Sunday, August 29, 2010

Another Shitty Article From Slate

Call me juvenile, but any Slate article that contains the phrases "anal sphincter," "anorectal angle," and "streamlines defecation," no matter how scientifically valid the usage, gives me the giggles. I will say this: Slate is willing to write an article on just about anything. Here are some choice excerpts from "Don't Just Sit There! - How bathroom posture affects your health":
Other entrepreneurs peddle similar products, like the In-Lieu, the Lillipad, the Evaco toilet converter, and, for those who don't like explaining their squat platform to house guests, a $688 Japanese toilet that lets users switch among different squatting and sitting postures, from the "East Asian squat" to the "aft sit."

People can control their defecation, to some extent, by contracting or releasing the anal sphincter. But that muscle can't maintain continence on its own. The body also relies on a bend between the rectum—where feces builds up—and the anus—where feces comes out. When we're standing up, the extent of this bend, called the anorectal angle, is about 90 degrees, which puts upward pressure on the rectum and keeps feces inside. In a squatting posture, the bend straightens out, like a kink ringed out of a garden hose, and defecation becomes easier.

For a study published in the medical journal Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms, six subjects had their rectums filled with a contrast solution and then released the fluid from a squatting or a sitting position while being filmed with X-ray video. Image analysis showed that the anorectal angle increased from 100 degrees to 126 degrees as the subjects moved from a sit to a squat.

And for 28 years—from his junior year at Yale in 1970 to the moment when he completed the first Nature's Platform prototype in 1998—Jonathan Isbit "perched," as he put it, squatting on the rim of toilet seats. So I decided to try it—each morning for a week, following a bowl of corn flakes and a cup of coffee.
Thanks to my backpacking youth, I must confess that I have gone au naturel. One can develop an ease with this sort of method, although it is probably much easier to do so in the middle of the wilderness, where one has no other choice, than it is to do so in the toilet oasis we call civilization.

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