Science Sunday: Alchemy in 2019
Much like our own world, the world of Chronsylvania is full of strange natural phenomena. Every week we'll highlight an article that explores the odd, and very real, scientific properties of our universe. We'll also leave you with a writing/drawing prompt based on the article to get your creative juices flowing.
This week’s article from CNN.com highlights an incredible new invention that might actually be a source of magic.
A California-based company called SkySource has invented a machine that can literally turn air into water. Yes, you read that right. Humans have invented a machine that can literally make fresh drinking water out of thin air.
You can read the full article by Doug Criss (follow him on Twitter @CNN Doug) by clicking here.
The machine, which is called Skywater, works by gathering the water vapor that exists naturally in everyday air and condensing it into potable drinking water, almost like a high-powered, much cleaner version of the dehumidifier in your basement. Additionally, the machines are capable of running on renewable energy sources such as biofuels and solar power, limiting their negative environmental impact.
The inventors plan to utilize Skywater to solve all kinds of problems, from providing drinking water to locations where water is becoming increasingly scarce to assisting in emergency relief efforts.
While technology that turns water from one state of matter to another is not exactly new (think ice cube trays in your freezer or a steam-powered train from the 1880s or, I don't know, a fascinted caveman boiling water in a crude, earthen pot over a paleolithic fire) something feels different about Skywater. This technology brings the spirit of the wizardly practice of alchemy (the medieval study of transforming matter in search of an elusive elixir of life) into the very real world of 2019.
Think about it: humankind has discovered a way to take the abundance of air and transform it into another element that is not as abundant as we need it to be. This machine literally transforms the physical world to create a resource that we lack and can help prolong and sustain lives. All made possible by human study, science, and technological advancement.
Technology often gets a bad wrap in our age, and not without reason. Unchecked economic development is causing environmental crises across the world, and our constant attachment to our screens has forced us to grapple with how we relate to ourselves, other people, and the very nature of the physical world (Augmented and Virtual reality, anyone?). There is no doubt that as long as humans invent new technologies, those technologies will bring with them them new, unprecedented problems.
But, water out of thin air?
Sounds like magic to me.
Creative Prompt: It's the year 2119 and a hot new company has just invented a cheap, easy-to-produce, environmentally-friendly machine that can turn air into _________.
Fill in the blank with the most intriguing alchemical potentiality you can think of. Then, write or draw about the possibilities and problems that such an invention might bring about.
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Thanks for reading, and we'll see you next Wednesday with a brand new page.