Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

May 8, 2005

Toilet Training at Harvard and MIT

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:52 am

Cambridge, Massachusetts is home to not one, but two of America’s most prestigious universities. But two recent articles show that some adults in that highly educated local seem to lack even the most basic educational attainment of the average three-year-old child.

Incidents & Accidents reports that many people using the public toilets at Harvard apparently know how to find them, but not, precisely, how to operate them. Or at least, they don’t operate them. Perhaps they are environmentalists trying to save water. Or perhaps they are lazy, rude, or ignorant. I leave it to you to guess the probability of each of those causes.

But, these folks are doing better than some people. Mass Backwards (what a title for a subject like this), citing a report in the Cambridge TAB, reports that some residents are using a childrens’ playground as a toilet. A nearby preschool uses the playground, and not surprisingly, the parents and teachers are not all that happy about this. But, in true Cambridge fashion, they are blaming not the people responsible, but “society”:

“We recognize that the homeless have to go somewhere, and we don’t want to build a wall around a public ground,” she [Gerlinde Hossain-Endl, the director of the nearby preschool] said. “As a society, we all create the situation for homeless people … but we also want our kids to have clean playgrounds.”

Gerlinde Hossain-Endl, be part of the solution, not part of the problem! Whatever you are doing to “create the situation for homeless people,” cut it out!

Suzuki and Hossain-Endl suggested installing public restrooms near the Common as one solution, though conversations in the city on that topic seem to be at a standstill.

Conversations on the topic are stopped? Maybe we should send some fiber pills and prune juice…

Food Assistance Seminar

Filed under: — Different River @ 10:01 am

I recently saw this notice of an upcoming seminar at a major university. For some reason it struck me as really funny, if unintentionally so.


Recipients of the 2005-06 USDA Food Assistance Research small grants program will present their research. There will be a light breakfast at 8:30 am with the presentations beginning at 9:00 am followed by a lunch at noon.

Seems like they are making sure to get food assistance during their food assistance workshop. ;-)

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