The musings of Mr Monkeysized

The decline of civilisations by monkeysized
February 9, 2011, 10:35
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Enough about the Majesty of Flight for now, and so it’s time to move back to another pet topic – the Decline of Civilisations. I’ve written about visiting Ihla de Mocambique, and how it made me think of Britain after the Romans had left – people living in the ruins and half memories of a departed civilisation that had lasted for centuries.

Just down the coast from Ihla is Beira, a resort town that was a convenient holiday spot for Rhodesians. I’ve long been a fan of fading and crumbling beach resorts, but Beira takes this to a whole new level. And a film about the fate of the symbol of Beira’s heyday, the Grande Hotel, has just been made:

Spectacular. Nothing lasts.

Developing toilets by monkeysized
August 13, 2010, 10:43
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Toilets are an inconvenient reminder that we’re really just a bag of guts and liquids, built around a bony structure and clever nervous system, nourished by an in-one-end-out-the-other system of pipes.

Food? Mmmm. The other stuff? Yuk.

Even the Queen and Lady Gaga go to the toilet. How very monkeysized.

Here in Posh London the whole business has been flushed away to little backrooms, scented and scrubbed out of sight and out of mind. In the less rich parts of the world, however, the whole business is tackled in a much more head-on fashion. Last week in a Romanian village I was confronted by a double-seated shed-based crap module where the main hope was that the tactially-positioned spiders were not poisonous. In the real poor world the whole business is a health problem. Where does it go?At what harm to the people and the environment?

Here’s one way in which monkeysized solutions are being found to monkeysized problems. Check out

In short, poor people poo into a bag and then the bag, once buried, disintegrates. It’s a response to the problems created by plastic-bag based toilet solutions.

In turn, I came across peepoople through Trendwatching’s look at responses to a new range of third-world consumers with small amounts of cash and a desire to improve key aspects of their lives. This is something that many established firms in the richer world are struggling to do – the new consumers with the desire to buy new cars are more your Dacia/Tata Nano customers than your Audi A4 customers. Microfinance and the internet have their own part to play, too, of course.

But that’s enough for now. Let’s be thankful that somebody out there in the world has sat down, pondered, and come up with something that could help poor people deal with the problems associated with having a really good crap.