Saturday, March 22, 2008

Changing the world with water purification.

This man, in one short TV appearance on the Colbert Report, has rejuvenated my belief that technology can be a great contributer to solving the world's problems.

Of course, great political and social will is still required and essential in the prudent and judicious acquisition and distribution of technology, but score one for scientists and engineers!

I need to find out more about how this device works (vapor compression distillation ?!?), but his accomplishments are an inspiration to me. I'm lucky and glad to have met Dean Kamen in my product design class at uni.

But Dean, give us our Sterling engine, puleeeeeeezzeee. (And throw in a Segway, while you're at it!)

UPDATE: Okay, I did some digging around after the initial enthusiasm had subsided. From a Google search, I've found many hits for "vapor compression distillation" which is an old technology for getting back some of the energy used to evaporate the water for distillation, and using it to evaporate more water. So if Kamen's device uses this process, I'm not sure what's so novel about it. Still, if he can increase the efficiency / reduce the price to levels affordable to the developing world, then bravo!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

In the news.

I know, it's been many weeks since my last post. Here are a few things I've read in the news recently that hopefully will tide you over until next I can write.

CNN Money ran a nice article about Melinda Gates.

An article from ABC News about drug companies withholding clinical trial information when the results don't go quite their way.

An opinion on CNET regarding Bill Gates' concept of "Creative Capitalism."

And a contrary opinion.

A new study may show that some antidepressants are not much better than placebo, even though they come with pretty bad side-effects.

An article in the Washington Post predicting that US Health Care costs will double by 2017, "reaching $4.3 trillion and accounting for 19.5 percent of the nation's gross domestic product."

Democrats in the US have been sweating the details over universal health insurance coverage, but what about the coming debate in the general election between liberals and conservatives over whether this even should be a national priority?