Sanitation Triangle

If you’ve eaten out recently and used the washroom, then you know that each washroom’s sanitation equipment combination (SEC) is unique. Sometimes you have a touchless tap, but a hand-powered soap dispenser. Sometimes you will be delighted by an automated soap dispenser, but frustrated by a paleolithic paper towel unit. This variety of SECs is not only confusing and horribly inconsistent, it is also unsanitary.

Bathrooms at businesses rarely contain all three points of the sanitation triangle – a structure that is only complete when the dispensation of soap, water and paper towel do not require physical contact. If any one of these is not present, then the triangle collapses, rendering the entire cleansing procedure unsanitary.

Oh well, everyone touches the door on the way out anyway.

Shower Power

Bathing is important. It keeps us feeling clean and fresh, wakes us up in the morning and purifies our bodies after a hard day’s work. In a recent survey, taking a bath ranked first among the top five most effective bodily cleaning methods, but today we’re talk about showering. defines a shower like this, “Also called shower bath. A bath in which water is sprayed on the body, usually from an overhead perforated nozzle (showerhead).”

This definition captures the raw essence of what showering is all about.

Water temperature during a shower is one of the main concerns for unincarcerated citizens and it can easily become a source of great frustration, spoiling an experience that should be full of soothing relaxation. Some prefer their showers to be refreshing and cool, others enjoy a warm and mild experience and some like it hot. Now we all love showers, but every time you shower it costs you money; heating that water ain’t free. But what if you were told that you could increase your shower temperature and save money by making one simple change to your shower experience?

Excited? Yes.

The North American Shower Society, which produced the well-received Shower Principles for a Clean Future, has great insight into the area of shower temperature. Through extensive testing they have discovered that water temperature in a shower drops dramatically once it has left the nozzle. The following graph illustrates this phenomenon.

As you can see, by the time the water reaches the shower floor it has cooled by several degrees. You can test this for yourself by crouching or sitting next time you shower or by plugging the drain; you will notice the difference in temperature. Even in the first twelve inches, significant heat loss has begun. Ideally, you would want your shoulders to be as close to the showerhead as possible; if there is any distance between the nozzle and your shoulders, you are wasting precious heat. To combat this, it is recommended that you install a small stool with a non-slip surface. If you are a taller person and your shoulders are already near the nozzle, congratulate yourself, you are already doing your part to save the planet.

Short people are ruining the Earth.


Genetic diversity measures the amount of genetic variation in a species or local population. If a regional population of rabbits, for instance, were to dwindle into scarcity, its survival would not only be threatened by outside forces, but by its own lack of genetic diversity. Without this variation in genetic information, a species is unable to successfully build a healthy and diverse population. A diverse gene pool is vital for averting catastrophic fatalities from disease, as well as avoiding the degenerating effects of inbreeding.

A well documented example of a species struggling with the genetic diversity problem is the cheetah. Scientists believe that around 10,000 years ago the cheetah, along with many other species, was brought to the brink of extinction because of changes to their climate.  With so few of them remaining, the cheetah’s offspring were forced to inbreed. During the last hundred years the cheetah population has been reduced drastically. Now the cheetah faces extinction because it lacks the genetic diversity to create a varied gene pool. Cool, huh?

But where did cheetah’s come from? Don’t all cheetahs, mammals and all creatures on Earth descend from an original? If that’s true, then why didn’t the original cheetah, human or bacteria encounter the problem of genetic diversity?

Mutation can’t solve this problem because inbreeding destroys a population far faster than mutation could add diversity. Below are two graphs that show potential origins for genetic diversity.

The final graph shows how, even though the cheetah population bounced back from near-extinction, the genetic diversity never increased. It may seem like the blue line should follow the red, but it doesn’t – it can’t. It doesn’t matter how many offspring those few cheetahs had, they were all the inbred offspring of a small number of cheetahs. Increasing population does not increase variety, it merely preserves it. It may appear as though variety is increasing because a wider spectrum of size and shape appears in the population, but that is merely the emergence of already-present recessive genes.

If this is true, and genetic diversity can’t increase by mutation or propagation, then we all living on borrowed time, like the cheetah has for the past 10,000 years. Eventually we will crash into the boundaries of our genetic variability. But maintaining a high population does create a buffer which slows this degradation, so remember to have plenty of babies in order to maximize the preservation of of your genetic information.