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Technology - Luminaid: Shining a light on disasters Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010 shattered the country’s infrastructure, but for one designer it proved to be an illuminating moment. Before you read this, close the door, draw the curtains, and turn out the lights. If you are reading on your laptop, momentarily close the lid. Now that you are back, think about how it felt. Chances are it was not too disorientating or frightening. Now imagine that days earlier there had been a massive earthquake. Two years ago, that was the situation in Haiti, following a catastrophic quake. But along with the influx of aid agencies, technologists, engineers and designers all offered their help to Haitians to try and rebuild their homes and their nation. She immediately spotted an area where she could help. "Lighting was something that seemed a little bit overlooked," she said. "We read stories about how people felt very unsafe at night, especially women and children," says Sreshta. The idea, like the product itself, couldn't be simpler.

New technique removes even trace amounts of heavy metals from water A new process has been developed for removing trace amounts of heavy metals from water (Photo: Luis nunes alberto) Image Gallery (2 images) Once released into the environment from industrial sources, trace amounts of heavy metals can remain present in waterways for decades or even centuries, in concentrations that are still high enough to pose a health risk. Known as the cyclic electrowinning/precipitation (CEP) system, the process involves increasing the concentration of heavy metals in water samples, until it's high enough to be effectively removed. Things get started when metal-tainted water is fed into a tank, and an acid or base (such as sodium hydroxide) is added to change the water's pH value. Although this technique alone holds promise, the settled precipitate forms into a toxic sludge, which is difficult to safely dispose of. A paper on the Brown University research was recently published in the Chemical Engineering Journal. About the Author Post a CommentRelated Articles

Researchers find alarming decline in bumblebees Tracking Frackers From the Sky | Innovation Ever since the natural gas boom took off in Pennsylvania in 2006, some people living near the drilling rigs have complained of headaches, gastrointestinal ailments, skin problems and asthma. They suspect that exposure to the chemicals used in the drilling practice called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, triggers the symptoms. But there’s a hitch: the exact locations of many active fracking sites remain a closely guarded secret. Brian Schwartz, an environmental epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and his colleagues have teamed up with Geisinger Health System, a health services organization in Pennsylvania, to analyze the digital medical records of more than 400,000 patients in the state in order to assess the impacts of fracking on neonatal and respiratory health. While the scientists will track where these people live, says Schwartz, state regulators cannot tell them where the active well pads and waste pits are located. “It’s a big planet,” says Amos.

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