Friday, 30 April 2010

Water for life decade

Water is essential for life. No living being on planet Earth can survive without it.
It is a prerequisite for human health and well-being as well as for the preservation of the environment.

However, four of every ten people in the world do not have access to a toilet; and nearly two in ten have no source of safe drinking water. Every year millions of people, most of them children, die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation, and hygiene.

According to the World Health Organization, each and every day some 3,900 children die because of dirty water or poor hygiene; diseases transmitted through water or human excrement are the second-leading cause of death among children worldwide, after respiratory diseases.

Water scarcity, poor water quality, and inadequate sanitation negatively impact food security, livelihood choices, and educational opportunities for poor families across the world. Water-related natural disasters such as floods, tropical storms and tsunamis exact a heavy toll in human life and suffering. And all too regularly, drought afflicts some of the world’s poorest countries, exacerbating hunger and malnutrition.

Beyond meeting basic human needs, water supply and sanitation services, as well as water as a resource, are critical to sustainable development. It is a major source of energy in some parts of the world, while in others its potential as an energy source remains largely untapped.
Water is also necessary for agriculture and for many industrial processes. And in more than a few countries, it makes up an integral part of transport systems. With improved scientific understanding, the international community has also come to appreciate more fully the valuable services provided by water-related ecosystems, from flood control to storm protection and water purification.

Water challenges will increase significantly in the coming years. Continuing population growth and rising incomes will lead to greater water consumption, as well as more waste. The urban population in developing countries will grow dramatically, generating demand well beyond the capacity of already inadequate water supply and sanitation infrastructure and services. According to the UN World Water Development Report, by 2050, at least one in four people is likely to live in a country affected by chronic or recurring shortages of freshwater.

It seems there are more than few reasons to put water and sanitation at the top of the world’s agenda...


Monday, 19 April 2010


This thursday we will try to work with this two pages and the stories we may listen to in them:

English and TV:
Do you remember we talked about the Southern accent of Sawyer in "LOST"?


The news:

From voice of America, listen to

Sunday, 11 April 2010

History of the Undersea Communications

The first submarine telegraph cable, laid by the brothers Jacob and John Watkins Brett between England and France in August 1850, was of simple construction - a copper conductor with gutta percha insulation and no armoring. It worked for only a day, then broke from chafing on rocks; another version says that the cable was hooked by a fisherman and destroyed, It quickly became apparent that cables needed to be armored to withstand not only the stresses of being laid and the risks of being damaged by fishing vessels, but also the predations of aquatic life.

The first wire ropes were made with iron wire, using the same manufacturing methods as for hemp rope. By 1834 wire ropes developed by the German engineer Wilhelm Albert were being used in the mines in Germany's Upper Harz district, and it was estimated that the additional manufacturing cost was more than covered by the much longer life of the wire rope over traditional hemp ropes. The new technology spread rapidly to Britain, and by the late 1830s there were a number of companies making wire rope.

In 1837 Lewis Gordon, formerly an assistant to Brunel during the construction of the Thames Tunnel, made a career change to practical mining, and entered the Freiburg School of Mines in Germany, and then the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris. In 1838 he visited the mines at Clausthal in the Harz mountains, and met Wilhelm Albert. Impressed by what he saw, he wrote to his friend R.S. Newall in Britain on June 20th, 1838, urging him to "Invent a machine for making (wire ropes)".

Do you want to know more?