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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Toilet Replacement Lids - AirPnP rent-out-your-toilet app launched for Mardi Gras - This Old Toilet - 650-483-1139
AirPnP rent-out-your-toilet app launched for Mardi Gras
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An app that allows people to charge members of the public to use their private toilet is being tested at the New Orleans Mardi Gras.
AirPnP - inspired by AirBnB, a service for renting out your property to travellers - said it offered a "legal alternative" to urinating in public.
Willing "entrepreneurs" can charge a price to use their toilet, and must add details such as cleanliness and toilet paper thickness.
Users can rate their "pee experience".
The founders said the site was inspired by the yearly trouble the founders had when attending New Orleans's Mardi Gras festival, which has been running since 1837.
"During the Mardi Gras they routinely experienced the pain point of having no place to legally urinate," the Airpnp "About us" page explains.
"This problem is often solved by using what is known as a 'rogue pee'.
"If caught the person faces a weekend in Orleans Parish Prison. Yet this stiff penalty doesn't stop thousands upon thousands of 'rogue pees'. This clearly demonstrates the demand for a legal alternative."'Porcelain paradise'
Almost 2,000 people have signed up to use the app. At the time of writing, about 20 toilets had been added. All are in New Orleans, except one posted in Budapest, Hungary.
"Clean bathroom in our uptown home," reads one.
"Toilet paper and hand soap provided, of course. Large mirror for checking yourself out."
Another advert offers a "porcelain paradise" just off the main parade route, for $3 per visit.
The advert reads: "Imagine, you, gazing at passing floats. Now imagine you gazing at more floats just a few minutes later. Because that's all it will take for you to unleash your bowels in our frequently cleaned porcelain paradise."
The app's founders have a history of creating public-service-minded apps.
One of them, Travis Laurendine, has been recognized by the White House for efforts in "hacking" for a civic cause.
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Toilet Replacement Lids - Solar Toilet Turns Your Waste Into Something Worthwhile - This Old Toilet - 650-483-1139
Most people probably don't think of recycling the things they flush down the toilet. Karl Linden, a professor of environmental engineering at the University of Colorado, thinks that doesn't have to be the case.
Thanks to a couple of mirrors and fiber-optic cables, Linden is turning feces and urine into biochar, a small black chunk of material that can be used like a charcoal briquette.
"It can be used for cooking," he told ABC News. "Or you can put it in the soil so that it better retains nutrients. There's a lot of agricultural benefits."
Though the toilet produces something useful, that aspect is secondary to Linden's bigger goal of creating a usable toilet for countries that lack access to power and sewer pipes. "A lot of the pit latrines fill up and then you get sanitation problems," he said. "We're looking to create a toilet that makes the waste safe to handle."
The toilet relies on eight mirrors that focus sunlight onto a 1-centimeter wide square. From there, the focused light passes through bundles of fiber-optic cables to heat a reaction chamber up to over 300 degrees Celsius. The heat sterilizes the waste and dries it out, resulting in the biochar.
Though the toilet is currently designed for a single household, Linden said that future versions could be made to accommodate more people in order to be more cost effective. "It's pretty hard to make a toilet that does all the things you want it to do for a low enough price point," he said. "People that you know, like your extended family, could all use the same toilet block."
In addition, even though the toilet's sanitation is powered by the sun, that doesn't mean that you can't use it when the sun goes down. The toilet features two separate compartments that can be swapped in and out. "While one fills up for 24 hours, the other part gets solarized," said Linden. "We need about four hours of sunlight for treatment."
by John Chang