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Getting off the grid just got a bit easier thanks to this low-tech laundry machine.

It's not easy getting off the grid, but this machine makes it a little less challenging.

Getting off the grid just got a bit easier thanks to this low-tech laundry machine.

Getting off the grid can be tricky, but one little washing machine might be a sign that we're on the path to an easier way to disconnect.

This little bin is called the Drumi, and it's a lightweight, compact, foot-powered, and affordable alternative (with some restrictions I discuss below) to your standard, everyday washing machine.


Each cycle takes about five minutes, and can hold roughly five pounds of clothing (six or seven items).

Operation is really simple: Open the container; add clothes, water, and detergent; close the container; and use the foot pump.

When the cycle is finished, you simply open it back up, and drain the water out through the bottom.


The whole thing is really cool.

It has its limits, such as the rather tiny load capacity, but it's a huge step in a much more environmentally-friendly direction.

I don't know about you, but when I do laundry, I tend to have more than six or seven items of clothing.

Also, while it is just five minutes of pedaling, I can see how that might not be doable for people with some physical restrictions.

Still, when you compare it to standard, old-school washing machines, it's a nice way to save on some energy and water.

Like these bad boys shown in the photo below.

Photo by We Make Noise/Flickr.

Older washing machines can use as much as 40 gallons of water per cycle (newer, energy-efficient models use anywhere between 14 and 27 gallons of water). The Yirego Drumi uses around 2.5 gallons per load (but again, it's a pretty small load).

Off-the-grid washing machines have existed for a really long time, but it looks like we might be on the path to having more commercially viable options in the near future.

The machine shown in the below image features a water barrel, water boiler, agitator, and mangle (handles and paddles basically). It's certainly not portable, likely wouldn't be particularly affordable these days, and likely didn't do much in the way of saving on water.

If demand for off-grid washing machines exists, here's hoping that we'll start to see more options that address some of this model's shortcomings and bring us closer to a more environmentally-friendly world.

A woman is shown using an early machine designed to make washing clothes by hand easier, circa 1860. Photo by Chaloner Woods/Getty Images.

It seems like these we won't be seeing these in homes until July 2016. In the meantime, however, you can check out the Drumi promo video.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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