The Visual Water Dictionary: Bank Stability

Confused about wonky water terms? No prob! The Visual Water Dictionary attempts to cut confusion on ambiguous water terminology with easy visual references.

Today’s Term: Bank Stability

Bank Stability refers to the conditions and properties of a river or stream bank that either resist or counteract erosion,  such as water flow, type of soil, trees and vegetation cover.Some warning signs of poor bank stability include steep banks, exposed soil, soil that has fallen into the stream, leaning trees and exposed intrastructure.

Visible signs of poor bank stability (via trailvoice on flickr)

Often confused with…

No credit for you when when bank stability is eroding. (via sameold2008 on Flickr)

Bank Stability (in the financial sector) refers to the conditions and properties of a financial institution that either gain or erode capital (i.e., your money/life savings.) Some warning signs of poor bank stability in the financial sector include soiled pants,  steep losses, fallen investments, leaning politicians and exposed fraud and criminal mischief.

Flash flood warning sign Witten, Germany

Stick Figures in Agony on Water Warning Signs

The use of pictures and visual international symbols on signage–such as cartoons, stick figures and the ubiquitous red circle-slash–have eased some of the challenges of communicating across language barriers. Even on signage, though, our peppy, positive-reinforcement culture frowns on warning sign fear-mongering. Too bad, because terror is still a powerful motivator for deterring dangerous and stupid behavior! These scary signs and global stick figures in water jeopardy are trying to get the (mixed!) messages out! Read more

h2o mp3: Dope in the Water – Steve Anderson

We’re tickled to present you with a world premiere of sorts! The parody song “Dope In the Water” (sung to the tune of “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple) was written and performed by Steve Anderson, Water Resources Analyst at Clean Water Services, Portland, Oregon. This is of course a timely issue since the release of the 2008 Associated Press study that claims at least 41 million Americans may be getting a bonus of drugs and pharmaceuticals in their water supply.

Steve Anderson

The song (which is awesomely hysterical, in my opinion!) came to the fore as part of a forum discussion about the use of humor in public communications. The bottom line: no clear consensus. Some communications professionals believe in the power of humor to communicate, some are mildly uncomfortable with the risk and others believe it is often misleading to a misinformed public.

I think everyone knows where I stand! As I wrote on the discussion thread,

I think the point of the song is to change behavior and to promote the safe disposal of pharmaceuticals, which in turn, reduces the treatment burdens. This is the part that the public can control, and thus, an effective message to send.

So thanks, Steve, and we hope lots of people are humming this when they refrain from bad habits that add “Dope in the Water!”

Play the track

Download Dope in the Water by Steve Anderson (mp3)

Lyrics

We flush them down our toilets
We wash ‘em down the drain
We take ‘em when we feel bad
We take ‘em for the pain
They come to us in the sewers
We’d treat ‘em all but we can’t
When they show up at the headworks
They pass right through the treatment plant

Dope in the water
Hormones in the creek
Dope in the water

And what about them birth control pills?
At the outfall where the effluent swirls
Makin’ changes in the wildlife
Little boy fish look a lot like girls
And then we have our Prozac
Discharged by the very best
Don’t know how the fish like that
At least I guess they’re not depressed

Dope in the water
Hormones in the creek
Dope in the water

My coffee in the morning
Can keep a fish awake at night
Painkillers might make ‘em feel good
But you know it just ain’t right
Cosmetics and perfumes, well
Just add to this witch’s brew
It’s high time to figure it out
Just what the hell this stuff can do

Dope in the water
Hormones in the creek
Dope in the water

The Value of Water, Explained by Two Grannies

Those witty folks at Yorkshire Water UK are at it again, with time with a kooky campaign centered on two thrifty Grannies. “Edna and Mary” urge us to “Look ‘ow much you get for your money!” and are backed by a spot on the telly, their own corner of “t’interweb,” and of course, Twitter and Facebook.

It’s a wide stream of slapstick silliness surrounding know-it-all Edna and disheveled Mary. But grounding it all is the fact that Grannies everywhere will definitely be paying a lot more for water in the future. It’s no joke that many people don’t comprehend the huge (and escalating) costs and complex infrastructure required to deliver the cheap, clean tap water we take for granted. From the video’s YouTube page,

Research has highlighted to us that nearly 40% of our customers don’t know what they get for their money when it comes to their water bill. It’s important to us that our customers understand what they get for their money so we’ve launched this latest campaign to explain where your money goes.

The website is loaded with campy jokes and stereotypical dialogue which sometimes goes a bit too far; despite this, the two frugal frumps are a gateway to a lot of valuble, concise information, like “How do we spend your money?” or “how we collect and treat your water.”

YouTube commenters have quickly piled on with the expected criticisms, mostly on the theme of you’re wasting the public’s money on this stupid campaign and advertising.

A mentor of mine once told me, “If you’re not being criticized, you’re not making progress.” He was right.

Embedded video below or view on YouTube here.

The Devil Made Them Do It!

This could explain the presence of certain contaminants in our water! You can muster your own evil wit to write a wicked caption or ID these frolicking fiends on this 1906 antique postcard. (If you’re tempted, add them in the comments!)

I wonder if “Miss Harris” of “Primley Hill” was properly shocked when she received it; it’s now available to collectors of strange ephemera from cardcow.com for a smidge under twenty bucks (despite the visible $2 price penciled in on the back!)

Finally, Guilt-Free Bottled Water!

Well, this has been a long time coming! Better than recycling or even compostable bottles, new TossNot brand goes further with a fully edible bottle! We’ve just finished trying one out, the water was great and the bottle was satisfyingly crunchy in a gelatinous, nail-biting kind of a way!

Shocking Water Revelations via Google Auto-Suggest

I’m not sure if Google’s auto-suggest feature is miraculous, intuitive, creepy, or all three! How’s it work? From Google Support we get this uncomfortably vague explanation:

As you type, Google Suggest communicates with Google and comes back with the suggestions we show. If you’re signed in to your Google Account and have Web History enabled, suggestions are drawn from searches you’ve done, searches done by users all over the world, sites in our search index, and ads in our advertising network.

Even if we don’t understand how the miraculous/intuitive/creepy process works, we can still have a rousing snickerfest just seeing what it will come up with.


For example, we all want water, but has anyone ever been thoughtful enough to ask water what IT wants? And how do we know if it desires a tropical storm or a fruity rum drink?)


Educators, see below: no wonder our young people are so ignorant of water matters. They’re not being properly taught with thirst analysis methods!


While the smell of water may vary, it apparently smells universally BAD.


Water, the gold-standard of vomit chasers?


And despite the frenetic World Water Week info blitz, not a WORD about bears! And what about the turtles and whales, huh? What about THEM!?


Ugh, too much of a good thing! If you’ll pardon me, I’m not feeling quite myself.