I was recently interviewed by Vancouver's Georgia Straight and we ended up talking about the public, outdoor urinals that the City of London sets out around Trafalgar Square (departure point for the city's night-busses) on weekends as a way of reducing the rivers of piss that otherwise course through the area. The article notes that some cabbies have taken to driving with empty soda bottles to relieve themselves into in extremis. I once had a cabby tell me that it was legal to get out of a cab and piss down the wheel-well.
In Beijing, where the average salary is a 10th of London's, there are 7,700 toilets, or one for every 1,948 people. China's capital plans to renovate 3,700 in time for the 2008 Olympics. London, which will host the 2012 games and has one toilet per 18,000 residents, has no such plans...Link (via Digg)
A 53 percent increase in London house prices during the past five years has helped fuel the decline of the public toilet, as authorities sell valuable real estate to developers.
``It's not cost-effective to keep them,'' said Tony Wood, a real estate agent who helped convert a multi-stalled Victorian- era toilet in Forest Hill into a split-level apartment that rents for 700 pounds a month.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.