They aren't saying you should do it. There's really no reason to. (Even fecal transplants are done in a much less disgusting manner.) But if, for whatever reason, you were to ingest your own poop, you probably won't get sick and die from it. Somebody else's poop, on the other hand, is more risky. So, glad we got that cleared up. — Maggie
Andy Borowitz tells the harrowing tale of his near-death experience with severe intestinal trouble. A good poop joke should not go unappreciated, and this is a brilliantly told 18-page poop joke. Give it a read on your lunch break. — Dean
Here's an interesting project that combines participatory citizen science with crowdsource funding models.
American Gut is a project to catalog, analyze, and compare microbiomes of a diverse swath of Americans. Microbiomes are the bacteria that live in you (and on you). They're both separate from your body and a part of it. Scientists want to better understand what bacteria live with us, what they do, and how the populations of bacteria change depending on factors like your diet, where you live, and your ethnicity. The project is entirely funded by crowdsourcing, so how you participate is also how you donate. For instance, in exchange for a $99 donation, you'll get a kit that will enable scientists to do DNA extraction and 16sRNA sequencing on the bacteria they find in a sample of your skin, saliva, or poop. After they've studied the sample, the researchers will present you with information about your microbiome and how it compares to those of other participants.
Everybody poops, including panda bears. (See about 0:35 in the above video for evidence.) But panda poop could turn out to be quite a bit more important than your average animal excrement. That's because scientists are "mining" it for bacteria that could help make better biofuel.
The key problem with biofuel today is that the stuff that's actually economical to produce — i.e., corn ethanol — isn't really that great for the environment. Corn farming uses a lot of fertilizer, water, and herbicide. Using corn that was previously grown for food to make fuel, instead, can lead to deforestation as people clear land to make up for the lost food farming. Some models of carbon dioxide emissions suggest that, by the time you factor in things like fossil-fuel derived fertilizers and the deforestation, a gallon of corn ethanol might not be any better for climate change than a gallon of gasoline. Not all the models agree on that. But even if corn ethanol produces fewer carbon emissions than gas, you still have to deal with the fact that growing nutrient-hungry corn on the same patch of ground over and over and over is really bad for local soil and water quality.
Cellulosic ethanol could be a much better alternative — particularly cellulosic ethanol made from native, perennial plants that don't require heavy inputs to thrive and actually improve the health of the land they're grown on. The problem: Converting those plants into fuel is, so far, a lot more expensive. Cellulose — the plant fiber that makes up things like stalks of bamboo and tall prairie grasses — is tough stuff and hard to break down.
That's where panda poop comes in. Pandas process tons of cellulose every day, right in their guts. Maybe the bacteria that work for them could work for us, too.
Liz To has designed a coat-hanger-based disassemblable stove for Tibetan nomads who cook indoors. It's a clever way of recycling one of the more pernicious waste products of western society (coat hangers) and relieving one of the worst health problems faced by Tibetan nomads (indoor pollution from dung fires). Apart from the rather unfortunate orthography (it's called "thab." -- all lower case, with a superfluous period), this is just great.
thab. is designed for Tibetan Nomads who live and cook inside tents. For cooking, they usually use the three stone cooking method however that causes health issues. They use yak dung as their cooking fuels.
They often boil water or soup therefore thab. must be strong, durable, efficient, safe and inexpensive.
Tibetan Nomads travel from one place to another every few months therefore thab. is designed to be disassembled so it can be portable.
I am really not sure what to say in regards to this 2010 ESPN story about the science and psychology of elite athletes shitting themselves all over the place. Two thoughts though:
1. This story is totally fascinating and you will not regret reading it, even through the disgust. It is its own unicorn chaser.
2. I am so, so glad that I do not exercise at a level where my body has to make a choice between keeping my heart, lungs, and muscles working vs. providing all my other internal organs (including colon) with enough blood flow to remain functional.
In the 1997 NBA Finals, a severe stomach flu forced Michael Jordan to play through extreme bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. His 38 points (with multiple grimaces) led the Bulls to a pivotal Game 5 win against Utah. At Wimbledon in 2001, Serena Williams was suffering from a stomach virus and ran off the court during her quarter-final match with Jennifer Capriati in the decisive third set, after pleading with the chair ump for a timeout. "I can't hold this," Serena cried. And this summer, some of the New Orleans Saints began referring to their championship tilt with the Colts as the Super Bowel because of the unpleasant events that transpired before kickoff. "An NFL pregame locker room can be the most god-awful scene you will ever see or smell," says former Saints linebacker Scott Fujita, now with the Browns. "We are moments away from the Super Bowl, the highlight of our athletic lives, and pretty much everyone is in the bathroom just absolutely blowing up the stalls."
Yes, everybody poops. Even your favorite athlete. The difference is, sometimes they do it in front of millions of people. In the doomsday parlance of pants pooping, let's put the Saints at a relatively safe Defcon 5 -- that's military lingo for "normal readiness" -- Williams at Defcon 4 and Jordan at a potentially messy Defcon 3. When you see surfer Kelly Slater suddenly paddle away from a big wave at Banzai, he's likely at emergency level Defcon 2, creating an organic flotilla that surfers call fish food. As Slater puts it, "The secret for going No. 2 in the ocean is being down current from everybody. You don't want to go up current at your friends. That's rude."
Which brings us to the main subject of this story: Defcon 1, or "maximum readiness ...
In case the Epic Poop post has you reaching for a unicorn chaser, I bring you...unicorn poop. Specifically, DIY unicorn poop from Instructables user kristylynn84. The secret ingredient is love. And poop. And "sugar cookies, rainbow dragees, rainbow star sprinkles, white sparkle gel, and rainbow disco dust."
If you thought your mobile carrier was a pile of shit, it's understandable -- after all, the phones themselves are festering hives of E coli:
Researchers said that 16% of the devices were contaminated with E coli, which can cause food poisoning, most probably because people fail to properly wash their hands after going to the toilet. The study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London, also found that Britons tend to lie about their personal hygiene.
While 95% of the 390 people surveyed said they washed their hands with soap where possible, 92% of mobile phones and 82% of hands were contaminated with bacteria.
Toto, Japan's foremost toilet manufacturer, has made a motorized tricycle that runs on human crap. The saddle is a functional toilet, and if you can muster up enough colonic motility to keep up a steady stream, you could travel the world.
Toto makes some damned fine toilets, incidentally -- we went to rather a lot of trouble to get one of the Toto toilet-seat/bidet devices imported to the UK and converted to local voltage, and never regretted it.
As the person drives, he can poop into the bowl, and that poop will be turned into fuel for the car. It's actually part of a campaign that Toto is running in an effort to reduce its CO2 emissions by 50% in the next 6 years. The motorcycle will be making its way from Kyushu to Tokyo over the next month (departing in six days). Very exciting! I'm not sure who's driving but I'm sure that, in addition to having a drivers license, they had to check his stool to make sure its healthy and fuel-worthy.
PeePoo bags are alternatives to the "flying toilets" (plastic bags filled with human shit and then flung into the public street) used in Nairobi shantytowns. Created by the company PooPeople, they're lined with a thin gauze layer filled with urea powder, which neutralizes the bacteria in human feces. Once filled, the bags turn the poop into fertilizer, then biodegrade.
The Peepoo is in the form of a slim elongated bag measuring 14 x 38 centimeters.
Within the bag there is a thin gauze layer measuring 26 x 24 cm. The Peepoo is filled with urea powder. Without sacrificing ergonomic function, the bag’s design is adapted in every way so that it might be manufactured at as low a price as possible and sold to groups with the weakest purchasing power in the world.
The Peepoo is easy to carry and easy to use. It doesn't need any supporting structure, but, for convenience, a small bucket can help a lot.
In 1901, this Ladies Guide in Health and Disease ad advised women that they should let an "eminent German physician" cure their constipation by rolling a leather-encased cannonball around on their tummies.