a horse.

Likewise the term "save us" above was clearly not meant to be taken literally. Yet that's the part you want to harp on. You do this on practically every topic. You harp on a use of hyperbole, idiom, metaphor, or any non literal language to debate some minor issue while ignoring the main one.  This is a sign of autism. Are you autistic, because if so it would certainly explain why you such difficulty communicating with so many other people. So if you are, why not just tell us so we can work to communicate with you instead of just assuming you're some sort of moron who can't understand plain English?

Ummm, HG?

"Normal people" would understand that I recognized and was mocking the hyperbole (although I called it melodrama.  Whatever.)  Since you failed to understand that, what does that make you?

Now to the topic at hand.
What is the utility of this device to the average reader of this forum?  Zero.

What is the utility of this $500 device to the average third world person with limited or no access to clean water?  $500 is a large fortune for such folks.  Now let's assume the person or family through some miracle scraped together the necessary $500.  Where do they go to get the materials?  How do they transport those materials to their home?  Now lets say a second miracle occurs and they acquire the necessary materials AND get them to their home.  Where do they get the skills, tools, and knowledge to build this tower?  And where do they get the skills, tools, and knowledge to maintain it?

Now lets say all four miracles occur and they get the $500, acquire the materials, transposrt the materials, get the tools and skills to build it, and get the skills and tools to maintain it.  What does 25 gallons a day really provide?   For a small family it provides basic survival.  For a large family maybe not even that.  Now what?

HG, have you thought through this enough to even consider ONE of these questions, never mind answer it?
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 16 2014, 5:09 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Kenv

What you mocked and accented was the word "again" . not "us". It was only when folks (rightly) pointed out how vital water is to survival that you realized how correct they were/are, and pulled out the save "us" nonsense.

I'm sure you'll deny it.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 16 2014, 12:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Ken,

I would not be so dismissive of these types of technologies and their impact on standards of living in the third world. In the US, we take our water and energy infrastructure (centralized production and distribution networks) for granted, but these capital investments are a pipe dream for millions living in rural areas in Africa, India, China and other parts.

I found a study that suggests that in the US, the initial installation cost of water access runs $150 - $230 per capita. Annual operating cost is 5-10% of capital costs, or about $10 per year per capita. Taking the low end of this range for a family of four, a 10-year cost is $900.

25 gallons a day sounds like a pittance, but it's enough to 1) hyrdate a family of four (1.5 gals per person, or 6 total); 2) provide a surplus that can be used for hygiene and small scale farming (using gray water). When you start with nothing, a small incremental improvement like this has a huge impact.

Obviously, this all assumes the technology works and is scalable (it should be as it requires effectively zero infrastructure).


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 16 2014, 3:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

When were TPA discussions limited to things that only had utility to forum members? Who on this forum is normal?

A lot could change that $500 each price. If you think that American's will never face a shortage of potable water, you are likely unaware of the rate that we are drawing down aquifers, while contaminating surface waters with activities like agriculture, fracking for oil and gas production, and just plain wasteful practices.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 16 2014, 5:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I like the lack of moving parts

But you would need a lot of them for a moderate sized village


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 16 2014, 5:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Video of Zambian children and their water woes (very tame, no kids on their death beds). Basically, it comes down to fetching water or going to school. And if you're in school, hoping you don't get sick. And if you get sick, hoping you don't die.

http://higherperspective.com/2014....e=GASAN


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(High_Sierra_Fan @ Apr. 15 2014, 8:09 pm)
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At $500 per household it strikes me as too costly. Heck the entire project can apparently only figure out how to fund TWO of them for the entire year...

Less artistry and more affordability please?

Half a penny per gallon assuming 25 gallons per day and a 10-year life span.

Granted, a HUGE cost for a typical family there. But if the technology proves viable and scalable, costs could come down dramatically. And perhaps the reason for the artsy look is to lure us Americans into investing. If I go to Africa, I don't want to see purely functional (ugly) units. I want to say "Oh... that's pretty".


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 16 2014, 6:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If the technology works, funding it is easy. There is a huge interest among the NGO community in addressing these types of problems with workable solutions. If the artist who created the prototype said it cost $500 to build, large scale production with real engineers and manufacturers working on it would likely easily get the capital cost down under $100, at which point the Africa NGOs would probably go berserk trying to buy them by the thousands.

But, it all depends on whether or not the thing works as advertised. The rest of it is easy.


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(Ecocentric @ Apr. 16 2014, 3:40 pm)
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When were TPA discussions limited to things that only had utility to forum members? Who on this forum is normal?

A lot could change that $500 each price. If you think that American's will never face a shortage of potable water, you are likely unaware of the rate that we are drawing down aquifers, while contaminating surface waters with activities like agriculture, fracking for oil and gas production, and just plain wasteful practices.

Let's assume you're right and a big swath of American citizens "face a shortage of potable water".  Would this be a good solution?  Maybe.  Unlikely but maybe.  There are many options.   Personally, I use rain water collection, which results in far more than 25 gallons per day.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 17 2014, 5:27 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

(Palm to forehead) To hell with the rest of the world, Ken get's plenty of rain.

Most successful technology is not the result of a single design evaluated by random people on the internet. Most complex environmental solutions require a variety of technologies tailored to specific problems. I don't think anyone here is arguing that this is the best thing ever thought of, but I certainly find it intriguing.

By the way, Frank Herbert used a similar concept in his novel Dune.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 17 2014, 5:51 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Walkinman @ Apr. 16 2014, 5:09 am)
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Kenv

What you mocked and accented was the word "again" . not "us". It was only when folks (rightly) pointed out how vital water is to survival that you realized how correct they were/are, and pulled out the save "us" nonsense.

I'm sure you'll deny it.

Dude, water is obviously and intuitively "vital  to survival".  Duh.

The question is, is this contraption vital to obtaining water most anywhere in the US?  Nope.  Most anywhere in the world?  Nope.  MIGHT it be an answer to a smallish group of people in a pretty unique environment?   Maybe.  Will it be the answer to "save" them?  Unlikely.  And where does "again" fit into any of this?

Clu4U, I'm mocking the melodramatic hyperbole of the OP.

So, in your estimation, did this reply "deny it?"

As for the repeated claim that this thing "has no operating cost" that's a fallacy on its face.  By this logic wind turbines have "no operating cost", and yet they cost a bundle to maintain.  Since this contraption works by condensing water from the atmosphere and depends on "unique materials"  to accomplish this, how does one maintain the properties of the "unique material"?  Does the material degrade in UV?  How clean does it have to be?  Deserts are dusty places and will dust foul the system or degrade the water condensing properties of the "unique material?"   What about a sand storm?  Will sand accumulation foul the system?

The bottom line is that this tower will CERTAINLY require maintenance of some kind.  Can the average desert dweller family provide that maintenance?  What tools and training would be required?  How much time per day would need to be spent maintaining the tower?  Could children provide that maintenance?
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 17 2014, 6:16 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Ecocentric @ Apr. 17 2014, 5:27 am)
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(Palm to forehead) To hell with the rest of the world, Ken get's plenty of rain.

(Palm to forehead) Nice job of twisting my reply.  I cleary said "There are many options."  It's just that in my case rain water collection is a far better solution.  No single solution is applicable for every circumstance.  But rain water collection is probably a better solution in more places/circumstances than this tower.

QUOTE
Most complex environmental solutions require a variety of technologies tailored to specific problems. I don't think anyone here is arguing that this is the best thing ever thought of, but I certainly find it intriguing.
Intriguing?  CERTAINLY.  A solution that "May save us again?"  Not at all likely.  While I have my doubts about this technology's true utility even in Ethiopia, I'm not mocking the technology.  I'm mocking the melodramatic hyperbole being used to describe/sell the technology.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 17 2014, 9:37 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(KenV @ Apr. 17 2014, 5:05 am)
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Personally, I use rain water collection, which results in far more than 25 gallons per day.

LOL - Sure you do Ken.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 17 2014, 9:52 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Voltaire said it best: Cultivate your own garden. This lesson from Candide is typically interpreted as "take care of your own needs, and the world will take care of itself." It certainly fits my Libertarian leaning beliefs.

But I expand the interpretation to a belief that the best solutions to problems are often highly localized ones. This is not an argument against centralized government for large, scalable problems, but it is an argument for customized solutions to localized problems. Ethiopia does not necessarily need a huge central water project to address the needs of its small rural villagers. A solution like this is very elegant for its simplicity and its impact (cheaply, locally produced water that enables kids to attend school).


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