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Indian Architect Creates New “Algae Tiles” That Can Scrub Toxins, Pollution From Wastewater

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(TMU) — An Indian architect has created a new ceramic- and algae-based tile that can be made into walls that purify waters polluted by dyes and chemicals.

Shneel Malik, a doctoral candidate at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, developed the modular wall system dubbed Indus due to India’s ongoing problem with water polluted by toxic dyes and heavy metals, India Times reports.

When Malik, who hails from New Delhi, traveled to other parts of the country in 2016, she noticed that many small-scale jewelry workers and textile dyers were releasing such toxic chemicals as cadmium, lead and arsenic into local waters, polluting not only water sources but also the soil, air, and communities living there for entire generations.

Artisan and industrial textile production has long been a crucial pillar of the South Asian subcontinent’s culture, drawing travelers from afar for centuries while contributing 15 percent to the export earnings of India in 2017-2018. However, due to India’s decades of lax environmental regulation and poor social development in rural regions, over 70 percent of the country’s water resources are contaminated due to a lack of treatment for wastewater discharge – and according to Yanko Design, 40 percent of wastewater is generated by artisan industries.

Malik told Fast Company:

“With the support of NGOs such as Pure Earth and CEE in India, who are involved in tackling pollution, we were able to visit multiple sites in Kolkata (bangle-makers) and Panipat (textile dyers) in India.

These site visits made us better understand the site- and context-specific constraints and challenges in wastewater treatment. Neither the artisan workers have any space available for Westernised high-tech water treatment solutions, nor do they have the economic capacity to get additional support.”

So Malik began to work on a project that would not only address the problems of water and soil pollution but would also be simple technologically and affordable for India’s largely impoverished rural villages. She explained:

“We started to design a system—which is both spatially compatible, but more importantly can be constructed and maintained by the artisans themselves.”

The tile-based, modular bioreactor wall system is able to comprehensively clean water through a process of bioremediation. The basis of this process is found in algae, a single-celled and non-flowering organism that is incredibly common across ocean beds. The algae is capable of filtering out or sucking in toxic chemicals by releasing microorganisms known as phytochelatins, which trap pollutants and feed on them as a source of nutrition that spurs growth.

This allows the water to be freed of any impurities like cadmium or lead, which can then aid in the sustenance of the algae lining Malik’s Indus tiles.

The algae is applied to the architectural tiles in the form of a hydrogel and can be used for at least a couple of months until it becomes saturated with toxic materials. The tiles themselves are made from locally available clay, and the pilot set of Indus tiles were produced in the artisanal workshops of Khurja, known as the ceramic capital of India.

Polluted water is then poured through the inlets at the top of the modular wall, which then allows the water to flow through the vein-like channels of the tiles, which also resemble leaves. Depending on the level of contamination, the water can then be recirculated to ensure further purification.

Malik said:

“We conducted lab tests to understand the heavy-metal uptake by the microalgae when encapsulated within the biomaterial. This allowed us to identify certain design parameters allowing for optimum water-algae contact.

Further, while we were generating sets of computational simulations, we identified the similarity of the patterns generated to the veins of a leaf, which have evolved to equally distribute water and nutrients across the entire plant. We then amalgamated the two, into the leaf tiles that were exhibited at [London Design Festival]. The venations further add to the modularity of the system, where we can generate different venation systems specific to their heavy-metal contaminant.”

Malik and her team are now focusing on ensuring that they can make the system even more sustainable, so that the tiles can be used to detoxify water on a long-term basis in order to keep costs low for those who would benefit the most from the Indus system.

By Elias Marat / Creative Commons / TheMindUnleashed.com

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Keanu Reeves Praised As Video of Him Offering Seat to Lady in Subway Resurfaces

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Keanu Reeves is an actor who has long been loved by audiences —and not necessarily due to his acting skills, but due to how nice the John Wick star is.

And now, Reeves is once again earning praise as a “true gentleman” after resurfaced video footage shows Reeves giving up his seat on the subway.

The clip was shared by Instagram film fan account Cinemonkeys where it has since earned nearly 45,000 likes.

The video footage dates back to 2011, when it was shared on YouTube by a user of the video-sharing platform.

At the time, Reeves was already a superstar riding on the fame he earned from the Matrix, Speed, and a number of other blockbuster hits.

When Reeves notices a woman carrying a heavy bag, he quickly points to his seat and asks if she would like to sit. The woman accepts and Reeves gets up without hesitating to let her take his seat.

Reeves, ever the model citizen, then stands and holds onto a subway pole while carrying his bag.

The video has since been watched over 27 million times and was even cited in a 2019 Time magazine profile of the actor describing Reeves as the “soul mate” of the internet.

The resurfacing of the clip on Instagram once again impressed users of the platform.

“This human being’s soul honestly shines so bright,” wrote one user.

“OMG I love him in every single way,” another person commented.

His kindness knows no bounds,” commented someone else.

Keanu is set to reprise his role as Neo in the upcoming fourth Matrix film directed and written by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the earlier trilogy with her sister Lilly. He will also return to the silver screen in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released in 2022.

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Drunk Man Rescues Injured Baby Bird By Sending It To Animal Shelter… In An Uber

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An injured baby bird received a new lease on life after a young man who was inebriated had the good sense to send the little creature to an animal shelter because he and his friends were too drunk to drive.

In the Summer of 2019, a small lesser goldfinch suddenly appeared by itself at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The center’s chairman, Buz Marthaler, was notified by a volunteer who sent him a photo.

“It was a picture of this bird, and it had come by Uber,” Marthaler told FOX13. “It was just crazy.”

As it turns out, the tiny bird – which was only two weeks old – indeed rolled up to the site by its lonesome, the sole passenger in an Uber vehicle called by concerned citizens who found the injured creature.

Among those good Samaritans was Tim Crowley, who had been “day drinking” on that Saturday before he and his buddies witnessed the little bird fall from the sky.

“Impromptu, sitting in some camp chairs, hanging out, having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky,” he explained.

Crowley then snapped a photo of the bird and sent it to the WRCNU, which instructed him to immediately bring the bird in. However, the group obviously couldn’t drive since they had been guzzling booze all day.

So Crowley decided he’d hail a cab for the creature.

“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he said. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”

As it turns out, the bird – since named “Petey Uber” by staff at the rescue center – likely would have perished if not for Crowley’s quick thinking.

Marthaler remains impressed by Crowley’s move and shared the news on its Facebook page.

“While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong,” the shelter’s post read. “Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well.”

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Animals

Binx the Cat, Who Survived Florida Condo Collapse, Found and Reunited With Family

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Amid the tragedy of last month’s collapse of a South Florida condo building, there was a tiny bit of good news when a cat named Binx, who lived on the ninth floor of the Surfside building, was found safe and returned to his family.

“I’m glad that this small miracle could bring some light into the lives of a hurting family today and provide a bright spot for our whole community in the midst of this terrible tragedy,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava in a Friday press conference, reports NPR.

Levine Cava explained that a volunteer who feeds street cats in the area recognized the cat near the building before bringing him to an animal shelter, where it was then identified.

Gina Nicole Vlasek, the co-founder of the The Kitty Campus rescue group, posted on Facebook that a black cat had been found near the rubble of the group before it was brought to the shelter on Thursday night.

“We are so grateful to be able to help in any small way,” Vlasek said.

“All we needed was a ray of hope in this tragedy,” she continued. “Today was one of the most amazing days.. one of the survivors came to see the cat and to determine if it was her families cat and IT WAS!”

The mayor said that animal control workers are continuing to work to recover any pets that may have survived the horrible collapse.

The 12-story Surfside condo collapsed on June 24. At least 79 people have been confirmed dead, with 61 additional residents remaining unaccounted for.

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