h2o mp3: Kansas City Water (Live) – Jewel

singer-songwriter JewelYou likely know singer-songwriter Jewel for her impressive musical talent; many also know her as a champion for water issues. During her June 2010 concert in Kansas City (I didn’t get to go!) she and collaborator Steve Poltz wrote and performed an exclusive song about Kansas City’s fine tap water (and barbeque!) and lucky for us, I’ve come across an mp3!

While you’re listening, check out Project Clean Water, a foundation that Jewel established in 1997 that aims to improve the quality of life for millions of people by helping to provide clean water on a global scale. That’s music to our ears! According to her official website, she became interested in water issues when…

I was 18 and lived in my car. I had sick kidneys and had to drink 2 gallons of purified water a day. I could not afford to buy much bottled water, and it dawned on me that if it was this hard to get clean drinking water in the United States, then it was probably a huge global issue. Boy, was I right.

Jewel Kansas City Tap Water (Live)

Lyrics:
If I was gonna have a glass of tap water
Where would it be do you suppose
Maybe St. Louis or old Chicago
I have to say that the answer is no
City of Fountains
City of Chiefs
City of Royals
City of Beef (?)
KC water taste like Champagne
Kansas City, Paris of the Plains

Water Tower Graffiti: If you can’t beat ’em join ’em

Painting class numbers on Fallbrook CA water tower

Work begins to drop the zero and add the one. Photo by Tom Pfingsten for the North County Times

Why can’t we all just get along? Rather than stir up conflict with naturally-rambunctious teens, perhaps more authorities should take a cue from Fallbrook, California. There, for more than three decades, the Fallbrook water utility has avoided trouble with potential teen water-tower defacers in what has become an annual ritual, painting the numbers of the current high school graduating class on the Rattlesnake Water Tower. (Sidenote, the tower was supposedly named in honor of the hundreds of rattlesnakes discovered as it was built.)

The annual tradition is rooted in a bit of youth mayhem that began 1974, according to this Fallbrook Trivia page:

One night in June of 1974, members of the senior class snuck up to the water tower and painted a big “74” on it. Shortly thereafter it was painted over by water district. Not to be outdone, the class of ’75 took their turn at the water tank the following year. To the chagrin of the water district, it became a tradition for all graduating classes to paint the year of their class on the tank.

It was a hassle and I’m sure, more than a little expense for the water district to keep painting over the “Graffiti” every year. Eventually, they gave in and just began painting the number of the next graduating class themselves. A tradition that continues today.

Fallbrook Class of 2011, your time has come at last! From a story in nctimes.com, as this school year begins the zero has now been changed to a 1:

Compared to previous years, like the turn of the century in 2000, when two nines became two zeroes, Tuesday’s assignment was easy —- the district only had to convert the second digit, a zero, into a one.

In an interesting side story, the organizers of the Class of 1989 10th Reunion pulled off a spectacular nostaligia-fest for classmates by repainting the tower in their class numbers just for their reunion weekend. Now that’s a superb party decoration! Photos of the entire merry process can be viewed here.

Water Tower Before and After: Making the memories real for the Class of 1989 Ten Year Reunion

No Swill, All Spill: Toyota’s Glass of Water Campaign

Huh? I’ll file “A Glass of  Water” under the latest entry in the bloated category of silly iPhone marketing apps. To participate in this Toyota stunt, you’ll need either a vivid imagination or an iPhone ( which will be between 18% and 28% of you smartphone users depending on where in the civilized world you live).

A Glass of Water is an initiative from Toyota Sweden which asks us to drive as if we had a glass of water perched on our dashboard; in this way, we should be able to cut our fuel consumption by 10%.

Our iPhone app – ”A Glass of Water” records your driving distance, time, fuel consumption and water spilled. After each drive you can analyse your results and see on a map where you can improve your driving for the future. The results are automatically uploaded to this website and compared to other participants. You can of course participate in the challenge without the iPhone app as well.

Because I am (by choice) iPhone-less, I’ll have to rely on my imagination! Shall I just use the real thing? Well, no, according to the website:

No, spilling water on your dashboard can of course be unsafe, so we do advice you to take precautions. The important thing is that you apply the principles of driving with a glass of water. You can do this by driving with our iPhone app, or simply imagining a glass of water on your dashboard while driving.

I don’t think I can make it out of my driveway without upending my virtual glass. However, I’m sure there’s an app for that!

The Phattest Water Butt of All

It should surprise no one (but delight everyone) that some clever person has produced a water butt in the shape of a butt. (Note for the non-Brits: Water Butt = Rain Barrel).

What really makes the smartly-named “Butt Butt” a standout, though, is the wicked tramp-stamp tattoo decoration! Well done, chap! Just a bit unfortunate on the spigot placement, though. Tell me, how much would it cost to haul Butt to the US?

Does this water butt make me look phat?

Why, yes it does, because as you surely know by now, collecting rainwater for garden re-use in “water butts” (known as “rain barrels” here in the US) is a smooth conservation move.  Therefore, it’s time to get off your butt and get your own butt installed, and this free guide from Dobbies.com is in fact, pretty phat!

While I was browsing their site I tried hard to dispel the sophomoric giggles about the “butt” double-entendre, but of course I could not. One thing I learned besides water harvesting tips: cropping is a powerful tool in that can be used for nefarious purposes in the hands of the wrong person!

Watch out for the power of the crop tool

Power Toilets: Because we’re all the same inside (the restroom)

This proves even the most powerful people can’t feel secure anywhere! Working from secret photos taken of what must be one of the world’s most closely-guarded loos, the Danish group SUPERFLEX has created the installation Power Toilets, which lets us envision the movements of global movers and shakers. We can see that the decor is quite minimalist; surprising (or maybe not!)

From the SUPERFLEX website,

Power Toilets is a copy of the toilets used by the members of the UN Security Council in the UN Headquarter, New York. The UN building was the result of the collaborative efforts of a multinational team of leading architects. When completed in 1952, it stood as a symbol of unity after the Second World War and has since hosted many historic aspirations, speeches, debates and gatherings of world leaders.

Based on photos taken secretly, the interior of the Power Toilets is identical in detail to that of the sanitary facilities at one of the most secure buildings in the world. Bathers and canoeists at the Park van Luna are now free to use the same toilets as the world’s most powerful leaders. The interior design is typical to the 1950’s including a lot of marble, steel and the iconic American Standard appliances. The exterior has a neutral nondescript shape like it was cut out of the UN-building in New York and moved intact to this new development in Noord-Holland.

power toilets public art by SUPERFLEX: urinals

power toilets public art by superflex washbasins, sinks

Shut your mouth and get your Speedos

From the offbeat water conservation tipline: The Vienna, Austria Council is getting pretty fed up with constantly refilling their swimming pools because people keep swallowing the water while men insist on plunging in and out of the pool in their water-sucking Bermuda shorts! And they’re requesting that it stops. Immediately. Thank you. From Telegraph.co.uk,

Swimmers in Austria told to stop swallowing water: A budget-conscious council in Austria has requested that swimmers stop swallowing water in a bid to save money.

According to a survey carried out by managers at Vienna’s 18 public swimming pools bathers are drinking 5,000 litres of chlorinated pool water a day.

Official Martin Kotinsky said: “A lot of water gets taken out in the material every time a swimmer uses the pool and it has to be replaced.” He pointed out that, as well as replacing water, authorities had to spend £20 on chlorine – £1.11 per pool.

The council is also targeting people who wear Bermuda shorts to go bathing. Tests revealed that the average wearer takes 2.5 litres of water with them trapped in their swimwear every time they get out of the pool.

Mr Kotinsky said: “A lot of water gets taken out in the material every time a swimmer climbs in and out. That means that for every 1,000 visits to the pool we lose 2,500 litres of water.”

Thanks to Julie O’Fee for the tip! Photo: “Speedo Blanco” by Incase on Flickr

Water Joke: Little Johnny Talks Water Quality

Little Johnny’s Mama sent him out to the water hole to get some water for cooking dinner. As he was dipping the bucket in, he saw two big, mean, scary eyes staring back at him. Panicked, he dropped the bucket and ran back to the house as fast as he could.

“Where’s my bucket o’ water?” Mama asked.

“I can’t git any water from that water hole, there’s a big, mean ol’ alligator down that water hole!”

“Now don’t you mind that ol’ alligator, Johnny. He’s been there for years, and he’s never hurt no one. Why, he’s probably as scared of you as you are of him!”

“Ohhhh, Mama!” replied Johnny, “If that gator’s as scared of me as I am of him, then that water sure ain’t fit to drink!”

Chart: Summer Suffering in the Midwest

graphjam chart for summer weather heat and humidity

It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity! Oh dear, we’re at it again… instead of producing revenue or creating other things of value, I’m creating more fake charts for our amusement!

So what to do if terrible humidity is a problem? If you’re given humidity, make humi-nade! (Human Aid?!)

The Dew Bank Bottle by Ki-Tae Pak DOES in fact make humi-nade by gathering and collecting dew in desert conditions. The design won a Bronze Prize at the Idea Design Awards 2010 and interestingly, is inspired by a desert-dwelling beetle which procures water by collecting morning dew on its body.

Tap Water is from Heaven, Bottled Water is from Hell

We’ve seen a rash of infographics lately on the evils of bottled water, but www.albinoblacksheep.com stands uncontested as THE BEST one I’ve seen! So guzzle away you bottled water drinkers, it’s good versus evil in this battle. You’re messing with GOD here we can see just where you’re headed!

Update: I’ve found a name to associate with this! This was apparently created by Andrew Kepple. Nice work!