It finally rained today. Summer is skin drying in here. Monsoon, the ethereal, rain-god of weather sciences, was expected to show in New Delhi on 18. We wonder if the right label for the rain is Monsoon or pre-monsoon. Anyway, it started to drizzle at about noon. Unlike the typical start of rainy season, it was a mature shower. Slow but steady.
14th January 2013 is the day of Makar Sankranti, which is a harvest festival just like Lohri. Incidentally it falls on this day every year. This is perhaps because it is calculated as per Solar Cycle which is the basis of Christian Calender as well. Astronomically it means that Sun has moved to Capricorn Zodiac. Makar means Capricorn and Sankrant means movement in which two zodiacs of Capricorn and Cancer shall be joined by Sun for a moment, while passing through the one to another. Every 12 years, on this day, largest congregation of human kind takes place on river banks of rivers Ganga (British called her Ganges) (her because she is a goddess) and Godawari at four places. Allahabad is the most prominent place for Kumbh as the Maha Kumbh (Great Kumbh) after every 144th years takes place here alone. Allahabad is intersection (called Sangam which means amalgamation) of three rivers namely Ganga, Yamuna & Saraswati. On this occasion people take a holy dip in the waters of Ganga and purify themselves from their past sins This bathing is considered holy according to Hindu Mythology.
According to Mr. Jairam Ramesh the then, Minister for sanitation and drinking water:
Rivers are not rivers in India. Rivers have become sewers. The 500-km stretch of Ganga between Kannuaj and Varanasi is just sewer.
The problem of water is no secret. In India even in cities like Delhi clean potable water is a mirage. Every household is using Reverse-Osmosis machines to clean the water. This process itself is not environment friendly as the end product the plastic-filter is not bio-degradable. It appears that a new technique has been developed to extract water from human waste. Read on:
“There is a lot of energy already present in human waste. Nano-scale materials mean that you can harvest the hydrogen and turn it into hydrozene – which is basically rocket fuel.” The scientists believe that a scaffold device holding a mixture of bacteria and tiny metal nano particles will react with the water to extract useful hydrogen, with the remainder filtered again to produce clean water. Dr Haigh said: “The phrase ‘off to spend a penny’ is used in polite society to refer to a visit to the lavatory. We plan to turn this essential everyday outgoing into an investment by developing novel materials that convert natural waste into a useable resource. “This technology will be particularly important for remote locations in developing countries and will have the added benefits of reduced pollution and lower waste disposal costs.” Haigh, who working with scientists at Imperial College London and Durham University, was given an initial $100,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Their idea for an inexpensive fuel-producing , water cleaning device for the developing world, beat more than 2,000 other proposals. And the group stand to receive a further $1 million from the Gates next year if they can demonstrate the chemical reactions they propose can actually work. The Microsoft founder, one of the world’s richest men, has promised to sink his fortune on combating worldwide poverty. (extracted from: http://m.timesofindia.com/home/science/Device-to-turn-sewage-into-drinking-water/articleshow/12605012.cms)
While we all have had trouble squeezing through Gates’ windows but his sponsorship of such research projects certainly helps reducing all the pain of updates/bugs for over-paid softwares. Keep it up Gates, you may progress some day from windows to gateway.
© Sandeep Bhalla