Saturday, July 16, 2011

Clearly, a bright idea

No, that isn't a brain in a bottle. Just the result of some fooling around with the distortions a bottle of clean water can create.

For the most part, I’m not too keen on bottled water. The more I learn about it, the bigger a scam it seems to be. It sounds like an awful lot of it is just overpriced tap water. I think there used to be a joke about selling ice cubes to Inuit (though the joke is old enough they were probably called Eskimos). Anyway, I’ve pretty much put bottled water into that category – something most of us really don’t need.

But a news article brought my attention to an idea that's made me at least rethink some of my disdain for the bottles the water comes in – it’s an idea for using them to make a kind of skylight/solar-powered light bulb.

The idea is simple. A one-litre bottle gets filled with water, then a few teaspoons of bleach go in with it. A hole gets cut into the roof and the bottle is fitted into the hole in the roof, along with some bracing and sealant. Then, when the sun shines, the light gets diffused into and around the room. No power bill and, thanks to the bleach, there’s no accumulation of algae. So the water remains clear. The fixture is apparently good for about five years.

This is the sort of invention that excites me and makes me believe there is promise for our crazy human race. I want more of these good ideas – simple, inexpensive, non-polluting. General Electric used to have the slogan, Progress is our only product. Ha. The recycled plastic bottle as solar light fixture – that’s something I can really call progress.

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