Favorite Invention Thursdays

I was recently discussing the water crisis in Cape Town with my colleagues, and how they are currently heavily restricted in the amount of water they can use per day for fear that the entire city will run dry very soon. We often hear about how certain cities and countries are the driest they have ever been, and how this will only get worse as climate change progresses.

The thing is, I remember the water cycle from primary school. If certain parts of the world get drier, it means that other parts of the world get wetter. The planet as a whole cannot lose water. So, if it doesn’t rain anymore in South Africa, or California, it means that in other parts of the world it is going to start raining far more than usual.

The problem isn’t that the planet “runs out” of water, the problem is getting the water to the appropriate places. Given the way that the Earth is made, alot of that excess water is probably getting dumped into the oceans.

So, how to we transport that water to the places that need it most?

I proposed some kind of barge that could collect rainwater in the ocean and ferry it back to land. My colleague instead proposed a proper desalination method which is run on renewable energy, which can reextract water from the ocean.

I started poking about online and would you know, that second proposal actually exists, and they have been around for quite some time.

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Favorite Invention Thursdays

Some of the best inventions are simple and elegant, and when I first heard about this I thought, why has this not been done before?


Of course it makes perfect sense. Black things, like black asphalt, absorb heat. Any of you who have been to a hot city will know the feeling of the heat baking off the street in a disgusting humid wave. So, why not combat this by painting the roads white?

They mention in the video that they are testing this in LA, and that they are using an extra special kind of paint which is quite expensive but particularly suitable to reduce the temperature in the city. Despite its cost I do think that, if it works, this cost is mitigated by the reduction of costs associated with care for people suffering heat stroke, the reduction of cost of air conditioning, and of course the reduction of CO2 emissions associated with the extra power normally used for those air conditioners.

I am very curious to see the results of this experiment. In the meantime, good on LA for trying it out.

Favorite Invention Thursdays

That teeny tiny little robot just straight up picked up a sperm cell, carried it over to an egg, and inseminated it.


Yes yes I am aware that the world is dangerously overpopulated already and that many of you are of the opinion that inventing technology involving fertility is not the best use of our resources right now… but THAT’S AMAZING!!

Favorite Invention Thursdays

Credible sources believe that, by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. Whether that terrifying prediction comes true or not, we have a massive plastic problem on our hands already.

Of course, one of the biggest contributors to that problem is the fact that many countries have a culture based on consumerism, where we constantly buy and throw things away. Some are trying to combat that culture but, in the meantime, any small invention which fits with what people want to do (such as buy 10 different phone cases for their smartphone) while at the same time protecting the environment from excess plastic, is something I’m all for.

Thursday is Favorite Invention Day

There is a special place in my metaphorical heart for innovation. I love it when I come across videos which summarize the latest invention or life hack of the day, and I’ve even posted many of them here. So, I reasoned, why not make it a regular thing? So, from now on, I on Thursdays I will post a video or a link which details a new invention that I love, whether it is to do with the environment, biomedical technology, a repurposing of an existing item, or simply a household invention that I find amusing.

To kick things off, I would like to bring attention to an invention that four Italians came up with that recently won a Startup Europe Award in the Italy – Energy category.

As that implies, this is one of those environment-related inventions. I’ll let the video explain.

For those of you who can’t/don’t have time to watch the video, here is the gist.

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