Would you pay $600 for a liter of water?

Yet another reason to break out the tumblers and guillotines.

If you read the review of various over-priced bottled water brands, you’ll discover there exists a profession called “water sommelier”. Yeesh.

Meanwhile, in Flint, Michigan…


  1. says

    Pen and Teller covered this ten years ago on their HBO show “Bullshit” .

    This was the same episode they debunked Feng Shui.

  2. OptimalCynic says

    That’s one way to redistribute money from rich idiots to poorer people.

    Speaking of Flint, what is the current status? Politifact has an update from a year ago:


    “testing in recent months has repeatedly shown that Flint’s water meets federal standards. At the same time, the city won’t be fully safe until its old pipes are all replaced, which is currently estimated to happen in 2020.”

  3. says

    Remind me when I make my tumbril, to have a water bar in the front. It’ll be empty, of course. But it’ll be a nice refrigerator where water would be, if there were water.

  4. blf says

    Not quite in the same league of stoopidity (at least cost-wise), The Bewater bottle – pretty, but requires you to swallow too much:

    These gorgeous drinking vessels come pre-installed with semi-precious gemstones intended to energise your water with positive properties. Sounds a bit wishy-washy

    […] I’m testing a high-end drinking bottle pre-installed with semi-precious gemstones, which supposedly energise water with positive properties. Bewater sell a range of these bottles, each stacked with an internal column of different gems, targeted at delivering love and peace, or wonder and balance. Why are the powers of crystals always so noble? Are there gems that make you restless, or hungry for lasagne, or stop you needing the toilet? If so, they have not been curated here.

    The thinking behind energised water is a hodgepodge of discredited notions. First, that gemstones release special energies, quartz watches being cited as proof of this general effect. (In fact, it is the piezoelectric ability specific to quartz that makes the watches work.) Second, and more terrifying, the theory that promoted by Bewater that water has memory and picks up information from its surroundings. […] The scientific community does not think this. While I hope there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy, I draw the line at imagining a glass of Perrier can bear a grudge.

    The company’s disclaimer explains that the theory of gem water is not theirs, and that their products are for inspiration, hydration and joy. Wishy-washy-water. […]

    The crystals in the obelisk-like chamber are “sealed in a splash of springwater” and do not require cleaning or other maintenance, although the pamphlet does note that many customers charge theirs using reiki, burning sage, sunshine or moonlight. (No directions are given as to charging times, though. Electric chargers, such as USB-C connectors, are very fast these days, restoring a lithium-ion battery to 50% in about 30 minutes. Switching to moonlight just isn’t a sage choice.)


    You get the drift. The price of this woo-woo depends on the pretty-looking glass inside, but is roughly an order of magnitude less than the nonsense in the OP, and so is around an order of magnitude more than bottled water, which itself is significantly more (another order of magnitude?) than tap water. (This assumes one is in a locale with safe reliable potable tap(or equivalent) water — which is not true for an astonishingly high percentage of the world’s population: An estimated 2 billion people lack this basic human right (Ye Pffft of All Knowledge).)

  5. Rob Grigjanis says

    Ray Ceeya @1: It’s too bad we’ll never see a Penn and Teller debunking of libertarian bullshit.

  6. says

    I’ve been saying this for years: someone needs to sell “heavy water” (after all, it may have some actual heavy water in it) which is just water and caffeine in a nice quantum-looking bottle. Or maybe methwater. There’s probably some legal quantity of diet aid amphetamine that can be sold over the counter; put it in some water and add some coloring and sugar.

    After watching Goop’s spectacular rise I’m convinced that there are people who will buy anything. That means that if you sell anything that has a broad enough customer-base, you’re in business.

  7. says

    Rob Grigjanis@#7:
    we’ll never see a Penn and Teller debunking of libertarian bullshit

    Yeah, how would that work? It’d need a space-time warp so that an older, wiser Penn could go back and ruthlessly mock the current Penn. Assuming an older, wiser Penn is a possibility in this future.

  8. davidc1 says

    A glass or two of glacier water would go well with an omelette made with California Condor eggs .

  9. consciousness razor says

    Marcus Ranum, how about Tactical Heavy Water™? The high level of deuterium makes it more tactical, because on the one hand it’s a refreshing beverage you can drink in your rich person bunker; but should the need arise, there’s also its extra functionality as a (ridiculously impractical) weapon. They would need to buy tons of it = tons of profit for you.

  10. consciousness razor says

    Or Heavy Tactical Water™, Heavy Tactics Super Water™ … whatever sounds best to the focus groups.

  11. JustaTech says

    Several years ago my MIL was obsessed with this fancy Italian water (in glass bottles). It was all she would drink at home, all she wanted to drink out at restaurants.
    It was pretty expensive (not like these waters, but more than, you know, the tap).

    So my FIL decided to do a blind taste test. If my MIL couldn’t tell the difference between the Italian water and Arrowhead (cheap bottled water) then they would stop buying the Italian stuff.

    She couldn’t tell the difference.

  12. blf says

    As this recent BBC article notes, What exactly is premium water, and what’s behind the trend in so-called absence labels?, “you can now buy premium water that’s not only free of GMOs and gluten but certified kosher and organic. Never mind that not a single drop of water anywhere contains either property or is altered in any way by those designations.”

    Some of the history of gluten-free water is hilarious, as discovered by The Angry Chef, The Shocking Truth Behind Clara Gluten-Free Water:

    [… After retweeting about how absurd Clara Gluten-Free Water is, The Angry Chef began to smell a rat, so…] I emailed Clara Gluten-Free water through their website. […] I asked as politely as I could if Clara was indeed real. If my bullshit detection instincts were wrong, I was planning on ordering a couple of cases to give away in an Angry Chef competition.

    Later that day I got a reply. A short while after that, I found myself talking to the founder of Clara Gluten Free water.

    Aaron Binder is from Ontario in Canada. He has a varied background including concert and music promotion and a good understanding of sales and marketing from various entrepreneurial ventures. A few years ago he was sharing a joint with friends, talking about the vagaries of gluten-free culture. Like many people, Aaron saw a divide between the actual needs of coeliacs and the consumer culture that says ‘all gluten is unhealthy’. In a moment of slightly stoned realization […] he decided to create the Clara website. Despite being a fairly hastily constructed WordPress site, in a few days it had been shared around the world and made the front page of Reddit. Ever since, it has circulated through social media, resurfacing every now and again as it did the other morning. Apparently, I am one of the first people to contact Aaron without ‘threatening his non-existent children’ and the creator has decided it is time to draw a line under the Clara hoax that has created so much indignation.

    Aaron told me ‘I can’t believe a little WordPress site fooled so many, although to be honest it is not that difficult. […] There is a new definition of professional and if something looks legitimate enough, few people bother to check.’


    ‘A number of people have got in touch asking about ordering though. I have requests for truck loads sometimes, from all over the world. There have been a lot of requests from small health food stores, which says something about the people running them. ‘

    So, Clara Gluten Free water is a hoax. For the first time on Angry Chef I can exclusively reveal something. Why does Aaron think it was so successful?

    ‘It was really set up to explore how easy it is to manipulate people with headlines. […] When creating Clara I thought “How can I exploit headline writers so that people will claim to be outraged and just Tweet it out without having really looked into it?” This is especially true in food and health culture. Superfoods, toxins, they are a multi-billion industry based on vague claims.’


    That was back in 2016. Since(?) then, actual in-it-for-the-profit$ $cammer$ have actually sold gluten-free water.

  13. equisetum says

    When I was in Iceland I was told you can always tell a river from glacier melt by the color. Rivers are clear. Glacier melt is brown with sediment. Not something you want to drink. Unless you filter and purify it, and then it’s just, uh, water.

  14. mikehuben says


    I have a Penn Jillette page at my Critiques Of Libertarianism wiki. Anybody is welcome to suggest other links.

    My summary is: “A popular libertarian entertainer, with some glib, bullshit explanations of how he is in favor of libertarianism because he is ignorant of what is best for all people and because he wants to reduce violence. A typical wealthy entrepreneur who doesn’t understand what ordinary people need, and conveniently overlooks that what he needs from government is violence to protect his fortune and create the environment in which he earns it.
    Penn very conveniently forgets that all his freedom, rights, security and property are only enforced by men with guns. He wants to freeload on that system by pretending that his blissful life is natural, and not a product of force in society. This is a basic philosophical problem of pacifism: that it ignores the reality of the violent basis of freedom, rights, security and property. Pacifism is like avoiding vaccination: a certain amount can be tolerated without losing herd immunity. Too much pacifism, and the population is at risk. We can afford to allow Penn and the tiny minority of pacifists their delusions of non-violence: we don’t need everybody to hold a gun.”

  15. aziraphale says

    It can probably be proved, by someone less lazy than me, that every molecule of water we drink was at one time or another in a glacier. Who is to say it doesn’t remember?

  16. Brain Hertz says

    My favorite is the free soda machine that they installed in the cafe at my office. It’s a big refrigerated machine hooked up to a water supply with a CO2 bottle, an internal ice maker and a selection of syrups. There’s a touch screen on the front, from where you can call up whatever you want from a large selection and the machine will make it for you.

    One of the options is “Dasani(R)”

  17. says

    Guillotines it is.
    Best thing we ever got is a Sida Stream, as the family prefers spakling water, but finally no more bottled water in this house.

  18. Snarki, child of Loki says

    Heavy Tactical Water™ would have to consist of 2xDeuterium+Oxygen-18.

    $600/liter would be very cheap.

  19. unclefrogy says

    well it would depend on the actual cost of production and of course the concentration
    my thinking would lean toward extreme dilution as to be none existent with very carefully worded add text and labeling. same as with this glacier water actually
    uncle frogy

  20. lochaber says

    I’ve drank glacier water before, but I waded out into the cove and chipped it off a small iceberg myself.

  21. leerudolph says

    aziraphale@20:”Who is to say it doesn’t remember?” Mais où sont les neiges d’antan?

  22. Rob Grigjanis says

    I keep bottled water for emergencies. Drink a bottle of vodka, then fill it with tap water. Maintain a few litres per person in the household.

  23. chigau (違う) says

    Rob Grigjanis #29
    Good plan.
    I am in an unfamiliar location, so I must google-map “nearest liquor store”.
    just in case

  24. consciousness razor says

    uncle frogy, good idea…. Homeopathic Heavy Tactical Water™
    That’s the stuff.
    [begin cheesy video montage] Fully glaciated and neutronized, diluted to maximum potency, individually hand-crafted by generations of skilled beverage artists, and very tactical. Whether you’re looking to cool down at your private beach or perform an emergency exorcism, our team of scientists has ensured it’s easy to mix with the energy drink or controlled substance of your choice, because here at Homeopathic Heavy Tactical Water, we care about your freedom.

  25. asclepias says

    Is deuterium safe to drink? I can’t imagine it wouldn’t be, given its makeup, but I’m no chemist.

  26. Matt G says

    A friend of mine showed me a water bottle which, he claims, “restructures” water so that you don’t need to drink as much. He presents as an intelligent person. I have devices which restructure water: a freezer and a kettle.

  27. leerudolph says

    Is deuterium safe to drink?

    It has certain effects, and is toxic in high doses.

    S. S. van Dine’s mystery stories featuring Philo Vance are really pretty bad. But he managed to get one written within a year of the discovery of deuterium in which [SPOILER] heavy water is used as a poison (there’s even a walk-on part by a fictional Princeton chemist). It’s The Casino Murder Case.

  28. cherbear says

    We have managed to come full circle. Uncle Frogy is suggesting a market for homeopathic WATER.