Tag Archives: NASA

For the love of toilets…………..

In an effort to get out and see more of Delhi, I took the kids to the Toilet Museum. They thought I was kidding. It is actually (kind of) funny that in a land where bathrooms are hard to find that there is a museum dedicated to all things toilet.

And if you are in the U.S. and you are thinking, “dang, now I have to go to Delhi, I must see the toilet museum,”  – fear not. In Wisconsin there is also a toilet museum. In fact, I think it is the world’s largest toilet museum. You can thank Kohler for that. And if I understood things correctly, there is also a toilet paper museum. No need for a passport.

If you don’t believe me – click this link for the museum in Delhi – http://www.sulabhtoiletmuseum.org/pg01.htm. I knew it was going to be good when the first line of the link said you should seek help if you have ever wondered what a toilet museum would be like.

I have to say it was interesting. For example, did you know that John Harrington invented the modern toilet. I just happen to love this guy! Yes, I heart John Harrington and that big fluffy collar of his.

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And did you know that the reason Americans call the toilet the John is because John Douglass was famous for making pottery basins for the toilet and he would sign them John? An artist must sign his work. Sign he did. See, now you will sleep better tonight because you know that.

This made me laugh. It is a replica of an outhouse type toilet used at construction sites in the U.S. many, many years ago. I don’t know if you can read the signs but the door on the top says “Management” and the door on the bottom says “Employees”. It’s disgusting and hysterical at the same time. And no, there was not a hole in the ceiling of the employee section.

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In Thailand, they are teaching elephants to use the toilet so that the tourists are not constantly side-stepping big piles of poo (not the technical term, but you get the idea). I once considered trying to toilet train our cats.  However, I spent what felt like years getting Number One Hubby to put the seat down – cats would require the seat to be up. I quickly checked “potty training the cats” off my bucket list. But this takes over-achieving to a whole new level.

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This is a picture of the man who loves all things toilet. He was charming and very informative. And, yes, that is a picture of Jennifer Lopez. She is apparently even famous at the toilet museum because at one point Ben Affleck gave her a bejeweled toilet. Now, that is love.

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There was a very detailed explanation of how this traveling port-a-potty works. I have to be honest, there were a couple of times when we all zoned out. So, I did not catch the whole idea behind it – but I think you can figure it out.

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This man in Seoul built his house in the shape of a toilet. Did you know that there was a World Toilet Association? You do now.

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And the award for the most expensive toilet goes to………..drum roll please…………. NASA. Shocking.

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Remember I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on the internet, so you must do with this info what you will….

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This toilet has an incinerator at the bottom and makes ashes out of waste.

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And then there were the mascots – seriously – there are mascots. Can you guess their names?

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I didn’t tell you everything – I didn’t want to spoil all the surprises, just in case you decide to visit. The tour takes about half an hour.

It turns out that the toilet museum is not just about toilets. It is located on a campus where they are studying waste management. The curator offered a tour of that part of the facility as well, but we opted out of that seeing that section.

The tour was free, although I did give a donation at the end of the tour.

It might sound crazy, but we enjoyed ourselves and we laughed the whole way home. Now I have a whole new threat to level against them – if you aren’t good, I will tell your friends you went to the toilet museum – and LIKED it. And it was a fabulous opportunity for my children to see that if you are enthusiastic about your “work”, you will love your job and you will bring joy to other people. Who would have thought that we would make such great family memories at the toilet museum?

The pen is not always mightier…….

NASA, knowing that astronauts would need to write in space, spent millions of dollars inventing a pen that would write in zero gravity. And invent it they did.pencil-fat-with-squiggle

Russia – well, they used a pencil.

I have not verified this story because I am not even sure how I could. I know NASA does not have a blog marked “Oops” or a top ten list of things they learned not to do while spending tax payer money. It ain’t gonna happen.

But, I also have not even tried to verify it because I want it to be true. It is a great story of lessons learned – and forget Aesop’s fables – we can learn so many lessons right in the here and now – and all without even trying to convince ourselves that a fox would actually want grapes in the first place – with all due respect Mr. Aesop – that one was a stretch.

I can even imagine the planning sessions where the scientists were all taking notes in pencil and writing on the chalk board. I am quite sure someone even suggested that the answer must be right there in front of them. It can’t be that hard. Really, I can hear them saying it. Scratching their head with the end of the pencils. Sharpening them while thinking of new ideas. Erasing the ideas that did not work so well. They might have even said – well, that didn’t work, back to the drawing board. I wonder if they drew and colored space ships with their kids at the end of the day – with crayons. Hmmmmm. Maybe little Johnny is on to something.

And I do not see this at all as a criticism of Americans – I think it highlights our strengths. We are a smart, determined, well-resourced group that can solve just about anything. But I think sometimes we need to remember we don’t have to invent a new pen when a pencil will do.

Note: It turns out that regular pencils proved to be dangerous in space because they could catch on fire (details) and that the space pens (after the initial investment of a lot of money to invent them) were actually cheaper to purchase than the mechanical pencils NASA was using instead of regular pencils. Whatever – that is not the point. (get it – not the point?? I crack myself up – really – that was a good one.)