Ancient Mariner and the Albatross

 

 

Engraving by Gustave Doré for an 1876 edition of the poem. “The Albatross,” depicts 17 sailors on the deck of a wooden ship facing an albatross. Icicles hang from the rigging.

 

In a 1798 poem, an old sailor tells of a horrific voyage in which he killed a lucky albatross and was punished by having to wear the carcass around his neck.

READ The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

READ ABOUT  The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

VIDEO see and hear poem read by Orson Welles

 

A statue of the ancient mariner with the albatross around his neck, at Watchet, Somerset. “Ah ! well a-day ! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.”  Wikipedia

 

 

 

Albatross Couples

 

Introducing A Divorce Rate For Birds, And Guess Which Bird Never, Ever Divorces?

Albatrosses range over huge areas of ocean and            regularly circle the globe.  Imagine sailing over water for months without  touching land!
We’ve seen albatrosses in their curious mating dance (video) described in this story.    Keep in mind these are BIG  birds with 12-foot wingspan.   I believe I saw albatrosses doing a beautiful twining of necks in their dance.  Alice does not remember seeing that.    40-minute video on albatross.
Albatrosses mate for life and are incredibly faithful to their partners.

Robert Krulwich/NPR

There is love. And then there’s albatross love. In his new book, The Thing With Feathers, Noah Strycker says albatrosses have a knack for coupling. “These globe trotters, who mate for life and are incredibly faithful to their partners, just might have the most intense love affairs of any animal on our planet,” he writes. Noah knows “love” is a word normally reserved for humans. Technically, what albatrosses do is “pair bond.” But call it what you will, he says — “to see what real devotion is like, you need to spend some quality time with an albatross.” They are seabirds. They spend 95 percent of their time sailing through the air for thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of miles. They fish. They rest on the oceans’ surface. They can go for years never seeing land. But they are born on dry land.

Albatrosses lay one egg at a time.

Robert Krulwich/NPR

The chick’s parents build a nest near the place where they, in turn, had been born. Albatrosses lay one egg at a time. Once the chick’s feathers grow in so it can stay warm, its parents fly off, coming back for occasional food deliveries. But typically the chick “spends a full nine months sitting alone … in its nest, most of the time in quiet contemplation of its surroundings since it has no siblings.”

They spend 95 percent of their time sailing through the air.

Robert Krulwich/NPR

It grows slowly. Then, one day, when it feels ready, it picks up, and with no instruction, it flings itself into the air and flies out to sea. It will stay out there for six years until it feels the urge to mate. Then all the albatrosses from its generation head back, one by one, to their native island — usually to a spot alongside the ocean where they land, gather and, one by one, they begin — to dance. Noah writes, the “two birds face each other, patter their feet to stay close as they move forward and backward, each testing the other’s reflexes, and point their beaks at the sky.” “Then, as they simultaneously utter a chilling scream, the albatrosses each extend their wings to show off the full 12-foot span, facing off while continuing to jockey for position. They touch beaks, throw their heads back again and scream.”

They dance to test each other's reflexes, while pointing their beaks at the sky.

Robert Krulwich/NPR

For a long while they will dance with several partners, but gradually — it can take years to pick the right partner — they will find a particular favorite. Together those two continue to refine their steps, until, having “spent so much time dancing with that specific bird … that pair’s sequence of moves is as unique as a lover’s fingerprint.” Now they are ready to mate.

It can 15 years to decide on a partner, but having decided, albatrosses don't switch.

Robert Krulwich/NPR

It has taken 15 years to decide on a partner, but having decided, albatrosses don’t switch. “It will generally stick faithfully with its mate until one of them dies, which might not be for another fifty years.” This is not true of most birds. In 1996, Jeffrey Black compiled a table of bird divorce rates for his book, Partnership In Birds. He collected data on 100 or so different species, all of which form long-term partnerships. “Slam-bang, thank-you ma’am” hookup types weren’t included. Then he looked to see how often these birds break up before either one dies.

Flamingoes break up 99 percent of the time.

Robert Krulwich/NPR

Flamingos, it turns out, are embarrassing. They break up 99 percent of the time. The divorce rate for piping plovers is 67 percent. Ducks do better than humans. Human marriages (American ones) fail at a rate of roughly 40 percent (which isabout equal to Nazca boobies). Mallard marriages are 91 percent successful. The big shock was swans. Everybody, ornithologists included, figured swans would be at the top of the Most Faithful list. But they’re not. They have a 5 percent divorce rate. So who’s the champ? Do I need to say?

Albatrosses have the lowest divorce rates.

Robert Krulwich/NPR

Albatrosses are 100 percent faithful. That’s not to say that albatross dads don’t occasionally have a dalliance with ladies who aren’t their mates. That happens. But the original pair stays intact — which is surprising when you consider that albatross couples can last for decades. The oldest known female, Noah writes, is “named Wisdom, who, as of 2013, was still raising chicks at the age of 62.” What’s more, they don’t see each other that often. When at sea, couples don’t hang together. It’s too easy to get separated. “So even the most committed partners habitually spend months at a time alone, without knowing what their mates are up to.” They don’t build nests every year. Often, they’ll wait for two. But when the urge is on them, somehow they both manage to return to the nesting site at roughly the same time “almost as if the date were prearranged” and they settle in. “There are few distractions in the life of an albatross, so the birds concentrate on things that matter most — such as one another. They often sleep with the head of one bird cozily pillowed against the breast of its mate,” Noah writes. Whatever it is that brings them together, albatrosses turn out to be among the animal kingdom’s most successful couplers. Nobody knows what they’ve got that makes them this way. “Different people report seeing various things deep in the inky-black eyes of an albatross,” Noah writes. “Wisdom, serenity, wilderness, peace, endurance — which are well and good, but all I see — is love.”

Albatrosses turn out to be among the animal kingdom's most successful couplers.

Robert Krulwich/NPR

Cold Spring

 

 

10 best: Cow has given birth to a calf

 

 

A Cold Spring by Elizabeth Bishop  May 16, 2009 at 11:27 pm                                   for Jane Dewey, Maryland

Nothing is so beautiful as spring. -Hopkins

violets-rs

A cold spring:
the violet was flawed on the lawn.
For two weeks or more the trees hesitated;
the little leaves waited,
carefully indicating their characteristics.
Finally a grave green dust
settled over your big and aimless hills.
One day, in a chill white blast of sunshine,
on the side of one a calf was born.
The mother stopped lowing
and took a long time eating the after-birth,
a wretched flag,
but the calf got up promptly
and seemed inclined to feel gay.

dogwood1

The next day
was much warmer.
Greenish-white dogwood infiltrated the wood,
each petal burned, apparently, by a cigarette-butt;
and the blurred redbud stood
beside it, motionless, but almost more
like movement than any placeable color.
Four deer practiced leaping over your fences.
The infant oak-leaves swung through the sober oak.
Song-sparrows were wound up for the summer,
and in the maple the complementary cardinal
cracked a whip, and the sleeper awoke,
stretching miles of green limbs from the south.
white_lilacI

In his cap the lilacs whitened,
then one day they fell like snow.
Now, in the evening,
a new moon comes.
The hills grow softer. Tufts of long grass show
where each cow-flop lies.
The bull-frogs are sounding,
slack strings plucked by heavy thumbs.
Beneath the light, against your white front door,
the smallest moths, like Chinese fans,
flatten themselves, silver and silver-gilt
over pale yellow, orange, or gray.
Now, from the thick grass, the fireflies
begin to rise:
up, then down, then up again:
lit on the ascending flight,
drifting simultaneously to the same height,
–exactly like the bubbles in champagne.
–Later on they rise much higher.
And your shadowy pastures will be able to offer
these particular glowing tributes
every evening now throughout the summer.

grave_fireflies_bluebat

Source

Middle Class Losing …

 America’s Middle Class Falls Behind

For the first time in decades, middle-income Americans are no longer the richest middle class in the world

Once the juggernaut of the American economy and the envy of the world, the middle class has finally lost its position as the richest in the world, according to a new report.

The New York Times, citing an analysis of survey data going back 35, reports that the middle class in the United States has fallen behind Canada’s middle class. While economic growth in the U.S. is equal to or stronger than growth in other countries, those gains have gone almost exclusively to the wealthiest Americans. America’s middle class is still wealthier than corresponding demographics in Europe, but the gap has narrowed significantly in the last 10 years. Meanwhile, the poor in the U.S. are significantly worse off than their counterparts in Europe and Canada—a total reversal from 35 years ago.

Median income in the U.S., about $74,000 after taxes for a family of four, rose by 20% between 1980 and 2000 but has since remain mostly unchanged, according to the Times analysis. Median income in Canada, in contrast, rose by 20% between 2000 and 2010 alone.

“The idea that the median American has so much more income than the middle class in all other parts of the world is not true these days,” Lawrence Katz, a Harvard economist not associated with the study, told the Times. “In 1960, we were massively richer than anyone else. In 1980, we were richer. In the 1990s, we were still richer.”

The analysis blames the struggles of the middle class on stagnating education attainment, higher executive pay, lower minimum wage and weaker unions, among other factors.

More articles:  click on title:

How Did Canada’s Middle Class Get So Rich?

The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest

 

Your monowheel !


The Olympic Ceremony Monowheel.

This is the glow-in-the-dark, pedal-powered monowheel, the same pinwheeling cycle used during the closing ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. With its spinning outer ring of bright LEDs surrounding a shadowed cyclist at the center, the monowheel mesmerized spectators as it streaked around the “Bird’s Nest” stadium at the end of the Summer Games. Riders can put on the same show at home by positioning themselves on the padded seat within the inner ring’s circumference and gripping the handlebars for balance. Operating the pedals rotates the outer wheel, which is surrounded by a rubber tire that maintains contact with the ground as it propels the monowheel forward. Steering is controlled by leaning in the desired direction, while braking is achieved with the rider’s feet. The braided tubes of LEDs between the two rings emit a brilliant light (can be switched off in daylight), powered by a protected rechargeable 1,800-mAh lithium-ion battery. The monowheel is constructed from steel and durable ABS plastic and accommodates riders up to 6′ 2″ and 230 lbs.

Minor assembly required. Not street legal.

Price:  $7000.    At Hammacher Schlemmer.                                                                     Also available “the best nose-trimmer”.  $19.95

VIDEO

Birds and Horse and Buggy

 

On our recent trip to Pennsylvania and Maryland, Susan and I saw:

 

Great Blue HeronGreat blue stand about 4.5 feet high.

 

A great blue heron standing  near the road beside a water-filled ditch in the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge, Maryland,  as we passed through to visit an old cemetery.  We’ve visited Blackwater before with my brother Patrick.  That’s where there are live-cams on an osprey nest and an eagle nest. Click on blue to  see and read about events at the nests.  Just now the osprey pair are on their nest without young.  There are two eaglets in their nest.

 

 

A pair of wild turkeys crossing in front of us on the road from Patrick and Jenny’s  house through a stretch of forest.  They looked fat.  Susan said they looked bigger that the turkeys she sees near her house in McHenry County.

 

An Amish buggy pulled by a steadily trotting horse on a road in western Pennsylvania which we encountered near the crest of a hill so that we had to stay behind until I could see what might be coming toward us.  The driver behind us was patient.

The Amish are a large religious group who live simply as farmers without using  motors, electricity, and other modern developments.

The Amish from Europe  settled mostly in Pennsylvania and Ontario, Canada, but are now in Indiana and some other states as well.  They have large families and only the oldest son can inherit the family farm so the others must move on.

rjn

 

 

 

Bison to Come Home

 

 

 
FOCUS PRAIRIE RESTORATION
Preserve set for return of bison
Animals will be back on prairie site for 1st time in 2 centuries
By Jennifer Delgado Chicago Tribune 4.22.14
  More photos below.

— On this plot of nondescript land tucked away in rural Illinois, Bill Kleiman sees more than just rows of dead cornstalks and black dirt. He sees a slice of earth slowly transforming back to its roots, a tallgrass prairie haven that bison will soon call home after a nearly 200-year absence. Bison hooves hit the ground here in October, a return that experts say is essential to restoring the prairie in the Prairie State. And so, on a recent Saturday, Kleiman and a team of volunteers scrambled across the Nachusa Grasslands and tackled various tasks to convert the land and prepare for the bison, a project nearly 30 years in the making.   “We humans are the stewards of the planet,” said Kleiman, project director of Nachusa, a preserve that is owned by The Nature Conservancy. “We need to do our job in caring for these landscapes.”

  At least 30 million bison grazed the North American prairies in the 1500s, allowing plants to grow and attract native animals. But over-hunting killed most of the iconic creatures, crushing the population to less than 1,000 by the 1800s, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  With the help of ranchers and conservationists, bison have made a comeback. A 2007 U.S. Department of Agriculture census shows more than 198,000 bison on private properties across the country, with more than 1,200 in Illinois. An additional 20,000 bison roam public land in the U.S.

 The state’s prairie acreage has declined, too. Before settlers arrived, more than 19 million acres of prairie covered Illinois. Most of that was destroyed to make way for crops. Today an estimated 2,496 acres of high-quality prairie remnants remain, according to the Illinois Natural History Survey.  Scientists and conservationists agree that grazing, along with fire and a dry climate, help maintain prairie. They point to other preserves across the Midwest with bison that have seen the habitat return.   “That force and the interactions of tallgrass, the plants and animals … that process is what makes a prairie a prairie,” said Jeff Walk, director of science for TNC in Illinois, an environmental nonprofit. “It’s really time we brought it back.”

Ninety miles west of Chicago, staff and volunteers have worked since 1986 to restore Nachusa, a 3,100-acre mosaic of agricultural land and prairie fields.  By taking seeds from the prairie remnants, volunteers have replanted native species like wild petunias, hazelnuts and hawthorn berries. So far about 2,500 acres have been planted to prairie fields. Volunteers have also helped in controlled burns, another key to keeping the prairie alive.  Nachusa’s success comes in large part because of its strong base of volunteers, some of whom come from nearby towns and others who travel weekly from the Chicago area. Inspired by the work at the preserve, a few have even bought property nearby.

“We have found the draw to that environment so intense that we wanted to literally every weekend make the journey to be a part of it,” said Lisa Lanz, 45, a volunteer from west suburban Indian Head Park who, along with her partner, bought land 3 miles from Nachusa.  “The work they’re doing is special,” added Jay Stacy, 66, a longtime volunteer who moved from Chicago to nearby Oregon 20 years ago. “They’re saying we can reclaim land as best we know how.”

 

 Bringing bison back to the prairie had been talked about for decades, but a few years ago, Walk said, The Nature Conservancy produced a study that showed the project was doable.   Since then the organization has raised about half of the $1.2 million needed to build a corral and a 6-foot-high steel-and-wire fence and pay for transportation, among other costs, said Molly Rand, the organization’s Illinois director of philanthropy.   Meanwhile, volunteers and staff have visited roundups across the country to see how experts handle the animals.   “We’re trying to take the best from each one of those and pick the really good things we really liked and combine them into a system we can use,” said volunteer David Crites, 53. Thirty to 50 bison will arrive this fall at Nachusa in livestock trailers from Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota and other TNC preserves. The conservancy has reintroduced bison to multiple preserves across the country.  The Illinois animals, including some pregnant ones, will roam 1,500 acres year-round, eating grass on that site and drinking from a nearby creek. The staff wants the number of bison to increase, adding that the preserve can hold about 100 animals. Eventually, any excess bison will be sold for meat production to pay for the cost of the project.   To ensure that the animals are having a positive effect on the land, a few of the bison will wear GPS collars that will provide daily data and give scientists information on where the animals graze.

A team of scientists from several universities and organizations partnering with TNC will study Nachusa’s soil conditions, wildlife and plant communities.   Staff and volunteers will keep a hands-off approach to the bison while scientists observe and track the soil, plants and the bison’s grazing habits, Kleiman said. Once a year, the bison will be rounded up for vaccinations and health check-ups.   “It’s a big experiment,”

Click on blue:

Nachusa Grasslands website

ANTHONY SOUFFLE/TRIBUNE PHOTOS A herd of bison, like these at the Dunn Ranch Prairie in Missouri, will soon be roaming the Nachusa Grasslands in Franklin Grove, Ill. Both preserves are Nature Conservancy sites.

Dave Lawson sets fire to the prairie with a drip torch during a recent burn at the Nachusa Grasslands restoration site.

Bill Kleiman, project director at Nachusa, and Becky Hartman check out ongoing prairie reclamation efforts.

Volunteer Cindy Buchholz focuses on returning native plants to the land. The project started about 30 years ago.

 

 

Cow Farts 2

 

Methane gas released by dairy cows has caused an explosion in a cow shed in Germany, police said.                    27 January 2014 Last updated at 17:26 ET  Source

 

Farmer and his cows (library image)
Cows each produce hundreds of litres of methane a day, and methane can have explosive potential if it reaches the right concentrations

The roof was damaged and one of the cows was injured in the blast in the central German town of Rasdorf.

Thanks to the belches and flatulence of the 90 dairy cows in the shed, high levels of the gas had built up.

Then “a static electric charge caused the gas to explode with flashes of flames” the force said in a statement quoted by Reuters news agency.

Emergency services attended the farm and took gas readings to test for the risk of further blasts, said local media.

Cows are believed to emit up to 500 litres of methane – a potent greenhouse gas – each per day.

 

Homeless Jesus

Statue Of A Homeless Jesus Startles A Wealthy Community                             by   Source:     National Public Radio  Weekend Edition Sunday

Rev. David Buck sits next to the Jesus the Homeless statue that was installed in front of his church, St. Alban's Episcopal, in Davidscon, N.C.

Rev. David Buck sits next to the Jesus the Homeless statue that was installed in front of his church, St. Alban’s Episcopal, in Davidscon, N.C.

A new religious statue in the town of Davidson, N.C., is unlike anything you might see in church.

The statue depicts Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church installed the homeless Jesus statue on its property in the middle of an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept townhomes.

Jesus is huddled under a blanket with his face and hands obscured; only the crucifixion wounds on his uncovered feet give him away.

The reaction was immediate. Some loved it; some didn’t.

“One woman from the neighborhood actually called police the first time she drove by,” says David Boraks, editor of DavidsonNews.net. “She thought it was an actual homeless person.”

That’s right. Somebody called the cops on Jesus.

“Another neighbor, who lives a couple of doors down from the church, wrote us a letter to the editor saying it creeps him out,” Boraks added.

Some neighbors felt it was an insulting depiction of the Son of God, and what appears to be a hobo curled up on a bench demeans the neighborhood.

The bronze statue was purchased for $22,000 as a memorial for a parishioner, Kate McIntyre, who had loved public art. The rector of this liberal, inclusive church is Rev. David Buck, a 65-year-old Baptist-turned-Episcopalian who seems not at all averse to the controversy, the double-takes and the discussion the statue has provoked.

“It gives authenticity to our church,” he says. “This is a relatively affluent church, to be honest, and we need to be reminded ourselves that our faith expresses itself in active concern for the marginalized of society.”

The sculpture is intended as a visual translation of the passage in the Book of Matthew, in which Jesus tells his disciples, “as you did it to one of the least of my brothers, you did it to me.” Moreover, Buck says, it’s a good Bible lesson for those used to seeing Jesus depicted in traditional religious art as the Christ of glory, enthroned in finery.

“We believe that that’s the kind of life Jesus had,” Buck says. “He was, in essence, a homeless person.”

This lakeside college town north of Charlotte has the first Jesus the Homelessstatue on display in the United States. Catholic Charities of Chicago plans to install its statue when the weather warms up. The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., is said to be interested in one, too.

The creator is a Canadian sculptor and devout Catholic named Timothy Schmalz. From his studio in Ontario, Schmalz says he understands that hisJesus the Homeless is provocative.

“That’s essentially what the sculpture is there to do,” he says. “It’s meant to challenge people.”

He says he offered the first casts to St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Both declined.

A spokesman at St. Michael’s says appreciation of the statue “was not unanimous,” and the church was being restored so a new work of art was out of the question. That statue found a home in front of the Jesuit School of Theology at the University of Toronto.

A spokesperson at St. Patrick’s in New York says they liked the homeless Jesus, but their cathedral is also being renovated and they had to turn it down.

The most high-profile installation of the bronze Jesus on a park bench will be on the Via della Conziliazione, the avenue leading to St. Peter’s Basilica — if the City of Rome approves it. Schmalz traveled to the Vatican last November to present a miniature to the pope himself.

“He walked over to the sculpture, and it was just chilling because he touched the knee of the Jesus the Homeless sculpture, and closed his eyes and prayed,” Schmalz says. “It was like, that’s what he’s doing throughout the whole world: Pope Francis is reaching out to the marginalized.”

Back at St. Alban’s in Davidson, the rector reports that the Jesus the Homelessstatue has earned more followers than detractors. It is now common, he says, to see people come, sit on the bench, rest their hand on the bronze feet and pray.

Water in the Desert

 

 
Warka Water towers are designed to take advantage of condensation. (Architecture and Vision )

This Tower Pulls Drinking Water Out of Thin Air

Designer Arturo Vittori says his invention can provide remote villages with more than 25 gallons of clean drinking water per day

In some parts of Ethiopia, finding potable water is a six-hour journey.

 People in the region spend 40 billion hours a year trying to find and collect water, says a group called the Water Project. And even when they find it, the water is often not safe, collected from ponds or lakes teeming with infectious bacteria, contaminated with animal waste or other harmful substances. 

The water scarcity issue—which affects nearly 1 billion people in Africa alone—has drawn the attention of big-name philanthropists like actor and Water.org co-founder Matt Damon and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who, through their respective nonprofits, have poured millions of dollars into research and solutions, coming up with things like a system that converts toilet water to drinking water and a “Re-invent the Toilet Challenge,” among others.

Critics, however, have their doubts about integrating such complex technologies in remote villages that don’t even have access to a local repairman. Costs and maintenance could render many of these ideas impractical.

“If the many failed development projects of the past 60 years have taught us anything,” wrote one critic, Toilets for People founder Jason Kasshe, in a New York Times editorial, “it’s that complicated, imported solutions do not work.”

Other low-tech inventions, like this life straw, aren’t as complicated, but still rely on users to find a water source.

It was this dilemma—supplying drinking water in a way that’s both practical and convenient—that served as the impetus for a new product called Warka Water, an inexpensive, easily-assembled structure that extracts gallons of fresh water from the air.

The invention from Arturo Vittori, an industrial designer, and his colleague Andreas Vogler doesn’t involve complicated gadgetry or feats of engineering, but instead relies on basic elements like shape and material and the ways in which they work together. 

At first glance, the 30-foot-tall, vase-shaped towers, named after a fig tree native to Ethiopia, have the look and feel of a showy art installation. But every detail, from carefully-placed curves to unique materials, has a functional purpose.

The rigid outer housing of each tower is comprised of lightweight and elastic juncus stalks, woven in a pattern that offers stability in the face of strong wind gusts while still allowing air to flow through. A mesh net made of nylon or  polypropylene, which calls to mind a large Chinese lantern, hangs inside, collecting droplets of dew that form along the surface. As cold air condenses, the droplets roll down into a container at the bottom of the tower. The water in the container then passes through a tube that functions as a faucet, carrying the water to those waiting on the ground.

Using mesh to facilitate clean drinking water isn’t an entirely new concept. A few years back, an MIT student designed a fog-harvesting device with the material. But Vittori’s invention yields more water, at a lower cost, than some other concepts that came before it.

“[In Ethiopia], public infrastructures do not exist and building [something like] a well is not easy,” Vittori says of the country. “To find water, you need to drill in the ground very deep, often as much as 1,600 feet.  So it’s technically difficult and expensive. Moreover, pumps need electricity to run as well as access to spare parts in case the pump breaks down.”

So how would Warka Water’s low-tech design hold up in remote sub-Saharan villages? Internal field tests have shown that one Warka Water tower can supply more than 25 gallons of water throughout the course of a day, Vittori claims. He says because the most important factor in collecting condensation is the difference in temperature between nightfall and daybreak, the towers are proving successful even in the desert, where temperatures, in that time, can differ as much as 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The structures, made from biodegradable materials, are easy to clean and can be erected without mechanical tools in less than a week. Plus, he says, “once locals have the necessary know-how, they will be able to teach other villages and communities to build the Warka.”

In all, it costs about $500 to set up a tower—less than a quarter of the cost of something like the Gates toilet, which costs about $2,200 to install and more to maintain. If the tower is mass produced, the price would be even lower, Vittori says. His team hopes to install two Warka Towers in Ethiopia by next year and is currently searching for investors who may be interested in scaling the water harvesting technology across the region.

“It’s not just illnesses that we’re trying to address. Many Ethiopian children from rural villages spend several hours every day to fetch water, time they could invest for more productive activities and education,” he says. “If we can give people something that lets them be more independent, they can free themselves from this cycle.”

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/this-tower-pulls-drinking-water-out-of-thin-air-180950399/#e8iqUSkb7gXRoyUF.99