Jack Uldrich
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Unlearning Expensive Technology

Posted in Agriculture

Late last week, it was announced that NASA had, pardon the pun, pissed away $154 million by creating a urinal/water fountain system that didn’t work. To witness how a more simple technology can have huge implications down here on this planet, watch this amazing video (Note: it is a little graphic, but it helps to remember that these are the real life conditions under which billions of people must actually get their water):

In many ways, the example of this technology as compared to the $154 million failure reminds of that old story about how NASA spent millions of dollars to create a pen that would allow its astronauts to write upside-down in the low-gravity environment of space. They were successful, but so too were the Russians–they simply used a pencil.

2 thoughts on “Unlearning Expensive Technology”

  1. John Navi says:

    You should look further into your usage of the very old and very inaccurate rumor about the “Russians using a pencil” in space. Fisher developed the pen the “space pen”. The U.S. did not spend any money to develop it, and in practice the Russians also preferred to use pens.

  2. Jack Uldrich says:

    Thanks. In a subsequent post I did mention that the NASA pen story was an urban myth. I don’t know, however, that the Russians also preferred to use pens.

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