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Author Topic: Stewards of the Earth  (Read 11213 times)

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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #50 on: 11 Feb 2015, 12:41 »



I'm a fan of water power.
Leaving aside the issues associated with construction of dams (displacement of populations, loss of productive land, requirements for gigantic quantities of concrete and steel), the environmental effects others have mentioned, and the political problems where rivers run through multiple nations/jurisdictions, hydro-power only works where there is sufficient precipitation and suitable topography close to where the power is needed.

That doesn't really address Northern Quebec.

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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #51 on: 12 Feb 2015, 14:14 »

I listened to Fox News have an executive from the Heartland Institute come in and talk about global warming and now I'm just upset. Ughhhhh, the dumbness
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #52 on: 12 Feb 2015, 20:22 »

I listened to Fox News...

That was the frst mistake.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #53 on: 12 Feb 2015, 20:26 »

Isn't Fox News an oxymoron?
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #54 on: 12 Feb 2015, 20:29 »

I switch between the 3 major stations, that way I can get mad at three different things. This is usually how I view the three American stations:

FoxNews: Way too conservative
MSNBC: Way too liberal
CNN: Way too stupid
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #55 on: 12 Feb 2015, 20:31 »

For me, I switch between Al Jazeera and BBC World

Of course, I also watch 3 News down here in Kiwiland
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #56 on: 12 Feb 2015, 20:36 »

I switch between the 3 major stations, that way I can get mad at three different things. This is usually how I view the three American stations:

FoxNews: Way too conservative
MSNBC: Way too liberal
CNN: Way too stupid

I wouldn't mind the ideological bent of Fox if they'd at least get their facts right, which they don't. Actually, that's too charitable, since it suggests they tried to report accurately in the first place, which they generally don't. MSNBC at least does that much, though there are a few of their anchors/pundits who needed to be put out to pasture ages ago (Matthews, Schultz, Sharpton, anyone associated with Morning Joe). CNN usually manages fine, too, as long as Don Lemon's not on (then all bets are off). I find myself watching Al Jazeera America a lot more lately, though (especially since FIOS makes you pay extra for BBC World).
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #57 on: 13 Feb 2015, 09:51 »

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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #58 on: 13 Feb 2015, 12:48 »

I saw that before, it's pretty spot on.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #59 on: 13 Feb 2015, 13:39 »

I have no idea how true it is, I just thought it was funny.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #60 on: 13 Feb 2015, 14:17 »

Sad fact is that there is probably more truth in that Image than there is on the News Channels

Especially Fox.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #61 on: 13 Feb 2015, 14:34 »

Regarding the comment in the image about MSNBC: Generally speaking, when someone's complaining about "playing the race card," it's been after they've said or done something racist. Call me a silly bastard, but there's something more than a bit disingenuous about sending an email comparing the president to a monkey (to cite just one example among dozens), and then when you're called out on it, shrieking, "Why do you people always play the race card?"
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #62 on: 13 Feb 2015, 15:24 »

I think you're simplifying things too easily. It's often, for example, that someone would get pulled over speeding and say the cops only pulled them over because they were black, there's two sides to every coin is all I'm getting at. I agree with you mostly, it's like people are playing the "race card, card". It does not promote objective discussion of whatever happened, just as not taking any personal responsibility for a mistake.

Anyways, I'm going to ask a question about an environmental issue to get us back on topic: how does everyone feel about GMOs in general?
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #63 on: 13 Feb 2015, 16:48 »

I like to remind people that every plant and every animal that has been bred by human ingenuity is a GMO - I love them!
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #64 on: 13 Feb 2015, 17:50 »

There's a big difference between crossbreeding and genetic splicing.
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LTK

Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #65 on: 13 Feb 2015, 18:05 »

I like to remind people that every plant and every animal that has been bred by human ingenuity is a GMO - I love them!

You are technically correct but I believe the term GMO applies when an organism has been modified in the lab. It's a completely arbitrary distinction of course, as virtually anything you can do in the lab, you can do with traditional culturing. Apparently when agricultural scientists with lab coats and pipettes get involved, people get kinda antsy.

Anyway, the thing about genetic modification is that geneticists know exactly what the protein is that they are making the modified organism encode, so for a GMO to become directly harmful to humans when eaten, you would literally have to add a gene that produces actual toxin. The detailed knowledge of the modified genes means this cannot possibly happen by accident. If a protein is not directly toxic to humans but sets off a cascade reaction that does produce toxic products, this can be either predicted from the plant's known metabolism, or observed in the first-generation modified specimen. Finally, if a gene does not produce a toxic product by itself but allows the plant to tolerate an externally added toxic product, then yes, you might have a reason to be worried. The best known example of this is the Roundup-ready gene which allows a plant to resist the Roundup herbicide, courtesy of our friends at Monsanto. I recall this herbicide getting some bad press but a quick check of Wikipedia doesn't indicate its use has resulted in harm to humans.

tl;dr: if you're worried about GMOs, wash your vegetables.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #66 on: 13 Feb 2015, 18:13 »

What Stephen said. Mendel wasn't inserting fish genes into tomatoes. The one reason that I'm skeptical is that there are plenty of things that were "safe" 'til they weren't -- asbestos, DDT, and artificial sweeteners off the top of my head, though I'm sure if I Googled, I could come up with more examples.

On the other hand, between global warming, water shortages, and an exploding population, it's pretty clear that our food problems aren't going to solve themselves. What bothers me more about GMO crops isn't so much the fact that they're modified, anyway; it's the fact that LTK mentions... lots of things have been modified specifically to make them resistant to higher strengths and doses of pesticides (some of which are neurotoxic to humans) and herbicides, neither of which are good for human consumption no matter how hard anyone tries to spin it.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #67 on: 13 Feb 2015, 22:39 »

Point number 1.) Monsanto can eat a dick.

Other points (hurr hurr): I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with GMOs, but I do agree that the fact that they're resistant to many pesticides/insecticides/other cides, makes it so they're liable to be covered in the stuff. Not to mention that farmers will use more (seeing as the plant won't get hurt) which can wreck havoc on the ecosystem.

I'm with the people who say a GMO will give you cancer because of it's structure though. That and even if you try to stay away from all GMOs I can almost guarantee that you eat them on a daily basis.

Despite ecological damage they can do - by both existing (possibility to become invasive, harming insect population, etc) and because of the shit people put around them - they do what they're supposed to. Which is use less water, on less land and produce a higher yield. This can be especially important for impoverished nations. Unfortunately when it comes to feeding people there's always a yin and yang.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #68 on: 13 Feb 2015, 22:58 »

I know I over-simplified.  The point is, though, that humans have been changing the world around them for their entire existence, and these effects have always been a mixture of good and bad.  Modern GMOs are no different.  I love that they can increase yields, or be used to create or deliver medicines in new ways; I hate that they can be used to force farmers to buy seed instead of creating and reusing it.  Overall, I think that we have more to worry about with global warming than GMOs.

Also, when people talk about "preserving the world", they nearly always mean "in the state it was in when I grew up" rather than the state it would have been in if humanity hadn't influenced it.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #69 on: 13 Feb 2015, 23:17 »

Personally, I'm more worried about monoculture, and people like Monsanto owning the imaginary property rights to our food, than I am about the safety of such foods.  I wash everything anyhow, but I can't stand the idea of farmers not being able to save seeds for the next year, even though there is genetic drift happening which causes them to get sued into oblivion, or indenture.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #70 on: 13 Feb 2015, 23:24 »

Personally, I'm more worried about monoculture, and people like Monsanto owning the imaginary property rights to our food, than I am about the safety of such foods.  I wash everything anyhow, but I can't stand the idea of farmers not being able to save seeds for the next year, even though there is genetic drift happening which causes them to get sued into oblivion, or indenture.

Which is why Monsanto is continually voted one of the worst companies in America. They have lost the last couple to Comcast though.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #71 on: 14 Feb 2015, 02:28 »

I think EA was in the top spot for a good while above both of them.

I'm with the people who say a GMO will give you cancer because of it's structure though. That and even if you try to stay away from all GMOs I can almost guarantee that you eat them on a daily basis.
Wait, are you sure you wrote this right? You think a GMO will give you cancer?
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #72 on: 14 Feb 2015, 02:36 »

I think EA was in the top spot for a good while above both of them.

I'm with the people who say a GMO will give you cancer because of it's structure though. That and even if you try to stay away from all GMOs I can almost guarantee that you eat them on a daily basis.
Wait, are you sure you wrote this right? You think a GMO will give you cancer?

Yeah, I forgot the "not" I often write so fast I skip over words, my bad!
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #73 on: 15 Feb 2015, 14:36 »

Carl_E suggested I copy my blog post here:

My kitchen is lit by twelve 50W low-voltage halogen lamps.  Well, it was; today I replaced them with twelve 6W mains-voltage LED lamps (removing the transformers took most of the time).  I now have the same or slightly higher light levels, and more uniform, because some of the halogens had lost brightness with age and not all had the same beam width.  I calculate that the saving in electricity consumption will be about £1 a day - for a capital outlay of under £120 (bulbs and GU10 tails for the fittings). 

I have another room with similar lights and usage which I will make the same change to soon, and a third that is little used so can be left till last.

Eighteen months ago I put into a new extension what at that time were the first LED lights I'd seen whose quality was satisfactory for domestic living.  The new bulbs each cost one fifth as much money - that's how fast things have changed.


I now also have LED bulbs in my desk lamps and in corridors.  Lighting is a major part of many people's electricity usage these days, as higher and higher standards of illumination are expected.  Changes that cut the cost by a factor of seven while additionally decreasing wastage associated with the short lifetime of incandescent bulbs are a significant and now reasonably affordable way to help reduce the pressure on resources.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #74 on: 15 Feb 2015, 14:47 »

I'm wondering about LED performance in extreme cold.  I have many twisty CFL lights, and they cut our consumption by quite a bit.  One of them is a yellow bug light on the back porch. 

Now, the old one (lasted about 8 years) was a regular twist in a yellow shell.  The shell would hold in enough of the bulb's own heat so that it shone about as brightly in severe cold as it did in warmer temperatures.  The same is true of the two CFL floodlights I have aimed into the yard and the street (for the steps up into the house).  A CFL in a floodlight reflector and lens. 

But when the bug light burned out, I couldn't get a new one in a shell like the old one.  So I have a yellow painted twisty CFL.  And in the severe cold we've been having, it's not giving much more light than a night light bulb!  The one in the garage is about the same - it's a 100 watt rated (so about 26 watts), but shines like a 20 watt bulb when the temperature's near 0 F.  It just never warms up! 

Does anyone know - before I go investing in them for the outside lights - how LED bulbs perform in severe cold? 
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #75 on: 15 Feb 2015, 14:56 »

LEDs are much better suited for colder climates than CFLs. Apparently they work slightly better in cooler temperatures according to my super scientific google research. I couldn't find anything for their performance in 0 degree (F) temperature, but for 20ish degrees they said they're perfect.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #76 on: 15 Feb 2015, 17:57 »

This is our porch LED bulb.  It is on a covered stairway, though that window thing has nothing in it, and the stairs are backless, so it's essentially outdoors.  It is not noticeably dimmer to me:

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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #77 on: 15 Feb 2015, 20:49 »

Now, that's some empirical evidence! 
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #78 on: 16 Feb 2015, 01:33 »

They use LED streetlighting in Mayerhofen in Austria. Gets down to around -20C on the worst nights there. Now I'm not able to provide any observed comparative data, but I would expect there would be tests to make sure that the lighting worked at an appropriate standard without having to provide overkill lighting at more common conditions.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #79 on: 16 Feb 2015, 01:55 »

I read somewhere (and it may have been bullshit) that they couldn't use led lighting for traffic lights in cold weather locations because they didn't generate enough heat to prevent snow building up.
Now as someone who lives in a city that has an extensive network of led traffic lights (and a distinct lack of snow) this seems plausible enough to me.
But is it true?
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #80 on: 16 Feb 2015, 02:28 »

Engadget has reported this, seems to be the case.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #81 on: 16 Feb 2015, 02:54 »

Should be easy enough to design a traffic light model that eliminates this issue without significantly compromising the energy savings. Of course I retain my view that anyone unable to drive safely around an obscured/non-functioning traffic light should immediately have their license recinded permanently but that's for a different thread.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #82 on: 16 Feb 2015, 05:09 »

The limit on LED performance is typically keeping them cool, so low temperature performance on a LED bulb should be excellent.

It is worth noting that many of the better LED bulbs have phosphors in them (essentially, a good LED bulb consists of blue LEDs exciting a white or yellow phosphor - sometimes that's in the LED itself, sometimes it's a remote phosphor), and they'll all have some nasty stuff in the drive circuitry and the PCB. Also, the mercury emissions of a broken CFL are lower than the mercury emissions of incandescent bulbs powered by coal over the same lifetime, but you should still properly dispose of the CFL.

As far as vehicles... cold start is by far the highest emission operating regime for an internal combustion engine. Combine trips to minimize cold starting, you'll cause less emissions, use less fuel overall, and it's kinder to your engine too.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #83 on: 16 Feb 2015, 05:49 »

Should be easy enough to design a traffic light model that eliminates this issue without significantly compromising the energy savings. Of course I retain my view that anyone unable to drive safely around an obscured/non-functioning traffic light should immediately have their license recinded permanently but that's for a different thread.

Well, the problem is that if snow has any moisture in it, it sticks to pretty much anything, so redesigning the metal cowl around the light won't stop snow buildup in all conditions.  If you also account for the ludicrous levels of ice that forms anywhere by a windy lake, then many places would require some kind of heated traffic lights, and if you're going to add a heating coil, you might as well just use a standard bulb anyways. 

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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #84 on: 16 Feb 2015, 05:51 »

Except the heating coil only reduces efficiency to incandescent levels in winter - the other three seasons, it's not needed, and you get full LED efficiency (and lower maintenance) the rest of the year.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #85 on: 16 Feb 2015, 06:03 »

If you add a means to enable and disable the heating coil in different seasons or weather, you have extra costs right there.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #86 on: 16 Feb 2015, 06:23 »

True, although a basic single point temperature sensor is hardly a major expense. A simple filamented cowl would cover all three lights eliminating the need for multiple systems.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #87 on: 16 Feb 2015, 06:38 »

Hmmm,

Done some further digging on this one. Turns out it's a bit of a red herring. Turns out it's not a common issue, even in lakeside cities prone to blizzards such as Toronto.

While they do sometimes become obscured, this basically occurs less frequently than incandescent bulbs fail. Therefore there is no decline in safety. If anything it's technically safer because it happens when people are going to be driving more cautiously. Blizzard snowfallis usually a relatively short lived occurence and current remedies include use of Rain-X, anti-freeze squirt guns and men with pokey sticks.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #88 on: 16 Feb 2015, 06:54 »

I like this thread, but I'm sorry, every time I see the title on the forum page, all I can think of is this:

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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #89 on: 18 Feb 2015, 21:11 »

So, I usually don't flush the toilet if all I had to do is pee (unless I'm at someone else's house), because it saves water. Many toilets use 5 gallons (in the U.S. many other countries have lower water pressure toilets, which is why in many countries you have to throw out your toilet paper instead of flushing it), but despite that, apparently I'm still gross. Thoughts?
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #90 on: 18 Feb 2015, 21:23 »

So, I usually don't flush the toilet if all I had to do is pee (unless I'm at someone else's house), because it saves water. Many toilets use 5 gallons (in the U.S. many other countries have lower water pressure toilets, which is why in many countries you have to throw out your toilet paper instead of flushing it), but despite that, apparently I'm still gross. Thoughts?

I do the same thing, for the same reason. Drives my wife nuts.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #91 on: 18 Feb 2015, 21:27 »

There's always using the sink, or storing it in bottles until there's enough to justify the flush.  I'm sure she'll be elated if you offered to go back to the way that you're doing now.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #92 on: 18 Feb 2015, 21:30 »

On a semi-related note, one of my friends had a roommate who used to pee in bottles instead of getting up at night to pee. He was kicked out.

Went into their room once (they were both slobs) and it smelled like rancid milk. The joys of college.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #93 on: 19 Feb 2015, 00:08 »

Many toilets use 5 gallons (in the U.S.
Standard in UK is 2 gallons (UK gallons, so 2.4 US gallons).
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #94 on: 19 Feb 2015, 00:14 »

To be honest, the 5 gallon ones are older models. Newer ones use about that. Public toilets usually use more than home toilets.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #95 on: 19 Feb 2015, 00:39 »

Hmm.  The toilets at my local are about 1.6 gal (US).
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #96 on: 19 Feb 2015, 00:52 »

I have no idea what the capacity of my toilet tank is, but your toilets have a stop button too, right? That can't be just here, because it's stupid to empty the entire tank on a few milliliters of urine. I'd forgo flushing urine if it weren't for the smell, so I do a one-second flush at the longest. I notice that public toilets that don't have a stop button at least have two buttons for short flush and long flush. Which makes sense given that the owner wouldn't want to pay for more water than the toilets actually need. It's one of those features that makes environmental and economic sense, so I'd be surprised to see places without it.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #97 on: 19 Feb 2015, 01:06 »

Standard in UK is 2 gallons (UK gallons, so 2.4 US gallons).
Older toilets in Australia can have an uncontrolled flush of 12 litres, but modern ones have variable flush. Normally there are two buttons on top, marked for full-flush and half-flush, but in fact neither empties the cistern. The half-flush uses 3.5 litres (less than one US gallon), while the full-flush uses 4.5 litres (roughly one UK gallon). If you have something truly horrible to get rid of, you can press and hold the full-flush button which empties the 11 litre cistern, but that is rather wasteful. One should get rid of skid-marks with a toilet-brush, not multiple flushes that waste water and rarely work anyway.

Many toilets use 5 gallons (in the U.S. many other countries have lower water pressure toilets, which is why in many countries you have to throw out your toilet paper instead of flushing it), but despite that, apparently I'm still gross. Thoughts?
The problem with getting rid of toilet paper is not typically one of water pressure; water closets are generally fed from a cistern mounted above the pan which is only filled by the mains, or other water supply, until the float-valve shuts it off, so the pressure feeding water into the bowl is only that generated by the difference in level between the cistern and the pan (so the old high-cistern, pull the chain systems had their advantages). The problem of getting rid of toilet paper (apart from gross over-use of the stuff), is the capacity of the pipework and sewage system to which the toilet is connected.

Many toilets in Asia still hark back to the days when toilet paper was not used, and users were expected to wash their bottoms with water, so they don't handle TP well at all. You will often find a bucket next to the toilet into which you should put your paper. These toilets will usually be "squatters", however, so the TP bucket might be the least of your challenges...
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #98 on: 19 Feb 2015, 01:12 »

I have no idea what the capacity of my toilet tank is, but your toilets have a stop button too, right?

I have never heard of a stop button on a toilet. I'm completely serious.


Many toilets in Asia still hark back to the days when toilet paper was not used, and users were expected to wash their bottoms with water, so they don't handle TP well at all. You will often find a bucket next to the toilet into which you should put your paper. These toilets will usually be "squatters", however, so the TP bucket might be the least of your challenges...

I plan on going one day, good thing I exercise my legs. As far as the bucket thing, I only had to do it a few times and that was in Belize, which is when I learned that many toilets can't handle paper.
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Re: Stewards of the Earth
« Reply #99 on: 19 Feb 2015, 02:43 »

Standard US toilets nowadays are 1.6 gallons, and you push the flush lever, and it's not gonna stop flushing until the tank's emptied.

The annoying thing with many of the 1.6 gallon toilets is that they were a rush job to comply with the law, basically just reducing the capacity of an old 3.4 gallon toilet design. Upshot is, if you take big shits, it'd take a couple tries to flush.

I've seen exactly one toilet that has variable flush volume, through two buttons (a small button for a small flush, big button for a big flush). One problem is that they're not at all common, so parts for them are rare, and when they break, you end up having to order far more expensive parts, and can't just get them at the hardware store.
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