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Rarely There

A collection of discourses - myriad, profound, uplifting...
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Friday, January 5, 2007

Peanut Power

There are so many gadgets, so many wonderful new-fangled high-tech things out there, I can't even keep up...

Recently, I came across Breakthrough Awards by Popular Mechanics, quite accidentally.

My favorite among the ones listed there is the Peanut Sheller by Jock Brandis.

ON A VISIT TO MALI to help a friend in the Peace Corps repair some village machinery, Jock Brandis, a Wilmington, N.C., TV and movie engineer, saw women bloodying their hands while manually shelling peanuts to feed their families.
Before leaving, Brandis promised the head of a local women's cooperative to ship her a sheller, figuring he'd find something on the Internet. But all he uncovered were diesel-guzzling behemoths — totally impractical in a poor village 300 miles from Timbuktu.

After considerable effort, Brandis devised an inexpensive, virtually indestructible machine that lets an operator shell nuts 40 times faster than by hand, cranking out 125 pounds per hour. The real beauty of Brandis's butter-churn-size concrete sheller is that it can be made anywhere, using a pair of fiberglass molds.
It is low-tech but high-value for the manual peanut shellers whose life i can only imagine would dramatically change with this invention.

p.s: The 10 Gadgets that changed the World is an interesting read as well.

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