Tuesday, August 28, 2012

News from the ... uh ... Poop Deck

A few days ago I ran across this interesting article: New Toilet Technology After 150 Years of Waste, describing the results of the Reinventing the Toilet competition sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to reinvent the traditional flush toilet.

This is a matter of no small importance for billions of people who don't have access to modern sanitation facilities, much less Charmin to squeeze. Traditional flush toilets waste millions of gallons of drinkable water each year, and don't recapture reusable resources like the potential energy in solid waste. They're also impractical in many parts of the world where plumbing is less well-developed or non-existent.

Sponsor Bill Gates predicted that the new toilets would have an impact around the world, and not just in developing countries. He was quoted in the article as saying, "If we do it right, there's every possibility that some of these designs would also be solutions for rich and middle-income countries."

The competition required inventors to develop toilets which would operate without running water, electricity or a septic system, not discharge pollutants, operate at a cost of 5 cents a day or less, and - ideally - capture energy or turn waste into useful resources. One of the supertoilets used microwaves to transform poop into electricity, while another trapped urine and used it for flushing. Another turned human excrement into charcoal ... an amazing achievement to be sure, but probably not one that you'd want to advertise to the guests at your next backyard barbecue.

This is all fascinating and of inestimable value to many parts of the developing world. But what we need here at home, especially in an election year like this one, is a system that will allow us to filter out the vast amounts of crap being churned out by our useless political parties and their support structures.

Unfortunately, even Bill Gates doesn't have that kind of money*.

Have a good day. Flush twice ... it's a long way to Capitol Hill.

More thoughts tomorrow.


* Equally unfortunately, the Super PACs do have that kind of money ... they just use it to produce crap, rather than getting rid of it.


eViL pOp TaRt said...

I'd flush three or four times to deal with the sizeable amount of governmental crap!

Seriously, the new water-saving toilets could be a real technological advance!

The Bastard King of England said...

Very interesting. This goes beyond the "don't flush unless it's #2 rule" for saving water.

Duckbutt said...

It's an outstanding thing to manage human waste more effectively. I can see this as a huge possible gain in public health and sanitation.

Mike said...

Charcoal? Ain't no way I'm ever using charcoal again.