Experts Agree: Squat Toilets Are Good For You

squat toilets
Sean McLachlan

Chances are your morning glory isn’t good for you.

In the Western world we’re second place when it comes to doing Number Two. A growing number of medical experts agree that our seat toilets aren’t nearly as good as squat toilets, which are what’s used on the majority of places in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

It all comes down to positioning.

The medical textbook Gastroenterology, the definitive reference to the subject and written by three MDs, states, “The ideal posture for defecation is the squatting position, with the thighs flexed upon the abdomen. In this way the capacity of the abdominal cavity is greatly diminished and intra-abdominal pressure increased, thus encouraging expulsion …”

In plain English, squatting releases pressure on your rectum and makes it easier to poop. Sitting in a Western style toilet is means you’re pushing against your own muscles. Many doctors say that using squat toilets reduce the chances of constipation, hemorrhoids, even bowel cancer.
Neuroscientist Daniel Lametti writes that wile there haven’t been any smoking gun statistics for cancer, it makes intuitive sense that people would be less constipated if they squat and less likely to put strain on their anus that would cause hemorrhoids.

Having spent a great deal of time in countries where squat toilets were the only option, I can testify that squatting is easier on the bum, if not the thighs. You get through your business quicker, and it does feel easier and more natural. It’s how we’re built, after all. Interested in learning more? Check out this article on how to use squat toilets.

D.C. Metro Staff And Passengers Assist Birth Of ‘Metrobaby’

Metrobaby
Joshua Sherurcij

D.C. Metro staff and passengers had to come to the rescue when a woman started giving birth in L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station yesterday, the Washington Post reports.

Shavonnte Taylor, 23, was on her way to an appointment with her obstetrician when she started having contractions two weeks before her baby was due. She tried to continue her journey but the baby had different ideas.

Luckily Autumn Manka, a licensed emergency medical technician, was passing by. She lay Taylor down on the floor as more passengers, DC Metro staff, and two Metro Transit Police officers came to help. Within minutes the baby was born next to a broken escalator near the Seventh Street and Maryland Avenue exit.

Inevitably, the kid got his own hashtag, #metrobaby. Several Twitter users posted a snarky headline from today’s Express, while others suggested naming the baby L’Enfant. “L’Enfant” of course, is French for “the infant.”

His real name is Amir Mason. He weighs 8 pounds, 5 ounces and is doing fine.

Eccentric England: The Headington Shark

Headington Shark
Henry Flower

Once again, I’m back in Oxford for my annual summer working holiday. I love this place. This quintessentially English city offers beautiful colleges, the world’s coolest museum, even the chance to bump into the Queen.

But all this pales in comparison to the sight of a giant shark crashing into a roof.

The Oxford suburb of Headington is a bit dull, so local resident Bill Heine at 2 New High Street decided to commission sculptor John Buckley to create a 25-foot shark to adorn his roof. It was put up on August 9, 1986, the 41st anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing. As Heine explained, “The shark was to express someone feeling totally impotent and ripping a hole in their roof out of a sense of impotence and anger and desperation … It is saying something about CND, nuclear power, Chernobyl and Nagasaki.”

The clipboard Nazis in the local council were not amused. They tried to have it removed as a pubic hazard. When their engineer said it was perfectly safe, they tried various other excuses. Much legal wrangling ensued.

Decades later, the naysayers are all gone and the shark is still there. It’s a much-loved local landmark, a modern folly. I see it every time I come in on the bus from London and enjoy pointing it out to newcomers. There’s even a Headington Shark Appreciation Society on Facebook with more than a thousand members. So if you’re coming to Oxford, pop on over and see the Headington Shark.

Kiiking: Estonia’s Extreme Swing Set


Remember when we were kids playing on the swing set and we’d try to swing so high that we’d fly over the top bar and come down the other side? No, I never made it either. But in Estonia, they’ve taken a childhood dream and made it an extreme sport.

It’s called kiiking. Using a special swing with steel arms instead of chains, the kiiker stands on the swing and pumps back and forth until he or she gets enough momentum to make a full 360-degree turn. The best kiikers can go around several times. The longer the shaft of the swing, the harder it is, and according to the “Guinness Book of World Records,” the record for kiiking is with a 7.02-meter (23-foot) swing used by Andrus Aasamäe of Estonia on August 21, 2004.

Kiiking has taken off in the Baltic states and in Scandinavia. Here we show a video of the Estonian army taking a little time off from defending the nation to practice kiiking.

Photo Of The Day: Wine Tasting

Photo of the day - wine tasting
What makes you enter an unfamiliar shop in a new city? An inviting window display? A big crowd (or lack thereof)? How about a funny sign like this Brooklyn shop, which advertises, “delicious free booze poured by a crazy French guy”? They had me at “delicious” and “free” wine; the French guy is just icing on the cake. It helps that the store looks cozy and friendly; the sign helps to show off their personality.

Share your favorite travel signs for the Photo of the Day by adding to the Gadling Flickr pool or tagging us on Instagram.

[Photo credit: Flickr user Mike GL]