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The Good News
2013 September
Pg 4 - The Sunshine Express
Safe Water Access Increases
Water is a chemical compound with the
chemical formula H2O. A water molecule
contains one oxygen and two hydrogen
atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water
is a liquid at standard ambient temperature
and pressure, but it often co-exists on Earth
with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state
(water vapor or steam). Water also exists
in a liquid crystal state near hydrophilic
surfaces. Water covers 71% of the Earth¡¯s
Safe drinking water is essential to humans
and other lifeforms even though it provides
no calories or organic nutrients. Access to
safe drinking water has improved over the
last decades in almost every part of the
world. 1.6 billion people have gained ac-
cess to a safe water source since 1990. The
proportion of people in developing coun-
tries with access to safe water is calculated
to have improved from 30% in 1970 to 71%
in 1990, 79% in 2000 and 84% in 2004. This
trend is projected to continue.
There are many stories on the internet
and in the news but few are more compel-
ling than the ¡®RoboHand¡¯ story. There is a
simply designed prosthetic hand that can be
made on a 3D printer. This hand can give
kids who were born without a fully devel-
oped hand the ability to hold a pencil, catch
a ball or hold a bat with two hands. This
ROBOhand can be made for about $500, not
$5,000. It is a simple design and the printed
parts are easy to replace as the child grows.
Now that is a 3D story and a good example
of how we can use this technology to make
things that matter.
(By Justin Finesilver, Social Media & Mar-
keting Director for the 3D Printing Store,
opened in Denver, in November, 2012)
Follow-up: 3D Printing
On Earth, 96.5% of the planet¡¯s water is
found in seas and oceans, 1.7% in ground-
water, 1.7% in glaciers and the ice caps of
Antarctica and Greenland, a small fraction
in other large water bodies, and 0.001% in
the air as vapor, clouds (formed of solid and
liquid water particles suspended in air),
and precipitation. Only 2.5% of the Earth¡¯s
water is freshwater, and 98.8% of that water
is in ice and groundwater. Less than 0.3%
of all freshwater is in rivers, lakes, and the
atmosphere, and an even smaller amount of
the Earth¡¯s freshwater (0.003%) is contained
within biological bodies and manufactured
products. Approximately 70% of the fresh
water used by humans goes to agriculture.
From a biological standpoint, water has
many distinct properties that are critical for
the proliferation of life that set it apart from
other substances. It carries out this role by
allowing organic compounds to react in
ways that ultimately allow replication. All
known forms of life depend on water. Water
is vital both as a solvent in which many of
the body¡¯s solutes dissolve and as an essen-
tial part of many metabolic processes within
the body.
Water is fundamental to photosynthesis
and respiration. Photosynthetic cells use the
sun¡¯s energy to split off water¡¯s hydrogen
from oxygen. Hydrogen is combined with
CO2 (absorbed from air or water) to form
glucose and release oxygen. All living cells
use such fuels and oxidize the hydrogen
and carbon to capture the sun¡¯s energy and
reform water, and CO2, in the process (cel-
lular respiration).
The human body contains from 55% to 78%
water, depending on body size. To function
properly, the body requires between one
and seven liters of water per day to avoid
dehydration; the precise amount depends
on the level of activity, temperature, hu-
midity, and other factors. Much of this is
ingested through foods or beverages other
than drinking pure water. (
Image: An
estimate of
the share of
people in
with access to
potable water
Water Facts