28.7.11

In A Galaxy Far, Far Away...


While scientist and ecologist struggle with the pressing dilemma of finite water here on earth it seems that a queasar in the universe is taunting us from very far away. This water reserve discovered by a team of CalTech scientists is considered to be not only the largest reserve of water, but also the most distant.


The quasar, a distant active galactic nucleus, is fueled by an enormous black hole which is continually devouring a surrounding region of gas and dust. This particular quasar is so far away that it has taken the light from it 12 billion years to reach earth. The magnitude of this distance is mind-blowing. Even more surreal is the quantity of water the environment surrounding it is producing. It is estimated that the amount of water could fill the earth's oceans 140 trillion times. Yes, that is correct, TRILLION!

The size of this amount of water is 100,000 times larger than our sun.

So what does this mean, other than the fact there is a lot of water in the universe forever out of our reach? It shows that water has been prevalent in the universe even at its earliest times. This quasar is at a period when the universe was just a wee-little creation of 1.6 billion years old.

Here is a link to the press release if you want all the very technical jargon regarding hydrogen fluoride spectrum readings, bandwidth, elaborate name of the quasar, and all who funded such a discovery:
Caltech-Led Astronomers Discover the Largest and Most Distant Reservoir of Water Yet

So in the mean time what are we here on earth to do? NASA has already had breakthroughs for there space crews in being able to develop recycling systems allowing the astronauts to drink their own filtered urine.


Maybe we could take a cue from these big brains.

Here is the full story from Space.com: Astronauts Drink Recycled Urine, and Celebrate

I figured since we are talking about space and just for fun,aside from urine drinking, here is a video of a water bubble experiment on a space expedition

The Grand Idea - Water Shapes Life


It has been almost two full months since Julie and I moved to the hayloft. The change prompted us to sell off most of our belongings and strip down to the essentials. In doing this one begins to realize what is really necessary to live, not just survive. We still have a few comforts, but in escaping from the multitude of desires we have realized what it is that we truly need to feel happy and at home.



The barn itself began as a forgotten building in the back acres of the property. It was surrounded by young growth saplings and climbing with poison ivy. Julie and Tara (our good friend who lives on the property) spent the end of the winter clearing the barn just to open up the space. They saw potential in it as a clubhouse and figured the best time to approach the project was when the air is still cool and the snakes are nowhere to be found. After much hard work they had stripped the interior of the upper area to a useable space. We immediately held a birthday party in the loft to celebrate.
Noone knew that this preemptive work would actually benefit us when the time came for us to move. Now the hayloft became an option for full time living.



There are no doors on the loft. We sleep open to the elements. Julie has begun calling the many beetles and other insects that come in the night "Fairies" as her logic is if you give them a cute name they are less scary. When she found a spider in our bed the size of a child's fist, she named it Betsy. This practice stems from our previous house in which we experienced hauntings when we first moved in. She decided to stop calling the noises a ghost and instead called it a "House Angel". This change of perspective really works. I mean to call something a pit viper is menacing, but to call it Susan, now it's got a charming personality.

As part of acclimating to the new living was to realize that we no longer had immediate access to water. Tara's house stood about 200 yards away and had a well system. The well is shallow and offers water tinted brown with a sulfur smell. As this is all we have access to this is what we had to use. Each day we would haul two jugs of water back to the barn. We set up two pieces of Soapstone on the ground as a standing platform and this became our outdoor shower. A copper bowel our washing station.



We have become very aware of our water use living in such a way. Right now Julie and I can both bathe each day using a half gallon of water. Remarkably I feel cleaner than having stood in a shower. Adaptation is a learning process. Using such little water we have developed a mantra of "A## Last" in order to clean in the most efficient manner.
I look back now and wonder why I ever let all that water pour over me continually while showering, what is the purpose? Is it purely a feeling desired, as it doesn't add to cleanliness? Another realization is how often water is used to clean off dirt instead of the act of scrubbing. Water we have learned is only for rinsing.



Drinking water also became a constant thought. When we first arrived we both would continually forget to get drinking water when we were in the city. Even when living in a house you have to pay for water and now we are put in the predicament of purchasing our water a gallon at a time. With extra effort and after we accumulated enough water jugs, I began to drive them into the city when I went to work and filled them off of friend's spigots. Living in a barn without A/C and 97 percent humidity can make a person thirsty. We have both come to really appreciate the taste of water, consuming about a gallon a day each.

All was rolling along fine until the day Tara's well went dry. There is another house roughly 300 feet from Tara's. The neighbors are very generous and so it began that Tara was now living in the manner the Julie and I are. Along with us she would carry buckets of water to her house. She has a standup shower, sink and toilet, but now they are merely props of another time. As for Julie and I we just had to start walking 300 feet further.

I often think while I am carrying the water of the communities in 3rd world countries where water can be miles away. Of how that water too can dry up and so they must walk further and further. At what point do you abandon your home region because water is an impossible distance away? How much land will be left vacant when whole communities converge on new regions already populated? And how much conflict will result when those who occupy the areas first claim the water is theirs?

We have just days before we depart on our 3 month journey. In just days we will go from the barn to living a life on the water. Aside from keeping the boat above water our most important concern is having clean water to drink.