News on Toast: New lady loo is a hot flush

A new female urinal has women flushed with excitement, a Sydney school teaches boys how to iron and Apple detractor Mike Daisey exposed as a liar: The morning’s hot topics in bite-sized pieces just right for dunking.

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Finally, women can stand up to pee! Er, yay?

This could be a thing of the past if the new Pollee urinal takes off.

Since the dawn of humanity, women have been jealous of man’s ability to pee standing up. Nowhere is this more evident than at a music festival, where women are stuck queuing for hours to squat in a dirty, smelly plastic box while men casually saunter up to the nearest tree and empty their bladders while simultaneously holding a beer and not missing a beat of the act on the main stage. Unfair.

Well hold on to your toilet rolls ladies, because that’s about to change – check out the Pollee, a new female urinal that allows women to pee like blokes.

The Danish-designed urinal, pictured above, is a star-shaped toilet system (the receptacles stick out a bit like wheel spokes) that can accommodate four women at a time. You straddle a spoke, pee and go. You can see more photos here.

Given that you still have to squat a bit to use the Pollee it probably won’t actually cut down toilet waiting times but it does have the advantage of being compact and easy to set up. That means more toilets at festivals and more peeing opportunities for all!

>> Tell us: would you use a female urinal, or would you still prefer to queue for a cubicle?

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Reading, writing and ironing – the new “three Rs” for boys?

Teenagers are being taught to iron.

High school lads practice their ironing skills. Picture: Toby Zerna

Quadratic equations, the periodic table and Shakespeare’s use of metaphor in Hamlet are all well and good topics to understand but, as anyone over the age of 16 knows, they’re rather secondary to the requirements of every day life.

So it’s good to hear this morning’s news that one Sydney high school has started to teach its teenage students how to iron, sew, cook and make the bed.

Boys’ school St Augustine’s College is now putting its Year 9s through a new “grooming and etiquette” class in which they’ll be taught a number of essential domestic duties and life lessons like telephone manner and who pays on a first date. (Apparently modern couples “split the bill”. Pfft. Everyone knows whoever did the inviting does the paying, surely?)

Anyway, given that most teenage boys have no idea what an iron is, let alone how to sew (um, does anyone?) I think this is a great idea – but why stop at boys? There’s plenty of teenage girls out there who can’t even boil an egg. The sooner we teach teenagers how to do all this stuff, the sooner we can all kick back on chaise longues and have them become our slaves – you know, the way it’s supposed to be.

>> Do you think domestic skills should be taught in schools? Should it be part of the official national curriculum?

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Apple critic Mike Daisey’s chain of lies exposed

Mike Daisey

Mike Daisey in a scene from his stage show about Apple.

One of the most groundbreaking and talked-about stories so far this year has been American writer Mike Daisey’s account of Apple’s Foxconn factories in China.

Daisey, a self-described “worshipper in the cult of Mac” produced a stage show called The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs in which he detailed the horrors of what he saw in the factories, including child workers and workers injured by toxic chemicals. The show was a huge hit, and Daisey’s story was recounted on US National Public Radio’s extremely popular This American Life show and podcast. JustB’s own Pip Lincolne wrote a post about her reactions to the podcast.

But last week it emerged that much of Daisey’s story had been fabricated for theatrical purposes. He admits he never actually met any Apple workers posioned by hexane, never visited any staff dormitories and there are serious doubts about whether he saw or met any underage workers. One of the most poignant moments in Daisey’s monologue, where he shows an iPad to an injured elderly worker for the first time, is total fiction according to the interpreter who accompanied him.

NPR has retracted the original story and audio from its website and dedicated an entire show to addressing Daisey’s lies. I highly recommend anyone who was touched by the original broadcast to listen to it, or read the transcript, to sort the facts from the fiction.

Much of Daisey’s account of Apple’s Chinese factories IS true, and has been corroborated by investigative pieces in the New York Times and elsewhere. But it appears he “fudged” some facts to make the story even more dramatically compelling and to secure more attention on the perceived injustices of Apple’s Chinese work practices. Theatre, yes. Journalism? No.

>> Do you think it matters that Daisey lied about some parts of his story, if other parts are true? Do you think the ends justify the means? 

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And there’s your News on Toast for the morning – only one more day to get through and then it’s Friday! And you know what Rebecca Black says about Friday, right? Now that you’ve got that song stuck in your head, why not leave me a comment?

  • Beth Cregan

    Using the female urinal with your girlfriends at a festival ( after a wine or two) – sort of funny. Finding yourself stradling the urinal and peeing with three strangers – sort of awkward. Made even worse if it happened to be the day you wore your emergency undies!! I think I would wait for a cubicle.

    • Petra @ JustB

      I think I feel the same way, but having waited for literally hours in toilet queues before I think if the Pollee was nearby I’d make a beeline for it…!

  • nomesy81

    yeah, i still think ‘straddling’ something is going to get messy, there are bigger girls than others, and this means bigger butts,how does it work if your wearing jeans?  and then how do you use it without anyone seeing your vee jay jay ?? sorry, not my cup of tea, i like my little cubicle and toilet paper, i will not be using a female urinal anytime soon.

    • Petra @ JustB

      Without wanting to get too graphic here, nomesy81: have you ever peed in the wilderness before? The principle is the same here, so jeans aren’t a problem – you just pull them down and squat…!

      • nomesy81

         lmao, yes, and i always fall over…. without getting too graphical, i usually end up with my butt in the dirt… : last time i was so desperate i just had to go, and as i tried, i fell yet again and i cut my knee up bad, try explaining to your mother on xmas morning the reason your all cut up and dirty was cos you desperately had to pee, with no toilets in sight, i can’t squat due to an old knee injury which prevents me from holding my weight at certain angles, just does not work for me at all .. to squat is to play in the dirt..

  • Thea

    No. The end does not justify the means. A serious problem needs serious reactions. Making stuff up only dilutes and degrades the message if lies are insinuated at any point. Any people injured in an Apple factory in China are now victims twice over.

  • K.V

    I probably have missed the point and i guess at the end of the day women’s bodies are designed differently but if you’ve still got to pull your pants down then why bother just use a toilet! Men still have “a handy thing to take on picnics” as my MIL says!

  • Dr Ruth

    Since Woodstock, women have known that long skirts and no knickers are the ideal dress for peeing in the open. Sit down on a patch of grass, spread your skirts and let it all sink into Mother Earth. Or do it standing while gazing thoughtfully into space, then move on.

  • Dr Ruth

    YES, I do think it matters that Daisey “embroidered” his story, the same way it matters that James Frey changed details in A Million Little Pieces to make it a “better” story. Every case like these chips away at credibility and the implicit trust readers ought to have that journalists, reporters and non-fiction writers are delivering the truth. I heard Daisey’s story first on This American Life, so I’ll be interested in hearing the follow-up. But I am so disappointed… 

  • Reannonhope

    No to standing to pee for me.

    Yes the lies matter. It distracts from the truth & makes it seem like the real truth wasn’t enough to get people’s attention.

    Teaching boys to iron- why not! But will girls schools teach them to change a tyre or oil in their car????