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November 09, 2008

Fact for the Day

Michael Blowhward writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Number of cellphones dropped in toilets every year in the U.S.: 7 million.

Source: The History Channel's great documentary series Modern Marvels. Two of my favorite Modern Marvels episodes are "Bathroom Tech" and "Bathroom Tech 2." What an earthy way to do a little learning; what a fun prism through which to examine a little history.

Small hunch: Kids would develop a lot more interest in history than many of them do if topics like bathroom habits and customs were included in the information they're given.



posted by Michael at November 9, 2008


Water immersion is often fatal to cell phones. As I understand it, they'll sometimes survive if retrieved immediately and allowed to dry completely before being used, but at best it's 50-50. Water-resistant models are available, but are scarce and expensive.

Another complication: no doubt many of the 7 million cell phones dropped in toilets are contaminated with more than just water, if you catch my drift.

Posted by: Peter on November 10, 2008 1:39 PM

Yes, Modern Marvels is a good show. Maybe the History Channel has improved since we all called it "The War Channel" or "The Hitler Channel."

Posted by: Lester Hunt on November 10, 2008 2:53 PM

In the noble interest of preserving the integrity of this blog, I hereby confess that I myself once plopped a cellphone into the pot.

As far as I can tell, it deserved it.

Posted by: Donald Pittenger on November 11, 2008 12:10 PM

My son's iPod went through the wash, and, amazing, it worked perfectly after drying out for a week.

Posted by: intellectual pariah on November 11, 2008 3:24 PM

History Channel can make ANYTHING compelling viewing.

Posted by: T. AKA Ricky Raw on November 11, 2008 4:40 PM

Lester: Yes, Modern Marvels is a good show. Maybe the History Channel has improved since we all called it "The War Channel" or "The Hitler Channel."

Or "Biblical Disasters of the Luftwaffe", as my husband used to call it. I generally hope for a Modern Marvels episode at gym-time, but I don't watch enough TV to know if History Channel has improved significantly. (I must admit I found their "Dogfights" show oddly mesmerizing while working out.) I have a vague memory that at one time A&E, TLC, and the Discovery Channel were occasionally interesting and non-moronic, but that seems not to be the case anymore.

Never dropped a phone in the toilet, though I did lose some airline tickets that way, long ago. Not my tickets, either.

Posted by: Moira Breen on November 11, 2008 6:19 PM

History Channel has improved greatly since the Hitler years. I love Cities of the Underground.

As for making history more compelling to kids (and adults), the best effort I've seen was the Connections series. They did just as you suggest, Michael, focusing on everyday items and extrapolating from there. First saw it in high school Western Civ class, I think. Really fascinating stuff. Anyone else seen that series?

Posted by: JV on November 11, 2008 6:41 PM

A&E used to be a Hitler channel itself. That, and comedy shows from New York. Then Biography came along, got some good ratings and sent that network into daytime trash mode. City Confidential too, though that was good trash because of Paul Winfield's all-time best ever narrator Voice of Doom...

Little did the hopelessly innocent Patrick know what terrible fate lay in store for him at the hands of the woman he so adored...while he blinked his "puppy dog eyes" and smiled and simpered and made bad jokes all over the Internet...Breen had other plans for him...

It's amazing how those networks, which were collectively supposed to remove the need for PBS, seemed to have devolved into some pretty low grade, if sometimes entertaining dreck.

I loved Dogfights. Made me wish I was drinking and using drugs again though. Those special effects...mind-blowing.

Posted by: PatrickH on November 11, 2008 6:49 PM

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