Market News

 May 23, 2012
Beijing limits flies in public restrooms to 2

If you see this many flies in a Beijing restroom, call the police.

Once again, as I occasionally do, I'm wandering slightly off the energy beat, but not entirely you'll see - to bring you something that's just too curious to pass up.

And after all, I've been diving into some intense nuclear power subjects lately and have already brought you a reasonably straight solar ditty today, so a little light entertainment seems in order.

This falls into the fact is stranger than fiction category: Beijing is limiting the number of flies in public restrooms to 2, according to the BBC.

That's right, if you're a fly, and you're buzzing the toilets near Tiananmen Square, sorry, but 3 is a crowd. No strength in masses for you. Not very Maoist, but that's life in a modern, changing society.

This new rule, of course, begs the question: How on earth does someone count? Maybe "something" does the job - there's a potential follow-up story here about robots or sensors. Very SmartPlanet!

I picture Mr. Bean trapping a fly on a window ledge, dashing to a stall where he had spotted another, spinning awkwardly around to the hand-dryer and frantically trying to keep pace with a dozen of the tiny, winged blighters.

Practicality aside, this 2-fly limit actually carries financial potential. Here's where I dutifully return to my energy beat: Why not take a page from the CO2 business, and introduce a fly trading scheme?

The Great Wall men's room could sells its 2-pest allocation to, say, the Forbidden City. With the extra yuan, it could buy a multi-colored collection of urinal mints, helping it compete for the Toilet World championships, or somesuch.

Don't laugh - in Britain, they have the Loo of the Year Awards. Such competition engenders progressive ideas for running public facilities. Why not take the aspirations global - especially during an Olympic year?

First, one child. Now two flies. Somehow I think this is another policy the rest of the world won't follow.