Crap to crypto: South Korean toilet turns excrement into power and digital currency – Screen Shot
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Crap to crypto: South Korean toilet turns excrement into power and digital currency

Imagine a future where going to the loo—for number one or number two—allows you to pay for a snack. Turning something that remains somewhat ‘shameful’ or taboo into a moneymaker wouldn’t be too bad, right? Well, at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in South Korea, where human waste is being used to help power a building (all thanks to the BeeVi toilet), the future is now. How does it work exactly and what potential does it represent for the rest of the world?

Cho Jae-weon, an urban and environmental engineering professor at the South Korean university has designed an eco-friendly toilet—the BeeVi, a portmanteau of the words ‘bee’ and ‘vision’—connected to a laboratory that uses excrement to produce biogas and manure. The toilet uses a vacuum pump to send faeces into an underground tank, reducing water use. There, microorganisms break down the waste to methane, which then becomes a source of energy for the building, powering a gas stove, hot-water boiler and solid oxide fuel cell.

“If we think out of the box, faeces has precious value to make energy and manure. I have put this value into ecological circulation,” Cho told Reuters.

According to LiveScience, personal bowel habits notwithstanding, on average, both men and women move their bowels about once per day and produce a daily average of 14 to 17 ounces (400 to 500 grams) of faeces. This can be converted to 50 litres of methane gas, Cho further explained. This gas can generate 0.5kWh of electricity or be used to drive a car for about 1.2 kilometres (0.75 miles).

In order to simplify the BeeVi’s process and how it can benefit both students and faculty members at UNIST, Cho has devised a virtual currency called Ggool, which means ‘honey’ in Korean. Each person using the eco-friendly toilet earns 10 Ggool a day.

In turn, people can use the currency to buy goods on campus, from freshly brewed coffee to instant cup noodles, fruits and books. All they need to do is to pick up the products they want at a shop and scan a QR code to pay with Ggool.

“I had only ever thought that faeces are dirty, but now it is a treasure of great value to me,” postgraduate student Heo Hui-jin told Reuters at the Ggool market. “I even talk about faeces during mealtimes to think about buying any book I want.”

Forget about flying cars, NFTs and space tourism for a second, and take time to appreciate this potentially life-changing invention. No party poopers allowed here.

Long egg is the bizarre food trend you probably want to try but hate to admit

For centuries, humanity has been on the search for a fool-proof way to cut boiled eggs evenly. First, they tried the knife technique, followed by the cooling rack technique and then the unflavoured floss techniqueonly to invent an entire device with small blades to achieve uniform slices later on. But what if you could change the size of the canvas without conjuring up ideas to fit the desired art? Introducing long eggs, an eggstreme food trend that will make you question your morals only while serving it for others to eat.

What is a long egg?

Imagine wiggling a cylindrical, 20-inch long, yolk-filled log of boiled egg in your hands. Now imagine slicing it—made easier by its PVC pipe-like packaging—to discover the yolk running evenly throughout the loaf, wrapped with egg whites from all the sides. That’s a long egg for you. If you can’t imagine all of that, I’ve got you. Here’s a real-time depiction of the ‘abomination’:

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Une publication partagée par Studio Oscar Lhermitte (@oscar_lhermitte)

Almost makes you believe humanity has cracked genetic mutation, right? Sadly, no chicken nor velociraptor is responsible for the creation of long eggs. In fact, the closest we’ve been to witnessing an actual chicken laying a long egg is on Reddit, when a user posed with a 5-inch egg minutes after it was laid.

So who is responsible for these 20-inch egg loaves? What if I told you that humanity invented these 46 years ago in Denmark? Debuting in 1974, long eggs are the creation of a Denmark-based company called DANÆG. Made using the SANOVO 6-32, normal-sized eggs are first washed and cracked to separate the egg white from the yolk. The whites are then cooked in a mould that has a hole running along its centre. The yolks are later injected evenly into this hole and cooked to resemble regular eggs, but longer. Once these aesthetic rolls wiggle their way down towards the quality inspectors, they are then double-checked, packed and sold as the “DANÆG Long Egg”—which is still available in markets today.

Although long eggs were invented back in 1974, it wasn’t until a video advertising the product surfaced in 2013 that the trend truly divided the internet. “Abomination,” “Satan’s offspring,” and “Okay, but why tho?” were common echo chambers the trend was often hard-boiled in. Until…DIY videos started flocking the internet.

How to make long eggs at home

Similar to the SANOVO 6-32, begin by washing and cracking a couple of eggs to separate the whites from the yolk. Now grab your beater and whisk both the components separately. Boil some water on the stove and begin oiling the insides of a tube or a heat-resistant glass. The oiling process here is a necessary step to ensure the long egg plops right out after boiling. Now submerge the glass into the pot of boiling water and stick a thinner glass into the middle. Rubber bands can be stretched taut across the handles to wedge the inner mould in place.

Once your apparatus is ready, pour the egg whites into the outer mould and wait for them to cook. Now remove the inner mould and pour the yolk into the boiled orifice. Wait for the yolks to cook (depending on your yolk-consistency preference) and then remove from the heat. All that’s left now is to slice, eat and (maybe) repeat!

For some, long eggs might be worth the whisk. However, if you still aren’t willing to take the risk, it helps to warm up a little before committing the so-called sin. How about visiting this subreddit dedicated to experiments with eggs, for starters? Finding your long egg name using the second letter of your first name helps too.