back to article BILL GATES DRINKS 'boiled and treated' POO. Ah, 'delicious'

Haters might say the man responsible for bringing the world the Microsoft empire has finally had a taste of his own medicine, with Bill Gates admitting on Monday to having swallowed liquid poo. El Reg couldn't possibly comment. In a blog post this week, Gates wrote about trialling a machine that turns faeces into drinking …

  1. Haro

    Register shows restraint

    You are right, there can be no comment here. :)

    1. thames

      Re: Register shows restraint

      I thought it was going to be a story about Windows 8.

  2. chivo243 Silver badge

    The first sentence says it all

    Need I say more?

  3. Arnold Lieberman

    You're shitting me, right?


    1. Fungus Bob

      Re: You're shitting me, right?

      I wouldn't shit you, you're my favorite turd.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    He does it with software

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: Well

      arguably Wetware

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Well

      Ah, but it takes a Steve Ballmer/Elop to turn gold into faeces ..

      1. Fungus Bob

        Re: Well

        " it takes a Steve Ballmer/Elop to turn gold into faeces"

        Now that Ballmer owns a basketball team, perhaps he can snatch Defeat from the jaws of Victory too.

    3. theModge

      Re: Well

      May I remind you of a phrase from BOFH: "Downloading Brownware"

      Seems suddenly appropriate.

  5. Khaptain Silver badge

    Austin Powers(Gates)

    Austin(Bill): Crikey! This coffee smells like shit!

    Basil: It is shit, Austin.

    Austin(Bill): Oh well then it's not just me.

    [Drinks coffee.]

    Austin(Bill): It's a bit nutty.

  6. Goldmember


    All water we drink has probably been consumed many times by people and/ or animals at various points over the last couple of hundred thousand years. But as for actually watching the process and drinking the results? Pretty brave, Bill, pretty brave.

    1. cambsukguy

      Re: Well..

      And some of it must have been Hitler too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Well..

        And probably DEITY too ( helps keep the believers happy)

      2. returnmyjedi

        Re: Well..

        "And some of it must have been Hotler too"

        It'd be interesting to know whether a child born in 1990 would drink water that had been in contact with Hitler's or Mike Godwin's poo first.

    2. Don Dumb

      Re: Well..

      But that means it's homeopathic shit, it's super powerful poo.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well..

      The amount of water estimated to have been drunk by all humans that have existed is a tiny fraction of all the world's water ---- dinosaurs on the other hand were around for a very very long time so the chances that what you drink today has passed through a dinosaur is very high.

      1. ravenviz

        Re: Well..

        I looked on the internet and my conclusion is a suspicion that there are orders of magnitude more water in the sea than all of the animals that have ever existed could have passed.

        Not very robust for a lunch-hour investigation but:

        o Discussion: how many organisms have ever lived on Earth?

        o Volume of the sea

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: Well..

          There is a famous French song 'Dès que le vent soufflera - Scélérats" by an artist called Renaud which has appropriate lyrics

          J'ai déserté les crasses qui m'disaient sois prudent

          la mer c'est dégueulasse, les poissons baisent dedans!


          I deserted the dross that said to me be careful

          the sea it disgusting, fish fuck in it!

          1. Tom 38 Silver badge

            Re: Well..

            There is a famous French song 'Dès que le vent soufflera - Scélérats" by an artist called Renaud which has appropriate lyrics

            Who came first, "Renaud" or W C Fields?

            1. Khaptain Silver badge

              Re: Well..


              Ah-ha I didn't know the WC Fields version ( died 1946 - Renaud is still alive - so credit to WC Fields)

              Here is the quote :

              “I don't drink water. Fish fuck in it.”

              ― W.C. Fields

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Well..

                Check out W.C. Fields' films, they're pretty good

        2. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

          Re: Water and dinosaurs

          Randall Munroe already did the math there:

        3. Mindbreaker

          Re: Well..

          Some groundwater predates animals, some volcanic steam, and water from recent comets would be less likely to have passed through an animal, but in general, most water on Earth has passed through several fish at the very least. The mass of the organisms is not what matters...rather how much they take in over time.

          Just one human produces 82,150kg of crap in a lifetime. We eat fairly nutritious stuff. Many animals have to eat stuff that is much less nutrient dense and produce far more for the mass equivalent.

          Not to worry, H2O is long as it has the right number of protons, neutrons, and electrons. It could have gone through a billion anuses and it would be no different.

      2. Goldmember

        Re: Well..

        "The amount of water estimated to have been drunk by all humans that have existed is a tiny fraction of all the world's water"

        Indeed, but surely some bodies of water get recycled more often than others? For example, some bottled mineral water (such as that in Buxton) is estimated to have been sat underground for 10 000 years or more before bottling. Whereas I imagine shallow lakes, man-made reservoirs and the like will end up in the loop more often as rain will fall in the mountains and refill said shallow lakes etc.

        I could be wrong about this, of course. Much sleep has been had and much beer has been consumed and subsequently returned to the planet since my Geography lessons of 20 years ago...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Well..

          " Whereas I imagine shallow lakes, man-made reservoirs and the like will end up in the loop more often as rain will fall in the mountains and refill said shallow lakes etc."

          IIRC water from the Thames has passed through at least three sets of consumers before it reaches the sea. Extract from river, purify, supply, drink, excrete, flush, sanitise, re-insert into river....and then repeat at the next extraction point downriver.

      3. Glen 1 Silver badge

        Re: Well..

        Re: Dinosaur pee

        XKCD's What If

        Near the bottom of the page

    4. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Well..

      With all the Water on the Earth. It seems unlikely that anyone ever drank Dinosaur Pee... Ever!

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. gotes

          Re: Well..

          c.38000 molecules of Hitler's last piss

          Pretty potent by homeopathic standards!

          1. TheRealRoland

            Re: Well..

            >c.38000 molecules of Hitler's last piss

            >Pretty potent by homeopathic standards!

            That, and combined with that memory effect...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd be more impressed if he'd smeared his face with it and jumped around making chicken noises.

  8. cambsukguy

    To paraphrase a popular sentiment

    Eat shit and live

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: To paraphrase a popular sentiment

      Or - Eat shit you might die - don't eat shit you will die.

  9. tkioz

    It always amuses me how squeamish people are over the whole human waste into drinking water thing. Literally every glass of water you've ever drunk in your entire life was at one stage some kind of piss, human or animal, likely both, that's how the world freaking works, it's a mostly closed recycling system that turns shit into food, piss into water, and so on.

    Machines just allow us to see the process a bit clearer.

    1. ravenviz

      Re: Literally

      I suggest you overuse 'literally'.

      In the UK at least, much drinking water comes from the sky, and is collected in various reservoirs located in the more rainy areas of the country, the water itself ultimately originating in the Atlantic Ocean, which is huge to say the least. Yes biological waste will and does end up there (and has done over all of geological time) but I would wager that most of it repeatedly runs off back into the sea where it came from, unadulterated by faunal oesophagi!

      1. Grikath

        Re: Literally @ ravenviz

        sorry bub... but rain mostly sinks into the ground, washing out whatever waste elimination product by [organism] is on it into the soil, where it is recycled by [organisms] which think of [excrement] as [food], in turn producing [stuff] ..... etc...

        You can be assured that water from a natural source ( be it a well or pumped up from several 100 meters down ) has seen so many "faunal oesophagi" that there's literally nothing left to use as [food]. This is known as a natural filter, quite widely used, and nowadays actively induced in waste treatment plants.

        I know that most modern dutch waste treatment plants turn out a water quality that's significantly better than our "cleanest" surface water, and that the only reason it is not piped directly into the drinking water plants is the well-known Squeamishness about "recycled poo". Which is funny as hell given that the water that is used in those drinking water plants comes straight out of the Rhine/Meuse delta, carrying....well you can do the math...

    2. MrXavia

      The more important bit is this process can work in parts of the world with little natural precipitation, and also if it is small enough, on space stations/ships!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    nothing new here

    Many years ago (approx 1968/69) I went on a visit with my school to the local sewage works (they did those sort of things back then). At the end of the trip we all stood around the water outfall from the plant. The Chief Chemist took a glass and filled if from the outfall. Then he drank it.

    Only one of the class took up his offer to do the same. Ironically, that person went on to get a Phd in Chemistry.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: nothing new here

      Ironically in the late 60s that probably wasn't as safe as it is now, but his immune system was probably better than the current average too :)

      I find people who have faith in science refreshing (no pun intended) compared to the mass of humanity who think 'chemicalz r badd'

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Glen 1 Silver badge

          Re: nothing new here

          but Dihydrogen Monoxide is a key component of acid rain!!

          Won't somebody think of the children!?

      2. skeptical i

        Re: nothing new here

        Hi, Martin: While the filtration and purification technology has vastly improved since the 1960s/70s, did we have as much junk in the waste stream? Sure, the agricultural runoff may have been worse (DDT and other since-then-banned chemicals) but the average American back then wasn't loaded up on Big Pharma's finest to anywhere near the extent she/he/ze is today. Maybe it's a wash, I dunno.

    2. VinceH

      Re: nothing new here

      "Only one of the class took up his offer to do the same. Ironically, that person went on to get a Phd in Chemistry."

      Why is that ironic?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: nothing new here

      "Only one of the class took up his offer to do the same. Ironically, that person went on to get a Phd in Chemistry."

      I shared a flat with some medical students once. I'm pretty sure they would have drunk it on the way in.

    4. Neal Stephenson

      Re: nothing new here

      Ah yes, the same in our neck of the woods although the workers on site had to remove the " night fighter rings " from the various settlement / treatment tanks before that School trips.

  11. NP-HARD

    "..a glass of delicious drinking water."

    H2O: Odourless, colourless, tasteless.

    So Bill's machine doesn't work and he enjoys the taste of a mouthful of skat.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Saying it was delicious doesn't impart any reference to taste, odour or colour, just that he enjoyed it.

      1. MrXavia

        Myself I don't like my H2O too pure, I like my H2O full of minerals.

      2. NP-HARD

        Hmm. Perhaps instead of the FAIL icon, I should've chosen joke. ( ...

        Delicious - adjective

        1. highly pleasing to the senses, especially to taste or smell:

        2. very pleasing; delightful:

        Using definition 1: Bill is imbibing, so the reference which is imparted is to the sense of taste.

        (Icon - pedantry).

  12. sisk

    We always knew he was full of shit. At least now we know why.

    1. TheRealRoland

      sisk: we always knew he was full of shit. at least now we know why.

      Please enlighten us with your accomplishments, so that we can form uninformed opinions about your personality?

      At least know that i'm not part of your 'we'.

      1. sisk

        Lighten up. It's a joke. I just forgot the icon. I actually have a healthy respect for Bill Gates' accomplishments. Even more so for his recent ones than for the ones everyone knows about.

  13. sorry, what?

    Processed poo...

    Naturally links to the article about 3D printed Hershey "chocolate" (

  14. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    What kinds of Poo?

    If it he can get water out of a "White and Crumbly" dog turd he deserves the Nobel prize.

    1. ravenviz

      Re: What kinds of Poo?

      There will have to be a machine to remove the lolly sticks first!

    2. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: What kinds of Poo?

      I remember those. Since scoop laws, not seen one in years.

    3. Eddy Ito

      Re: What kinds of Poo?

      If you read the linked blog you'll see the system actually burns the poo producing both water and electricity so presumably as long as the dog turd contains hydrogen at least a fraction of it will wind up combining with oxygen to make water.

    4. Mindbreaker

      Re: What kinds of Poo?

      You just have to squeeze very hard. ;)

      Here is an experiment I am sure you will appreciate: Shovel about a thousand pounds of the stuff into your car with the windows up on a hot day. Then look for condensation on the windows as the weather cools. Trust me...just do it ;) Maybe only a thimble, but there is still some water. And if that does not work, you can set the stuff on fire and collect the gasses. There will be some water vapor. And maybe you can run a turbine or two with the heat.

      That is what we need, a dog poo recycling center...well maybe. Don't even put that thing near me ;) Only people with 3 or more dogs have to live nearby. ;)

  15. wolfetone Silver badge

    New American TV Show

    "Guess The Poo", where contestants try to guess who did the dukey in the potty by drinking the liquid latte.

    For once, I will not copyright this.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: New American TV Show

      I'm sure that the Japanese would have already beaten you to this...

  16. MonkeyFeet

    Bill Gates putting his mouth where his money is.

    1. Adam 1

      .... where his pennies were spent?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft Shite box

    I thought that was the Xbox One.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft Shite box

      More like the FailBox 360...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Any chance this machine could be reshaped into a stillsuit?

    Drink your own...

    1. OGShakes

      Re: Any chance this machine could be reshaped into a stillsuit?

      Nice Dune reference!!!

      Its amazing anyone finds this surprising, we are all drinking piss and shit that's been cleaned up. The good thing here is that the bit you cannot drink is being turned in to something useful!

      1. chivo243 Silver badge

        Re: Any chance this machine could be reshaped into a stillsuit?

        are you wearing your suit desert fashion because it seemed the way to do it? Very good Muad'Dib!

  19. breakfast

    The story that has it all...

    The classic combination of affluence and effluent.

  20. ravenviz
    Thumb Up

    Poor ol' Bill

    Too many people poo-poo (ahem) Bill Gates in his efforts to use his amassed wealth to help humanity, he doesn't have to; good on him I say!

    1. Valeyard

      Re: Poor ol' Bill

      I came here to say the same, he's done a LOT to combat malaria by all accounts, all recent stats show

  21. Roger Kynaston Bronze badge
    Thumb Up

    Could this be made small scale?

    Just got back from sailing an Atlantic circuit and dealing with poo|shit|effluent was a pain in the arse. We also had a challenge carrying sufficient drinking water for the long passages. The chance to recycle the water out of the holding tank would have real appeal.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Roger Kynaston Bronze badge

        Re:Re: Could this be made small scale?

        1) Get a reverse osmosis machine.

        yes, but they need a shed load of energy - either electricity or run off the engine flywheel. Both options mean running the engine more than is preferable.

        2) Sail more than 12 nautical miles from land. and 3) Throw sewage overboard.

        That is what we do (I won't admit to doing at less than 12 miles though). Holding tanks are horrible things and being able to reduce the amount of shit being lugged around would be nice.

        I just like the idea of being able to get water from shit as well as carrying jerry cans lashed to the guardwires.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Little Mouse

      Re: Could this be made small scale?

      Mrs Mouse has a Brita Filter jug thingummy in the fridge at home.....

      Should I ask permission first or just go for it in the name of Science?

    3. DropBear

      Re: Could this be made small scale?

      One would imagine all that water outside the sailboat (while not readily drinkable) would be a lot closer to drinkable (easier to convert) than any waste held inside the boat...

      EDIT: oops, all these similar replies were hiding on the next page...

      1. Roger Kynaston Bronze badge

        Re: Could this be made small scale?

        Typical Reg. I ask a semi flippant question and get a load of sensible ideas.

        I have actually looked into solar stills. The trouble is keeping it stable on a moving platform like a small boat (10.4M in my case). I will think more about it though as I think it would be the best solution for water. No good for distilling shit though.

        I agree that it is much easier to process sea water than poo but if the poo could be reduced a bit for storage and disposal offshore it would be all to the good. Think anchoring in remote coral atolls here.

  22. IGnatius T Foobar Bronze badge

    Gates FAIL

    No amount of "philanthropy" by Gates will make up for the decades of destruction by which he made his money. How many careers were ruined because someone dared to compete with Microsoft?

    1. Hungry Sean

      Re: Gates FAIL

      ok, I get it, capitalism is a screwed up, miserable system and by any sense the cash Gates accrued off the labor of others and abuse of market position is absurd and inequitable. But while Gates certainly benefited from the system, he didn't create it and his story isn't much different from that of other billionaires. I think it's worth considering what he's doing given where he stands and looking at that in comparison to others in the same position.

      Lots of wealthy people donate to charities of various sorts, often as a tax dodge, or as a means to further some political ambition, or for good publicity (usually something that resonates well with a first-world audience like breast cancer awareness).

      What I think sets Gates apart is that he's spent significant effort focusing on a few areas that will have a major impact in the quality of life and the life expectancy of the vast majority of our world's population. Sanitation and malaria research are not glamorous, and as we see here, efforts to improve sanitation in remote locations in particular are more likely to draw sniggers and childish remarks about drinking shit than adulation. I can't say that in his position I'd be doing anything near as worthwhile or with nearly the same persistence. For that at least, I think Gates deserves some credit.

    2. Why Not?

      Re: Gates FAIL

      Sad bunch, if the UNIX boys had their way PC's would be $5000 each and an OS licence $2-3 K. Most of it would be command line and you would only be able to buy software to run on one variant of UNIX, if you wanted to use another variation you would need to buy the $200,000 software again. To install it then you would need an expert for 2 - 40 days.

      We know this as most of the original UNIX manufacturers still have this business model or went bust.

      Between Bill & Linus the software arena was blown wide open due to low cost and usability. So we really owe them a big thank you, regardless of your envy.

      Bill made lots of money out of making life easier for you, he is now spending most of that making life better for those less fortunate. The big thing is he is actually achieving it in a few years unlike many of the established charities.

      Getting rid of Poo and supplying fresh drinking water are two of the biggest problems affecting the developing world.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bill's been full of it for years.

  24. Hans 1

    So, somebody has managed to extract H2O, along with some minerals, out of excrements and you call the extract "poo" ? Do you study chemistry at all in the UK?

    This comments section is full of teenagers, where are the UNIX system admins, Microsoft certified surface specialists ?

    Could you use a joke icon next time ? Coz, guess what, we all drink poo, all the time [if all it takes for the H2O molecule-minerals combo to be called poo is they must have been in feces at some point in time]

  25. Ossi

    I'd be happy to buy him a coffee if he can't afford one.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eat shit ...

    Billions of flies can't be wrong ...

  27. Jan 0 Silver badge

    At least Bill Gates only sampled one component.

    Somewhere at home, I have a Food Science paper from the Cold War era that discussed the nutritional value of human faeces as a food substitute. The authors autoclaved samples and tasted them. Mind you, they were so appalled at the prospect that instead of autoclaving the samples at 15 psi for 15 minutes (which guarantees sterility) they autoclaved them for several hours.


  28. WalterAlter

    Travelin' man

    Gates must have just got back from the Holy Mountain. Spot the cryptic artsy film reference.

  29. GBE

    "delicious" drinking water?

    I've never had water that tasted "delicious" (unless you count various beverages and dishes that have had so much stuff added that nobody would ever call them "water"). I find water to be pretty much tasteless. How something like that could be called "delicious" is beyond me. The goal for water is to be comletely bland and tasteless.

    1. Chris Harrison

      Re: "delicious" drinking water?

      Its all relative. If you drink something expecting it to taste like shit then it tastes of nothing at all, it's probably fair to call it delicious.

    2. Irony Deficient

      Re: “delicious” drinking water?

      GBE, if the goal were for drinking water to be completely bland and tasteless, then (certain) bottled water companies wouldn’t add minerals to the (municipally sourced) water that they purify via reverse osmosis.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have always thought MS products were a bit shitty

  31. Lostintranslation

    I have been consuming microsoft shit for years.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gut bacteria

    It has been discovered that many human ailments are due to an imbalance in their gut bacteria. They are now feeding people with pellets that are screened faeces that come from people with "good" bacteria.

    Some medical treatments are known to upset the patient's gut bacteria balance. The mix of bacteria can be very specific to each person. They are now "banking" some of the patient's own faeces before the treatment - so they can be used afterwards as pills to re-populate their gut.

  33. shiftnumlock

    Such a sport

    Not only a Windows Fan but glad to see one of the world's wealthiest giving back to the world at large. Jobs and Apple have never given anything back.

  34. skeptical i
    Thumb Up

    Be nice to have this in parts of the U.S., too.

    Areas with lots of livestock whose waste is causing a problem (storage, leaking untreated into waterways) might want to give this a look, see if the cow/pig/other poo can be recycled into water for agriculture or livestock use so groundwater or other potable source water can be kept for us squeamish humans. And then we can see about cleaning the water in areas where gas fracking is dumping "trade secret" chemical cocktails into the ground.

  35. ben_myers

    Turn Windows 8 into potable water? 8.1, too.

    For his next trick, Gates needs to finance an endeavor to turn Windows 8 into potable drinking water. Or at least turn it into something it is not.

  36. tony2heads

    Bill G

    Hail the new Bear Grylls!

    icon: he is drinking water, isn't he?

  37. DLKirkwood

    The short explanation

    So, basically he miniaturized the waste water treatment plant; sort of like using another person's work to miniaturize computers into cheaper models so households could eventally afford them. My first computer in 1995 cost $2400.00 with a huge 1 GB of memory that "would last a lifetime without being able to fill it". Let's look at Zuckerberg, also, stole the twins idea for Facebook and put it out there before they did.

    Is this the road to success? To steal other idea, tweak them and take the credit for oneself? If so, I'll keep my integrity and stay amoung the working class.

  38. Nanook

    Bill gates has been turning shit into gold all his life.

  39. Jimboom

    always thought

    that he had a bit of a shit eating grin on his face

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