Register shows restraint
You are right, there can be no comment here. :)
Haters might say the man responsible for bringing the world the Microsoft empire has finally had a taste of his own medicine, with Bill Gates admitting on Monday to having swallowed liquid poo. El Reg couldn't possibly comment. In a blog post this week, Gates wrote about trialling a machine that turns faeces into drinking …
The amount of water estimated to have been drunk by all humans that have existed is a tiny fraction of all the world's water ---- dinosaurs on the other hand were around for a very very long time so the chances that what you drink today has passed through a dinosaur is very high.
I looked on the internet and my conclusion is a suspicion that there are orders of magnitude more water in the sea than all of the animals that have ever existed could have passed.
Not very robust for a lunch-hour investigation but:
o Discussion: how many organisms have ever lived on Earth?
There is a famous French song 'Dès que le vent soufflera - Scélérats" by an artist called Renaud which has appropriate lyrics
J'ai déserté les crasses qui m'disaient sois prudent
la mer c'est dégueulasse, les poissons baisent dedans!
I deserted the dross that said to me be careful
the sea it disgusting, fish fuck in it!
Some groundwater predates animals, some volcanic steam, and water from recent comets would be less likely to have passed through an animal, but in general, most water on Earth has passed through several fish at the very least. The mass of the organisms is not what matters...rather how much they take in over time.
Just one human produces 82,150kg of crap in a lifetime. We eat fairly nutritious stuff. Many animals have to eat stuff that is much less nutrient dense and produce far more for the mass equivalent.
Not to worry, H2O is H2O...as long as it has the right number of protons, neutrons, and electrons. It could have gone through a billion anuses and it would be no different.
"The amount of water estimated to have been drunk by all humans that have existed is a tiny fraction of all the world's water"
Indeed, but surely some bodies of water get recycled more often than others? For example, some bottled mineral water (such as that in Buxton) is estimated to have been sat underground for 10 000 years or more before bottling. Whereas I imagine shallow lakes, man-made reservoirs and the like will end up in the loop more often as rain will fall in the mountains and refill said shallow lakes etc.
I could be wrong about this, of course. Much sleep has been had and much beer has been consumed and subsequently returned to the planet since my Geography lessons of 20 years ago...
" Whereas I imagine shallow lakes, man-made reservoirs and the like will end up in the loop more often as rain will fall in the mountains and refill said shallow lakes etc."
IIRC water from the Thames has passed through at least three sets of consumers before it reaches the sea. Extract from river, purify, supply, drink, excrete, flush, sanitise, re-insert into river....and then repeat at the next extraction point downriver.
It always amuses me how squeamish people are over the whole human waste into drinking water thing. Literally every glass of water you've ever drunk in your entire life was at one stage some kind of piss, human or animal, likely both, that's how the world freaking works, it's a mostly closed recycling system that turns shit into food, piss into water, and so on.
Machines just allow us to see the process a bit clearer.
I suggest you overuse 'literally'.
In the UK at least, much drinking water comes from the sky, and is collected in various reservoirs located in the more rainy areas of the country, the water itself ultimately originating in the Atlantic Ocean, which is huge to say the least. Yes biological waste will and does end up there (and has done over all of geological time) but I would wager that most of it repeatedly runs off back into the sea where it came from, unadulterated by faunal oesophagi!
sorry bub... but rain mostly sinks into the ground, washing out whatever waste elimination product by [organism] is on it into the soil, where it is recycled by [organisms] which think of [excrement] as [food], in turn producing [stuff] ..... etc...
You can be assured that water from a natural source ( be it a well or pumped up from several 100 meters down ) has seen so many "faunal oesophagi" that there's literally nothing left to use as [food]. This is known as a natural filter, quite widely used, and nowadays actively induced in waste treatment plants.
I know that most modern dutch waste treatment plants turn out a water quality that's significantly better than our "cleanest" surface water, and that the only reason it is not piped directly into the drinking water plants is the well-known Squeamishness about "recycled poo". Which is funny as hell given that the water that is used in those drinking water plants comes straight out of the Rhine/Meuse delta, carrying....well you can do the math...
Many years ago (approx 1968/69) I went on a visit with my school to the local sewage works (they did those sort of things back then). At the end of the trip we all stood around the water outfall from the plant. The Chief Chemist took a glass and filled if from the outfall. Then he drank it.
Only one of the class took up his offer to do the same. Ironically, that person went on to get a Phd in Chemistry.
Ironically in the late 60s that probably wasn't as safe as it is now, but his immune system was probably better than the current average too :)
I find people who have faith in science refreshing (no pun intended) compared to the mass of humanity who think 'chemicalz r badd'
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Hi, Martin: While the filtration and purification technology has vastly improved since the 1960s/70s, did we have as much junk in the waste stream? Sure, the agricultural runoff may have been worse (DDT and other since-then-banned chemicals) but the average American back then wasn't loaded up on Big Pharma's finest to anywhere near the extent she/he/ze is today. Maybe it's a wash, I dunno.
Hmm. Perhaps instead of the FAIL icon, I should've chosen joke. (Dictionary.com) ...
Delicious - adjective
1. highly pleasing to the senses, especially to taste or smell:
2. very pleasing; delightful:
Using definition 1: Bill is imbibing, so the reference which is imparted is to the sense of taste.
(Icon - pedantry).
You just have to squeeze very hard. ;)
Here is an experiment I am sure you will appreciate: Shovel about a thousand pounds of the stuff into your car with the windows up on a hot day. Then look for condensation on the windows as the weather cools. Trust me...just do it ;) Maybe only a thimble, but there is still some water. And if that does not work, you can set the stuff on fire and collect the gasses. There will be some water vapor. And maybe you can run a turbine or two with the heat.
That is what we need, a dog poo recycling center...well maybe. Don't even put that thing near me ;) Only people with 3 or more dogs have to live nearby. ;)
Just got back from sailing an Atlantic circuit and dealing with poo|shit|effluent was a pain in the arse. We also had a challenge carrying sufficient drinking water for the long passages. The chance to recycle the water out of the holding tank would have real appeal.
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1) Get a reverse osmosis machine.
yes, but they need a shed load of energy - either electricity or run off the engine flywheel. Both options mean running the engine more than is preferable.
2) Sail more than 12 nautical miles from land. and 3) Throw sewage overboard.
That is what we do (I won't admit to doing at less than 12 miles though). Holding tanks are horrible things and being able to reduce the amount of shit being lugged around would be nice.
I just like the idea of being able to get water from shit as well as carrying jerry cans lashed to the guardwires.
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Typical Reg. I ask a semi flippant question and get a load of sensible ideas.
I have actually looked into solar stills. The trouble is keeping it stable on a moving platform like a small boat (10.4M in my case). I will think more about it though as I think it would be the best solution for water. No good for distilling shit though.
I agree that it is much easier to process sea water than poo but if the poo could be reduced a bit for storage and disposal offshore it would be all to the good. Think anchoring in remote coral atolls here.
ok, I get it, capitalism is a screwed up, miserable system and by any sense the cash Gates accrued off the labor of others and abuse of market position is absurd and inequitable. But while Gates certainly benefited from the system, he didn't create it and his story isn't much different from that of other billionaires. I think it's worth considering what he's doing given where he stands and looking at that in comparison to others in the same position.
Lots of wealthy people donate to charities of various sorts, often as a tax dodge, or as a means to further some political ambition, or for good publicity (usually something that resonates well with a first-world audience like breast cancer awareness).
What I think sets Gates apart is that he's spent significant effort focusing on a few areas that will have a major impact in the quality of life and the life expectancy of the vast majority of our world's population. Sanitation and malaria research are not glamorous, and as we see here, efforts to improve sanitation in remote locations in particular are more likely to draw sniggers and childish remarks about drinking shit than adulation. I can't say that in his position I'd be doing anything near as worthwhile or with nearly the same persistence. For that at least, I think Gates deserves some credit.
Sad bunch, if the UNIX boys had their way PC's would be $5000 each and an OS licence $2-3 K. Most of it would be command line and you would only be able to buy software to run on one variant of UNIX, if you wanted to use another variation you would need to buy the $200,000 software again. To install it then you would need an expert for 2 - 40 days.
We know this as most of the original UNIX manufacturers still have this business model or went bust.
Between Bill & Linus the software arena was blown wide open due to low cost and usability. So we really owe them a big thank you, regardless of your envy.
Bill made lots of money out of making life easier for you, he is now spending most of that making life better for those less fortunate. The big thing is he is actually achieving it in a few years unlike many of the established charities.
Getting rid of Poo and supplying fresh drinking water are two of the biggest problems affecting the developing world.
So, somebody has managed to extract H2O, along with some minerals, out of excrements and you call the extract "poo" ? Do you study chemistry at all in the UK?
This comments section is full of teenagers, where are the UNIX system admins, Microsoft certified surface specialists ?
Could you use a joke icon next time ? Coz, guess what, we all drink poo, all the time [if all it takes for the H2O molecule-minerals combo to be called poo is they must have been in feces at some point in time]
Somewhere at home, I have a Food Science paper from the Cold War era that discussed the nutritional value of human faeces as a food substitute. The authors autoclaved samples and tasted them. Mind you, they were so appalled at the prospect that instead of autoclaving the samples at 15 psi for 15 minutes (which guarantees sterility) they autoclaved them for several hours.
I've never had water that tasted "delicious" (unless you count various beverages and dishes that have had so much stuff added that nobody would ever call them "water"). I find water to be pretty much tasteless. How something like that could be called "delicious" is beyond me. The goal for water is to be comletely bland and tasteless.
It has been discovered that many human ailments are due to an imbalance in their gut bacteria. They are now feeding people with pellets that are screened faeces that come from people with "good" bacteria.
Some medical treatments are known to upset the patient's gut bacteria balance. The mix of bacteria can be very specific to each person. They are now "banking" some of the patient's own faeces before the treatment - so they can be used afterwards as pills to re-populate their gut.
Areas with lots of livestock whose waste is causing a problem (storage, leaking untreated into waterways) might want to give this a look, see if the cow/pig/other poo can be recycled into water for agriculture or livestock use so groundwater or other potable source water can be kept for us squeamish humans. And then we can see about cleaning the water in areas where gas fracking is dumping "trade secret" chemical cocktails into the ground.
So, basically he miniaturized the waste water treatment plant; sort of like using another person's work to miniaturize computers into cheaper models so households could eventally afford them. My first computer in 1995 cost $2400.00 with a huge 1 GB of memory that "would last a lifetime without being able to fill it". Let's look at Zuckerberg, also, stole the twins idea for Facebook and put it out there before they did.
Is this the road to success? To steal other idea, tweak them and take the credit for oneself? If so, I'll keep my integrity and stay amoung the working class.
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