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Home News President Trump Is Wrong — Toilets Are Good Now. Here’s Why.

President Trump Is Wrong — Toilets Are Good Now. Here’s Why.

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President Trump Is Wrong — Toilets Are Good Now. Here’s Why.

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Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

I’m sure what you were waiting for this Friday afternoon was an implicit announcement from the president that he takes enormous shits.

“People are flushing toilets ten times, 15 times, as opposed to once,” the president said in front of cameras at the White House, at a roundtable about small business and regulation.

President Trump’s attitudes and fixations often seem stuck in the 1980s, so perhaps it’s a step forward that he issued this very 1990s gripe. What the president said is not true anymore. But ’90s kids know it used to be true — okay, not literally true that you had to flush ten times, but true enough in the sense that the first generation of low-flush toilets, introduced when the regulation capping toilet flushes at 1.6 gallons per flush came into effect in 1994, worked poorly and often required multiple flushes.

“I live in a home with three new toilets, and I estimate that I spend 23 percent of my waking hours flushing them,” Dave Barry wrote in 1997 humor column. Barry, who lacks the president’s penchant for hyperbole, noted his then-new toilets often needed to be flushed “two or three times.” Three flushes of a new-style toilet indeed uses more water than a single flush of an old toilet.

Historically, toilets have relied on gravity: Gravity pulls water from the tank, into the bowl, out through the trapway (or “snake”) and into the sewer pipes. As the water flows out, it pulls waste along with it. But as buyers of first-generation low-flush toilets learned the hard way, a smaller amount of water may not generate a powerful enough flush to remove all waste, especially if you have produced a lot of waste.

But that was then, and in the intervening two decades, there have been major advances in toilet technology. Now, as far as I can tell, toilets are just as good at clearing the bowl with 1.6 gallons of water as they used to be with 3.5 gallons of water. Modern toilets address the problem that less water means less power by finding ways other than volume to increase flush power, or by reducing the amount of force needed to clear the bowl.

Jenny Nash has produced a useful rundown of the specifics of toilet innovation for HGTV. She notes toilet manufacturers widened the valve that dispenses water from the tank to the bowl (so it pours faster) and widened the trapway pipe that takes water and waste out of the toilet bowl (so it flows more easily.) They also started glazing the inside of the trapway so waste faces less friction. And many new toilets come with “pressure-assisted flush,” meaning they use compressed air to push water out of the tank faster than gravity alone could pull it. (This is why toilets make a “whoosh” noise now.)

Far from being an example of regulation run amok, the history of low-flush toilets is a demonstration of how private enterprises successfully innovate to follow new rules while preserving the customer experience. It’s a story about regulation working well and about markets working well. We get to flush all our shit out of the toilet on the first try, and we save on our water bills. America is already great.

President Trump Is Wrong — Toilets Are Good Now

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Will Trump trade paid parental leave for his Space Force?

Congressional lawmakers and the White House are on the verge of reaching a sweeping agreement that would extend 12 weeks of paid parental leave to federal workers in exchange for making “Space Force” the sixth branch of the U.S. military, according to four people with knowledge of the tentative deal.

The deal is part of a defense authorization bill that is slated to pass this month. If consummated, the agreement could mark one of the biggest deals President Trump has cut with Congress. It would secure a massive expansion of benefits for federal workers, something Democrats have long sought, in exchange for a realignment of the U.S. military that Trump has sought to secure as part of his legacy.

Multiple people close to the negotiations stressed any final package must still be approved, and Trump has been known to change his mind even when negotiations reach a final stage. The president could also be more eager to cement the deal than fiscal-hawk conservative Republicans in Congress, who might complain about the cost.

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He cited instances in which Russian troll farms planted incendiary comments about Star Wars into online forums, simply to rile people up. It “helps spread the perception that America is divided and in chaos,” he wrote.

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In a trade conducted in Zurich, Switzerland, Iranian officials handed over Chinese-American graduate student Xiyue Wang, detained in Tehran since 2016, for scientist Massoud Soleimani, who had faced a federal trial in Georgia.

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Trump expresses frustration about water efficiency, says sinks don’t have enough pressure and people have to flush toilets multiple times. He says he has directed the EPA to look at opening up water standards. It’s called rain, he says, referring to states with lots of water. pic.twitter.com/pwvzqULeGB

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The shooter was also killed, Sheriff David Morgan told reporters in a news conference, after two deputies engaged the shooter in a classroom building on the base.

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