What are the instructions to the "zero-gravity toilet"?

[A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a man named Thoreau in a 
book called WALDEN ("Where I Lived, and What I Lived For") gave us the 
following piece of sterling advice:

     Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly 
     need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases 
     he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, 
     simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and 
     not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half 
     a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail. In the 
     midst of this chopping sea of civilized life, such are the 
     clouds and storms and quicksands and thousand-and-one items 
     to be allowed for, that a man has to live, if he would not 
     founder and go to the bottom and not make his port at all, 
     by dead reckoning, and he must be a great calculator indeed 
     who succeeds. Simplify, simplify.                        

By 2001, though, Thoreau has gone out of date. Out with the old, in with
the new. Are we not men?]

          *          *          *          *          * 
It's a brief moment in the film. Scientist Floyd has to go to the 
bathroom in space. But when he gets to the bathroom, he finds he first 
has to read some very detailed instructions. Oh dear! He tries to read 
them, but the print is very fine. We, the audience, can't make it out.

Typical Kubrick. What other director would invest so much effort in 
writing instructions that the audience cannot even read?

Like much in Kubrick, there is more here than initially meets the eye:

     -- Failing to heed Thoreau's dictum to "simplify, simplify" can
        lead to a very messy situation. Can we handle the complexity
        we can create?

     -- In 2001, waste comes back to you, fast. Instant "karma."

     -- A sign that every detail is significant, even the "jokes,"
        and even those jokes inaccessible to you!

A close analysis of these instructions rewards the reader looking for
subtle humor:

     -- Try to figure out what systems "A" and "B" refer to.

     -- To what is the "silver coloured ring" locking?

Here are the instructions:

                           ZERO GRAVITY TOILET

                       PASSENGERS  ARE  ADVISED  TO
                       READ INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE USE


The toilet is of the standard zero-gravity type. Depending on 
requirements, system A and/or system B can be used, details of which 
are clearly marked in the toilet compartment. When operating system A, 
depress lever and a plastic dalkron eliminator will be dispensed 
through the slot immediately underneath. When you have fastened the 
adhesive lip, attach connection marked by the large "X" outlet hose. 
Twist the silver coloured ring one inch below the connection point 
until you feel it lock.


The toilet is now ready for use. The Sonovac cleanser is activated by 
the small switch on the lip. When securing, twist the ring back to its 
initial-condition, so that the two orange lines meet. Disconnect. Place 
the dalkron eliminator in the vacuum receptacle to the rear. Activate 
by pressing the blue button.


The controls for system B are located on the opposite wall. The red 
release switch places the uroliminator into position; it can be 
adjusted manually up or down by pressing the blue manual release 
button. The opening is self adjusting. To secure after use, press the 
green button which simultaneously activates the evaporator and returns 
the uroliminator to its storage position.


You may leave the lavatory if the green exit light is on over the door. 
If the red light is illuminated, one of the lavatory facilities is not 
properly secured. Press the "Stewardess" call button to the right of 
the door. She will secure all facilities from her control panel 
outside. When green exit light goes on you may open the door and leave. 
Please close door behind you.


To use the Sonoshower, first undress and place all your clothes in the 
clothes rack. Put on the velcro slippers located in the cabinet 
immediately below. Enter the shower. On the control panel to your upper 
right upon entering you will see a "Shower seal" button. Press to 
activate. A green light will then be illuminated immediately below. On 
the intensity knob select the desired setting. Now depress the Sonovac 
activation lever. Bathe normally.


The Sonovac will automatically go off after three minutes unless you 
activate the "Manual off" over-ride switch by flipping it up. When you 
are ready to leave, press the blue "Shower seal" release button. The 
door will open and you may leave. Please remove the velcro slippers and 
place them in their container.


If the red light above this panel is on, the toilet is in use. When the 
green light is illuminated you may enter. however, you must carefully 
follow all instructions when using the facilities during coasting (Zero 
G) flight. Inside there are three facilities: (1) the Sonowasher, (2) 
the Sonoshower, (3) the toilet. All three are designed to be used under 
weightless conditions. Please observe the sequence of operations for 
each individual facility.


Two modes for Sonowashing your face and hands are available, the 
"moist-towel" mode and the "Sonovac" ultrasonic cleaner mode. You may 
select either mode by moving the appropriate lever to the "Activate" 

If you choose the "moist-towel" mode, depress the indicated yellow 
button and withdraw item. When you have finished, discard the towel in 
the vacuum dispenser, holding the indicated lever in an "active" 
position until the green light goes on . . . showing that the rollers 
have passed the towel completely into the dispenser. If you desire an 
additional towel, press the yellow button and repeat the cycle.


If you prefer the "Sonovac" ultrasonic cleaning mode, press the 
indicated blue button. When the twin panels open, pull forward by rings 
A and B. For cleaning the hands, use in this position. Set the timer to 
positions 10, 20, 30 or 40  . . . indicative of the number of seconds 
required. The knob to the left, just below the blue light, has three 
settings, low, medium or high. For normal use, the medium setting is 


After these settings have been made, you can activate the device by 
switching to the "ON" position the clearly marked red switch. If, 
during the washing operation, you wish to change the settings, place 
the "manual off" override switch in the "OFF" position. You may now 
make the change and repeat the cycle.

                                (Instructions from J.A., photo inset)

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