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More Miscellany
Tuesday, 2006 August 29 - 9:25 am
Toilet news; a study on being overweight; and this year's "Survivor".

There's a new toilet that uses compressed air to help the flushing process, thus saving significant amounts of water. The Propelair toilet using only 1.5 liters of water for each flush (compared to about six liters for a typical "low-flush" toilet).

But I think this the public will refuse to buy this as soon as there's some kind of incident. A big poop, plus a clog, plus compressed air, equals a horrifying explosion.

A study has found that, contrary to some people's beliefs, being even slightly overweight may pose significant health risks. This study was one of the first to examine healthy non-smokers separately. Among that group, being overweight (with a body mass index higher than 25) was correlated with a 20 to 40 percent chance of dying prematurely. A separate study in Korea confirmed these findings.

I am very sympathetic with people who are overweight, and I am conscious not to pass judgment, because I know it's an awful struggle to lose weight. But I think this study dispels some of the "it's okay to be overweight, so long as I'm otherwise happy and healthy" rhetoric. I think that, overweight or not, we can all benefit from eating better and exercising more, and at some point we need to stop making excuses for not doing so.

So "Survivor" this season is going to divide up contestants by race. The initial group of contestants will be divided into four groups: Asian, black, Latino, and white. (By the way, I've noticed that when most people list four racial groups, Asian is usually mentioned last. White and black are usually first. I think that's a reflection of the fact that most people think about racial issues as white vs. black.)

I think it'll be very difficult for this to happen in a way that it will break down racial stereotypes instead of reinforcing them. I'm sure the cameramen, editors, and producers will be sorely tempted to catch contestants in moments that reflect their ethnicities. Or it will go so far the other way that it'll seem like mockery.

And I can't see how this will help race relations in the country.

But hey, GO ASIANS.
Permalink  2 Comment   Bookmark and Share
Posted by Ken in: commentaryinterestingtelevision


Comment #1 from Phil (Guest)
2006 Aug 31 - 12:54 am : #
Related but different: you saw the Dave Chapelle skit on the racial draft pick, yes? Go Asians, indeed. Especially the Chinese who chose Wu Tang Clan after the blacks got Tiger Woods first.

I was just on a train that had the pneumatic toilet thing. Scaaaary.

Elsewhere, I saw a toilet that had options for "number one" and "number two" flushing:
Comment #2 from Ken (realkato)
2006 Sep 1 - 4:12 pm : #
Yes, I did see the racial draft thing... dang funny.

Also, just about every toilet in Japan has options for #1 and #2 flushing. And on modern toilets (called "washlets"), there are various buttons to turn on a seat warmer, a bidet, an ass-washer, and an ass-dryer. Japan doesn't mess around when it comes to toilets.

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