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Monday, October 11

A MacGyver for the Third World | article
"Looking at things from a more basic level, you can come up with a
more direct solution, and a lot of people go well, duh, that's really
obvious!" mechanical engineer Amy Smith, winner of the MacArthur
'genius' award
, said. "But that's what you want: people saying
it should have been done that way all along. It may sound small in
theory, but it in practice, it can change entire economies."

Alternative fuels are one way to cultivate that change. Smith recently
created some simple, effective methods to make charcoal from
agricultural waste. "We are adapting it for India, where the problem is
the use of cow dung for cooking fuel," Smith said. "It's so abundant,
but it also produces a lot of smoke. Breathing indoor cooking fumes
is the No. 1 cause of children's death in the world. So if you can
produce a cleaner-burning fuel, then you impact public health and
the environment, as well."