Terrorist-proof Toilets in Moscow

<a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Toilet_blue.svg">Paul Robinson</a>/Wikimedia Commons

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Porta-potties seem to be inviting security threats this month. From toilet tipping in the Vancouver hockey riots to plastic thrones set ablaze with diesel fuel in Stedman, North Carolina, it’s beginning to sound impossible to poop in peace. But soon, there’s one security breach Moscow residents might not fear while unburdening themselves in city-owned toilets: terrorists.

Moscow city officials are considering the installation of self-maintaining, solar-powered, and terrorist-proof toilet cabins, as reported by the Moscow Times. This Swiss Army knife of a potty is made of a fibrous concrete that can withstand a bomb blast. Demonstrated as part of Moscow’s Clean City expo in June, “its appearance can be modeled to fit the architectural surroundings, even in the old part of the city,” the Times reported chirpily. My takeaway: If I’m ever in Moscow and feel the ground trembling, I’ll dive into the nearest loo.

To put this wacky security measure in context, here’s a roundup of offbeat terrorism busters:

  • In 2004, Walt Disney World erected hydraulic-powered, steel anti-terrorist barricades similar to those used in the White House and US Embassies, the Orlando Sentinel reported. The “Happiest Place on Earth” is now equipped with a reminder of morbidity so powerful it can stop a “20,000-pound truck bomb traveling 70 mph.”
  • Scott/WikimediaScott/Wikimedia

     

  • Indiana bought a $59,000 hovercraft in 2007. The state’s counter-terrorism funds paid for the vehicle, and officials struggled to explain how the hovercraft’s water, ice, and snow rescues could combat terrorists. Stoaberg/WikimediaStoaberg/Wikimedia
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  • When an Asian elephant named Dondi died at Southwick Zoo outside Boston, Mass., some of Florida’s anti-terrorist watchdogs were on heightened alert, as Mother Jones reported in May. The watchdogs, Central Florida Intelligence Exchange, filed a report: “The group In Defense of Animals (IDA)  has filed a complaint with the USDA to urge an investigation into the death.” Somehow, filing a complaint with the USDA is now akin to planting the seeds of terrorism. 
  • Amerune/WikimediaAmerune/Wikimedia

     

  • US Patent 6591786 is a dog ear implant that would allow a human to direct the canine remotely—and get Fido to fetch terrorists. Proposed in early 2002, the patent includes hypothetical scenarios that would have the dog record stealth videos. The pup could also plant “Flash bags,” which are “munitions devices that create loud noises and bright lights, for the purpose of distraction.” Search through the patent’s diagrams for yourself below: 
 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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