More On Cell Phones And Toilets

Last month I briefly touched upon the correlation between cell phones and toilets. My influence was coincidentally reading a story on third-world water sanitation a day or so before stumbling upon the cell phone statistics.

Now the UN is reporting in India more people have access to cell phones than toilets.

To briefly recap:

  1. I called it.
  2. I still find it disturbing.

Cell Phones And Toilets

There are an estimated 6.8 billion people on this planet at the time of this blog post. There will be 5 billion cell phone subscriptions by the end of this year. Granted some people have several, most have 1.

To put this in perspective 884 million people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water (WHO/UNICEF [pdf]). The same report notes 2.5 billion “are without improved sanitation”. Roughly 1.17 billion (18% of the 6.5 billion population in 2006) still use “open defecation” or to put it in more crude terms, they crap in the woods, fields, streams, and rivers under the open sky.

There’s something a little disturbing about these trends. In my ideal world more people will always have access to toilets that don’t contaminate their own drinking water than use cell phones.

It Must Be Ice

Phoenix has found ice on Mars:

June 19, 2008 — Dice-size crumbs of bright material have vanished from inside a trench where they were photographed by NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander four days ago, convincing scientists that the material was frozen water that vaporized after digging exposed it.

“It must be ice,” said Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona, Tucson. “These little clumps completely disappearing over the course of a few days, that is perfect evidence that it’s ice. There had been some question whether the bright material was salt. Salt can’t do that.”

You can see an image here. Awesome.

This is pretty historic. The US has hopes of putting a man on Mars sometime in the 2030 time frame (well after a return to the moon). Water on Mars will likely have an impact on how that mission is designed, and possibly it’s success.

Mars has ice caps, that’s been known for a long time. Subterranean ice was suspected, and now confirmed.