Archive for June, 2005

Understatement of the Day

From another pdf file of 19th-century notes, comes this little gem:

Question: Describe the relative advantages of the watercloset and of the pail system for the removal of excreta.

Answer: [The] Water system is much cleaner and [shite] is carried away quickly with the flush of water. The pail system [where] used should be kept clean and [have] plenty of mould thrown in every time it is used. And in case of a town [you] would want patent air-tight lids for removal.

It’s mind-boggling to me that a mere 110 years ago or so (the notes above are circa 1895, apparently) not only was the “pail system” of human waste disposal still a popular practice, but that the value of air-tight lids on the buckets needed to be pointed out.

I am reminded of an early Terry Pratchett novel, where a character asks a fellow whose job apparently consists of holding a piece of string attached to the neck of a water-buffalo, presumably to keep it from wandering away, (and I paraphrase here) “Are you content with your lot? Is life treating you well? Are all your needs being met by the government?”
“Well,” says the buffalo-herder, or words to that effect, “I could do with a longer piece of string…”

Published in: General | on June 30th, 2005 | Comments Off on Understatement of the Day

Easy upgrade…

New version of WordPress is out; as one would expect, the upgrade took less than five minutes and was a breeze.

WordPress: Kickin’ Movable Type’s behind since, um, a while ago.

Published in: Geekiness, General, Meta | on June 30th, 2005 | Comments Off on Easy upgrade…

The Way Things Were

From a new project I’m working on comes this interesting piece of history (pdf), a couple pages of notes from an 1890’s class for Inspectors of Nuisances about foodborne disease.

If recent reports about Halliburton are true, American soldiers in the Middle East could make good use of this information…

Published in: General, History | on June 29th, 2005 | Comments Off on The Way Things Were