Are Poop Puns the New Ice Buckets?

Celebrating the Grand Poobah of Poop on World Toilet Day

Photo by Lauren Ishak

The distinct smell of human excrement was in the internet air today in honor of U.N. World Toilet Day. Irony of ironies, VICE waxed earnest about the event with an op-ed entitled “Today Is UN World Toilet Day — and It’s No Laughing Matter.” Elsewhere, the online conversation seemed to indicate otherwise: The global sanitation crisis seemed very much a laughing matter.

Just a few of today’s headlines that honored the global bowel movement:

The lighthearted tone of the conversation is largely thanks to “Mr. Toilet,” 57-year-old Jack Sim who founded the World Toilet Organization (WTO) in 2001 to draw attention to the 2.5 billion people who go without proper sanitation access. Sim’s enthusiastic urgings helped prompt the United Nations General Assembly to devote a day on the calendar to the global problem last November. But Sim’s genius isn’t in policy-making as much as it is in narrative-making. In talking about toilets, he embraced the embarrassment many of us have about discussing the issue by blending comic moments with harsh facts. (In an interview published today by NPR, he says he’d like to someday work with Adam Sandler.)

The narrative shift stripped away the taboo around “dirty” disposal devices much in the way Lenny Bruce stripped away the taboo surrounding dirty words nearly a half a century ago. Obviously, the sanitation crisis is a fucking mess, but talking about that fucking mess has become a sheer delight. The world is unabashedly talking about sanitation and having fun doing so.

via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

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For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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via / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

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Photo by HAL9001 on Unsplash

The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

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