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
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:
Read the rest
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.
Why DO outhouses classically have crescent moons on their doors or their sides? Is is an ancient hold-over from when boys outhouses had suns on them and girls had moons? Is it a decorative way of bringing in ventilation and light? Is it an allusion to "mooning?" A cut-out to act as a handle for opening the door?
Hah. The answer is far less interesting than any of that. But hey, did you hear about the time that a fart ended up getting 10,000 people killed?
Image: YouTube Read the rest
Having traveled to Europe and Japan many times, I've grown to appreciate bidets. They are fantastic and it's horrible that they aren't commonplace in the US. I have added one more bidet to the US and it is available at a low price Amazon. It doesn't have warm water jet like a Japanese toilet, but you'll get used to it. Read the rest