Archive for October, 2012

It’s a trap! Why American bathrooms don’t smell awful

October 24th, 2012

Why European bathrooms stink

Above: a sink with no trap


Do you ever get up in the morning, head to the bathroom, take a nice deep breath and proclaim, “Gee, I’m sure glad my bathroom doesn’t smell like shit!”

Of course not. Because as an American, you live in a country where bathrooms only smell terrible after someone has recently defecated.

What you may not realize is that most of the world isn’t so lucky. In fact, even modern European countries have bathrooms that smell absolutely terrible at all times. The smell often noticeably makes its way to the rest of the building, and I say this as someone who’s hard of smelling.

So why is America different? IT’S A TRAP!

Ever since British plumbing guru Thomas Crapper invented the U-shaped “trap,” pretty much every sink drain in the US has used his design. Go look under a sink and see for yourself.

The purpose of this invention is to contain a small amount of water in the U section that air cannot escape through. This prevents foul gas from the sewers from rising into your house and making your bathroom stink.

For some reason in much of Europe, Mexico, etc. the trap never gained much traction. Instead, people prefer to save a couple bucks on plumbing (see above photo) and pretend that the disgusting sewer smell is normal.

There’s plenty of things I’ll never understand about the rest of the world. This is #1 on that list.

12.5 ounce Coke

October 18th, 2012

12.5 oz?

Ever had a 12 oz can of Coca-Cola and thought, “Gee, that was refreshing, but I could have used an extra 1/2 oz”?

If you said yes, they’ve got the product for you: a 12.5 oz bottle of Coke.

The same gas station with this sign also advertised a 16 oz bottle of Pepsi. Presumably that’s for people who need an extra four ounces, but don’t want to spring a standard 20 oz bottle.

DIY Mason jar soap dispenser

October 12th, 2012

Mason jar soap dispenser

Here’s a DIY project that’s actually useful: a soap dispenser built into a Mason jar. It’s stupidly easy, so if you have no talent but want to jumpstart your Etsy career, this is for you.


1. Mason jar, or whatever.
Mason jar or you could use a cool looking peanut butter jar, etc. I’m told Mason jars are hip, it’s what the cool kids are using these days. The jar is your choice, but it does need to have a metal lid.

2. Kitchen sink soap dispenser.
You ever see these? Some kitchen sinks have a special hole and you can put a soap dispenser in there. Don’t buy one of the cheap-o ones, those break after a month or two (trust me on this.) Delta makes a sturdy one you can get for ~$35.


A drill, etc.
Something that makes holes in metal.

Or a knife, you need to cut plastic.


As you probably guessed, the only step is to punch a hole in the top of the jar’s lid and screw in the soap dispenser in to that hole.

You can drill one big hole if you have the proper sized drill bit, or you could just drill a bunch of small holes to perforate the lid and safely remove the middle part out with a pair of pliers. The hole doesn’t need to be perfect; the soap dispenser is much wider than the part that fits through the hole.

You’ll likely need to cut the soap dispenser’s straw/hose so that it fits in the jar.

Okay, you’re done! add soap and wash your filthy hands.