The Line for the Women's Bathroom Is Always Notoriously Long. It Doesn't Have to Be That Way

iStock.com/justhavealook
iStock.com/justhavealook

Like small pockets and unnecessarily expensive razors, long women's bathroom lines seem to be an annoying yet inevitable part of the female experience. But what if it didn't have to be that way? What if women could waltz into any restroom and find an open stall waiting for them? According to The Atlantic, the issue could be fixed once and for all by a seemingly simple measure: installing more toilets in women's bathrooms.

Historically, public restrooms have been designed with men in mind. Up until the Victorian era, bathrooms were male-only spaces because it was believed that men were the only ones who had any business being out in public. If women happened to be out and about and needed to pee, they had to crouch over a gutter or use a device called a urinette (kind of like a 19th-century Shewee).

With that said, the debate surrounding "potty parity" is fairly recent. After witnessing how long his wife and daughter had to wait in line for the bathroom at a Tchaikovsky concert in 1987, a state senator from California introduced legislation to provide women with more toilets. For the first time, the fact that women simply take longer on the toilet—partly because they have to enter a stall and sit down, but also because they have periods—was publicly addressed. The law passed, and it stipulated that new buildings have at least 50 percent more bathroom stalls for women than for men. Large cities like New York City and Chicago and at least 21 states passed similar laws in the years following.

So why are long women's bathroom lines still a problem? For one, the laws don't apply to bathrooms that existed prior to the legislation passing. There's also an extra cost associated with installing more toilets than plumbing codes require—something many developers aren't willing to take on. One way of circumventing the problem is by installing more gender-neutral toilets, but these tend to spark fierce debate in the public and political spheres.

Some have gotten creative. Bathrooms at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, have changeable signs that let men's bathrooms be converted into women's bathrooms depending on the sex ratio of the crowd on any given night. As The Atlantic points out, there are plenty of possible fixes to the problem, if only the developers and public opinion would allow them.

[h/t The Atlantic]

$1.6 Billion in $50 Bills in Australia Were Printed With a Typo

PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images
PAUL CROCK/AFP/Getty Images

Australia's $50 banknote is filled with details; there are so many of them that it's hard to spot the typo that slipped onto the face of the bill. But if you know where to look, you'll see the spelling error that the treasury failed to catch before printing it on millions of pieces of currency.

According to CNN, the $50 bill, worth about $34.90 in U.S money, debuted in October 2018. It features Edith Cowan, Australia's first female member of parliament, with her inaugural speech to the Western Australian Parliament typed out in microprint above her shoulder. The words are hard to read, but in the zoomed-in image below you can see the word that's supposed to read responsibility in the second line is mistakenly spelled responsibilty. The bill also features innovative security features, such as holographic design elements, but the typo snuck by unnoticed.

The misspelled word was printed on 400 million banknotes, 46 million of which are currently in circulation. Altogether, the misprinted currency in circulation totals A$2.3 billion, or US$1.6 billion.

Australia's treasury plans to keep the bills in circulation and correct the error when the next batch of $50 banknotes is printed sometime in the next few months. Other typos of this scale have resulted in major consequences: In 1962, a missing hyphen in some computer code caused a satellite to explode, costing NASA $80 million.

[h/t CNN]

3D ‘Zebra Crossing’ Crosswalk Is Making Pedestrians in North London Safer

iStock.com/olaser
iStock.com/olaser

Cities around the world are improving upon the classic crosswalk. In Ahmedabad, India and Medford, Massachusetts, drivers are now confronted with 3D crosswalks painted on the asphalt. As Londonist reports, North London—home to perhaps the most iconic zebra crossing of all time—is the latest place to experiment with the new design.

The innovative crosswalks use an optical illusion to make roads safer for pedestrians. Instead of showing conventional flat stripes, the blocks in these crossings are painted with additional, shaded shapes around them, giving them the appearance of 3D objects raised from the ground.

The change is meant to get drivers' attention and encourage them to slow down before they reach the pedestrian crossing. Installing 3D crosswalks is a cheap and simple improvement, and it can potentially save lives.

The new crosswalk outside Barrow Hill Junior School in North London's St. John's Wood neighborhood uses this same trick. It's located around the corner from the place where The Beatles's Abbey Road album cover was shot. That's one crosswalk that likely won't be redesigned anytime soon, but luckily the hordes of tourists taking pictures there makes it easy to spot.

The new crosswalk is the first of its kind in the UK. After a nine- to 12-month trial run, London will consider installing the safety feature throughout the borough of Westminster.

[h/t Londonist]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER