The Visual Water Dictionary: Cake

The Visual Water Dictionary attempts to cut confusion on ambiguous water terminology with easy visual references. (Thanks to Nancy Swartz for suggesting today’s entry!)

Today’s term: Cake

1. In the final stages of wastewater treatment, Cake is the dried material produced when sludge is de-watered. It is usually used as a fertilizer or transported to a landfill.

Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: C-
(points deducted for vile odor and uneasiness about the health implications of land application.)

Dry cake produced from wastewater sludge (Photo:

Often confused with…
2. Cake is a moist and delicious material produced when certain ingredients (including water) are mixed and baked. It is often used in celebrations. Packaging and broken-down ingredients usually end up in landfill.

Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: B-
(Points deducted for caloric count; unlike wastewater cake, this type is less desirable when dry.)

A slice of cake, birthday celebratory type

A slice of cake, birthday celebratory type

 Often confused with…
3. Cake is band from Sacramento, California noted for their dry humor and droll lyrics. This Cake is usually used at parties or on individual iPod players.

Thirsty in Suburbia desirability grade: A
(1994, Cake recorded a song titled You Part the Waters; Cake’s recording studio is solar powered. )

The band Cake

The band Cake

Past entries in the Visual Water Dictionary:
Mixed Liquor

How to Trap Children in the Dark and Lonely Water

Somehow, fear as a motivator has fallen out of favor. Back in the day, though, scaring the tar out of kids was a perfectly acceptable method for keeping them in check. This 70s-era water safety clip from the UK was designed to educate by terror, with a creepy grim-reaper type character lurking in the waterways, ready to “trap showoffs and fools.” I’ll bet this put a damper on waterside playtime for the young Brits of the time!”

h2o mp3: Clear as Water – Una Mas Trio

If you are hosting any sort of gathering this weekend, Clear as Water is guaranteed to help you get the party started. The German group Una Mas Trio describes their music as “latin-boogaloo-driven”  both for listening and for the dance floor and is an intoxicating fusion of latin-world beats, jazz and soul.

The Mo’Horizons Restyle version of Clear as Water is from the March 2009 12″ single.

Free as a bird
Free as the wind
Clear like water
that flows from the mountain

Play the track


Download Clear as Water (Mo’Horizons Restyle)
Low-fi 64 kbps for sampling

Like it? Support the people who make music. Buy this track at iTunes or
Una Mas Trio on MySpace

h2ohhhhhh! Women Say Water Trumps Sex

Yet another enlightening finding in the study of curious gender differences! A new Cooking Light poll finds that women rank gettin’ some water more important that gettin’ some! Via,

New York, NY (August 25, 2009) – Drinking the recommended daily amount of water is more important to women than having enough sex, according to a national survey conducted by Cooking Light magazine. When asked what women’s priorities were in terms of their health and well-being, drinking enough water ranked fifth and sex ranked seventh. Over 1,000 women across the country participated in Cooking Light’s “Women’s Wellness Poll” which surveyed their opinions on healthy living, eating and exercise.

In fact, there were six health and wellness activities that finished ahead of sexy number seven in the “Women’s Wellness Poll.”

1. Getting enough sleep
2. Keeping stress level low
3. Finding time to relax
4. Eating healthfully
5. Drinking the recommended amount of water
6. Finding time to exercise
7. Having enough sex

Sort-of related post:
Behind the Shower Curtain: Steamy Secrets In which Water Pik Corporation researches “What Men and Women Really Think About in the Shower”

Related in a parallel way:
From a report via most people would rather save $50 a week (57 percent) than drop down to the next lowest clothing size (31 percent) or have more sex (6 percent).

Obligatory study methodology stuff for the skeptics:
This report is based on a blind online study conducted among a randomly selected sample of U.S. women age 25+. The data in this report is based on 1020 competed questionnaires. The maximum margin of error is +/- 3% at the 95% confidence level.

Raging Infrastructure

Photo by Editor B on Flickr

Photo by Editor B on Flickr

In Wareham, Massachusetts, vandals opened a fire hydrant in a secluded area Sunday night and flushed about 2 million gallons of water out of the Wareham water system before the breach was discovered,

We’re all numb to big numbers these days, but think about it. 2 MILLION GALLONS. That’s equivalent to 800,000 toilet flushes, or enough water to cover generous toilet flushing for the entire Wareham population for 5 days. (assuming no one pees in the shower.) That’s enough water to fill 40,000 bathtubs, enough for me and my immediate family to luxuriously soak up to our chin-lines every day for more than 20 years.

The story on notes,

[Michael] Martin [water system department superintendent] said the department’s monitoring system indicated that the hydrant, in an unbuilt subdivision, was opened at 10:37 p.m. Water poured out at a rate of about 3,500 gallons per minute until technicians were alerted by an automated control system that the water towers had dropped to an alarm level.

“The control and alarm system worked exactly as designed,” Martin said. “As soon as the alarm went off, our technician was in the office by 4:15.”

As the water level in the towers dropped, the automated system started individual wells at pre-programmed levels to meet demand. By the time the towers hit the alarm set point, all seven wells were running as designed.

Hmmmm. If the system worked exactly as designed, perhaps it’s time for some design refinements! We’d like to believe that a sudden, sustained 3,500 gallons per minute loss might trigger some sort of an alert, well before the point where critical supply levels reached the emergency stage.

Regardless, someone’s going to pay for this not-so-funny prank.

Martin said the incident was reported to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Wareham Police, who are conducting a criminal investigation. The water department also issued an advisory via its Reverse 911 system regarding the discolored water.

Hydrant shenanigans are not uncommon, and I’m reminded of this story from a few years back. From, a water department worker said,

On July 8, 2007 some children from Mayor Daley’s 27th and State Projects opened fire hydrants and splashed water into the cars passing by with open windows, immediately flooding the cars. When attempting to shut down these hydrants, I always attempt to shut down without an incident. This kid pictured, pulled out some “Grills”, put them on his front teeth, and sat on the hydrant. I called for the Chicago Police for back-up and the large crowd dispersed. This Chicago fire hydrant need a “Custodian” safety device to stop millions of gallons of wasted water.

Chicago youth vandalizes cars and fire hydrant simultaneously. 2007 Photo by Patrick McDonough

Chicago youth vandalizes cars and fire hydrant simultaneously. 2007 Photo by Patrick McDonough

Unpolluted Krapjanka, New Slim Bottle

Original photo, NOT retouched or altered!

Today, some marginal ThirstyinSuburbia PR for “Blaifa,” a Macedonian entrepreneur well outside of slick Western marketing networks, the force behind an apparently small business with big dreams of riches to be made in the packaged water business.

Blaifa has listed his bottled water brand KRAPJANKA on, described as “the worldwide B2B marketplace,” and an “Import/Export Business Directory.”

It is possible that, technically, Krapjanka isn’t yet in actual production. That’s OK, though—they have mocked up a conceptual bottle to give prospective customers an idea of what the real deal will look like should discussion and negotiation develop into a deal! (Apparently this brand sports a new, slimmer bottle design. Or more likely, someone was a bit careless with the photoediting scale tool!)

No matter, as the product description clearly states, it comes from an unpolluted region, and it is excellent!

Excellent natural mineral water from the mountain spring in unpolluted region in R.Macedonia, South Europe. Packaging in plastic bottles (0.5 L, 1.5 L and 5 L). Our water is with top – quality and very well balance physicochemical composition. For more information and direct orders, please contact us at …

Krapjanka brand bottled water on

On My Birthday, This Glass was Half Full

Just what I wanted! This is a water glass I got for my birthday that will work for anyone, regardless of their political bent or outlook on life!

Details: each one reminds me of at least one person I know!

Where did they get it? I asked…it’s right here on though it looks here to be marketed for other beverages besides water. ( Not a site I would have thought this sunny-day person would have been browsing!)

h2o mp3: Water – Rose Royce

This vintage funk track is over 30 years old and still awesome. (Check out that spectacular funk guitar around 1:50!) The soundtrack from the movie Car Wash, released in 1976, transformed the young Los Angeles band Rose Royce from unknown to overnight success with four top-10 singles.

This track is not one of the hits, but a lesser known, mostly-instrumental B-side from the 7″ Car Wash single.

Water soothing to your soul in the midst of a hot summer day,
Yea, Water soothing to your soul in the midst of a hot summer day

Play the track


Download the mp3 Water -Rose Royce

Like it? Support the people who make music. This track available only with the full album, available at iTunes or

Still Unaware of Recycling? More Pompous Education

It’s bottled water, Nestle, PR Newswire, Facebooktwitterblogwebsitesocialmediaplan, all wrapped into one. It’s brand-new Re-Source(TM) natural spring water, Nestle’s new greener-than-thou entry into the more-environmentally-aware bottled water market. They’re out to raise our awareness and educate us about recycling! And, we’ve got Whole Foods,, Cradle to Cradle(SM) AND Keep America Beautiful to round out the festive enviro-bandwagon.

Capsulized, what this PR-social media onslaught is all about:

  1. Yet another pricey bottled water (700 ml, $1.69) but in a 25% recycled plastic container focused on “raising consumer awareness about the importance of recycling.”
  2. A sparse and complex system for recycling those bottles at few selected Whole Foods markets. (Initially, 26 in California and Arizona with “goals” for more.)
  3. A stated objective to achieve a 100% recycled Re-Source(TM) container via burdening guilt-laden consumers to return the bottles while “tracking” their efforts via web.
  4. A chump-change (for Nestle, anyway) maximum $200,000 non-profit contribution solely dependent on the tortured efforts of the above-mentioned consumers.

Wow! For those who love bottled water’s convenience, here’s a bottled water that’s actually MORE labor intensive than reusable water bottles! While bottled water has it’s appropriate time and place, WHO would do this? Who would actually buy this water, haul the empties back to their Whole Foods re-source-branded GreenOps(SM) tracking station (if available), register and track their efforts via the web… all for Nestle’s 100% recycled goal, a nickel per bottle for Keep America Beautiful, and a ready supply of overpriced packaged water?

Call me a cynic, say I’m ridiculing a noble effort. The simple truth, as I see it, is: recycling is a third choice behind the higher goals of NO-USE and RE-USE. I don’t believe we should congratulate ourselves on recycling a resource that we didn’t need to consume it in the first place.

Use only what you have to. Re-use whatever you can. Don’t be wasteful. Simple.

UPDATE/AFTERTHOUGHT: For more reading pleasure, awareness and education, check out Waterwired’s post and link earlier this year to the 2008 corporate citizenship report from Nestle Waters North America. (Pretty infographics, judge the content for yourself!)