Unusual and interesting toilets from all around the world.

Discovering the Roman Military Diet through Biochemistry

The Military Diet

They can't conclude exactly what the Roman troops ate, but they have the ingredients. The menu apparently included something similar to whole-grain poppy-seed bagels.

The biochemical analysis backs up a detailed study of the Roman military diet which was reported in Britannia in 1971. It had concluded that:

The basic diet in peacetime will have consisted of corn,* bacon, cheese and probably vegetables to eat and sour wine to drink. This fare was supplemented by beef, mutton, veal, and the meat of wild animals and birds, fish, shell-fish, chicken, eggs, olives, honey, fruit and nuts.

* Note that "corn" means cereal crops in general outside North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Most of the world uses "maize" to refer to the plant domesticated in Mesoamerica.

Next article:
The Mayans Had A Pressurized Water Supply
Other blog postings...

The Mayans Had A Pressurized Water Supply

The ancient Maya are seen for some reason as excellent builders but as no more than mediocre engineers, while the Romans are praised for their engineering skill. That's unfair. The Romans used a ridiculous numbering system. They could, with a lot of effort, do addition, so they could keep track of some logistical details. But the sort of mathematics you need to do true engineering design and analysis is far beyond the Roman numeral system. During the Classic Maya period, roughly 250-600 CE, the

Read more...

toilet picture

Need Soil? Start With Ash and Sewage

A group of scientists in the U.K. have studied anthropogenic soil formation in Orkney, a set of islands off the north coast of Scotland. What is "anthropogenic soil"? Just like it says, it's man-made soil. Man-made? During the Neolithic or the New Stone Age? Yes! It wasn't intentionally manufactured, you see. This soil is the result of collecting ash and human waste in a relatively barren area. It can be used to locate areas of human settlement, possibly deriving some information about the dates

Read more...

toilet picture

The Deadly Cocoliztli

Spanish forces overthrew the Aztec Empire in today's Mexico, killing their king and thousands more in the initial massacre. But the majority of Aztec deaths came from disease, which scientists now believe was worsened by the disruption of the Aztec's sophisticated sewage system. The Aztec people had a sophisticated culture in central Mexico in the 1300s to the 1500s. Their three principal city-states formed an alliance that controlled what is often referred to as an empire. Their cities were filled with amazing architecture and

Read more...

toilet picture

Beware the Russian Dung Gun

A Russian designer has come up with a system to fire human waste out of the main gun of Russian battle tanks and other armored vehicles. The patent description starts with an explanation of how such a system is needed in situations where the vehicle is sealed against NBC or Nuclear – Biological – Chemical threats. But it soon comes around to the real intent. It would be so gratifying, so useful for crew morale, to know that your feces are being fired in explosive shells

Read more...

toilet picture

Flush With Cash, a Swiss Mystery

Why would someone flush €100,000 down the toilet? It sounds crazy, but that's exactly what happened during the summer of 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. A branch of the UBS Group AG bank on the Rue de la Corraterie in central Geneva had a plumbing problem. A toilet near the bank vault containing hundreds of safe deposit boxes was stopped up. Possibly multiple toilets, authorities aren't releasing all the details. The plumbers found that the waste pipe was clogged with €500 notes, many of which

Read more...

toilet picture

Ants Build Tiny Toilets

A group of biologists have discovered that some ants set aside areas for toilets within their colony. The researchers at Universität Regensburg in Bavaria studied Lasius niger ants, the common black garden ant found across Europe and parts of the Americas and Asia. They form colonies typically containing 4,000 to 7,000 workers. Disease is a significant challenge for social animals with large colonies in confined spaces, as they are especially vulnerable to contagion. Refuse and fecal matter can be threats. Many social insects have

Read more...

toilet picture

You Can Flush But You Can't Hide

Researchers have discovered that what you flush down the toilet can reveal your deepest secrets. Law enforcement agencies in China are already analyzing what you flush to discover if you might be abusing prescription and illegal drugs. Scientists call this "wastewater-based epidemiology". By mid 2000s, studies were looking for metabolites, traces of drugs broken down in the body and excreted through urine. By the mid 2010s, this research was mainstream. So far, outside China, this has been limited to community-wide studies. What drugs are

Read more...

toilet picture