Toilet Technology — 2015 Update

One of the most valuable features of our humble blog is keeping you up-to-date on the latest news in toilet technology. Our last post on this topic was Hey Discoveroids — Here’s Real Intelligent Design, about dazzling developments in Japanese bathroom facilities. A year before that we wrote The Latest News in Toilet Technology, about the Toilet Fair in New Delhi, India.

Today, at PhysOrg, we read No loo-sers as Japan holds toilet design contest. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Japan is holding its first ever toilet design contest, with organisers looking for “most comfortable”, “cheapest for the developing world” and “safest for women”, officials have said.

Worthy goals indeed! Then we’re told:

In a bid to find the nation’s loveliest lavatories, a government panel is seeking applications that prove designers are thinking big about the littlest room. The initiative comes as Tokyo appears to have grasped the soft-power potential of the country’s high-tech toilets, whose seat warmers and pinpoint bidet jets amaze foreign visitors.

Jets? M’god — who wants a toilet that offers a two-way experience? Let’s read on:

I hope efforts to make the world’s best restrooms in Japan will spread broadly,” Haruko Arimura, minister in charge of women’s empowerment — who is overseeing the project — said in a recent press conference.

We applaud Japan’s efforts to spread broadly. The news continues:

A 145-page report on improving quality of life claims the drive towards better bogs will “empower women” because by “improving comfort, cleanliness and safety, the quality of work and leisure can improve dramatically.”

Your Curmudgeon is embarrassed because until now, we didn’t know that bathrooms could be a source of empowerment for women. If we can get a copy of their report, we won’t make that mistake again. Here’s more:

As well as looking for ideas on how to make environmentally-friendly toilets for use in natural disasters, the competition is asking for ideas on how to make toilets easier for “foreigners and physically disabled people.”

We’re heard of natural disasters in the loo, but the article tastefully doesn’t provide any details. Hey — what’s the problem that foreigners have with toilets? The article tells us:

A leaflet produced by organisers … does not specify which part of using a toilet foreigners might have trouble with.

That’s best left to the imagination. Moving along:

The competition will be judged by a panel of seven, including architects and an official from the Japan Toilet Association, using five criteria — cleanliness, safety, comfortableness, novelty/creativity, and sustainability. Applicants have until the end of the month to submit their designs. Minister Arimura will announce the winners in September.

The Japan Toilet Association sounds like a wonderful organization. One last excerpt:

Toilets in Japan have been raised to something of an art. … The bog-standard version simply warms the seat — an under-appreciated luxury among the uninitiated — while top-of-the-range models offer an array of options, including warm water jets, blow-dryers, deoderisers and masking sounds.

This is a wake-up call for other countries. While Japan is, ah, plunging ahead in this vital activity, the rest of the world is — ahem! — dropping behind. A generation ago, America beat the Soviets in the Space Race. Can we afford to sit back and let Japan take the lead in toilets?

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

17 responses to “Toilet Technology — 2015 Update

  1. I greatly respect the SC for resisting the urge to open with: “In lieu of our usual subject matter….”

  2. Professor Tertius says:

    I greatly respect the SC for resisting the urge to open with: “In lieu of our usual subject matter….”

    But this isn’t off-topic. It seems to fit nicely with our emphasis on creationism.

  3. A leaflet produced by organisers … does not specify which part of using a toilet foreigners might have trouble with.

    Maybe using the three seashells?

  4. As impressive as the Japanese toilets are, I think there’s much more that can be done. Surely there’s a need for detecting hidden cameras! And why can’t the contrivance be connected to the internet? There’s no reason for a trip to the loo to be a solitary experience.

  5. Holy crap! You mean to say we have a toilet gap?
    (trying to do his best General Ripper impersonation from “Dr. Strangelove”)

  6. Yes, while we are on the subject of…well…solid waste disposal, I just had to share the following AIG “waste”, badly in need of disposal, from the pens of Dr. Georgia Purdom and Dr. David Menton:

    Today, man’s maximum life span is about 120 years, and our average life expectancy is still only 70–80 years—just as it was when the 90th Psalm was written 3,400 years ago! The precipitous plunge in life spans after the Flood suggests that something changed at the time of the Flood, or shortly thereafter, that was responsible for this decline. A line graph of this decline reveals an exponential curve (see figure 1). An exponential decay rate is often called a “natural” decay rate because it is so often observed in nature. For example, this is the decay curve we see when living organisms are exposed to lethal doses of toxic substances or radiations. Since it is unlikely that people living in pre-Flood times were familiar with exponential decay curves, it is thus unlikely that these dates were fabricated.

    I couldn’t resist adding the bold font to draw attention to my favorite sentence of that AIG page:
    Did People Like Adam and Noah Really Live Over 900 Years of Age?

    First, I thought Ken Ham & Friends at AIG are always saying that we underestimate the advanced technology of the antediluvian world? And in Ham’s Ark Park promotional materials he claims that Noah could have had very sophisticated engineering technology. But here, his resident “creation scientists” are saying that the longevity numbers for the men in the Adam-Noah-Abraham genealogy scriptures are “exponential decay curves”, so they think them “unlikely” to have been fabricated. (After all, the antediluvians probably weren’t all that great at math–which is quite surprising for engineers using advanced technology to build the ark! At least, that’s what Ken Ham says when people complain about the forklifts and other technology at the Ark Park building site.)

    Secondly, I looked at the “Decline in Ages at Death” chart and that is among the strangest “exponential decay curves” I ever saw. Moreover, they state: “An exponential decay rate is often called a “natural” decay rate…”. (Do they mean that it is dropping according to the “natural constant e”, as some kind of function of 1/e?) Of course, I assume that they meant they started with Noah’s age and used the 11 data points from Noah to Abraham (i.e., the age at which each died) to approximate a decay curve. Yet, couldn’t virtually ANY set of such small size which generally decreases be “curve fit” to an exponential decay curve?

    I’ve not done that sort of math in ages and don’t feel like plugging in the numbers to produce an “average curve” from the data points. Perhaps some of our resident mathematicians on this forum could comment on their “observation”.

    There are lots of howlers in the article but I had not seen this particular argument before. (Perhaps my memory is failing me.) They are apparently arguing that because the ancient author(s) didn’t know about natural decay curves, the Genesis record of declining ages-at-death would therefore have to be historically accurate for that reason.

  7. @Professor Tertius
    Remember 2 Peter 3:4, where we are told that all things were then as they are now, so there was no decay in the laws of nature.

  8. TomS, I guess the YECs like to have their uniformitarianism and hate it too.

    As Jason Lisle says, it is the logic, rationality, and consistency of the universe that is the ULTIMATE PROOF! …..except that any time and in any place it might change the fundamental constants at the drop of a hat–especially when one needs to bail out a young earth and calculate the year to around 6,000.

  9. I think we can safely say that the winner of that contest will be flushed with pride.

  10. Dave Luckett

    This is an astonishing turn-around, since the traditional Japanese toilet consists of a hole in the floor with two footprints to indicate where one squats.

    I blame the West, of course, with its total disregard for the venerable customs of other peoples. We have instilled in the Japanese an alimentary cultural cringe. Shame on us.

  11. I’ll say at again: I appreciate YEC “creation scientists” for their self-defecating humor.

  12. Seattle had its loo moments:
    “The last time officials addressed the issue, they wound up with a mess. The city spent $5 million on five high-tech, self-cleaning toilets for Pioneer Square and other neighborhoods in 2003, only to have the units become refuges for drug use, prostitution and hanky-panky. They were sold on eBay in 2008 for $2,500 each.” (Seattle Times)

    “[The rep] insists the new toilet — a Portland Loo-style model — will be much better. Named for the Oregon city, which installed its first unit in 2008, the Loo is small, solar-powered and made from heavy-gauge stainless steel with a graffiti-resistant finish.

    Its sink for hand-washing is located on the outside, to discourage people from using the unit to bathe and wash clothes. Angled steel louvers at the top and bottom of the unit allow passers-by and police to observe how many people are inside without compromising privacy. The unit on its own costs less than $100,000; another $100,000 or more will be spent on installation and other items, …

    If the Loo is a success, the city may add more in neighborhoods…” [A rep] insists the new toilet — a Portland Loo-style model — will be much better. Named for the Oregon city, which installed its first unit in 2008, the Loo is small, solar-powered and made from heavy-gauge stainless steel with a graffiti-resistant finish.” (Seattle Times)

    Take that, Japan!

  13. The city spent $5 million on five high-tech, self-cleaning toilets for Pioneer Square…

    At a million dollars each, were they gold-plated?….or was that the real-estate cost per each 100 sq.ft. location?

  14. VAScienceLover

    @Professor Tertius

    I have read according to some sources that the ancient Hebrews calculated years in terms of lunar not solar years (as in “many moons ago”). Hence the 900 “year” lifespan for Adam would actually be approximately 75 years in what we moderns define as years – a ripe old age for that time indeed but nothing near the absurdity promoted by “literalists” such as Hambo & co. As someone who actually studies these ancient texts, do you think that is likely scenario?

  15. VAScienceLover, I could easily have missed your question! I only happened to pull up a browser cache and saw it. Feel free to contact me via if that happens again (my not seeing your question.)

    The “lunar solution” looks good at first—but once you start looking at the ages when the various patriarchs had their named son, it produces ages like 5 years old. Not so good.

    HOWEVER, I have wondered if there may have been a change of numbering, perhaps with the lunar initially and later a change to a solar year.

    It is a complex topic. Here’s an interesting summary of some of the ideas:

  16. Notice also how, here again, the term “literalist” always bugs me as such an ambiguous term. I do happen to lean toward literal interpretations–but that doesn’t mean what most Young Earth Creationist want it to mean! I think if we knew exactly what the author meant in that culture, the “literal” meaning would often be quite obvious. As a result, I often interpret much more “literally” than most Young Earth Creationists.

  17. By the way, I should mention to everyone with questions that I do not always read the comment sections nor always seen every comment even when I do. So please contact me if you think I’ve missed a question inside of a comment.