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February 3, 2008

BehindTheMedspeak: Don't drink the (hot) water


Anahad O'Connor's "Really?" column in the January 29, 2008 New York Times Science section asked if using hot tap water for drinking or cooking is safe.

Short answer: No.

Here's the column.

    The Claim: Never Drink Hot Water From the Tap

    The Facts: The claim has the ring of a myth. But environmental scientists say it is real.

    The reason is that hot water dissolves contaminants more quickly than cold water, and many pipes in homes contain lead that can leach into water. And lead can damage the brain and nervous system, especially in young children.

    Lead is rarely found in source water, but can enter it through corroded plumbing. The Environmental Protection Agency says that older homes are more likely to have lead pipes and fixtures, but that even newer plumbing advertised as “lead-free” can still contain as much as 8 percent lead. A study published in The Journal of Environmental Health in 2002 found that tap water represented 14 to 20 percent of total lead exposure.

    Scientists emphasize that the risk is small. But to minimize it, the E.P.A. says cold tap water should always be used for preparing baby formula, cooking and drinking. It also warns that boiling water does not remove lead but can actually increase its concentration. More information is at www.epa.gov/lead or (800) 424-5323 (LEAD).

    The Bottom Line: Hot water from the tap should never be used for cooking or drinking.


I was brought up to believe the above to be true, then when I went to college decided all old wives' tales were myths and that this was one so I started using hot tap water for cooking and tea and whatnot.

I stopped when I was an anesthesiology resident and met a nurse whose dad ran a plumbing business.

She told me that I should never use hot tap water for cooking or drinking, and that the reason was visible inside a water heater: she said they were coated with horrible gunk that, once seen, would put you off ingesting the contents for good.

So I ceased and desisted, then after a few years fell back into using hot tap water like I had when I was in college.

Then after I moved to Virginia my new neighbor told me that not only should I never use hot water for cooking or drinking, but that first thing in the morning I should run the cold water for a few minutes to wash out lead accumulated overnight in the standing water in the pipes.

So I did that for a few years, then went back to the quick and dirty of using hot tap water for coffee, tea and cooking.

Until last Tuesday, when I read O'Connor's column.

Now I'm back to the cold tap (without the priming) for probably the next few years.

I'm going to have my crack research team look a little deeper into this interesting topic; if they find anything of value you'll be the first to know.

February 3, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Manfrotto 585 Modosteady Camcorder Stabilizer



1) Fold the extension arm out and place the pad against your shoulder for maximum control

2) For more mobility — especially raising the camera high or bringing it down low — fold the arm down to create a counterbalanced stabilizer

3) Separate the three leaves that make up the handgrip to create a tabletop tripod.


[via the February, 2008 issue of Popular Science]

February 3, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Samoku Ona Wata


I found this extraordinary video over at sonikmatter.com, my favorite music website on the known Internet.

Its grand panjandrum and majordomo (arigato — but I digress) clifyt, who somehow finds time to also serve as my Indianapolis, Indiana correspondent, introduced it as follows in his January 31, 2008 post:

    Video: Samoku Ona Wata

    From the bizarre video collection here at Sonik, we present "Smoke on the Water" played with traditional instruments and sung in Japanese. Brought to you by some random Russian site, which means if you are running Windows you better watch out in case one of the advertisements has a viral payload! Thanks go out to our international correspondents who are always on the lookout for videos like this (and for the warning about security!!!)

February 3, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

ibiza — 'World's first MP3 player downloading podcasts without a computer'


The device, with 4GB of flash memory, employs WiFi to automatically grab new episodes of your favorites the moment they become available.

Someone help me here: doesn't the iPod touch, with a much bigger screen, 8GB of flash memory and costing $30 more, do the very same thing as the ibiza?

Besides being a computer, with all the wizardry Apple's packed into it?

Why would anyone buy an ibiza?

Be my guest if that's your preference: $229.

February 3, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Trademork.com — 'Trademark oddities, information and news'


The site went up on September 24, 2007.

Where else are you going to find out that Terrell Owens (below) has applied for a trademark for the phrase "I love me some me?"


You could look it up.

February 3, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

'Kate Moss' – by Banksy


It goes under the hammer Tuesday, February 5, 2008 at Bonham's Urban Art auction, where it will be Lot 20.

When I first saw it I thought, wait a minute — Andy Warhol died in 1987, when Kate Moss was just 13 years old, so what gives?

Banksy, by the way, was born in 1974 — the same year as Kate Moss, coincidentally enough.

Estimate: £20,000–£30,000.

February 3, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Folding Trowel


Because you just never know when you'll need to dig a hole.

From the website:

    Folding Trowel

    A folding trowel is handy to have close by during camping expeditions or garden inspections.

    Folds to a compact 5" x 2" x 1" and stores in the included nylon belt holster.

    The holster has a Velcro strap that attaches to either a belt or a belt loop on your pants.

    Opened fully, the trowel measures 9" overall.

    It also locks at a 90° angle to form a unique planting tool that is easy on your wrist when putting in a lot of transplants.

    Made of stainless steel with a non-conductive ABS handle that doesn't get too hot in the sun or chill your hands in cold weather.

    Excellent value in a very useful tool.


February 3, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Longtail T: Official T-shirt of Chris Anderson


While Chris has been hard at it over at Wired magazine, bringing the magazine from life-support near-death to its current sparkling incarnation — along with, in his spare time, penning his mega-best selling book, "The Long Tail" — the fashionistas over at Duluth Trading, out back in their skunk works, were busy putting the final touches on their tribute to all things Chris A.

And they brought forth the Longtail T, available now in myriad styles and colors to suit just about anyone seeking to — as they put it — "cover their assets."

February 3, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

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