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things that just are

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Woman Settles 'Toilet Phobia' Lawsuit

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African woman has settled a lawsuit in which she claimed to have developed a phobia about toilets after falling off one at a hotel.

Antonia Hart, 59, sued the Sun International hotel chain following the August 2003 incident, asking for 91,000 rand ($14,000) for pain, injury, medical treatment and 'loss of amenities,' the South African Press Agency (SAPA) reported.

Hart's lawyers had accused the hotel of negligence, saying their client toppled off the toilet when it suddenly broke 'whilst in normal use for the purposes for which it was installed,' SAPA quoted court papers as saying.
Sun International's lawyers conceded that the toilet had broken, but said Hart's husband had signed a liability waiver upon checking in.

'The matter was settled between the parties and the magistrate was informed on Monday that an agreement had been reached and that the lawsuit would not proceed,' SAPA said.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

America's Best Restroom

Not to be outdone...

May 25- The Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, WI, was named the nation's finest restroom as voted on by the Internet public in the America's Best Restroom III contest, presented by Cintas Corporation.


Brits in Search of Best ‘Away-From-Home’ Toilets

WINCHESTER, England, June 14, 2004 -- The search is on for Britain's best 'away from home' toilets, following the launch of the 2004 Loo of the Year Awards, promoted by The British Toilet Association.

Now in their eighteenth year, the Loo of the Year Awards have thirty six different categories, covering every type of location used by staff, members of the public or visitors - including offices, schools, hospitals, pubs, shops and, of course, public toilets provided by local authorities.

There are separate Awards for the best accessible and baby changing facilities, as well as attendants and cleaning staff, who qualify for the associated Attendant of the Year awards.

Anyone can nominate any number of 'away from home' loos - staff, customers, owners or visitors, via the Loo of the Year Awards nomination hotline (+44(0)1962 850277) by fax (+44(0)1962 870220) or on-line via the Awards website www.loo.co.uk, or e-mail: nominations@loo.co.uk.

Closing date for entries is Aug. 31. Results will be announced in early December. All entries receive an unannounced inspection visit and a subsequent one through five star grading, based on a wide range of judging criteria, including décor, cleanliness, functional equipment and overall management.

National Loo Awars site: http://www.loo.co.uk
Full brochure and 'State of the Loo' address: http://www.loo.co.uk/2003results.pdf

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

New York City tap water isn't kosher:

New York, NY(UPI) -- Sales of water filters to Orthodox Jews in New York are brisk since word went out the city's tap water contains microscopic harmless crustaceans.

Rabbis recently discovered there are tiny creatures, called copepods, in the unfiltered water that streams into the city from upstate, the New York Times said Tuesday.

Two weeks ago, Yair Hoffman and other Orthodox Jews inspected city tap water under a microscope. They saw copepods, millimeter-long zooplankton that are common in the ocean and in groundwater.

"There's absolutely no health risk," said Charles Sturcken, a spokesman for the city Department of Environmental Protection.

Forget Splitting Atoms, Split a Banana for Energy

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian scientists have discovered what sportsmen and women around the world have known for years: bananas are a great source of instant energy.

A new government-funded study is investigating the possibility of harnessing bruised or spoilt bananas -- deemed not worth selling to consumers -- to provide energy for 500 homes. "It's not a hoax," Australian Banana Growers' Council Chief Executive Tony Heidrich said on Tuesday.

Reminiscent of the pig-powered town in the futuristic movie Mad Max Thunderdome, bananas would be combined with bacteria to produce methane. Pipes would take the gas to a turbine which could be plugged into the main electricity grid.

"It's like a big stomach. You open the lid, you put the stuff in and seal the lid and...away you go," said Heidrich by telephone from the nation's banana-growing state of Queensland.

"Essentially it's just like a big composting bin. It's a waste product and currently we're not doing anything else with it. This would harness the electrical capacity that it can bring," he said.

However, Heidrich said other fruit-powered homes, such as apricot, pineapple or kiwi-fruit, were unlikely anytime soon. "Initially I think they'll stick to bananas but potentially you could use other fruit," he said.

Ethanol from sugar cane has already been tested for commercial energy use and the husks of Australia's native Macadamia nuts have been used as fuel to make electricity.