Nautilus

Lavatory Laboratory

Our humble toilet has shaped civilization. Starting in 19th-century Britain, it spread throughout the industrialized world, eliminated recurring cholera epidemics, and contributed to the doubling of lifespans. But its spread was not universal. Dozens of countries could not afford to build the sewer system that toilets rely on, leaving a present-day 2.5 billion people subject to preventable plagues considered history in the industrialized world. Every year, this sewage shortcoming translates into the deaths of about 1.5 million children under 5 from diarrheal diseases. Annually, 100,000 people die from cholera.

Efforts to invest in sewer systems have stalled in several low-income nations, and now there is a growing sentiment that the answer to today’s sanitation dilemmas should not rely on today’s toilets anyway. Like mobile phones that have bypassed the need for a cabled telephone infrastructure, some engineers, designers, and humanitarian workers argue not for better sewage systems, but for smarter toilets. The future toilet, they say, must be self-contained.

Вы читаете отрывок, зарегистрируйтесь, чтобы читать полное издание.

Другое от: Nautilus

Nautilus14 мин. чтения
The Botanist Who Defied Stalin: His dream of feeding the world died in prison. His dream of a seed bank lives on.
In 1913, 26-year-old Russian biologist Nikolai Vavilov went to the John Innes Horticultural Institute to study at the feet of legendary geneticist William Bateson. While there, Vavilov attended lectures at nearby Cambridge University, and could often
Nautilus7 мин. чтенияPsychology
Why People Feel Like Victims: Getting to the core of today’s social acrimony.
In a polarized nation, victimhood is a badge of honor. It gives people strength. “The victim has become among the most important identity positions in American politics,” wrote Robert B. Horwitz, a communications professor at the University of Califo
Nautilus6 мин. чтенияEarth Sciences
The Largest Cells on Earth: Deep in the ocean abyss, xenophyophores are worlds unto themselves.
Imagine you’re a scientist, sitting in the cold dark belly of a ship above an ocean abyss. Your eyes are fixed on a panel of screens as a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) descends miles below your feet. First the ROV travels through the productive sun