Super simple grey water system


I hate to waste water, my wife does too. She grew up in a town where water was really scarce during the dry season. Every drop counted.

Today the town has most of the water it needs, but waste is not good in any way. And every drop still counts, here and anywhere on the planet.

One way to save water is water reuse.

Grey water is waste water that doesn’t come from the toilet. It can be water from the shower, bath tub, dishwashing or laundry.

This can be used to flush the toilet. If the soap or detergent used is biodegradable, which it should be anyway to not contaminate, it can also be used to water the plants and lawn.

Grey water systems are usually a bit sophisticated because they may have some filtration and traps, and tubing and drip irrigation systems installed, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Some toilet makers have models where the cistern’s cover is a washing basin, so you wash your hands with the water that fills de cistern after you flush, and that grey water will be used in the next flush. There are kits to convert a normal toilet to this system, too.

A big source of grey water, and wasted water if not used, is the laundry machine. And it can really be a lot of water, even if you have a very efficient model. Well, I had an idea to stop wasting it and it didn’t require a big expense in tubing and plumbing or other devices.

I had a big plastic waste bin in a corner, which we weren’t using anymore, and put it to good use in this project. I placed it next to the laundry machine and stuck the draining hose into it. That’s it!

Now, after its wash or rinse cycles, the bin fills up with the water and we use small buckets to empty it, watering the plants around the house. We can also leave the water in the bin and use it to flush the toilet if we want to.

This same thing could be done with dish washing machines too. This is not complicated stuff at all.

We don’t feel so guilty about doing laundry now. :)

A blog without open source


I’ve been thinking how one could create a simple blog, yet pretty complete, without using any open-source script.

The most complex and sensitive part seems to be the users management and commenting, but if they are limited to the comments section, that is now easily solved using a free service one just adds to the page, e.g. Disqus.

One could even do without a database and use just files to store the content for each page. That means one would do the updates with a text editor and FTP client.

The posts would include all the data unique to that post, while a template file would include the unchanging elements in all pages.

Sorting the blog posts would be done using the file names. Using a format that includes the date it is meant to be posted, one could back-date or schedule a post easily. URLs can be made nicer using .htaccess rules.

Although categorization and tagging are harder and less efficient to achieve without a database, a single file could be used to list the tags and categories with their posts in arrays, I guess.

A database may not be much more trouble, though. Same with a simple form to create and edit the posts.

Searching can be done using Google’s site search.

For files use Amazon S3, or Flickr and YouTube for added social exposure and potential word-of-mouth. No need for fancy file managers in the blog script.

I’d need to create a script that generates the feeds.

Pinging can be done by hand with a free service like Ping-o-matic, but it’d be better to figure out how to automate it.

What am I missing?

It sounds like an interesting project. I may attempt it…

Adding old writings to this blog


I’ve been online for a few years, as have many of you, but haven’t really kept a blog ever, until recently.

Most of what I wrote is in forums I was a part of. Some posts were only valuable there, but others were good even outside of them.

The fact that some of those places have gone offline, or may go offline, worries me. I wouldn’t like to lose those writings.

So I decided to start going back to them and see what I can rescue as a post here, where they’ll be under my control.

I’ll post them here with their original dates. Because of that, they won’t be obvious at the top of the homepage, but they’ll be there in the archives.

Eventually, I’ll organize them with tags and they should be easy to find.

Have you ever done something like this?

Feeding nature with plastic and other petro-stuff


Here’s an idea I’ve had for a while, but haven’t talked about much with anyone, although some time ago I wrote about how the oil spill could be cleaned leaving no chemical residues behind and actually enriching the soil. Now I’d like to talk about cleaning up plastic waste as well as other petrochemicals.

The approach mentioned for the spill could be used to clean up rivers where factories dump their stuff, and this could be aided introducing plants and clams that’d help the process too. Lands contaminated by machinery with stuff like fuels or oils, could be cleaned up with the mushroom as well.

Mr. Paul Stamets participated in a test to clean a land contaminated with fuels and oils and in this video he briefly explains what happened:

Now, how to apply that to plastics is what seems to be the problem. I don’t know if mushroom would grow on plastic, that’s doubtful, so it would need to be turned into something else to facilitate it, and I found a good simple way.

It involves heating the plastic to melt and boil it without burning it, apparently. I’ve seen other machines to process tyres and plastics in such a way before using pyrolysis, but were way bigger, the machine in the above video is more portable.

He’s obviously making it simpler to operate and usable inside closed spaces, but the technology is as old as coal making from wood, so you don’t need computers to control it, especially if you don’t care to get very refined results as he is. It’s basically a pressure cooker with a bubbler. Implementing this techonology doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. Plastics don’t even need to be pre-sorted.

All I’ve seen so far had the intention of making more fuel off the waste, not food. You’ll notice when he sets the oil on fire to prove it is oil, how dirty it burns. It doesn’t solve contamination, it’s just in another form. We need to work with nature.

Oyster mushroom in compost

Oyster mushroom in compost

I haven’t seen someone make the connection between this technology and composting the product with mushrooms yet. It is very likely that the mushrooms can take care of the solids resulting from this process too, so the oil and solids could be mixed before inoculation.

This is a solution that could help clean up water and land. Landfills could be turned from a waste heap into several feet of rich top soil. The plastic trash in the oceans could be collected into large ships with this technology on board, processing the waste as it sails, going back to land only to empty its bowels to enrich the soil in the coasts.

We can clean up all this mess in a short time with some good willing people and organizations.

Dayparting in split testing


You know that traffic doesn’t perform the same  every day of the week, which is why you should make your tests last several days.

But had you thought that one version may be better at certain times while another version better the rest of the time?

Look at this split test:

Makes you want to break down your tests by day and time and after getting the results, have a script serve the winning versions based on that. :P