Turing machines are conceptual, simple, "computers". They can do any calculation that a computer can do. The premise is that you have a set of instructions, and a storage device, usually represented as an infinitely long paper tape divided into squares that function as one bit of memory.

Obviously,
infinitely long things don't exist, but there is one very common example of a long piece of paper divided into squares. That's right: toilet paper.

People in bathrooms are basically wasting time anyways; they are just sitting there instead of doing anything productive. So I propose that you tape a set of instructions to the inside of a stall door that correspond to the commands needed for a Turing machine to calculate something. Have a pencil and eraser handy for marking down "1" or "0" on the toilet paper (note that this will only work with the cheap non-fluffy recycled paper commonly found in public washrooms), and people could run the program while sitting there doing their business. Then the next person to come in would continue the program, and so forth, until they get to the "END" command, at which point they would take the output (the toilet paper), and present it to whoever is in charge.

A more advanced version could use multiple bathroom stalls for parallel processing. In fact, if you assume that all 6 billion people on Earth help with the computation, and that they go to the bathroom on average twice a day and complete 10 instructions per visit, you'd be approaching the performance of an early-80's minicomputer.

Depending on the accuracy of those engaged in another process and in varying states of mind, health, drunkeness, etc. to perform calculations, no matter how simple, is an invitation to failure.

Aside from that, the output would have to be cleaned and dried before it could be read.

Your next target, [kyle90], can be the time in a conversation when a person is not actually speaking, but just standing around, frittering away the day.

//In fact, if you assume that all 6 billion people on Earth help with the computation// a large proportion of whom would be re-enacting a skewed form of Searle's "Chinese Room".

//if you assume that all 6 billion people on Earth help with the computation// First you have to assume that all *7* billion (rounded up from 6.8) have access to toilets *and* paper. some 700M in India and 800M in China lack even basic sanitation and it's far worse in Africa.

Hows this for an idea? Attatch a small
electrical generator to the inside of the
toilet roll. This way just every day use, or
the bored spinning we frequently resort to,
could power our lives.

I think there is some seriously good brain computation that goes on while staring at the backs of toilet stalls that we wouldn't want to just give away to the Turing machine. I mean, is the Turing machine going to contribute any ideas to this website? If so, then I would consider it, but until then, I prefer on-the-john-time as valuable half-baked idea generating time.

That's when I come up with all my good ideas at least. Right, guys? Am I the only one on the john right now? Guys?

Most public bathrooms where I'm from have a single long piece of TP, and you get to decide where to make the tear. This means that my bits are much larger than your bits on average, and therefore I'd be a bigger contributor to revising Microsoft than you are, right!?

Also, I would bearuecratically put all 1's and no 0's on the programming!