If you’re hosting any holiday gatherings this week, chances are you’re doing some cleaning around the house.

If you’re also, shall we say, not a frequent cleaner, then you know how much elbow grease it takes to get some of the accumulated gunk off your surfaces and get everything clean again.

This is a particular challenge in the bathroom, and I’ll just leave to your imagination why that might be.

A frustrating business for those trying to get the toilet clean, but also a wasteful one.

Scientists estimate we use tens of billions of gallons of water a day just reflushing toilets just to flush everything that’s supposed to be flushed.

A professor at Penn State University, Tak-Sing Wong, and his colleagues have a pretty ingenious solution.

They call it a liquid-entrenched smooth surface, or LESS.

They apply a coating of LESS to the inside of the toilet bowl that lubricates the surface and makes it almost impossible for anything to stick to it for long.

The coating needs to be reapplied about every 500 flushes, but even so, that means fewer flushes, and potentially cutting the water used in those flushes by half.

In developing countries, where an unclean waterless toilet can actually make people sick, the LESS coating could help keep people healthy.

And, around this time of year, it would make it a lot easier to get the house ready for Thanksgiving guests.

Meanwhile: Twitter is not always the most fun place to be, but a new project called Emoji Storm takes the best parts of Twitter – the emojis – and does away with everything else, showing you a virtual waterfall of little cartoon icons in real time as they pass through the site!

From what I’ve been seeing during today’s show we’re doing pretty well on smiley faces, a few angry faces, a couple eyeballs, a fair number of hearts and a lot of jazz hands, I think.

But where are the little people wearing monocles?

New, slippery toilet coating provides cleaner flushing, saves water (Penn State University)

Emoji Storm (Metafilter)