Archive for Article

Water Filter Basics

The communities of bugs that live in fresh water supplies include giardiasis and cryptos­poridium. The purpose of the water filter is not to kill the creatures, but to capture them inside the filter and prevent you from ingesting them. The effectiveness of the water filter is determined by what is known as the pore-size efficiency. This is the measurement of the size of the openings in the water filter. These measurements are microscopic.

The measurement used to describe the size of the filter’s openings is called a micron. One micron is 1/1,000 of a millimeter. Any water filter with a micron size of one or less will remove parasitic eggs and larvae from the water as well as protozoa. To remove bacteria, the micron size must be less than 0.4 microns. Read more

What’s more important, water on the moon or on Mars?

On Christmas Eve in 1968, three Americans became the first humans to travel to the moon. Astronauts Jim Lovell, Bill Anders and Frank Borman traveled to within 68 nautical miles (125.9 kilometers) of the lunar surface aboard Apollo 8. The trio stayed in lunar orbit for 20 hours and made 10 revolutions. They snapped photos including the now famous photo of “Earthrise” which stands as a lasting image of space exploration.

This famous photo, taken from the Apollo 8 spacecraft in December 1968, shows the Earth rising over the moon’s surface

Seven months later, three more Americans made a return trip while two men — Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin flew the lunar lander down to the moon’s surface and became the first men to walk on the moon.

Ten men would follow in Armstrong and Aldrin’s footsteps. By 1972, the Apollo program, and with it the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union, came to an end. From 1957-72, beginning with the launch of the Sputnik satellite, the two countries had gone toe-to-toe in claiming superiority beyond the Earth’s atmosphere.

In the years since, space exploration has changed. The space shuttle makes frequent trips to the International Space Station and ferries space travelers from many nations. Scientists on the ground have changed their focus, too. Now, in addition to the efforts underway to return to the moon, people are eyeing a trip to Mars. NASA and other space agencies have sent probes and even planetary rovers — small robotic vehicles — to the red planet’s surface. Read more

Could salt water fuel cars?

You may have heard about an invention created by a 63-year-old named John Kanzius that claims to create an alternative fuel out of salt water. Through sheer serendipity, Kanzius, a former broadcast engineer, found out something incredible — under the right conditions, salt water can burn at high temperatures.

Kanzius’ journey toward surprise inspiration began with a leukemiadiagnosis in 2003. Faced with the prospect of debilitating chemotherapy, he decided he would try to invent a better alternative for destroying cancerous cells. What he came up with is his radiofrequency generator (RFG), a machine that generates radio waves and focuses them into a concentrated area. Kanzius used the RFG to heat small metallic particles inserted into tumors, destroying the tumors without harming normal cells. Read more

Creating Water from Thin Air

There’s water around us all the time, we just can’t see it. The air in our atmosphere contains a varying amount of water vapor, depending on the weather. When it’s hot and humid, evaporated water can make up as much as 6 percent of the air we breathe. On cold, dry days it can be as low as .07 percent of the air’s makeup.

This air is part of the water cycle, an Earth process. Crudely put, water evaporates out of rivers, lakes and the ocean. It’s carried up into the atmosphere, where it can collect into clouds (which are actually just accumulations of water vapor). After the clouds reach the saturation point, water droplets will form, which we know as rain. This rain runs off the land and collects into bodies of water, where the whole process begins again.

The problem is, the water cycle goes through dry periods. Because of this, some inventors have begun to wonder, why wait? Why not pull the water vapor right out of the air? Read more

Why can’t we manufacture water?

Water is becoming an increasingly important issue in the developed world. But this issue is nothing new for other, less developed nations. For centuries, clean drinking water has been hard to come by for many populations, especially the poor. In some areas, water may be available, but it’s often disease-ridden, and drinking it can be fatal. In other areas, a viable water supply is sim­ply not available at all.

A 2006 United Nations report estimated that as much as 20 percent of the world’s population doesn’t have access to clean drinking water [source: BBC]. This leads us to wonder: If we need it so badly, why can’t we jus­t make it?

Water is made of two hydrogen atoms attached to an oxygen atom. This seems like pretty basic chemistry, so why don’t we just smash them together and solve the world­’s water ills? Theoretically, this is possible, but it would be an extrem­ely dangerous process, too. Read more