Start Spreadin’ the News: Codepods

Who can blame New York Citians if they prefer their shrimp on salads and skewers instead of in their drinking water? This is why a loud and collective “Ewwww!” is rising over some recently posted photos of “tiny shrimp” codepods in New York City’s much-praised drinking water. (The issue of codepods has come up before in this blog in the 2009 post “The Codepod Army, Defending your Water). The teeny crustaceans are 1-2 mm in length and feed on mosquito larvae.

The Consumerist helpfully explains that “New York’s water is of such high quality that it isn’t required by the EPA to mechanically filter its H2O, which means you get to gulp down these cute little guys with every glassful.”

Codepods are completely harmless so keep repeating that to yourself as you feast on the fascinating photos. One possible glitch, pointed out by Gizmodo, is that this means NYC’s water might not be kosher. Oy vey!

My Favorite (Unofficial) Water Conservation PSAs

Water conservation messages are usually 60% boring and 40% preachy; here are two from Australia created by The Chardonnay Club that are just 100% funny. As you might guess, they are not officially sanctioned and, as one video notes in the endframe, “Never ever will be authorized by the Queensland Government Brisbane.” Maybe that’s why I love them!

The first is a parody of government psa spots that urge citizens to report friends & neighbors for water violations. Just call 1-800-DOBBER (For the non-Australians, a dobber is what we’d call a snitch or tattletale.)

“Warren’s Water Warehouse”  is a hysterical take-off on those low-brow, low-fi clearance sale spots we’re all so fond of…

Itty-Bitty Baths Inspire Daft Designs

While urban dwellers enjoy ready access to city amenities, a trade-off is the distinctly urban micro-bath. Why, I could fit most of these city loos inside my obnoxious suburban garden tub…which I never use, as it requires an obnoxious amount of water!

If you’re dealing with cramped quarters in your citified bath, the solution, as always, is abundant dollars and over-the-top design ideas. Read more

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,

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

graphjam chart for summer weather heat and humidity

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.

Step Right Up and Get Your DIY Spring Water Here

So, what if you’re really SOLD on natural spring water but it’s getting a bit embarrassing and un-green to be purchasing those premium disposable hydration modules? Why not get down with Mother Earth and collect your own spring water? Hop on over to, which is a “community and user created database of natural springs around the world” where you can find a real freshwater spring near you! (As shown here, looks like I’ll be sticking with tap water for the time being.)

Oh, and don’t overlook the FAQ page as it contains some important information on how to ascertain just what the frack might be lurking in your self-collected natural spring water, pathogen- and chemical-wise.

Old postcard of biloxi, mississippi

The End of Typical in Biloxi, Mississippi

I found this vintage postcard buried in a shoebox at my local junk bazaar last week; it’s titled “A Typical View of the Shrimp and Oyster Industry, Biloxi, Mississippi.” As the oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill washes onto the beaches of this Mississippi resort town for the first time, we’re all waxing nostalgic for the good old typical days. (This is also posted on my Flickr page, here.)

Old postcard of biloxi, mississippi

Cute swag drops a subtle hint?

At this time last week, I was in Chicago at an annual techy hobnob for water folks, the American Water Works Association’s ACE10. (I was a presenter at a workshop on social media for utilities–a great day and some great people! More on that soon.)

My impression, mega-condensed: lotsa pipes, lotsa pumps and lotsa water geekery. All–and I mean ALL–displays were blue. At my lunch table the conversation was about algae, and everyone seemed to think that was a perfectly awesome subject to pair with dining. Now, this didn’t seem to be a swag-heavy event but I did manage to pick up a few things. (Good thing…those little Snickers bars turned out to be my lunch several days later!)

And the magnifying glass was handy, as I needed to get a closer look…

What’s this? WHAT!? Is this adorable little  droplet giving me the one-finger wave? Is there such a thing as subliminal swag? I guess they somehow knew I wasn’t a purchasing decision-maker for pipes and pumps!

Typo on water tower

Water Tower Typo Turns Heads

Typo on water tower

We’ve all been embarrassed by a careless typo now and then, but rarely is the goof the talk of the town. As one commenter on this story noted, this job obviously went to the low bidder!


A painter for the Illinois-based Neumann Company Contractors forgot the second T in Stoughton on the city’s new east side water tower.

A company spokesman says almost everybody in the profession makes a similar error at some point, but not all of them do it with a 6-foot tall letter on a 190 foot tower.

The spokesman says the painter had the correct spelling, but forgot the T when he blocked out the letters. He works right to left, so he starts at the end of the word and works backwards. After he painted in the N and the O he realized he was missing the T.

Neighbor Richard Budden says even little kids know how to spell Stoughton. “(He) told me that they spelled Stoughton wrong. I went out and looked. By God, you’re right. He’s only in third grade. If he can figure it out then the painter should be able to figure it out.”

Neumann Company Contractors says they will have to let the paint dry and then repaint the last three letters. It will not cost the city any extra money.

The spokesman says the painter is actually from Wisconsin and the Illinois company man joked that’s what he gets for hiring a cheesehead.

Clueless American Football Brutes Chug Crystal Geyser

World Cup fever is everywhere, and excitement for this international marketing sports event is exploding… even in the USA where many don’t “get” the game itself or why it’s “erroneously” refered to as football. What a prime opportunity for non-US marketers to poke a little fun, as in this Hong Kong-produced ad for Crystal Geyser, “Wrong sport, right water.” (Notice the scoreboard: USA vs. Europe!? I think I missed that match!)