Innovative Solar-Powered Toilet


“A revolutionary University of Colorado Boulder toilet fueled by the sun that is being developed to help some of the 2.5 billion people around the world lacking safe and sustainable sanitation will be unveiled in India this month. The self-contained, waterless toilet, designed and built using a $777,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has the capability of heating human waste to a high enough temperature to sterilize human waste and create biochar, a highly porous charcoal, said project principal investigator Karl Linden, professor of environmental engineering. The biochar has a one-two punch in that it can be used to both increase crop yields and sequester carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.” w/ photos

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NASA Gets Serious About Asteroid Capture


On Friday, NASA announced that it will be soliciting ideas for its Asteroid Initiative, and will grant a total of six million dollars split between a maximum of 25 proposals. According to the press release, they are looking for “concept ideas for an alternate asteroid capture system, rendezvous sensor systems, secondary payloads, feasibility studies on adapting commercial spacecraft buses, and commercial and international partnership opportunities for the mission… The ultimate goal is to redirect the trajectory of an asteroid towards Earth, where it can be nudged into a secure lunar orbit.” w/ photos

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World’s First Beekeeping Donkey


Meet Boneco, the world’s first beekeeping donkey. He lives in Brazil and helps his owner, Manuel Juraci, make honey. Boneco also does not appear to like his beekeeping suit. But boy does he look adorable while wearing it. This isn’t just a funny hobby for Juraci and Boneco, though. Beekeeping is their livelihood. In their region of Brazil, it’s too arid to farm the land, so a large number of locals have turned to beekeeping and honey production to make ends meet.” w/ photos + video

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Scrap Dealer Finds $20 Million Faberge Egg


In a mystery fit for the tumultuous history of Russia’s ostentatious elite, the 8-cm (3-inch) golden egg was spirited out of St Petersburg after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and then disappeared for decades in the United States. An unidentified man in the United States spotted the egg while searching for scrap gold and purchased it for $14,000, hoping to make a fast buck by selling it to the melting pot. But there were no takers because he had overestimated the value of the watch and gems tucked inside the egg.” w/ photos

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The Riddle Of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy


“The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything’ is 42. But if 42 is the answer, than what is the question? As the mice in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy proposed: ‘How many roads must a man walk down?’ To commemorate the writer’s birthday, DoYouRemember looks back at the many roads that Adams walked down to achieve his countless successes, and the bizarre aura of the number 42 that shrouded every aspect of his life.” w/ photos

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A Canyon Where Gigantic Pine Trees Grow?


Inside the Bryce Canyon National Park, in the narrow alleys formed by towering rocks on either side, grow one of the tallest trees of the Southwest – the Pinus ponderosa. Some of these trees measure more than 5 feet in diameter and grow to incredible heights of 150 feet, as they try to poke their way out above the surrounding cliffs. Named for its ponderous (heavy) wood, this pine is the major lumber tree in the Southwest. These woody behemoths grow on dry, well-drained, mountain slopes and mesas, and are easily recognized by their tall, straight, thick trunks, clad in scaled, rusty-orange bark that has split into big plates. They are also easily identified by smell – Ponderosa Pine bark smells like vanilla or butterscotch.” w/ photos

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Chimney Rock


Chimney Rock shot to popularity during the middle of the 19th century when emigrants traveling along the Oregon, California and Mormon Trail spotted it on their journeys across Nebraska. Approximately 350,000 settlers passed by Chimney Rock, and hundreds of them mentioned it in their journal entries. Those who followed began to use it as a landmark. Many nineteenth century travelers stopped to marvel at this natural curiosity. Many felt compelled to carve their names on Chimney Rock, although very few inscriptions lasted long.” w/ photos

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World’s Most Expensive Violin


The Vieuxtemps Guarneri is a violin that is older than the United States of America — 273 years old, to be exact. It recently became the most expensive violin in the world, selling for an estimated $16 million. Its new owner anonymously donated the historic instrument to violinist Anne Akiko Meyers, on loan for the rest of her life. Meyers joined Morning Edition guest host Linda Wertheimer in NPR’s studios to demonstrate the historic instrument’s unique character and the extraordinary gamut of color it is able to produce. ‘I had to try it, and instantly fell in love,’ Meyers says. ‘It was an incredible chemistry that occurred.” w/ photos + video

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The City Of White Marbles?


In 2013 Ashgabat entered the Guinness World Records for having the highest concentration of white marble buildings than any other city in the world. In an area measuring just 22 square km in the capital Ashgabat, there are 543 new buildings clad with 4.5 million cubic meters of white marble. If the marble was laid out flat, according to Guinness, there would be one square meter of marble for every 4.87 m square meter of land. The main avenue, Bitarap Türkmenistan Sayolu, is 12.6 km long and lined with 170 buildings clad with a total of 1.1 million cubic meters of white marble.” w/ photos

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