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.