Subject: Re: toilet flush
Date: Thursday, October 16, 2003 10:05 AM
A fairly long post, but worth it!****
Found this on a mssg board somewhere, thought it was barely relevent!
Austin American Statesman, Sun June 10, 2001
by Dave Barry, Miami Herald.
Do not read this if you are eating, or plan to eat ever again. Thank
Recently I watched as a professional engineer attempted to flush
fermented bean curd down a toilet.
This was not some fun engineer prank. This was a laboratory test
conducted at the research center of the National Association of Home
Builders, which is trying to develope a laboratory test for toilet
performance that simulates the challenges faced by toilets in the real
This research is necessary because Americans are unhappy with the
wimpy toilets we are now required to buy. We yearn for the glory years
when our toilets we among the most powerful on Earth---when the
Standard American household commode could, in a single flush, as
proven in actual tests, suck down a mature sheep.
(Before I get alot of mail from angry animal-rights activists, let me
stress these tests did NOT use an actual sheep.That would be barbaric.
They used two goats tied together.)
But then in 1992, the U.S. Congress---instead of passing a law that
would actually benefit ordinary Americans, such as mandatory death
penalty for telemarketers---decided to cripple our toilets.
Specifically, Congress passed a law limiting new toilets to 1.6
gallons of water per flush, less than half of what the old toilets
used. In terms of power and studliness, out toilets went from being
the Baltimore Ravens to Barry Manilow.
(Before i get a lot of mail from angry Barry Manilow fans, let me
stress that, as a musician and performer, HE sounds like two goats
The new toilets were supposed to save water. And they work OK when it
comes to disposing of what is euphemistically referred to as "No 1."
The problem is that, when it comes to what is euphemistically referred
to as "Geraldo." They tend to clog and must be flushed repeatedly,
which actually wastes water.
(Before I get alot of mail from angry Geraldo fans, let me stress that
ther ARE no Geraldo fans.)
So anyway, the plumbing and home-building industries have gotten many
complaints about the new toilets. That's why the National Association
of Homebuilders has been trying to come up with a real-world toilet
test, so we'll know which, if any, toilets actually work, so consumers
can buy these and get rid of the bad toilets, which will then be
dropped from bombers onto the U.S. Capitol.
OK, that last part is a fantasy (for now). But the builder's group
really is doing serious toilet research, as i learned when I was given
a tour of its Maryland research facility by Larry Zarker, Chuck Arnold
and Tom Kenney. They showed me a laboratory where test toilets are
mounted on a frame; the procedure is, you put your test material into
the bowl, flush, then see how much makes it through to a collection
(Kids:This would be a GREAT science fair project!)
Kenney first showed me the current test standard in which the toilet
is supposed to flush 100 little plastic balls. There are two problems
with this test. One is that anyone who emits anything like 100 little
plastic balls does'nt need a better toilet, he needs immediate medical
care. The other problem is that the test is WAY too easy. "Any toilet
in the world can pass it," said Kenney.
He then showed me some of the tougher, more-realistic tests being
concidered. These involve various materials, including wads of paper
and sponges, both weighted and un-weighted, to simulate what the NAHB
refers to as "sinkers" and "floaters."
But the most impressive test by far is the fermented bean curd, which
Kenney said is made, using a secret recipe, by the Toto toilet company
of japan, a world leader in commode innovation. I mean, this stuff
looks EXACTLY like the real Geraldo. I myself would not touch it. I
watched in fascinated horror as Kenney boldly grasped a mass of it
and, with his bare hands, formed 10 incredibly lifelike Puff Daddies.
Needless to say, these clogged the test toilet.
I was deeply moved by this experience . I came away convinced that
these engineers will, someday, develope a test that will enable us, as
a nation, to once again have faith in our commodes. When that day
comes, I want to shake the hands of the courageous researchers who
made it possible. But first they have to wash up.
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