Toilet paper was invented in 6th century AD in medieval China.
Before the invention of the perforated roll of paper we know and love, in the 1800s, "wealthy people used wool, lace or hemp for their ablutions, while less wealthy people used their hand when defecating into rivers, or cleaned themselves with various materials such as rags, wood shavings, leaves, grass, hay, stone, sand, moss, water, snow, maize husks, fruit skins, or seashells, and cob of the corn depending upon the country and weather conditions or social customs. In Ancient Rome, a sponge on a stick was commonly used, and, after usage, placed back in a bucket of saltwater."
In Japan in the 700s they used these long pieces of wood that looked like paint sticks.
Sand. That seems like it would just make it so that you had sand-covered shit lodged in your asscrack, and I don't know how much of an improvement that would be. Maybe if you used multiple handfuls of sand you could pretty much get it off.
1942: first two-ply toilet paper from St. Andrew's Paper Mill in England; toilet paper becomes softer and more pliable. For most of the rest of the twentieth century, both "hard" and "soft" paper was common. Hard was cheaper, and was shiny on one side. Sometimes it had messages like "GOVERNMENT PROPERTY", "IZAL MEDICATED" or "NOW WASH YOUR HANDS PLEASE" written on each sheet near the perforation.
December 19, 1973: comedian Johnny Carson causes a three week toilet paper shortage in the USA after a joke scares consumers into stockpiling supplies.
Toilet paper is sometimes made from recycled paper; however, large amounts of virgin tree pulp is still used.
Wiping our ass on the environment!
From the wikipedia article on "anal cleansing":
Some health faucets are metal sets attached to the bowl of the water closet, with the opening strategically pointed at the target anus.
Haha. As opposed to one of the other anuses that you weren't aiming at.
Toilets in Japan. I want to use one of the high-tech ones but I am also scared of something going wrong.
In Japanese culture, there is a tendency to separate areas into clean and unclean, and the contact between these areas is minimized. For example, the inside of the house is considered a clean area, whereas the outside of the house is considered unclean. To keep the two areas separated, shoes are taken off before entering the house so that the unclean shoes do not touch the clean area inside of the house. Historically, toilets were located outside of the house, and shoes were worn for a trip to the toilet. Nowadays, the toilet is almost always inside the home and hygienic conditions have improved significantly, but the toilet is still considered an unclean area, even though other places are much more likely to have higher bacterial contamination.
In Japan, being clean is very important, and some Japanese words for 'clean' can be used to describe beauty.
Haha: In England, there was historically much fascination with the act of going to the toilet, with royals appointing lesser mortals to assist with the removal of faeces and cleansing of the body parts using towels.
Apparently Louis XIV had bowel problems, and because, you know, L'etat c'est lui, this was a matter of public discussion and newspapers and such would publish updates.
Several non-profit organizations have launched a "Stop Flying Toilets" campaign, using a winged logo and sponsoring races with famous Kenyan marathon runners.
Though it is lower in energy than the food it came from, feces may still contain a large amount of energy, often 50% of that of the original food. This means that of all food eaten, a significant amount of energy remains for the decomposers of ecosystems.
Feces are also an important as a signal. Kestrels for instance are able to detect the feces of their prey (which reflect ultraviolet), allowing them to identify areas where there are large numbers of voles, for example.
Ultraviolet shit! I wonder if most/all shit reflects ultraviolet, or if there's something in particular about vole shit.
To maintain nutrients in soil it is therefore important that feces return to the area from which they came, which is not always the case in human society where food may be transported from rural areas to urban populations and then feces disposed of into a river or sea.
Whoa, that never occurred to me, but it totally makes sense.
Shit is brown because of a combo of bile, which is yellow, and dead red blood cells!
Ok, I just thought of something. Black shit is caused by digested blood, and indicates you've got medical problems. But what if you have eaten blood, like with blood pudding, or, I don't know, vampirism?