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What Modern Water Engineers Can Learn from Ancient Infrastructure

From TED: The ancient ingenuity of water harvesting: With wisdom and wit, Anupam Mishra talks about the amazing feats of engineering built centuries ago by the people of India’s Golden Desert to harvest water. These structures are still used today — and are often superior to modern water megaprojects. You’re likely familiar with TED (the organization has logged 50 million views since they began posting video two years ago) and TED Talks have become a powerful cultural force. TED presents short lectures from some of the best thinkers in the world from a broad range of disciplines with the mission of “spreading ideas” via “riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world.” TED began in 1984 as a conference to bring together people from the increasingly melding worlds of Technology, Entertainment, and Design. Since then its scope has widened to embrace prominent thought leaders from around the globe. See Anupam Mishra’s bio here or access an interactive transcript of this video.

Go Gross: Winning Hearts & Minds with Yuck Appeal

One sixth of the world, no access to clean water. 2 million people, dead of waterborne diseases. Every year. Year after year.

Blah blah. Why doesn’t everyone get it? Why are relatively few taking action? Well, we marketing-types live and die by a basic tenet: make your message relevant to the audience, their lives, their world, or risk being ignored. So, Western-worlders, we’ll help you relate better by viscerally putting skanky water into your world! This one, from Wordvision, had me running through the house, slightly nauseated, yelling “WHERE IS MY CHECKBOOK, I NEED IT NOW!” Now that’s persuasive marketing. From www.worldvision.org.uk/water,

In our world we have easy access to toilets. Supposed we take those toilets out of your world? Say, in your favorite 4-star? You can almost smell this spot, and I don’t mean the food. From www.wateraid.org,

Earlier this month, Bill Gates released a container of mosquitoes at the elite TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference to make his point about disease and malaria. Now that’s relevancy to audience! “I brought some. Here I’ll let them roam around,” he told the big-shot gathering. “There is no reason only poor people should be infected.” (He waited several minutes before assuring everyone the roaming insects were malaria-free.)