Geek Culture, Writing and Other Junk from Writer C. A. Wilke
The Slippery Slope of Poopy Science

The Slippery Slope of Poopy Science

Look Ma! A Clean Bowl!Science is cool. Few things in this world make me happier than reading about some new discover and saying “Fuck yeah, science!” So when I found this article at on a research paper saying that scientists have found a way to keep your poop from sticking to the inside of your toilet, I had to say, “Fuck yeah! Science, bitches!”

Yeah, sure… This sounds silly. Kind of. I mean, who researches a way to keep your shit from sticking to a toilet? Well, people who want to save water, that’s who. Apparently, 141 billion liters of water are used to flush toilets alone. And somehow, your double and triple flushing accounts for nearly half of that. Okay, maybe not quite, but still. 

Poop-DiddySeriously, it’s not just the double-flushers that are the problem. The average toilet flush apparently takes around 6 liters of water. If a toilet has this coating, theoretically we could have komodes that use considerably less water, since the offending deuce would just slide right on down. 


The actual science is pretty cool. The LESS (liquid-entrenched smooth surface) coating involves two spray coatings, the first of which is made from molecularly grafted polymers.”

According to Tak-Sing Wong, a Wormley Early Career Professor of Engineering, “When it dries, the first spray grows molecules that look like little hairs, with a diameter of about 1,000,000 times thinner than a human’s [hair].”

The second coating adds a permanent layer of lubrication to those hairs, so that when something like poop is dumped on it, the offending excrement slides right off.

So, that’s cool. Makes cleaning the bowl a little easier. Well, whenever it actually gets to market. Which will probably be in, like, twenty years? I don’t know, I’m just being pessimistic.  I have no idea how that stuff works. 

Fake Poop?

Faux Feces

I will say that you do have to recognize the dedication to any person who’s research involves using “synthetic fecal matter.” Not that I enjoy talking about poop in general, but this disturbingly begs the question of what—exactly—is “synthetic fecal matter” and why couldn’t they use real the real shit. Is it the smell? Or maybe availability? (C’mon science peeps, drink some coffee and have a bran muffin.)

Of course, this opens a whole weird realm of science for me. Is imitation excrement something you just… buy? If so, who makes it? What is the quality control process set up for ensuring the efficacy of the faux poo? And what factors determine that it’s enough like real shit? What kind of fake crap are we talking? Logs? Sludge? Gods forbid… diarrhea? From a strictly scientific perspective, these all have widely ranging levels of viscosity, moisture content and consistency. Does a fake poop vendor have different types?

Shit. This article went straight down the drain didn’t it? 

Mmmm... In one end, out the other!I have to say, this article did remind me of another bit of research a few years ago where a group of MIT eggheads made a coating to create no-stick ketchup bottles. When poured, these bottled dumped out every drop of the condiment. So basically we’re making it easier for the shit to go in, and come out. 


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