The entire POINT of sanitation is to have clean water.

Today’s exercise in applied Darwinism comes from the apparent spread — in much the way that, say, cholera spreads — of the fad of drinking ‘raw’ water. Or ‘living’ water.  Or ‘we didn’t do anything to filter this stuff’ water. Heck, they want the organic goop still in it:

What adherents share is a wariness of tap water, particularly the fluoride added to it and the lead pipes that some of it passes through. They contend that the wrong kind of filtration removes beneficial minerals. Even traditional bottled spring water is treated with ultraviolet light or ozone gas and passed through filters to remove algae. That, they say, kills healthful bacteria — “probiotics” in raw-water parlance.

It also kills any number of parasites and bacteria. Including the dangerous ones that cause diseases like cholera and dysentery: both of which reproduce by giving you violent diarrhea, and then counting on the fact that you don’t wash your hands before you use them to touch somebody else. Somebody else like me, which is why I request that any person who regularly uses raw water be required to dye their skin mauve. I figure as long as I know to keep twenty feet away from a plague vector, I’ll probably be safe.

Ach. Ten thousand years of civilization, just to get to the point where it’s safer to drink water than beer, and now we’ve got people who think that it’s all a plot. God help us all.

Moe Lane

PS: No, blue is for the people who won’t vaccinate their kids. Geez, I guess that we’re going to need to have a color chart for this, huh?


  • nicklevi86 says:

    Dammit. We’ll just have to stick to beer again.

  • junior says:

    Only a society as safe and healthy as ours can produce people so utterly and completely stupid.

    • Jeff Weimer says:


    • Luke says:

      Silly, not stupid.
      They aren’t increasing their risk by a significant amount. As I noted below, what they’re doing was the height of sanitation less than a century ago.
      And the water may well taste batter (since the EPA hasn’t figured out how to regulate trace minerals out of actual spring water under the precautionary principle). For example, trace amounts of lead makes water taste sweet. (Think about that the next time you travel through a town named Sweetwater.)
      With all that said…
      How insulated are we as a society that they’re going to these lengths to touch something “real”?
      And how removed are we from actual risk that we recoil from such a insignificant increase?

  • Jeff Weimer says:

    If they want probiotics, there’s plenty of places they can get them, without screwing everyone else.

  • acat says:

    Civilization was nice while it lasted.
    Sadly, we took safety too far .. and we skimped too much on education.
    Eh. Time to start looking for a proper piece of land for a ‘mountain fortress library’ .. because the only way to rebuild this stuff will be with, you know, *knowledge* .. and books are way more durable than pixels.

  • 1_rick says:

    Are we sure this is actually a thing, and not either an elaborate 4chan-style prank, or one of those “the next big things” the NYTimes likes to report on, that are only being done by like 3 people?

  • Luke says:

    Water coming straight from a spring should be fine. It’s no different than water coming straight from a well.

    • Brian Swisher says:

      One word on that. Giardia.

    • Jim in Virginia says:

      Because water that travels through the ground is magically filtered and purified of all dangerous bacteria and viruses, leaving only the beneficial ones.

      • Luke says:

        WordPress ate my earlier response, so I’ll hit both at the same time.
        Eh, I’ve had to empty a bottle of bleach down the well twice in 30 years. Both episodes had precipitating factors. The filtration of soil and rock isn’t magical, but it’s pretty darned good.
        I’ll freely admit that Geological Engineering 409 (Groundwater) was the bane of my existence in college, but I did learn a thing or two. I’ve also spent a majority of my life getting water from rural wells, and a fair bit getting it from springs.
        The drama surrounding this is completely overblown.
        Not even a century ago, the height of civilized sanitation was to fire up the Model-A, drive down to the spring, fill up a couple of barrels with fresh water, bring them home, and dump them into the cistern.
        These people are doing the equivalent, but with added refrigeration.
        As to giardia, seriously? I’m familiar with beaver fever, but it isn’t a mysterious or magical affliction.
        Don’t drink standing water, or within an indeterminate stretch (many factors involved) downstream from standing water. Follow that basic advice, and you’ve mostly eliminated the risk from that part bug. You’re simply not going to get it from a spring bubbling forth from the earth.

        • Moe_Lane says:

          I think that it’s the part where they started talking about how fluoride is gonna kill us all that has people flicking on certain filters.

          • Luke says:

            Heh. I didn’t even notice.
            Hey, I grew up in an area settled by bummers, rebs not included in the general amnesty (or who refused to swallow the dog), and Mormons. All of which had lots of reasons to distrust the federal government.
            Which was followed by a succession of territorial governors absconding with the public treasury.
            Then two rounds of martial law. (The feds were the good guys, and the WFM and Wobblies unquestionably the bad, but martial law still sucks.)
            Add some local hot springs so florinated that they actually precipitate flourite crystals (with predictable consequences for anyone desperate or stupid enough to drink from them)…
            Being blase about the government unilaterally deciding “this is a great idea! Let’s impose it on everyone!” was really much more of a fringe position than the alternative.

  • qixlqatl says:

    Okay, couple of countering points here: I grew up in my relatively rural area regularly drinking from the flowing streams hereabout, with never any noticeable ill effect. Said area is just a few miles from Warm Springs, Ga. (home of “The Little White House” of FDR fame etc) and there a sewer main has recently overflowed into the famous(?) springs, effect at this point unknown. Yay, government?

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