Stories tagged bathroom

Jun
03
2008

A great American: taking an energy efficient, zero water bath.
A great American: taking an energy efficient, zero water bath.Courtesy mikekanyo
The Japanese government is encouraging its citizens to strike a grimy blow to the forces of overconsumption.

In an official report sparkling with figures and spinning with good intent, the government recommended that people take speedier showers, and not screw around in between baths.

“We’re savin’ water this way, see? And we don’t got to heat up as much, see? That saves energy, kid,” said Prime Minister Fukuda of the recommendation. “Now scram—ya bother me,” he added.

Still below the average American and European consumption levels, energy use per capita in Japan has increased by 44 percent over the last fifteen years or so. An, unlike America and Europe, where household energy use is primarily for heating and air-conditioning, the bulk of Japanese household energy use is applied to heating water for kitchens and bathrooms.

Shorter showers is an old trick, but traditional Japanese bath time customs leave some room for improvement—bathing is often done outside the tub, and followed by a soak in the hot water. Family members then will reuse the water when it’s their turn. Baths in quicker succession would require less reheating of the water, thereby saving energy.

“So simple a baby could have come up with it,” says Fukuda. “It’s genius, I tell ya!”

It’s a thought-provoking plan, certainly. I don’t recommend that Americans adopt it, however. No, while we could all stand to use a little less energy, who wants to constantly play catch up to another country? Not us. I say, then, that we stop bathing altogether! Let’s see another country try to beat that.

Sidenote—Does Pigpen have fleas? Or are those just dirt particles?

Aug
09
2006

Q: Why do people blink?

A: People blink because the eye needs to be kept clean and moist. Every time you blink your eyelid coats the eye with fluids that keep your eyes moist and that flush away gunk. Blinking also helps prevent gunk from entering your eyes in the first place – lowering the lids and eyelashes forms a barrier that is hard for gunk to penetrate. Interestingly, you bink less when you are concentrating on something (like driving or surfing the internet).

Q: How tall can a willow tree be when they are full grown?

A: That depends on what species of willow tree you are referring to – there are lots. The White Willow can reach heights up to 100 feet, while the Artic Willow grows to less than a foot in height!

Space shuttle bathroom: A typical space shuttle bathroom.  Image courtesy NASA.
Space shuttle bathroom: A typical space shuttle bathroom. Image courtesy NASA.
Q: How do astronauts go to the bathroom in space?

A: Typically, there are toilets similar in function to toilets on Earth, but they use air suction instead of water to make the waste go where they want it to, since there is no gravity. Solid wastes are compressed and stored on-board, and then removed after returning to Earth. Waste water is vented to space, although future systems may be able to recycle it. The NASA web site has a short video on the subject.

Q: Why doesn’t a duck quack echo?

A: This is an urban legend – duck quacks do echo. This site proves it.