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Bowled Over by Toilet Technology

Super smart seats and community-conscious commodes aimed at huddled masses yearning to breathe free

1 min read
Bowled Over by Toilet Technology
Photo-Illustration: Eawag/EOOS

Photo: Toto
Toto’s Neorest 700H toilet is smart enough to sense your presence and automatically open the lid. The same sensors tell it to lower the lid and flush automatically when you step away. The unit comes with a remote control that lets the user manage features such as oscillating and pulsating bidet spray, seat temperature control, and a night-light. It’s also good for the environment. The toilet automatically mists the bowl with water electrolyzed so it contains a small concentration of sodium hypochlorite, the active ingredient in household bleach. This misting keeps the bowl cleaner and, along with vacuum suction, helps the toilet get rid of waste with less water.

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From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush

Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

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