Wednesday, 28 May 2008

No relief on space station

Cosmonauts and astronauts aboard the International Space Station are heading for a potential hygiene hazard with the malfunction of the toilet system. The system has been experiencing problems for the past week with each repair failing.

Without the assistance of gravity, space toilets use "fan-driven airflow to transport human waste away from a crew member's body". Read the full article here.

Currently, the crew is using the toilet in the transport trip Soyuz, but it has only a few days capacity. Fox news reports that the toilet is due to be replaced in a few months by a system that will transform urine into drinkable water.

Being stranded out in space with no toilet facilities is simply awful. Cosmonauts and astronauts already suffer many privations, but this seems to me the worst! No doubt, though, they're clever folk and they'll find relief somehow.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Pee & Poo Shop

God I love Swedish people. Really. They're awesome. I didn't think any nation could top the brilliant innovation of the Belgians, but leave it to the Swedes impress The Bog Logger.

Pee&Poo by Emma Megitt

Swedish designer Emma Megitt created Pee&Poo for her university design project and the little guys proved so popular she went into business.

"The idea of creating cuddly toys on the subject of pee and poo is not only
truly unique, both historically and now, it's also neutral, and therefore widely
applicable and acceptable, with regard to age, gender and nationality. People
just like them; they seem to have a universal appeal."

Damn straight they are. I've got all my Christmas presents sorted already!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Play while you pee, in Belgian urinal game

Play while you pee, in Belgian urinal game - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Two Belgian beer fans have launched a video game named 'Place to pee', which allows players to slalom down ski slopes or kill aliens while relieving themselves at urinals.

Werner Dupont, a software developer, and Bart Geraets, an electrical engineer, got the idea while drinking Belgian trappist beers, they said at a local festival.

"This thing had to be invented by Belgian people and that's what we are," they said.

The 'Place to pee' booth is designed for two users at a time and offers two games - blowing up aliens in outer space or skiing down a virtual slope. Gamers hit their target by aiming at sensors positioned on either side of the urinal.

A specially designed paper cone allows women to play too, the inventors say.

Their 'Place to pee' logo resembles 'Manneken Pis', the little urinating boy fountain that is among Brussels' top sightseeing attractions.


I LOVE the Manneken Pis! Not sure if it's as 'lady friendly' as it hopes to be.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Presents in the plumbing

In my first two weeks at my new job I was struck by dirty bombs three times! I haven't been struck again since (perhaps there was something wrong with the plumbing which has been fixed) but please - ladies, gentlemen - repeat after me:

- Poo

- Flush

- Check

- Flush again !

I'm a poo professional, but really, it's just not polite to inflict your poos on other people.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Wee and wash: what next?

In this eco-conscious world o' ours, it's great to see some innovation in the bathroom. A real step up from the brick in the cistern.


That's right. It's a washing machine. On a toilet.

Of course, there are many (more sensible) eco-friendly toilet solutions.

This sexy number from Matsushita, made from organic glass


claims to be environmentally friendly as it features the industry's lowest water usage.

Or the Aqus system, which captures water from the bathroom sink to be re-used as flushing water.


And in St David's, Pembrokeshire, UK, a city trying to become the world's first carbon-neutral city, rainwater is harvested to service the public toilets.

But as regular readers will know (and I sincerely hope that you're all regular) one of the things I care most about is the provision of adequate toilets, particularly in developing countries. So I was pleased to see this week that Pump Aid co-founder Ian Thorpe (not the swimmer) is a finalist in the St Andrew's Prize for the Environment for his Elephant Toilet.

Costing just £20 each to build, the toilets use discarded objects such as plastic bottles and empty ballpoint pens in their construction. The 'elephant' toilet name comes from the two ear shapes where the user puts his or her feet and the trunk which separates liquid waste from solid.

The photo comes from Christine Collier's Malawi diary. one point, he squatted down on a toilet base not yet fitted in situ, to demonstrate how it works and a huge howl of children's laughter errupted at the obviously recognisable stance ... toilet humour crosses all cultural boundaries.

It sure does, Christine.

BTW, how good a name is Matsushita for a toilet company!?

Pam's boyfriend says 'not guilty'

The boyfriend of Pam Babcock, the woman who sat on a toilet for so long that she became physically stuck to it, has entered a plea of 'not guilty' for the misdemeanour charge of mistreatment of a dependent adult.


The boyfriend, Kory McFarren, is also appearing on an unrelated charge of lewd behaviour. Good on you Kory. You know, Kory had my sympathy. I can totally understand how days, weeks and then months can pass without alerting anyone that your girlfriend is a bit crazy. I can't believe I spent 9 months at my last job when it was the most miserable place in the whole of New Zealand - it just kind of happenned. But Kory, if this stuff about you flashing yourself to your neighbours is true, maybe you're a little bit wrong upstairs too.

Friday, 2 May 2008

At your convenience

I spoke recently about having job interviews in toilets, a ridiculous opinion that I stand by (I'm just that perverse).

I particularly stand by it when I remember all my resumé cover letters which say, "I am available to meet at your convenience..."