Monday, April 13, 2009

Chow: The World's Cheapest, Greenest Oven

A solar-powered, flat-pack wonder.

The BBC reports on an ingeniously simple oven which has won this year's Forum for the Future Climate Change Challenge. Designed for use in the Third World, the Kyoto Box is made with cardboard and acrylic, packs flat for transportation, and costs less than $7 to manufacture. It harnesses the power of the sun to sterilize water and cook food without the need for electricity, gas, or - most importantly - firewood.

Granted, it may not be as fast as a microwave, but it can boil an impressive 10 liters of water in around two hours. Eliminating the need for firewood saves money, reduces greenhouse emissions, slows deforestation, and even helps save some of the many lives lost to indoor smoke inhalation each year.

Maybe someone should tell Alice Waters that she can finally get rid of that in-kitchen hearth of hers.

By Keith Laidlaw. Read this article in its original setting here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Dead Bad Timing

A little while ago - around the same time I realised I had a better than moderate chance of outliving Jesus - a great idea for a website popped into my brain. First you would input your date of birth, and then a message would pop up telling you about dead people you had recently outlived, something like: "You are 28. Jimi Hendrix was a guitar god and changed rock'n'roll as we know it, but he died at 27 and you didn't so who's laughing now?" - or words to that effect.

I even started compiling a list of notable persons who had shuffled off this mortal coil before their (and my) time: Sid Vicious at 21. Buddy Holly, 22. River Phoenix, 23. Lee Harvey Oswald, 24, and so on. Not only that, but I foresaw a time after the site was up and running when I could begin to milk the obvious spinoff potential, particularly in the greetings cards market: "Happy 25th Birthday and Congratulations! You've totally outlived James Dean ..."

But then I saw this: Dead At Your Age. The bastards.

The moral? Even though I've now lived longer than Jesus, I still haven't quite completed that world-changing religion project I've been talking about.

Originally published at