May 24, 2005

Marvel of the Day: The Nanotech Toilet

Filed under: Marvels — Tom @ 6:01 pm

From the appropriately named Extreme Nano:

…..another relatively new and little publicized toilet innovation is emerging as a winner here. Yes, it’s the nanotech toilet. It turns out that nanotechnology can address one of those “should do” but highly unpleasant tasks in life – cleaning the toilet. For some of us, that’s right up there with pulling weeds, flossing teeth and taking out the garbage. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a self-cleaning toilet?

Nano meets the toilet

Over the past four years Toto (the Japan-based world’s largest single-brand toilet manufacturer) has, in fact, been rolling out a self-cleaning feature across some of its toilet line. Called CeFiONtect (Ceramic Fine Ion Technology) in Asia and SaniGloss in the U.S., Toto’s ceramic glaze coats the inner bowl with a non-porous, super smooth surface at the nanometer scale. According to the company, stubborn waste is as small as a few microns. Their patents suggest that the “roughness” of a SaniGloss surface may be under 30 nanometers. By eliminating the microscopic nooks and crannies that conventional glazes have, there are no places for dirt, mold or bacteria to get a foothold. Toto achieves this smoothness by applying a secondary transparent glaze over the conventional colored glaze whose pigments and opacifiers create surface unevenness. In addition, anti-bacterial metals can be added to this layer.

Conventional glazes contain ions that can repel particles. But those ions are not uniformly spread across the surface – leaving about 50% of the surface susceptible to waste and bacteria adhesion. Toto’s technology, on the other hand, creates a high density, uniform charged ion barrier across the entire surface of the bowl, creating good resistance to deposits. Should any matter actually deposit on the surface, the smoothness should enable a stream of water to flush it down the drain. No rubbing, no detergents. According to a Lenora Campos, PR Manager for Toto USA, “SaniGloss makes surfaces on which it is glazed virtually self-cleaning.”

Is this truly a self cleaning toilet?

Not totally. Campos cautions that, “These surfaces do require period maintenance as anything does, but that maintenance is periodic. For example, when a toilet bowl is glazed with SanaGloss, the water that rinses the bowl as the toilet flushes is all that’s needed to remove stains, residue, scaling, and lime buildup.” Adds Terry Love, a Bellevue, WA plumber who hosts a popular plumbing and remodeling web site, “Homeowners report that they still need to clean their toilet, but SanaGloss cuts the cleaning effort in half.” That alone makes consumers overjoyed with the performance.

If this ever catches on, the arguments over who does the housework will be much less contentious.

Spurious Spam of the Day

Filed under: Stock Schlock — Tom @ 12:36 pm

This first entry in the Stock Schlock category, which is intended to track the results of the investments touted in junk e-mails (so you don’t have to, and so you won’t be taken in by them), actually doesn’t relate to a specific stock at all.

That’s because of the imbeciles who sent me the following e-mail (shown in part below). Next time, guys, change your boiler-room form letter before hitting the Send key:

“A Premium Market Related Service”
Attn: Subscribers, Stockbrokers, Analysts & %INVESTOR %ALERT

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May 19, 2005–%COMPANY(Pink Sheets:%SYMBOL – News), a contact center consulting and software development firm, today announced that Empire Research Associates has completed its initial report on the company, in which it recommends %SYMBOL as a “Strong Speculative Buy”. The report is an invaluable research tool for both shareholders and strong potential %INVESTOR.

In his report, William Walling, Chairman and Founder of Empire Research Associates, stated, “We are not yet prepared to present specific quantitative forecasts in this report. But, we sense that a 5% market share level in five years would be plausible (and probably conservative), if Central Authority(TM) catches on commercially. This could provide %SYMBOL with annual revenues in the area of $25 million.

At this level, profits would be juicy because software companies have high fixed costs and low variable costs, so rising incremental revenues pour down to the bottom line. Thus, a 40% margin on sales (fully taxed) would imply $10 million of net income in 2010. On the present 17.6 million shares, earnings would exceed $0.50 per share. Though inevitable future financing would necessarily dilute this amount, it would still be mighty attractive for a %STOCK currently selling at $0.075.

Zheesh. The company IS named later in the e-mail. Don’t you DARE ask me for it.

Identity Theft and Data Compromises Across America (052405)

This may become an ongoing saga (I hope not) of ID theft stories and datakeeeping failures.

A few choice entries for today (some links require free registration):

  • (Courtesy of Wizbang)–How to steal a house without the owner knowing it.
  • Two banks lose control of info relating to over 100,000 accounts–and it was an inside job.
  • Speaking of inside jobs, how about the tax preparers who used their clients’ identities to buy homes?
  • Finally, Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) Theft has the potential to disrupt the used-car market, and leads to the Money Tip of the Day:

    It just takes one look at the 17 numbers and letters that make up your car’s Vehicle Identification number, or VIN. It’s kind of like the Social Security number for the car.

    “You just copy that VIN number down and then you go create a VIN. You make your own VIN plate,” says Woods.

    Auto theft cops call it cloning. Add a faked title and cloned VIN to a stolen vehicle and you’ve got a sale that might look good, but it isn’t.

    Sergeant Keith Kucifer has an eagle eye for the bad VIN’s. One truck caught his eye enough to look for other evidence.

    The victims are hit on both sides — the stolen number and the unsuspecting buyer of the cloned vehicle.

    “Just because I as the victim, may have purchased it “legitimately” and paid $15,000 for it doesn’t give me the right to keep stolen property,” says Kucifer.

    Police will seize the property and the money is already gone.

    I made a quick call to the local police here, and learned that there is nothing illegal in covering your VIN number with tape, or paper or whatever, as long as you can make it accessible when necessary, like when you’re pulled over for a traffic violation (not that any of readers of THIS blog would ever have to worry about that). I suggest you cover up your VIN; I just did. And, since your VIN is listed on your car’s inside driver door, you should ALWAYS lock your car when it’s not in your closed garage.