Modern bathroom design is a direct response to pandemic planning

I spent the first two weeks of my quarantine shitting in a portapotty in the parking lot of my building. It wasn't great — but hey, at least it was always stocked with hand sanitizer.

The contractors I'd hired to renovate my bathroom were not so good on timeliness or communication before the pandemic started. And it only got worse from there. So I drove 300 miles in late March where I could at least be with my pregnant wife, and where at least I could shit indoors.

I returned home the other day to find that the bathroom still wasn't finished (though at least I could shower and shit now). Disappointed, I began to unpack my things, and ended up listening to this new NPR Short Wave podcast, which strangely made me feel better. It traces the history of indoor plumbing — including the uphill battle of trying to get people to understand that no, actually, a centralized sewage system will be better for your sanitation, and you shouldn't worry about the shit from other peoples' shit infecting your home. It goes on to explain how things such as porcelain/tiling and first-floor "powder rooms" actually served utilitarian purposes, making it easier for people to distance themselves from potential disease carriers, or clean things off after hosting guests with uncertain medical histories.

To be clear, I'm not sure why this made me feel better about my frustrating bathroom contracting experience. Or the deadly virus that continues to rage just outside my doors. Read the rest

A toilet with facial recognition for your butthole

From Nature.com (emphasis added):

Here, we describe easily deployable hardware and software for the long-term analysis of a user’s excreta through data collection and models of human health. The ‘smart’ toilet, which is self-contained and operates autonomously by leveraging pressure and motion sensors, analyses the user’s urine using a standard-of-care colorimetric assay that traces red–green–blue values from images of urinalysis strips, calculates the flow rate and volume of urine using computer vision as a uroflowmeter, and classifies stool according to the Bristol stool form scale using deep learning, with performance that is comparable to the performance of trained medical personnel. Each user of the toilet is identified through their fingerprint and the distinctive features of their anoderm, and the data are securely stored and analysed in an encrypted cloud server. The toilet may find uses in the screening, diagnosis and longitudinal monitoring of specific patient populations.

tl;dr — Data gathering for toilets using biometrics of your anus. Got it? Okay cool.

 

The article itself is paywalled, as far too many academic articles are, but one Twitter user shared screenshots of this screening, diagnosis, and longitudinal monitoring technology:

Other pages explain:

We performed 410 fingerprinting [Ed note: butthole] trials from 10 participants … Among 11 participants, two video clips of the anus per participants were acquired from 7 participants, whereas one video clip of the anus per participant was acquired from 4 participants … As an input, individual frames of the anus from participant 1 were used for identification purposes.

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New magazine all about restrooms publishes a growing list of bathroom codes in NYC and beyond

Facility is a new print magazine about bathrooms. The first issue, published last year, contains articles about the the architecture, politics, and culture of restrooms. One feature in the magazine is also available online: a a list of bathroom codes for restrooms at various cafes, stores, and restaurants. Most of the codes are for New York City restrooms because, the editors write, that's where they "live and piss" but the list will grow as readers contribute. Here are a few from their list:

BROOKLYN Starbucks at North Seventh Street and Bedford Avenue: 22222 Sweetgreen at North Fourth Street and Bedford Avenue: 1284

MANHATTAN Downtown to uptown: Shake Shack at Broadway and Fulton Street: 6063 Pret A Manger at Broadway and Cortland: 3535 Tompkins Square Bagels on 10th Street and Avenue A: 4552 Bloomingdale’s Outlet at 72nd and Broadway: push 2 & 4 at same time, then 3

OAKLAND Blue Bottle on Ninth and Broadway: 1478#

SEATTLE Areis Building at 2366 Eastlake Ave East: 01230

STUDIO CITY Peet’s Coffee & Tea at 1225 Ventura Blvd between Laurelgrove and Vantage Aves: 4516*

From a recent Eater interview with Facility co-founder/editor Erin Sheehy:

Eater: What inspired you to start Facility?

Erin Sheehy: At some point we realized that bathrooms were an interesting way to frame a lot of the subjects that we care about, including public space, cities, gender, queer histories, and the seemingly mundane but endlessly fascinating details of people’s daily lives. (Plus I, for one, love to talk about bodily functions.) Our first issue includes an interview with some plumbers, an essay about fluorescent lighting, a history of delousing at the El Paso-Juárez border, an exploration of the laws that led to sex-segregated bathrooms, personal stories, artist projects, and more—we even have horoscopes!

Read the rest