Sprāv – The Wireless Smart Shower Meter That Will Tell You When To Get Out. [Video]

Sprav - The Smart Shower Meter.Ok, who’s in for shortening their next shower? For the few that did raise their hands, Sprāv is the product for you. Designed by students from Case Western Reserve University, Sprāv is a wireless water meter that gives you control of your water and energy consumption. Sprāv attaches to the arm before your shower head and uses green, yellow and red lights to let the shower taker know how long they’ve been showering. The goal of the changing lights is to encourage users to shorten their showers.

We’ve seen shower shorteners in the past (ie Waterpebble) but what makes the Sprāv different is its ability to track your shower and instantly report to you how much you are saving by changing your showering habits.

Sprāv is now on Kickstarter. [Sprāv]

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Jubbling Shouldn’t Be A Crime: Starbucks Barista Eats Food Out Of The Trash. Gets Fired.

Coulson Loptmann - former Starbucks barista who ate food out of the trash.

Former Starbucks barista, Coulson Loptmann, was fired for eating food out of the trash.

A Starbucks barista, who’s on food stamps, ate some food from the trash and got fired. Here’s the story (Consumerist):

“A 21-year-old barista who worked at a downtown Seattle Starbucks claims he was fired for taking a sandwich out of the trash and eating it. He argues that since his employers were going to toss it anyway, why should he be punished for pulling it out of the garbage, especially when he hasn’t been working enough hours to pay his bills?

The former employee tells The Stranger that he hadn’t eaten all day and was on a seven-hour shift, so when a coworker threw out some breakfast sandwiches that were out of stock, he figured it’d be fine and dandy to grab one for himself.

‘She said, ‘What a waste, huh?’’ he explained. ‘And she tossed it in the garbage. I figured, it’s in plastic, it’s fine. So I reached in and grabbed it.’

It wasn’t fine, according to what he says his manager told him a week later: She’d heard of the sandwich incident and spoken to HR, and ‘they consider it stealing, and it’s against policy. So I’m sorry, but I have to terminate you.’

A Starbucks spokesman says he can’t comment on an individual employee because ‘it is a violation of our policy to consume marked-out products.’ It’s not about stealing, either he adds: ‘We do not want our partners to consume potentially spoiled products and get sick.’

So could you get fired for breaking that policy? Not usually, said the spokesman, unless it was the culmination of a ‘broader, ongoing performance issue.’

The worker insists there were no such issues, and that he doesn’t believe the policy against eating out of the trash is about his own health, and not stealing.”

What I read: a hungry Starbucks barista was fired for Jubblingly eating some good food that shouldn’t have been tossed in the trash. Probably a misunderstanding similar to what George Costanza experienced in the Seinfeld episode where he ate an eclair out of the trash.

So please Starbucks, reconsider and give this kid his job back. Jubbling isn’t a crime but the unnecessary waste of throwing out perfectly good food should be. [The Stranger and Consumerist]


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Thanks For The Diarrhea Climate Change.

Pepto Bismol family of products.Led by Kathleen Alexander, an associate professor of wildlife at Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment, a team of researchers studying arid Botswanna have found a surprising link between the spread of diarrhea and dry weather:

“Many experts say contaminated water is a principal cause of the spread of diarrheal disease. The WHO says it “mostly results from contaminated food and water sources. Worldwide, around one billion people lack access to improved water and 2.5 billion have no access to basic sanitation.”

Yet the researchers’ findings indicated that water was only one of several factors to consider. “Our analysis suggests that forecast climate change increases in temperature and decreases in precipitation for the region are likely to increase dry season diarrheal disease incidence, while incidence in the wet season is likely to decline,” Alexander said.

Diarrheal case incidence peaks in both seasons in Botswana, with cases 20 percent more frequent on average in the dry than the wet season.”

Just what we’re not looking forward to: a warmer, drier, and stinkier future. [The Daily Climate via Grist]

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‘Intersex Fish Of The Lower Potomac’ Is Not A Reality Show. It’s A Reality.

Intersex smallmouth bassBack in 2003, a male smallmouth bass was caught in the south branch of the Potomac River that had both male and female parts – intersex. Since then, wildlife biologists have discovered that 50-100% of the fish in various tributaries leading into Chesapeake Bay have become intersex . Here’s a USGS explanation why fish become intersex:

“Intersex is one manifestation of endocrine disruption in fish. Endocrine disruption can result in adverse effects on the development of the brain and nervous system, the growth and function of the reproductive system, and the response to stressors in the environment. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists have documented the presence of endocrine disrupting contaminants in rivers and streams across the nation. Additionally, USGS scientists and others have demonstrated that exposure to endocrine-active contaminants can cause endocrine disruption, which can have ruinous impacts on fish populations.”

What’s causing the endocrine disruption is still a mystery. In addition to stormwater overflows loaded with sewage and pharmaceutical waste, pesticide pollution and manure with natural hormones from upstream farms are also considered a cause of the he-fish to he-she-fish transformations. There are currently two new bills in the Maryland House and Senate that would require farmers to better track what pesticides they’re using on their farms. [Washington Post]

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‘Colourful Shit’ Project Aims To Show How Our Food Affects Our Poo.

Colorful Shit Project - Froot Loops editionWant to know what that food dye laden bowl of Froot Loops you’re about to eat looks like 30 hours later? Gabriel Morais wants to and will show you how much the food we ingest affects our body through his “Colourful Shit” project. Mr. Morais first photographs what he’s about to eat and then captures an image of what he poo’d out 30 – 36 hours later. For his project so far, he’s downed:

  • 9.9 lbs of beet root (turnaround time 36 hours).
  • 8.8 lbs of sweet corn (turnaround time 36 hours).
  • 7.7 lbs of Froot Loops (turnaround time 30 hours).

Want to see what 7.7 lbs of Froot Loops (aka Froot Poops) will look like 30 hours later? [Read more…]

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Engineers At Lockheed Martin Create Perforene: More Efficiently Converts Saltwater To Clean Freshwater.

John Stetson - Lockheed MartinLockheed Martin has announced that they’ve created an atom-thin carbon membrane that will significantly reduce the cost and energy required to convert saltwater to freshwater. It’s called perforene and its one-nanometer sized holes are large enough to let water flow through but small enough to filter out salt from seawater. From Lockheed Martin engineer John Stetson:

“It’s [perforene] 500 times thinner than the best filter on the market today and a thousand times stronger. The energy that’s required and the pressure that’s required to filter salt is approximately 100 times less [than reverse osmosis].”

Perforene, if it reaches the market, would be a great solution for coastal areas that have limited access to freshwater and that may not be able to afford building and operating an expensive desalinization plant. The downside: mo water mo people. [Reuters]

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