Mystery of the century, you guys. No, the millenium. All times. A new paper in the journal Brain, Behavior and Evolution has a new answer to the eternal question: why do our fingers and toes get all wrinkly after bathtime? The answer: traction.
Replacing treatment plants that use too much power, and 19th-century networks of leaky pipes
By Adam M. BrightPosted 01.29.2010 at 9:51 am 4 Comments
Our water infrastructure is older than our roads and power grid, with many pipes sitting in trenches dug by hand in the 1800s. In parts of the Northeast, up to 50 percent of our clean water leaks into the ground between the treatment center and the tap. Across the country, we lose an average of seven billion gallons of drinking water a day to leaks—and we have an 800,000-mile network of pipes that needs constant monitoring and repair. We also use far too much energy treating all our water, regardless of its end use, and piping it long distances. Besides fixing up the nation's pipes, the future of water is cleaning only what we need.
When it comes to harnessing the energy potential of the oceans, the Norwegians have no problem starting small. The world's first osmotic power plant opened today in Tofte, Norway, utilizing the properties of salty seawater to generate a whopping 4 kilowatts of electricity for the grid, or about enough to power a coffee maker. But the Norwegian company running the project, Statkraft, is a glass-half-full kind of company, claiming that eventually osmotic plants could draw half of Europe's electricity from the saltiness of the sea.