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The Straw that Saves Lives

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Providing money, roads, education, electricity, and employment to needy people of the world is a noble idea, but it's like putting the cart before the horse when a billion people don't have a reliable source of safe drinking water. They are in danger of ingesting typhoid, dysentery, salmonella, diphtheria, E. coli, or cholera. Water treatment plants and long distance pipes are terribly expensive for Third World nations, and even purified water can become contaminated with disease before consumption.

A possible solution: a personal water filter for each person. Danish water purification company Vestergaard Frandsen has developed the LifeStraw® Personal, a small filter that requires no power and can be worn on a string around the neck. There are no moving parts and no maintenance is required. Sip water directly through the LifeStraw® and it removes 99% of waterborne bacteria and viruses. There are several layers inside to filter out increasingly smaller pathogens, then iodine to kill the smallest, and finally charcoal to remove the iodine taste. After use, you blow air back through the straw to clear the filters. A personal filter lasts for about a year's use. It is not effective against the parasite Giardia lamblia, which is smaller than 5 microns, but the company is working on it.

Vestergaard Frandsen also offers the LifeStraw® Family, which can be used to clean a household water supply. The filter cleaning is just a bit more complicated than the personal filter, but still simple. The family filter should last two years.

LifeStraw® won the Saatchi & Saatchi Award for World Changing Ideas earlier this year, among a growing list of awards and accolades. It is not available at the retail level yet, although many are interested in using it for camping or international travel. Organizations and corporations who want to set up a distribution deal can contact Vestergaard Frandsen. Hundreds of thousands of LifeStraw®s have been distributed so far, much of them shipped to victims of disasters such as the 2005 earthquake in Kashmir and the recent cyclone in Burma. The cost of the personal LifeStraw® is about $3 each, which is too expensive for most of the people who need it. There's the tragedy, since $3 is about the cost of a morning latte for most Americans.

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Spéciale
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Improve Your Chopping Skills With This Knife-Cutting Board Hybrid
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Spéciale

Chopping ingredients properly is an impressive skill, and for those who haven’t mastered it yet, this part of the cooking process can be a pain. Luckily, it is possible to do your slicing and dicing without the awkward hand positions and frequent slip-ups. All you need is a knife that stays attached to the board where you’re doing the cutting.

Spotted over at Mashable, spéciale is a high-quality walnut cutting board that comes with a 17-inch Damascus steel knife built in. Whether you’re breaking down fruits, vegetables, cheese, or charcuterie, the blade can rotate across the board as you cut while the tip stays fixed in place. This leaves one hand free, so you don’t have to pause to put down your glass of wine before the chopping starts.

The designers focused on aesthetics along with functionality, so when the board is not being used in the kitchen it doubles as a serving platter. And after you’ve had a chance to enjoy the fruit of your labors, you can pop the knife off the board for easy clean-up.

Spéciale recently wrapped up a campaign on Kickstarter where it raised more than $150,500, and prior to that it debuted on Indiegogo, where it raised nearly $170,000. The product is still available to order through the Indiegogo page for $195.

[h/t Mashable]

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Retro Games Limited
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The Commodore 64 Will Return as a Mini Console With Dozens of Games
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Retro Games Limited

Today’s video games may be more innovative than ever, but that doesn’t stop many from returning to the old-school games that remind them of their childhood. Following Nintendo’s massive success with the NES Classic in 2016 and the SNES Classic in September, the Commodore 64 is set to be the next vintage gaming device to get a miniature makeover. As Nerdist reports, Retro Games Limited will release a plug-and-play version of the 1982 bestseller in 2018.

The C64 Mini will be half the size of the original Commodore 64 computer and will feature 64 retro 8-bit titles, including Impossible Mission, Armalyte, Paradroid, and California Games. The kit will include a joystick, an HDMI cable for hooking up the console to your TV, and a USB power cable for charging it.

The console will have two USB ports that can be used to connect an extra joystick or plug in a full-sized keyboard to use the C64 Mini for simple coding. This could be especially useful when you get bored of the pre-loaded games and want to program a new one of your own from scratch.

The C64 Mini is set to retail for around $70 when it hits shelves in 2018, making it $10 cheaper than the newly-released SNES classic. Retro Games also plans to revive a full-sized version of the original Commodore 64 to sell in 2018. For an idea of what that might look like, check out this classic Commodore 64 how-to video from 1982.

[h/t Nerdist]

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