5 Ways the U.S. Government Is Obsessed With Poop

5 Ways the U.S. Government Is Obsessed With Poop

Pooping is like the existence of ghosts: It’s a huge part of life, but if you bring it up at a nice dinner, you’ll probably be asked to leave. That said, it’s still a universal experience that we all share. Not to mention that despite it being unable to be discussed without some level of snickering, there are real science and health lessons to be learned from examining someone’s food of the past.

This means too, that, as can be expected of any facet of day-to-day life of citizens in a country that has a deep love for surveillance, the government has a vested interest in the dookies laid by its citizens. There are whole programs, kept out of public discussions not out of secrecy, but plain politeness, wherein the U.S. government finds itself elbow-deep in a toilet bowl for reasons of national advancement. For instance…

Protecting Presidential Poop


Though it seems not to be the modus operandi, we do have at least one verified piece of evidence for a Secret Service branch known as TOILSEC. TOILSEC referring to Toilet Security, employed during a George W. Bush trip abroad to Austria. Maybe worried that someone planned to reroute the president’s turds from a public toilet like the world’s most gag-worthy heist, in order to test them for insights into the president’s health, Dubya used a special toilet that kept his waste safe from prying eyes.

Keeping Standard Turd Samples


When it comes to standardizing and measuring all sorts of things, it’s important to have an approved baseline or control. Otherwise, it would be nearly impossible to know how different measurements stack up, without them being compared against a shared sample. That’s where the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, comes in. When a manufacturer or the like needs a standardized version of, let’s say, peanut butter to compare their product to, they go to NIST for the government-approved formulation.

In a grosser twist, however, NIST also stores (and sells) samples of what that peanut butter might look like a couple hours later. One of the things stored at NIST is “domestic sludge,” which is basically powdered poop. It’s not hard to see the benefits of having a standard measuring stick of healthy human feces for medical use, but the fact remains that our government is selling jars of dehydrated dookie.

Moon Poop Experiments


There are a couple things that everybody knows we left on the moon, like a flag and some footprints. Less emphasized, however, is the fact that the Apollo missions also left a couple artifacts they’re probably much less proud of. To make space for the weight of the moon rocks they wanted to bring back for study, one of the things that they jettisoned was bags full of astronaut shit.

Not only that, the moon shit is now the subject of great scientific scrutiny, as, by introducing wild turds to the lifeless surface of the moon, we at the same time introduced bacteria and forms of life to that uninhabited floating rock. Scientists assumed that the cosmic radiation would quickly kill any forms of life left behind via waste. That, of course, doesn’t mean that the moon is not now overrun with blood-thirsty turd monsters.

Poop Surveillance Systems


We’ve already made it clear that however unpleasant it might be, there is serious medical use when it comes to your shit. As COVID ravaged communities, and medical professionals could rely less and less on personal reporting of infection, they looked to a different form of sharing medical information — one that most people do at least once or twice a day while on their phone.

The scientists involved refer to it as “Sewage Surveillance,” which sounds more like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video game level than what it is, which is “picking through human shit for signs of sickness.” It’s been so effective in pinpointing COVID outbreaks, though, that it’s only being ramped up and recommended for use in all sorts of infectious disease study. Not great news for the scientist who drew the “poop jar filler” straw.

Mining Your Poop


Yes, it does indeed turn out that there’s gold in them turds, as some sort of old poop prospector might exclaim. Not a lot, as you might have been able to guess, but it turns out our late dinner is filled with trace amounts of precious metals, metals that already have to be screened out in order to turn our waste into fertilizer for use across the country.

Now, though, there are suggestions that these tiny amounts of poop-encased precious metals should also be harvested, even suggesting that a city of 1 million might be crapping out $13 million worth of valuable metal bits per year. I wouldn’t recommend taking to the nearest music festival porta-potty with a headlamp and a gold pan, but it’s fascinating to know that you might be pooping out the very same metals that’ll fuel your next cellphone.

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