Monday, April 26, 2004

Septic tanks?

It was during the Cold War, and I was taking an "American History since 1865" class one randy spring quarter. It was late in the term, the prof was discussing NATO et al, and Poland was in ferment.

I'm in the zone, writing notes as the professor said "Did you hear that the Poles were buying 10,000 septic tanks? As soon as they figure out how to start them they're gonna invade Russia". I had about half of that written down before I realized I'd been had by a Polack joke (yeah, we troglodytes actually told them back in those pre-PC times). My kingdom for a rotten tomato!

Hey, this was engineering school - we didn't take our history too awfully seriously, and it wasn't as if you could major in it there. But perhaps this prof was just a bit ahead of his time. Because, via Matt Drudge, we have this - what appears to be a fuel cell designed to run on human waste.

The article states that the device would produce all of 51 scuzzy kW of power from the waste produced by 100,000 people. That's about 70 horsepower for you old-timers. I'm guessing that you couldn't even pump that much waste with that amount of power.

It's better than nothing of course. But with further research, this could come out smelling like a rose.

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