Aug 24, 2009 | 6
Perhaps it's somehow easier to talk about infectious disease than toilets. But the unfortunate truth is that more children die every year from illnesses caused by poor water and sanitation than from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.
Bindeshwar Pathak has made it his life's mission to do something about it. Over the last four decades, the Indian doctor has replaced open-air defecation and bucket toilets seen—and smelled—throughout his country, reports the AFP. Last week, he was awarded the 2009 Stockholm Water Prize for his life- and water-saving toilet called the Sulabh, which means "easily available" in Hindi.
Apr 15, 2009 | 3
Stephen Colbert did not get his name emblazoned on a new node for the International Space Station (ISS)—but he did get an ISS treadmill named in his honor.
Astronaut and ISS veteran Sunita Williams appeared last night on the Colbert Report to unveil the name selected by NASA for the forthcoming ISS Node 3, a module that will house life-support equipment, a viewing cupola and a control station for a robotic arm. NASA decided not to go with "Colbert," the winner of an online poll the space agency conducted to help select a name for the node. (Colbert had urged viewers to write in his name, inciting a surge of votes that vaulted him into the top slot.)
Nov 17, 2008
Endeavour STS-126 has docked at the International Space Station, dropping off a much-anticipated delivery: a new toilet and additional living quarters.
The space shuttle arrived at the station yesterday (Sunday) at 5:01 P.M. EST, NASA says. On board were seven crewmembers and 14,000 pounds of cargo, including a second commode, two new bedrooms and a resistance-exercise machine. The extra living spaces will double the space station’s capacity from three to six crew members at a time.
Nov 6, 2008 | 2
If you care about global health, sanitation or just clean water, then you'll care about the eighth annual World Toilet Summit and Expo in Macau, China. This conference of the World Toilet Organization (not to be confused with that other WTO) aims to figure out how to get some form of sanitation to the planet's 2.5 billion people—more than one in three— who do not have proper toilets.
The lack of such basic facilities leads to contamination of food and water, disease, and a host of other environmental and health problems. The solution may seem simple, but it’s not: the developed world's flush toilets will not work in areas where water is scarce.
Oct 16, 2008 | 1
We take it for granted, the humble commode, but waste disposal as we know it may not survive indefinitely.
Lucky for us, author Rose George fills us in on the history of the toilet — and the forces that necessitate its upgrade — in her new book The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters.
In a package of stories, we've excerpted the chapter on Japanese pissoirs, devices that wow many incredulous Western travelers who can't get over their multiple flush settings, ability to take your blood pressure, and toasty seats made warm by a heating mechanism, not another user's rear end.
But there's a serious discussion to be had about the dearth of poor sanitation, let alone Americans' deprivation of Japanese "robo toilets" (except at trendy New York restaurants): 2.6 billion people around the world have no commode, George tells ScientificAmerican.com's David Biello. The result? Six-thousand children die every day from diarrhea.
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