Extracting Water from the Air

Without water, humans cannot live. Since time began, we have lived by the water and vast tracts of waterless land have been abandoned as too difficult to inhabit. A new machine which extracts water from air could change that …

001One evening 20 years ago, James J Reidy checked on his new dehumidifier and as he poured the contents down the drain, he reflected on how pure it looked. Two decades on, the idea which was spawned from that moment could influence where and how people live on Planet Earth. Reidy’s idea was simple – it is possible to extract drinking water from the air and there is a market for machines which can do it. Read more

How much should we drink?

thirstWe all know that water is essential for our everyday survival and the effects of dehydration and water loss are well documented. We are told to drink loads of water each day, but what is the right amount of water? Is there a formula or magic number to ensure we stay hydrated and is it best to get all the water into our bodies as quickly as possible, or regulate our water intake for the day? 

To answer the most important question, there is no correct or magic formula to follow to ensure you are properly hydrated each day. However, there are guidelines that you can follow to ensure that you get as close as possible to the perfect daily water intake. The most important aspects to take into consideration are your body weight, environmental conditions, diet and your level of fitness. If you take weight as the one of the main factors, then a person who weighs 65 kilograms and does an hour and a half of exercise will need less water than someone of 110kilograms doing only thirty minutes of exercise. Read more

Is Water an Antioxidant?

AntioxidantIn short, no.

But the following all contain water (clever that), so is it a conundrum? Water is found in most liquids, antioxidants are found in some of those liquids so whereas an antioxidant can be water, water can’t be an antioxidant. Excuse me, I have to sit down, my brain is hurting. (Clearly, not enough water). Okay. So, not a conundrum, it’s something else. Moving swiftly along!

What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are phytochemicals, chemicals found in plant foods. In our bodies, antioxidants protect healthy tissues from “oxidants,” also called free radicals. Over time, free radicals can damage cells and cause disease. Antioxidants are like microscopic police officers who seize these bad guys that plan to harm our cells. Read more

Cracking the problem of river growth

A general mathematical theory that predicts how cracks spread through materials like glass and ice can also predict the direction in which rivers will grow, according to a new MIT study.

151102163710_1_900x600In fracture mechanics, the theory of local symmetry predicts that, for example, a crack in a wall will grow in a direction in which the surrounding stress is symmetric around the crack’s tip.

Scientists at MIT have now applied this theory to the growth of river networks, finding that as a river fed by groundwater cuts through a landscape, it will flow in a direction that maintains symmetric pressure from groundwater around the river’s head. Read more

Desperate times, desperate measures: California experiments with leasing water rights

Last fall, farmers working the flat land along the Colorado River outside Blythe, California, harvested a lucrative crop of oranges, lettuce and alfalfa from fields irrigated with river water. But that wasn’t their only source of income. They made almost as much per acre from the seemingly dead squares of dry earth abutting those orchards and row crops, fields left barren for the season.

FILE - In this May 18, 2015 file photo, irrigation pipes sit along a dried irrigation canal on a field farmed by Gino Celli, who relies on senior water rights to water his crops, near Stockton, Calif. When water gets scarce and the government slaps restrictions on its use, farmers should be first in line at the spigot, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll released Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

The money crop that the fallowed land produced was one of the West’s most precious commodities: water. Under an experimental trading scheme set up by the Palo Verde Irrigation District in Blythe and the Metropolitan Water District — which supplies municipal water to the Los Angeles area, Orange and San Diego counties, and much of the Inland Empire — the farmers essentially leased millions of gallons of their Colorado River water to California’s coastal cities. Read more