Monthly Archives: November 2015

iPhone drops, toilet apps and tinfoil toilets

We all know someone who has dropped their iPhone down the toilet. This young New Zealander dropped his phone down the loo and didn’t recover it, so he’s started a GoFundMe to raise $1000. He posed with a baby on his GoFundMe page, but not even a cute baby has worked and after a month, he still hasn’t raised a single cent.

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The PooTime App – from iTunes

Do you use your iPhone on the toilet? If so, you might like the PooTime app, which allows you to time and to track the size and type of your bowel movements. You can share this info. If you want, and this led to the amazing five-star review: “My whole fraternity went viral with this app, so I guess that says a lot how much addictive it is.”

Vulcan Post has put together a list of five of the best toilet finder apps available. If tracking your poos isn’t bringing enough to your life, then one of the apps listed here has a urine colour checker too. Yay!

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The tin foil toilet – from The Tab

Finally to the King’s College edition of The Tab, where students are apparently concerned that the campus toilets are being repaired with tin foil. First year English student Ruth Beddow told the Tab: “I think it’s quite an endearing addition to the loos. It kind of sums up King’s – there’s no sense to it, but at least they tried.”

Toilets of the World, female builders and football fans

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A public toilet in Beijing – from Reuters

If you only read one story today, make it this photo story from Reuters “Around the World in 45 Toilets”. The photos are incredible, from the disgusting facilities that refugees and asylum seekers have to use, to the pit latrines common all around the world, to the works of art that the Japanese poo in, these photos are worth it.

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An open toilet in Chhattisgarh, India – from Reuters

The Australian ABC News site reports on the plight of female construction workers, who are often not provided with toilet facilities at sites and on projects, including a story about a site where the toilet had no walls and the female builder on site used her lunch break to drive to a shop to use the toilets. While the trade union didn’t object to unisex toilet facilities, construction companies are claiming that toilets are unisex when they don’t provide for the sanitary disposal of tampons.

 

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, the authorities are so worried about fan violence in the upcoming World Cup football qualifier between China and Hong Kong that the fans are being given separate toilets at the stadium so that they never come into contact with each other. According to Yahoo Sports, “tensions between fans were further fuelled this year when the Chinese Football Association released a much-criticised, racially charged poster describing Hong Kong’s players as “black-skinned, yellow-skinned and white-skinned”.”

Finally, remember that it’s only two days to World Toilet Day, November 19th!

Mexican toilet art, toilet segregation, smelly politicians, hypocritical politicians and broken toilet seats

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Some of Kurt Hollander’s photos of the toilets of Mexico City – from the Guardian

Kurt Hollander writes in the Guardian about the toilets of Mexico City. He is a photographer who found himself suffering from chronic ulcerative colitis and hence found himself in many public toilets. He was delighted, in his pain, by the quirks of the toilets (of very varying quality) that he found himself in, and he created a photo series based on these. He says that they are tourist attractions and that the photos contribute to a true chronicle of the city. “I see it as my duty to work against all those superficial, hygienic, promotional views of the city that delete the raw material, sickness and death from our culture.”

Next to Breitbart, which reports a sad story about a form of sectarian segregation in Pakistan, where Christians and Muslims are expected to use separate facilities, including separate restaurants, shops, water fountains and sometimes toilets. One Christian school girl, according to this story, was beaten by the school principal for using the Muslim school toilets.

In more cheerful news, a meeting of the Nigerian Parliament had to be cancelled because their toilets were so smelly. 360 NOBS reports that the House of Representatives meeting was postponed for almost a week as a result of the stench.

I don’t know where South Lanarkshire is, but apparently, its Council’s Deputy Leader merits a story in the Telegraph. This is because the deputy leader (Jackie Burns) was caught urinating on the street, which was noteworthy because he had been responsible, months before, for closing public toilets in the area. He said: “I was in a taxi rank at the Bottom Cross in Hamilton and needed the toilet. I went down a lane to relieve myself and was approached by police, who gave me a £40 fine which I have duly paid. I am embarrassed by the incident and have apologised.”

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The kind of sign that will soon be placed in Yellowstone’s toilets – from the Jackson Hole News and Guide

Finally, to Jackson Hole, USA. The Jackson Hole News and Guide, who report on new signs that are to be installed in Yellowstone National Park’s toilets. This is a result of high numbers of broken toilet seats, which is being blamed on increasing numbers of Asian tourists, who are climbing up on toilet seats and squatting, rather than sitting in the American style.

Salty flushes, flushed teddies, broken football toilets, parliamentary gender-neutral toilets and CG toilets

I have to admit that I’ve never read anything from Chemical and Engineering News before. But this blog is opening up whole new worlds for me. C&EN reports on a study from Hong Kong where 80% of toilets are flushed using seawater. It had long been thought that this was bad for the the marine environment because it involved the treatment of seawater with chlorine and other disinfecting agents. The study reported on here, however, found that the saltwater effluent was less damaging to the marine environment than freshwater effluent would be. It’s only one study, but saltwater flushing could be part of the future.

Bruce the sewer monster and other toys from Southern Water's Peacehaven treatment works

Toys that have been fished out of the sewers, along with “Bruce the Sewer Monster” – pic from the Southern Daily Echo

In the South of England, Southern Water have released details of things that have been found in the sewers, having been flushed down the toilet. The Southern Daily Echo reports on items that include sex toys, false teeth, dead pets and teddy bears, which have all been found in sewers under Hampshire. Apparently, we should restrict what we flush to the three Ps – pee, poo and paper.

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The damaged toilets in Arsenal’s stadium – picture from The Mirror

The Mirror reports from Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, where Tottenham Hotspur fans are apparently boasting on social media about vandalising the stadium toilets. This comes after previous vandalism in Spurs’s White Hart Lane Stadium where Arsenal fans tore down a sign.

As has I’ve written about before, public toilets are one of the main battle grounds in the transgender movement’s fight for rights. Breitbart reports on a change in the UK House of Commons, where the installation of a gender-neutral bathroom is being considered favourably by the Speaker of the House, John Bercow. This is part of a broader strategy to make the House of Commons a less masculinised institution, which could see changes to the design and decoration of the interior of the building, the make-up of committees and ceremonial dress.

Gamereactor has put together a list of the top 5 toilets in the big new game of the moment, Fallout 4.

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One of the best 5 toilets in Fallout 4 – pic from Gamereactor

Toilet crimes, trans activism, toilet certificates, missing school days and an honest cleaner

Today’s first story is a sad one from Northern Ireland. The Derry Journal reports on a court case where a 68-year-old man has been found guilty of common assault. He was in the toilets of a shopping centre when he tugged on the trouser leg of the man next to him under the cubicle partition. The victim thought that someone was trying to steal his wallet and reported it to security. The accused “told the police he did this in the hope of ‘having some sexual activity with them’. The pensioner added that he would go off somewhere with them if they returned the attention, rather than have sex in the toilet cubicle.” It is a story that calls to mind the generations of gay men who had covert sex in toilets, and a man whose life may have been very different if he had been born 20 years later.

The next story relates to the moves in Houston Texas to prevent transgendered people from using the bathroom of their choice (already discussed in the previous post). Transgender model Kelly Lauren posted this photo on her Facebook page, with the caption: “Houston, do you REALLY want me in the same restroom as your husband or boyfriend?”

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Meanwhile, in the continuing campaign to provide the whole of India with sanitary toilet facilities, the Times of India is running this report from Gujarat. In order to run for a position in government, candidates must get a toilet certificate, to prove that they have a sanitary toilet, a new legal precondition to run in elections there.

The Filipino site ABS-CBN is running a story in advance of World Toilet Day (November 19th – I hope you all have it in your diaries!) about the impact of the worldwide lack of sanitary toilet facilities. They report that every year 443 million schooldays are missed due to illnesses caused by a lack of access to clean toilet facilities. This is the equivalent of every single primary and secondary school in the Philippines closing down for a whole month.

Finally, to Turkey, where Albawaba is reporting on a janitor who discovered €24,500 in a toilet in Istanbul Ataturk Airport and turned it in to the authorities, even though he only earns €320 a month and the money would have been enough to buy a small house in Turkey.

Discriminatory toilets, no such thing as a free tampon, eavesdropping in toilets, daughters vs toilets, composting loos and a toilet museum

Dan Savage at The Stranger writes about a vote in Houston, Texas. The electorate voted to repeal an-anti LGBT discrimination law. The reason the repeal campaign gave for wanting permission to discriminate was so that it could prevent “men” from using women’s toilets and locker rooms, that transgender women are really men in disguise and they pose a threat to women in toilets and showers. It seems a far-fetched idea to me, but it’s an idea that won in Texas. Access to toilets is one of the biggest fights the trans community is fighting at the moment, and moves like this make it seem like it could be a long fight.

The Tab reports on a failed attempt to provide free emergency tampons in the University of Birmingham toilets. These were being used so quickly, with whole boxes disappearing almost instantly, that students in need will now have to request their free emergency tampon from the Student Advice and Representation Centre.

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Free tampons – from The Tab

The Herald Sun proved what a classy paper it is by sending a reporter to eavesdrop on what rich women were saying to each other in the ladies’ toilets at the Melbourne Cup. Some of the things they heard: “I just dropped my sunglasses into the toilet.” “My Hollywood tape is stuck to my nipple and I’m too scared to rip it off … what if my whole nipple comes off?” and “I’m sick of my dress … do you want to swap?”

The Indian government’s Swachh Bharat campaign (to bring indoor toilets to the whole nation) has seen some success in Chattisgarh, according to a report in The Times of India. In Chattisgarh, a tribe of 10,000 in the Halba community have taken a vow that their daughters will not be married into houses without toilets.

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A dry composting toilet in Ecuador – pic from Fundacion In Terris

The Washington Post is reporting from Ecuador, where the lack of a network of sewage lines has caused health problems and a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has aided in the building of hundreds of dry composting toilets that don’t require access to sewage facilities or running water to function. According to the report, they don’t smell, are sanitary and cost less than $300 each.

Finally today, to Toilet Heaven AKA Japan, where a toilet museum is making the news. USA Today reports on displays about the history, construction and design of toilets, as well as exhibits of famous toilets. “Among the more notable exhibits are toilets built for Buckingham Palace and the Japanese prime minister’s residence, both in the 1920s. On display, too, is the plain bathroom suite used by MacArthur — with what appears to be a well-worn toilet — when he was the all-powerful ruler of Japan right after World War II.”

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A display at Kitakyushu’s Toilet Museum – pic from USA Today

A memorial eco-toilet, freeloading police officers, World Toilet Day, Sydney in Kolkata and a glory hole in Florida

Castle Cary cemetery in Somerset has a new toilet. The Western Gazette reports on the opening of the facility. Michael Eavis, the founder of the Glastonbury festival, who supervises the installation of 70,000 toilets every year at the festival, opened the facility, an eco-toilet for a cemetery which has no main drainage. Mr Eavis, who came to the November 1st opening wearing a pair of shorts said he “had a wee ready” as he waited to cut the ribbon.

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Michael Eavis emerges from the new toilet after using it for the first time (pic from the Western Gazette)

The Times of India has a story about police officers getting caught travelling on a train without a ticket “yet again”.  Apparently, in the space of one month, 40 different police officers were caught hiding in the train toilets to avoid paying for tickets, in the Agra are alone!

India figures prominently in a report prepared for World Toilet Day (coming up on 19th November) relayed in the Malaysian Digest. “Unclean, unsafe and improper sanitation affects an estimated 2.5 billion, or one in three people worldwide; kills 1,000 children below five years daily and inflicts diseases on 88 per cent of the global population.” For more information have a look at the World Toilet Organisation and their work here.

India is working hard to tackle these problems, as I’ve reported here before. The Times of India runs a lot of stories about all the new toilets being built, but this is the first one that I’ve come across that actually describes what the new toilets are like. Kolkata city is taking pride in its new public toilets, one of which is in a Sydney Opera House themed building, another in a building the shape of a ship, and a third in the shape of a metro carriage. These new toilets are being kept clean, are carefully decorated and some even have their own gardens in front.

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The Sydney Opera House public toilet building in Kolkata (pic from the Times of India)

Finally, a story from the Metro about a mysterious case in a Florida public toilet. Apparently, a “glory hole” appeared in the barrier between a cubicle and the urinals at a toilet at Treasure Shores Beach, and every time the authorities patch the hole up, it reappears. We finish with a glorious quote from the local sheriff: ‘Based on the location of where the hole was drilled, it is commonly used for male subjects to place their genitalia through it and have oral sex performed on them.’