Monday, 14 October 2013

Chinese Planes, Trains & Toilet-Mobiles

Passengers watch as captain on Air China flight prepares for take-off by cleaning windscreen.
Air China pilot prepares for take-off by cleaning windscreen at Chek Lap Kok - As drivers, it's something we've all done. You're about to set off when you suddenly notice a nasty, large smudge on your windscreen - so you lean out of your window and wipe it off with your handkerchief. The manoeuvre is a somewhat more complicated and eye-catching, however, when your vehicle is an Airbus A321 and you're about to set off on a flight from Hong Kong to Beijing with 180 passengers on board.

The captain of an Air China flight leaving Chek Lap Kok last Wednesday afternoon decided to pull out his hankie and give the windscreen a quick once-over as passengers filed onto the plane. He seemed untroubled by the long drop to the tarmac below as he worked his way across the windscreen, wiping it all the way to its central pillar. Bemused passengers looked on as they filed onto the flight. "At least we know he's going to be able to see where he's going," said one.

A former senior Cathay Pacific pilot was not surprised by the pilot's actions. "Most windscreen cleaning is done by engineers when the aircraft has sufficient downtime on overnights or on turnarounds, but that isn't always possible," he said. "I've actually done what that pilot did myself. If you ask the ground staff engineers to do it, they have to get out a cherry picker [a hydraulic platform], which takes 20 to 30 minutes to arrive. "It then takes time for them to wash the windscreen and it's an expensive option too. In the interests of on-time departure, some pilots sensibly elect to do it themselves. It could be dangerous and I don't suppose that it is strictly official practice."

Asked what kind of mess pilots would want cleaned from their windscreens, the pilot said: "Mosquitoes can start to obscure the windscreen when you're operating in the tropics. I've also had birds hit it and leave a large bloody mess. "Mainly, though, it's insects. And they can accumulate over a few flights to make it frustrating to visibility, just like it is in a car."

Pilots and first officers always have opening cockpit windows with an escape rope for evacuation purposes in case the cockpit door is jammed after a crash. Air China's Hong Kong office did not return calls and e-mails asking for comment. The Civil Aviation Department said: "It appears that the pilot of the subject flight noted some minor dirt onthe windows and believed he could reach that spot and clean it. Since the aircraft was still on ground, the window could be open or closed freely and would have no safety implications."

Is this DI/RO water? Either way, this is a lazy way of cleaning windows, let alone a train.
Unattended water pipe sprays itself over passengers of a moving train - There were times when every train commuter kept their fingers crossed that they would get a window seat. This enabled them to avoid unnecessary contact with fellow passengers, and making unwanted polite conversation. Get a window seat and you enjoy the beauty of nature as the train passed cities, villages, hills and valleys. This wish to grab a window seat and get lost in the passing scenery, may soon become a thing of the past if you watch the video below. In India, railway stations are dotted with a number of poles along the railway track. These are carrying water pipes, which is used in filling water tanks in each compartment when a train halts. 

Now, what happens when a train passes through one such station which has a malfunctioning water pipe, as in the water pipe has positioned itself in such a way that it is spraying water aimed directly at the window of passengers. So when this train starts moving, the water is seen getting sprayed on all it’s passengers in the video below. While most train windows could do with a bit of cleaning, the funny thing noticed that this jet of water not only cleans train windows, but also sprays surprised passengers seated in the window seat with a cool spray of water.

A Fully Flushable Toilet That Comes To You: Though it's designed for use in hospitals and other medical facilities where a patient's mobility is limited, Toro's new movable Bedside Flushable Toilet also seems like the perfect way to never miss the game or your favorite TV show. Unlike a bedpan which has to be later cleaned—and is also kind of gross—Toro's new toilet can be wheeled around a room, as far as its flexible tethered pipes can reach. What makes the portable design possible is an extra unit on the back that 'blends' the waste allowing it to squeeze down the smaller pipe. It also means there's nothing to clean afterwards, while a built-in deodorizer deals with other unpleasant side effects. But convenience doesn't come cheap, and in this case the guarantee that you don't have to tear yourself away from the TV will set you back just north of $5,500.

A woman demonstrates how to use the "Intelligent Toilet" at a show room in Tokyo. The electronic marvel, which is capable of analysing users' urine, blood and body temperatures, retails for 350,000 to 500,000 yen (about 4,100 to 5,850 US dollars).
Japan high-tech toilet makers flush with success: In Japan, the global leader in high-tech toilet design, the latest restroom marvel should come with a health warning for hypochondriacs -- it doubles as a medical lab that can really spoil your day. Japanese toilets have long and famously dominated the world of bathroom hygiene with their array of functions, from posterior shower jets to perfume bursts and noise-masking audio effects for the easily-embarrassed.

The latest "intelligent" model, manufactured by market leader Toto, goes a step further and isn't for the faint-hearted: it offers its users an instant health check-up every time they answer the call of nature. Designed for the housing company Daiwa House with Japan's growing army of elderly in mind, it provides urine analysis, takes the user's blood pressure and body temperature, and measures their weight with an inbuilt floor scale. "Our chairman had the idea when he was at a hospital and saw people waiting for health checks. He thought it would be better if they could do the health tests at home," says Akiho Suzuki, an architect at Daiwa House.

Toto's engineers developed a receptacle inside the basin to collect the urine for sugar content and temperature checks, and an armband to monitor blood pressure. The readout is displayed on a wall-mounted computer screen. "With the current model, your data is sent automatically to your personal computer, and then you can email it to your doctor," said Suzuki. "In the next generation model, the data will be sent automatically to family members or doctors via the Internet," she told AFP. The electronic marvel, called the "Intelligence Toilet", is capable of storing the data of up to five different people and retails for 350,000 to 500,000 yen (about 4,100 to 5,850 dollars) in Japan, she said.

Sure, it looks like a friendly robot strapped to a mobile toilet.
The Assistant Robot cleans almost all that you soil: Sure, it looks like a friendly robot strapped to a mobile toilet, but this robo-maid developed by Tokyo University's Information and Robot Technology (IRT) center won't be assisting with the after birth of your Turducken food baby. Assistant Robot is domestic enough to do the laundry, sweep, and clean up the kitchen... but there are limits to what its 3D sensors will respond to. Its creators claim that it can recognize when there's more laundry to do and won't be distracted from completing its task by the roar of the crowd from the television. That gives men about 10 - 20 years to get their act together before this robot could conceivably go production. Hot domestic cleaning action in the video posted after the break.

Chinese going crazy for robo-toilet, but Luke just wants more bidets: "You hear these ads for the mattress stores and they're always telling you that you spend a third of your life sleeping, but how much of that time is spent on the john?" wondered Luke as he pondered investing over $6,000 in an American-made robotic toilet that's all the craze with newly well to do Chinese buyers. The Numi features motion detectors, a remote control to open and close the seat and even flush and leg-warming porcelain. And even though it retails for a whopping $6,400, the Wall Street Journal reports customers have to get on a waiting list. You'll never be bored again thanks to the built in stereo system. "I hope there's a voice control on there so you're not actually touching the dial and all that," laughed guest co-host David Boze. But forget all the technological advances in the toilet. Luke is most excited about the the three bidet settings. "It's the one area that America consistently lags the rest of the world, at least let's talk about Europe and apparently now China," Luke said. "If you spill peanut butter in a shag rug, would you try to clean it up with a paper towel? No, you'd hit that with some water. A lot of water," Luke laughed. "Which is why we should all spend the $6,000 and get a bidet."

And if that isn't enough....

Fine faeces: This diner appears impressed by the morsels on offer.
Bog-standard restaurant! New toilet-themed restaurant where diners eat out of bidets opens in China: You wouldn't expect to see your meal to come to you in a bowl like this - not until after you'd eaten it, that is. But this is exactly the kind of experience that awaits diners at one of the many toilet-themed restaurants that are springing up across China in a craze for food that - hopefully- doesn't taste as it looks.

The latest loo eatery, which opened in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, at the end of August, serves up lavatorial delights such as brown, curly wisps of soft serve ice cream - as well as more standard noodle, meat and vegetable dishes. All of them come in individual, toilet-like vessels, from bidets to potties to - in the case of the ice cream - little cups, where the plumbing at the back forms a dainty handle for diners to hold their end-of-meal digestif.

The restuarant itself is equipped to resemble a bathroom, with showers attached to the walls and seats that look like toilet bowls topped with cushions in the shape of large piles of poo. Toilet restaurants have become popular across China, with cities including Chonqing, Shanghai, Kunming and Hangzhou boasting their own loo chains, and others in Korea and Japan. Beijing's version - Pian pian man wu, which translates as 'House full of poo' - has an extensive menu covering dishes that also includes the apparently signature 'super constipation black dry s***' ice cream, in this case topped with red beans and sprinkles in a mini squat toilet and coming at a price of 26RMB (around £2.60).

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