Annals of Regression

I wish we were saying goodbye to this kind of stupidity along with 2017, but I fear not. “Unfiltered Fervor: The Rush to Get Off the Water Grid.”

One of the markers of civilized living used to be having water piped into your home, but that’s so twentieth century. Now we have “raw” “live” “real” water, untreated and ready to grow some algae.

There was a spring not too far from where we lived. My mother would occasionally take us kids along to fill up bottles of water for drinking. The spring was capped, and the water came out in a sluiceway that made it easy to fill the bottles.

I can recall drinking water from streams on hiking trips. That was before giardia became a big concern and before there were lots of people hiking in the mountains. I know, giardia comes from the natural animals that naturally live in those places. I never got sick from it.

I’m concerned about the lack of understanding of chemistry and biology shown by the people described in the article. The writeup is not bad. Here are a few of my thoughts as I was reading it.

At Rainbow Grocery, a cooperative in this city’s Mission District, one brand of water is so popular that it’s often out of stock. But one recent evening, there was a glittering rack of it: glass orbs containing 2.5 gallons of what is billed as “raw water” — unfiltered, untreated, unsterilized spring water, $36.99 each and $14.99 per refill

Santa Fe water rates are high, an $18.42 monthly service charge, plus $6.06 per 1,000 gallons for the first tier, and $21.72 per thousand gallons after that. The “raw water” is about $6 per gallon, a thousand times as much.

An Arizona company, Zero Mass Water, which installs systems allowing people to collect water directly from the atmosphere around their homes, began taking orders in November from across the United States…The system — called Source, which retails for $4,500, including installation — draws moisture from the air (the way rice does in a saltshaker) and filters it, producing about 10 liters of water a day and storing about 60 liters.

Gonna take a long time to amortize that initial investment.

There is some nonsense about fluoride. That’s kind of amusing – resistance to fluoride originally came from the right wing. General Jack D. Ripper in “Dr. Strangelove” drinks only pure grain alcohol and rainwater to maintain his purity of essence from the fluoride put in by the gummint for mind control. This time around, it’s the hippies (or whatever we’re calling them today). Fluoride has been studied, and no harmful effects have been found at the levels added to drinking water. It’s kind of wonderful (to me anyway) that kids today have so many fewer cavities. That’s from fluoride.

I think it’s a federal requirement that water systems send out an accounting of the trace elements and potential bacteriological contaminants in their water. I know I get them twice a year and am always impressed that the numbers are so low. But that’s part of what the new water fanatics are concerned about: not enough “good” minerals and probiotics.

He said “real water” should expire after a few months. His does. “It stays most fresh within one lunar cycle of delivery,” he said. “If it sits around too long, it’ll turn green. People don’t even realize that because all their water’s dead, so they never see it turn green.”

Eh. The green is algae. If a closed bottle of “real water” turns green after one lunar cycle, also known as a month, it had algae in it to begin with, or spores. And who knows what else – E. coli, V. cholerae, S. enterica. Just thinking about that makes me want to boil water before I drink it.

The thinking seems to be part of the general desire to get away from the ordinary and brand oneself as special, along with magical thinking about the purity of nature and nature spirits. I wish we could turn this kind of energy toward dealing with global warming.


98 replies
  1. 1
    Icedfire says:

    Prior to the silly season of 2016, abject stupidity such as this would have led me on a rage bender.

    Today? Let the Darwin awards have them, and may they explosively vomit on as many other mental midgets as they can before they hit their own expiration dates.

  2. 2
    HeleninEire says:

    Some of my best childhood memories was during the summer, running around like a crazy person and when you got thirsty you just went up to the outdoor hose – anyone’s outdoor hose – the one for watering the grass, turned on the spigot, pointed it towards your mouth and drank.

    Good times.

  3. 3
    dr. luba says:

    Thanks for this. Your thoughts mirrored mine on reading it yesterday. “Living water”–first world fetish?

  4. 4
    K488 says:

    I expect that this is the water one gets from melting special snowflakes.

  5. 5
    Burnspbesq says:

    SMH. These idiots will cause a cholera epidemic before they’re done.

    Any thoughts on what the hell is going on in Iran?

  6. 6
    Mnemosyne says:

    This is reminding me that we need to fill up our emergency water containers that I got for earthquakes, but I need to sanitize them first.

  7. 7
    Roger Moore says:

    Where would you like your internets delivered?

  8. 8
    rk says:

    Cryptosporidium, Giardia, psudomonas, legionella, E.coli etc. etc. or in other words painful illness, sometimes followed by death. They may be better off drinking out of the toilet bowl.

  9. 9
    Matt says:

    You have to read two thirds of the article before you reach the only paragraph critical of this nonsense.

  10. 10
    MobiusKlein says:

    Fads come and go.
    I remember Oxygen Bars, not all that far from Rainbow Groceries.

  11. 11
    debbie says:

    One thing America’s never going to run short on: Scams.

  12. 12
    debbie says:


    They used to sell empty bottles labeled “New York City Air.”

  13. 13
    Skepticat says:

    These must be the people who are thrilled the EPA no longer is constraining our freedom to poison ourselves and everyone around us.
    I live in the Bahamas most of the year, and all our water is very real, as it comes from the sky and is stored in cisterns. I put a little bleach in each cistern, the waterlines have filters, and I boil water that the cats and I drink. (Nearly half a century ago, the whole family got dysentery from unboiled water, and I’ve never been willing to risk it since.) The free-range cats in my TNR program have unboiled water–which turns green within a day or two.

  14. 14
    chris says:

    Read this yesterday and began looking for containers to sell my well water in. I don’t drink it but a buck’s a buck, right?

  15. 15
    trollhattan says:

    Thumpingly dumb, especially in a place like SF that to their eternal shame pipes water directly from Yosemite National Park. It even gets UV along the way.

    Plenty of folks live in places where the water may meet regulatory criteria but is still pretty unpleasant do drink or cook with, and for them the only answers are bottled or home treatment. I installed an under-counter carbon filter that takes out organics, chlorine and whatnot that are pretty evident, especially in fall.

    Like the “paleo diet” some of this magical water stuff may sound reasonable but never stands up to scrutiny. Safe drinking water and effective sewage collection and treatment are among civilization’s triumphs. I’ll bet those kids in India drinking ditch water would gladly surrender their probiotic intake.

  16. 16
    wvng says:

    @chris: As you know, well water comes from the good earth and is therefore by definition good and full of healthy wonderfulness.

    These people are beyond insane. Not unlike flat earthers really.

  17. 17
    bystander says:

    At Rainbow Grocery, a cooperative in this city’s Mission District, one brand of water is so popular that it’s often out of stock. But one recent evening, there was a glittering rack of it: glass orbs containing 2.5 gallons of what is billed as “raw water” — unfiltered, untreated, unsterilized spring water, $36.99 each and $14.99 per refill

    Let’s keep in mind we are talking about people who are paying jillions of dollars for former flop houses in Polk Gulch.

  18. 18
    Mnemosyne says:

    Here’s a random question for the science folks before I wander off to start cooking: could something like the Source system be helpful in Flint to provide unleaded drinking water since it sounds like all of the city’s pipes will have to be replaced to remove the lead from the city-piped water?

  19. 19
    Marmot says:

    Reminds me of a now-ex friend into “traditional Chinese medicine” who complained that the pharmaceutical industry was “removing active ingredients from their context” by isolating them from plants and whatnot. As if the plants were made to be medicines first, and successful organisms second.

    She got very angry with me for announcing that all Trump voters were idiots. Like her new boyfriend and probably her.

  20. 20
    Lyrebird says:

    @Mnemosyne: Hm, great question!

    In MI it might make a lot more sense than in AZ, where to have enough moisture they’ll probably need to run their swamp coolers (evaporators) full time and so they’re paying the city for their water anyhow.

    People should get out more. Travel. See why water boilers are standard issue in hotel rooms in other countries…

  21. 21
    Yarrow says:

    There is some nonsense about fluoride. That’s kind of amusing – resistance to fluoride originally came from the right wing. General Jack D. Ripper in “Dr. Strangelove” drinks only pure grain alcohol and rainwater to maintain his purity of essence from the fluoride put in by the gummint for mind control. This time around, it’s the hippies (or whatever we’re calling them today).

    It’s both. You’ll see it in evangelical homeschool families, just like you’ll see it lefty families. Same with vaccines. Horseshoe theory. They’re more alike than they are different.

  22. 22
    Marmot says:

    @Mnemosyne: Sure. But I doubt it’ll be anywhere near as cost effective as digging up pipes.

  23. 23
    trollhattan says:

    It’s attitudes like that that are ensuring rhinos will go extinct.

  24. 24
    hellslittlestangel says:

    Does the Times offer any tips on how to afford this water on an income of less than one million a year?

  25. 25
    jayjaybear says:

    “Their water is dead.”

    Well, yes. Water, by definition, is dead. Or at least not alive. It’s not even organic (by the actual meaning of the word rather than the popular/commercial meaning(s))!

  26. 26
    Scotian says:

    I read this and sighed. It calls to mind yet again my favourite all purpose non-partisan expression, and I call it my favourite because of all the truisms I have ever known it has alas been the most dependable…

    “Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.”

    Seems to sum it up for me…*sigh*

  27. 27
    patrick II says:

    Speaking of Flint, could that story be heightening a fear of “government” water? Who knows when the government will poison your children?

    My favorite bottled water story is that one of the well-known brands (I wish I remembered which one, but I’m old) of bottled water is St. Louis City water. St. Louis has it’s problems, but they have some of the cleanest water in the country because of the Budweiser Brewery sitting along the South side of the city. So, to avoid “government” water some folks unknowingly buy St. Louis city water.

  28. 28
    Mike in NC says:

    How much will they be charging for a glass of tap water tonight at Mar-A-Lago?

  29. 29
    Ruckus says:

    When I lived in OH I installed a whole house filter system, one for just general gunk and one for lead as some of the city water pipes had never been changed. I think I spent less than $50 at HD. First off the water actually tasted better and second I’d still have to replace the filters and boil whenever a city water pipe broke, which was rather often, because while they really did try, some of the pipes in the system where a lot older that anything in CA and would just break for no apparent reason.

  30. 30
    Mnemosyne says:


    The people I know who do well on the Paleo and similar low-grains diets are the ones with pretty severe allergies — the person I’m thinking of is so severely allergic to grasses that she had to use her EpiPen after eating a “gluten-free” cookie made with sorghum flour. The Paleo diet’s restrictions on grains mean she can follow that rather than having to figure it out on her own from scratch.

    I’m restraining myself from going off on how many people think that their non-allergic and non-celiac/Crohn’s issues with grains are because of gluten but, seriously, look up FODMAPs (which has SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH by Monash University in Australia to back it up). Pro-tip: if you’re cutting out “gluten” but still eating garlic and onions, you’re just going to keep having problems with IBS.

  31. 31
    Marmot says:

    @trollhattan: Ah! Because of the Chinese myth that their horns are such good aphrodisiacs. Took me a sec.

  32. 32
    chris says:

    @wvng: Maybe I could sell them river water. It’s tea coloured from the bogs, full of particles and there are bank beavers every couple hundred yards for added goodness. Could brand it Chewy Water.

  33. 33
    trollhattan says:

    They don’t say how much energy it gobbles but I really doubt it’s a legit stopgap. In summer I suppose everybody could use dehumidifiers and drink the knockout water, basically the same thing.

  34. 34
    MobiusKlein says:

    In SF now, we’re mixing in local water too, not just Hetch-Hetchy. And I can tell the difference.

    And yes, it’s even better to go to the source and drink straight from the lake. OK, lake, filter, then mouth.

  35. 35
    Firebert says:

    I realized long ago that there’s a grinding need in the human psyche to feel smarter than the experts with certain things. Scammers know that better than anyone.

  36. 36
    Meyerman says:

    Reading Steven Johnson’s book, The Ghost Map, I was struck by how some families were wiped out in London’s 1854 cholera outbreak because they went out of their way to get water from a cleaner tasting well that was relatively far from their houses. Too bad the excrement from a nearby cesspool was contaminating it.

  37. 37
    Marmot says:

    @Scotian: That reminds me of my own: “Never ascribe to intent what can be explained by stupidity.”

  38. 38
    Yarrow says:

    @Mnemosyne: Did you ever finish your FODMAP testing?

  39. 39
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    That Source system sounds very interesting and could have great applications for areas that lack access to fresh drinking water (like drought/arid conditions and contaminated sources of water). It’s price tag is an obstacle though. It should be subsidized. Would such a system work effectively in drought/arid conditions?

    In a way, Source could be used, not to combat Global Warming directly, but lessen it’s effects.

  40. 40
    Mnemosyne says:


    But would it be more cost effective than distributing bottled water while the pipes are dug up and replaced? It’s going to take several years, maybe a decade, to switch out all the pipes, and in the meantime people need drinking water.

  41. 41
    Mnemosyne says:


    No, I messed up my knee and couldn’t keep up with all the cooking. 😢 But I definitely determined that have issues with wheat, onions, and garlic, which are all in the same FODMAP family. Phooey.

  42. 42
    Ruckus says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s impossible to estimate the possible level of human stupidity. It has the same properties as conservatism, if it wasn’t stupid enough, you weren’t trying hard enough. Hence the sayings, “Hold my beer!” and “Watch this!”
    What really amazes me is that people seem to be actively working at becoming, less intelligent, as if being intelligent is a bad thing, as if actually trying to survive and grow is wrong.

  43. 43
    Marmot says:

    @Mnemosyne: I still doubt it —you’d need to me ale into account the cost of Source filters, energy use, maintenance and breakdowns. But hey! It might get close!

  44. 44
    Marmot says:

    @Marmot: oops. Should read “you’d need to take into account…”

  45. 45
    Mart says:

    @Mnemosyne: My understanding is the lead is primarily in the lead in from the city valve to the house. Prior water treatment let a hard film form over the lead. New improved tretment scoured the film off.

  46. 46
    Yarrow says:

    @Mnemosyne: That’s too bad that you couldn’t finish. I guess you like wheat, onions and garlic? That’s a bummer that they cause a problem. Did you determine whether or not it makes a difference if the onions and garlic are cooked or raw? I know some people can have cooked but not raw.

  47. 47
    sigaba says:

    Anybody remember the old Oregon Trail video game? And how, somewhere past Fort Laramie, everybody in your wagon started dying of dysentery?

  48. 48
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    Sounds like the background of Idiocracy.

  49. 49
    Luthe says:

    If New Yorkers start going up into the Catskills and Adirondacks to participate in this nonsense, I will laugh my ass off. NYC is one of the largest landowners in New York State because they want to protect the watershed that provides the city with its water, a watershed which surprise! surprise! consists of large portions of the Catskills and Adirondacks. (This is also why NYC tap water is of extremely good quality and anyone who tells you different is a moron.)

  50. 50
    chris says:

    @Marmot: Hanlon’s Razor.

    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

  51. 51
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    I remember. Used to play around with it all the time in the computer lab at my elementary school. My wagon would usually capsize when I tried to ford a river instead of paying a toll to use a ferry. Had no idea what I was doing.

    A newer addition was released a few years ago that I bought. I always picked my profession to be a doctor, packed as much food/supplies as I could, and picked early spring to set off to Oregon. Made it every time.

  52. 52
    Yutsano says:

    @Mnemosyne: Even if so, nahgunnahappen with the current psychopaths in Lansing. Snyder MIGHT go for it if it makes a Republican donor get even more wealth, but otherwise it’s a mom-starter.

  53. 53
    Mike J says:


    Here’s a random question for the science folks before I wander off to start cooking: could something like the Source system be helpful in Flint to provide unleaded drinking water since it sounds like all of the city’s pipes will have to be replaced to remove the lead from the city-piped water?

    Not making 10 liters a day. That’s nothing. Desalinators for small ocean going boats will do 10 gallons (~40 liters) per hour (typically run for a few hours every few days).

  54. 54
    Marmot says:

    @chris: Yes! Didn’t mean to imply I invented it. But man is it useful!

  55. 55
    bluefish says:

    Killer last paragraph. So agree.

  56. 56
    Gunga Dean says:

    They’re probably all gluten free anti-vaxers, too

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:


    On the opposite side, you have to take into account the cost of purchasing the bottled water, trucking it to the distribution centers, paying city employees to distribute it, disposing of the bottles, etc. None of that is free. So the question is, which of the two things is more cost-effective when city water is unsafe to drink and will be for several more years to come?

  58. 58
    jeffreyw says:

    They need to start selling water from peat bogs. I heard they uncovered a pig that drowned in one 1000 years ago and was revived when the air hit him. He died shortly after due to roasting. Tasted great! err… I heard he did, from the friend of a guy I knew in the Army. Hoo-AH!

  59. 59
    proportionwheel says:

    @Mnemosyne: The Source is, as far as I can tell, a big dehumidifier. Works by condensing water from the air, using a lot of energy to refrigerate the condenser. Can’t work if the air is dry, or the ambient temperature low. It’s far more efficient to truck in bottled water.

  60. 60
    geg6 says:

    This obviously comes from the same stupidity as the anti-vax movement. I hope they all get poisoned and die. No loss to the world with them gone.

  61. 61
    Baud says:

    As my good friends, you have an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of Baud’s Bottled Air®️. Please submit your investment in bitcoins, please.

  62. 62
    Cermet says:

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷: Uh, no it would be totally useless in any real situation on a cost bases – that system uses energy and a lot of it (its a dehumidifier and it better have filters (the water off coils will also be very dirty if the air isn’t ultra clean; filters need to be replaced often); total energy cost will be more then if a truck brings in far larger bottles of water. Then add the cost and repairs to piece of junk (will break/wear out at some point and then, no water.)

  63. 63
    chris says:

    @Marmot: Just put it up for your delectation.

  64. 64
    Ruckus says:

    @patrick II:
    Most of the water than you purchase in stores is local water, filtered and bottled not that far away as the cost to truck water to far is huge. Those 5 gallon glass bottles that used to be in every office/company were replaced with plastic years ago because the glass bottles were far too heavy and they couldn’t carry enough water on any one truck to justify the price of delivery and the delivery person would have to make twice as many trips walking from truck to drop off. I know this because our company made some of the first molds for those plastic bottles in the LA area.

  65. 65
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka The Hope of the Universe) 🗳 🌷 says:

    I think the most important question is related to cost effectiveness: how many gallons/liters will such a system produce in such a time. The article cites Zero Mass. They claim that 10 liters/per day could be produced and 60 liters stored. The other is will that rate be sufficient to keep up with demand.

    Based on what other commenters are saying, I’m going to say no.

  66. 66
    Cermet says:

    @Mart: I read that the ‘cheaper’ water source they switched to was acidic and corroded away the protective mineral layers that prevented the lead from getting into the water. They switched back but the pipes with lead are clean – takes a while for the minerals to re-deposit. But the right-winger can point to how they saved the city money by using the cheaper water source (that others had raised this alarm but where ignored.) That is what I read about the issue.

  67. 67
    mike in dc says:

    Bottled water was the single greatest triumph of Marketing ever. Buying something that’s already either free or nearly free.

  68. 68
    Jay Noble says:

    The Source System is straight out of Frank Herbert’s Dune series. I’ve seen some scathing reviews of the Source and similar things going on about the cost and such limited water production. All of them ignore the whole point is you get clean water in limited amounts or you get unusable water or zero water.

    Here in my neck of the woods, I’m drinking Ogala Aquifer water on tap that sadly has gone down in quality over the last 50 years. Irrigation and fertilization have not been kind.

  69. 69
    Thoughtful David says:

    I think this is related to the idea that the drinker is “smarter” than the “experts.”
    It also reminds of Uber/AirBNB and their ilk. Do people actually not know why taxi companies and hotels are regulated? Go live in a remote part of a developing country and you’ll discover why you don’t get into any old car that offers to give you a ride, or stay just in anyone’s offer of lodging, or drink “raw water.”

  70. 70
    oatler. says:

    We live in a country where everything wrong with our water supply is the fault of Evil Hippies. Let’s not even think of Nestle buying and destroying all the water tables.

  71. 71
    Chip Daniels says:

    What makes this alarming rather than amusing is the underlying theme that socialized municipal water is somehow inferior to any other sort.
    Once that notion is planted in people’s heads, it becomes much easier to privatize what should be a common resource.

  72. 72
    Ruckus says:

    @Mike J:
    On the DDG I was stationed on the distillers could not make enough water for the boilers, food and laundry/showers. Guess what got cut? But the guys on our crew responsible for making water talked to another ships crew and found out that the manuals were all basackwards and showed them how to make more. Now we had so much fresh water that we were pumping it overboard by at least hundreds of gallons a day. Each of those flash distillers (there were 2 for a ship with 4 boilers and 300 men) was a cube about 3 foot on a side.

  73. 73
    germy says:

    I remember Jerry Seinfeld calling this “the age of constant hydration.” People have been convinced it’s necessary to consume multiple bottled waters in order to maintain optimum health. The bottled water companies planted all sorts of stories in the magazines a few decades ago.

    Also, now I see lots of pharmaceutical commercials for medicines to treat overactive bladder.

  74. 74
    PIGL says:

    @Yarrow: the so-called “horseshoe theory” is offensive bullshit, designed to discredit any form of leftist thinking. Propaganda, really. The common denominator between the fundie homeschoolers and the twits you call “lefties” is woo.

  75. 75
    Ruckus says:

    @Chip Daniels:
    Money is not the root of all evil, but it is how one pays for it.

  76. 76
    JR says:

    People realize that the atmosphere around their homes — particularly in places like Denver, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh — is loaded with pollutants, right?

  77. 77
    germy says:


    if you’re cutting out “gluten” but still eating garlic and onions, you’re just going to keep having problems with IBS.

    I was having all sorts of digestive problems until I started drinking unsweetened kefir. Anecdotal, I know…

  78. 78
    Roger Moore says:

    People in Flint would probably be better off investing in some kind of water purification system that could remove the lead from their water. Of course, if they could afford that, they could probably afford to have their water lateral replaced and AFAIK it’s the water laterals rather than the mains that are the main problem.

  79. 79
    Mike J says:

    @Ruckus: I’ve been on a DDG in port and a LPD for the ship parade into Seafair. Never long enough to worry about water supply, and all my dad’s stories are about downwind cat shots.

    Navy ships are marvels of engineering though. Even if you strip away the weapons and sensors and comms, the stuff the makes it a ship are just so far ahead of anything else on the water.

  80. 80
    oatler. says:

    @Ruckus: @Ruckus: Tell me about it, my Evil bill is due Tuesday!

  81. 81
    Ruckus says:

    Even worse is that all the pharm commercials are for things that you need a Dr prescription for. So you go to your doc, complain about a problem you probably don’t have, to get a prescription you don’t need. All that propaganda to sell you something that you can’t directly purchase and probably don’t need in the first place. So not only is the selling of the drug wrong but the taking up of doctors time and testing just so that you can purchase it screws up real medicine and it’s availability.

  82. 82
    Robert Sneddon says:

    Someone I know likes unpasteurised milk and cheese. The number of times he’s been gut-sick is a lot more than me and others who prefer pasteurised milk and its products.

    “Tastes great, not many dead.”

  83. 83
    B.B.A. says:

    @Luthe: NYC tap water is what I drank growing up. To this day, other cities’ water just doesn’t taste right. (I lived in Scarsdale, which is right by the aqueduct and buys its water from the NYC system. If it’s good enough for us rich jerks, it’s good enough for anyone.)

  84. 84
    germy says:

    @Ruckus: I’m glad they’re forced to recite the litany of potential lethal side effects, although I suspect if this administration continues much longer that rule will be dropped.

    How many countries have advertisements for prescription medicine? I think the U.S. and maybe one other…

  85. 85
    laura says:

    @trollhattan: “paleo diet”?
    Slowly, I turned. . . . step by step.
    Swear to dog the paleo diet irks me to no end. I’m sticking with the child and grandchild of the depression. Cook and eat what you can find in season and afford. Make extra and share it with those souls who could use a home cooked meal.

    True story, my grandparents grew up in San Francisco and as young married couples do, they go dancing at the Palace Hotel’s Garden Court every Saturday night. Come Monday, she’d hock his suit to Sauly and buy the weeks groceries. On payday friday, get the suit out of hock for the weekend. The dancing stopped in the early 30’s, but the scratch cooking and make-do soup endured.

  86. 86
    Roger Moore says:


    This is also why NYC tap water is of extremely good quality and anyone who tells you different is a moron.

    I think it’s more accurate to say that NYC municipal water is of very good quality. It’s entirely possible that what’s coming out of the tap in some places is much worse because of the plumbing in between.

  87. 87
    Roger Moore says:

    @Robert Sneddon:
    There’s a big difference between unpasteurized milk and unpasteurized cheese. Cheese has been inoculated with all kinds of beneficial microorganisms and been carefully crafted and stored under conditions designed to help them outcompete the harmful ones. That means cheese that’s been aged for more than a couple of months and hasn’t gone obviously bad is fine, and even the very conservative safety people at FDA agree. Unpasteurized milk can be reasonably safe if the people preparing it are very careful, but unless you’re doing it yourself it’s very hard to know for sure that’s happening.

  88. 88
    Ruckus says:

    @Robert Sneddon:
    I went to school with a fellow whose family owned a dairy and sold raw milk in the LA area. Never did understand the concept of food that’s so pure and yet it should be allowed to contain deadly toxins and sold anyway.

  89. 89
    Ruckus says:

    I certainly recognize free speech. But free speech is not totally unregulated speech. There are many examples that are illegal, inciting a riot for example. The concept is the same for guns. The words well regulated are right in there.
    So my concept is that pharmaceuticals should not be advertised. The only people it helps are the people selling the drugs and I put forth the concept that this advertising is tantamount to theft. At the very least they are stealing time from a health care system that has very little to spare. At the worst they are stealing heath from those who can afford it least. It’s not like your doctor is not inundated with drug salesmen and their bullshit. I had a doc in the 70s that would give me samples that drug companies handed him by the box full so I didn’t have to purchase them and I also knew someone who made very decent money and had a very nice expense account traveling to places and giving lectures to docs who would take holidays in places like Fuji and write off the entire trip because they went to an hour lecture.

  90. 90
    Mnemosyne says:


    Your gut bacteria had probably been decimated by antibiotics. Kefir has tons of friendly bacteria to help take their place.

  91. 91
    JGabriel says:

    Cheryl Rofer @ Top:

    The thinking seems to be part of the general desire to get away from the ordinary and brand oneself as special …

    I’ve always been puzzled by the attempt to differentiate oneself by purchasing mass-produced items and/or doing something everyone else seems to be doing (like getting a tattoo).

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    Betsy says:

    @Roger Moore: Care and sanitation cannot prevent raw milk from being unsafe. Not unless every batch is tested for everything. Raw milk is not safe to drink.

  93. 93
    Betsy says:

    @JGabriel: you said it.

  94. 94
    Steeplejack says:


    Curated nonconformity™.

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    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Roger Moore: When unpasteurised cheese goes wrong it kills people but luckily since it’s a faddish thing there’s not usually many dead bodies (although the ratio of customers to corpses can be quite high). Ageing is meant to reduce or eliminate E. coli but Listeria seems to be the culprit in the two deaths from eating Vulto Creamery artisanal cheese in 2016 and 2017 (a bunch more people were hospitalised but survived).

    We had a raw-sheeps-milk cheese producer here in Scotland that had to go through the High Court to get permission to sell what they made. Since then they’ve fought battles with Food Standards Scotland amid claims of E. Coli being detected in their raw-milk products and a possible link to the death of a three-year-old girl.

  96. 96
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Ruckus: My acquaintance gets around the “can’t buy raw milk” rules by owning part of a cow. He shares the milk cow with a number of other people and families who get their raw milk from the source, so to speak. They don’t pay for the milk per se and it’s not illegal to consume the product of an animal you own yourself.

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    Alex says:

    There’s also a part of the article about expensive condenser systems for drinking water (sounds very Dune). I have a dehumidifier that fills up every week—maybe I shouldn’t just pour it down the drain if I could sell it to suckers.

  98. 98
    Marcia says:

    @Yarrow: I’ve seen people try to debunk the horseshoe theory. They’ve never met a fanatical atheist or any of the Bernsteins. Fanatics speak different dialects but the same basic language.

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