This month in 2014, the debut of a cleaning dynamo in the waters in and around Baltimore: Mr. Trash Wheel!

He’s become a social media sensation over the last decade, thanks in large part to giant googly eyes and his dedication to cleaning up Baltimore’s waterfront.

Long story short: the waterfront has not always been clean, but there’s been a long-range effort to change that.

The goal is to have water so clean people can swim in there, not to mention keeping trash thrown out here from ending up elsewhere.

Environmental scientist John Kellett designed what’s officially known as a semi-autonomous trash interceptor.

It not only contains and collects waste from the water, it looks adorable while doing so.

Mr. Trash Wheel gets his power from the current and from solar panels.

He’s positioned so that trash comes to him, and he gathers it up with help from long containment booms and conveyor belts, which lead to a removable dumpster.

The system can even collect trash that’s a little ways beneath the water.

The group behind Mr. Trash Wheel says this approach has taken over 3,000 tons of trash out of the water.

And the more trash he takes away, the more fans he has online.

In fact, Mr. Trash Wheel has been such a hit that the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore’s Healthy Harbor Initiative has added three more like him.

There’s Professor Trash Wheel (she has a degree in trash studies), plus Captain Trash Wheel and Gwynnda, the Good Wheel of the West.

If you’re wondering why she’s the good wheel of the west when the Good Witch in Wizard of Oz was from the North, and that Baltimore is, after all, on the east coast: each of the trash wheels patrols a different part of the harbor.

Gwynnda works on the west side.

This month in 1984, the first online grocery order!

There was a pilot program in the UK to help older residents order groceries remotely through their TV remote controls.

The first customer: 72 year old Jane Snowball of Gateshead, who ordered corn flakes, eggs and margarine.

So she probably could have used the online system’s express lane.

Baltimore’s Trash Wheel family celebrating 10 years of cleaner water (WBAL)

Mr. Trash Wheel cleans up Baltimore Harbor with a dash of humor (PBS Newshour)

Online shopping: The pensioner who pioneered a home shopping revolution (BBC)

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Photo by A.Currell via Flickr/Creative Commons