Thursday, March 11, 2010

Excellent article about Somalia

I just ran across this interview/article from the Council on Foreign Relations about Somalia, and it's really excellent.  A good explanation of the real situation in Somalia (unlike what you'll read in New York Times or Washington Post).

One thing that I didn't know and which rather shocked me from the article, is that apparently AMISOM troops (African Union Mission in Somalia) haven't been paid in nine months and some have died from malnutrition.  I knew the situation of international troops keeping the Transitional Federal Government in power was unsustainable, but that's just so much worse than anything I'd imagined.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

For Pennies, a Disposable Toilet That Could Help Grow Crops -

For Pennies, a Disposable Toilet That Could Help Grow Crops -

"A Swedish entrepreneur is trying to market and sell a biodegradable plastic bag that acts as a single-use toilet for urban slums in the developing world. Once used, the bag can be knotted and buried, and a layer of urea crystals breaks down the waste into fertilizer, killing off disease-producing pathogens found in feces.

The bag, called the Peepoo, is the brainchild of Anders Wilhelmson, an architect and professor in Stockholm. “Not only is it sanitary,” said Mr. Wilhelmson, who has patented the bag, “they can reuse this to grow crops.”

In his research, he found that urban slums in Kenya, despite being densely populated, had open spaces where waste could be buried.

He also found that slum dwellers there collected their excrement in a plastic bag and disposed of it by flinging it, calling it a “flyaway toilet” or a “helicopter toilet.”

This inspired Mr. Wilhelmson to design the Peepoo, an environmentally friendly alternative that he is confident will turn a profit."