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It may be time to get over your irrational fear of using public washrooms.

As reported in The New York Times, a new study has concluded that public restrooms are no more hotbeds for germs than any other commonly-used public facility.

To reach that startling conclusion, a research team from the University of Chicago recently disinfected two men's and two women's washrooms and then reopened them for public usage.

The researchers painstakingly tracked the accumulation of bacteria and viruses on the washroom floors, soap dispensers and toilet seats in order to determine which germs were present and in what quantities.

Scientists then closed the washrooms to see what developed.

The study, which was published by the online medical journal Applied Environmental Microbiology (see it here), revealed that over time, fecal species did not thrive and survive in a public washroom.

After the washrooms were closed for a few hours, fecal species were found to represent a mere 15 per cent of germs present, which suggests they die off quickly in the arid washroom environment.

In fact, most of the microbes discovered by the researchers were either skin-associated – including the commonly-found Staphylococcus – or microbes associated with soil and plants, which were most likely tracked in by people.

"Whatever is on the surface of public restrooms comes from humans," said study author Sean M. Gibbons. "Most of the things on us and in us are not only benign, but necessary for our health. So these surfaces are occupied predominantly by our friends."

As for gender variations, the only difference was that the women's washrooms revealed traces of vaginal organisms on the toilet seats.

The washroom research comes after the release of a U.K. study suggesting that washroom hand dryers may actually spread more germs than paper towels.

But of course, it's probably worth pointing out that particular study was funded by a group  representing paper-tower manufacturers.


A slice of wedding cake from the 2011 nuptials of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has sold for $6,000 (U.S.) at a Beverly Hills auction. The buyer was Gee Chuang, CEO of the online retailer, who plans to give away the slice on the company's website next spring in commemoration of the royal couple's fourth wedding anniversary. The original eight-tiered wedding cake was created by renowned pastry chef Fiona Cairns and was adorned by flower petals and leaves. Ms. Chuang told reporters she has no plans to taste the cake.

Source: The Telegraph


Russell Crowe was left in the lurch by his so-called friends during a recent stopover in Newfoundland. Last weekend, the Oscar-winning actor was on his way back from Europe when he made a stop at the Gander airport. Shortly after his arrival, Crowe told his 1.6-million Twitter followers that he had informed Newfoundland acquaintances Allan Hawco and Alan Doyle that he would be in town, but neither showed up at the airport to greet him. Crowe's tweet: "Can't believe @alanthomasdoyle and @allanhawco didn't drive 4 hours to meet me in Gander. Guess I'm partying alone."

Source: Huffington Post


Saturday Night Live has poked fun at the original Star Wars cast in a new parody trailer. On last Saturday's new episode, host James Franco and a handful of SNL regulars pre-taped a sketch spinning off the recent release of the trailer for the upcoming feature Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Although the real trailer didn't include any glimpses of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher – who all reprise their Star Wars roles in the new film – the SNL version featured a cranky elder version of Han Solo (Taran Killiam) trying to order the early-bird special at the Mos Eisley Cantina and an out-of-shape Princess Leia (Bobby Moynihan) flustered by droid technology.

Source: Entertainment Weekly


Anyone looking to improve their outlook on life should consider getting a good night's sleep. A new study suggests that keeping regular sleep hours is effective in reducing negative thoughts and worries. Researchers at New York's Binghamton University recently asked 100 student volunteers to fill out multiple questionnaires and perform two computerized tasks in hopes of assessing their levels of repetitive negative thinking. Those participants who admitted to being "evening types" – with late bedtimes and short sleep durations – had more repetitive negative thoughts than those who kept a regular sleep schedule. "This could one day lead to a new avenue for treatment of individuals with internalizing disorders," said study co-author Meredith Coles.

Source: CTV News

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