Sustainable Energy

Fight Fire with Pampers

We round up this week’s most intriguing items from around the Web.

Fight Fire with Pampers
Firefighters in Wyoming have been containing wildfires with a substance they call “green slime,” a super-absorbent gel that is also the secret ingredient of disposable diapers. Reuters describes how the gel, when sprayed onto a house, causes water to adhere to its exterior. For those parents who feel a twinge of guilt every time they dump another bag of soiled Pampers into a landfill, this may open up a whole new avenue of recycling.

And Speaking Of

Canadian researchers have created the world’s first bio-engineered pig designed to produce environmentally friendlier poo. Dubbed Enviropig, this GM oinker’s manure contains only a quarter of the phosphate excreted by normal pigs. However, the Boston Globe points out that while this new pig’s excrement is far kinder to the environment, you’d never know it from the smell.

Eyes on the Sky
Passports may soon be a thing of the past, reports the New York Times. London’s Heathrow Airport is installing iris scanners to speed arriving passengers through passport control. And it even works for the redeye.

Goal! Goal Goal Goal Goal Goal!
Wired takes a look at RoboCup 2001, a soccer tournament one researcher calls the “largest and most important robot competition in the world.” Although most competitors are lucky to stumble across the ball-let alone take it to the cooker-organizers predict that RoboCup 2050’s winning team will beat the human World Cup soccer champions. But will they flash their undercarriage?

Nurses Ratchet Up
A new robotic exoskeleton may help nurses lift heavy patients without risking a back injury-a major hazard of the profession, its inventors tell New Scientist. Although the “distinctly unlovely” prototype costs over $20,000, a lighter, sleeker commercial version may be ready in two years for less than $2,000. Question: if sports leagues one day sanction the suits, how will this affect RoboCup’s 2050 prediction?

Last week: Frankenfurters

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.
Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all five of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium

$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Sustainable Energy

Can we sustainably provide food, water, and energy to a growing population during a climate crisis?

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Premium.

  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look. Exclusive early access to stories.

    Insider Conversations. Join in and ask questions as our editors talk to innovators from around the world.

You've read of free articles this month.