So to make it up to the Polywater Marketing Board, here's a photograph of topless George Takei (from an early public-safety film encouraging responsible use).
Sadly, the Frau Doktorin is loath to accept the explanation that my deplorably disinhibited condition is the result of exposure to polywater in the laboratory.
That previous post -- focusing on the homœopathic implications of water polymorphs -- introduced us to Drs Salvatore Chirumbolo and Paolo Bellavite, two gentlemen of Verona University's Department of Medicine.² In the new physical state of water they had discovered, the stable molecular clusters have the same biological properties as histamine. The chain reaction of self-replication begins with a few of these clusters nucleating around (coincidentally enough) histamine molecules. This state was invoked to explain in vitro immunological tests that require statistical incompetence to distinguish them from control tests using non-magic water.
But wait, there are many of these polymorphs of water, one for each item in the homœopathic pharmacopeia! Bellavite's group reckon that water can also crystallise into a form behaving like an alkaloid -- again, self-replicating -- to explain how strychnine analogs can affect mouse behaviour at dilutions of 10-60:
...in high-dilution pharmacology, there is no linear or proportional relation between the molecular concentration of active substances and the therapeutic effect. Thus far there is no satisfactory or unifying theoretical explanation for these claims, though some hypotheses suggest a role of the nano-heterogeneous structures and dynamics of the solvent water (or water–ethanol) on a mesoscopic scale...And wouldn't you know it there is yet another water state for Adrenaline -- created by "the role of electromagnetic energies in doing nanosized and long-range organized structures into waters, structures able to inform cells and to result in a biological action".³
Now I am worried that the water in the bathtub will organise itself around my body if I spend too long soaking and form a kind of hydraulic tulpa that displays all my physical and chemical properties. The Frau Doktorin is equally skeptical about explanations for drunken inebriation along the lines of "It wasn't me, it was my exact double formed of structured water".
This is despite Gene Wolfe's authoritative description in his exhaustive non-fiction account, The Book of the New Sun:
polywater gap with the USSR and great jubilation when it closed in 1969.
² I have no idea how much immunology research by Chirumbolo and Bellavite was genuine before they went off the rails and devoted themselves to smuggling homeopathy, naturopathy, and Chinese crank medicine into mainstream journals. Chirumbolo is a technical assistant according to the University website and a Senior Researcher on his own website.
Their continued tenure at Verona is perhaps explained by a comment thread in Crooked Timber a while ago, devoted to "Gambetta’s theory of the signalling benefits of incompetence in Italian academia":
“Being incompetent and displaying it,” [Gambetta] writes, “conveys the message I will not run away, for I have no strong legs to run anywhere else. In a corrupt academic market, being good at and interested in one’s own research, by contrast, signal a potential for a career independent of corrupt reciprocity…. In the Italian academic world, the kakistocrats are those who best assure others by displaying, through lack of competence and lack of interest in research, that they will comply with the pacts.”A comment by Dr Science summed up how incompetence works in a milieu of entrenched favouritism and mutual back-scratching between quasi-feudal fiefdoms:
I think the point is that incompetence is a truthful signal of loyalty. The incompetent must be loyal, they have no alternative.A subsequent Crooked Timber thread discussed incompetence in more general terms. The closest anyone came to defending the Italian academic milieu was to point out that Economics departments in English-speaking universities are just as corrupt and incestuous.
³ Predictably, Quantum Mechanics is involved: