July 11, 2019

"We know that the lake is toxic"... but it's turquoise and so Instagrammable.

It's turquoise because "It's a highly toxic artificial pond used to dump ash from a nearby coal plant, and, warns the company that runs the plant, unsafe for swimming in" — CNN reports.
"In the last week, our ash dump of the Novosibirsk TEZ-5 has become the star of social networks," [said the Siberian Generating Company]. "But you CANNOT swim in the ash dump. Its water has high alkaline environment. This is due to the fact that calcium salts and other metal oxides are dissolved in it. Skin contact with such water may cause an allergic reaction!"
Oh, that doesn't sound so bad. And it's turquoise. And they're in Siberia.
The water gets its spectacular color from its depth and the various metal oxides dissolved in it, the company said. It is also extremely alkaline, with a pH of more than 8.
My poking around on the internet says that 8 is moderately alkaline — not "extremely alkaline" — and it's in the traditional range recommended for swimming pools in Denmark. In the U.S., it's 7.2 and 7.8 (with the problem being that a higher PH may make chlorine less effective in killing bacteria).

I think the American media are taking a cheap shot here because the story fits a popular frame: Social media is making people stupid and blind to the dangers of the real world. But the Russians in the article are clear that they know the lake isn't for swimming, they're not swimming it — just posing by it as if they would swim in it — and I don't think what makes it bad for swimming makes it a problem to stand next to. We often stand next to water we wouldn't bathe in! The only complaint here is that it's phony to pose as if you're at a great swimming location when you are not.


In social media photography — as in professional fashion photography — the models try to look as though they're having a magnificently pleasurable time and that's disaggregated from the reality of whether it's any fun at all for them. Mainstream media is hot to cover social media — they want to look youthful and trending — but their posing is FAR more of a problem. It's fake news!

IN THE COMMENTS: Howard said:
Drinking moderately alkaline water (9.2-pH) is all the rage with hipsters.
I did not know that, but he's right! Here's a NYT article from last year, "Is Alkaline Water Really Better for You?":
Pure water has a neutral pH of 7, while tap water has some natural variation depending on its mineral content. Most bottled waters are slightly acidic, and sodas and juices are even more so. Bottled waters marketed as being alkaline typically claim to have a pH between 8 and 10. Some are from springs or artesian wells and are naturally alkaline because of dissolved minerals. Others are made with an ionizing process, and water ionizing machines are also marketed for home use. Alkaline water companies make vague claims that it will “energize” and “detoxify” the body and lead to “superior hydration.” And some claim that ionized water can prevent everything from headaches to cancer.

But there’s no evidence that drinking water with a higher pH can change the pH of your body, or even that this outcome would provide benefits. Blood is tightly regulated at around pH 7.4, while the stomach, which secretes hydrochloric acid to digest proteins and kill food-borne pathogens, is very acidic, with a pH of 1.5 to 3.5. If you drink water that is slightly alkaline.... the hydrochloric acid in the stomach quickly neutralizes it before it’s absorbed into the blood.....
AND: In the old days, we just dissolved baking soda in water.

76 comments:

rhhardin said...

It's a slippery slope. Once you're into turquoise then it's Navajo jewelry and swastikas next.

rhhardin said...

Models try for post-coital bliss.

Ralph L said...

Stevie Nicks still looks pretty good.

Howard said...

Drinking moderately alkaline water (9.2-pH) is all the rage with hipsters.

tcrosse said...

Meanwhile, back in New Jersey,

Dont Swim in Lake Hopatcong--Dont Even Touch the Water

rhhardin said...

Its got electrolytes.

Ralph L said...

Putting coal ash in bodies of water seems high risk. Duke Power still gets bad press years after their seepage into rivers, and their problems likely cost our governor his job in 2014.

SDaly said...

I would be more concerned with the other metals in the water than an alkalinity level of 8.

Also, Instagram is one of the factors driving depression.

Beasts of England said...

Why is she wearing boots? Kinda kills the look...

Original Mike said...

It looks like any lake with glacial flour. Canadian Rockies, Southern Alps.

CWJ said...

Viewing the Instagram photo - "There's a lake?"

rcocean said...

Yeah, that's sorta like seeing Bathers pose next to Lake Tahoe or Puget Sound on a sunny day. Everyone knows the water temp is 52 degrees - but it looks great!

doctrev said...

Congratulations. It's a toxic swimming pool. Pretty, but you can see to the bottom because it can't support life. Plants don't grow, fish can't live. And given how fake everything about the American modelling industry is, from yachting to pedophilia, I'm not sure any of the media whores have any grounds for smugness.

Bob said...

I've just been drinking water sold as "plus electrolytes", with a label proudly displayed on the bottle that the PH is 9.5.

Temujin said...

Funny, I didn't even notice the lake there.

Mike said...

People just like feeling superior to other people, especially if they can feel superior to all people.

Fernandistein said...

"The normal range for pH in surface water systems is 6.5 to 8.5, and the pH range for groundwater systems is between 6 to 8.5."

CNN is on an LSD-fueled rampage of fake news. As usual!

Henry said...

A beer lake would be more like pH 4.

As Howard mentions, alkaline is some kind of health thing.

JAORE said...

the models try to look as though they're having a magnificently pleasurable time

I'll take your word on that re: magazines, but not on the runway. On many the models all look Sooooooo bored and above the lesser people sitting at their feet.

Doesn't seem like a good idea to me, but then mid-price blue jean buyers are not the target.

stevew said...

I was anxiously awaiting today's Outrage of the Day®!

The outraged apparently haven't seen Moraine Lake near Banff.

Any news on how the issue with the actual drinking water in Flint MI is progressing?

tim maguire said...

I also find the word "lake" misleading given that it was never part of nature and is doing exactly what it was created to do.

And it's beautiful, as is that entire picture.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

rhhardin said...
Models try for post-coital bliss.

That is when I'm at my best...

tim maguire said...

tcrosse said...
Meanwhile, back in New Jersey,

Dont Swim in Lake Hopatcong--Dont Even Touch the Water


In the 70's, I swam in Lake Hopatcong many times. Sorry to see it finally realised it's joined the rest of New Jersey.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I'm pretty sure that Instagram is more toxic than that water...

Freder Frederson said...

Drinking moderately alkaline water (9.2-pH) is all the rage with hipsters.

The writer made a big mistake by calling pH of 8 "highly alkaline". But a lot more goes into water quality than pH. Ann makes fun of the pH but ignores the metal oxides.

Freder Frederson said...

I also find the word "lake" misleading given that it was never part of nature and is doing exactly what it was created to do.

I doubt it is doing "exactly what it was created to do" (which I assume is to contain the toxic metals).

Aunty Trump said...

There seems to be a huge wildfire in western Ontario that is creating the most beautiful sunsets. Not just the sunsets themselves, but the smokiness is creating an amazing rose-gold type quality of light that makes things illuminated by it beautiful. “Red Rubber Ball” came up on Spotify while I was watching a sunset and it was a laugh out loud moment.

robother said...

Just behind the camera, I see The Grey Lady scolding, "don't you dare go near the water, young lady!" Where would the world be without American media?

Aunty Trump said...

If I still did Instagram, it got too political, I would definitely have posted pictures of boats on the lake illuminated by that light.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Yeah, what's so wrong with bathing in, swimming in, or inhaling dissolved metal oxides anyway?

I have yet to hear that kind of pushback against the idea that "Flint's water is still unsafe to drink" by the way.

Ken B said...

I think the frame is “Russia bad”. The press still think Russia and Trump are the same.

Ken B said...

pH of 7 is neutral. The value ranges from 0 to 14. 8 is mildly alkaline. Eggs are pH 8.

Freder Frederson said...

I think the frame is “Russia bad”.

When it comes to environmental protection, "Russia bad" is a vast understatement.

robother said...

The fact that the Russian model is wearing boots should alleviate any concern that she is preparing to take a dip. More likely, she is going to walk on water, taking care not to get her feet wet.

Aunty Trump said...

"When it comes to environmental protection, “Communism bad" is a vast understatement.”

FIFY

Temujin said...

Forgive me, Ann. I know I'm way off topic here. But this is great material (you gotta watch the videos that accompany this). New topic: Short men and how they're treated by women. You want some of this?

Aunty Trump said...

"Definitely something else was happening in his life made him snap like this,”

LOL, women think men are emotionally invulnerable.

Nonapod said...

Yeah a pH of 8 isn't anything to be terribly concerned about, but my guess is that the danger is probably more than just a matter of a slightly higher pH. The general descriptor "metals" includes things like arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, copper, iron, lead, lithium, manganese, mercury, silver, thallium, tin, and zinc; all of which are toxic if ingested in any great amount. Swimming in a bath of the dissolved oxides of any or all of these metals might seems like perhaps not the best idea, even if it's just for a moment to take a selfie for an Instagram post. But whatever.

Big Mike said...

Historically, Russia has erred on the side of declaring something to be “safe” when it certainly wasn’t. If they say it’s not safe to swim in, I would tend to believe them.

The pH is simply misdirection. The metallic oxides are the more likely risk — and possibly toxins not mentioned in the article. Agatha Christie liked to use obscure poisons in her famous mysteries, perhaps there’s thallium in the water?

Jersey Fled said...

If the issue is metal oxides, some of which are harmful in high enough concentrations, then why didn't CNN say so?

Sloppy reporting or fake news?

Jersey Fled said...

BTW metal oxide nanoparticles are a hot topic is pharmaceutical research these days.

gerry said...

Beauty on beauty.

Hey! Let me find something wrong with it!

SDaly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SDaly said...

Would be nice to have some music playing in the background of the image. Maybe something from the Electrolyte Orchestra?

Big Mike said...

then why didn't CNN say so?

Sloppy reporting or fake news?


@Jersey Fled, embrace the power of AND.

Scott Patton said...

"Beasts of England said...

Why is she wearing boots? Kinda kills the look..."

For the flight home.

joshbraid said...

"Social media is making people stupid and blind to the dangers of the real world."
Definitely.

stever said...

The alkalinity, like acidity, is problematic when you consider what is dissolving

gilbar said...

in West Virginia, they've been pouring fly ash into their trout streams by the railcar, for years
I'll let you think about why. (ps: it's not to turn the water blue)

on the otherhand
JAORE said...
the models try to look on the runway. On many the models all look Sooooooo bored and above the lesser people sitting at their feet.


That's because, on the runways; the models are supposed to Look like manikins, because they ARE manikins
Question: How long before the human (size zero) manikins are replaced by robot manikins?
less problems with drug abuse, etc then

PM said...

Original Mike: "It looks like any lake with glacial flour. Canadian Rockies, Southern Alps."

Agreed. Seen it in Alberta.

Caligula said...

" It is also extremely alkaline, with a pH of more than 8."

Yes, but, that's nothing that a little acid rain couldn't fix, is it?

gilbar said...

That's what I said; Caligula

Leland said...

The threat from that body of water is likely hypothermia rather than a major burn of the skin.

n.n said...

First, sexy lady. Second, mineral baths can be rehabilitating. But, as with glyphosates and other toxins, best practices advise against ingesting it... unless you're in the market for a multi-billion dollar class action lawsuit.

Howard said...

Blogger Temujin said...

Forgive me, Ann. I know I'm way off topic here. But this is great material (you gotta watch the videos that accompany this). New topic: Short men and how they're treated by women. You want some of this?


Thanks, instant classic.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Remember Soviet days, when Russian women were stereotyped as unattractive battle-axes?

ALP said...

I make soap thus ponder pH and acid/base reactions. The pH of *bath soap* runs from 7.5-9, depending on how well cured. Oxygen is acidic and neutralizes the alkalinity over time - well cured soap (over 8 weeks) has a lower pH and is closer to neutral 7.

Achilles said...

" It is also extremely alkaline, with a pH of more than 8."

So dumb.



JaimeRoberto said...

I'd gladly take a dip in that.

bagoh20 said...

Oh yea. It took a while, but now I see the lake.

Anthony said...

There's a lake in that photo?

Huh. Musta missed it.

Anthony said...

(Heh. Ditto)

TheOne Who Is Not Obeyed said...

A much prettier lake than Onondaga in Syracuse, NY. Not sure if Onondaga is still the title holder for "most polluted lake in the US", but it used to be and it wasn't due to the pH.

Of course, Instagram being what it is, the beautiful Russkie lake with the pretty Russkie lady will soon be offering detoxifying treatments for the skin and filthy rich Westerners will flock to the lake to bath in (but not ingest) its healing properties.

BADuBois said...

Wait, in an August 2017 article titled "Lenin's Eco Warriors", the NYT assured us that the Soviet Union was filled with environmentalists and tree-huggers!

Christy said...

Back in the day when my employer was building their nuke on the water, the dredged mud was deposited in a field on the property. The construction guys started calling the field Lake D-- after the first project manager. Twenty years later I found that now dry field marked as Lake D-- on commercialy available maps of the county.

Funny how information grows.

Sydney said...

Looks like the lakes in the Adirondacks used to look before we cured acid rain.

Ray said...


"Gamer Girl" offers used bath water to ‘thirsty’ fans and sells out

https://tinyurl.com/y35p54c3



The rumors of people getting herpes is deemed to be false

https://tinyurl.com/y3ug8wxw

Aunty Trump said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tcrosse said...

I got your alkaline water right here Delivered right to your door.

mockturtle said...

Temujin: Good for the tackler! He was right to take action when no one else would. But the guy should have been arrested and at least taken in for psych eval. Seriously, he could be dangerous.

BTW, I find many short men very sexy. Not him, though. He's got a lot more issues than his height going on. :-(

Achilles said...

You know what else is "extremely alkaline?"

Swimming pools.

Is there even a reason to say the words "algorithmic scale" to these people?

dbp said...

"...It is also extremely alkaline, with a pH of more than 8."

On one hand, the Oceans are pH 8.1 and people swim in the Ocean with no problems. On the other hand, they say the pH is more than 8, so it could be a lot higher, like 14.

Ann Althouse said...

"Forgive me, Ann. I know I'm way off topic here. But this is great material (you gotta watch the videos that accompany this). New topic: Short men and how they're treated by women. You want some of this?"

Sorry, but I don't think that's great material. It's one of those videos that starts in the middle of things, where somebody's already angry and you can't see why. He looks awful, totally out of control. And we're invited to laugh at him. He doesn't represent the general topic of how short men are treated. He represents one short man mouthing off and making a reference to his shortness. I feel no call to discuss the general topic or to just laugh at him or berate him. We don't know what his life is. It's just a cheap invitation to take somebody out of context.

janetrae said...

I scanned the comments only quickly so apologies if someone already said this: There is a lake in Michigan (Crystal Lake in Leelanau County) that is this color without the toxic additives.

janetrae said...

See? https://duckduckgo.com/?q=crystal+lake+michigan+photos&atb=v98-1&ia=images&iax=images&iai=https%3A%2F%2Fi.pinimg.com%2Foriginals%2Feb%2Fd6%2F55%2Febd655cd96da77123e42c2e7744bd1a2.jpg

RobinGoodfellow said...

Beasts of England said...
Why is she wearing boots? Kinda kills the look...


Boots?