B1 Intermediate US 75 Folder Collection
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About a year ago, I read about this powder
You could add to super muddy water like this, and then you stir it up and five minutes later
the mud has separated from the pure clean drinkable water. And as a man of science
I see this and it feels like nothing short of magic. I only make 12 videos a year
so I am really picky about what topics I will cover and even though I usually just focus on using science and engineering to make
to make totally ridiculous things
(Motors whirring)
(Glass shattering)
(Kids screaming)
At least once a year, I try to make the case
that these same science and engineering principles
are also being used to actually change
the world for the better. For example last year
I met with Madhu Prakash from Stanford who was disappointed to realize the typical microscope and centrifuge to diagnose malaria
cost tens of thousands of dollars and needs to be plugged in.
So he invented a paper microscope and a paper centrifuge that cost 68 cents
that can diagnose malaria and require no electricity.
So today we're gonna find out how this was invented
How the heck it works and how it's being used to help people all around the world
But first to demonstrate this isn't some kind of smoke and mirrors trick
I located the nastiest water I could find near my house and met up with some intrepid field scientists. So today
I'm joined by my friends Cole, Kaden, Rainy and Max I promised them they could be in a video
But I didn't tell them which one or what we'd be doing. And here's the deal guys. We need to go into that pond
That's all gross and nasty and fill it up with muddy water. Can you do that?
[Excited music]
Do you guys think this would be good to drink this? No. What would you guys give me if I take a sip of this
20 bucks. 20 bucks? Okay, we're not gonna do anything to this one, but I'm gonna do something to this one
So then we can compare the two. Okay, so I'm gonna take a little bit of this powder
I'm gonna put it in here you guys see this and then we're gonna take turns shaking it for like five minutes, okay
(Chill music)
Let's see what happens
It looks better
Okay, I'm gonna put my thumb at the water level so you know I'm not tricking you guys okay
(Water swishing)
It's some high quality H2O right there. All right, where's my 20 bucks Rainy?
Mommy [laughter]
Chances are if you're watching this video you have essentially an endless supply of clean water at
The pull of a lever. And because this is so easy, we tend to forget just how critical water is for us
You can live three weeks without food but only a few days without water and it's not just us from plants to ants to bacteria,
anything that is biological and living needs water to survive
It sounds crazy but there are no exceptions to this rule because of this when NASA is looking for evidence of life outside our planet
We first start by looking for evidence of water given all that
It's a total bummer that nearly 1 billion people around the world don't have access to clean drinking water.
Today, drinking contaminated water causes more deaths than HIV, AIDS, and malaria combined
And so that's why the powder in this packet is a really big deal
It was invented by a guy named Philip Souter
He's a laundry scientist at Procter & Gamble who was originally trying to figure out a way to separate dirt from used laundry water and I want
To be clear here. They are not sponsoring this video in any way
I just think what they're doing is really awesome and they deserve some credit
So I was actually able to track Philip down and he told me all about how it works
So essentially as three processes there's coagulation then the next phase is flocculation
And then the last piece is the disinfection. You start with clean water like this
But now it's all brown because it's filled with lots of dirt particles, parasites, and bacteria.
So you dump the powder in the water and as Phil explained, the coagulant part of the powder goes to work first
It's basically seed crystals that are positively
charged and because the dirt in the water is negatively charged, these seed crystals act like dirt magnets. These dirt magnets grow until they're each
about a millimeter in size.
The next part of the powder to activate is the flocculent,
which is a polymer which you can think about as having huge long arms that wrap up all the little
dirt magnet clumps and now they form bigger chunks as large as a centimeter. These chunks now are so big
They're just slightly more dense than the water, which means they sink to the bottom.
and finally, the chlorine is released and it goes to work on killing the
99.9999% of
All the really tiny viruses and bacteria that are left in the water that didn't get wrapped up and sink to the bottom
so now you're just left with safe drinking water at the top. This isn't just some PR stunt for P&G since
2004, millions of people in over 90 countries have used these packets and they've saved untold thousands upon thousands of lives.
In fact, they've cleaned enough water to fill a swimming pool
that is the typical five feet deep by 15 feet across only the length would need to stretch all the way across the United States,
over 13 times.
These packets cost them pennies to make which they sell at a loss and that feels like the right thing to do, but it brings
up the question:
Is there a case to be made beyond altruism where it's in the best
interest of the rich countries to help out the poor countries? To answer this question
I wanted to speak with someone in the technology sector who had some experience in this kind of thing
And he's a bit of an obscure up-and-comer named Bill Gates
But first I had to do a little bit of research in order to get myself up to Seattle
[excited music]
When I arrived they told me I was free to make myself at home while I waited for him to show up,
so I did what any rational person would do given the circumstances, I made the richest man on planet earth some pizza rolls.
Good to meet you. Yeah, thanks for doing this. They gave me free reign of your kitchen and as a token of hospitality,
I whipped up a batch of pizza rolls. Oh wow.
I'll try it. It's not what I normally eat.
Its really hot, actually. They're kind of like lava in the middle. Not bad.
They're ok right?
A little bit of cardboard. What do you got here? This is plan B because I wasn't expecting you to actually eat one of those.
Dick's burgers. Love dick's.
It's a Seattle phenomena. Truth be told I actually knew this after seeing a picture of him on reddit.
He's standing line by himself to buy one of their hamburgers for less than two bucks.
Hate to disappoint you there's no Dick's burgers in here. Okay. We have some liquid refreshment
That's pretty dark looking.
So I took out the powder and explained to him how it worked and then I set up the bottles, and here's where we stood
after a minute or two. Looks like we're making some progress on the top there.
I'd rather eat these than that so far.
Why should we care about developing nations?
Well the amount of resource that rich countries spend in helping poor countries is pretty small.
It's well less than 1% of their budget.
I defend that because that money is so impactful. You're saving lives for less than
$1,000 per life saved. If you help the country lift itself up then countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, India
get successful enough, they grow their economy. So they no longer need aid. They graduate. Okay. Look at this
It's amazing the way that is small,
Isn't it crazy? amount of this thing
It's like magic and I like his answer that basically teaching a man to fish is better than just giving a man a fish.
What about the extreme case of a person who's just super
self-absorbed who might think I just don't care if a poor country has a fish or not, It doesn't affect my daily life.
I asked what he would say to that person.
The benefits are strong even if the pure humanitarian empathetic part
isn't the key reason. So then bill told me two main reasons we should try and help developing nations
even from a selfish standpoint. The first is for our own safety.
If a poor country receives aid,
it fosters education and economic opportunity,
which makes it more stable and there's a less of a reason for people to become desperate,
which is a breeding ground for radical ideologies and terrorism.
All America's top generals agree that foreign aid creates stability, which reduces the need for military spending and makes the world a safer place.
Additionally, Bill told me there's the issue of diseases. When the next pandemic comes, there's a good chance
it will be far worse than Ebola and it will spread quickly into the rich countries.
There's a huge benefit to us in helping these developing nations get their health systems to the point where they can detect and treat bad
stuff before it has the chance to go global. The second selfish reason for helping
developing nations that we discuss together was for our own prosperity.
After World War II, we think hey, do we care about Japan?
Well, hey then Japan, you know Sony and Toyota they're making good products. Yeah, let's not forget Nintendo.
It's a win-win situation, you know where we want
Japan to do well and make great products and you know, they're buying Boeing Jets, Microsoft software
and so having "hypothetically"
The idea that other countries doing well, it's not a zero-sum thing
where okay if they do well, that means that it's it's bad for us.
Basically, we needed to get the Japanese back to a point where their brains could benefit the world again as quickly as possible.
Otherwise, it's a waste of human capital and the world never knows Super Mario Brothers.
Which raises an interesting point if you ask people who is the most intelligent person to ever live, you get various answers like these:
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Mark Rober
Did I tell you to say that?
[Nods] What, you-! But the fact is with 100 billion people to have ever lived on planet Earth,
it's a statistical certainty that Albert Einstein wasn't the most intelligent human. It was some random person
you've never heard of probably born a long time ago who spent most of their daily energy
just trying to survive. That's why these packets are a huge deal when you have nearly 1 billion people spending their time
just trying to find clean water every day, that's a huge waste of untapped brainpower.
Now these packets and other aid efforts like them allow parents to stay healthy and gives them time to provide for their families.
Which gives their kids the opportunity to get educated which in turn creates more opportunities for the following generation
and so eventually, over time, the entire world starts reaping the benefit
from the contribution of this previously untapped human capital.
In this way some massive breakthrough in solar technology,
or maybe the cure to cancer or HIV might come from a poor country who is just a developing nation today.
And I find that to be incredibly inspiring and a worthy goal.
I want to thank Bill and Melinda Gates for partnering with me on this video. They just released the brand-new Gates annual letter.
I will leave a link to it in the video description.
It's a great read if you want to learn how life has, and will continue to improve for the world's poorest. Plus, you get to
be inspired by people who have just made it their life's mission to make the world a better place.
You know I get to learn a lot
you know, I'm gonna be working on these diseases the rest of my life. Bill Gates, living legend, eater of pizza rolls.
- Yeah, not bad. - That was fantastic. Thanks so much, bro.
Now we drink.
[calm music]
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Drinking Nasty Swamp Water (to save the world)

75 Folder Collection
Yifan Liu published on March 1, 2020
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