Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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R Swipe Prize

  [vote for,

[I couldn’t find a category for sustainability – I used this instead bit it isn’t an accurate substitute for sustainability]

[Also, I was going to call it the R’s prize, but then realised that idea name was already taken – by me, for something else entirely]

This idea is unusual for me in that it isn’t really a joke or whimsical, but is actually a serious idea.

It occurs to me that the way we wipe our arses in this day and age is seriously out of date. I don’t actually think it works well at all, the way we do it currently, and it has serious environmental downsides. We need to find a better way.

This idea is simply to set up a prize (obviously with someone else’s money – I’ve just had to pay a fucking extortionate electricity bill, phone bill and water bill, so there’s nothing left). The prize is to find an idea. This isn’t that idea and I doubt we would find the idea by annotating here with ideas. This needs opening up to the finest minds the world has to offer. Not just us. Well, us as well.

The prize would offer some sort of incentive, to solve the problem of how to wipe our arses. The restrictions:

Paper is not the way to do it – at least, scraping small oblongs of paper across the rectum does not, on the whole, do the job well. I think we’re all in agreement that we’re not looking for a breakthrough in toilet paper. So, paper is out.

The fictitious and never fully resolved “three seashells” concept in Demolition Man is probably a red herring, unless someone knows better, which I doubt – it is simply a McGuffin.

The solution should have the following characteristics (list to be amended):

• fully sustainable, both ecologically and economically

• not technologically dependent to the degree that only some countries have access, at some times, to the manufacturing means

• not expensive – everyone in the world needs to wipe their arse

• not geographically restricted to first world or global north or other subsets

• completely recyclable

• healthy and clean

• does not require supplied domestic energy (or even water, ideally) to use it


Actually, I just realised – it should not even be called R Swipe, nor refer to wiping of the arse, as wiping is probably one of the “we’ve been doing it incorrect all this time” things. Thus, use of ‘wipe’ in the terminology might prejudice the results, as the solution might be to not wipe but do something better and non-wipey instead. Expect this idea to name-change when another one becomes apparent.

Ian Tindale, Apr 05 2018

The infamous "Three Seashells" ... https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gdnuOa7tDco
Enquire further at your own risk. [8th of 7, Apr 06 2018]

autonomous multi-celled butt washer autonomous_20multi-celled_20butt_20washer
[Voice, Apr 17 2018]

Astronaut Poop Challenge https://www.nasa.go...pace-poop-challenge
I know this is for space, but the idea and the solutions are the same. [MisterQED, Apr 18 2018]

"Winner" of Astronaut Poop Challenge https://www.herox.c...hatchercardon-44538
In the vacuum of space you do not want to open a port to wipe your arse. [MisterQED, Apr 18 2018]


       I"m not volunteering to be the first seashell.
FlyingToaster, Apr 05 2018

       So your idea is to get someone else to solve a problem that's not that much of a problem? How about a competition to invent a time machine that goes into the future and returns with the solution to this and a million other problems?
xenzag, Apr 05 2018

       a) sphincter-straddling, open condom. Do your business, remove condom, wash (or dispose of), replace.   

       b) non-stick cooking spray applied beforehand. Or very fine bentonite powder, applied before or after.   

       c) a firm resolve not to combine lager & curry after age 40.   

       d) a smartphone app   

       (on the other hand, thanks : I could never figure out where the "three shells" reference came from)
FlyingToaster, Apr 05 2018

       We'll always have colostomy.   

       <side note>Totally hadn't pegged this as one of yours.
I made it all the way to the bottom, <snigger>, and peripherally read your moniker before all of the words were in your voice.

       Well done.   

       Perhaps a hollow tube made of Teflon, or other highly non- stick substance. It would have a means of being attached to the toilet seat such that when you sat down, it would align with the anus, and possibly insert slightly. All the relevant waste passes through the tube into the toilet. When your business is done, it should rinse clean easily, since it is non- stick.
Vernon, Apr 05 2018

       That’s the other thing – the accepted modern western-world way of going to the toilet is actually totally incorrect. It shouldn’t be done sitting down as we do, it constricts and prevents, and causes unnecessary difficulty in most people. Doing away with the whole seating arrangement is possibly a step toward doing away with the paper and water and associated ecological impact, and will result in healthier people as well.   

       The way we do things is really legacy and hasn’t been reimagined for the present day. Paper was first invented by the Chinese, we all know that, but it was invented for wiping the bum, and not for writing on. Using paper as a writing surface and publishing media came hundreds of years later. Unbelievably we’re still using it, having made no advances at all in that area.   

       Similarly, the centuries-old sitting commode was actually a bad idea to have caught on so widely, it is not optimal for the job. As well as the bad positioning it forces the user to adopt, it wastes a considerable amount of clean (and usually otherwise drinkable) water, and the infrastructure of soil pipes in the home and office and sewerage to take it all away is a massive civic overhead which could be re-thought.   

       I know it isn’t glamorous, but some good thinking needs to be applied to this whole area. I’m sure we’re doing it all incorrect.
Ian Tindale, Apr 06 2018

       Well, there's always the arse-sickle : a small, dull scimitar with large ridges up by the handle going to gecko-feet on t'other end. Swipe in either direction, starting at the hilt. Each person would have their own : sharing/borrowing socially unacceptable.
FlyingToaster, Apr 06 2018

       // I could never figure out where the "three shells" reference came from //   

8th of 7, Apr 06 2018

       Hmm, maybe start at the other end, as it were. Just have food that comes in permeable swallowable size plastic bag. When they hit the stomach, the nutrients are digested and then the end user just to needs to bin the output.   

       I took part in a trial of this, where the person in question doing the barbecue (no names) forgot to take off the plastic wrappers off the hot dogs before they were cooked and eaten.
not_morrison_rm, Apr 06 2018

       Would this be less of a problem if we all lived underwater? Humans evolved from water-dwelling animals so it shouldn't be impossible to just evolve back - and in fact I think that mammals such as whales have evolved from animals which evolved from water-dwelling animals to land-dwelling animals but didn't like the land so moved back to the water. Anyway, my point is that the hygiene problem this idea highlights might be less of an issue underwater - it would be like turning up the cleansing and purifying properties of the bidet to 11.
hippo, Apr 06 2018

       One wonders what apparatus the Borg have adopted to accommodate the cleaning of the many different species they have assimilated.   

       Failing that, clearly there are people in the world whose sole purpose in life are to be ass lickers. Somehow we’ve gotten that confused and have hired them to be lawyers, salespersons, lobbyists, and faith healers. Simply allowing them to fulfill their evolutionary purpose will bring satisfaction to all.
RayfordSteele, Apr 06 2018

       // what apparatus the Borg have adopted //   

       Either a choice of four seashells, a huge length of coarse hairy string, or a coke-fired brass harmonium packed full of aniseed-flavoured hardwood sawdust with a thing like a bent wicker canoe paddle stuck in the top.
8th of 7, Apr 06 2018

       Shertainly, what's needed is an electrostatic system. After defaecating, just stand on the thick rubber mat with your legs apart, and connect the wrist strap. Wait until your body is charged up to something like 2-300kV, at which point your hair will stand on end and any klingons will be fired off, hopefully to be collected on the counter-charged collection plate.   

       On no account let any parts of your anatomy get close to the collection plate.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 06 2018

       I’m not quite sure how to go about this. Should it be left up to individuals to randomly throw casual ideas that they’ve thought about for 20 seconds to see if they hit the jackpot? Or should it be up to a committee to adhere to specifications and requirements? Or should it be given over to our AGI overlords to run algorithms over and across the problem space? Should it be individuals not organizations? Should it be organizations not entire nations? Should it be nations not religions or ethnicities? Would the answer come from the highly intelligent, or the barely literate?   

       Is a prize even relevant?   

       The thing that bothers me is that putting rockets into space to launch cars with dummies in them is all very well and trumpeting on about wanting to be a space-faring species is all very well but we have several fairly serious problems here in our own homes which I must insist need sorting out first.   

       • Wiping of the arse – not sorted out, we’re not even at the Industrial Age on that one.
• Recycling – not sorted out at all, we’re so far away from doing that correctly if we did make it to other planets and met other life, they’d perceive our attitude to waste management as if we’re fucking stupid.
• Energy generation – not sorted out very much at all. See the point preceding this one.
• QWERTY keyboards – for fucks sake, hide those if we ever get visited by aliens.
Ian Tindale, Apr 06 2018

       No, no, no.   

       Have you ever been to the Jorvik centre, [Ian] ?   

       It's a careful re-creation of a Viking settlement, as York would have appeared more than a thousand years ago. There are crude huts, dummies in rough, primitive clothing, mud everywhere, domestic animals wandering round, and the whole place stinks of excrement and urine.   

       And if you pay the swingeing entrance fee, you can go inside the Jorvik centre and it's just as bad.   

       The point is that getting rid of your QWERTY keyboards and doing proper recycling would be like the National Railway Museum melting down the Flying Scotsman and Mallard to make hybrid bicycles. It might seem modern and forward-thinking, but you've just destroyed major visitor attractions.   

       Advanced civilizations don't visit your planet to bring peace and plenty. A few groups do come to study you. The vast majority come to laugh at you and mock your primitive ways, the same way you go to zoos and laugh at chimpanzees playing with blankets or old motor tyres.
8th of 7, Apr 06 2018

       How about a probiotic genetically engineered to make latex rubber that clings to the side mucosa of the large intestine. This causes the feces to be covered with a kind of rubber bag when they come out.
beanangel, Apr 06 2018

       Ooh, superball poo. Don't let the monkeys near it.
RayfordSteele, Apr 11 2018

       A compact with fine dry soil, powder puff?
wjt, Apr 13 2018

       Horses and rhinos, I think, have sleeve-like things inside their anuses that evert during defecation and then retract afterward, keeping the poop from touching any surface that's normally on the outside of the body. Find the genes for those and transfer them into humans.   

       I also just realized I have an idea on my list of ideas to post that could solve this. I'll have to post it soon, by which I mean I probably won't post it soon (but I'll be sure to link it from here when I do).
notexactly, Apr 15 2018

       //Horses and rhinos, I think, have sleeve-like things inside their anuses// I think that's only during a veterinary exam.   

       But no, you're right. In fact, I think most ani evert to an extent, precisely to prevent soilage. Quite why human ani don't do this, or don't do it very much, is a mysterious mystery.
MaxwellBuchanan, Apr 17 2018

       Some do – dirtygardengirl, for example.   

       But, I digress. This isn’t the place for finding solutions, this is the place where I posted the idea for a prize and then doubted that it even need be a prize structure. How would such a chase be set in motion?
Ian Tindale, Apr 17 2018

       Firing a pistol in the air ?
8th of 7, Apr 17 2018

       It’s a start.
Ian Tindale, Apr 17 2018

       <BBC gramophone FX recording: sound of running boots/>
8th of 7, Apr 17 2018

       Actually this idea has already been done, it was called the "Astronaut Poop Challenge" and I actually sent in what should have been the winning entry and would also resolve this idea. It was a hydraulically driven, peristaltic waste transfer system. Sadly the contest was rigged and they gave the prize to someone who broke one of the basic rules of the contest and if implemented, would get people killed. My Idea basically continues the bodies own waste disposal system outside the body. The basic idea of the prize was to allow the Astronaut to poop without using his hands and the "winning" entry had the astronaut use his hands.
MisterQED, Apr 18 2018

       I’ll remind everyone of the qualifying list, mentioned afore.   

       The solution should have the following characteristics (list to be amended): • fully sustainable, both ecologically and economically • not technologically dependent to the degree that only some countries have access, at some times, to the manufacturing means • not expensive – everyone in the world needs to wipe their arse • not geographically restricted to first world or global north or other subsets • completely recyclable • healthy and clean • does not require supplied domestic energy (or even water, ideally) to use it Etc.   

       Obviously still in flux, but, you know, it isn’t about to about turn and let in an insanely complex exclusionistic technological pile of expenditure just on the off chance.
Ian Tindale, Apr 18 2018


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