Exotic Pet Ownership

lionfish-hybrid
The majestic yet venomous (and very invasive) lionfish from Hakai Magazine.

Lately I’ve been pondering what type of pet I’d like to own when I finally move out of my college dorm and into the real word. During my time searching the interwebs, I discovered several exotic and even wild animals that I could easily purchase online, such as sugar gliders and even fennec foxes. After a couple minutes, I found myself stumbling on article after article that advocates against owning novelty pets. And so the moral debate begins.

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Atmospheric Water Generators

Typical Atmospheric Water Generators (AWGs) don’t work well in environments with low humidity or temperature. Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found a way to extract water from soil in the driest biome in the world- the desert. Using an air-cooled sorbent-based atmospheric water harvesting device, the research group predicted that over a quarter-liter of water could be extracted per kilogram of metal-organic framework (MOF) each day.

experimental setup
Image from supplementary documents of MIT study.

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World Water Day

How does one actually celebrate World Water Day? It’s not like other holidays with parades, family reunions, games, or special dinners. I’ve seen lots of articles for the day that has been broadcast all over the internet, and a couple suggestions on what to do. I decided on a shorter-than-usual shower and an informative blog post. (By the way, short shower means under 8 minutes in the realm of environmental engineering as this is the average time people spend under the shower head. If 8 is more than your normal, keep doing you!)

bluegill
Great Lakes Bluegill depiction from Missouri DEC.

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Desert Island

If you’re ever stuck on a desert island and have the chance to bring three things, don’t fret about potable water. Save your three wishes for a designer bikini, Netflix, or something more worth your while. According to Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine, activated carbon from coconut hull is a more efficient filter than activated carbon from bituminous coal. Below is a picture featuring this week’s topic of coconuts, and holding the coconut is a wonderful French traveler, writer, and inspirer I follow on Instagram, Jade Phoenix.

theadventuresofjade
Instagram: @theadventuresofjade

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Blowing Bubbles

Did you know that bubbles can clean water? Specifically, dissolved air flotation (DAF) and ultrasound are two methods of making water safer with bubbles. DAF can be used to replace sedimentation in municipal drinking water treatment. Large particles are typically settled out using gravity, but with DAF, bubbles are produced by an oxygen tank pumping air into the bottom of a basin and small particles attach to the sides of the bubbles. The bubbles rise to the top of the basin and the particles are swept off the surface of the water by a skimmer.

dolfi-social
Dolfi ultrasound device is $149

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How Clean Can UV?

“UV radiation affects microorganisms by altering the DNA in the cells and impeding reproduction. UV treatment does not remove organisms from the water, it merely inactivates them.” – Water Research Center

For the longest time this summer I worked on a machine that performed persulfate-ultraviolet oxidation, but I really had no idea what it was. Looking at the machine, I could see that an oxygen tank and a beaker of persulfate solution were combining with my water samples and traveling through various tiny twisted tubes into a swirl of madness that then shot out in all directions and ended up in a scramble of numbers on the computer screen. So I asked around. Ten weeks of “asking around” later, and still all I knew was that somehow the glowing blue light was breaking down the carbon in my water samples and measuring its concentration.

On the left, persulfate-ultraviolet oxidation. Right, SteriPEN technology.

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Echoing Green

bio2013-amusuuza
Abubaker Musuuza is the founder of: Village Energy Limited.

Echoing Green is a non-profit organization that provides support to entrepreneurs with solutions to social issues worldwide. Once an entrepreneur presents their idea, they are granted 90 thousand dollars to start their business. Financial advisers and other professionals support each business as they take off with their innovations. I chose to cover three such innovations and their creators on the blog today because I find non-profits essential to humanity. Sometimes it gets discouraging to think about how much financial support is needed to start a business. With Echoing Green, those issues are taken care of and inventors are allowed to do what they do best. They are free to create.

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