Reimagined and Revamped. Fighting the spread of nonsense often feels like a Sisyphean task. However, the joy is in making the information available, not the hope of conversion.

Microgravity and your drinking water

I recently saw this and was about to write about it. But dammit I was beaten to it by at least two people. Thanks for stealing my thunder guys (if there was any to start).

Well anyway, this silly company is trying to make the claim that their water is better because they sent up the electrolytes (salts) into space where they were exposed to microgravity. They of course make a few vague claims about what constitutes the superiority of their water.

  • Space2O™ is purified water with spaceflight enriched electrolytes to replenish and refresh your body.
  • The result is a one-of-a-kind purified H2O with exclusive spaceflown electrolytes that provide Space2O with an out-of-this world, refreshing taste
  • They also have an energy drink
Well they were pretty savvy on their site. They don't make a claim (they only strongly imply) that the space flight does anything to the electrolyte. They dont claim that the water is purified in space (its purified water with spaceflown electrolyte).

But there are three things I dont like about this. First off, how many studies must there be before people realize drinking bottled water is no better than tap water. Folks, stop wasting your money. Stop filling landfills with plastic bottles. Its true that filtering the tap water may make it taste better, but thats about it, no health benefits (unless you live in an area where the drinking water is not in India or something).

The second part is that they imply that the space flight provides better taste, or makes the water more refreshing. Or affects the electrolytes at all. This is of course total nonsense. How about the initial multi-G the payload feels during launch? Does that affect it to?

If you want to expose your bottled water to weightlessness for an improved taste....drop the bottle. A falling object experiences the same microgravity that things in orbit feel.

Lastly are their claims of other nonsense. Thay say later that they are going to go through a phase II, which includes the follwoing activities

  • Exploit the current microgravity state-of-the-art knowledge base
    • Pharmaceutical products (quality, yield and cost improvements)
    • Nanomaterial bonding and formulations
    • Crystal growth
    • Plant yield and variability with a focus on food products
    • Biotechnology development and testing
  • Apply our existing Phase II business models to create specifically identified products that can effectively compete in their respective markets such as:
    • Antibiotics
    • Cancer treatment
    • Unique materials
    • Space flight-derived food products (only possible in space)

Really? spaceflight derived products are only possible in space? You know rooftop-derived products (tm) are only possible on rooftops, does that make them special too? Sneaker-derived products anyone? The activities they are promising are activities already under way at far greater expense than some small water company with a useless product is going to be able to afford. Basically they are pleading with you to buy their stuff becuase they are going to fix the world with all the money they will be rolling in.

BTW has anyone actually verified that there is a salt package in those rockets?

Its a cute gimmick. Im sure people will fall into your nonsense hype. That is why I write here.

The comments are Braving the Elements are pretty funny. Good for a laugh.

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Father of All Bombs

Russia has a new bomb.

While I have dabbled in the political a little in this blog, I am intending to stay out of it, and focus on technology and data. In particular Im trying to keep the focus on debunking the nonsense that comes from claims of companies, political figures and scientists.

So, I wont write a long blurb about the frightening prospect of a new arms race between us a russia.

Instead, I'll focus on two lines out of the article. The first is this one:
Unlike a nuclear weapon, the bomb doesn't hurt the environment

What?!? So, what you are saying is that the destruction of trees, wildlife, natural resources and so forth do not help to degrade the environment?

Perhaps you mean that the introduction of tons of fine particulate into the air doesnt hurt the environment?

Further thoughts on environmental impact come from this quote:
Channel One said that while the Russian bomb contains 7.8 tons of high explosives compared to more than 8 tons of explosives in the U.S. bomb, it's four times more powerful because it uses a new, highly efficient type of explosives that the report didn't identify.

7.8 tons of explosives.. and explosion is the conversion of matter to gas and heat. While it doesnt say what the explosive is.... you can be damn sure the gas and particulate that it emits are not good for the environment. The gas will be one oxide or another (CO2, SO2, NOx, etc etc) most of which are bad for the environment.

Can anyone think of a bomb that is not bad for the environment? Perhaps a bath bomb?

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File Under:

Oh come on!

Clearly, this sort of thing really ticks me off.
It is all over the news and YouTube

Is there no important news in the world that we have to cover obvious nonsense such as this? Look folks, no matter what, it takes more energy to split water than you get from splitting that water. It doesnt matter what you mix into the water. I'll show some chemistries later that seem to defy this rule (but in fact do not).

Chalk this up to any of the perpetual motion machines that people have tried to fool investors with for hundreds of years.

The video shows how safe you hand is in there....really? considering your body is mostly made up of water and salts, that is hard to believe! Could there be more to it????? (duh)

This is probably not a hoax. By that I mean, I am quite fine with the idea that if you send enough energy into a conducting media (like salt water), that energy will get released. Did you notice the color of the flame? Its the same color as when you burn sodium. Remember in high school that different elements burn giving off unique spectra? (BTW, since there is a burn, any hydrogen that is released - if any- is burning also)

Not one of the articles above tell you how much energy is required to induce this reaction. Not one. Why? Because I'm willing to bet that its over 100x the amount of energy you are capable of capturing from the energy released.

Dear News Organizations,
As a request from one of your viewers, your truly, when you are reporting on possible new sources of energy, could you please ask one simple question:

How much energy does it take to make the process work?

If this amount of energy is more than the amount of energy you can get from the process (ok you can ask that too, so perhaps its two questions) could you please explain that part too? Otherwise you are wasting everyone's time. This goes for ethanol production too!

You want to use salt water as fuel in the car? What will power the RF transmitter that requires more energy than the sodium will gives? Why not use this power source directly for better energy savings?

There ARE chemicals (just one of many) that do in fact steal the oxygen directly out of the water and then release the hydrogen. These are pretty cool for specific uses. The key requirement is that water is plentiful nearby. For example, if I have a remote sensor, I could collect rain and use that water in combination with this chemical to create hydrogen (which I could burn, or use in a fuel cell). Fuel cells burn hydrogen and create water, but you would still need to keep a small tank of water to get started, but they are a possible application.

But this chemical is still not useful for cars or big applications because gasoline stores far more hydrogen per liter than water does. The energy density or hydrogen content for gasoline or deisel is far higher than water. To see that, just remember that the mixture of molecules (mostly benzene) that make up petroleum fuels have many hydrogen atoms per molecule while water has only two and they are very stable (the reason water doesnt burn and gasoline does). Then remember that aside from small differences in density among liquids, the number of molecules per liter of liquid is about the same, i.e. way more hydrogen per liter for gasoline.

Similar nonsense here.

The team calculates that a car would have to carry just 18 kilograms of boron and 45 litres of water to produce 5 kilograms of hydrogen, which has the same energy content as a 40-litre tank of conventional fuel

I see, so with well over 50 liters of the water and the new materials, plus the equipment required to generate the hydrogen, plus the safety requirements for moving hydrogen through as system I can do as well as a vehicle with a 40 liter tank of conventional fuel. Perhaps you can tell me how much energy it takes to ship and recycle the Boron?

sounds cheap, sign me up (sarcasm).

Folks, there ARE applications where hydrogen taken from water is useful, but they require abundant renewable energy resources (sun, wind and geothermal). Most often its just better to take the energy directly without the water at all. Using limited resources (coal, oil, nuclear) to crack water.... well its just stupid.

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