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Bill Gates Looks to Reinvent the Toilet

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the please-no-pop-ups dept.

Earth 471

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the German government are working on a $10 million project to provide innovative sanitation facilities to 800,000 Kenyans over the next five years. From the article: "The goal is to find 'innovative solutions' for sanitation in poor urban areas. Gates says it's time to move on from the era of the classic toilet. He points out that, despite all the recent achievements, 40% of the world's population, or some 2.5 billion people, still lives without proper means of flushing away excrement. But just giving them Western-style toilets isn't possible because of the world's limited water resources." I wonder what the toilet version of The Blue Screen of Death is.

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Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749758)

I'm just curious how someone will find a way to spin this as a bad thing. Will it be "Gates will probably insist they use only Windows toilets!"? Or maybe it will be "This is just a ploy for him to sell more Windows copies to the poor people after they take a shit!" Or perhaps "I'll be he'll ban Linux and Apple from these shithouses!"

Come on, I know there are plenty of Slashdotters just ACHING to find SOME way, ANY way to bash him some more. Forget that Steve Jobs does NO charitable activities (Steve don't do charity) or that this has nothing to do with Linux. Someone will find a way. He's the guy with the Borg picture, after all.

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (5, Funny)

DemonGenius (2247652) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749800)

The real question is... will those toilets run Crysis?

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (0)

lordSaurontheGreat (898628) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749844)

The framerate will be crap, but after a few Service Packs, yes, it will.

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750050)

You need at least 2 toilets to get good frame rates in Crysis.

 

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750458)

Funny you mention that, cause I just had a big crysis in my toilet and it run like hell...

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (4, Interesting)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749880)

The bashing began before you started typing. Did you read the summary?

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750014)

I would say the bashing started in the article. I'm a huge fan of this juxtaposition:

The importance of this research is not always easy to explain, says Rijsberman, because anything having to do with human waste provokes a "yuck factor." (See Bill Gates in his younger years.)

The "See Bill Gates in his younger years" is a link to a different article, one of several sprinkled throughout the article, as is standard fare for Time Online. However, I don't really believe it was a coincidence that this particular link wound up where it did.

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (2, Interesting)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749918)

I'm just trying to figure out why he wants to violate the KISS methodology. You have few options for feces. Put it it into a treatment facility (flush, carry...) to be treated with bacteria that live on that sort of thing, use it for fertilizer or burn it.

The use of toilets in "western society" simply facilitates the first step in those methods be it an out house, a ceramic bowl, or fancy plastic. I don't understand what he wants them to do. Maybe learn how to use sea shells for less paper usage? There's only so much waste you can get rid of with a small amount of water, and any breakthrough in toilet technology that would make it cheap enough for the third world and use little water will likely be patent encumbered for the next 50 years (probably by Bill himself.)

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (1, Interesting)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750264)

I love the fact that you could have said "I'm just trying to figure out why he wants to violate the KISS methodology" in fewer words such as "Why is he trying to complicate things?". Twit.

Anyway, he's not. The design process might be more complex; but be sure it will lead to a simple, elegant solution; and not more complex. It has to be cheap to produce and easy to maintain; while being just as sanitary and using less water than the current (pretty complex) flushing toilet. For example, a method for digging deeper dunny holes might be one solution.

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (3, Insightful)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750494)

It's not like there haven't been all kinds of methods devised for getting rid of waste. Hell, NASA probably researched a million different chemicals and methods for getting rid of such waste. I'm sure they didn't just blow all that money on a single toilet.

Also, there no need for name calling. So I went a little wordy with my sentence... big deal.

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750280)

Sterilize it with heat(but without burning it it) and then use it for fertilizer.

However, that is kind of energy intensive. Giant fresnel furance?

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (5, Funny)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750286)

"He doesnt know what the three sea shells are for!"

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (3, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750320)

Why not have a dual system?

Liquid waste goes into a liquid recyc system, to be chemically cleansed and reused in future flushes. Doesn't need to be electric powered; you should be able to pump up a couple gallons into a reserve flush bin by a hand-crank pump fairly easily. Solid waste filters out into a bin to be taken away for treatment later (carried or otherwise). That way, you don't have to worry about wasting good, potable water on your flushes.

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (1)

aric4ever (462802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750496)

The problem is that there are literally no solutions in place for toilets in third world countries. So excrement is anywhere/everywhere. And since the classic western toilet is expensive and requires a lot of hookups/extras (treament facilties, running water, toilet paper, etc) they have been funding two projects. One is to build pit latrines and other facilities to contain it. The other is what to do with it when gathered.

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (3, Interesting)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750008)

>Forget that Steve Jobs does NO charitable activities

Steve Jobs isn't public about whether or not he does charities. He thinks it's none of your business.

And I tend to agree with him on that point.

Some people use charity as a means of self-promotion.

Who is better, the Christian that goes to church every Sunday and makes sure everyone knows he goes to church, or the Christian that doesn't always go to church, but volunteers at the soup kitchen downtown and tells nobody?

Disclaimer, I am a lapsed Episcopalian. I can fake my way through a Catholic Mass for weddings and funerals, but that's about it.

--
BMO

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (-1, Redundant)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750246)

Karma be damned...

Obviously, the vocal Chrisitian... why? Because someone has to keep the pews full. The non-vocal person helping society does nothing for the hegemony of the church. If everyone just privately practiced their religion, there would be no real power in the churches and they wouldn't be able to pool together funds to create schools, build billboards, print bumper stickers, or create silly cartoons to brainwash kids into their ideology.

Oh, you meant better for society? Obviously the person that does the most work in the community without constantly preaching their ways to the people they help. But that doesn't sell any Bibles.

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750260)

Depends: sometimes public charity can encourage others to contribute, which anonymous charity generally doesn't..

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750350)

Who is better, the Christian that goes to church every Sunday and makes sure everyone knows he goes to church, or the Christian that doesn't always go to church, but volunteers at the soup kitchen downtown and tells nobody?

The Christian that goes to church every Sunday.

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750388)

Was it wrong to use someones fame to bring light on issues of the world? HIV/AIDS, smallpox, polleo, hunger
Or would it be better to suffer in silence feeling like no one cares, because they dont ask and you dont tell?
The Spotlight is a harsh mistress, and to put ones self on the line for a cause they believe in is more gutsy than not.
It is still up to the individual, and I respect either way. But the way you write it, you would think the world should keep its mouth shut.

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (5, Insightful)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750396)

Who is better, the Christian that goes to church every Sunday and makes sure everyone knows he goes to church, or the Christian that doesn't always go to church, but volunteers at the soup kitchen downtown and tells nobody?

Bad analogy. Here we have the hugely famous Christian who we don't know whether or not he goes to church but chances are he doesn't given data from the public record, contrasted with the other hugely famous Christian who we know attends church, volunteers at the soup kitchen downtown every day and makes sure people know about it in order to promote the soup kitchen by association with his name.

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (1, Interesting)

jojoba_oil (1071932) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750442)

Who is better, the Christian that goes to church every Sunday and makes sure everyone knows he goes to church, or the Christian that doesn't always go to church, but volunteers at the soup kitchen downtown and tells nobody?

I don't see how this comparison works. The fact that they they do/don't go to church has no bearing on the charitable service/money they provide, and you've not indicated whether the first guy does anything for charity. So in the context of a debate about charity, I don't have enough facts to determine which one is "better".

What I can tell you is that the soup-kitchen guy is probably a criminal who is sentenced to a number of hours of community service... which is why he doesn't brag about it.

Ok. Kidding aside, I don't see the obsession with people physically going and helping at soup kitchens. That's more of a selfish act than anything else. Go to work for another hour and donate an hour's worth of salary money to pay for multiple people to work at the soup kitchen.

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750546)

"Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly." - Matthew 6

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750548)

Nice job equating Christianity with goodness. But you missed a third option: the guy who keeps his activities secret, and doesn't actually do anything. Guess which one I think Jobs is most likely to be - this is the guy who runs a company that purports to be so egalitarian there are no named parking spaces, and then illegally parks in the disabled bays himself.

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750550)

Bill Gates wants to get his Nobel Peace Prize at any cost.

Apple/Jobs charitable policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750058)

It's interesting that you never hear of Apple or S. Jobs charitable activities mentioned. Most other mega-wealthy individuals enage in some charitable activities. Other than hob-nobbing with rock stars, what kinds of noble works does Steve support, or his corporation?

Re:Apple/Jobs charitable policy (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750298)

Steve's only charity is Steve. And to that he gives generously.

Re:Apple/Jobs charitable policy (2)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750514)

Just off the top of my head, there's Red, Songs for Sudan, hob-nobbing with rock stars such as Bonio. So yeah, there's charitable activity promoted through iTunes. The artists most promoted by iTunes tend to be social libertarians (as distinct from the political wing that hijacked the term) involved in some charitable activity.

This would tend to contradict my previous post in reply to bmo, above (the "good Christian" comparo): secondhand giving is still giving.

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750288)

No need to spin it.
Odds are high they will do what they did with the medicine. To get the free stuff you have to agree not to infringe on patents on drugs they invest in. This means the third world nations get the choice of free drugs now and high prices later or making their own generics and growing the local economy.

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (2)

femtoguy (751223) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750302)

My only complaint is with the headline. It should read "Bill Gates looks to give money to people to invent a new toilet". I am pretty sure that he will not be involved in the actual development. I think that his foundation does a lot of good work, and respect the fact that he isn't just hording his money, but it should also be recognized that the actual work is done by people in the field, and not by him personally.

Actually, it kind of reminds me of a recent, very bad decision, at work. We hired a firm to develop a new web site. We checked their previous work and it looked good. As we got more deeply involved with them we discovered that the "company" was actually a couple of business front guys who wrote the contracts, and then farmed out the work to a bunch of contract college student programmers. When we ran into implementation problems, the couldn't help us because they didn't know any of the technology, and their contract workers had moved on and so couldn't help us either. But they still maintain that they are the key players in the complany, despite having no expertise in the work that they are doing.

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750312)

Bill Gates is awesome. I mean, who can't respect a man that is able to do so much evil, then do nothing to fix that evil (even lying to judges about it!), take a few years off, and make a comeback by using some of the money he gain via those evil deeds for charity, to the point that nobody thinks he's a bad guy!

Incredible, I say. Imagine if Ted Bundy was able do this.

Re:Reflexive /. Gates bashing in 3...2... (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750328)

I don't need to bash him, but your need to whitewash him is curious. He did both bad and good things.

Steve Jobs may or may not do charity. It's really his business, isn't it?

It's curious to me that people who do far less with their lives feel the need to either bring down either man or erect a podium for them. It doesn't make you a better person to be a slobbering idol worshipper nor a spiteful harpy about it.

Kudos to Mr. Gates! (2, Funny)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749764)


This is a noble cause, kudos to Mr. Gates! The peoples of the world needs a safe, clean way to dispose of their waste.

Over 1 million children die every year from diarrhea. Imagine a world where all people can use a toilet then have their cholera and other disease-ridden waste flushed safely away. In poorer countries there are few, if any, health practitioners outside of major centers. So a child with chronic diarrhea would not be able to get in to have their subluxations treated. That's truly sad, but if they can't treat the subluxation at least they can treat some of the diseases that take advantage of a sublux-weakened immune system.

Also, this project is a much more noble cause than Gates' misguided drive to immunize the world's population. The world's health care systems would collapse unded the weight of all the new cases of Autism if successful.

Take care,
Bob.

Re:Kudos to Mr. Gates! (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749884)

Funny as fuck and I'm out of Mod points!

Re:Kudos to Mr. Gates! (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749952)

Alright. I'm convinced that you really are just a troll and aren't actually expecting people to believe your nonsense.

Re:Kudos to Mr. Gates! (-1, Troll)

Dr.Bob,DC (2076168) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750028)


Another tough nut to crack "Show me the science"-type.

Read my journal, become one of my friends on Facebook. Have an open mind and educate yourself!

Take care,
Bob

Re:Kudos to Mr. Gates! (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750410)

Another tough nut to crack "Show me the science"-type.

Yeah, stupid science. What we need is more people like Bob here who know more about magic beans than those ignorant science type people.

This won't be his first shitty idea.. (5, Funny)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749806)

but I think we can all agree it's a damn good one.

Re:This won't be his first shitty idea.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36749976)

I disagree. They'll just sell the toilets to buy weapons, or find a way to weaponize the toilets themselves.
No support.

Re:This won't be his first shitty idea.. (5, Funny)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750440)

find a way to weaponize the toilets

It's called a bidet

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation != Microsoft (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36749862)

The last comment in the story about BSoDs is disappointing. I like to poke fun at Windows and Microsoft software in general as much as the next person over but I have genuine respect for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They're doing more to solve world problems than most countries are. I can recognize a good thing when I see it and making BSoD jokes when it comes to the foundation just belittles the work they do.

Get a sense of humor (5, Funny)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749904)

It still will be a BSOD, the Brown Screen Of Death.

It is called humor dammit, even though it may be shitty humor.

Re:Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation != Microsoft (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749996)

I can recognize a good thing when I see it and making BSoD jokes when it comes to the foundation just belittles the work they do.

Besides that, the BSOD died in 2000. Few people under 25 will even get the reference.

Re:Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation != Microsoft (1)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750086)

That's just not true.

You can still get a BSOD it's just that these days they are rarer than they were in the win9x days and when they do appear the default behavior is to flash the BSOD and then reboot, my current work laptop did this a few times before the manufacturer (Dell) released a few new drivers that I installed...

Re:Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation != Microsoft (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750272)

You can still get a BSOD it's just that these days they are rarer...

Exactly my point, thank you.

Re:Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation != Microsoft (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750144)

I didn't own a Windows Machine until 2001. I definitely got the BSOD with XP.

Re:Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation != Microsoft (1)

filthpickle (1199927) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750480)

Had a drive die and got the blue screen the other day in windows 7. First one I've seen in windows 7, but I don't mess with hardware nearly as much as I used to. I've never seen a non-boot drive go bad and cause a machine so much grief.

But, you are right, it doesn't happen that much anymore...and it almost never hangs on it when it does.

Re:Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation != Microsoft (1)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750486)

Besides that, the BSOD died in 2000. Few people under 25 will even get the reference.

It's still alive and well. I think I heard they were changing the color in win8 (black or something?). AFAIK all operating systems have some kind of variant from the guru meditation error on Amiga to the text based kernel panic on linux or the black "you need to restart your computer" os crash on MacOS. Microsoft just got famous for it because their OS was very pervasive, and the fact that it's relatively easy to crash the os due to the os allowing direct hardware access to user mode software.

I can recognize a good thing when I see it and making BSoD jokes when it comes to the foundation just belittles the work they do.

They do seem to be interested in doing some good. I think he's trying to atone for his sins before he dies. Whatever the reason, I struggle to trust anything Mr. Bill does even when it really is a good thing. Human nature, I suppose.

Re:Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation != Microsoft (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750090)

Just because Bill wants to make up for all those years of being a total dick, doesn't mean I'm going to change my tone toward the man over night. It's going to take a lot more than him parading around throwing money at problems. Why doesn't he try to fix the urban issues here at home before trouncing off to the other side of the globe? Does he not care that he stole billions of dollars from people? Why do you not care? Because you feel bad for the black community because slaves were mistreated and the only source you can think of to ease your own conscious is to attack Africa with your "ideal" lifestyle?

Re:Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation != Microsoft (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750454)

They're not as separate as you might think. The B&MGF offers medicines to countries where Microsoft has a limited presence and piracy is rampant. Just one catch: they pharmaceutical companies won't provide the medicines unless the recipient government signs an IP treaty with the USA. A treaty that, purely as a side effect, happens to require them to enforce Microsoft's copyright. The Economist had a good article describing the link a couple of years ago.

Making fun of gates (4, Insightful)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749874)

We all might make fun of gates but he's putting money into something that is worth while and often over looked. Having a safe place to poo is a pretty big deal, as it stands now a lot of places that don't end up draining into rivers and other water sources and making people sick.

Re:Making fun of gates (0)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749948)

But he said 640k of ram would always be enough! No amount of charitable work can erase that!

Re:Making fun of gates (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750478)

I've never found a source for that quote. The first time I heard it, in the late '80s, people were claiming that he said 64KB ought to be enough for anyone, and it was a reference to Microsoft BASIC. A few years later, the quote was changed to 640KB ought to be enough for anyone, which made less sense because it referred to an Intel limitation.

Re:Making fun of gates (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750142)

I'm being serious here. I've always though that many of the worlds poor dug a shallow hole, squat to defecate, and proceeded to bury. Maybe they used a spade of some sort. All in all, it would not be that unusual. Human beings have probably done something similar for the last...well, however long you define when humanity started. A very long time.

Re:Making fun of gates (5, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750366)

What about Composting sawdust toilet [humanurehandbook.com] I'm sure the locals have something they can use in lieu of sawdust.

You could even create a dehydration toilet [finishsociety.com] Urine is collected separate (where it could easily be evaporated off and the urea used as fertilizer). After dehydrated the human waste could take place of animal dung used for heat.

I think a bigger and better use of this money would be something to sanitize. Something as simple as soap or the 'waterless' alcohol based sanitizers.

Re:Making fun of gates (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750468)

Grinding any local vegetable matter just to defecate is hardly a sustainable idea... they'd still be better off just digging a hole.

Seems better to be able to use human excrement in one of those natural gas generation facilities, like some way to direct the waste there without loss of gasses.

Didn't he already do that (2)

SteelKidney (1964470) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749882)

With Vista?

Nice Editorial (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749890)

I wonder what the toilet version of The Blue Screen of Death is.

I wonder what the Slashdot version of "Why did the Chicken cross the road?" is.

Re:Nice Editorial (1)

rainmouse (1784278) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750248)

I wonder what the Slashdot version of "Why did the Chicken cross the road?" is.

Why did the [ getRandomEthnicNational() ] cross the road?

Because the chickens job had been outsourced.

BSOD (0)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749908)

Bad Scent Of Dung.

BSoD will be replaced (3, Funny)

famazza (398147) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749938)

Blue Screen of Death will be replaced by Blue Splash of Death, probably chemical.

Re:BSoD will be replaced (1)

Conanymous Award (597667) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750406)

Nah. It's gonna be the Brown Bowl of Death.

Introducing the Dyson Cyclone Toilet (0)

dun0s (213915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749946)

Set James Dyson on the case. Combine a toilet with a vacuum cleaner and some sort of composting facility. Actually this sounds rather like an aeroplane toilet. Either way use suction to "flush" the toilet down pipes into some sort of facility that composts the excrement.

Silly Gates.... (-1, Redundant)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749962)

A proper privy is sanitary, stinky, but still sanitary. I think he has finally went over to the nutter side. a flush toilet that wastes precious water is NOT the answer.

The answer is teach these people how to build a proper outhouse with venting and propery locate it AWAY from your water supply. Many photos sent by friends that are in Peace Corps shows people crapping basically on top of their water source.

How about making it cheap and easy to purify any water for thee people FIRST... the greatest way to reduce disease is to give everyone a source of clean water.

Re:Silly Gates.... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750276)

I think he has finally went over to the nutter side. a flush toilet that wastes precious water is NOT the answer.

Did you even read the summary? He's not trying to give them flush toilets. He's aware that it wastes water. From the SECOND LINE of the summary: "The goal is to find 'innovative solutions' for sanitation in poor urban areas..." What do you think "innovative solutions" might mean? Could it possibly be something along the lines of "a way to deal with waste in a sanitary way that doesn't involve water"?

Yeah. Try reading at least the summary before you post.

Re:Silly Gates.... (1)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750502)

Mod this up!

Re:Silly Gates.... (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750300)

By not crapping in their drinking water they might actually have a source of clean water. A proper outhouse might go quite far in accomplishing this.

I do wonder why something like the basic outhouse won't work. You dig a hole, put a tank* in, built the structure around it. When it gets full either have a truck come and empty it or build a new one. Also when planning an outhouse the best place for it is down stream from your water supply and usually 100' (30 meters) from the well. This way even if the tank leaks it won't contaminate your water supply since it is down stream and a way from it as the dirt acts as a filter.

* The tank can be pretty much made of anything, like an old metal barrel, old plastic barrel, concrete, special formed plastic tank. I have seen all of these used for outhouses.

Re:Silly Gates.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750352)

How about fixing these people's government FIRST then helping them with all this other stuff.

Doing stuff like this in corrupt poorly run countries is much less effective than it should be and only temporary anyway. Total waste of money and resources. Who cares if you help someone get a toilet if it only lasts a couple months before it is broke or stolen.

Re:Silly Gates.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750370)

I think he has finally went over to the nutter side. a flush toilet that wastes precious water is NOT the answer.

Uhh, RTFS? That's exactly what he's saying.

Gates says it's time to move on from the era of the classic toilet.

...

.. just giving them Western-style toilets isn't possible because of the world's limited water resources.

Re:Silly Gates.... (1)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750532)

Mod parent down. Illiteracy should be punished.

Bury this shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36749966)

PSOD - Poo Screen Of Death - sorry I had too :)

BSoD? Really? (4, Insightful)

fsck! (98098) | more than 3 years ago | (#36749980)

Say what you want about Microsoft, but that's no longer the same thing as Bill Gates. I've been a /. user for around a decade and have certainly made my share of bad Bill Gates jokes, but the guy is literally trying to save the world now. He has the money and the connections to do it, and the projects he's working on are incredibly selfless. Let's give him a break. OP was being very immature IMHO.

Re:BSoD? Really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750462)

Haha microsoft is gay and has the stupid shitting bsod you fag hahaha bill gates can touch my peepee i hate him

Bias? naah.. not really (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36749990)

It's funny that a guy who cleans up shit (i.e. works on sanitary and well-being for poor and underdeveloped countries) is made fun of, constantly on slasdhot.

And there is the other guy, who has shat on it's own users, shat on all the other companies, shat on open source movement, shat on patent system, shat on bloggers, shat on pretty much everything is hailed as god.

Fuck slashdot.

Limited water resources? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750006)

Last I checked most of the surface area of Earth is water. Why not flush toilets with saltwater when 38% of the population [tamu.edu] lives within 100km of an ocean? Tidal driven pumps could be used for energy efficiency and in desert areas, solar desalinization is a possible source of drinking and irrigation water.

Toilet Usage (1)

jeek (37349) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750010)

64.0 oz of water should be enough for anyone!

Re:Toilet Usage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750516)

What's an 'oz' ?

Get ready... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750042)

for a bunch of shitty jokes!

So then, is this... (1)

kakyoin01 (2040114) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750056)

...money down the toilet?

This is a solved problem (1)

heydan (112791) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750068)

http://humanurehandbook.com/store/LOVEABLE-LOO-Eco-Toilet.html

Re:This is a solved problem (2)

TheCycoONE (913189) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750466)

What do they do with the waste, as far as I can tell they use it for compost, but using human waste as compost for edible products, or even being in contact with it can lead to several diseases

Simple composting toilets (2)

3.5 stripes (578410) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750074)

Why re-invent the wheel, just make it low cost and difficult to block up..

After Kenya, may I suggest France... (1)

bigredswitch (622835) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750076)

My not-so-old house has toilets with a "continental shell" and a tap to do the flushing, So after the Kenyans get their newfangled MicroToilets, I'd like one of their old ones to replace my shitty (pun intended) Western-style pot.

Re:After Kenya, may I suggest France... (1)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750322)

Or U.S.A.? I live 30 minutes from Washington D.C. in a neighborhood without public utilities. Fresh water comes out of a hole in the ground and waste water goes into another hole in the ground. With too many houses in the region, that fresh water source is becoming contaminated.

Reinstall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750100)

Great you will have to reinstall it every time someone takes a crap.

Can it guys. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750102)

C'mon. Whatever you may think of Windows, Microsoft, or even Gates himself, here is a guy putting his money where is mouth is and trying to fix things. Which is a lot more than most of us are doing. Can't we give the snark a rest for a while out of respect for a dude that's quit talking and started doing?

flush lever will be replaced by a touchpad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750122)

Which will transparently download Active-X plugins that have access to the tank's chemical flushants, which will encourage real innovation from a worldwide network of developers.

Tip: if you encounter a screen that says "Abort, Retry, Ignore?" you might want to try another stall.

Box it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750180)

They just need people to put it in boxes and send it to people who won Publisher's Clearing House.

TeePee (5, Funny)

Nanosphere (1867972) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750184)

Hi my name is TeePee, think of me as your potty assistant! It looks like you're trying to go #2...

The Blue Screen of Death is : (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750186)

Shit in your face ?

or eating your shit ?

or, not be able to even shit, because you cant eat ?

Toilets not the issue (3, Informative)

Tx (96709) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750202)

While many of the comments so far are focussing on the issue of toilets, as does the summary, it's the whole sewage infrastructure that's the issue. In the African cities I've been to, large areas don't have proper underground sewers, and sewage is carried in stinking open gutters at the side of the road; having any kind of toilet doesn't help if it's flushing into those open sewers. TFA talks about supporting construction of pit latrines in slums that lack any form of sanitation, so it seems they are being quite practical about working with the existing infrastructure.

Bill Behind the Curtain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750236)

But does he say whether the toilet will mutilate your genitals, require a life-long contract with Monsanto, or mysteriously stop working every two hours?

Suggestion from epSos.de (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750240)

It is already invented Bill. Just make it popular. Repackage and sell it as your own idea.

Look around Swiss or Japanese shopping websites for ideas. A basic butt shower or a hydraulic bidet attachment will save 2/3 of the toilet paper and almost all of the infections. Water is saved too, because it takes less water to wash a butt than it takes to produce the paper for it. Women love it.

Three seashells! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750250)

If anyone can figure out how to use the three seashells, Bill Gates can!

Toilets are not sanitary (1)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750266)

Why would you want the privy right there in the house?

I wonder ... toilet version... Blue Screen (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750392)

The brown cheeks of ass.

Outhouse? (2)

retroworks (652802) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750476)

I lived in Africa, and built outhouses. We dug a deep hole. Then, we made a shallow square hole, about 6 inches deep, in the soft pile of dirt. We placed a bucket on the ground inside the square, poured cement (and rebar) around the bucket, and when the cement dried we removed the bucket and had a floor with a hole in it. We put the floor with the hole over the hole we'd dug. Then we required people to sign a EULA agreement that by peeing in the outhouse, they agreed not to copy our idea. Wait, no we didn't. Kidding aside, I don't see that water has ever been part of the toilet equation in the developing world.

Already done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750510)

He'll never make a better toilet than Vista.

Solved Problem (1)

Carik (205890) | more than 3 years ago | (#36750518)

This is a solved problem. Composting toilets have been around for decades, and are not uncommon in highway rest areas. They're low/no water use toilets. Liquids are either evaporated with help from a solar-powered exhaust stack or separated and run through underground perf pipe to water flower beds. The solids break down into a sterile compost, and can be used for fertilizing flower beds. They could, in theory, be used safely for fertilizing vegetables, but the yuck factor is more than most people can get past for that.

They're not cheap at the moment, but if you ramped up production and focused more on function than appearance they'd be a lot cheaper to make. They've got very few moving parts (a door to get compost out, an electric fan to encourage evaporation of liquids), so they're easy to maintain.

I appreciate that Bill Gates is trying to solve an important problem -- and it IS an important problem! -- but I find myself wondering why he's not just promoting and improving an existing solution.

Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36750526)

Ah... *presses the handle on the toiletr* BSOD! Unable to run flush.exe, it may be corrupt. Please reinstall. D: Ffffff

Still, I find what Bill Gates is doing is good though. He has tons of money and he is putting it to good use in helping parts of the world.

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