Prison time for man who urinated on fellow passenger

We’ve covered a lot of wacky passengers in the past. Some got drunk and grabbed the backside of the flight attendant, others got drunk and forced the plane to make an emergency landing.

But the story of Jerome Kenneth Kingzio is one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time. Once again, (too much) alcohol was involved, and when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go, we all know that feeling.

But when normal people have to relieve themselves, they use a bathroom, not a fellow passenger.

Honolulu judge Leslie Kobayashi sentenced this Saipan man to 21 days in jail for urinating on a 66 year old woman on his flight.

The poor woman who was urinated on, claims her entire vacation was spoiled, and she still suffers from emotional damage.

All I know is that if someone started urinating on me, he’d better be prepared to pee through a tube for a long, long time.

Gadling’s guide to GPS and location based services

Traveling for me evokes memories of ancient explorers, navigating across vast oceans with only a sextant and the light of the stars and moon. Or the arduous journey of Lewis and Clark as they mapped a slow path across the great wilderness of the Louisiana Purchase. We’ve certainly come a long way since then in terms of navigation – in fact the now-ubiquitous availability of handheld GPS units and Google Maps has made finding your way around in unknown places a cinch.

But in fact, GPS and Google Maps is only the beginning. As we saw with yesterday’s new 3G iPhone with built-in GPS, we’re in the midst of a new era of “location aware devices.” This includes everything from from cameras with geotagging to “location-aware” mobile phones which promise to revolutionize the way we travel and gather information for our trips. Follow along and we’ll take you through Gadling’s guide to GPS and location based services.

Mobile Phones and Location Based Services
A whole range of mobile devices are now on the market that can pinpoint your exact location. Companies like Blackberry, Nokia, Motorola and Apple all make devices which can access this information over the network. This has enabled a huge range of new ways to use your phone, from getting turn-by-turn driving directions to more advanced applications that combine the power of social networks with your location. Services like Where and Socialight not only know where you are, they also let you access location-specific “tags” left by other users in popular locations. Want to know the best place to grab a drink when most bars close at 11pm in London? Find the closest late-night pub by subscribing to Socialight’s “Late London” channel. Looking for a place to cool off this summer in the Northeast United States? Check out the “Swimming holes” group. Drank too much coffee this morning? Better get MizPee. The best part of all this is that the recommendations are based on your location, so you can find the most interesting/useful spots closest to you relatively quickly – no guidebook required.

Geotagging and Photography
Not only does your mobile phone know where you are, your camera is also getting in on the act too. Tools like this Sony GPS unit let you add location data to your snapshots, providing a whole new dimension to your digital scrapbook. Perhaps you’re trying to track down that street in Austin where you took a photo of the great Mexican restaurant? Not a problem, just check out the location data embedded in your image and the next time you’re there, you can swing by for a few tacos. Even popular photo-sharing site Flickr has gotten in on the trend, allowing you to view maps of destinations with popular photos pinpointed to where they were taken. Interestingly enough, there are now even cameras on the market that have built-in GPS capabiltiies.

GPS Just for Fun
In addition to GPS-equipped phones and cameras, there are also plenty of other ways you can use GPS devices just for goofing around. Sony’s popular PlayStation Portable offers a GPS add-on, allowing you to access location data for some of your favorite games like Metal Gear Solid to unlock special bonus characters. And you’ve probably heard by now about the artwork people have been creating using GPS software. Even though the recent DHL piece proved to be a hoax, other copycats have already followed suit. Of course, no article about GPS would be complete without a mention of everyone’s favorite GPS activity, geocaching. If you want to take it step further, you might even use GPS to create a life-size game of Pac-Man for yourself. The possibilities are pretty endless.

Not only do these new location-aware devices services provide us with useful information, they promise to change the way we travel. We are no longer tied to the recommendations of guidebooks. We can call upon user-created information about places to make informed decisions about what to see and where to go. We can take a look at a tiny street in a far-away land, without ever having to step foot there. Or we can use these new services for just plain fun. As location-based devices and services become cheaper and more widespread, they can only serve to help us make more informed travel decisions in the future.

Find the Nearest Bathroom from your Cell Phone with

Some things are better left executed sans technology, methinks. Take for instance a new service called MizPee which attempts to locate the bathroom nearest to you from a cellphone. It’s a good idea in theory, but it seems that anywhere you’d be where the service actually works, it’s not going to be tough to find a bathroom. But where it really counts — like in the back of a taxi in the middle of Mumbai traffic (don’t ask) — MizPee probably won’t help.

Regardless, when you’re traveling, chances are you don’t know the lay of the land. So if you really need to go, browse to on your cellphone and enter in the city and street address nearest to you, and the service will spit out the nearest public toilet. Included with the results are is the distance from where you currently are, a toilet rating, and other details like whether or not you have to pay to pee.

You can also access the service by sending a text message to their phone number (415-350-2290) with your city and state in the body. I tried this with my hometown, but after waiting about 10 minutes, I finally got a response saying, “Welcome to MizPee. Click the following address to visit our service:” Not only could I have most likely found a bathroom quicker than that, but it doesn’t help us poor folks who don’t have Internet access on our phones. It’d be great if it spit the results out as a text message instead of simply referring me to the website.

Good thing I didn’t really have to go. [via]

A Canadian in Beijing: Naked Baby Bums Everywhere!

I wonder how babies in China feel in the wintertime. I mean, they must experience some severe crotch frost considering the built-in air-conditioning their clothing has! This no-nonsense approach to raising not-yet-potty-trained children has me both baffled and amused.

Here in China, children under the age of approximately 4 years old wear pants that are crotchless. In other words, their pants do not have any crotch, just an open space where the crotch should be. At a Pride Day parade, this style would be called “chaps”! Here in China, they’re just regular kids’ clothes.

Basically, when the child has to go to the bathroom, they are taught to squat wherever they are. This can sometimes happen on the sidewalk or on the grass, but it also happens on public transport or in shopping centres.

How does a society deal with that?

Mops. Lots of mops.

This phenomenon further stresses the fact that sitting on the grass or the sidewalk here in China is an absolutely disgusting proposition. Any number of children could have urinated or defecated there. Top that off with the spitting, the rubbish and overall dirt that is generated by 14 million people and you have yourself an extremely unsanitary seat.

The more I see this happen here in China, the less often I have found myself sitting on the ground. In fact, I’m not sure I’ll ever sit on the ground again after three months in Beijing. It may have scarred me for life! (C’mon, a little drama never hurt!)

I finally got up the courage to ask about this ‘crotchlessness.’ The moment came when we were in class and discussing what things we found to be “qi guai” or “strange” here in China compared with our home countries. My teacher laughed out loud when we all started to comment on this phenomenon and then she covered her mouth shyly with her hand as she explained and then laughed some more. She said that she once asked a mother whether or not her children were cold in the wintertime and the mother’s response had been that this section of the body is hot enough on its own and so the missing fabric is “mei wenti” (no worries).

Really? I don’t buy it. I know it’s hot down there, but is it hot enough to keep those bits from frostbite? I don’t think so. Of course, I am a Canadian here and I have heard that Beijing winters are not as cold as Canadian winters. Hmmm. Wo bu zhi dao (I don’t know). I’m shrugging my shoulders here.

(I’ve since found that lots has been written about this. Here’s a really cute picture.)

Now, besides the so-called functionality of this clothing design, I have to admit that it’s really cute. When a child is being held either on its mother’s back or in her arms, the child’s legs are bent around her and all you see is his or her little bottom. Everywhere I go, I get glimpses of naked baby bums and I smile every time. How can you not? So perhaps that’s part of the function: kids’ clothing that make the foreigners smile.

When I was on the subway heading downtown one day, a small child of about 2 was sitting on the lap of the woman across from me. He was fussing and irritable and so she took him off her lap and stood him between her legs to steady him as the train rumbled along. He continued to whine and wriggle, wanting to get out from the jail cell that had been created by her knees, but unable to breach her legs for any free space since the train was fairly crowded.

Suddenly, he bent into the squatting position and peed. His mother lifted her feet slightly so that she wouldn’t step in his urine and then threw a tissue at the small puddle and let it soak up the urine before kicking the sopping tissue under the seat with the sole of her shoe.

It was my first experience watching a child pee on public transport and I was amazed. I’m sure my eyes were the size of small dinner plates because she looked right at me with a “haven’t-you-seen-this-before?” expression on her face that was mixed with a sort of diffidence that made me lower my gaze. I don’t want my amazement to translate into judgment and so I spent the rest of the trip looking out the window.

About a week later, I was standing on the street and I saw a small child being led to one of the small saplings that line the road. His mother opened the gap in his pants and positioned his body to urinate and then waited until he had emptied his little bladder under the city tree. I watched this with great amusement.

Later that same day, I was riding my bike back home and it was late in the evening when the twilight can trick your eyes with its dim shadows. I saw a small girl of about 5 years old step into the street a good block ahead of me as I was leisurely pedalling along. She lifted up her skirt and crouched down and I wondered if she was looking for something in the gutter. Seconds later, I watched her hop back up onto the curb and disappear into a building and when I arrived at the spot where she had been, I discovered only a damp patch of asphalt that I had to swerve to avoid.

It seems to me that even as kids grow a bit older, it’s still OK for them to urinate (and what about #2?) on public streets. I wonder how common this is or if I just saw a rare moment here.

Either way, at least it saves on paper and non-biodegradable diapers. That’s a huge something!

Now if we could only tackle the smell …