Newspapers, a bulwark of democracy, may be seriously imperiled, but there's a boom market in excrement.

From KillerStartups:

Nature calls when least expected, and it is always handy to have a resource like this one at hand. Generally speaking, this online service will let you know about restrooms in your close vicinity by displaying such information either on your web browser or your mobile device.

SitOrSquat does much more than telling you about available toilets, though. It actually offers a succinct review of each and every location that makes up the online database. This way, you will be able to figure out what to expect. No alarms and no surprises indeed.

This service has the added advantage of covering the whole world since it is based on Google Maps. Moreover, the toilets that make up the database are submitted by users, and in practice this means that territories far and wide are duly taken care of.

To sum it up, SitOrSquat is a web service that comes free of charge and that can be more than useful when any situation (such as an emergency when traveling down the highway with several children) arises.

Meanwhile, an interesting read for after digesting your holiday meal:

Ms. George’s book covers nearly every aspect — political, social, biological, moral — of how the world thinks about and copes with human excreta. Much of what she finds, especially in developing countries, appalls her. “Four in 10 people,” she writes, “have no access to any latrine, toilet, bucket, or box. Nothing. Instead, they defecate by train tracks and in forests. They do it in plastic bags and fling them through the air in narrow slum alleyways.” She charts the human toll: “Children suffer most. Diarrhea — nearly 90 percent of which is caused by fecally contaminated food or water — kills a child every 15 seconds.”

Ms. George is the kind of writer — tenacious and clever — who will put you in mind of both Jessica Mitford (in her exposé “The American Way of Death”) and Erin Brockovich. She is angry about what she discovers, and she offers the kind of memorable details that make her points stick.

Statistics about the horrors of fecal contamination are one thing. Ms. George provides quotations like this one, from a sanitation expert: “Cholera and typhoid kill so many kids a year” that it “amounts to two jumbo jets full of children crashing every four hours.”

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