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Academy Awards Drama: Rain on the Red Carpet?

Umbrellas waited in the wings for walk-on roles as stars strutted the famous walkway. Three days of heavy downpours soaked part of the red carpet, but workers took down the plastic tents and uncovered the golden Oscar statues, hoping hundreds of movie stars wouldn’t have to dodge drops on Oscar night.  Reuters_3/2/14

 

Woman reunited with ring after it catches the eye of wastewater worker:  “The stuff on the slab is not supposed to shine.”

Earlier this month, Ron Waters, a water services technician, caught a glint of light while washing down a debris slab at the Carters Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant.  "The stuff on the slab is not supposed to shine," Waters said. "I reached down and sure enough, there it was -- a woman's Aggie ring."  The Eagle.com_12/27/13

 

Stinky Tour Highlights Pipe Repairs at Ohio Wastewater Treatment Plant: Odors Will Drop, But ….

 At least $600,000 worth of pipe repairs to the Quasar Energy Group-run Sheffield, Ohio, French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant will begin within the next year in an effort to cut the smell of turning sewage into methane gas. Even with the fixes, warned Jeffry Armbruster, safety-service director of North Ridgeville, which owns the plant, “It’s no different than somebody using the bathroom in your home and somebody else using the bathroom in your home. You’ve got an exhaust fan, (but) sometimes it’s not nice when you go in it.” Chronicle-Telegram June 21, 2013_esw

Giant iceberg breaks off from Antarctic glacier; Could affect ocean circulation patterns

An iceberg the size of Luxembourg has broken off from a glacier in Antarctica after being rammed by another giant iceberg, scientists said on Friday, in an event that could affect ocean circulation patterns. Oceans act like a giant flywheel for the planet's climate by shifting heat around the globe via myriad currents above and below the surface. Reuters_  2/26/10

Cleveland Cavaliers remove all drinking fountains from arena

To get a drink of water at the arena, named The Q, you must stand in line at a concession stand, where you can get a small courtesy cup of water for free or pay $4 for bottled water. Team spokesman Tad Carper said the Cavs took out the fountains in November to reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses that cause H1N1 flu and other illnesses. He said Friday that with health-related decisions like this one, the team takes advice from the National Basketball Association and the International Association of Assembly Managers. However, officials from those organizations said in interviews that they are not recommending that fountains be removed. Local health officials said in interviews Friday that research does not suggest that turning off water fountains is necessary to fight the spread of viruses. Cleveland Plain-Dealer_ 2/8/10

Niagara Falls water worker accused of hawking drugs from his sewer truck

Rodney J. Ingram, 44, pleaded not guilty today in Niagara Falls City Court to third- and fourth-degree charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance. Police arrested Ingram on Thursday after stopping him in a Niagara Falls Water Board sewer vacuum truck near, Capt. Morris Shamrock said. Ingram, who was working at the time, had 4.2 grams of crack cocaine on him when he was arrested, police said. This, Capt. Morris Shamrock said, was "business as usual" for Ingram. Police Superintendent John R. Chella said Ingram has worked for the Niagara Falls Water Board since it became an independent agency in 2003. Before that, he worked in the city's Department of Public Works for about 16 years, Chella said. Buffalo News_ 1/22/10

World's tallest 'performing fountain' to dance a new tune in Dubai to celebrate world's tallest structure

The Dubai Fountain will perform to a new song written especially for the inauguration of Burj Dubai on Monday. The Dubai Fountain currently performs nine songs and the patterns have been carefully choreographed. The Dubai Fountain was designed by California-based company WET, which also created the famous Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas. The Dubai Fountain can reach a height of 275 metres (902 feet) and is equipped with powerful nozzles capable of shooting water higher than a 50-storey building. An estimated two billion people around the world are expected to watch live the inauguration of the tallest man-made structure on the planet in an iconic celebration of the accession of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, as Ruler of Dubai. Emirates Business_ 1/3/10

2009
Phone points illegal border crossers to water
Faculty at University of California, San Diego are developing a GPS-enabled cellphone that tells dehydrated migrants from Mexico and Central America where to find water on their illegal trek through the harsh desert into the U.S. The Transborder Immigrant Tool is part technology endeavor, part art project. It introduces a high-tech twist to an old debate about how far activists can go to prevent migrants from dying on the border without breaking the law. The effort is being done on the government's dime — an irony not lost on the designers whose salaries are paid by the state of California. Hundreds have perished each year since heightened U.S. border enforcement pushed migrants out of large cities like San Diego and El Paso, in the 1990s. In response, migrant sympathizers put jugs or even barrels of water in the desert. AP/USA Today_ 12/29/09

Radioactive substance added to staff drinking water at India nuclear plant

A "disgruntled" worker could be behind the leak of a radioactive substance into a staff drinking water cooler at an atomic power plant in southern India, police say. Preliminary investigations suggested it was an "inside job", a senior police officer told the BBC. Police have moved into the Kaiga plant on the west coast of India, 450km (280 miles) from the city of Bangalore. Fifty-five workers needed medical help for exposure to radiation after tritium contaminated a water cooler. Tritium, also known as Hydrogen-3, is used in research, fusion reactors and neutron generators. BBC_ 11/30/09

Ohio River ceremony marks water's importance in life

They lined up more than 100 people deep, carrying bottles or cups of water taken from their home, pond or nearby creek and took turns pouring them into a clay bowl of water taken from the Ohio River that had been blessed by members of the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. It's the 14th annual Festival of Faiths in Louisville, Kentucky. The Festival of Faiths, which started last week, is mixing sessions on water-related environmental crises and discussions about the central role of water in religious rituals and traditions, focusing on the theme of “Sacred Water: Sustaining Life." Louisville Courier-Journal_ 11/8/09

Minnesota Supreme Court rules water in woman's bong counts as drug

That bong with the leftover water in it? It can get you in big trouble. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled 4-3 on Thursday that bong water with traces of methamphetamine was a "mixture" with a controlled substance — and not just "drug paraphernalia" — sending the case of a Rice County mother back to district court for retrial. The law defines a mixture as "a preparation, compound, mixture, or substance containing a controlled substance, regardless of purity." Pioneer-Press_ 10/22/09


First clown in space hosts show to save Earth's water

Wearing a red clown nose, the Canadian founder of Cirque du Soleil hosted an out-of-this-world performance event on Friday, saying he wanted to use his trip as a space tourist to highlight the scarcity of water on Earth. Guy Laliberte's two-hour performance event called "Moving Stars and Earth for Water" linked the International Space Station with singers, dancers and celebrity campaigners in 14 world cities in what organizers called the first event of its kind to be hosted from space. Reuters_ 10/10/09

Stolen solar panels at water point force elephants into settlements

Theft of solar panels from a water point for elephants in the Etosha National Park, Namibia, has forced a small herd to search for water among human settlements in the past few days and one of them killed a person near Ruacana on Wednesday night.  In a ministerial statement in Parliament yesterday, Environment and Tourism Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said: "I must point out however that circumstances forced the elephants to leave their area in search for water as five months ago solar panels at a water point for them were stolen.  "Our Ministry replaced the panels less than a month ago, but they were stolen again, forcing the elephants to search for water elsewhere.  The regional councillor for the Onesi Constituency, Fillemon Jatileni, told Nampa news agency that "the elephants were not aggressive at the time they moved here, and we believe they are looking for drinking water in the area. Therefore, I am calling on community members not to provoke them".  According to Jatileni, three of the elephants arrived at the Etunda irrigation project near Ruacana, where they were seen eating pumpkins on Wednesday afternoon, Nampa reported.  allAfrica_10/9/09

Saving water: Turf scientists on a quest to engineer a superlawn

With mandatory watering restrictions turning grass brown from California to Florida to Massachusetts, a small but dedicated cadre of turf scientists is on a mission to engineer a drought-proof superlawn. They are acutely aware of the technical challenges. Millions of years of evolution have failed to devise a turf that thrives in dry, hot summers and cool, damp winters, and trying to one-up Mother Nature certainly is an exercise in horticultural hubris. It could take years, even a decade -- if the effort succeeds at all. But as water becomes increasingly scarce, researchers say the need for less thirsty lawns is too great to ignore. Los Angeles Times_ 9/28/09

Future first clown in space to advocate for water
Cirque du Soleil founder and soon to be space tourist Guy Laliberte will launch an art project promoting access to potable water for all when he blasts off for the International Space Station, later this month.  The Canadian billionaire is to become the first artist in space and the seventh space tourist to rocket into orbit when he joins the crew of a Soyuz space ship for a September 30 launch to the International Space Station.  A former tightrope walker and fire-eater now dubbed the "first clown in space," he said he also hopes to turn cosmonauts into clowns by urging his Soyuz crew to don red clown noses during the trip. AFP_9/3/09

Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin offers hundreds of ways to get wet; It's the water park capital of the world

With more than 200 water slides, plus wave pools, lazy rivers and other water-based activities, Wisconsin Dells claims more water parks per square kilometre than any other community on earth. It's home to Noah's Ark Water Park, the largest water park in North America, and almost two dozen others. Canadian Press_ 8/24/09

Kittery Water District kills geese at York pond; Official says birds threaten water supply
Kittery Water Superintendent Mike Rogers in June and July shot five Canada geese at Boulter Pond in York, New Hampshire upsetting local residents who believe non-lethal methods could have deterred the birds from living around the public water supply.  Boulter Pond provides drinking water to Kittery, Eliot, part of York and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.  Rogers said he killed the geese to protect the water supply from fecal bacteria contamination. The geese were near the area of the intake tower of the pond.  "The reason was to drive the geese from Boulter Pond, which is one of our public water supplies," said Rogers. "The amount of feces left behind from the flock, sometimes as many as 40 at one time, is astonishing. Seacoastonline_8/19/09

Arizona man sentenced to probation for leaving water jugs in the desert for illegal immigrants

A Tucson man was sentenced this morning to one year of unsupervised probation for leaving out water jugs for illegal immigrants crossing through the desert. Walt Staton, 27, was convicted June 3 in U.S. District Court of knowingly littering on a national wildlife refuge following a two-day jury trial. He was cited last December when U.S. Border Patrol agents spotted him placing unopened gallon containers of water in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge southwest of Tucson. He must also also complete 300 hours of trash removal on public lands and is banned from the refuge during his yearlong probation. Staton, a web designer and volunteer with the humanitarian group No More Deaths, was the second person with the organization to be convicted on a federal littering charge. Arizona Daily Star_ 8/11/09

Yankees try squeeze play on $42,000 Tampa, Florida water fee

Owners of the New York Yankees, who are upgrading the drinking water system at George M. Steinbrenner Field, are trying to get out of paying a $42,000 impact fee for installing a new water meter at the spring training stadium. They have asked the city to waive the required fee, claiming through a consulting firm they hired that the impact on the city's water and sewer systems would not be increased. The impact fee is being charged for switching from a 2-inch to a 3-inch water meter. Steinbrenner Field is one of the city's biggest water users, consuming about 3.5 million gallons a year at a cost of more than $8,700, according to city records. As a big commercial user, the Yankees pay a lower rate for potable water than most residential customers. Tampa Tribune_ 8/4/09

No more free bottled water at Google?

Has Google stopped offering staff bottled water as it cuts back on costs during the recession? It’s not clear even after journalists spent time with CEO Eric Schmidt and co-founder Larry Page at the Sun Valley conference this week. Page and Schmidt couldn’t seem to agree on whether bottled water is still available for free at Google’s Mountain View, California campus, which is renown for its generous buffet-style lunches free for all employees. Reuters_ 7/11/09

Southern California teen nears the finish of his global sea odyssey

Zac Sunderland, 17, trying to be the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe alone, has seen pirates, equipment breaks and a large ship come too close at canal. His 13-month trip is due to end with his return to Marina del Rey, California around July 14. He has subsisted on freeze-dried and canned food when fresh provisions ran out, and he desalinated his drinking water with an on-board kit. Los Angeles Times_ 7/6/09

Australian wine prices driven lower than water

A wine glut has driven prices lower than bottled water as the industry faces an unprecedented meltdown and a fire-sale of unprofitable vineyards. The price collapse and overplanting has forced Australia's biggest winemaker, Foster's, owner of prestigious labels such as Lindemans and Penfolds, to sell 31 vineyards across the country. Sunday Mail_ 7/5/09

Iran's ancient water system registered on UNESCO World Heritage List

Iran’s ancient water system of canals, tunnels and waterfalls in Shushtar was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List during the 33rd session of the World Heritage Committee underway in Seville, Spain. The waterworks comprises bridges, dams, mills, aquifers, reservoirs, tunnels, and canals, most of which were constructed in the Sassanid period especially during the reign of Shapur I (241-272 CE). Mehr News Agency_ 6/27/09


Raindrops keep falling and some fall too quickly
A research team thinks it has discovered something everyone else missed: Some raindrops fall faster than they should. According to the researchers at Michigan Technological University and the National University of Mexico, their exhaustive study of how tiny drops of rain behave as they tumble out of the sky, bumping and mixing and breaking apart from their soggy brethren, could ultimately be used to improve weather forecasting. The finding was published last week in Geophysical Research Letters. Los Angeles Times_  6/20/09

Parasites in the Oklahoma River caused triathlete illnesses

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) announced today that an investigation of gastrointestinal illness reported in a May Oklahoma City triathlon was caused by animal or human waste in the Oklahoma River. Athletes practiced in the river as well as competed there during the May 16-17 Boathouse International Triathlon. After the race, several of the 367 participants reported diarrhea and/or vomiting. A Health Department news release said other potential sources of illness, such as food, were considered and ruled out. "The OSDH was able to determine that those athletes that consumed more than approximately an ounce of river water were significantly more likely to develop illness," said a news release. OSDH news release_ 6/10/09

Like water for money; The Phillips Machine uses water to predict the economy

More than 50 years ago inventor and economist Bill Phillips created a dramatic visual aid to economic forcasting: The Phillips machine — it uses water to predict the economy.  Think of it as a hydraulic computer. Water flows through a series of clear pipes, mimicking the way that money flows through the economy. It lets you see (literally) what would happen if you lower tax rates or increase the money supply or whatever; just open a valve here or pull a lever there and the machine sloshes away, showing in real time how the water levels rise and fall in various tanks representing the growth in personal savings, tax revenue, and so on.   Click here for the video. NY Times_6/2/09

Fire and water reveal new archaeological dating method

Scientists from the University of Manchester and the University of Edinburgh have developed a new way of dating archaeological objects – using fire and water to unlock their 'internal clocks'. The simple method, called 'rehydroxylation dating,' promises to be as significant for dating ceramic materials as radiocarbon dating has become for organic materials such as bone or wood. Science Daily_ 5/25/09

Earliest known irrigation system in the Southwest U.S. unearthed in Arizona

Archaeologists preparing for the expansion of a Tucson wastewater treatment facility have discovered the remains of the earliest known irrigation system in the Southwest, a farming community that dates to at least 1200 BC. That predates the well-known and much more sophisticated Hohokam tribe's canal system, which crisscrossed what is now Phoenix, by 1,200 years. The find suggests that the people who inhabited the region began with relatively simple irrigation systems and built up to more complex projects as the climate became hotter and drier. Los Angeles Times_ 5/23/09

Space Shuttle astronauts drink recycled urine, and celebrate

Astronauts took a swig of recycled urine water to toast their successful testing of the wastewater recycling system on the International Space Station. U.S. astronaut Michael Barratt called drinking the recycled water the stuff of science fiction, and cracked several jokes during the inauguration of the system known as ECLSS. A series of glitches and malfunctions in the new space gizmo have prevented astronauts from using it since it launched last November with the space shuttle Endeavour's STS-126 mission. Space.com_ 5/20/09

More than 100 years of history: Cranbury, New Jersey water tower may be torn down

New Jersey American Water Company, owner of the “Historic Cranbury” water tower, plans to dismantle the structure, deciding it has outlived its usefulness. ”The water tower has been out of service for the better part of 10 years now,” said Richard Barnes, spokesman for the company. “We don’t want to invest in a structure that adds no value to our customers." Local historians and preservationists would like to save it, but don't have the $300,000 purchase price. ”We looked at matching fund programs,” said Cranbury Historical and Preservation Society member Mark Berkowsky, “but it’s just the wrong economic time. Everyone wants to save it, but no one has any great ideas where the money’s supposed to come from." Cranbury Press/centraljersey.com_ 5/7/09

Hockey coach suspended for one game for hitting fan with full water bottle

With the series and the season over, John Tortorella finally addressed the one-game suspension that kept him off the bench for Game 6, when the New York Rangers had their chance to finish this series on home ice. While he may always regret missing the game, he doesn't feel compelled to blame himself for jeopardizing this series. Verizon Center officials beefed up security for Tuesday night's game to avoid a repeat of the ugly scene in Game 5, in which Tortorella responded to fans' taunts by throwing a full water bottle into the crowd. NY Daily News_ 4/29/09

Colleges take away the cafeteria trays, and save water

Scores of college and university cafeterias across the country are shelving the trays in hopes of conserving water, cutting food waste, softening the ambience and saving money. Some even believe trayless cafeterias could help avoid the dreaded “freshman 15” — the number of pounds supposedly gained in the first year on campus (and on all-you-can-eat meal plans). The Sustainable Endowments Institute, a research organization that tracks environmental practices at the 300 colleges and universities with the largest endowments, said that 126 of them had curtailed use of trays, some of them banishing trays only from certain dining halls, and some introducing, for example, “trayless Tuesdays." New York Times_ 4/28/09

Woman hit by water bottle wants discipline for hockey coach John Tortorella

The woman hit in the head by a water bottle thrown by New York Rangers coach John Tortorella late in Friday night's playoff game at Washington's Verizon Center wants the NHL to take action. "He should be disciplined," Washington Capitals season ticket holder Claudette Chandonia said in an e-mail on Saturday. "The league can't allow coaches to throw objects blindly into the stands. What's next?" USA Today_ 4/25/09

Long Beach, California, street sweepers start using reclaimed water

To get the conservation program started, the water department installed a recycled water filling station. Other filling stations should come on line citywide in the next two months so that the entire fleet can use reclaimed water, said Ryan Alsop, spokesman for Long Beach Water. The move should ultimately save about 13 million gallons of fresh water a year. Long Beach owns about 20 city sweepers, each capable of holding 420 gallons. They operate four days a week, refilling five to seven times a day. Long Beach Press-Telegram_ 4/21/09

In Florida, Collier County officials wrestle with question: Permit needed to replace water heater?

Joe Schmitt, administrator of the Collier County Community Development and Environmental Services Division, told county commissioners this past week that he intends to seek an official ruling from the Florida Building Commission on a new law requiring permits for installation of water heaters. The law took effect March 1. In the interim, that need for the $75 permit has been suspended by county staff. About two-thirds of all Florida’s counties require a permit for water heater installation, and have done so since the 2004 Florida Building Codes kicked in. Naples Daily News_ 4/18/09

It's an Easter puppy for Obamas: First family finally gets its Portuguese Water Dog-report

The Obamas are finally getting a First Dog, according to the web  site TMZ.
They've reportedly settled on a black, six-month-old Portuguese Water Dog and will reportedly welcome it to the White House on Tuesday, according to TMZ. Daily News_ 4/11/09

Italian police find more than 1,000 immigrants, including 24 children, living in Rome's sewer system

The charity Save the Children Italy says that more than 1,000 unaccompanied children arrived in Rome last year from various countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. BBC News_ 4/4/09

New Zealand aims for world record water pistol fight--for charity, of course

Unicef said it wanted to break the Guinness world record which would require nearly 3000 people to shoot each other with water pistols. The April 5 attempt in Auckland is to raise awareness and money for Unicef's Tap Project. New Zealand Herald_ 3/31/09

Thirsty plants can Twitter for water
Researchers at New York University's interactive telecommunications program have come up with a device that allows plants to tell owners when they need water or if they've had too much via the social network blogging service Twitter.  A new device, called Botanicalls. is made of soil-moisture sensors that are connected to a circuit board. They measure the level of moisture, and then communicate the information to a microcontroller, which, in turn, can generate text messages.  Reuters_3/26/09

BYU students help Utah press for clean water worldwide

A group of Brigham Young University public relations and advertising students has helped get several restaurants to participate in a project encouraging customers to donate a dollar for the glass of water they usually get for free. In Utah, 36 restaurants are participating in UNICEF's Tap Project as part of World Water Week, which runs through Saturday. Last year an estimated 2,300 restaurants participated worldwide and the project raised $855,000 for water improvement projects. AP/Provo Daily Herald_ 3/23/09

Colorado woman with flammable water fears blast
A woman said she lives in constant fear and is terrified her home could blow up because of natural gas that has managed to seep into her water supply. Amee Ellsworth can turn on a faucet in her kitchen or bathroom, flick a lighter and watch flames shoot up from the sink. And Ellsworth said she's afraid she or her neighbors are at imminent risk of an explosion. Dave Neslin from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission said the gas is likely coming from a leaking well, but there are eight wells located within a half-mile of Ellsworth's home. The wells are owned by two different energy companies. Ellsworth said she's scheduled to meet Friday with officials from Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Noble Energy Inc.  AP_3/19/08

Malibu, California residents say wind-borne odors from an outside portable toilet at singer Bob Dylan's compound are making them ill

Residents contend that the nighttime sea breeze sends a noxious odor from a portable toilet on Dylan's sprawling ocean view estate on Point Dume wafting into their homes. The stench has made members of one family ill and forced them to abandon their bedrooms on warm nights, they say. For more than six months, Dylan, 67, has ignored their complaints and their pleas to remove the outhouse, the downwind neighbors say. Dylan, who has lived in a compound next to Bluewater Road for more than two decades, did not respond to inquiries about the toilet. Neither did his New York-based attorney. Malibu officials said they are investigating the complaint. The portable toilet is used by guards who man the estate's security gate. Los Angeles Times_ 3/17/09

Drinking a glass of water before a test boosted kids' scores significantly, one study found.
Want to boost your child’s test scores? A glass of ordinary old H2O may be just what’s needed to ensure a higher grade.  Kids who drink a glass of water before taking a test fare up to one third better than those who don’t, according to a new British study. Daily News_3/12/09

Rocket-powered water gun could wash away space junk

In the 1980s, Jim Hollopeter helped design rockets that shot into orbit. Today, some of those launchers are still cluttering up space, and he wants to wash them away with a rocket-powered water gun. The volume of man-made space debris has grown so large that scientists say garbage now poses a bigger safety threat to the U.S. space shuttle than an accident on liftoff or landing. The problem hit home Feb. 10, when a defunct Russian military satellite smashed into an American one used for commercial communications, spewing shards across thousands of cubic miles. The crash prompted Mr. Hollopeter to refine designs to use aging rockets loaded with water to spray orbiting junk, creating an extraterrestrial shower that would gradually knock refuse down toward the atmosphere, where it would burn up, as would the launcher. The water would turn to steam. Wall Street Journal/Fox News_ 3/11/09

English Channel water sold as blocked nose remedy

Water from the English Channel is being bottled and sold as a remedy for blocked noses in the US. Pharmaceutical experts are charging £10 for the water which is sourced from several kilometres off the coast of Saint Malo in northern France. A spokesman for the French company Goeman, which extracts the water, told the Mail on Sunday that the water was collected several kilometres off the coast for purity and had to meet strict quality controls. It will not be marketed in the UK. The West Australian_ 3/9/09

It's official: Obama family to get a Portuguese water dog

The much-anticipated announcement came from Michelle Obama during an interview with People magazine. The first lady told the magazine the family will be getting a rescue Portuguese water dog who is "old enough, and a match for the family dynamic." Obama said the presidential pooch will arrive at the White House in April after daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, return from spring holiday. The First Lady said the family is still sorting out what to call the dog. She said the names the girls have chosen, including Moose and Frank, are "really bad". Guardian_ 2/25/09

How much water does pasta really need?

Why boil so much more water than pasta actually absorbs, only to pour it down the drain? Couldn’t we cook pasta just as well with much less water and energy? And if we could, what would the defenders of Italian tradition say? After some experiments, I’ve found that we can indeed make pasta in just a few cups of water and save a good deal of energy. Americans cook something like a billion pounds of pasta a year, so those minutes could add up. New York Times_ 2/24/09

Miracle Water. Really.

It's a kitchen degreaser. It's a window cleaner. It kills athlete's foot. Oh, and you can drink it. Sounds like the old "Saturday Night Live" gag for Shimmer, the faux floor polish plugged by Gilda Radner. But the elixir is real. It has been approved by U.S. regulators. And it's starting to replace the toxic chemicals Americans use at home and on the job. The stuff is a simple mixture of table salt and tap water whose ions have been scrambled with an electric current. Researchers have dubbed it electrolyzed water. Scientists say it is powerful enough to kill anthrax spores without harming people or the environment. Used as a sanitizer for decades in Russia and Japan, it's slowly winning acceptance in the United States. Los Angeles Times_ 2/23/09

Sad day for Smiley
Smiley the water tower’s days are numbered, and we mean it this time.  After repeated stays of execution during the past two years, the Grand Forks City Council (ND) decided Tuesday to pull the switch on the 77-year-old water tower.  Smiley got its smile during the economic recession of the late 1970s. Then-council member Neil Hensrud suggested crews paint smiles on both sides of the tower to lift residents’ spirits.  But now, in the midst of another recession, few taxpayers see the sense of spending money to renovate a water tower that hasn’t held water since 2000.  Grand Forks Herald_2/17/09

New Eco Phone is made from recycled water bottles

Samsung’s upcoming Blue Earth smartphone is a little different. Most of the phone is made from recycled water bottles. There’s even a built-in pedometer that encourages you to walk and not be a polluter. So this is a serious eco hippie phone.  SlipperyBrick.com_2/13/09

Hernando, Mississippi seeks uncommon status for everyday water tower

Most water towers are like the one in this town just over the state line from Memphis: a common steel structure in which form does not stray from function. Hernando’s water tower, its kettle bottom and funnel-shaped lid vaguely suggestive of the Tin Man, does not even flaunt the colors of the Hernando High School Tigers. It just holds water and, in the time-honored tradition of small-town water towers, tells the wayfarer that he has arrived. “Hernando,” it says in black block letters. Yet the people of Hernando are so fond of their water tower that in recent days, at the request of the Hernando Preservation Commission, the town aldermen voted to seek Mississippi landmark status for it, a designation that would help protect and maintain the tower. There is already one water tower on the list of Mississippi landmarks, and there are at least 74 water towers or standpipes on the National Register of Historic Places, said James Gabbert, a historian for the register. Arkansas recently added 10 towers to the historic register, all of them relics of the Depression-era Work Projects Administration. New York Times_ 2/5/09

Bill Gates spreads malaria message with mosquitos

Bill Gates opened a jar of mosquitoes on stage at an elite tech conference Wednesday to draw attention to the plight of malaria victims. The Microsoft co-founder released the insects, which are notorious for spreading the deadly disease, during the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) Conference in Long Beach, Calif. "Not only poor people should experience this," Gates told the audience before assuring them that the insects were malaria-free. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced last year that it would provide $168.7 million to develop a vaccine for malaria. Malaria is spread by mosquitos that breed in stagnant water. CNET News_ 2/4/09

Queensland, Australia floods drives snake and crocodile into bathrooms

Floods along the Herbert River caused by the remnants of tropical cyclone Ellie forced hundreds from their homes and drove wildlife into towns. North Queensland Wildlife Carers volunteer Lana Allcroft said the service had been flooded with injured and displaced animals since the big wet set in. "A lady rang up this morning and said she had a snake in her bathroom. I said `well I've got a crocodile in mine'," Ms Allcroft said. Townsville Bulletin_ 2/4/09

January, 2009

'Wonder fuel' inventor jailed for fraud in Indonesia

An Indonesian man who convinced President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that he could turn water into fuel was sentenced to three and a half years in prison for fraud, a report said. A court in Bantul district, central Java, found Djoko Suprapto guilty of persuading a university president to provide more than $89,000 to finance bogus projects. Suprapto became infamous last year after managing to deceive Yudhoyono that he could separate hydrogen from water, turning it into diesel. Government scientists revealed that tests on the substance, purportedly made from water, showed it was diesel from state oil company Pertamina. AFP/Daily Times_ 1/24/09

Mafia killer escapes Italian police with one-mile sewer run

A wanted Mafia killer who pretended to be blind has escaped arrest by using a secret tunnel at his hideout to disappear into sewers beneath Caserta, near Naples. Police said Giuseppe Setola, 38, who features in Roberto Saviano's bestselling expose of the Mafia in Naples, Gomorra, and is one of Italy's 30 most wanted criminals, had eluded them in a dawn raid by 50 anti-Mafia officers by escaping through a trapdoor beneath his bed into a tunnel leading to the sewers. He ran "at a crouch" through the foul water and stench of the sewer for a kilometre and a half, or just over a mile, using a miner's helmet with a lamp to see his way, before emerging from a manhole. He then commandeered a car from a passing female motorist, threatening her with a pistol. Times Online_ 1/13/09

Obama narrows it down: The White House dog will be a Labradoodle or a Portuguese Water Dog

He told ABC’s This Week host George Stephanopoulos yesterday that his daughters Malia and Sasha will make the selection soon. “We’re now going to start looking at shelters to see when one of those dogs might come up,” Obama said. So what kind of dogs are Labradoodles and Portuguese Water Dogs anyway? Both arehypoallergenic. A Labradoodle is a cross between a Labrador and a Poodle.

As for Portuguese Water Dogs, as you might have guessed they’re good in water. So good that Jacques Cousteau used to own one. They’re kinda duck-like. Christian Science Monitor_ 1/12/09

Return of the beavers in the UK could be good news for water quality

Beavers may be released into the wild by England's South West Water in a trial to improve water quality around Roadford Reservoir.   The water company is considering a trial because beavers build dams which trap silt and act as a natural filter.   South West Water said it would cut down on treatment costs and in the long term reduce costs to the customer.   South West Water’s environmental officer Martin Ross said:  ‘Beavers build small dams in feeder streams which act as a filter and hold back the top soil which in turn holds back phosphates. The result is nice clean water in the rivers and reservoir and in the longer term lower costs for our customers in terms of water treatment and supply.’ Tavistock Times Gazette_1/9/09

Los Angeles water cops get some muscle in drought

Just as some scofflaws keep an eye out for black-and-white patrol cars, gardeners have learned to spot the white Toyota Priuses driven by Los Angeles water cops out to fight waste as California struggles with an extended drought. A total of 15 officers prowl neighborhoods and respond to thousands of tips in their search for those who use sprinklers between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., clean driveways with water instead of a broom or otherwise waste the precious commodity. Offenders can be cited with a warning or hit with fines that start at $100 for homeowners and automatically appear on water bills. AP/MSNBC_ 1/6/09

 

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