This is the wrong kind of poop power.

August 13, 2008

A giant inflatable dog poop sculpture in Swizerland blew away and broke the windows in a childrens’ home.  Scott Adams’ take:

I mean, if just once in your entire life you create a huge inflatable turd that injures an orphan, it sort of erases anything else you might do. You’ll always be that guy.

Via Chaos Theory

CLOACA, the Defecation Device

July 30, 2008

Kevin Z sent me a link to the most amazing poop-related machine ever. It’s named Cloaca. From the website Ectoplasmosis:

Food is put into the machine and is then fed through a series of tubes into various chambers containing biological compounds that mimic the human digestive system, breaking down the meals and finally excreting them. The finished product is nearly identical to actual human waste, which is quite an achievement. Delvoye even offered the artificial shit for purchase, although he seems to have sold out of it for the moment.

Apparently the machine-poop is not gross, because it’s produced by a machine. Note the lady at the end of the video running her well-groomed hands through the poo. (video & more below the jump)

Read the rest of this entry »

Oldies but goodies: Whale farts

July 29, 2008

This is an old pic from 2003, but it’s certainly one worth seeing if you haven’t before. Here’s your money quote:

“The picture is of an Antarctic minke whale taken from the bow of a ship,” said AAD principal research scientist Dr Nick Gales. “The white bits in the photo are pieces of ice-floe, the stream of pinky colour behind the whale is a faecal plume – a.k.a. “poo” – the large circle in the water is indeed the physical eruption of the whale’s flatulence.”

Thanks for the link, Greg.

Cow poop power!

July 25, 2008

Yes folks, the good people of Ontario have worked out a way to tap the energy in that terror of the global warming scene, the noble cow. The Stantons of Ontario are third generation farmers. In the past they’ve used the poop from their 750 cattle produce every year in the traditional fashion: They spread it on the land for fertilizer. But the neighbors complained about the stink, and everyone in town worried about ground water pollution. Then Laurie Stanton hatched a new plan: why not tap the methane cow poop emits and turn it into electricity? They implemented the system detailed in the illustration from the Globe and Mail (click on the image to make it bigger and legible) to move the poop from the barn to the power generation turbine. Each cow can keep three 50W bulb constantly illuminated. This year the farm will connect the system to the Ontario electric grid and power about 800 homes.

As any vegetarian will happily tell you, cows are really bad for the environment. Industrially produced beef is produced on giant cattle farms that get tons of corn shipped to them every day (with attendant emissions), and the finished beef gets trucked all over the place too. In between, the cows are producing ridiculous quantities of methane, an even worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. One gram of methane is equivalent to 23 grams of carbon when it comes to global warming. Burning a methane molecule does produce one carbon dioxide molecule in the end, but you get the attendant energy, and it’s considered cleaner than burning coal or oil.

Lest you fear Americans are missing out on the poop-power phenomenon, a farm in Riverdale, California has set up a similar system, but instead of producing the power directly, they’re pumping the gas into a nearby Pacific Gas & Electric natural gas line.

One thing I think we can all agree on: It’s been far too long since Poop Day. Bring on your poo-related news!

[Via Treehugger]

Breaking Poop-Related News!

April 3, 2008

A 14,300 year old fossilized poop is the earliest evidence of human presence in North America.


New York’s finest bivalves

February 29, 2008

The noble oyster is making a comeback in New York. The city is taking advantage of the oysters’ natural ability to filter huge amounts of water to clean the effluent of a wastewater treatment plant in Jamaica Bay, on the non-Manhattan side of Brooklyn. Oysters aren’t picky eaters – they just suck in water, eat the organic bits, and squirt out the clean water. They can pretty much eat continuously to the tune of filtering up to 50 gallons of water per day per oyster. So New York will be using Poop Power to turn its waste into molluscan water-cleaning machines!

New York was fed and its waters kept clean by oysters for more than 200 years, but overharvesting and pollution finally did them in. The last oyster bed closed in 1927. (The “Cod” and “Salt” guy has also written an “Oyster” book, for those interested.) These modern pioneering oysters will not be edible, what with the toxins they will inevitably bioaccumulate, but edibility is almost beside the point. Along with filtering the water, these oysters will provide high-quality habitat to all kinds of other critters. The shells themselves are hard surfaces for tunicates and sponges to grow on, the space between the shells is a nice protected home for tiny bugs, and the whole structure is attractive to fish both for shelter and for eating said tiny bugs.

The big danger will be hypoxia, or low dissolved oxygen in the water. Oysters need to breathe just like all animals, and since they can’t exactly move out of the way, a low-oxygen incident (common in the summer in polluted waters) could easily kill them all in a matter of days. But if this works, it’s a huge step to giving Jamaica Bay back a bit of its former glory.

Still haven’t had enough oysters? The State of Virginia has a lovely oyster-reef popup book (PDF). And an official molluscan mascot – Omar of the Reef. He got to visit Japan!


Coprolites…for the children

February 22, 2008

The American Institute of Physics recognizes that poop is for all scientists, not just biologists. They’ve awarded “Jurassic Poop” the best children’s science writing of the year. “Jurassic Poop” also comes with the optional coprolite case (scroll down), for when you just can’t bear to leave your fossilized feces at home.

Will “Jurassic Poop” replace “Everyone Poops” as the #2 children’s classic? Stay tuned!

Thanks to Sam, who is pretty much keeping TOG going these days.

Moving boxes go green and brown

January 18, 2008

When Miriam and I moved in 2006, we used over 100 cardboard boxes and some ungodly quantity of packing materials and duck tape (You know – it’s for ducks). In fact, combined with the fuel emissions produced by the truck hauling our belongings cross-country and the jet flight to San Diego, moving may have been the most environmentally harmful thing I’ve ever done.

Well, they can’t reduce the carbon emissions from jet fuel (yet), but the fellows at Earth Friendly Moving can at least save us the boxes problem. They make plastic moving boxes out materials they take out of the landfill, and they rent them out to customers for a buck a week a box, plus delivery fee. They also make a packing material composed mostly out of recycled paper pulp, and they drop off and pick up the boxes in their bio-diesel trucks. They even stack the boxes for delivery on a pallet made of recycled used diapers (They call it the Poopy Pallet. Yay Poop Power!). The founders, Spencer Brown and Brian Anton, claim that for ever 100 boxes they make, 256 pounds of landfill is removed, and it saves three trees.

The price is pretty reasonable, too. The cheapest deal I found with a quick Froogle search lead me to a supplier charging $1.58 per large box. On our last move we used over 100 boxes, but let’s call it 100 for the roundness of the number (nice, round zeros, like donuts, ahhhh…). So, at the high end delivery fee, we’re paying $2 a box, but we can feel good about ourselves. At the low end we’re paying $1.20 a box, so we get to feel good about ourselves AND save money. As good old Hannibal Smith said, I love it when a plan comes together.

(Thanks for the tip, Anna!)

Mr. Floatie the Ocean Poo

January 10, 2008

Full props to JeByrnes, who linked to this video in his comment on “Poop Fuel!”. It was too funny not to get its very own post.

Poop fuel!

January 10, 2008

No joke – a tiny New Zealand startup called Aquaflow Bionomics has figured out out to harvest the algae that grows naturally in, ahem, “effluent ponds”. After a person poops, all the waste gets piped to a sewage treatment plant (let’s assume dry weather. Storm water overflow is too gross to be thought about to deeply). It then sits in a settling pond to separate solids from liquids. When the liquid is piped off for further treatment, the solid remains, and it becomes a tasty feeding ground for algae. Once you’ve got algae, it’s no great trick to convert it into biofuel, and in fact, there’s far more energy in algae fuel than in ethanol from corn or sugar. You can get 10,000 gallons of ethanol from an acre of algae, compared to 60 gallons from an acre of corn. And growing the algae on human waste – that’s just genius. The company’s website says that Boeing is looking into Aquaflow’s process for possible distillation into jet fuel.

Read the rest of this entry »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.