Friday, February 10, 2017

What's the Best Way to Use A Public Toilet?

Here's some interesting points on the best way to use a public toilet. You'll find this interesting and insightful.

Toilet Usage

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Exhale. Detect. Prevent.

Yesterday I posted an article dealing with the Microsoft Cloud and the ability to detect a potential outbreak of disease before it happens.

Today, there is an article dealing with a device much like a breathalyzer that has been invented that allows the user to simply exhale into it and detection of the flu or other diseases like Ebola could easily be detected.  This would be a great boon to preventing or limiting sickness.  Here's the link to this intriguing article from the University of Texas.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Microsoft, Mosquitoes and Mammals

When you think of Microsoft you think computer software. But how about Microsoft and the possible prevention of disease? Really?

Yes!  Below is an article by Microsoft on how they are using mosquitoes and the Microsoft Cloud to study and possibly limit or eliminate disease outbreaks.  Fascinating stuff!

Many disease outbreaks start from viruses found in animals – but viruses in animals are very difficult to study. A Microsoft research project called Project Premonition aims to monitor these viruses using mosquitoes as natural field biologists that collect blood samples from animals.

It works like this: When mosquitoes bite animals, they obtain a small amount of blood containing genetic information about the animals that were bitten and viruses present. That information could be used to detect pathogens before they cause outbreaks.

Microsoft and its partners aim to utilize these insects’ work to identify where diseases come from and how they spread – and ultimately prevent outbreaks of new viruses – by using smart traps, drones and gene sequencing to capture mosquitoes and study the DNA they’ve collected.

To efficiently find and capture mosquitoes, the Project Premonition team has designed smart mosquito traps that use machine learning to selectively capture important species based on distinguishing wing-beat patterns. The traps also record environmental factors such as light, temperature and humidity – data that could be important in understanding how viruses are spreading. The team is applying drone technology to find mosquito hot spots and guide the placement of traps.
The system provides “a plethora of data we never had before about the behavior of the insects,” said Ethan Jackson, the Microsoft researcher who is leading Project Premonition.

The captured mosquitoes are turned into data by gene sequencing, producing more than 100 million pieces of small DNA sequences. These sequences are compared against the genomes of hundreds of thousands of organisms, from viruses and bacteria to reptiles and mammals.

This requires trillions of genetic comparisons, which can now be completed in just 12 hours using the computing power of the Microsoft Cloud. In the past, that data analysis took 30 days. The time savings of the Project Premonition system could help researchers detect new infectious diseases before they spread, enabling healthcare workers to get ahead of the curve in preparing responses.
The project benefits from recent developments in gene sequencing and computational biology that allow researchers to quickly search through samples for possible viruses, including specific diseases such as Zika, as well as ones that haven’t been discovered yet. It also helps researchers figure out which animals may be the sources and carriers of diseases.

“If we can detect these new viruses before they spread,” Jackson said, “we may someday prevent outbreaks before they begin.”

Read more at https://blogs.microsoft.com/transform/video/technology-turns-mosquitoes-into-allies-instead-of-enemies-in-the-fight-against-deadly-viruses/#euKlimPSwC3B53zY.99

JOTY 2017

Here we go again!  This is the fourth year in a row that Cintas Corporation has sponsored the Janitor of the Year contest.  Essay's nominating this year's janitors/custodians needs to be submitted by March 1.

Click here to read details and nominate your favorite janitor.  

Friday, January 27, 2017

How Bad Do You Have to Go?

It's bad enough using an outhouse or pit toilet knowing there is a huge hole underneath your tush. But how about sitting over an old elevator shaft 15 stories deep?  And it has a glass floor.  And it's lit. Now would you go?

Check out this article from just such a toilet in Mexico and scroll through the pictures that accompany the article.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

China's Toilet Chiefs

According to the Shanghai Daily website, China is in the middle of a toilet revolution.  While increasing the number of toilets in the country, they are also going to be inspecting toilets for cleanliness and to attract more tourists.  This short article gives the interesting details of this endeavor.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Hand Towels, Cell Phones and Kitchen Sponges - Oh My!

So what do you consider to be dirty?  Toilet seats? Counter tops?  The floor?

You might be surprised at what items around you are really found to be the dirtiest of all.  Cell phones contaminated with fecal matter, toothbrush holders housing the bacteria Coliform and more top the list.

Time magazine published an article dealing with the top five dirtiest items we touch everyday.  Here's the article for your perusal.  Makes you think twice!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

One Pound!

Our poll question asked "how much dirt can be hidden in one square foot of carpeting."  The answer, surprisingly, is one pound!  That's right.  One full pound.

Carpets are designed to hide soil.  Thus, the admonition from carpet manufacturers to vacuum your carpet regularly is no joke.  Carpets should be vacuumed daily, if not more to keep the soil from building up and damaging the fibers and backing.

Although most of us don't vacuum that regularly, it is impressive that carpets are designed to hide that amount of soil and keep our homes and businesses still looking relatively clean.

Note:  Here's a link to a You Tube video showing that a pound of soil can indeed be hidden in a square foot of carpet and the reasons for regular vacuuming.

Hidden Soil

Regular Vacuuming

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Anti-bacterial Soap Ban Comes Early for Minnesota Residents

In past posts, I shared information dealing with the concerns over anti-bacterial soaps and the upcoming ban by the FDA on the ingredient triclosan.  This article highlights how Minnesota has put a ban on these anti-bacterial soaps nine months before the FDA requires it.  You'll find it interesting.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Awesome Help Every Day!

Every day when lunches end, we get an influx of amazing people that help us clean up the lunchroom.  They empty recycling, compost and garbage.  They stack and move chairs.  They travel around the school emptying other recycle and garbage containers and break down boxes behind the kitchen.  They sometimes help with event setups and other functions that may occur. These people are our special needs students from the Life Skills class.  

The thing about these students is that they just don't help us with our work, they love to help us with our work!  Sometimes they practically run into the lunchroom to get their jobs done while they jabber about something they enjoy or want to share.  They are respectful, helpful and polite and want to do their best.  The abilities we tap from these students is wonderful and their help can't be praised enough.

We thank the teachers and paraeducators who work tirelessly with these students and who help supervise them when they work with us, although sometimes they are so independent that they don't need the supervision.  We thank the students and their parents as well.  It's a great opportunity for them to learn job-related skills for the real world and at the same time to feel important and able to be valued by others.  We look forward to working with them every year!  Thanks to all of you whoever you are!

Note:  Here's a great article that appeared in the Costco Connection dealing with jobs for special needs people and how businesses are recognizing their potential and value.  

Monday, December 12, 2016

Snake in the Drain

Here's a story that will make you squirm.  A cobra in the toilet and pipe system of an apartment in South Africa.  You might want to look twice before you sit down the next time you have to go!

Click to Squirm