Low flush – Hero or villain?

Modern toilet seats tout ‘economical flushing’ as a top feature, promising reduced water usage. But what exactly is low flush?


Economical flushing is today one of the strongest selling points from manufacturers on their toilet seats. But what is it really?

What is low flush?

Low flush is exactly what it sounds like: less water with each flush.

On most modern WC seats, you can choose whether you want to flush a lot or a little, normal 2 or 4 litres. This may sound very little. However, the WC seats of the past not infrequently used more than twice as much in each flush.

Less water places higher demands on maintenance and sewer design. Making sure that everything that goes down the drain actually is supposed to be there!

Why low flush?

There are various reasons why people choose to manufacture and buy low-flush WC seats. Above all, it is for energy savings. The concept aims to conserve water, which necessitates energy for purification, reducing the strain on treatment plants. By saving water, which demands energy for purification, you alleviate the burden on treatment plants, for example.

We also live in a time when the population in Sweden is increasing significantly. This rapid growth is largely attributed to high levels of immigration. The Swedish water and sewage networks are not built to handle the large increase in new people. One way to prevent bigger problems is to reduce the amount of mass that flows through our sewers and water pipes.

Most modern WC’s are low flush from factory.

Who is driving the trend towards more frugal washing?

Above all, the EU creates certifications and rules for how products sold within the Union should look and function. In the case of toilet seats, there are also regulations on how much water each flush can contain. The companies then pay to have their products tested and, upon approval, receive a certification. This certification enables the toilet seat to be sold with an “environmental label” in e.g. a new build in Sweden.

When the construction company that will then build several new apartment buildings must choose which toilet seats they will use in the new homes, you can get special advantages if you choose certified products. For example, there are several different environmental labels that allow you to apply for beneficial grants. Above all, a lot of buyers or tenants require certain environmental labels, e.g. municipal and state organisations.

What happens in the sewers?

However, all energy saving, energy efficiency, and environmental labels are not always entirely good, as with everything else. In the best of worlds, we also have sewage systems that can handle a sewage flow with an ever-smaller amount of water in relation to what is to be flushed away.

However, this is not the case for everyone in Sweden. If you already have problems with blockages in drains, bad inclination, etc., I would recommend not choosing a low-flush toilet seat. It can cause a lot of problems where a proper “push” of water is needed to remove everything that needs to be removed.


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Florida man’s house hit by NASA’s space junk

In March of 2024, an ususpecting Florida man’s house was hit by a solid metal projectile jettisoned from the ISS in 2021.

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In March of 2024, an ususpecting Florida man’s house was hit by a solid metal projectile jettisoned from the ISS in 2021.

The Debris

It was after an installation of fresh lithium-ion batteries that NASA decided to eject a pallet of the old nickel-hydride batteries from the Internation Space Station in 2021. The debris was expected to burn up during the re-entry into the atmosphere as to not cause damage. However, a small piece of the scrap metal survived and decended upon the unsuspecting Florida man’s house in tremendous speed, causing small holes in the roof and two floors, nearly hitting the Florida man’s son, playing in the next room.

The projectile meassured 4-inch by 1.6-inch and weighed 1.6 pound.

The aftermath

Florida man filed an unprecendented lawsuit against NASA for the damage but has of writing (June 22th, 2024) not received any compensation from the trash-tossers.

The lawsuit is ongoing and could set a very interesting precedent for future damage caused by any of the millions of objects flying around over our heads. Currently there are over 29,000 objects measuring more than 10 cm, 670,000 objects 1-10 cm large, and more than 170 million objects larger than 1 millimetre.

Luckily, for Florida man, his home insurance covered some of the costs – about $15,000 – and he’s now hoping for another $80,000 from the lawsuit, should he win.

“Scientists at University of British Columbia, New Scientist reports, calculate that the odds are one in ten of “casualties being caused by falling debris over the next decade.””

Environmental Law Institute

This might be a good time to complement the volcano insurance with space junk insurance!

Do you think this is a big problem going forward, and who should pay for the damage caused by space junk falling on people’s houses and properties?

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VR advances and the future of WFH

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When the viral hysteria of ’20 hit and people hid in their homes with double FP2’s over their facial air holes, allegedly working from home, most people viewed this as an incredible opportunity for more freedom. There was an incredible amount of people who, all of a sudden had double, triple, or quadruple lunch breaks to go grocery shopping, tend to the garden, or even hit the beach. The data, however, is in and it’s not looking too good for the semi-vacationeers “working from home”.

Employee Monitoring Tools

Unsurprisingly, people higher up started to notice the trend and became disgruntled of the loss of control of their employee’s daily work habits. The first to Take meassures to counter this trend was the guys at big finance, who constructed elaborate “employee monitoring tools”.

Some of the great new features on your brand new WFH laptop include:

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The companies that used these tools noticed that they’re improving efficiency of their employees, regardless of their location.

Instead of forcing you into the office to make sure you’re working, they’re forcing the office upon your every location and system you’re using.

“Let them try…”

While the only companies using this type of extreme surveillance of their employees are the ones already known for pushing the limit of their subordinates, others will follow suit seeing the effectiveness of the systems.

A lot of people will, of course, not go along with this, but with the increased reach and reduced need of actually forcing people into the offices, most companies will probably succeed anyway. Almost all employees nowadays are easily exchangeable, whether we want to admit it or not. Especially when the hiring pool consist of the entirety of the world.

Of course, there’ll be hold-outs and companies that doesn’t jump on the big brother-train, but a lot of them will, making the few remaining jobs without extreme surveillance few and far apart.

Enter VR-headsets

A lot of people laughed at the seeming fiasco of Apple’s new VR headset. It’s true that it is over-the-top for most people’s daily use and the price tag demanded true Apple fanboy-ism from the buyer.

What this signalled, however, is the VR headset’s entry into the serious market and our lives. When Apple comes out with a new product category, odds are it’ll be commonplace in a few years.

So far, headsets are mostly used as gaming devices, gamification of house chores for stay-at-home-dads, and media consumption, but my bet is that companies soon will find great applications for the headsets in the workplace as well. Why, you ask?

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Conclusion

As more and more people are demanding WFH part- or full time, pressure on the employers increases to accommodate without losing control. This is also an incredible tool to be used for personally evaluating employees fairly, if used with caution.

Furthermore, there must be discussions on how to handle all the data these new systems collect. Are employees actually aware of the amount of data their employer have on them? And what are the employer legally allowed to do with the data?

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Gene therapy trial restores hearing

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Gene therapy restoring hearing

18-month old British girl Opal Sandy has had her hearing restored through a new gene therapy trial. The deafness, in this case, was due to auditory neuropathy, a condition where nerve impulses from the inner ear to the brain are disrupted. To cure her condition a therapy, known as DB-OTO, was used, copying the OTOF gene directly to the ear. Through a minimally invasive procedure, where the gene solution was infused into the inner ear using a catheter, the hearing is potentially restored without any need of repeated treatments.

Future of hearing restoration

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Timeline

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Leading theories

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Project CETI and Earth Species Project

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Whale communication

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Conclusion

If we can learn how to communicate with sperm whales, there’s no reason to believe we cannot learn to communicate with other animals. Or plants and fungi, for that matter.

The interesting question here is, whether this will open up to new kinds of deeper knowledge about our environment.

Will we be able to continue to eat animals that we can communicate “meaningfully” with? What does your cat really think of you? Do you really want to know what the crows and seagulls are screaming about?

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