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Archive for the ‘New ideas’ Category

Radio-controlled moths a new force in “urban espionage”: US scientists inject computer-chips into bug larvae

Posted by waterweek on 17 October 2007

If it worked, it would give a new meaning to being bugged: a moth fluttering in through an open window may be just a nuisance today, but the time may not be far off when it would have far more sinister overtones, wrote Richard Macey in The Sydney Morning Herald (13/10/2007, p.6).

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Posted in Fauna, New ideas, Water Week Vol 0415 | Leave a Comment »

New Japanese underclass, “net cafe refugees”, emerges: homeless and low-paid, living in cubicles, and net lounges

Posted by waterweek on 17 October 2007

According to a recent Japanese Government survey of the people the media has dubbed “net cafe refugees”, 5,400 people spent at least half the week living in cafes such as Manga Square, though most had little or no interest in the Internet, wrote Justin McCurry in The Canberra Times (11/10/2007, p.4).

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Posted in New ideas, Water Week Vol 0415 | Leave a Comment »

Model planes go mainstream: add a video camera and find powerline breaks, survey wildlife, manage crops

Posted by waterweek on 3 October 2007

Unmanned aircraft developed for military uses were being considered for civilian government applications, including pinpointing remote area powerline breaks, surveying fish and wildlife, monitoring stock movements, managing crops and fighting bushfires, wrote Christopher Jay in The Australian Financial Review (28/9/2007, p.71).

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Posted in agriculture, New ideas, qld, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

A doomsday vault, or Noah’s Ark of the plant kingdom: Norway deep-freeze protects crop seeds against future disaster

Posted by waterweek on 3 October 2007

In a cavern under a remote Arctic mountain, Norway would soon begin squirrelling away the world’s crop seeds in case of a man-made or natural disaster, wrote John Acher in The Advertiser (28/9/2007, p.19).

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Posted in agriculture, Arctic, New ideas, Storage, Water Week Vol 0413 | Leave a Comment »

New policy-plan: NSW towns to purchase water on the open market in deal to go level 4 to level 3a, others must plan to truck water, open channels banned

Posted by waterweek on 28 September 2007

The NSW Department of Water and Energy, said sufficient water will be provided to all towns to meet demands under Level 4 restrictions. Level 4 restrictions would continue until allocations of at least 20 per cent for high security licences were announced.MBDC flows

New idea: An option was currently being considered that would allow towns to purchase water on the open market if they wish to ease the level of restrictions from level 4 to level 3a. This would be on the basis that towns acquire 20 per cent of the volume to meet level 4 restrictions for that month. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in agriculture, Allocations, australia, Drought, Emergency, Evaporation, Irrigation, Murray Darling Basin, New ideas, nsw, Policy, Regulation, Town Water, Trade, Water Markets, Water Trade | Leave a Comment »

Return of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon: Roof gardens a new green statement

Posted by waterweek on 19 September 2007

Roof gardens had become the latest architectural statement, reported The Australian (15/9/2007, p. 1).

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Posted in agriculture, Cartoon, New ideas, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Not enough study of environment, water and energy in top scientific institutes: Australian Research Council

Posted by waterweek on 19 September 2007

Australia’s peak research funding body wanted more scientists to apply for grants to study climate change issues, reported The Courier Mail (15/9/2007, p. 34).

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Posted in Energy, Greenhouse Trades, New ideas, Research, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

GIS widgetry expands: Google “crowdsourcing” – enlists users to build and contribute images, 3-D models of buildings for a digital planet

Posted by waterweek on 18 September 2007

Vincent Tao, GeoTango’s founder and now director of Virtual Earth for Microsoft, allows that Microsoft has spent at the “couple of hundreds of millions of dollars level” on Virtual Earth. Most of that has been spent on the acquisition of imagery, which now totals 14 petabytes on 900 servers. (One petabyte is 1m gigabytes.) The company is also adding detail in the form of textured three-dimensional models of cities devised from aerial photographs; ten cities are added each month, reported The Economist, (8/9/2007), p. 14.

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Posted in GIS, New ideas, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »

Sea-water into drinking water cheaper than desal, at 5-12 kW/cubic metre of water: new-idea, biomimetics;1.6 kwh/cubic metre

Posted by waterweek on 17 September 2007

“It’s often the case that green technology is considered to be commercially unattractive,” says Michael Pawlyn, an architect at Grimshaw, the firm behind the Eden project, a highly acclaimed biome structure in England, reported The Economist (8/9/07, p. 25).

Beetles the key?: That perception, he says, was wrong – and he has the designs to prove it. This meant finding a way to turn sea-water into clean drinking water without expending too much energy. Fog-basking beetles, which are found in Namibia, have an ingeniously simple way of doing this. They hide underground during the day so that when they come out at night, their dark backs are relatively cool compared with the ambient night air. As moisture-laden breezes roll in from the Atlantic, the water in the air condenses on the beetle’s back (just as a cold bottle of beer left on a table causes water in the air to condense on its surface). The beetles simply have to tilt their bodies to make the water trickle into their mouths.

Or camels?: A similar trick was also used by camels to prevent them from losing moisture as they exhale. Moisture secreted through the nostrils evaporated as the camel breathed in, cooling the nostrils in the process. When the camel breathed out, moisture within the air then condenses on the nostrils.

Inspired by camels’ nostrils: Inspired by this, Pawlyn and his colleagues have designed their theatre around the same principles. A series of tall, vertical evaptoration “gills” were positioned so that they face towards the sea and the incoming coastal breeze. Warm seawater, taken from close to the surface, would be pumped so that it trickles down these units. As the breeze blew through the gills some of the sea-water would evaporate, leaving salt behind. The clean, moist air would then continue down its journey until it encounters a series of vertical condensing pipes. These would be kept cold by pumping deep-sea water, from 1,000 metres below the surface, through them. As the moist, warm air hit the pipes the water condensed and trickled down to be collected.

1.6 kWh/cubic metre needed: “You get a very powerful desalination effect,” said Pawlyn. This system was able to supply enough water for the 70,000-square-metre complex. A traditional flash-distillation desalination plant consumed between five and 12 kilowatt hours (kwh) of energy per cubic metre of water. The biomimetic approach, however, required just 1.6 kwh per cubic metre. And since the water pumps would be mostly powered by a wind turbine, driven by the same prevailing winds that provide the plant’s airflow, the overall energy consumption of the site was reduced even further. In the process, the same system can also help to cool neighbouring buildings, said Pawlyn.

Posted in desalination, New ideas, Price, Water Week Vol 0411 | Leave a Comment »