Stories tagged toilets

I'd say "In case you were wondering exactly how astronauts go to the bathroom in space," except... of course you were wondering that. Thankfully, there's this video to walk you though it, from the alignment camera on the practice toilet, to the thigh restraints and the frightening, hissing pipes of the real thing.

PS—And what about those "Apollo fecal bags"? How come those weren't in Apollo 13 (the movie, not the mission)?


OMG! Upside down!: (Not a space toilet.)Courtesy Kcstsg
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of man and mankind’s first steps on the moon, one of the International Space Station’s two toilets has broken.

I hate to say, “I told you so,” but, really, they should have seen this coming. See, my understanding of the ISS is that it’s sort of like a little floating frat. Getting in can be a hassle (but once you are in it’s vaguely uncomfortable), everybody has the same haircut, their jokes are largely based on cable TV and women are few and far between. So I feel like they should have known that the toilet was going to get a lot of use the day after a celebration.

In any case, one of the toilets broke for some reason. And, just like in a frat, they’re making the foreign guy fix it. (I guess in space everybody is foreign. But a Belgian guy is really foreign in space. Also, I don’t know how many foreign exchange students belong to frats. But you know what they say about assumptions: they’re useful and awesome.)

They aren’t sure yet how serious the malfunction is (so I guess it’s not overflowing, or anything), but eventually it will have to be sorted out, because a single bathroom apparently isn’t enough for the full ISS crew of six. Until that happens, though, there’s still the other bathroom, as well as plenty of “Apollo-era urine collection bags.”

Best wishes, spacemen. (And woman.) You’re living the dream.


A big pyramid: Of pathetic, antiquated, and useless thought.
A big pyramid: Of pathetic, antiquated, and useless thought.Courtesy Pygo
Y’all know what a scientific paradigm is? Me neither. But I took a class about it once, and I seem to remember that it has something to do with the whole mindset with which we approach scientific questions. A paradigm frames how we might look at the whole of a scientific question—indeed, it doesn’t just determine how we ask questions, but what questions we ask in the first place.

When a paradigm shifts, something has occurred or been uncovered that completely changes the approach to the problem. With a new scientific paradigm, we don’t just ask questions that couldn’t be answered before, we ask questions that we never even considered before.

Let’s examine... oh, say, toilet paper. Thin. Usually white, or whitish. Used for wiping stuff. Two ply (sometimes one-ply, depending on the venue). What more can be done with it? Oh, I suppose we could make it softer somehow. Or make it rougher, maybe. Could we make it whiter? Larger squares? No, the discipline is dry; there is nothing new to be discovered in toilet paper now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.

Wrong answer, chumps! How about… 3-ply toilet paper!

3-ply? 3-ply? There’s no such… Aaaaaaaaaahhhaaaaaaaaaaaahh!!!!

No, pull it together… I can get my head around this… 3-ply…Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhaaaaaaaaaahhhh!!!!

Okay… Let’s just not think directly at that for a little bit.

So, “toilet paper researchers” in Wisconsin have created toilet paper that has… three layered… They’ve made two-ply toilet paper with one more ply.

It’s like the axis of the world has shifted so that it’s running right through my brain.

The new generation of toilet paper is being touted as “extra-soft,” although, industry analysts are skeptical, pointing out that an extra ply should only make TP tougher, not softer. Not to mention that it just plain seems impossible.

Nonetheless, the Wisconsin futurnauts fully intend to pursue this new three-layered science. The target market is reported to be women 45 and older who view their bathroom as a "sanctuary for quality time."

And so I salute you, 45+ female demographic. You dare what the rest of us can hardly imagine.

Do you have one of those old, boring, regular toilets? Check out video here on the "intelligent toilets" in use in many public areas in Japan. It's actually scary what these toilets can learn about you while you're doing your daily business.