Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Do Aquastors dream of hydraulic rams?

A recent post on modified-water polymorphs of H2O brought a veritable flood of letters in the Riddled mailbox, calling our attention to our failure to mention polymerised water or polywater.¹ We apologise for the egregious omission. Polywater ... it's a stable viscous liquid consisting of linear strands of H2O, that replaces water in the body when spread from person to person by sweat contact, and a disinhibiting intoxicant! Safe and natural when used in moderation!

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:
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¹ There was talk of a 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:

22 comments:

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Hydrohypothetically, how would one dilute polywater for homeopathic purposes?

1.AFAF
2. Receive Answer
3. ???????????
4. POLYPROFIT!

Smut Clyde said...

Oddly, homeopathic polywater does not seem to be part of the pharmocopeia, possibly because combining two forms of pathological science would be like crossing the streams.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

So, do you mean to say that my homeopathic phrenology treatments, involving the creation of microscopic bumps on my noggin, are all in vain?

Oh, how will I cure this crippling ennui and moral turpitude?

Maybe a dilution of moral turpentine will cure the moral turpitude...

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Isn't "drunken inebriation" needlessly repetitive?

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

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.

Stick to showers, says I.

That'll be five dollars.
~

mikey said...

"This is a very difficult concept to understand."

No shit.

Perhaps I lack the essential incompetence...

tigris said...

combining two forms of pathological science would be like crossing the streams

And if both streams are self-replicating... 8-0

vacuumslayer said...

Listen, I drink good, godly, TRADITIONAL water made of TWO elements, not this disgusting POLYwater. Who knows what's in it? I bet Mormons drink it!

zombie rotten mcdonald said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Substance McGravitas said...

Well OBVIOUSLY quantum phenomenamons aren't limited to the sub-atomic scale. This explains why I keep getting a paycheque when I spend the day drinking: clearly I am still in my office. Fellow employees have noticed my weirdness but they fail to put the clarifying "quantum" in front of that.

Smut Clyde said...

I bet Mormons drink it!
Like "5 Wives" Vodka (banned in Idaho due to Political Correctness).

Smut Clyde said...

Isn't "drunken inebriation" needlessly repetitive?

My dubbelganger had probably been drinking when he wrote that.

mikey said...

As long as he wasn't snacking on some poor bastard's face at the time, I say go right ahead.

Carry on...

vacuumslayer said...

Is it Friday night yet?

vacuumslayer said...

5 Wives? Ha ha ha! I'll have to google that vodka!

Rachel said...

Your theory about incompetence bringing success in corrupt academic circles could be life imitating art... state and institution funded art that is, since Tom Wolfe's "The Painted Word," anyway.

Rachel said...

... only the funded artist usually really believes in and works hard at the crap in question.

fish said...

As long as he wasn't snacking on some poor bastard's face at the time, I say go right ahead.

Carry on...


mikey misspelled carrion.

fish said...

There goes my idea for ice9 cubes.

Dragon-King Wangchuck said...

You could always try polywater crackers instead.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

A.K. sighting at 1:25.
~

Another Kiwi said...

Is not. You can't prove nuthin'