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Cold War Standoff Over ISS Toilet

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the can't-even-agree-on-a-name dept.

Space 417

Hugh Pickens writes "The International Space Station, once a place where astronauts would share food and facilities, is said to be embroiled in a Cold War-like stand-off after a Russian cosmonaut complained he is no longer allowed to use a US toilet or the US gym machine. Gennady Padalka, a veteran Russian cosmonaut, says that space officials from Russia, the United States and other countries now require cosmonauts and astronauts to eat their own food and follow stringent rules on access to other facilities, including lavatories. Padalka, who will be the station's next commander, says the arguments date back to 2003, when Russia started charging other space agencies for the resources used by their astronauts and other partners in space station responded in kind. 'Cosmonauts are above the ongoing squabble, no matter what officials decide,' says Padalka. 'We are grown-up, well-educated and good-mannered people and can use our own brains to create normal relationship. It's politicians and bureaucrats who can't reach agreement, not us, cosmonauts and astronauts.' While sharing food in the past helped the crew feel like a team, the new rules oblige Russian cosmonauts and US astronauts to eat their own food. 'They also recommend us to only use national toilets,' says Padalka. 'What is going on has an adverse effect on our work.'"

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417 comments

This is just sheer stupidity. (5, Insightful)

Black Rabbit (236299) | about 5 years ago | (#27401707)

What fucking idiot politician thought this up?

Re:This is just sheer stupidity. (-1, Troll)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 5 years ago | (#27401817)

What fucking idiot politician thought this up?

The same one that wanted a manned space station in the first place, despite the extra burdens on space, air, food and fuel, and despite the fact that much of the work done by the astronauts could be done more effectively and cheaply by unmanned missions.

Manned space flight has its uses. But ultimately the ISS, like the moon landings, was more about national prestige than it was about hard science. And such thinking has lead the project to its current impasse.

Re:This is just sheer stupidity. (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 5 years ago | (#27402125)

The same one that wanted a manned space station in the first place

The russians? I mean the summary says quite clearly the russians started it and if they did I'd also start charging right back at them. It sounds a little crazy but I figure the cost of putting a sandwich in orbit isn't insignificant.

Re:This is just sheer stupidity. (3, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | about 5 years ago | (#27402391)

Unmanned missions can cover the issues that come up with manned spaceflight very well. Things like this need to be sorted out now. Like themovie 2010 astranauts need to be able to tell their governments to fsck off or we are going to die.

Re:This is just sheer stupidity. (1)

Spatial (1235392) | about 5 years ago | (#27401825)

That about sums it up, really. It's unbelievable, is this a day early?

On the other hand, this sort of playground childishness isn't exactly unusual in politics.

Re:This is just sheer stupidity. (4, Funny)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 5 years ago | (#27401841)

They're politicians. It's their *job* to be assholes and douchbags.

You were asking a serious question right?

Not stupid at all! (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 years ago | (#27401923)

Remember, the ISS is now recycling urine for drinking water. Allowing cosmonauts to use our toilet would risk the contamination of our precious bodily fluids. Twice, no less.

Re:This is just sheer stupidity. (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#27401931)

>>>What fucking idiot politician thought this up?

Unfortunately nearly ALL of them qualify as "fucking idiots" so I can't really name a specific induhvidual. They couldn't even balance a typical home budget with ~$40,000/year income, much less a national economy. Why do we elect these bozos as our leaders?

Re:This is just sheer stupidity. (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 years ago | (#27402031)

Unfortunately ALL of them qualify as "fucking idiots"

Fixed that for you. You had an extra word in there.

Why do we elect these bozos as our leaders?

Because the bozo in my political party stands for all that is just and righteous, while the bozo in the other political party is out to destroy America as we know it.

Re:This is just sheer stupidity. (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 5 years ago | (#27402503)

No, it's because if we vote for a someone who isn't a lizard, the wrong lizard might win.

Answer: by the asshole in charge (5, Funny)

PMuse (320639) | about 5 years ago | (#27402283)

All the organs of the body were having a meeting, trying to decide who was the one in charge.

  • "We should be in charge," said the feet, "because we carry the body to get the things we need."
  • "I should be in charge," said the stomach," because I process food and give all of you energy."
  • "I should be in charge," said the eyes, "because without me, you wouldn't know where the food is."
  • "I should be in charge," said the brain , "because I do all the thinking, so without me nothing would happen".
  • The asshole simply shut up and did nothing.

After a while, the feet, stomach, eyes, and brain agreed that the asshole was in charge.

Re:This is just sheer stupidity. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27402293)

In Soviet ISS, toilet forbids YOU!

Re:This is just sheer stupidity. (4, Funny)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | about 5 years ago | (#27402351)

What fucking idiot politician thought this up?

They like pISSing contests. They reached boldly where nobody pissed before.

Re:This is just sheer stupidity. (5, Insightful)

GooberToo (74388) | about 5 years ago | (#27402383)

Its actually not what it sounds like. Russia has been making money with space tourists and the US does not want to fund the extra wear and tear forced on the sparse resources.

Should US tax dollars really be used to allow for billionaires to play around in space? No. The simple fact is, it is VERY expensive to repair/replace anything in space and Russia is increasing the wear on various components by bringing additional people aboard who provide no benefit what-so-ever. In a very reasonable and appropriate response, the US' position is, if the Russians want to place additional burdens on sparse resources, they need to do so only on their own resources. Contrary to the idiocy of the article, its a very reasonable position to hold. If Russia wants their complaint to be heard, all they have to do is start being reasonable and responsible. Until such time, they can STFU and burden their own resources. If they don't like it, they can start acting responsibly.

Re:This is just sheer stupidity. (1)

Leafheart (1120885) | about 5 years ago | (#27402459)

You see it is our dump versus their dump. You don't want their dump to infiltrate our society and destroy it, do yo?

My first thought was... (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 5 years ago | (#27401725)

What was he eating that he clogged up the US toilet?

Then it turns out it's just petty politician squabbling. Gotta love politicians.

Re:My first thought was... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401791)

What was he eating that he clogged up the US toilet?

Thats a legitimate complaint... do you know how much it costs to get a plumber to do a service call?

Re:My first thought was... (1)

Spazztastic (814296) | about 5 years ago | (#27401857)

What was he eating that he clogged up the US toilet?

Thats a legitimate complaint... do you know how much it costs to get a plumber to do a service call?

Plumber's Crack... In Zero G!

/shudders

Re:My first thought was... (-1, Troll)

chexy (956237) | about 5 years ago | (#27402069)

Have Obama add another billion to the stimulus plan. It's creating jobs!

Re:My first thought was... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401815)

What was he eating that he clogged up the US toilet?

I take it you've never eaten Russian cuisine. It's delicious (so very delicious), but heavy on the cream and starches. What I find amazing is that they don't clog toilets. Unless they've been using the engines out of their decommissioned MIGs to create some sort of Super Toilet.

...

Oh. My. God.

Gentlemen, we must not lose the Super Toilet race.

Re:My first thought was... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27402163)

Surely this means we're at risk of a Super Toilet gap...

Re:My first thought was... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27402413)

People's Democratic Republic feces is better than American feces! This is an insult to labor everywhere! We must break out the nuclear tactical mini-unstopper. It works every time although it tends to push the station off course. In Russia our toilets are built like tanks. No wait. They HAVE tanks. I get it wrong.

Re:My first thought was... (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | about 5 years ago | (#27401929)

I noticed during the tour of the ISS [slashdot.org] that the Russian side of the space station felt very remote from the rest for the station. I also noticed the American astronaut was using the American exercise equipment and the Russian cosmonaut was using the Russian exercise equipment. It didn't seem like a big deal at the time, but now it apparently is.

Re:My first thought was... (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | about 5 years ago | (#27402245)

I kinda thought something along those lines as well, like the astronauts stock piling lots and lots of brown missiles.

Once again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401735)

Maybe we should be nuked from the orbit. Are we buncha idiots or what?!

It's because (4, Funny)

tomhath (637240) | about 5 years ago | (#27401741)

They leave the seat up...

Re:It's because (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | about 5 years ago | (#27401829)

Really? I thought they stunk the whole place up? You know, all those potatoes, Borscht, vodka, etc... makes for really really stinky doo doo.

Re:It's because (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 5 years ago | (#27401873)

Additionally, there seem to be squabbling about the 'under/over' controversy with the toilet paper roll.

Re:It's because (4, Informative)

Zencyde (850968) | about 5 years ago | (#27402081)

Over is the proper fashion!

Re:It's because (4, Funny)

truthsearch (249536) | about 5 years ago | (#27402275)

I'm not sure which is funnier: posting your vote, or getting moderated informative.

Re:It's because (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27402527)

it's 'informative' because you can't moderate something 'damn straight!'

No, Cosmonuts don't want to use Soviet toilets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27402065)

Nah, the Cosmonut really doesn't want to use soviet toilet, because soviet toilet flushes you. :(

Re:No, Cosmonuts don't want to use Soviet toilets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27402165)

In soviet Russia, toilet shits up you. :/

it is amazing that humans ever developed the wheel (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401745)

im sure some cave man council decided it would create too much cooperation between rival clans, and tried to stop the project.

Re:it is amazing that humans ever developed the wh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401927)

Ah, but then the chief realized how much faster a chariot lets you kill off rival clans and dedicated the entire labor force to it to the detriment of food production.

Toilet abuse! (1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | about 5 years ago | (#27401755)

Oh, we've all known someone who's abused the toilet in the past. It can make your office feel like a real dump! But the solution isn't to write passive-aggressive notes or lock the bathroom...it's really even easier than that! Just jettison the bathroom-abuser into the cold, heartless void of space! That'll learn 'im!

This has been a message...from SPACE!

Do it anyway (1)

snowwrestler (896305) | about 5 years ago | (#27401757)

What are the bosses going to do, stop by their desk and give them a stern talking-to?

It seems the U.S. should not be antagonizing the Russians, seeing as how we're going to be dependent on them for manned spaceflight pretty soon now...

Re:Do it anyway (4, Informative)

ShadowRangerRIT (1301549) | about 5 years ago | (#27401847)

If you even read the whole summary, you'd note that the Russians began it by charging to use "their" resources. U.S. astronauts can't use Russian facilities either without incurring a hefty bill. Both sides are being petty children.

Re:Do it anyway (5, Informative)

inviolet (797804) | about 5 years ago | (#27402179)

If you even read the whole summary, you'd note that the Russians began it by charging to use "their" resources. U.S. astronauts can't use Russian facilities either without incurring a hefty bill. Both sides are being petty children.

No, this one is on the Russians. They started it. The Americans are just playing tit-for-tat (with random forgiveness, we presume), which is always an appropriate moral strategy.

This is not the first time the Russians, bankrupt, have pulled a stunt like this. Mir was full of junk because the Russians would lease space to whoever to run an experiment and would then refuse to bring the experiment's materials back to Earth. They kept them on board in order to continue charging the (exorbitant) rent for space aboard Mir. The cosmonauts complained about the piles of junk, though not publicly.

Re:Do it anyway (5, Insightful)

sshir (623215) | about 5 years ago | (#27402365)

Russians began it by charging to use "their" resources

Actually, Russians started to charge for the ride to the station which is completely understandable considering costs involved.

Summary is rather inflammatory by calling it "charging for resources".

Yea, the toilet thing is a really petty retaliation. But this is the era of asymmetric warfare after all...

Re:Do it anyway (5, Insightful)

Scutter (18425) | about 5 years ago | (#27401959)

What are the bosses going to do, stop by their desk and give them a stern talking-to?

The alternative is "you never go to space again and your career as an astronaut/cosmonaut is over". There have been lots of stories in the past about how astronauts are treated like lab rats but they put up with it because it's the only way to get to orbit.

Re:Do it anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27402187)

Really? It seems to me the exact opposite. It seems to me like all the economies are doing bad enough to justify starting up a new Cold War to make some money and sustain some economic growth.

If you think the USA is going to be dependent on the Soviet Union (yeah, the USSR, because every "former" state is run by the KGB), you didn't pay close enough attention in history class.

Ah the bureaucrat's (4, Funny)

Beached (52204) | about 5 years ago | (#27401769)

This must have been a bureaucrat level 34 or better that started this. A 35 wouldn't know how to fill out the proper acquisition forms.

Re:Ah the bureaucrat's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27402093)

Hermes:
When i was two there was a hurricane in Kingston Town
with a foot and a half of water
Everyone was alright, but I cried all night
It blew my alphabet blocks out of order

And they say
this boys born to be a bureaucrat
born to be all obsessive and snotty
I made my friends and relations fill long applications
to get into my tenth birthday party

Labarbara:
But something changed when my man turned pro

Hermes:
I was sorting but I wasn't smiling

Labarbara:
He forget that it's not about badges and ranks

Hermes:
It's supposed to be about the filing!

People,
We didn't choose to be bureaucrats
No that's what our mighty Ja made us
We treat people like swine and make them stand in line
Even if nobody paid us

They say the world looks down on the bureaucrats
They say we're anal, compulsive and wierd
But when push comes to shove you gotta do what you love
Even if it's not a good idea
Zoidberg!

Zoidberg:
They said i probably shouldn't be a surgeon

Farnsworth:
They poopooed my electric frankfurter

Leela:
They said I probably shouldn't fly with just one eye

Bender:
I am Bender please insert girder

Hermes:
Everybody sing Jamaica!

All:
Jamaica!

Hermes:
Just the bearuacrats - Jamaica!

Bureaucrats:
Jamaica!

Hermes:
Just the grade nineteens!

Morgan Proctor:
Jamaica.

Hermes:
Sing me home,
When push comes to shove you gotta do what you love
Even if it's not a good idea!

Song from the Futurama episode "How Hermes Requisitioned His Groove Back"

Take a few deep breaths, guys (2, Interesting)

Ukab the Great (87152) | about 5 years ago | (#27401781)

The escalation must stop before they argue over sharing of oxygen!

Re:Take a few deep breaths, guys (1)

sunking2 (521698) | about 5 years ago | (#27401851)

Entirely plausible as I don't believe the Russian shitter is hooked up to the urine processor and wcs, which ultimately is fed to produce oxygen. If they aren't pulling their weight with the pee then they should have to hold their breath.

Ruskies Plan (5, Funny)

cgfsd (1238866) | about 5 years ago | (#27401799)

"The average Rooskie, son, don't take a dump without a plan."

Re:Ruskies Plan (2, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | about 5 years ago | (#27401961)

Captain Ramius: It reminds me of the heady days of Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin when the world trembled at the sound of our rockets. Now they will tremble again - at the sound of our silence. The order is: engage the silent drive.

Re:Ruskies Plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27402559)

Silent but deadly.

The real reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401821)

Astronaut Peggy Whitson complained he kept leaving the seat up

Shit happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401863)

1) Shit happens
2) ...
3) Profit!

In Soviet Space Station (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401865)

Shit falls up!

Seriously though, can't the crew just tell the people on the ground to shove it up their ass?

Re:In Soviet Space Station (5, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | about 5 years ago | (#27401905)

Seriously though, can't the crew just tell the people on the ground to shove it up their ass?

I think that's pretty much what they're saying: 'Cosmonauts are above the ongoing squabble, no matter what officials decide,' says Padalka. 'We are grown-up, well-educated and good-mannered people and can use our own brains to create normal relationship. It's politicians and bureaucrats who can't reach agreement, not us, cosmonauts and astronauts.'

It's refreshing to have such a public statement of defiance in the face of stupidity. Too bad Republicans and Democrats (not just the politicians but also their brown shirts on the ground) don't do the same in a very forward manner. Yes, Slashdot drones, I'm looking at you.

Re:In Soviet Space Station (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | about 5 years ago | (#27402335)

So, wait, this isn't a Russia-USA cold war, it's an Earth Governments-Astronaut cold war?

Or is it a cold war three-way: USA-Russia-Astronauts?

Don't use the Vulcan's toilet (4, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 5 years ago | (#27401887)

"Or vice-versa the humans toilet. The Earth-Vulcan politicians are squabbling over the respective costs, and don't want non-citizens using their toilets." - United Federation of Planets, official notice

That's what Star Trek would be like if it were realistic - trade and cost disputes. Or just watch Babylon 5 ("By Any Means Necessary").

Re:Don't use the Vulcan's toilet (1)

baKanale (830108) | about 5 years ago | (#27402051)

But the Federation is pretty much post-scarcity, at least with respect to consumer goods. Why would you fight over who uses which crapper when you have infinite toilets?

Re:Don't use the Vulcan's toilet (5, Insightful)

p0tat03 (985078) | about 5 years ago | (#27402309)

The same reason perfectly wealthy people quibble over pennies on a dinner bill? When scarcity is no longer a concern, you're still left with the assholes of the world :)

Re:Don't use the Vulcan's toilet (4, Funny)

ArcherB (796902) | about 5 years ago | (#27402231)

"Or vice-versa the humans toilet. The Earth-Vulcan politicians are squabbling over the respective costs, and don't want non-citizens using their toilets." - United Federation of Planets, official notice

That's what Star Trek would be like if it were realistic - trade and cost disputes. Or just watch Babylon 5 ("By Any Means Necessary").

I thought they just beamed the crap directly from your colon into the anti-matter reaction chamber or Jefferies tubes or something.

Re:Don't use the Vulcan's toilet (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27402529)

I thought they just beamed the crap directly from your colon into the anti-matter reaction chamber or Jefferies tubes or something.

That's disgusting. The Jefferies tubes are there for people to crawl through when they want to bypass the elevator system, steal stuff, carry out assassinations etc. You can't just fill them with crap!

If he has to go... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401893)

If he has to go, they're going to let him go. The space station is not someplace you let someone piss on the floor! Gravity, people!

Re:If he has to go... (4, Funny)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 years ago | (#27401973)

I think if someone can figure out how to piss on the floor in a freefall environment with no architectural frame of reference for up and down, you've got no right to stop them.

Grow up (1)

Tony Freakin Twist (673681) | about 5 years ago | (#27401901)

It's this kindergarten shit that keeps the world from moving forward. Freakin pissing contests with no winner. Plus - the Russian bathroom doesn't have a webcam.

Re:Grow up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27402333)

I work with women and we have separate restrooms. This has an adverse effect on our work as we can't restroom-socialize with half of our team. This kindergarten shit keeps the world from moving forward.

On the plus side... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27401921)

this should encourage every participating nation to provide a full set of necessities for their spacemen at all times. The result is higher redundancy on the space station and, in an emergency, the people up there will still offer each other help. Maintaining separate systems also helps with diversity and diversity is good for finding the best solution. Always look on the bright side of a nationalized toilet infrastructure.

And in other news... (1)

Pvt_Ryan (1102363) | about 5 years ago | (#27401947)

Today WWIII became a reality when the US stood proudly over their bog and stated "No Russian arse will again threaten to dirty our brilliant white potty."

I am glad to see the politicians earning their pay. Shame they're still a waste of money (and oxygen in general) no matter how you look at it.

Re:And in other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27402239)

Today WWIII became a reality when the US stood proudly over their bog and stated "No Russian arse will again threaten to dirty our brilliant white potty."

British, are we?

What Next?!? (1)

wipeMyButt (1411817) | about 5 years ago | (#27401975)

Next thing you know they're going to make sure you only share bodily fluids with those of your own nationality, and that is going to cause some awkward pairings. Well, more awkward...

Re:What Next?!? (1)

Chairboy (88841) | about 5 years ago | (#27402299)

If you're sharing any bodily fluids with people while using the toilet, Mandrake, then you're doing something terribly wrong.

In Soviet Russia . . . (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27402109)

. . . toilet uses you.

In Mother Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27402111)

Toilet uses you!!!!

Fair enough, but... (3, Interesting)

ultraexactzz (546422) | about 5 years ago | (#27402127)

Where the hell does the Japanese guy get to go? I mean, when you gotta go, you gotta go.

Re:Fair enough, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#27402297)

He goes outside (if you have a telescope watch out for the full moon)

Invisible Lines (4, Insightful)

scubamage (727538) | about 5 years ago | (#27402173)

You know, its amazing to think how much progress has been destroyed, avoided, or never attained because of stupid, idiotic, invisible little lines drawn up by a bunch of dead men. Maybe that's why I love the internet? It's kind of above this bullshit.

Never Has So Little, Ment So Much, To So Few (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 5 years ago | (#27402323)

Just some thoughts I had about this "issue".

Wouldn't the Russian Government allowing a Russian to defecate on American property send a diplomatic message? How about a bill for, "Consulting Services".

As an American Tax Payer, I see no problem in any foreign national landing a Duke in a John. "Gennady Padalka, you are cleared for descent."

Also, my mind wonders over to the land of Norway, to the game designers who created a game of throwing a Shoe at Ex-President Bush. [shoebushworldwide.com] I cannot help but wonder at what they're doing now. Just a thought.

I guess when each turd costs a million bucks... (1)

maillemaker (924053) | about 5 years ago | (#27402547)

I guess when each turd costs a million bucks to process, people start to count the turds they are processing.

How long before... (3, Funny)

fataugie (89032) | about 5 years ago | (#27402565)

One of the agencies sends up a bucket of yellow paint and a paint brush?
(for the bright yellow dividing line down the middle of the station)

Future Presidential Speech text:

"Mr. {insert leader here}, Tear down...er....Wipe Up that line!"

National Toilet (1)

xgr3gx (1068984) | about 5 years ago | (#27402579)

....sweet land of liberty ( flush )
Single tear falls
(ala Homer Simpson when using the Australian toilet with the pump to force the water to swirl in the opposite direction, so Americans would feel at home)
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