Bottled water isn’t healthier than tap water

“A bottle of spring or mineral water has become the lifestyle accessory of the health-conscious. No longer a luxury item, the beverage has become a common sight worldwide… But according to campaigners, the planet’s health may be suffering as a result.

“A new report warns that people’s thirst for bottled water is producing unnecessary garbage and consuming vast quantities of energy, even in areas where perfectly good drinking water is available on tap.

“The report, released earlier this month by the Earth Policy Institute (EPI), says global consumption of bottled water doubled between 1999 and 2004, reaching 41 billion gallons (154 billion liters) annually.

“Bottled water is often no healthier than tap water, but it can be 10,000 times more expensive, says Emily Arnold, a researcher with the Washington D.C.-based nonprofit… ‘At as much as $2.50 [U.S.] per liter [$10 U.S. a gallon], bottled water costs more than gasoline,’ she said.

“Most of this extra cost is driven by transportation and packaging… ‘Nearly a quarter of all bottled water crosses national borders to reach consumers,’ Arnold said.”

read more at “nationalgeographic.com” | digg story

“UltraViolet” – In Theatres on March 3


From IMDB – “Set in the late 21st century, a subculture of humans have emerged who have been modified genetically by a vampire-like disease (Hemophagia), giving them enhanced speed, incredible stamina and acute intelligence, and as they are set apart from “normal” and “healthy” humans, the world is pushed to the brink of worldwide civil war (a war between humans and hemophages) aimed at the destruction of the “diseased” population. In the middle of this crossed-fire is – an infected woman – Ultraviolet (played by Milla Jovovich), who finds herself protecting a nine-year-old boy who has been marked for death by the human government as he is believed to be a threat to humans.”

The official movie homepage can be found at http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/ultraviolet/site/.

UPDATE: Oh no, heard terrible things… waiting to rent it. Rotton Tomatoes rates it a 5/100.

Invention could bring water and electricity to the poor

“Dean Kamen, the engineer who invented the Segway, is puzzling over a new equation these days. An estimated 1.1 billion people in the world don’t have access to clean drinking water, and an estimated 1.6 billion don’t have electricity. Those figures add up to a big problem for the world—and an equally big opportunity for entrepreneurs… To solve the problem, he’s invented two devices, each about the size of a washing machine that can provide much-needed power and clean water in rural villages.

“‘Eighty percent of all the diseases you could name would be wiped out if you just gave people clean water,’ says Kamen. ‘The water purifier makes 1,000 liters of clean water a day, and we don’t care what goes into it. And the power generator makes a kilowatt off of anything that burns.’…

“The electric generator is powered by an easily-obtained local fuel: cow dung. Each machine continuously outputs a kilowatt of electricity. That may not sound like much, but it is enough to light 70 energy-efficient bulbs. As Kamen puts it, “If you judiciously use a kilowatt, each villager can have a nighttime.”

read more at “cnn.com” | digg story

Running Asterisk PBX on your home router

“Asterisk is free software that lets you create a fully functional, easily customizable, private branch exchange (PBX). Businesses like Asterisk because they can save money by using it, and because it is open source, they can add functionality to it easily and inexpensively. Asterisk is also becoming popular with home office users — so much so that it spawned a new project called Asterisk@Home, which released its 1.0 version last year. Now there’s even a version of Asterisk that runs on OpenWrt, a Linux distribution designed to run on your wireless router (see “OpenWrt nears prime time”). I found it to be worthwhile, but I wouldn’t depend on it for my home office.

“I installed Asterisk on OpenWrt White Russian RC4 on a Linksys WRT54GS wireless router. It’s my first Asterisk installation. I admit that I scraped the knuckles on both hands getting Asterisk correctly configured, but now that I’ve done it, I would say it was worth all the frustrations it caused me. Not only do I now have a functional personal PBX, I’ve also learned a little about the black art of telephony along the way.”

read more at “newsforge.com” | digg story

Sleep on it

“Complex decisions are best left to your unconscious mind to work out, according to a new study, and over-thinking a problem could lead to expensive mistakes.

“The research suggests the conscious mind should be trusted only with simple decisions, such as selecting a brand of oven glove. Sleeping on a big decision, such as buying a car or house, is more likely to produce a result people remain happy with than consciously weighing up the pros and cons of the problem, the researchers say.

“Thinking hard about a complex decision that rests on multiple factors appears to bamboozle the conscious mind so that people only consider a subset of information, which they weight inappropriately, resulting in an unsatisfactory choice. In contrast, the unconscious mind appears able to ponder over all the information and produce a decision that most people remain satisfied with

“Ap Dijksterhuis at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and colleagues recruited 80 people for a series of lab-based and “real-world” tests. The participants were provided with information and asked to make decisions about simple and complex purchases, ranging from shampoos to furniture to cars.”

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How to take a caffeine nap

“I found an interesting energy tip in Field and Stream magazine. I am not normally a reader, but was waiting for an appointment and couldn’t find anything else to read. So I picked one up and flipped almost immediately to a side bar tip The Caffeine Nap. I have never heard of such a thing so I was immediately intrigued.

“Sleep researchers at the Loughborough University in Britain did several tests on fatigued drivers to compare the effects of different methods for a driver can use to stay awake. They put the volunteers in driving simulators while they were sleepy and let them drive. Some of the tests included rolling down windows for cold exposure, blasting the radio and slapping oneself in the face to try to stay awake. But what researchers found worked the best was a Caffeine Nap.”

read more at “typepad.com” | digg story

Man-made blood won’t carry bacteria, viruses

“JAPANESE FIRM Terumo claimed that artificial blood it developed won’t pass on viral or bacterial infections… So said Nihon Keizai Shimbun, reporting on the claims… Not only is the artificial blood sterilised during its manufacture, but Terumo claims it uses so-called artificial red blood cells to be carriers for oxygen… Clinical tests on humanoids are set to start this time next year and alleviate the worldwide blood shortage.”

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