Christian Science Monitor

An Ecopark and a Landfill

An Ecopark and a Landfill

 A typical landfill isn’t the sort of place where residents have peaceful picnics and take nature walks or go to stargaze. But Singapore’s Semakau landfill is far from ordinary. Pulau Semakau – where Singapore’s only landfill is located – is a 20-minute ferry ride from the mainland. Its appearance can come as a surprise: turquoise waters, flowering shrubs, a carpet of grass, and nature-enhancing landscaping. Egrets skim the waters of artificial lagoons that are actually dormant refuse cells. Anglers also use them for sport fishing. […]



Imagining India

Imagining India

When India opened its markets, nearly two decades ago, international media dubbed the developing nation an emerging economic superpower. So visitors to India’s financial capital may be forgiven their confusion when they see shantytowns right next to high-rise buildings. And the sight of grimy children peddling glossy magazines at intersections can be bemusing, to say the least. But the numbers indicate that India is the second fastest-growing economy in the world. Clearly, some explanation is in order – and that’s exactly what Nandan Nilekani attempts […]



Waterless urinals: Cheap. Green. But many think ‘gross’

Sanitary fixtures in men’s rooms don’t make for polite conversation. Nor would many people want to read about them over a morning cup of coffee. But it’s Jan Aceti’s job to encourage people to think about them. As principal of consulting firm Aceti Associates, Ms. Aceti tries to spread the word about “waterless” urinals, an environmental innovation that she hopes can ease the world’s water problems. Fresh water is a dwindling resource worldwide. A waterless urinal saves one to three gallons of fresh water per […]



Ethan Zuckerman on how to engineer serendipity online

Ethan Zuckerman on how to engineer serendipity online

In a wired world, finding information about events in a distant part of the world – the score of a soccer game, the aftermath of a military coup, or a nascent hip-hop movement in a conservative country – is straightforward. Even if news sites overlooked a certain event, chances are that a blogger has not. “But how do you find stuff you don’t know you are looking for?” asks Ethan Zuckerman. This koanlike question comes from his work as a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman […]



An electric workout through pedal power

An electric workout through pedal power

After classes, Sally Peach, a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has a long list of to-dos. She wants to hit the gym, tackle school work, and, as captain of an intramural soccer team and member of a campus health advocacy program, she has plenty of e-mail to respond to every evening.“Though I know I am being productive, it feels like a complete waste of time to sit there and do just [e-mail replies],” says Ms. Peach. So, once she arrives at the gym, […]



Designs for a better world emerge from M.I.T. summit

Designs for a better world emerge from M.I.T. summit

For three weeks this summer, masons and mechanics, farmers and welders, scientists and a pastor threw themselves into creating low-tech solutions to big problems that persist across the globe. Converging here at the MIT, these 61 inventors from 20 countries divided into multilingual teams, each drafting and tinkering with their own device that will hopefully make life for the world’s poor a little easier. There was no grand prize to be won at this second-annual International Development Design Summit (IDDS), but members sometimes skipped meals and […]



Low Tech Inventions With High Impact

Low Tech Inventions With High Impact

Happy when good things happen to good folks? With up to $25 million in new USAID funding, D-Lab will now gain greater ability to help people in the developing world find their own solutions. In the past, I have written about Amy Smith, founder of D-Lab  and the work this lab does — such a pleasure knowing almost every person associated with the place. (M-Lab, IDDS).  Amy Smith is not an easy person to track down. Even during the school year, this inventor and instructor at […]



Thirsty Indian metropolis finds an answer in the rain

Thirsty Indian metropolis finds an answer in the rain

Five years ago, the Mylapore temple tank – a man-made pond located at the ancient Kapaleeswarar Temple in the south Indian city of Chennai (formerly Madras) – was little more than a vast, dry bed of cracked clay. Neighborhood boys traipsed down the symmetrical steps to the rectangular reservoir, the famed venue of religious “float” festivals, to play their evening game of cricket. Read the rest of the story here. pdf.