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Inventor of Low Tech Fridge Wins Award

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the swamp-cooler dept.

Science 369

juju2112 writes "Mohammed Bah Abba of Nigeria won a Rolex award for his pot-in-pot invention. Here's how it works. You take a smaller pot and put it inside a larger pot. Fill the space in between them with wet sand, and cover the top with a wet cloth. When the water evaporates, it pulls the heat out with it, making the inside cold. It's a natural, cheap, easy-to-make refrigerator."

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This is New? (1)

NoDoZ (232151) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767360)

This is New?

Re:This is New? (-1, Offtopic)

Memetic (306131) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767377)

Nope. SCO's patent has been online for at least 5 years.

20 seconds to post? I'll type down here for a while to waste time.....

Re:This is New? (4, Insightful)

passthecrackpipe (598773) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767395)

nope - there is something like 4500 years of prior art on this one - bedouin tribes have been using this for ever. I saw this used 10 years ago on holiday in Egypt. So Rolex grabs the first Nigerian that has seen something cool while on holiday and actually implemented it at home, and gives him a friggin "award" for his "invention".

Re:This is New? (5, Funny)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767562)

And I thought Nigerians were the most honest people on earth!


Re:This is New? (1)

Zouden (232738) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767588)

Even so, $100k goes a LONG way in a country like Nigeria. You can't really criticise Rolex for that.
Sure, someone in a developed country might have come up with something more innovative, but they probably don't need the money as much as this guy would.

I wonder how much $100,000 is compared to the money the Nigerian 412-scammers make...

Re:This is New? (5, Interesting)

asdf 101 (703879) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767603)

Prior art apart, this is more a case of practical application on a scale previously unknown for this device.

The main reason for any award that this "device" would be eligible for is of course its social impact. If a simple arrangement of clay pots can prolong the life of perishable food in areas that don't have our "off the shelf from the supermarket perceptual abundance", it's got my vote. If it can drive more kids to school rather than have them vending out on the streets, it should have your vote too.

You might be well right when you say that this is an old invention. But I would caution against demeriting it simpy on account of that. Once again, clearly, the impact of the invention's application counts just as much as (maybe even more than) the invention itself.

One more example of applied commonplace knowledge -- Freeplay radio [] . Just how long have we known of windup springs and their potential energy???


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767541)

Okay after a massive night of trolling the international Slashdots: [] and [] , I received a few responses. One of the posts is here [] . Could somebody translate that? I can see the word "the dinosaur", but I don't know what the rest of the gibberish is. Perhaps the dude is saying "You are a mother fucker, Megalozilla. The dinosaur something"? Babelfish is no help.

Re:This is New? (5, Informative)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767550)

This is New?

No, not particularly. It's a very old trick to make cold water by putting it in an unglazed clay pot, which is porous, and allowing evaporation of the seepage to draw the heat out. I learned it from Mexican Indians 35 years ago and it was effective enough to make water cold enough to make your teeth hurt even in the tropical rainforest. It works even better in the desert where evaporation happens quicker due to the low humidity.

European bicycle racers have been wrapping their water bottles with a damp cloth covering to keep the water chilled for decades as well.

Until a couple of weeks ago I thought everybody knew you could keep cool by wearing a dampened T-shirt, and then I learned that the Pardy's, those paragons of sea lore and self-sufficiency without electrical power, had only just learned this trick. . .from a Mexican. (This serves as an object lesson to me. Even the experts might well overlook simple and obvious tricks that "every child" knows. Even if that expert is me). The water evaporates from the Tshirt drawing heat out of your body.

Wrap something damp around a pot, as is done with the water bottle, and the air inside the pot chills, as does anything inside the pot. Wrap a porous outer layer around the damp cloth, such as another pot, and you moderate the evaporation rate.

This "invention" seems to miss a few of the finer points of the device, thus requiring the damp cloth over the two pots. You need to use an unglazed pot for the outer one. Then you can even put a real cover on the thing and it still works. Better. Longer. Some sort of batting works better as a wick than sand, although sand will do and is certainly freely available.

I don't mean to denigrate this man's intellectual accomplishment. If he thought it up on his own from basic principles the intellectual feat is equal to the first man that did it.

But it really does amount to the reinvention of folklore that exists in one place in some other place.

And the people from Rolex think of it as a new invention because they are modern, mechanistic folk who don't know how to go about living without modern power and machines or what people who do not have such devices already know about doing so.

The Zapotec Indians I lived among for some months knew lots of tricks that had been handed down over thousands of years for surviving with nothing but what you could make with your own two hands. I've got a poncho just about eight feet from me right now that was woven by them on a backstrap loom they made themselves, with wool from sheep they had grown themselves, sheared themselves, carded themselves, spun themselves, using weaving techniques their ancestors had invented themselves (even though many people throughout the world had invented the same thing). Living with them for a few months taught me more about how to think about living than any number of survival books and hiking expeditions had ever done.

Many of the things they did appeared as magic to me, because I was just an ignorant Americano and their technology was sufficiently advanced. . .for the enviroment. Much of the mythology surrounding the "magical" abilities of the Australian aborigine come from the same source, their technology being too advanced for a European to understand. It was lost technology to them.

I was in Mexico in the late 60s (that's where I first heard Abbey Road). The Zapotecs are starting to lose it too now as they begin to sell their weaving to touristas so that they may buy Tshirts and blue jeans. Most of them buy neon colored acrylic yarn from the store now instead of using their own lovely wool, because the Americanos really like the bright "native" colors instead of the natural tones of wool.

Well, their lot will certainly improve with more money at their disposal, and I certainly won't begrudge them that. Doctors cost serious money no matter how "self-sufficient" they are, and they could really use some good doctors. It was their one real lack.

But they are losing thousands of years of technology that they are one of the last surviving remnants of. Perhaps in my old age I'll have to go back and show them things their great grandparents showed me.


Errata (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767556)

Why the hell don't I frickin' preview for God's sake?

It's common folk lore.


Re:This is New? (-1, Troll)

tarunthegreat2 (761545) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767577)

Why the frig is this post even there. There is also this invention known as Clay. Used by people in India and Africa to make pots, which hold water. This thing called Clay is POROUS. So what happens is that when you put water in the pot, the hot, less dense water evaporates, leaving COOL water in the pot. This has been done for the past 5000 years. I can't fucking believe this actually gets a mention on Slashdot. So since I'm now officially a troll with awful Karma simply because the Mods are biased, I guess this'll be my last post on SlashShit. So goodbye, and STFU

First Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767361)

First POST!


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767402)

keeping beer cool (5, Interesting)

phelix_da_kat (714601) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767364)

Remember at school/university when we use the same principle to keep our beer cold.

Grab a clean sock, soak in water, wring out, cover teh can of beer and leave on the window sill.. LOL

Re:keeping beer cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767405)

Who said the sock has to be clean?

Re:keeping beer cool (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767412)

The problem is in finding a clean sock. Between the college student's disdain for doing laundry and his fondness for sock masturbation, it's nigh impossible.

Re:keeping beer cool (1)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767464)

As long as the sock is not too thoroughly impregnated with hydrophobic pollutants, it needn't be all that clean. As long as it can absorb some water, it will work; the can itself will prevent the sock from contaminating the beer.

Re:keeping beer cool (5, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767415)

Remember at school/university when we use the same principle to keep our beer cold.

Well of course it's obvious, and everybody knows the trick, but this is a perfect example of how some people can be taken by the most outrageous nigerian scams. This time it was the Rolex award judges. Perhaps they expect 20M to be wired from some bank account in Nigeria or something...

Re:keeping beer cool (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767452)

Happily it turns out that the joke is on the "inventor" since it wasn't really the "Rolex award judges", but a cheap knock-off panel of judges from Thailand.

Re:keeping beer cool (1)

jigyasubalak (308473) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767436)

What about people cooling water in earthen pots? It's the same technology, for chrisssake...I use one at home...maybe that guy should share his award with me.

Re:keeping beer cool (0, Informative)

squaretorus (459130) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767441)

Im pretty sure this award news is nonsense - in that this technique has been used for a Very Long Time. I certainly recall being shown the principle at work in a 'water powered fridge' during a tour of a 14th century Scottish castle when I was at school.

Water evaporates - it makes stuff cold. Like when I spray my back when I get too hot cycling.

Simple technology is important - but this is neither news nor does it matter.

Re:keeping beer cool (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767524)

sounds like you can apply this to your computer and keep it cooled

Re:keeping beer cool (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767525)

Not sure why the sock has to be clean.

Just asking.

Different Interpretation (5, Funny)

incognitox (123292) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767365)

For some reason, I read "pot-in-pot" as more of a smuggler's invention. Ingenious! I'll hide the _REAL_ pot inside this _FAKE_ pot, so they'll never find it!

Brilliant! (0, Insightful)

martingunnarsson (590268) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767367)

I think it's great that prizes like this don't always go to fancy hi-tech stuff. Like the article sais, this invention can and have changed peoples lives.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

cybermace5 (446439) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767451)

It's a more or less obvious solution for anyone who knows some rudimentary thermodynamics. And basically, all they HAVE there in most places, excluding edible things, are (a) sticks, (b) pots, (c) cloth, and (d) dirt. Evaporative cooling is nothing new at all. In fact, modern refrigeration is pretty much based on the same principle, with the refinements of coolant choices and closed-loop operation. The only major advancement in refrigeration recently has been the Peltier junction.

However, it would be interesting to find out if this guy indeed knew any thermodynamics at all. If he came up with this arrangement by investigating why wet skin feels cold, then I think he deserves recognition for some research and development. Certainly, being able to demonstrate this method and spread it to needy areas is an accomplishment in itself.

This works the other way too (5, Interesting)

Red_Harvest (260868) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767491)

Using water to avoid food freezing used to be very common in Norway (and doubtless in other countries with similar climates) before the advent of electricity.

Put a few buckets of water in your food storage room, and as long as the water is not frozen, the food in the room will not freeze either. Just before the water freezes, replace the buckets with liquid water. Repeat as necessary, and the food will not freeze.

Re:Brilliant! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767514)

That's about the most patronizing thing I've read tonight.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

fucksl4shd0t (630000) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767578)

The only major advancement in refrigeration recently has been the Peltier junction.

Man, learn something new every day. Thanks for this rather offhand reference, I'd never heard of a peltier junction and thought the only way to cool something was with either swamp cooling (what the article is about, blah) or heat pumps. It may be "common knowledge" to the rest of you lot, but it's new to me. ;)

rolexity (4, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767368)

Give a man a rolex, and he's more or less late for a lifetime. Give a man a stick, and he's on time at least once a day.

Hey Michael... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767369)

...You're a jerk!

performance parameters? (4, Interesting)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767370)

i'd sure like to know how often you have to change the wet sand, in order to get 2 weeks worth of refrigeration?

anyone got any napkin-science calculations that can give us a ballpark of whats needed? i'm sure this is a simple physics equation, only i'm certainly not qualified to work out the formula ...

Re:performance parameters? (1)

AlecC (512609) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767416)

Do you have to change the sand? Just pour more water in. I wouldn't leave it too long, because bugs breed in stagnant water, but it should be OK tfor a few weeks. And sand is cheap.

Re:performance parameters? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767437)

<i>I wouldn't leave it too long</i>

Just do what aquarium keepers do with gravel to kill snails, bake the sand at a very low heat until dry. Normally a 325 setting with the door open. Not sure if cost of sand offsets the cost of the oven, but you get the idea.

Re:performance parameters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767478)

You shouldnot need the cooker to be turned up so high, since, the water is boiled as low as just 100 degrees. So, probably say 150 degrees for a margin of safety, becauce the air which is between the fire and the sand is not such a good thermoconductor.

Although, if they do not have even an electric refrigerator, so it is unlikely also that there should be a thermostat-cooker.

Re:performance parameters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767539)

And, strangely, 150 celsius is about 300 farenheit. For some reason, I suspect the original poster was thinking farenheit.

Re:performance parameters? (3, Insightful)

Propagandhi (570791) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767421)

As long as you keep it in the shade I doubt you need to rewet the sand too often. Two layers of clay (or whatever the pots are made out of) as well as a few inches of sand should insulate fairly well. If anyone has a site that lists the "R" values (insulation coefficiants) of sand and clay all you'd need to do is compare that to something like a cooler (at least to get an idea on how effective this is).

Just like your refridgerator at home the main limitation\factor in terms of heat loss is going to be how often you open the fridge and whether you cover it with something more substantial than a cloth once the water is done evaporating.

so how effective is it? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767371)

how many wats?

I ask because a friend of mine.. well who am I kidding, I use watercooling and this kind of thing for keeping the water cooled could be quite cool(I already use mostly open bucket evaporating, helped with 1 big fan at low speed to get rid of the heat).

(and during summer it's expected to go to 30 celsius for fuckin weeks again and no money for AC)

Re:so how effective is it? (3, Funny)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767456)

and during summer it's expected to go to 30 celsius for fuckin weeks again and no money for AC

You poor bastard.

Try working outside in the sun at 43 degrees on hot earthmoving equipment (with engines hot enough to melt your boots when you stand on them)

During summer I wished for "just" 30 degree weather every day.

(Annnnnnd I had to crawl on my stomach 5 miles to school every day! Uphill both ways! Down in the dust and the dirt and prickles and the bitey ants! And I *liked* it, because damnit, that was *good* compared to what some of the other kids went through!)

Re:so how effective is it? (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767492)

I already use mostly open bucket evaporating

during summer it's expected to go to 30 celsius for fuckin weeks again and no money for AC
You're using evaporation to cool your home? How effective is that?

For me, the most important function of an AC is that it dries the air. I'd even use AC if it would't cool the air as well... I can stand warm weather, but it's the humidity that usually comes with it, that does me in. "Yeah man, but it's a dry heat", and all that.

Evaporation would cool the house somewhat, but add humidity to the air. Does that really make it more comfortable?

Re:so how effective is it? (1)

fucksl4shd0t (630000) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767582)

You're using evaporation to cool your home? How effective is that?

Where the fuck do you live? Around some of the places I grew up, evaporation was not only the cheapest way to cool your home, it was also the most pleasant because of the wetness you put in your air.

For me, the most important function of an AC is that it dries the air. I'd even use AC if it would't cool the air as well... I can stand warm weather, but it's the humidity that usually comes with it, that does me in. "Yeah man, but it's a dry heat", and all that.

Oh. Texas. I understand now.

Re:so how effective is it? (4, Informative)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767586)

Evaporative coolers such as units from bonair [] are excellent in dry, hot climates. They constantly draw in dry hot air from outside, drop it by about 10 degrees C and duct it through your house to escape through open doors and windows.

Where I live at present (Mount Isa, Queensland), just about every house and business has at least a 6000cfm evaporative air conditioner. Humidity can often get below 30%, meaning that they work particularly well. In fact, they can theoretically cool to the dew point, which if you take note of the last 72 hr readings from Mount Isa [] can pull down to 10 degrees or so when it's dry.

They are of course completely fucking useless for about 3 weeks of the year when it's hot and humid and you get storms in the afternoon at 35 degrees and 90% humidity. You just sweat like a pig then, or retreat to the refrigerative airconditioner you normally keep in reserve in your bedroom.

I'm happy for him and all but.. (5, Interesting)

Propagandhi (570791) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767380)

This same man (and invention) won an invention of the year award from time (as seen here [] ) in 2001. I guess it's interesting that he also won this award, but why is Rolex handing out awards years after the fact? Maybe I'm just used to the break neck pace of computer advancement, but this seems a little.. late.

Re:I'm happy for him and all but.. (5, Informative)

jobbegea (748685) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767484)

It is not a Time Award but a Rolex Award [] and indeed very old news (2000!).

yay for inventions! (-1, Troll)

fuck_this_shit (727749) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767382)

I just invented a stick filled with ink to make signs on paper with! Now, where is my prize? I also invented how to make heat out of wood, I call it "burnination". I think I'll patent that.

Brilliant. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767383)

Unfortunately such methods have been used in ancient Egypt 4000 years ago already.
Prior art anyone ?

Re:Brilliant. (1, Funny)

gunpowder (614638) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767555)

Unfortunately such methods have been used in ancient Egypt 4000 years ago already.

Yes, but this guy is using nigerian sand, not egyptian sand!

Re:Brilliant. (0)

tarunthegreat2 (761545) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767594)

Quick, get to the nearest beach! There's still hope for us Siberians and Americans! Yeehaw, one more patent and I'll be RICH.

Pot types (2, Interesting)

nmg196 (184961) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767387)

Does it make much difference what the materials of the pot are? I know they used clay pots, but do they need to be glazed, unglazed etc? Would plastic pots work (it's not just the 3rd would that has a use for battery free fridges).

I was thinking that perhaps it might work best if the external pot was slightly porus, to aid evaporation, but perhaps all the evaporation occurs at the top, so it doesn't make much difference.

Re:Pot types (2, Insightful)

Fortress (763470) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767455)

Such a cooler would work with any pot material, just with different efficiencies.

Ideally, you want the outside pot to be a good thermal insulator and the inside pot to be a good thermal conductor. That way, the heat consumed by evaporation is drawn from the contents inside rather than the outside air. Maybe a copper pot inside some sort of oversize thermos with a porous cover would be ideal...of course, such materials probably aren't available cheaply where they're using these ;-)

You're right (3, Insightful)

ColourlessGreenIdeas (711076) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767462)

Unglazed clay will work better due to water seeping through the pot and evaporating. It's very common to store drinking water in clay pots in India for exactly that reason (nowardays it'll be carried from the well in plastic pots)

Also in Mediterranean cultures (4, Informative)

TuringTest (533084) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767540)

This has also been done in Spain for centuries. We have a traditional earthenware pitcher called "botijo" with a very characteristic design [] .

The cooling effect has been scientifically studied. Here is this article describing it [] (Google-translated from Spanish).

To be picked up by OC'ers? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767388)

Just wait until someone figures out how to attach a cast iron pot to the top of the P4.

Let me guess (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767391)

Mohammed Bah Abba of Nigeria won a Rolex award for his pot-in-pot invention

So I expect soon he'll be creating MohamedCo and start selling rotisserie ovens on Nigerian TV?

Re:Let me guess (-1, Troll)

illuminata (668963) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767461)

What do you know? He won yet another award!

Nigeria has been a terrible place to cook meat because of their people's natural inability to make fire. However, Mohammed made an ingenious invention! You sharpen a stick, stab that stick through a piece of meat, poultry, or fish, and place that stick upon two sticks driven into the ground. When you rotate that stick under the hot Nigerian sun, your food cooks!

Mohammed, you're a genious. May Nigeria remember you in the highest regard.

The money (5, Funny)

ExCEPTION (102399) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767392)

I heard this guy needs someone to transfer the award money for him.

A miniature one for our caffeine? (1)

JThundley (631154) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767396)

I can't wait to try this out in a small scale. Could we use this with cans of root beer using small plant pots?

Fascinating... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767397)

> You take a smaller pot and put it inside a larger pot

Then goes the lighter...
Who needs a freakin fridge ;-)?

It's an old trick... (4, Insightful)

WegianWarrior (649800) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767406)

..but maybe the difference is in the execution or something? To me, it's less important that someone might have done this before than the fact that doing it now might change peoples life to the better.

Shouldn't that be the focus of inventing new ways for doing things by the way? To improve peoples life?

But (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767407)

This is 3 years old (5, Informative)

jayrtfm (148260) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767414)

Time Magazine invention of the year [] for 2001

Nigeria? (1, Funny)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767420)

HELLO, I am Mohammed Bah Abba of Nigeria. I have recently won a large sum of money in a Rolex award for a new, fascinating invention of mine called the common cold. However, the Nigerian Chamber of Spa^H^H^HCommerce will not let me just withdraw the sum and leave the country. They inform me that I must e-mail someone of good repute who will assist me in acquiring the funds for a small part of the award, the sum of $30 million US dollars. I assure you that this transaction is 100% legal and risk-free.

In other news... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767429)

In other news: Man from Nigeria sells Rolex award, buys fridge.

One thing before I go to sleep. (5, Funny)

Propagandhi (570791) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767432)

I'm sure some of us geek's will be confused by this "sand" thing they're using in between the pots. This "sand" they talk about is actually just our friend silicon. Just thought I'd throw that out there to avoid some confusion.

Coolgardie Safe (5, Informative)

Howzer (580315) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767433)

This is by no means a new invention. Evaporation cooling has been in use in real products since the invention of the Coolgardie Safe [] , a primitive fridge invented to cope with western Australia's hot, hot summer.

But, cut the guy a break. The cool thing here is that he's done it with readily available local materials which is pretty much one of the key features for a real engineer. To paraphrase the old saw:

Anyone can make you an evaporative cooler for $100; this guy's done it for $1.

Nor is it a new prize. He won this in 2000! (1)

rufusdufus (450462) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767486)

Re:Nor is it a new prize. He won this in 2000! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767515)

Evaporative coolers have been used in Australia since the early 1800s, and possibly earlier. So he's still about 200 years too late for this to be a really novel invention.

Re:Coolgardie Safe (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767552)

this guy's done it for $1

If so then he's losing 60 cents on each one he sells: Availability: Now (in Nigeria), for 40 a set. [] But that's ok, he'll make up for it in volume.


Link to rolex awards? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767442)

How about posting the link to the actual award website [] ?

...Journalism at its best...

Re:Link to rolex awards? (2, Informative)

Shirotae (44882) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767554)

The Rolex Awards website is Flash only, so don't bother going there if you don't have/want to pollute your system with that technology.

I was hoping to find out what the criteria for the award were by going to the source, and hoping that it was for making the idea available in a way they can afford to people who need it by use of appropriate technology. Unfortunately, I was frustrated by an inappropriate use of technology on the web site. Those giving the award would do well to learn from those to whom it was given.

Obviously (1, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767444)

If this guy got a $100,000 dollar award, then these guys [] should get a "cool" million.

coming up next (4, Funny)

PsiPsiStar (95676) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767449)

patent 454,845,474,734

A liquid, excreted from the skin when hot, whose evaporation helps to maintain an organism within a certain temperature range as well as serving to eliminate certain waste materials from the body.

This process may be, but is not necessecarily, augmented by a seperate device composed of a number of curved blades, fitted to a central hub and rotated at high speeds by an electric motor in order to create artificial air currents. some form of material support apparatus keeps the device elevated above the ground, either by providing a stand or attaching to the ceiling of the room, or by mounting the device inside some form of automotive vehicle. Also, a guard device may be used to keep sundry items from coming in contact with the blades.

Re:coming up next (1)

CProgrammer98 (240351) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767537)

Application denied: speeling misteak detected

Re:coming up next (1)

lpontiac (173839) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767610)

I think you meant to put it in patent-speak:

augmented by a separate device composed of a
plurality of blades

Rolex? what about nobel? (1)

tahtalim (735164) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767465)

My people used this to cool water for centuries. I am glad they didn't give Nobel price yet.

My nigerian friends. (1)

Willeh (768540) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767467)

I'm willing to bet my close nigerian friends (who are not scammers at all, just the victims of an unfortunate clerical error at the local bank) are gonna be all over this wonderful new, innovative way to make money fast!

This is kind of stupid... (0, Redundant)

Biotech9 (704202) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767468)

Its just simple physics. A liquid evaporating takes heat [] , so wet stuff is cold, and wet stuff in the wind is very cold (as more relatively dry air flows over the wet surface and takes more water.)

Its nice that he's using pots, but to me its too simple and mundane to garner an award, its like giving an award to someone that 'discovers' a cheap water filter

"Just pour the dirty water through this peice of cloth and voila! "

You know what else is stupid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767494)

The electric light. I mean, it's just simple physics. A currrent is passed through an element in a vacuum, so it doesn't burn up, and it heats up and glows brightly.

IT'S nice that you're using one made out of glass and tungsten, to to me IT'S too simple and mundane to garner an award, IT'S like giving an award to someone that (who?) "discovers" antibiotics

"Just scrape the blue mould off this cheese here and voila!"

Re:This is kind of stupid... (5, Informative)

kcelery (410487) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767523)

The interesting thing about the pot is, it has tiny pores roughly in 1 micron range. Water is actually evaporate from the pores on the WHOLE surface of the pot, making it an effective evaporate/cooling device.

The article didn't mention the effectiveness of the device. Say, on a hot summer day, RH of 80%, if we keep the pot under the shade, could we achieve 15 degree C. A temperature ideal for beer.

Re: New Low Tech Fridge Reward! Respond ASAP! (1)

manavendra (688020) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767476)

Dear Sir/Madam

We are pleased to inform you of the result of the Lottery for Mohammed Bah Abba's Low Tech Fridge Reward programs held on the 5th of April, 2004. Your e-mail address attached to ticket number 27522465896-6453 with serial number 3772-554 drew lucky numbers 7-14-18-23-31-45 which consequently won in the 2nd category, you have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of 2,000,000 (EUROS ) (TWO MILLION EUROS)

Please send your bank details, your social security number and a wire transfer of $200 towards clearance fees.

Millk bottle cooler (2, Interesting)

Bushcat (615449) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767483)

When I used to leave for work at 6am and the milk arrived at 6:30am, I had "milk cooler" which was like a tall flower pot. I left it by the front door, soaking in a bucket full of water. The milkman would pop it over the bottle he delivered each morning. Neither of us got a Rolex for it, though. Maybe people who make Rolexes don't know about the bleedin' obvious. (And while we're at it, we could wonder who makes their watch movements and, indeed, watch bands. Doesn't leave Rolex with much to do.)

Re:Millk bottle cooler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767543)

Rolex makes their mechanisms themselves.

Water (4, Insightful)

IJsqueen (768535) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767495)

Thank god this only needs water, and they have an infinity supply of that in 3rd world countries, as we all well know.

Re:Water (5, Insightful)

cowbutt (21077) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767559)

Ordinary, uncleansed water is much easier to obtain than safe, drinkable water.


It's from 2000, but still cool (1)

infernow (529374) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767507)

Someone a few posts down posted a link the the Rolex Awards site, but not the info page about the invention itself.

That page is located here [] .

What a terrible pun. I apologize. (1)

infernow (529374) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767519)

That's what I get for not re-reading things when I post.

Nice , but (1)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767518)

I want to see something along the scale of a Solar powered ammonia-cycle ice maker (pdf) []

Summary : Ammonia bonded to salt crystals in a closed system is driven off by the heat from a solar reflector, condensed to liquid via a coil of pipe in a drum of water and stored in pressure vessel in an insulated box. Remove the heat, and the ammonia liquid boils off and is recombined with the salt, and can freeze about 10lbs of ice in every 3-4 hour cycle.

This has the advantage over the evaporative system in that it can go to considerably below freezing. Other people are working on something that has a "hot end" that can be heated above a fire, and a "cold end" that can be later inserted into an icebox to produce the same general effect.

But, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767527)

can it cook my TV dinner?

My first reaction was ... (1)

DikSeaCup (767041) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767528)

I glanced through the threads and noticed that this guy had gotten the award three years ago from Time. Funny thing, though; when I first read this, instead of this seeming three years late to me, it seemed four days late instead.

Psst ... it was April 1 four days ago.


anti-NAT (709310) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767529)

Yada, yada, yada 419-like text here, only coming from the "CEO of Rolex".

Actually this is a bit like some art - some dude publishes a 1000s of years old idea, and is recognised for it. So he's basically being rewarded for publishing the idea, not having it. Sort of like some art - you look at it and think, who on Earth would do that ? And then they sell it for $1000s, and then you think to yourself, "I'm an idiot", I could have done that !

Dear Fuckers (-1)

TheSpoogeAwards (589343) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767557)

Which one of you fucking monkeys broke

Most pioneer types had similar stuff (3, Informative)

theolein (316044) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767564)

I'm from South Africa and I remember a visit to a friends farm about 20 years ago, where he showed me this big black metal box (about 6 feet, 180cm high) he had in his back yard which he used for storing spiced and salted dried meats (locally called Biltong, a bit like beef jerky I think). It worked on the same principle in that it was double walled with the space inbetween the wall filled with sand and a large grating on top which needed to be replenished with water every now and again. It was amazingly cool in the African summer heat.

He had replaced the box after the one from his grandfather finally rusted to pieces after just over 75 years of continual use.

Truckers in South Africa also used to also carry a water bag in a wet sand filled canvas bag outside their trucks to provide a constant source of cool water.

I think the principle is probably much older than this, probably going back to the first person realising that the wind chilled him more after taking a dip in a lake that when he was dry.

Re:Most pioneer types had similar stuff (1)

MrIrwin (761231) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767604)

Also in Europe (at least france and Italy!), many truck drivers have a bottle holder beneath the rear view mirror which is wrapped with cloth. Every time they take a swig from the bottle they slosh a bit of water on the cloth.

How it works... (4, Informative)

otter42 (190544) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767566)

Basically, the outer clay pot is porous. The water evaporates and escapes through the pores in the clay. This all happens very quickly because the air is so dry. So assuming that 1 kg of water evaporates each hour, this means about 2kJ of energy, and thus heat, is sucked from the pot. So for you non-metric heads, this means that every gallon of water equals 8,000 BTU. For reference, a typical family refigerator might use 7,700,000 BTU/yr, or 900BTU/hr.

You'd be surprised at the massive amount of energy that a liquid-to-vapor phase change can carry away. In fact, six times more energy is needed to turn one molecule of 100C liquid water to one molecule of 100C vapor water than is needed to heat liquid water from 0 to 100C!

Boiling, which is a similar phenomenon, is the most efficient way to transfer heat known to science.


1. My girlfriend
2. You
3. ???
4. Profit!

Invented for several thousand years (1)

SillyCON (695977) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767567)

Latins have been using it from ages literally. At Spain its called "botijo" and keeps water cool even at the most torrid summer days by simply putting it in the shadow and letting the water transpire trough ceramic. Heres the explanation: con-C/Curiosid/Rc-54/Rc-54.htm By the way, I have rolled a rag to a broom stick for washing floors without kneeling down. Its really clever. I want my Rolex.

WTF? (1)

mrselfdestrukt (149193) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767569)

As a nerd I found this to be vital news on stuff that really matters. I'm going to power down my servers now and go and play with pots and wet sand.

Nothing new (1)

floorten (44802) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767571)

This is no real "invention". My father (75) told me about how they used to do this when he was a soldier.

Maybe if I go over to Nigeria I too might claim a prize for inventing a round spinning thing for enabling the movement of carts...

PotPotPot (1)

pklong (323451) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767574)

I remember my folks telling me about when they couldn't afford a fridge and so had to keep the milk in a bucket of water with a tea towel over it. Same principle.

Standard implementation (1)

jeti (105266) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767583)

AFAIK this kind of fridge is being used by street vendors in Africa. The outer "pot" is normally a wire basket and instead of sand they use coal, which gives a larger surface.

Read this several years ago.

Old news for real nerds (1)

gargleblast (683147) | more than 10 years ago | (#8767584)

Mohammed Bah Abba received his Rolex Award For Enterprise on September 27, 2000. Here is the Scientific American write up from November 2000 [] .

Award for making a simpler fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8767600)

Rub 2 sticks together vigorously. Lets look through history books and find more stuff to get awards on.
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