Clean Stoves Can Save Lives

The World Health Organization reports that around three billion people cook and heat their homes with an open fire that burns biomass such as wood and coal. That’s HALF of all people in the world! Nearly two million people die prematurely from illness attributable to indoor air pollution from household solid fuel use. Eighty five percent of those people who die are women and children.

Those are staggering numbers! How many of us in the developed world knew about this? I mean the last time I lit a wood fire was on a recreational camping trip. Not to eat my next meal.

You may wonder why so many people burn wood, coal, or dung for heating and cooking. Simply it’s because these are often the only resources available and affordable. People use what they have to survive. Oftentimes they go to great lengths, like walking many miles, to get fuel such as wood.

Fortunately there are clean stoves that can greatly reduce the poisons that are emitted when heating and cooking with biomass. These stoves are based on the Rocket Stove.  It’s design helps combust all the material that are being burned. That way it doesn’t end up in the air.

One example is the StoveTec Stove developed by the Aprovecho Research Center.  They have models that burn wood, coal, and pasteurize water. They range in costs from approximately $90 to $115 USD. But you can buy one for someone in need for only $15.

For some of us in the US these stoves could be a great alternative to the gas grill you have out back. Do your part in reducing the demand for natural gas in the US. Use waste wood instead and put the remaining charcoal in your soil for the garden. Plus you can put fewer greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and help slow global warming.

I’m going to get one for someone who really needs a clean stove and try it out myself too. Join me!

Tech for Good 001

The Aprovecho Institutional Rocket Stove (Video)

This is cross posted from Thanks to them for allowing me to post it here.

BarCamp RDU 2008

Registration for BarCamp RDU is open. Go over to the wiki and ad your name to the list. (I did) This event is one of the best techie unconferences. We start the day with pitches for session ideas. Then the group organizes the sessions into time slots. Finally we break up into groups and learn from each other. Food and coffee is also involved. All of this at Red Hat’s headquarters in Raleigh. Lots of fun. Great opportunity to meet folks and LEARN. Even if you don’t consider yourself a blogger or a techie… GO!

i.e. Planning a BarCamp, BarCamp 2007 was great!

Local Conversations WNCN – NBC 17 Interview

Community Building with Brian Russell from waynesutton12 on Vimeo

Wayne Sutton the Community Content Manager over at WNCN NBC 17‘s Local Conversations blog met me at the Open Eye Café in Carrboro for a quick video interview. He asked me about blogging and other social media. I shared my thoughts on how to start blogging and how this new social media would effect the 2008 presidential campaign.

We met at 12:30pm. Its now 4pm and the video is already up. (Thanks to the Town of Carrboro WiFi) Fun to watch Wayne work with the small HD video camera and a laptop. I’m really impressed with what Wayne is doing. Its a cool blend of Main Stream and Citizen Media.

Techies Building Community in RDCH

So I told you about the creation of the other day. Its a google calendar and blog about local tech events here in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area. (That includes Cary, Carrboro, RTP, Morrisville, etc.)

Well.. some of the coolest events recently have been happening at the new Refresh the Triangle. They are organized by the folks over at Viget Labs. A new web design consultancy in Durham. Last night they had an event. Sadly I couldn’t attend. Next time hopefully.

So far there are seven people who can add events to this calendar. Today I added Peyton Crump to that list. He’s the Creative Director over at Viget Durham.

I’m blogging about this seeming mundane activity because I think its a milestone. Why? COLLABORATION! A bunch of cool people who organize amazing events are working together to inform a ton of people.

You would think this would be an easy thing to do. What with all the web 2.0 collab software out there. But… its not. I mean try to get a bunch of people to meet on a regular basis. Its hard. Syncing individual schedules is tricky. A group calendar is a good step towards making this easier.

In some ways the fractured nature of community is ok. Individuality is an important concept. We all have individual lives. But the concept of community is important too. I’m looking for a balance between the two.

To see the desire of people to get together and build community is awesome. We can all benefit from our collective intelligence. The more we come in contact with each other the smart we all become.

We have so much going on around here and lots more ways to find out about it. Very exciting times to be living in this part of North Carolina!

Props to the Refresh the Triangle folks for making a cool website for their events. Social Carolina isn’t a unique idea. I’m glad many of us are on the same page.

Social Carolina: Tech Events Calendar

Wayne Sutton is on top of local tech events in our area. So a couple of us asked him to create something to keep track of these events. He set up a blog at and I created a google calendar. Plus we have the Twitter user RDCH to follow and stay up-to-date.

Know about a cool event that involves technology of some kind? Is it happening in the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill area? Then contact us with the blog form. We’ll put it up on the calendar and promote it. We already have a few cool events up there. Check it out.