Homemade, Non-electric Refrigeration

This story from the Daily Mail is incorrect on 2 counts:

1- The unit is not solar powered.

2- The concept of evaporative cooling has been around for centuries. A  teacher  in Niger, Mohammed Bah Abba, redeveloped the concept for an impoverished Nigeria and set up a large-scale production facility. The pots they produce currently cost less than 50 cents. His story was featured on NPR a few years ago.

This boon allows the girls in the villages to go to school on a regular basis.  Before they were going to market every day before the harvested food spoiled.

Make your own: a large unglazed terracotta pot, a second vessel preferably with a lid (this can be almost any material that will conduct the cool) that will fit inside and allow wet sand to be placed in the space between the vessels.

Soaking the terracotta pot helps too.

However. I give this young woman the Genius accolade for using what she had on  hand to make something both functional and useful.

And if you are interested, you can use the same idea to make a fast, quick and cheap air conditioner. LifeHack is on the case.


The boy who harnessed the wind @ GIZMODO

Although the book is out, I haven’t seen too many pictures of this young man’s homemade machine.  This GIZMODO piece has links to video, the author’s blog and some quotes about William Kamkwamba and his drive to create.

People don’t make the connection when I use this type of story as a supporting argument for why Arts Education is vital. It comes down to the The Artist’s Creed:

We have done so much with so little for so long that we are now qualified to to anything with nothing.

The whole of our being is geared to finding new and interesting ways to make it (whatever it might be at the moment) work. We need to engender that drive in everyone.

Tipping towards the unknown: a study by the Stockholm Resilience Centre

Today’s theme must be the Apocalypse.

Over 2 dozen scientists from various disciplines produced work for this overarching study


  • New approach proposed for defining preconditions for human development
  • Crossing certain biophysical thresholds could have disastrous consequences for humanity
  • Three of nine interlinked planetary boundaries have already been overstepped

Well, so long. Thanks for all the fish.

Some things are just amusing.

First we learn that South Korea’s internet speeds are up to 15 times greater than the US. And we feel bad.

Today we learn that we’re glad we don’t live in South Africa, where pigeons are faster than the top of the line broadband.  Well, okay, for many reasons beyond the internet speed, but that’s a definite buzz kill.

The Ice Man: Otzi

Ice Man PhotoScan

This site offers the visitor a number of ways to get up-close and extremely personal with Otzi.

Otzi is the naturally mummified remains of a man from about 3300 BCE. The mummy was found in the Fall of 1991 on the border between Austria and Italy. The name Otzi comes from Ötztal (Ötz valley), the region in which he was discovered. He is Europe’s oldest natural human mummy.

The remains are very fragile and must be kept in very specific conditions. This allows only a few select people to explore the remains. Luckily we live in a technological age that allows us unprecedented access.

From Wired: How to Make an Electronic Display With Paper and Mood-Ring Ink

Electronic Displays using Paper and Mood Ring Ink

I want to try this. Today if possible!

Paper cylinders with mood ring ink.

Paper cylinders with mood ring ink.

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