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

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