Friday, February 24, 2012

Yes, This Is a Post About Toilets

Ever wonder what these little thingies are for?  If you've already tried it out, you probably know, but just in case: they let you control the size of your flush! Read closely and save a little water next time you send something down the tubes. 

English: So

English: Dae

You see the prefixes So and Dae (along with 중/Chung/, "middle") all over Korea.

For example, here it is on a menu, there in the top right:

And here's something cribbed from Wikipedia:
Daegu Metropolitan City
 • Hangul 대구광역시
 • Hanja 大邱廣域市
 • Revised Romanization Daegu-gwangyeoksi
 • McCune-Reischauer Taegu-kwangyŏksi

Which explains why it also shows up in the middle of DGL's very own logo:

Some of you may also work at Chunghakkyos (middle schools) or Daehakkyos (colleges).  

Or, affix 소 or 대 to the character 便/변/byeon, which means both "comfort" and "evacuation' (in that special sense), to make the words for number 1 and number 2, respectively.  Thus, the logos on the flesh lever/button above are ambiguous: do they refer to the size of the flush, or to what variety of "byeon" you're flushing down?  I'm content not to know.  

PS, I think it would be wrong of me not to mention that regulating flush sizes (and frequency!), while awesome, is one of the least effective ways to reduce the amount of water you consume.  Surprisingly, almost all of the water we go through, we never even see.  Far more potent strategies include: 

 - eating less conventionally-produced meat, since the enormous amounts of feed given to the animals require unimaginable amounts of water to produce
- eating crops that naturally grow locally, without much irrigation
- eating organic, since fertilizer and pesticide runoff poison water and ecosystems
- buying fewer/used clothes, since cotton is a water hog
- buying fewer/used electronics, since mining for minerals and materials pollutes bodies of water.

Other suggestions welcome!  Do you have any particular water-saving strategies?

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