Jul 082011

Hot little bodies keep cold schools warm in Siberia

Daily Mail

8 July 2061

A local school in Siberia at Yakutsk, a city of 100,000 people, has been built with a heating boiler no bigger than that found in many local homes. Instead, the heat is being supplied by the warmth given off by the three hundred children who attend the school.

During the day, the heat from their bodies is stored in the walls and ceilings and is then released overnight to keep the school warm for the following day, and to keep it at a cosy temperature of 20°C, even when the temperature outside falls to minus 40°C. The secret is a new type of wall insulation which is proving so successful that there are now plans for all future buildings in this part of Russia to be constructed from it.

In the last school where I taught the annual heating bill was in excess of 100,000 new roubles a year (equivalent to $10,000) and still we always felt cold” said one of the teachers, Ivan Ivanovich. “Now we need have the central heating on for the day before school starts, and once the children are in the building it remains cosy all day and is still warm when we come in the following morning.”

Jul 012011

Mexican farmers cash in on the five year drought

New York Times

1 July 2061

The persistently low annual rainfall experienced over the northern states of Mexico, the Mesa del Norte, is not affecting crop yields. So said the Director of the Regional Agricultural Service, speaking at the inauguration of a new drug facility in Torreón.

Francisco Córdoba said that Coahuila state was now in its fifth year of drought, which had seen rainfall a third of that normally expected.

Farmers have not suffered a loss of income thanks to DryMaize, the controversial genetically modified form of maize developed earlier in the century and which is now being gown around the world.”

Until recently DryMaize had been cultivated only in parts of sub-Saharan Africa when there is a chronic shortage of water, and there it forms a major part of the diet. However, in Mexico it had not proved popular as a food crop because of the sweetness of the corn flour produced from it. Instead it was being used to manufacture the new range of carbohydrate-based drugs for the treatment of viral diseases. However, because of the drought, it is being used to bake bread which is even being preferred by some people, thanks to an advertising campaign.