Archive for the ‘Stupid stuff’ Category

More toilet talk – MaP

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

In my continuing research on low-flush and dual-flush toilets (following up on my previous post), I came across a fascinating report.  It describes the standardized methodology for testing how well various toilets do at flushing away the solid stuff.

Apparently people in a lab somewhere use 50 gram preparations of soybean paste in latex casings.

Cased media - soybean paste for MaP

The pass/fail level is 250 grams, i.e. five chunks of soybean paste.

The original minimum performance benchmark adopted by MaP was 250 grams (250g) of waste. That is,
a toilet fixture should completely evacuate at least 250g of waste in a single flush action. This value is
based on the results of a British medical study (Variability of Colonic Function in Healthy Subjects) that
identified 250g as the average maximum fecal size of the male participants in the study. Thus, any toilet
that meets or exceeds the 250g performance threshold should meet customer expectations for flushing.

Now I know that the people who produced this report are performing a good public service, since not all toilets are created equal and the consumer should know what to expect before testing the new throne out.  However the image of white-jacketed lab workers flushing re-usable tubes of soybean paste down the toilet while taking notes on a clipboard just strikes me as funny.

But it sure beats some of the possible testing options.

Anyway, yesterday I installed our new dual-flush toilet.  It’s a Rona Collection EL, made by Foremost (MaP Test Report No. 8-530).  It’s rated as capable of evacuating 700 grams of solid waste (i.e. 14 chunks of soybean paste) on a 6 litre flush,  so I think it should meet my solid waste removal needs.

Which end of the chainsaw not to hold – and other stupid warning labels

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

For more stupid warning labels click here.

These go to 11

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

Following on the Spinal Tap theme, here is my favourite scene from that movie – Nigel showing off his guitars and amp.

Always and forever

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

It’s Valentine’s Day, so here for my sweetheart is one of my favourite love songs …

Why do you love me?
Why do you need me?
Always and Forever
We met in a chat room
Now our love can fully bloom
Sure the World Wide Web is great
But you, you make me salivate
Yes I love technology
But not as much as you, you see
But I still love technology
Always and Forever
Our love is like a flock of doves
Flying up to heaven above
Always and Forever
Always and Forever(stifled sobs)
Yes our love is truly great
Always and Forever


(from Kip and La Fawnduh’s  wedding scene after the end credits in the movie Napoleon Dynamite … I couldn’t find a video clip but a sound clip can be listened to by clicking here)

Bear warning

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Unlike our western neighbours we don’t have grizzlies in Saskatchewan, only black bears, so we don’t need to worry about identifying the species from its poop.

(Click image to enlarge)

No dinner for me

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

Some people like ambiguity.  I don’t.  Hence for example my preference for the International date format, which I blogged about on 2007-09-13.

But today’s post isn’t about dates, it’s about dinner. Specifically, the fact that half the time I don’t know which meal is being referred to when people use the word “dinner”.

I grew up referring to the mid-day meal as dinner.  Like other Saskatchewan farm folks our family ate three square meals every day, being breakfast, dinner, and supper.

However I have also rubbed shoulders with people who insist that the mid-day meal is properly called lunch and the late afternoon/evening meal is dinner, and only hillbillies believe otherwise.

My solution?  I avoid that ambiguous word “dinner.”  Today I ate lunch (not dinner) at noon, and after returning home from work I ate my supper (not dinner).

No dinner for me, thank you very much.

The Prince Albert Hillbillies

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

A scene from the current season of The Prince Albert Hillbillies …

Ma:  Well Pa, I reckon tonight it’s your turn to cook supper.

Pa:  Doggone it Ma, I’ll be hogtied if you ain’t right.

Ma:  Did you think to take anything out of the freezer last night?

Pa:  Naw, but I was figurin’ on mebbe just cuttin’ the tenderloins outta the deer that’s hangin’ in the garage.

Ma:  That sounds mighty fine Pa.

Our conversation wasn’t exactly as above – I’ve used a bit of artistic license.  For one thing, Janet still retains her precise British grammar in addition to a hint of accent.

But she did comment on how some people would consider it strange to cut a meal’s meat from a carcass hanging in one’s garage. 

I on the other hand think it’s normal.

(By the way, the stir fry was mighty fine, if I do say so muh self)

The sound of falling trees in the absence of humans

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Interesting research findings in Transactions of the Important Tree Scientists 120(2): 201-209 …

Large woody debris plays an important role in stream habitat for fish, macroinvertebrates and thinking spots for “half-pint” from Little House on the Prairie and Pooh (Milne 1948). Little data exists monitoring the actual accumulation of debris, including whole trees, on the forest floor (Robison and Beschta 1990). For centuries, humanity has pondered the question “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound” (Cockburn 1988).


The results of this original research project provide strong empirical evidence supporting the hypothesis that if a tree does fall in the forest,  it does indeed make a sound, whether anyone is there to hear it or not.

Full article here.

Cute moose

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

I do try to practise moderation when it comes to posting time-wasting videos, but this 4-minute clip of twin calf moose playing in a backyard sprinkler, while mama moose looks on indulgently, was just so over-the-top cute that I couldn’t resist.

(I think the singer is Alison Krause)

Reasonable accommodation of Scandinavians

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Anyone who reads the newspapers in Canada is aware of some of the debates on “reasonable accommodation” of immigrant groups, such as whether Muslim women should be required to unveil their faces when voting, whether Sikh men should be allowed to carry kirpans in public, etc. However for some reason a debate that gets very little coverage is the lutefisk question.

My personal viewpoint is that lutefisk consumption should not be banned outright, in keeping with Canada’s tolerant tradition, but strict rules should be imposed to protect innocent victims within smelling distance.

“Every Advent we entered the purgatory of lutefisk, a repulsive gelatinous fishlike dish that tasted of soap and gave off an odor that would gag a goat. We did this in honor of Norwegian ancestors, much as if survivors of a famine might celebrate their deliverance by feasting on elm bark. I always felt the cold creeps as Advent approached, knowing that this dread delicacy would be put before me and I’d be told, “Just have a little.” Eating a little was like vomiting a little, just as bad as a lot.”

(Garrison Keillor – Lake Wobegon Days)