Thrills! Chills! Big-Budget Water Tower Destruction

Self-promoting corporate multi-media at its best! Here’s what happens when high production values are applied to a water tower demolition.

Testa Corporation used a tried and true ‘old school’ method to bring down the Simkins Industries 50,000 gallon water tower from the factory roof. By attaching cables near the top of the 80 foot tower and cutting the legs at the base the easily toppled the tower to the ground below.

And, they did it with thrilling camera cuts and cinematic music with momentum! (In fact, the crash feels a little anti-climactic!) 

Art to Go: Creative Toilets and Urinals

From Now That’s Nifty, a blog that earns it’s name with their post of Unique and Strange Toilets and Urinals. Check out the post to see them all, but here are a few that will leverage robust, innovative solutions for “doing your business.”

Here, you can go with vertigo! The trompe l’oeil mural at this Japanese ski resort toilet leaves you on the edge of your seat!

There will always be a market for creations such as this lime-colored art loo. Because, recession or not, there will always be affluent people who simply MUST have something different. (This is not a pipe.)

If I owned this breathtaking object, just like guest towels and good china, I would forbid anyone but “company” from using it.

Here is a “mouth” urinal. Worth nothing: due to gender preferences, I assume, there are no coordinating “mouth” toilets.

h2o mp3: Moon River: Audrey Hepburn

Moon River was composed by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini in 1961. It’s been recorded by hundreds of musicians, but this is the “original” performed in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Audry Hepburn. Oddly, Hepburn’s version was not included in the original movie soundtrack. Only months after Hepburn’s death in 1993 was her version released on an album entitled Music from the Films of Audrey Hepburn.

In the movie, the song comes in a scene where writer Paul ‘Fred’ Varjak (George Peppard) has his typewriter-pecking interrupted by Holly Golightly (Hepburn) strumming her guitar and singing the tune on the fire escape outside their apartments.

Lyrics:
Moon River, wider than a mile,
I’m crossing you in style some day.
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker,
wherever you’re going I’m going your way.
Two drifters off to see the world.
There’s such a lot of world to see.
We’re after the same rainbow’s end–
waiting ’round the bend,
my huckleberry friend,
Moon River and me.

Play the track

[audio:http://thirstyinsuburbia.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/audreyhepburn-musicfromthefilmsofaudreyhepburn-moonriver2.mp3]

Download Moon River: Audrey Hepburn
Low-fi mp3 file for sampling.
Like it? Support the people who make music. Buy this track at iTunes or amazon.com

Extra fun! A clip of this scene from Breakfast at Tiffanys

Aquamantra Gets Its Groove Back

Remember Aquamantra, that deeply spiritual fluid that “resonates with the energy and frequency of your well-being?” That karma-in-a-bottle where “the quality of your thoughts determine the quality of your life and NOW your water?” From the company whose “purpose in creating this water is to Raise Consciousness in Humanity One Sip at a Time?”

I’m feeling better just writing that, but the negative energy emanating from that politically-incorrect plastic encasement is ruining the good vibe, so Aquamantra will be introducing their recyclable, biodegradable bottle this summer. It’s from “Phoenix, Arizona-based ENSO Bottles, LLC, which had developed a form of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) that appeared to be both recyclable and biodegradable within 1-5 years in microbial landfills, in either aerobic or anaerobic conditions.”

Ah, energy waves over me as a new mantra emerges, please repeat with me: I am profitable. I am profitable. I am profitable.

(For students of flackery: the glowing press release is here.)

California’s Big Squirt: Fertile Farmlands and Tourist Meccas!

An out-of-the-box engineering idea from the October, 1951 issue of Modern Mechanix, via blog.modernmechanix.com,

CALIFORNIA’S BIG SQUIRT

THE parched deserts of Southern California need water to transform their barren soil into fertile farmlands and tourist Meccas such as those existing elsewhere in the state. So far the problem has remained unsolved. But Sidney Cornell, a Los Angeles construction engineer, thinks he has a solution. He wants to construct a series of geyser-like power plants one mile apart to shoot water from the mouth of one into the funnel of the next, as depicted here by MI artist Frank Tinsley. The water would arc over hilly sections, have a flat trajectory over plains. Its velocity would approach 400 mph. These stations— 400 in all—would cost about $300,000 each.

I can’t imagine what I can add to that, except to say that Sidney Cornell has certainly never used a garden hose in the wind!

Mysterious Fruits of Water: Marionberry

Now that consumers have deduced that bottled-up tap water might not be their best buy, marketers have responded with value-added flavorings that ostensibly de-commoditize their products. Now, many esoteric fruits of the world are lending exclusivity to various brands.

Our Oregon friends will be offended to know that we thought that Twist Naturals with Marionberry might be a bottled water from Washington DC with a hint of crack cocaine!

Marionberries, from the blackberry family, are an iconic product of Oregon. They are named after Marion County where they were first grown, and were originally bred in 1956 at Oregon State University. 90% of  the world’s marionberries are grown in this area, and the state produces 28-33 million pounds annually.

In fact, www.oregongourmet.com offers a $39 “Marionberry Madness Gift Box” (which, madness aside, does NOT contain Twist Naturals water.)

Oh, back to this particular water. The package lists the ingredients as follows: Artesian Water, Pineapple Juice Concentrate, Natural Marionberry Flavor and Malic Acid. So why isn’t this Pineapple-Marionberry flavor? The label also carries a little bonus for the hipsters: “As in life, chill for best results.”

Related Post: Mysterious Fruits of Water: Dragonfruit

Ingenious Drain Hack: You’ll Thank Me Someday

Thanks for the tip, Angela & Diane, I just wish I’d known of this trick years ago before losing untold numbers of earrings, coins and other stuff down the drain. I fear, though, that in my house this operation might bring up some nasty and undesirable matter along with the object being retrieved!

sd

h2o mp3s: When the Levee Breaks: Covers

With some recent mentions of this Led Zeppelin song, I’ve decided to tell you of my guilty pleasure and little secret: I actually collect covers of this song, and my music collection includes (at last count) 16 different versions. I’m especially fond of these two.

When the Levee Breaks: Stream of Passion: This Netherlands band is described as progressive metal with symphonic metal influences; I’ll just say it’s a dark, rich, enveloping hard rock sound overlaid with a gorgeous female vocal performance. From their 2006 single Out in the Real World.

Play the track

[audio:http://thirstyinsuburbia.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/04-when-the-levee-breaks.mp3]

Download When the Levee Breaks: Stream of Passion
Low-fi 64 kbps mp3 file for sampling.
Like it? Support the people who make music. Buy this track at iTunes or amazon.com

When the Levee Breaks: A Perfect Circle: This alt-rock “supergroup” is an impressive collaboration of a bunch of talented musicians from such well known bands as Tool, Nine Inch Nails, The Smashing Pumpkins and more. Their version of the song is moody, layered, and very skillfully crafted.

Play the track

[audio:http://thirstyinsuburbia.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/11-when-the-levee-breaks-explicit.mp3]

Download When the Levee Breaks: A Perfect Circle
Low-fi 64 kbps mp3 file for sampling.
Like it? Support the people who make music. Buy this track at iTunes or amazon.com

UPDATE: A short time after this post went live, this found its way into my inbox! Although this isn’t the REAL Led Zep, it sure makes me laugh at the logical-but-not-logical path of social networking!

Green to the End: To the Afterlife via Resomation

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

Resomation remains: ashes to ashes, dust to dust

We’re all going to die eventually, and after all our “green” efforts while living, wouldn’t it suck if our last earthy impact was less than environmentally friendly?

Enter “Resomation,” the “environmentally kinder alternative to burial and cremation.” And guess what, it’s a water-based process, so we can float out instead of being burnt out or covered up!

According to the website of the Scotland-based company, “instead of fire, Resomation uses a water and alkali based method to advance the natural process of decomposition. The Resomation process takes no longer than cremation and the funeral ceremony will be the same.” The term Resomation is derived from ‘Resoma’ which is Greek for  “return of the human body.”

Illustration via spluch.blogspot.com

Illustration via spluch.blogspot.com

Among the environmental benefits are reduced energy usage, no mercury contamination and a process that’s an acceleration of natural decomposition. (It seems that mercury enters the cremation cycle through silver amalgam dental fillings. Who knew!)

And get this: a low carbon footprint! Your final passage will occur with fewer CO2 emissions than if you were cremated. Alas, like many of these “green” solutions, there is a tradeoff as I would imagine you’ll march out of this life with a bigger water footprint!

Via ecogeek, the process works something like this:

Within a tank called a resomator, the body is immersed in a 1:21 solution of potash lye and water. Gas-powered steam generators build up pressure within the tank as the temperature rises up to around 170 degrees Celsius. Thanks to the pressure (and despite what the general news media would have you think) there is no boiling, only a chemical reaction that completely liquefies everything but the bone ash in our bodies. When the tank is opened, only the bone ash and any implants or prosthetics the person had remain.

Ecogeek interviewed the company founder, Sandy Sullivan, and got the actual numbers:

…an average cycle in this tank of three hours will consume around 90 kWh, while a cremation will consume 250 kWh. According to Mr Sullivan, the total carbon footprint of a resomation is 18 times less than that of a cremation.

"Peace - Burial at sea" Joseph Mallord William Turner (1842)

This seems like a great idea to me, but frankly, more detail than I’d like. (I didn’t need to see a schematic drawing of a human chemical cooker.) My notions of passing on are more conceptual and romantic… like a burial at sea. Wouldn’t that be even greener? (We’d follow EPA rules that call for “flowers and wreaths consisting of materials that are readily decomposable in the marine environment.”)