Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.


Italy's New Swine-Flu Defense: High-Tech Holy Water Dispenser

DiscoblogBy Andrew MosemanNovember 13, 2009 1:02 AM


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

With a global pandemic afoot, the last thing many people want to do is put their hands in water that many other people have already touched, even if it happens to be holy water. But in Italy, where about 30 people have already died from swine flu, many Catholics will soon be able to get untainted holy water as part of church sacrament. Catholic churches around Italy are scrapping their traditional water fonts in favor of new automatic, motion-activated holy water dispensers invented by Luciano Marabese. BBC News reports:

The design of the dispenser is similar to a traditional water font, but with an infra-red light that reads the presence of a hand and squirts holy water onto the person's fingers.

Mr Marabese says he is receiving hundreds of emails from all over the world requesting information about the product.

"Some people had stopped dipping their hand into the holy water font as they were afraid of infections," he told Reuters.

"Some people even pretended to touch the water but they just touched the marble edge of the font."

Afghanistan isn't taking any chances with swine flu, either. In response to concerned zoo visitors, the predominantly Muslim country has been keeping its only pig under quarantine

. The pig should be glad: It's more likely it would catch "swine flu" from humans

than the other way around. Related Content: Discoblog: Swine Flu Fashion? Japan Introduces Swine Flu-Proof Suit

Discoblog: To Halt Swine Flu, U.S. Government Brings in Big Guns: Muppets

80beats: Vatican to E.T.: Hello, Brother

80beats: Can Your Pet Catch & Spread Swine Flu? Yes, if Your Pet's a Ferret

Image: flickr / DominusVobiscum

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In