From Wired News, a story about an MIT engineering faculty member who won a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" for her work, which can be thought of as God's work:
An engineer who is uninterested in advancing technologies is, to put it mildly, a rarity. So rare, in fact, that the MacArthur Foundation awarded one such engineer $500,000.
Mechanical engineer Amy Smith, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology instructor, joined the MacArthur fellowship fold last week, receiving the so-called "genius award" and a colossal cash prize. Her award-winning feat? Using old technology in fresh ways to improve the lives of entire communities.
... Smith has a stable of oldfangled technologies that she has reconfigured and applied to underdeveloped areas around the world. Her solutions -- including new grain-processing techniques, alternative cooking fuels and water-quality tests -- sound like answers to problems that should have been solved a century ago. To Smith, that's the point.
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Smith recently created some simple, effective methods to make charcoal from agricultural waste. ... This new charcoal source can save lives in Haiti, where thousands die annually from massive flooding associated with the country's almost total deforestation. Until Smith began developing this alternative source of charcoal, Haitians had been forced to use trees as their sole source of cooking fuel.