Unsanitary conditions

Remember those Japanese monkeys who bathe in hot springs to escape the bitter cold of the northern winter? Apparently, birds do the same. Well, sort of.

I passed a sewage treatment plant on the train yesterday. It was one of the familiar cylindrical tanks with a rotating arm to stir the muck, with an unfamiliar addition: I was surprised to see a couple of dozen birds swimming in the steaming filth. I suppose that it keeps them warm on a cold day—and it was quite cold yesterday—but it can’t be very sanitary.

One must appreciate the dedication of graffiti artists, who risk life and limb to tag railway bridges, motorway signs, and occasionally trains themselves. However, I saw something new on the train: someone had scratched a three-letter abbreviation into the stainless steel of the train’s toilet bowl—the inside of the toilet bowl. That can’t have been pleasant, and I can’t begin to imagine the motivations behind it.