Breakthrough Solar Device Turns Saltwater Into Fresh Drinking Water

Here in California we’re entering our fourth consecuitive drought year. The snowpack in the Sierras was a dismal 2% of where it should have been last time I checked, and the swimming holes in my favorite spot, the Yuba River, will most likely be puddles. With so much of our drinking water coming from natural springs and relying on the snowmelt each winter to replenish reservoirs, we need to find alternative ways to get these resources.

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image: MIT

One promising technology comes in the form of desalination. Several large facilities exist in CA and elsewhere around the world, but they’re incredibly expensive and not all that efficient. What about your everyday civilian who wants to do the same? Options are limited thus far, but this solar powered device engineered by some brilliant minds at MIT just won the 2015 Desal Prize, a competition ran by USAID that aims to bring water solutions to developing countries. Desalination is especially important for these areas, as indicated here

It works by using solar panels to capture energy that’s stored in a bank of batteries that power an electrodialysis machine which removes salt from water.

For those of us who aren’t electrodialysis experts:

“Electrodialysis works by passing a stream of water between two electrodes with opposite charges. Because the salt dissolved in water consists of positive and negative ions, the electrodes pull the ions out of the water, Winter says, leaving fresher water at the centre of the flow. A series of membranes separate the freshwater stream from increasingly salty ones.”

City Bus Turned Offgrid Motorhome For The Nomadic Adventure Seeker

Every craftsman brings their own vision to a new project, with different ideas of what “finished” really means. Projects like this often remain in a state of flux, constantly evolving, but in the case of this offgrid motorhome, we think the owner has crossed the finish line in style.

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The La Chancita bus began its life as a 1966 Mercedes-Benz bus that spent its time as a city bus in Buenos Aires. Since then, Manu Fombeurre has overseen a dramatic transformation of the bus, turning it into a rolling home with room to sleep five, a fully equipped kitchen, shower, toilet, and wood burning stove.

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The entire interior was gutted and transformed into a sleek wood-paneled beauty with all the creature comforts you’d want in a motorhome.

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The transformation took place over nine months, and the finished Chanchita now serves as a base for adventure lovers looking to travel in style to remote wilderness locations. Faction Skis serves as the primary sponsor for the bus, and they contract rentals to interested parties – whether looking to hit a remote surfing destination in the summer or take an epic ski trip in the winter, the Chanchita channels the spirit of adventure that Argentina is known for. We can imagine they have a pretty good life, which might be made all that much better with something like this portable hot tub hammock for camping.

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Want to learn more about the Chanchita, or schedule your own tour? Check out their website.

Volunteers Get Paid To Live In This Ghost Town

Have you ever driven through an abandoned town and wonderdered what it was like to live there? Well, wonder no more. The Garnet Ghost Town in Montana is a complete ghost town that burgeoned in the 19th century with gold and silver discoveries until it went belly up in the 1940s.

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Today however, a few souls remain there, and we aren’t talking about real ghosts (although what town like this isn’t haunted?). Instead, volunteers wander the streets, chosen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to provide tours and sell souvenirs to tourists passing through.

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The volunteers get a certain number of benefits, including a cabin to live in, a food stipend, and a small paycheck for their work. While there’s no cable/wifi, electricity or running water to speak of, someone who’s accustomed to living off the grid might find the accommodations quite fitting.

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Photos by Daniel Hagerman

While the Montana Standard reports some volunteers have spent as much as a decade living there, the current position calls for openings during August and September. If you are interested, feel free to get in touch with Gainan at the BLM Missoula Field Office at 406-329-3735 or email [email protected] to get an application.

The Most Adorable Chicken Coop Ever? We Think So.

Today I wanted to share a seriously inspiring chicken coop design with our readers. This design comes courtesy Tilly’s Nest, and while it looks adorable enough to serve as a playhouse for your kids, it’s actually designed with chickens in mind, with edible gardens, linoleum floor for easy cleaning, and even some decorative chicken art for aesthetics.

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If you’re a fan of raising backyard chickens, then you already know how important it is for them to have some cozy and safe digs to hang out in and part of the fun comes from designing and building your own coop. A coop like this is certainly nothing to flap your beaks at. After all, happy chickens equals more eggs for you and your friends!

For more information about the design, and a huge amount of great resources for raising chickens, check out http://www.tillysnest.com/p/chicken-care-resourcesguide.html

 

Patagonia’s Truck Made From Wine Barrels Has A Special Mission

Patagonia has always been a foreward-thinking brand, with a legion of devoted customers who sport their jackets, pants, backpacks, and countless other pieces of outdoor gear. While they’re known for making high quality products for the outdoor adventurer, lately they’ve been showing off something else – the Worn Wear Wago.

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The Wago is a biodiesel fueled 1991 Dodge Cummins truck with a very unique modification. The team recruited artist Jay Nelson to help convert the bed into a handmade redwood camper shell using salvaged wine barrels.

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And the Wago isn’t just a showpiece. It was built with a very special mission in mind. The Wago and its crew will travel around the country offering free repairs for Patagonia clothing. Inside the bed you’ll find an industrial sewing machine that serves as the workhorse for their mission. So far they have Seattle, Moab, Boulder, Chicago, and Asheville on their list of places to stop.

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Along the way the repair experts hope to spread the gospel of concious consumerism and fashion as they cruise through farmers markets, coffee shops, and campgrounds throughout the U.S. on their mission to mend.

You can find a full list of their tour stops at http://www.patagonia.com/us/worn-wear/

Photos by Patagonia