From: Android-361, designation- Autonomous Neuro-grafted Enhanced Lifeform (aka ANGEL)
To: Johnathan Kleinfetter, Director of Sustainability for the SeaLife Institute
Re: Progress report on Project Lifewater
Greetings, Dr. Kleinfetter.
I am pleased to submit my 6-month report on the progress of Project Lifewater. While I will give a preliminary summary in this message, please find attached my detailed report containing all the relevant data.
First, let me express my gratitude for the support from you and everyone at the SeaLife Institute. The ample facilities, equipment, and freedom of creativity afforded me are very much appreciated. I hope that the trust you have placed in me will be fully rewarded at the completion of this project.
To begin with, I decided to approach the problem of efficient water desalination from two different directions, which led me to conduct two parallel research tracks. I will summarize each for you in turn.
Track 1 is research into the increased efficiency of established desalination technology and the application of new technologies to the problem. I am pleased to report that in all areas but one, I have reported an increase in efficiency of between 6.8 and 14.5% for existing techniques. The 14.5% was an increase in reverse osmosis with newly adapted membranes that I designed.
In terms of new technology, progress is slower. As you know, energy requirements are steep for most desalination processes, so I have started looking into applying nontraditional energy production methods (with a marginal increase of 2.1% in efficiency). While nuclear fission would provide more than enough energy, I know that process is not desirable, especially along coastlines. Until fusion becomes more standard, I fear that energy will still present us with the most significant barrier to solving this problem using traditional methods.
Track 2 is a different approach to the problem that I developed early in the research process. I stepped back and took a “big picture” view. Our goal is not to improve desalination processes; our goal, more precisely, is to provide sufficient drinkable water to the growing human population. With that in mind, I approached track 2 from the opposite end, if you will, of the problem: instead of improving desalination to make fresh water, let us improve humans to drink saltwater.
As you know, many birds in the family Procellariformes have glands to remove salt from the seawater they drink. While developing a new gland for humans does not seem plausible, I did realize that if some species can evolve this technique, why not humans?
Therefore, my goal was to find genetic variance that could be exploited and enhanced using well-established gene-splicing technology. My experiments have been slow and laborious; however, since I do not need to eat or sleep, I have happily worked 24/7 on this problem.
To date, I have found that 92% of the test subjects experienced rapid dehydration, delirium, coma, and heart failure. While variations in diet, fitness, etc., cannot be fully accounted for, I have strived to be as consistent as possible with the experimental setup.
After multiple trials, I found the correct pressure for saline extrusion into the oral cavity that maximizes flow rate while avoiding gastric eruption. Once that pressure was established and adequate restraints put into use, the experiments proved very valuable.
Of the 8% who had a considerably more extended salination period prior to irreversible dehydration, coma, and death, the results showed a surprising pattern based on age: 19 subjects over the age of 65 had salination times greater than 18 hours prior to heart failure, 22 subjects aged 30-65 had times greater than 18 hours, 37 subjects aged 15-30 surpassed the 18-hour mark, and finally a surprising 45 subjects aged under 15 exceeded the 18-hour mark with one nine-year-old female remarkably making it to an incredible 25 hours before death! I am running genetic sequences on the subjects to isolate what common variance might be found.
While still preliminary, these results are quite promising. I am optimistic that with a much larger set of data, I will be able to determine if the age variation in survivability is supported by the data or is simply a fluke. With that said, I would ask for one more indulgence on your part. While I have been successful in this initial small sample size, I will require a few more supplies for my experiments.
Primarily I require a separate line item for food and beverages in the budget. While I obviously do not need them, I have been able to source my test subjects from non-habitated subjects in neighboring cities using purchased food supplies. A dedicated budget item would greatly expand my outreach.
Please let me know if you have any questions about my report. Again, I appreciate the trust placed in me to solve this problem, and I look forward to working even more diligently on this project.
This is a solvable problem, no matter which track will ultimately prove our best option. Furthermore, with more test subjects to dispose of in the incinerator, we can increase that 2.1% thermal efficiency!
With best regards,
Lead investigator, Project Lifewater
Funded by The SeaLife Institute
“Exploring our Seas to Serve Humanity”
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