Wednesday, November 14, 2007


No, not me. I'll still be here blogging, for quite some time yet I think. No, a post-doc in my lab is moving back to Brazil. Tomorrow. That's sad. She's such a nice and uplifting person, I'll miss her.

She was showing some of us pictures that she took while she was in Japan for a human genetics conference, so she was only there for a few days (at most) but in that time, she took about 1600 pictures. What?! Now that's a lot of pictures.

My researcher, MMC-F, said that she must take pictures like the Japanese. When my researcher was in France (she's French-Lebanese), she was walking around with her husband behind a Japanese family. They had to dodge being in the photos as the Japanese just go around and click click click click. In her words, "They don't see Paris. They see Paris later, in photos."

Anyway, as she was talking about Japan and telling us how impressed she was, she showed us pictures of their toilets. She has many pictures of their toilets because she was so impressed by them. I must admit, the Japanese are quite inventive with things. I mean, their toilets had buttons that squirt water at your butt to clean it after you're done doing whatever. You can also adjust the temperature and pressure of the squirt. They also installed a faucet and small sink on top of the toilet so when you flush, the faucet runs and you can wash your hands. They're so efficient at making due with tiny spaces.

Speaking of tiny spaces, their parking lots are also quite ingenious. Basically, you can park under someone else's car. This is a bit hard to describe because you'd have to see the pictures. Anyway, the ground parking spot can lift up, like an elevator of sorts, to reveal a space underneath where another car can park. Then it goes back down and that car is now underground. When you want to get to that car again, you put a key into this thing, and the ground spot (and the car on it) lifts up again so you can access your car. It's certainly more effective/efficient than building a whole new second parking structure, so says my researcher.

Okay, that was quite a bit of info about toilets and parking lots. But it's pretty clear that Japan is more technologically adept and modern than the US, and they make really good use of very little space. Yes, it is impressive.

Yeah, I'll miss her. I hope she's happy and successful wherever she ends up. Oh yeah, she wants to order one of those Japanese toilets when she gets a house. Apparently, the cheapest one costs like $298 US dollars or something.

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