Sunday, 8 September 2013

Spacey commode

The sun goes down, the day turns to night. You look up at the stars and see a light moving faster than the others - is it a satellite? A plane? The space station? Ooh, ooh it's the space station!

And, of course, your first thought is always, how do they pee up there?

Using the loo in space is not easy. There are separate methods for urination and defecation, with solids collected in bags and liquid collected in 20 litre containers. The urine receptacle attachments are differentiated for men and women. Users need to strap themselves in otherwise... well... you wouldn't want to drift off. The very small toilet opening for taking a crap means that careful alignment is key.

Watch as American astronaut Suni Williams takes you on a tour of the Space Station toilet

Astronauts need to train on the ground on how to use the 'space potty' before they jet off.

It's a different story for space shuttles; the old Apollos weren't equipped with toilets at all and astronauts had to use bags. A Russian company, which released a prototype for a new shuttle this week, has revealed that its design includes a fully functioning toilet. Loads of astronauts all around the world will, no doubt, be relieved.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Snakey Starbucks surprise

In the news this week is the story of a Texan man who was started by a snake at his local Starbucks when he went to use the loo. Bruce Ahlswede responded as anyone would - he called in staff and his wife to take a look.

Fortunately, the snake was harmless and disappeared shortly after the man's wife snapped a photo.

Snakes in toilets are such a regular occurrence that I could dedicate whole blog posts to them. From rattlesnakes in porta-loos to cobras using loos to gain access to classrooms, there really is a horror story for every occasion.

In August, a Croatian student found this massive snake in the toilet of her uncle's place where she goes to study, because it's quiet...  While not poisonous (like that somehow makes it okay!) the snake is still terrifying. The student and her family named the snake Bosko.

Bosko - the completely unterrifying and friendly toilet snake...

Other folks haven't been quite so lucky. Earlier this year, an Israeli man had his penis bitten by a non-venomous snake. Despite his injury, paramedics say the man was able to 'have a laugh at his own expense'.

Of course, we who have the luxury of toilets shouldn't complain. Toilet snake attacks are relatively rare. It could be worse - you could have to pee outside where you're really in danger of getting bitten.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Friday Flush 14-06-2013

All the loo news you never knew you wanted!

Sit down, you brute!

The county council of Sormland, Sweden, is calling on men to sit down while they pee in order to reduce 'spills' and increase hygiene. Opponents to the proposal say that sitting down reduces men's ability to 'shake off' at the end of their wee.

Read more at Digital Journal

Squirrelshank Redemption

Of course, you don't really care about a man's right to pee standing up. What you really care about is a squirrel crawling out of your loo.

Winnipeg woman Angela Campbell rescued the animal using a pair of BBQ tongs and carefully washed it in the bath before releasing it in her backyard. You can watch a video of bathtime here.

Wee the People!

The winner of this week's most puntastic article goes to Wales Online for their story Wee shall not be moved!

Protesters in Cardiff are furious over council plans to close public toilets. The P is for People protesters say that loo closures affect older people, people with disabilities and parents with children. For many people, going out in public means planning beforehand to make sure there are enough toilet facilities available.

The toilets themselves are Grade II listed Victorian loos - my favourite kind! - and recently underwent renovations. But the cash-strapped council says it needs to make cuts somewhere, and the loos have to go.

Tenderloin Toilet Project

San Francisco is funding a prototype toilet design which the city hopes will reduce instances of public urination.

The eco-friendly design - called P Planters - diverts urine into dilution tanks which are then used to irrigate adjacent planters. Win win! The design was a result of San Fran's Master Toilet Plan, a hefty document which you can peruse here
Til next time folks, have a great WEEkend.