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The Sweltering Sky

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It is so hot. (How hot is it?) It is over 30 degrees C or 100 degrees F. "At least it's not humid" is my mantra.

I'd forgotten that Monday is Mouloud (the Prophet Mohamed's birthday) and a holiday. Normally we'd take advantage of a three day weekend to go somewhere, but where? I think we've exhausted all of Burkina Faso's touristic charms. (My tourism challenge to my colleagues is: what can I see here in Burkina Faso that I can't see anywhere else in Africa? No one has come up with a satisfactory response yet. Sacred crocodiles are sacred crocodiles, wherever you go.)

Another mellow weekend is in the works. We have the usual tennis/swimming/soccer planned. Tonight we're invited for dinner at the house of a couple who work at the international school. She is the school counselor and he is the middle-school history/social studies teacher. Saturday we're going to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at the American Rec Center. We have the pirated French version but it'll be great to see the original on the (sort of) big screen. Sunday night we're going to the Peace Corps Director's house for a potluck with returned Peace Corps volunteers. Always a fun group of people. I'm going to make spaghetti puttanesca and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (both the cake and frosting recipe from The Joy of Cooking). Now that I have a proper cake stand I've been baking more so I can use the pretty dishware.
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On April 7th, 2006 11:04 am (UTC), mynuet commented:
How's your internet connection? Because bittorrent is very much your friend in terms of watching movies.

And I love Joy of Cooking. How can you not love a cookbook that covers everything from how to dress game to how to fold napkins?
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On April 7th, 2006 01:32 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
Internet connection is pretty good but only at the office. Alas.

How to Cook Everything is slowly encroaching on my affections, but JOC remains my standard reference - although it's pretty gross now with various food stains and disintegrating binding.
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On April 9th, 2006 06:49 pm (UTC), vodun commented:
Oh yeah, I've been meaning to ask if you've seen this before:


Making water filters out of clay, coffee grounds, dung, and straw that removes 99% of E.Coli and other bacteria. It's one of those things that everyone should know about. All hail Tony Flynn!
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On April 11th, 2006 09:24 am (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
I have not - thanks for passing this on. I'm not a scientist though so I wonder how dung will filter out E. Coli? Wouldn't manure also have some E.Coli in it?

Good on ANU!
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On April 28th, 2006 04:14 pm (UTC), vodun replied:
The dung is just used for fuel... for did you know that a burning stack of dry cow pats can reach 1800 degress celcius in the core? That's hot enough to sinter ceramics, which is what's needed to bake the filter.

But I suppose what's needed most is the scientific mindset; to understand the very molecular structure of common materials lying around, and the imagination to re-arrange them into something that combats a threat you can't even see.

It's just rare that first-world scientists set themselves the task of building useful devices from dirt, dung, and coffee grounds. It needs to happen more, in my opinion.

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