Sunday, February 08, 2009

Civilisation is common defence and waste disposal. And drinking water

Keep the shit and the drinking water separate, and you've gone most of the way from an average life expectancy of 35 to one of 75. Boris Johnson, famously, decided that replacing London's water mains was a minor issue that could be thrown out as a sop to the roads lobby.

So here's the Borisfeed. It monitors Transport for London traffic data, BBC travel alerts, an automated Google News search, and posts to Flickr, filters everything but burst water mains, and excretes them as stinking RSS. This is only the beginning; I'm planning to keep statistics as well, and perhaps pull everything together in a little page of Boris Johnson, with the inevitable IBM ManyEyes charts. (For some reason I nearly wrote MakingEyes.) Perhaps I could even have it push out updates through Twitter or some XMPP thing.


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6 comments:

DHM said...

"Keep the shit and the drinking water separate, and you've gone most of the way from an average life expectancy of 35 to one of 75"

On that subject I heartily recommend this book by Rose George:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Big-Necessity-Adventures-World-Human/dp/1846270693

Doug said...

The Twitter account should be called Borisgänger, umlaut and all.

malpas said...

A rather glib post do you not think.
You brush to one side the benefits of antibiotics , the abatement of such things as tuberculosis, war, smoking, subnutrition etc.

Graydon said...

malpas --

Not glib at all. "Most" is "more than half", and certainly effective sanitation and clean drinking water get you more than half.

Hoover said...

I don't know about glib, but the subject is interesting. According to Gregory Clark, Chinese and Japanese were considerably cleaner than Europeans until the late 19th century. But their life expectancy was no higher.

Graydon said...

Chinese and Japanese agricultural practice directly applied human fecal matter to the fields. Eating anything raw was a very bad idea.

I suspect this may have had something to do with the life expectancy issue.

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