It’s always a good idea to check your sources


For a while, our cafeteria was trying to sell three-packs of bottled water. A sign proudly announced:

Drink more water: What you should know about H2O

Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Make it easy. Carry a bottle of water when you commute to work or run errands.

This is what I should know about H2O?

"Drink more water": Notice that they didn't specify a target amount. Just drink more.

"Carry a bottle of water when you commute": I should drive with one hand on the wheel and the other hand clutching a bottle of water? Isn't that dangerous?

And who is providing this "helpful" information?

Source: International Bottled Water Association

Hardly an impartial organization.

Comments (35)
  1. Universalis says:

    At my gym they add "for optimum absorption it should be drunk at or just below room temperature".

    1. "Optimum" absorption implies "neither absorbing too much nor absorbing too little". Do they really mean that it is possible to absorb too much of the water you drink?

    2. Come to that, is it possible to absorb less than 100% of the water you drink, irrespective of the temperature? I mean, if you only absorbed 80% of it then the fate of the rest… wouldn’t bear thinking about.

    [Added irony: the notice is posted next to a water cooler that delivers ice-cold water].

    It’s quite true that most of us drink less than they oughter– but the real moral of this is that the human race has an instinct to surround its consumption with prescriptions and proscriptions, and when you don’t have someone like Moses to regulate that instinct for you, it runs riot.

  2. tsrblke says:

    My guess is that the International Bottled Water Association hasn’t read reports on overhydration, AKA Water Intoxication: http://www.healthatoz.com/healthatoz/Atoz/ency/overhydration.jsp.

    A surprising number of so called "health nuts" are mildly at risk for this, as they almost constantly drink water. (when you think about it, if you carry a 32 oz nalgene bottle with you all day, 2 gallons isn’t hard to get to.) Apparently some faternaty inductees haven’t heard about this either. I’ve read of a couple of cases where frats bypass the underage drinking rules of colleges by having inductees chug large amounts of water, increasingly more, to see who can outlast. Inevitably at least one of these kids ends up in the hospital. Thankfully it’s nothing serious.

  3. ToddM says:

    "Thankfully it’s nothing serious."

    tsrblke — were you being sarcastic? The lack of an ascii-smiley made your intentions unclear.

    In case anyone interprets that last comment literally, let’s set the record straight. Overhydration can KILL YOU.

    As an example of a particularly bad situation, overhydration occurs when you are running a race. Sometimes, due to injury, you take a slower pace. However, if you don’t adjust your water intake and continue to hydrate at the same rate as your normal race pace, you may end up overhydrating.

    Next, you finish the race and are very sick — dizzy, nauseous, etc. Unfortunately, you’d look and feel the exact same way if you were dehydrated. If the medical staff are not in tune with your actual condition, they may, in fact, start IV fluids — the LAST thing you need! Why? Because you will die.

    So, kids, stop drinking all of that water — it can be very harmful!

  4. raduking says:

    I don’t think that driving with one hand is dangerous because that would imply that people with only one hand shouldn’t drive and that’s kinda discriminatory…

    and anyway in US you don’t have to worry about shifting gears…

  5. Carlos says:

    "Come to that, is it possible to absorb less than 100% of the water you drink, irrespective of the temperature? I mean, if you only absorbed 80% of it then the fate of the rest… wouldn’t bear thinking about."

    It maybe doesn’t bear thinking about, but it’s the reason your stools aren’t like concrete. Dehydration is a common cause of constipation.

  6. pmuhC says:

    > I should drive with one hand on the wheel and

    >> the other hand clutching a bottle of water?

    >> Isn’t that dangerous?

    It should be safe! After all it seems to me that the people around me on my commute think it is perfectly safe to:

    a) Yak on cell phones.

    b) Put makeup on.

    c) Drink HOT! coffee.

    d) Eat breakfast.

    e) Read newspapers.

    f) Read maps.

    g) Finish getting dressed.

    h) Shave.

    i) Smoke.

    j) Compose lists like this.

  7. Mike Dunn says:

    I tend to drink the better-tasting dihydromonoxide myself. Maybe it’s just an LA thing. See http://www.dhmo.org

  8. Chris says:

    Anthony Andrews is an idiot. It’s not an issue.

  9. boxmonkey says:

    BryanK, in the US it is a constitutional right, not a privelige. However, it is treated as a privelige and getting it treated as a right requires spending a lot of time in the courts.

  10. BryanK says:

    Show me where in the Constitution (or amendments) it says that I have the right to drive, please.

    Thanks.

  11. Derek says:

    "Overhydration" is not a risk normal people need to worry about. It’s an electrolyte imbalance.

    If you’re sweating profusely and drinking lots of water, then you might want to be careful, but if you’re engaging in anything approaching normal drinking behavior, your fine. The only time overhydration is a concern is if you’ve got a preexisting condition which could cause it, or if you’re losing electrolytes rapidly and not replacing them. So if you’re kidneys are messed up, or you’re hopped up on ecstacy and dancing madly, or you’re running a marathon in the desert, be careful. Otherwise, you’re fine. If you’re still concerned, drink a sports drink instead of water and you’ll be fine.

  12. jon says:

    "Show me where in the Constitution (or amendments) it says that I have the right to drive, please. "

    Given the number of people killed by cars, maybe the Second Amendment is applicable?

  13. BryanK says:

    Heh — second amendment. I have to admit, you have got a point… ;-D

  14. Mike Jones says:

    Reminds me of another "fact-based" advertizing campagn.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/10/22/linux_v_windows_security/

  15. Vince P says:

    There are two US Constitutional Amendments which make driving a right and not a privilege.

    Amendment IX:

    "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

    Amendment X:

    "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people"

  16. BryanK says:

    Regarding Amendment 9 — yes, I can see the point there. That may be valid. Maybe I should just go ask a lawyer. :-P

  17. Kiznit says:

    "I don’t think that driving with one hand is dangerous because that would imply that people with only one hand shouldn’t drive and that’s kinda discriminatory… "

    Come on… Just because it’s discriminatory doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous.

  18. Kiznit says:

    "I don’t think that driving with one hand is dangerous because that would imply that people with only one hand shouldn’t drive and that’s kinda discriminatory… "

    Come on… Just because it’s discriminatory doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous. Beside, there is nothing discriminatory here. You don’t make any sense.

  19. Steve says:

    I can’t believe nobody’s yet cited http://www.dhmo.org in this thread.

  20. Adam T says:

    Given the fact how much monetary power the so-called "soft drink" companies have and how aggresively they promote beverages that only consist of water, sugar, CO2 and some artificial color, I don’t think a publicity campaign by an International Bottled Water Association can do much harm. Frankly, I prefer that one to a Santa Claus telling me to drink Coca Cola on Christmas!

    A.

    Ps. My interpretation of "Drink more water" in this context is "Drink more water than Coke, Sprite, Fanta etc." :)

  21. BryanK says:

    raduking — whether or not it’s "discriminatory" has no effect whatsoever on whether it’s "dangerous". (I.e., being discriminatory does not automatically mean it’s not also dangerous.) Besides, there’s no such thing as a "right" to drive; it’s a privilege granted by the government. (Whether that’s actually a good idea or not is a different issue.)

    And it’s not so much that driving with one hand is dangerous (though I think it is at least a *little* more dangerous than 2-handed driving — if you need that second hand suddenly, say when your normal and emergency brakes fail, but you need to stop, so you try to shift into park (which will destroy your transmission, but should at least slow down or stop your car) you’re going to have problems). It’s also that the bottle of water can be a distraction, just like a cellphone can be a distraction.

  22. Chris says:

    Overhydration is *NOT* a concern.

    1 woman who ran a marathon died of it in 2002. This is NOT a concern.

  23. Ross Bemrose says:

    Something that was said earlier has been bugging me, so I’m going to address it now.

    "It’s interesting you left off "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances". Last I checked, Washington, DC was quite a ways away from Florida at the founding of the USA, especially given that most people had at best horses and many only had their feet."

    It sounds to me like you’re trying to combine "the right of the people peaceably to assemble" and "the right of the people… to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" into a single right. As they are worded, they are two separate rights.

    This is important, as on July 29, 1775, the second Continental Congress appointed a Postmaster General, creating the "Post Office Department," now known as the "US Postal Service." (Source: http://www.usps.com/cpim/ftp/pubs/pub100/pub100.htm )

    In short, it has always been possible to petition the government using good old snail mail.

  24. Kuwanger says:

    >Show me where in the Constitution (or amendments) it says that I have the right to drive, please.

    "Congress shall make no law…abridging…the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    Given that it’s illegal to walk on the interstate and there are places where it’s impossible to avoid walking on the interstate to get from point A to B (http://www.walkingman.org/manuscpt.htm and http://www.eco-justice.org/E-040319.asp for references), it’d seem like either the law would have to be changed to allow walking on the interstate or the right to drive would have to be recognized. Of course, the fact that public roads are built solely for cars gives further credence to the claim that it’s a right.

    And before you claim that one could take a plane or a bus, it should be noted that the 1st amendment doesn’t say "it’s okay to abridge the right to assemble because person X should have the money to buy a ticket, and him/her being searched by the government (TSA; federally funded bus passenger screeners possibly coming soon?) is a-okay". And if you want to not buy a ticket but still not get a license, then your only other bet is to get an ultralight (I don’t believe there’s any places where it’s required to get a license for an ultralight aircraft). Of course, good luck actually flying an ultralight across country without violating any laws; I don’t think you could carry enough gas to avoid not landing, and I question if it’s possible to get clearance to land at enough places to make it anywhere you want to go..not to mention that once you *do* get close enough, you might have to walk..and then we’re back to concerns about interstate walking.

  25. BryanK says:

    I thought public roads were built for the army? At least, Rome’s roads were built for their army. And Eisenhower was the president when the U.S. interstate system started (though that in itself is not proof that they were built for the army; it just makes it more likely).

    But regardless, that’s a minor nitpick.

    My major objection is this: It sounds like you’re proposing that the government can’t do anything that might cause me to be unable to make it to a peacable assembly. If that’s true, then shouldn’t the government pay for my gas, too? I mean, if I don’t have enough money to buy enough gas to make it to my peaceful meeting, that’s a problem. By *not* paying for it, they’re abridging that right!

    I don’t believe that "the right of the people peaceably to assemble" includes "the right to make it to any particular assembly that may be <X distance> away". I think it probably means "peaceful assemblies can’t be broken up by the government". Of course, I could be wrong; maybe the courts have ruled that that is a right under the First Amendment. In which case, never mind. ;-)

  26. danielsn says:

    According to wikipedia:

    In addition to being designed to support automobile and heavy truck traffic, interstate highways are also designed for use in military and civil defense operations within the United States, particularly troop movements.

    One potential civil defense use of the Interstate Highway System is for the emergency evacuation of cities in the event of a potential nuclear war. Although this use has never happened, the Interstate Highway System has been used to facilitate evacuations in the face of hurricanes and other natural disasters. An option for maximizing throughput is to reverse the flow of traffic on one side so that all lanes become outbound lanes. This procedure is known as Contraflow, and could be seen in the evacuations of New Orleans, Louisiana and Houston, Texas prior to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, respectively. Several Interstates in the South, including I-16 in Georgia, I-40 in North Carolina, I-65 in Alabama, I-10 & I-59 in Louisiana, and I-59 in Mississippi, are equipped and signed specifically for contraflow, with crossovers inland after major interchanges to distribute much of the traffic. This is however not limited to Interstates; US 49 from Gulfport to Jackson and State Road 528, in Central Florida, have the same setup.

    A widespread but false urban legend states that one out of every five miles of the Interstate highway system must be built straight and flat, so as to be usable by aircraft during times of war.[3] However, the Germans in World War II used the Autobahns for just such a purpose.

  27. Rick C says:

    Driving with one hand *is* dangerous. That’s why some states, like New York, have laws that forbid regular people from using suicide knobs. (How do I know? Had a housemate once with cerebral palsy and a knob on his steering wheel.)

    And frankly, "discriminatory" isn’t a word with a necessarily bad connotation.

  28. Kuwanger says:

    ‘I thought public roads were built for the army? At least, Rome’s roads were built for their army. And Eisenhower was the president when the U.S. interstate system started (though that in itself is not proof that they were built for the army; it just makes it more likely).’

    If they are, in fact, for the federal army, then the federal highway system is clearly in breach of the requirement that army programs not extend beyond two years (the anti-standing army act). Simply put, no power granted to Congress allows it to circumvent those rights clearly specified in the Constitution. It can be further argued, through the 9th and 10th amendments, that even those rights not clarified be covered. In all regards, Congress funding the interstate system (which only allows cars on them) is a violation of peaceful assembly laws because it abridges the ability to peaceful assemble.

    ‘My major objection is this: It sounds like you’re proposing that the government can’t do anything that might cause me to be unable to make it to a peacable assembly. If that’s true, then shouldn’t the government pay for my gas, too? I mean, if I don’t have enough money to buy enough gas to make it to my peaceful meeting, that’s a problem. By *not* paying for it, they’re abridging that right!’

    And by your logic them not feeding you, clothing you, paying for the car and insurance, and driving you, they’re somehow abridging your rights. That’s just silly. Clear you do not understand that there’s a difference between being disallowed from restricting and not contributing. In simple terms, it’s the difference between contributing to an act and tolerating an act. The 1st amendment only covers the latter, not the former. When Congress makes laws that directly enforce the blocking of rights or indirectly do the same (funding a program that violates rights), it’s clearly unConstitutional.

    ‘I don’t believe that "the right of the people peaceably to assemble" includes "the right to make it to any particular assembly that may be <X distance> away". I think it probably means "peaceful assemblies can’t be broken up by the government". Of course, I could be wrong; maybe the courts have ruled that that is a right under the First Amendment. In which case, never mind. ;-)’

    It’s interesting you left off "to petition the Government for a redress of grievances". Last I checked, Washington, DC was quite a ways away from Florida at the founding of the USA, especially given that most people had at best horses and many only had their feet. Further, the text doesn’t say "peaceful assembly". It says "peaceably to assemble". To assemble is for people to come together. Such necessitates travel, be it a short or long distance, depending on just how far away that assembly place is. Even if it said an "assembly", people commit the act "to assemble" to form an assembly.

    So, while it might have been okay (at least pre-14th amendment) for states to buy public land for roads and bar peaceable assemblies–I’d say that’s highly debatable, given that the Constitution also stipulates that it guarantees each state a repulic government, which should mean a respecting of such a fundamental human right as to assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances–there’s no way to twist the Constitution to fund any abridging of peaceable assembly.

    And yes, I read this to mean that the Congress couldn’t put a "top secret" base in the middle of an interstate to control traffic flow. Really, there shouldn’t be any federal land which people cannot stand upon for assembly (there isn’t even a power listed to do such, short of Washington, DC being under federal control; but you’re still back to peaceably assemble). Of course, that might mean the President might have to spend a few days per year with protestors sitting in his office. And if they get roudy, there’s a basis to arrest them (Congress *can* abridge violent assemblies).

    It’s very questionable on what exactly would happen if a lot of people simply lied down on public land, effectively blocking a path. It’s certainly difficult to claim it’s violent. The short term answer would be to simply ignore them and move on to another area. It is, after all, not like there isn’t a eminent domain provision such that Congress couldn’t simply buy land around the protestors to remove congestion problems. But, of course, politicians seem more interested in keeping the economy going since more people seem to vote for politicians that make swift, even illegal, acts to keep the economy going. It is, afterall, primarily about keeping pedestrians off the interstates so they can keep traffic, be it tanks or semis, flowing.

    And I’ll stop now, since I’m babbling.

  29. Michael C. says:

    Bottled water is a joke. Seriously. They’re bottling…. water. I mean, has nobody ever realized what <a href="http://www.evian.com/">Evian</a&gt; is backwards?? C’mon, people! :p

  30. Kuwanger says:

    I have the right to peaceable assemble and the right to petition the government for redress. Therefore, there is the right to peaceable assemble to petition the government fore redress. Just as having a right to speak means one has a right to speak out for/against petitions of the government for redress. You’re right that they’re separate rights. But that only means that the right to peaceable assemble can be used for all sorts of other things, like family gatherings, picnicks, etc.

    You do bring up an interesting point that there’s snail mail, so it’s not absolutely necessary to show up in person, but it’s been demonstrated many times that peaceable assemblies in Washington, DC tend to have a stronger effect on federal politicians. So, you’re right that petition for redress doesn’t necessitate travel; it just gives good reason to peaceably assemble in the US Capital, which makes it seem it was intentional to block travel.

  31. tsrblke says:

    ToddM– I should have been more specific. I was refering specifically to the last cases mentioned about frats. Of the times it’s happened around here (I won’t say where here is, to avoid making the PR team at my school mad) the students aren’t to the serious phase of overhydration yet, thankfully. In other cases yes it’s much more serious and deadly.

  32. Derek says:

    "Clear you do not understand that there’s a difference between being disallowed from restricting and not contributing. In simple terms, it’s the difference between contributing to an act and tolerating an act. The 1st amendment only covers the latter, not the former. When Congress makes laws that directly enforce the blocking of rights or indirectly do the same (funding a program that violates rights), it’s clearly unConstitutional."

    Kuwanger, your reading is far broader than that of the supreme court.

    This:

    "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

    is not the same as this:

    "Anything not forbidden by the constitution is allowed."

    By your reading, it’s unconstitutional for congress to pass laws saying you can’t buy or traffic drugs. Your interpretation effectively forbids congress from making laws at all.

    Besides, this clearly falls under the commerce clause. The supreme court long ago ruled that congress COULD regulate interstate navigation.

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