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Water myths: Five Myths About Drinking Water : NPR


Five Myths About Drinking Water : NPR

Is bottled water better for you than tap? Or should you choose vitamin-enriched water over sparkling? Experts say, skip it all. None of these products are likely to make you any healthier. Below, we look at five major myths about the benefits of drinking water.

But first, how do you know if you’re drinking enough water? Experts say there’s an easy way to judge. If you’re not thirsty, your fluid intake is likely “just right.”

Myth No. 1: Drink Eight Glasses Each Day

Scientists say there’s no clear health benefit to chugging or even sipping water all day. So where does the standard advice of drinking eight glasses each day come from? “Nobody really knows,” says Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, a kidney expert at the University of Pennsylvania.

Myth No. 2: Drinking Lots of Water Helps Clear Out Toxins

The kidneys filter toxins from our bloodstreams. Then the toxins clear through the urine. The question is, does drinking extra water each day improve the function of the kidneys?

“No,” says Goldfarb. “In fact, drinking large amounts of water surprisingly tends to reduce the kidney’s ability to function as a filter. It’s a subtle decline, but definite.”

Myth No. 3: Lots of Water Equals Healthier Skin

The body is already 60 percent water. So, if you take a 200-pound man, he’s 120 pounds of water.

Adding a few extra glasses of water each day has limited effect. “It’s such a tiny part of what’s in the body,” says Goldfarb. “It’s very unlikely that one’s getting any benefit.” His full editorial is published in the current issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

One study published in 2007 on the cosmetic benefit of drinking water suggests that 500 ml of water increases capillary blood flow in the skin. “But it’s unclear whether these changes are clinically significant,” says Goldfarb.

Myth No. 4: Drinking Extra Water Leads to Weight Loss

A more accurate statement may be: Drinking water is a helpful tool for dieters.

“Water is a great strategy for dieters because it has no calories,” says Madeline Fernstrom of the University of Pittsburgh. “So you can keep your mouth busy without food and get the sense of satisfaction.”

But water is not magical, she adds. Other zero-calorie options such as diet sodas are fine, too.

Myth No. 5: It’s Easy to Get Dehydrated During a Workout

Dehydration sets in when a person has lost 2 percent of his or her body weight. So for a 200-pound man, this means losing 4 pounds of water.

Marathon runners, bikers and hikers all need to recognize the signs of dehydration. “It is also obvious that individuals in hot, dry climates have increased need for water,” says Goldfarb.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that athletes drink 16 ounces of fluids a couple of hours before starting sports practice.

But for a stroll in the park, no water bottle is necessary. Goldfarb’s advice: Just drink when you’re thirsty.

Water Myths Busted | ELGA LabWater

We love water. There, we’ve said it – our opinion’s out in the open for all to see! We love it in the oceans, in the rivers, in our showers, our baths, our cups of tea and coffee; we love it in your lab, bottled on your bench, in your solutions, your gel tanks, chromatography columns and cuvettes! We don’t love it when people perpetuate myths or fabricate ‘facts’ about water that are just plain wrong. So, in the defence of water, we’ve assembled this blog in order to bust some of the more stubborn water myths. Read on for the truth!

1.  Water Boils at 100oC (212oF)

OK, let’s get the basic physics and chemistry right out of the way: pure water boils at 100°C or 212°F when at one atmospheric pressure, i.e. at sea level, and the boiling temperature will change as you move above and below this elevation. Notice how we snuck ‘pure’ in there at the start? That’s because once you start adding impurities – salts for example – you raise the boiling temperature. But hold on, it gets more complex than that! In addition to impurities, there’s the material of the container holding the water that also affects boiling temperature: in the 1810s Joseph-Louis Gay-Lussac observed that water boiled at 101.2°C in a glass container, while it boiled at exactly 100°C in a metallic one. Another scientist, Jean-André De Luc, spent huge amounts of time showing that ‘dissolved air’ would lead to what he called ‘premature boiling’. After a series of frustrating experiments, he managed to remove much of the dissolved air and his ‘airless water’ reached 112.2°C before boiling off rather explosively. If you’re interested in how explosive superheated water can be, we know just the video clip for you, from the original “Myth Busters”.

As you can see, water is very particular, only complying with our textbook boiling point of 100°C (212°F) under very specific conditions!

2. You Need To Drink Two Litres Of Water Every Day

And if you don’t, your skin will become blotchy and wrinkled, your cognitive functions will plummet, you’ll gain weight and you’ll never manage to successfully ‘detox’ your body, right? Wrong. So wrong. While it’s true that we do use around two litres of water each day, we also take in plenty through other sources. The water content of both tea and coffee for example, outweighs their diuretic effect and will effectively hydrate you; and some fruits and vegetables contain up to 95% water – we all know that cucumbers are just green water and seeds really! Another thing, water, ice cold or otherwise, isn’t going to help burn calories, so I’m afraid that you’re going to have to hit the gym instead! You also don’t need to pre-emptively top up you water levels to keep cognitive functions up, just drink when you’re thirsty – consuming lots of water when you’re not thirsty has no benefit at all. Finally, there’s still little or no evidence to support drinking eight glasses of water each day in order to keep your skin looking healthy and hydrated. Sorry.

Our thirst response is awesome. When you’re thirsty, drink some water. Or, have a coffee, a cup of tea, juice or even a cucumber! However, if you are intent on trying to reach some magical two-litre intake, be sure you know where the bathroom is as you’re going to be visiting it often!

3. You Need To Keep Drinking Water To ‘Detox’ Your Body

Since we’re on the subject of health, let us state this clearly: despite all the adverts each New Year, there’s no such thing as ‘detoxing’, it’s nonsense. Other than medical detoxification, typically used for serious drug addiction or poisoning, there are no mystical cleansing properties from performing some sort of celebrity detox diet consisting of just water or juice – you are not ‘flushing your kidneys and body of toxins’. Drinking water alone is not going to have any effect on the enzymatic reactions happening in your liver, or boost kidney effectiveness. The unfortunate truth is that if we were constantly filling up with ‘toxins’ that we were unable to metabolise, we’d all become extremely ill or even die in a relatively short period of time. The charity Sense about Science has debunked this myth in great depth.

Save your money and don’t buy into water and juice ‘detox’ diets, they’re completely made up and may actually cause you harm.

4. The More Water You Drink, The Healthier You’ll Be

It’s nigh on impossible to escape a brief TV session without someone extolling the health benefits of water – how it’s so good for us. We’ve all heard the myth about how we need to be drinking more water in pursuit of eternal youth, but how much is too much? If we keep drinking it, will we get healthier and healthier? Are the hyper-hydrated being strung along in the hope of some fortuitous event which culminates in their prolonged longevity (most of which would surely be spent queuing for the bathroom)? Can drinking too much water be intoxicating and in fact hazardous to your health? Can we have too much of a good thing?

Apparently so. As almost everyone’s mother probably once said, ‘Everything in moderation’ really is key here. Morbid tales of water intoxication have occurred as a result of excessive water consumption (polydipsia) and subsequent dilution of salt levels in the blood. This is because your kidneys simply can’t flush the water through fast enough. Instead water moves from the blood to your cells where there is a higher concentration of salt, causing them to swell. Which is all well and good when they have room to stretch, however, when it comes to the brain, your solid bony skull encapsulates these cells and prevents them from expanding. Sadly, swelling as a result of excess water (edema) in the brain can lead to seizures, coma and death, all of which are no laughing matter.

5. Bottled Water Is Bad For Your Teeth

Bottled water consumption continues to rise due to its supposed superior quality, but is it worth the cost? Should we be bothered with the bottled stuff or just go ‘eau’ natural? Does bottled water beat the regular ol’ tap variety hands down, or are we left in some sort of liquid limbo land?

What are they actually putting in the bottle or rather, what are they not? Reverse osmosis, which uses a pressurized system to force water through a semi-permeable membrane and remove bacteria and solutes such as fluoride, calcium and magnesium, is commonly used in the production of bottled water. There are fears that removing nutrients and minerals from our drinking water, and ultimately our diet, could be harmful to our health.

Ironically, bottled water is often chosen as a healthy alternative to sugary soft drinks and, while there’s no denying that in many ways it is, there have been alleged concerns that it could be contributing to tooth decay. This is because fluoride, which is a superhero when it comes to protecting your enamel (hydroxyapatite) from acid attack and cavity control, is often removed from filtered water. However, it isn’t always clear on the label. It’s also worth noting that some mineral water providers even replace the fluoride lost through filtration. So, I guess it depends on what you’re partial to when parched. But regardless, I’d suggest that this is a myth busted, especially as there’s plenty of fluoride in toothpaste nowadays to protect your pearly whites and more importantly postpone that trip to the dentist.

6. The Origins Of Estrogen-Contaminated Water

Estrogen, more specifically the synthetic compound, ethinyl-estradiol (EE2), which is found in birth control pills and other contraceptives, is said to be contaminating our water supply. Obviously, this raises concerns, not only for human health but for aquatic plants and wildlife too. Some have even gone so far as to suggest this could be responsible for male infertility and fish feminization. Does the pill really kill the environment?

Thankfully this one’s a myth. A study from the University of California reported that in fact there’s only a negligible amount of EE2 in our drinking water. Instead the researchers identified many other sources of estrogenic compounds, such as crop fertilizers, livestock and industrial chemicals – not to mention natural estrogen from both men and women, particularly those of the pregnant variety. So there you have it, the pill is not the major culprit of estrogen contamination in our water supply and parental planning protocols can proceed with a clear environmental conscience.


13 Myths and Facts about drinking water

We’ve been researching drinking water for the last couple of years and found that there is a lot of made up, unfounded and myths online.

Therefore we have tried to dispell and respond to the most common myths with facts here:

1. Tap water is less healthy than bottled water


Tap water in the US and EU countries is generally safer or as safe to drink as bottled water‎. Your local water company is responsible for delivering clean drinking water all the way to your tap with daily quality testing based on EPA, WHO and the EU Water Framework Directive. How this is implemented in each country can be found here.

If the drinking water does not comply with the regulations then the water supplier is obliged to inform citizens that it’s unsafe to drink.

Unfortunately there are many cases where the water turns out to be unsafe to drink despite regulation and testing. Recent issues include lead found in the tap water in Flint, New Jersey and Chicago and PFAS found in 30 regions in the US and Europe. Another recent problem is microplastics as we don’t know the impact on humans yet.  

A simple, affordable and high quality water filter such as TAPP 2 will protect you and your family from the most common water pollutants.

For further feedback or questions about this please contact us.

2. Bottled water is healthier and safer to drink than than tap water


Multiple studies of plastic bottled water in US, Spain, UK, Netherlands and other countries conclude that bottled water is frequently contaminated with plastic and pharmaceuticals.

  • Researchers from the School of Public Health, Immunology and Medical Microbiology of Spain’s Rey Juan Carlos University analyzed ten brand of commercially available bottled water contained 58 active pharmaceuticals, and five of the ten brands contained significant amounts of nicotine. Source: Scientific Total Environment
  • The Institute of Biomedical Research in Granada tested 29 samples of bottled water sold in Spain as “natural mineral water” and from various natural springs, the results indicate that all samples of water have hormonal activity. One possible source is the plastic bottle. Source: 2015 report in PubMed
  • Laboratory tests conducted by University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory in 2008 found that 10 popular brands of bottled water, purchased from grocery stores and other retailers in 9 states and the District of Columbia, contained 38 chemical pollutants (including pharmaceuticals) altogether, with an average of 8 contaminants in each brand. 4 were also contaminated with bacteria. Source: www.ewg.org
  • Food Safety News reports that in June 2015, 14 different brands of bottled water had to be recalled because of possible contamination with E. coli bacteria.

And there are 100s of other studies concluding similar results.

3. Chlorine in drinking water is bad for our health

Generally false.

After 100 years of research and tests in the field, chlorine in drinking water is generally considered safe. The most cited source is the World Health Organisation (WHO) is Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality (2008) which highlights that there may be some risks, but that they are outweighed by the benefits of using chlorine as a desinfectant agent in public water.

However, there is also extensive reaserch highlighting potential health risks:

  • Norwegian study of 141,000 newborns in the 1990s – The study indicates that exposure to chlorinated surface waters with a high content of natural organic matter increases the risk of birth defects. The findings also suggest that natural organic matter in non-chlorinated tap water contains substances that may increase the risk of congenital birth defects. Source: Study published by Oxford University Press.
  •  Finnish study of 621,431 people between 1970 and 1992 – After adjustment for confounding, a statistically significant excess risk was observed for women in cancers of the bladder (RR=1.48), rectum (RR=1.38, oesophagus (RR=1.9) and breast (RR=1.11). These results support the magnitude of excess risks for rectal and bladder cancers found in earlier epidemiological studies on chlorination by-products and give additional information on exposure-response concerning the mutagenic compounds. Nevertheless, due to the public health importance of water chlorination, the uncertainty related to the magnitude of observed risks, and the fact that excess risks were observed only for women, the results of the study should be interpreted with caution. Source: Study published by the National Institute of Health
  • Research on the effects of chlorinated drinking water from two Italian municipal networks 2016 – Drinking water linked to recorded metabolic manipulation suggests that a prolonged exposure to chlorine-derived disinfectants may produce adverse health effects. Source: Study published by National Institute of Health.

If you are concerned about the health risk of chlorine then get an active carbon filter that removes most of the chlorine. Read our drinking water filter guide for more recommendations.

4. Our drinking water may contain pharmaceuticals, hormones and contraception residues

True, although the same applies to tap and bottled water.

There are multiple studies of waste water, drinking water and bottled water (see above) that conclude that our water is contaminated with pharmaceuticals, hormones and contraception residues. However, most also conclude that the amounts are too small to have an adverse health impact.

One study specifically about contraceptions in drinking water conludes that although there are traces from such drugs there is a much bigger problem with meat, fish and vegetables.‎

5. Drinking water tastes or smells bad or out murky so it must be bad for me

Probably false.

First you should call your local water company to check. Secondly ask for and check your local water report for more details. If it’s unhealthy for you then the water supplier is obliged to inform you. For health advice, you should contact the health authorities of the autonomous region or province.

6. What does it mean for water to be classified as safe drinking water?

It is classified as safe drinking water when it does not contain any type of microorganism, parasite or substance in a quantity or concentration that may pose a hazard to human health; and meets the requirements specified parameters for microbiological, chemical, and radioactive quality indicators. When the above meets, but exceeds certain levels until values for parameters quality indicators (turbidity, color, taste, etc.), water is safe to drink, WITH nonconformity … (an indicator parameter).

When there is a problem of chemical quality of water, and more than one month is needed to fix it, it could happen that during that time the regional health authority authorized to supply drinking water with one or more chemical parameters with values above the value legal. These new values should not constitute a risk to health at any time. In these cases the rating would be: SUITABLE FOR CONSUMPTION, EXCEPT IN … (a chemical parameter).

7. What does it mean that water is not suitable to drink?

When the water quality does not meet the above requirements, it is a water unfit for consumption. In the case of reaching very high levels microbiological, chemical or radioactive parameters, the health authority may consider it unfit for water consumption with health hazard.

You can visit our “Can I drink the tap water” for information on the major cities. Note however that their data is based on reports from consumers and not scientific data.

8. Why does my water smell/taste of chlorine?

Chlorine is essential to protect public health and so it is added to drinking water as the final stage of treatment to kill any harmful germs that may be present. Water suppliers try and keep chlorine levels as low as possible, while at the same time ensuring supplies are kept safe. Chlorine concentrations can vary throughout the day and through seasons, and may be higher if you live close to a water treatment works.

9. Why does my water smell stagnant or like sewage?

Sometimes a sewage or stagnant-type odour can come from a sink/plug hole. This usually means there has been a blockage or build up of waste materials, which makes the drinking water appear to smell. Filling a glass with water and smelling it in a different room, away from the kitchen sink, will help you work out whether the odour is genuinely from the water or not. If you think it is the water please contact your water supplier immediately.

10. Why is my water cloudy or milky?

Sometimes water can look milky or cloudy because it contains tiny bubbles of air. Air is always in water, but it can be more obvious after it has travelled through the mains, if there is a burst mains pipe or if a faulty plumbing fitting has been used.As well as the change in how it looks, you may also notice knocking or banging noises coming from the internal plumbing.To check if this is the problem, run a glass of water and allow it to stand for a few moments – the cloudiness should clear from bottom to top. To help fix this, you can try running the cold water tap at the first point of entry in to the property (closest to the internal stop tap) on a slow steady flow. While the tap is running, turn the internal stop tap on/off 4-6 times to help release the air from the pipes. Cloudy water caused by tiny air bubbles in the water is not harmful to health.

11. It is better for my health to drink Alkaline water (higher pH level) and ionized water?


There are no scientific studies or research to our knowledge. This article provides a good overview of the myths around this.

12. My tap water contain fluoride and is this bad for me?


This has been a big debate for the past 10 years. All tap water contain some level of fluoride but it’s more or less depending on where you live.

  • Fluoride exists naturally in virtually all water supplies and even in various brands of bottled water. The amount differs significantly however and therefore fluoride is added to the drinking water for about half of the US population and in some European countries.
  • Virtually all foodstuffs contain at least traces of fluorine. All vegetation contains some fluoride, which is absorbed from soil and water. The highest levels in fieldgrown vegetables are found in curly kale (up to 40 mg/kg fresh weight) and endive (0. 3–2.8 mg/kg fresh weight)
  • There are 100s of studies that support fluoride reducing tooth decay. Some of these are also referenced by WHO: http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/dwq/chemicals/fluoride.pdf
  • The same WHO report concludes that there is no statistically significant increase of cancer from the levels of fluoride added to drinking water or from tooth paste.
  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reviewed whether using toothpaste with fluoride alone was enough. After looking at all the ways we might get fluoride — including fluoride toothpaste — the CDC recommended that communities fluoridate water at 0.7 parts per million. Any less than that puts the health of our teeth at risk. This is probably an overstated risk as people from countries that don’t add fluoride don’t have worse teeth.
  • There is research that supports that fluoride may have negative effects but for every one of these there are 99 that support the opposite. There are also risks with chlorination of water but the positives outweigh the risks.

If you are still worried about fluoride check our water filter guide for more information about which filters remove it.

13. It’s safer to use bottled water for baby milk

Generally false.

Boiled tap water is generally recommended for baby formula rather than bottled water in the US and all EU countries that we checked. See the recommendation by NHS for more information.

All information on this page is fact checked with the sources provided and other sources. Please e-mail us on [email protected] if you have questions / comments.

5 Common Myths About Water, Explained

Every year, World Water Day provides an opportunity to reflect on the importance of ensuring everyone around the world has access to safe, clean water. This year, the theme of World Water Day is “Valuing Water,” and here at Culligan, one way we’re dedicated to showing how much we value water is to promote education around the role water plays in our lives and the broad range of benefits that better water brings.

With that in mind, Culligan International commissioned our Global World Water Day Survey 2021, conducted by Toluna, to better understand consumer perceptions and attitudes about water. Here, we share some of the most surprising things people in North America don’t know about water – and provide a few helpful facts to promote greater understanding of this most-valuable resource.

Myth #1: Bottled water is safer than tap water

If you think bottled water is safer than tap water, you’re not alone. According to our Global World Water Day Survey, half of North Americans believe this is true – but that’s not necessarily the case. Contrary to what some may believe, there is not a higher standard of regulation for bottled water than there is for tap water. In fact, the safety standards for bottled water and tap water can be quite similar.

In the United States, for example, bottled water safety falls under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), while the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates tap water. However, the FDA bases its bottled water standards on those that the EPA sets for tap water.

The EPA sets the legal limits for more than 90 potential contaminants in drinking water under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Bottled water suppliers must meet the requirements set forth by the FDA through the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. When the EPA sets a new standard for a contaminant in tap water, the FDA must establish a new standard for the same contaminant in bottled water or determine that the EPA’s new standard is not applicable to bottled water.

Meanwhile, tap water that comes from a public water supply is frequently tested for contaminants, and the EPA requires that the results be published annually in publicly available reports. While the FDA does have its own requirements focusing on bottled water safety, companies are not required to publicly disclose test results.

Myth #2: Tap water cannot contain pesticides

More than 1 in 5 respondents (21%) don’t believe that tap water could contain pesticides; nearly one-quarter don’t know whether it can. Unfortunately, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), pesticides in groundwater are in fact a concern, particularly for those living in agricultural areas: “Pesticides can reach water-bearing aquifers below ground from applications onto crop fields, seepage of contaminated surface water, accidental spills and leaks, improper disposal, and even through injection waste material into wells,” the organization notes.

While some pesticides have a designated maximum contaminant limit in drinking water set by the EPA, others do not. It’s the EPA’s role to assess the potential hazards of pesticides to human health based on toxicity and exposure. When pesticides are found in water supplies, they normally are not present in high enough concentrations to cause acute or chronic health effects.

Myth 3: Bottled water doesn’t contain microplastics

Nearly one-third of respondents to the survey believe bottled water doesn’t contain microplastics (tiny plastic fibers and particles that result from the breakdown of larger plastics) and another 32% do not know whether it does. Yet the results of a 2018 study published in Frontiers in Chemistry found signs of microplastic contamination in 93% of bottled water tested. Further, the bottled water tested contained on average nearly twice as much microplastic contamination as was found in tap water in a previous study.

Scientists are unclear on what effects microplastics have on human health, but consumers can reduce their exposure by consuming less bottled water and taking other steps to reduce their plastic waste.

Myth 4: Drinking sparkling water while eating aids digestion

Nearly half of respondents to the survey (45%) believe drinking sparkling water while eating aids in digestion. To make water “sparkling,” it is infused with carbon dioxide gas under pressure. Sparkling water hydrates consumers just as well as still water, but there’s little evidence that it contributes to better digestion.

More consumers are opting for sparkling water in recent years as they look for healthier alternatives to sugary soft drinks. As long as it doesn’t have added sugars, sparkling water is a better choice. Read the nutrition label before purchasing a sparkling water product to see if sugar has been added.

Myth 5: Drinking water increases water retention

Nearly half of North Americans (47%) don’t realize that drinking water actually decreases water retention, which can cause bloating and added water weight. It may seem like the opposite should be true, but in fact, not getting enough water can actually cause your body to retain it. The first signs of water retention might be excess weight, a ring that won’t fit on your finger, swollen ankles or bloating in the abdominal area.

So how much water is enough? The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake a out 15.5 cups of fluids a day for men and 11.5 cups for women. This includes fluids from water, beverages and other foods (bout 20% of daily fluid intake comes from food).


Water has major implications for good health, but clearly, misconceptions still remain. Find more common water myths here, and stay tuned for more posts that can help you make better decisions about the water you consume.

5 Biggest Myths About Water Quality

This post may be shocking. (70% of our readers say it is.)

First, a 6th myth that didn’t make our list: Myth: “The government agencies and powers that be can handle water quality monitoring, and there’s nothing for me to do.”

Fact: The President’s Council on Science and Technology, plus many other institutions, have all called for an increase in “citizen science” and hyperlocal data monitoring to ensure the safety of our local water supplies.

Translation: we need everyday citizens to get involved to predict and prevent water-related crises.

Citizen involvement may not sound important until you realize how widespread the crisis is. Most Americans remember seeing headlines about contaminated water in Flint, MI when the story broke in 2015–2016. But what most don’t know is a fact I shared in my TED talk: there are actually 3,810 locations in the United States with MORE lead in their water than Flint, Michigan. In fact, 71% of Americans (that’s 233 million of us!) have some form of contamination in their water — but most of us have no idea.

What’s worse, according to the United Nations, by 2030 there will be a 40% greater demand for clean water than there is supply on this planet for the first time in human history. Clearly, to avoid an unthinkable future, we need more hands on deck today — from everyday citizens, not just experts — to solve the problem.

It used to be difficult for the average citizen to get involved in improving water quality conditions. Even if you cared deeply about the issue, where would you start? That’s why Aquagenuity (“where water meets ingenuity”) was born — so that average citizens can access water quality data and help create the future of water without having a degree in chemistry or environmental engineering.

The team at Aquagenuity recently launched the Lead Test Challenge to get everyday consumers to test their homes for lead in the water and lead pipes. Aquagenuity has developed the world’s first real-time lead monitoring software, which will alert consumers to changes in lead levels without them having to manually test their water or install sensors. We need to train the machine learning software to predict and report lead levels accurately, and that’s where consumers come in. By taking 10 minutes to check their own pipes and filling out quick questionnaire, beta testers can join the movement and help train our software.

So, every citizen counts. Get involved! After reading the Top 5 Myths About Water Quality, you’ll understand why your small action of taking the Lead Test Challenge is so important in helping us bring safer water to everyone.

(By the way, if you haven’t had a chance to complete the Lead Test Challenge for your home, click here to follow the quick steps — only takes 10 minutes!)

Myth #5: “Water quality is being monitored all the way to my tap. ‘They’ would tell me if something were wrong.

Fact: There is almost no monitoring of water quality in the last mile between the local treatment plant and your home’s tap.

Let’s say your city has absolutely perfect water (most cities do not, but let’s assume). The water still has to travel the last mile from your local water treatment facility to your home’s tap. The EPA or your local agency are not set up to conduct in-depth monitoring in that last mile. Yet, it is in that last mile where most water crises occur — like what we saw in Flint or Newark.

So most local agencies don’t have real-time data if there is a sudden change in water quality at the tap, which means there are not frequent notifications of sudden changes to local water quality. That’s why Aquagenuity is building simple tools — to build a future where anyone could have real-time water quality monitoring all the way to the tap.

Myth #4: “Water quality is static. It always stays the same.”

Fact: Your water quality changes about as often as the weather does.

Most people think their water quality just “is what it is.” But in fact, your water quality changes about as often as the weather does. So in that last mile between your local treatment plant and your tap, water quality varies quite a bit.

If there is heavy rain or flooding (or snowfall or a hurricane)… or dumping or construction near your home… or if you live near a factory or a superfund site or a military base… or if there’s a water main break near you, or your pipes start to age or leach over time… any of these things can cause your home’s water quality to change.

Basically, your water quality is changing MUCH more often than you think. That’s why Aquagenuity is working to create simple tools that can track these changes as frequently as they occur.

Myth #3: Water is a third world issue. The United States has the best water in the world.

Fact: Though our water quality is good compared to many other parts of the world, water contamination is impacting the majority of Americans (7 out of 10 of us).

It is true that in the western world, we started using modernized water infrastructure in the 1920s and 30s, which means we typically don’t perish INSTANTLY from our drinking water.

However, we’re still being exposed to toxins that can negatively impact our health over time. The EPA regulates approximately 120 toxins. However, the U.S. water supply is known to contain 120,000 toxins, some of which are known to be carcinogenic or harmful to health over the long-term. Plus our infrastructure is now about 100 years old, and has received a D-rating from the American Society of Civil Engineers.

With traditional tools, there’s no easy way to know what you’re being exposed in your local water. That’s why Aquagenuity is building new tools to give every family peace of mind that their water is safe.

MYTH #2: “If something happens to my local water quality, all I have to do is boil my water and I’m fine.”

FACT: Boiling your water will not eliminate many toxins that may be in your water, and in the case of heavy metals, boiling makes it worse.

You are probably familiar with the “boil water” advisories that come from local water agencies when things go awry. And boiling water typically does ensure that no bacteria is present in the water (according to the World Health Organization, boiling is sufficient to kill pathogenic bacteria, viruses and protozoa). However, boiling does not make the tap water pure.

Other contaminants that may be present, such as heavy metals like lead, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, insecticides, and other inorganics are not removed through boiling water. In fact, when boiling tap water, you are often increasing the density of these non-organic contaminants.

That’s why Aquagenuity is building better tools for monitoring all types of toxins that may be impacting your water quality monitoring at the tap.

And the #1 Most Common Myth about Water Quality:

MYTH #1: “I only drink bottled water. So I’m good.”

FACT: Bottled water is not sufficient for eliminating your exposure to potential toxins.

Here’s a fact to consider: 64% of bottled water is just tap water, bottled from a municipal source (source: Consumer Reports). Whatever’s in your local water supply may be in your bottled water as well.

So there’s that.

Secondly, the production of bottled water causes significant environmental problems, including taking water from communities that depend on it, polluting the environment, contributing to global warming and creating billions of empty bottles that end up as waste, contributing to the plastic problem in our oceans.

And if that weren’t enough, consider the fact that even if you don’t drink from you tap, you still take baths and showers. So since your skin is your largest organ, every time you take a shower, you’re basically opening up your pores with the steam and then letting in whatever toxins happen to be in your water.

Bottled water can’t fix that.

Aquagenuity is working to build a future where the water coming out of our taps is as safe as possible for all of us.

Whew! We’ve covered a lot on this journey.

The Conclusion: we need better tools to monitor our water quality in real-time. And to build those tools, we need your help.

So do your part by taking 10 minutes to take the Lead Test Challenge in your home. When you do, you’ll be helping make water safer for us all.


Doll Avant & The Aquagenuity Team

-Made with ❤️in ATL


Busting the 8 cups of water myth – News

While the average fluid lost from our bodies does turn out to be around 8 cups a day, you do not need to replace all of it with plain old water.

While the average fluid lost from our bodies does turn out to be around 8 cups a day, you do not need to replace all of it with plain old water.Staying hydrated is critical, especially in hotter weather, but do we really have to drink 8 cups of water a day to stay hydrated?

University of Alabama at Birmingham nutritionist Beth Kitchin, Ph.D., RDN, tells why this is a myth.

Kitchin, an assistant professor with the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences, says there are many ways for you to get the daily amount of fluids needed.

“For some people who absolutely love water and drink their 8 cups a day, that’s fine,” Kitchin said. “But for people like me who do not like the taste of plain water, you can drink milk or juice because they are mostly water.”

What about coffee and tea?

“The good news is that, even though coffee and tea have caffeine, you still can get some of your daily water intake from these beverages,” Kitchin said. “If you drink these kinds of caffeinated drinks, your body kind of adapts and you don’t necessarily lose all these extra fluids.”

She adds that some studies have even shown that it only takes three days of caffeine drinking for your body to adapt.

And sodas?

“Sodas do provide some form of hydration,” Kitchin said. “I am not advocating that you drink a whole lot of sodas to rehydrate, but I am saying that if you do drink them you’re actually getting some fluid replacement.”

Kitchin says fruits and vegetables can also provide significant hydration.

“Many fruits and vegetables are 80 percent water by weight,” she said. “You can actually replenish up to a third of your water loss a day by eating fruits and veggies.”

Of course, there are other types of water you can buy.

“One of the things I like to do is drink what I like to call fizzy water,” Kitchin said. “I like to mix it with juice to make a healthier fruit soda.”

Beth Kitchin, Ph.D., RDNAm I hydrated enough?

Kitchin says thirst is a pretty good indicator that most people need hydration, except if you are older.

“As we get into our older years, thirst is not as accurate,” she said.

But, the most accurate way to check if you need to hydrate is your urine. Kitchin says, if urine is dilute, pale yellow or clear, chances are that you are hydrated. However, if urine is darker in color or cloudy, more hydration is required.


“Most of us do need more water at this time of the year; but surprisingly, you can drink too much and overhydrate,” Kitchin said. “When people drink too much water, it dilutes the sodium in the blood to a level that is too low.”

Some of the symptoms of low blood sodium, or hyponatremia, are the same as dehydration — nausea, vomiting, headaches, convulsions, brain swelling — and can even cause death.

To learn more nutrition and wellness tips, click here.

Water mythology

Old stories can be divided into history, myths and legends. History describes events we know actually happened, whereas myths and legends, though often repeated by generation after generation, were never actually proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. The difference between legends and myths is that legends, or saga, tell the stories of heroes and their heroic actions, whereas myths tell the stories of creatures, divine beings and gods and how they came to be. In this sense, myths are more like fairytales told to young children.

Water plays an important role in many legends and myths. There are mythological water beings and gods, stories of heroes that have something to do with water, and even stories of isles and continents lost below the surface. This page contains a selection of the most commonly known legends and myths with regard to water. In the final section we recommend some literature for those who are interested.

1. Creatures

Scottish mythology tells us Ashrays, or Water Lovers, are completely translucent water creatures that are often mistaken for sea ghosts. They can be both male and female and can be found only under water. Being completely nocturnal, one would never come across such creatures during the day. When captured and exposed to sunlight ashrays supposedly melt and only a puddle of water remains.

Bäckahästen means brook horse; this was the name of a mythological horse in Scandinavian folklore. She would appear near rivers in foggy weather, and whoever decided to ride on her back was unable to get off again. The horse would than jump into the river, drowning the rider. Celtic folklore describes shape-shifting horses called kelpies, and it is thought Bäckahästen may be a kelpie.

Blue men of the Minch
These supernatural sea creatures were said to live in underwater caves in the Minch, a straight between Lewis, Long Island and the Shiant Islands near Scotland. The Blue Men looked like humans with blue skins. They where infamous for swimming alongside passing ships, and attempting to wreck them by conjuring storms and by luring sailors into the water. If a captain wanted to save his ship he had to finish their rhymes and solve their riddles, and always make sure he got the last word. The Blue men were actually hierarchical, as they were always ruled over by a chieftain. This led to the assumption they are somehow related to mermen. Some think the Blue Men may be Fallen Angels.

Bunyip literally means devil, or spirit. It is a mythological creature from Aboriginal Australia that was said to lurk in swamps, creeks, riverbeds and waterholes. Aborigines thought they could hear their cries at night. They believed Bunyip took humans as a food source when their stock was disturbed, preferably women, and they tended to blame the Bunyip for disease spread in the river area. Bunyip supposedly had flippers, a horse-like tail and walrus-like tusks. It is now said that Bunyip are a figment of Aborigine imagination, because the cries they heard actually belonged to possums, or koalas. The cries of women supposedly being captured may actually have been sounds of a barking owl.

A daughter of Gaia and Pontus, Ceto was a hideous sea monster in Greek mythology. She was considered the personification of the dangers of the sea. Her husband was Phorcys, and their children were called the Phorcydes. These include the Hesperides (nymphs), the Graeae (archaic water goddesses), the gorgons (female monsters with sharp fangs and hair of venomous snakes, such as Medusa), sea monster Scylla, and other water nymphs and sea monsters. Ceto eventually became the name for any sea monster.

Charon and the hellhound
Charon was a mythological old ferryman that ferried the dead into the Underworld, crossing the river Acheron (river of woe). He only took the soles of those buried properly with a coin in their mouths. The river was guarded by a hellhound that allowed no soles ever to leave the realm of the dead. In Greek mythology this was a three-headed dog by the name of Cerberus. In Norse mythology, this was a blood-drenched hellhound with four eyes by the name of Garm.

A story is told about the Chesapeake Bay area between Virginia and Maryland being home to a sea monster, often referred to as Chessie. Some sightings were reported of a serpent-like creature with flippers and scales. No pictures have been taken so far, whereas there are some pictures supposedly of Nessie, the sea monster said to inhabit Scotland’s Loch Ness lake.

Dragon Kings
Dragon Kings were believed by the Chinese to consist of four separate dragons, each of which ruled over one of the four seas in the north, east, south and west. These Dragon Kings could shape-shift to human form, and lived in crystal palaces guarded by shrimps and crabs.

Fosse grim
According to Scandinavian mythology, Fosse grim was a water spirit that played enchanted songs on the violin, luring women and children to drown in lakes and streams. However, in some stories he is depicted as a harmless creature, simply entertaining men, women and children with his songs. According to myth Fosse grim even agreed to live with a human that fell in love with him, but he supposedly left after some time because he could not live away from a water source too long.

These water demons were first mentioned in British folktales in the county of Yorkshire. Parents told their children stories of grindylows to prevent them from getting in the cold water in the area. Grindylows supposedly had long fingers that would drag children into the deep.

These were water spirits in mythology of the Sawa, an ethnic group in Cameroon. They supposedly resembled merpeople, but were thought to be gap-toothed and had long, woolly hair. The Sawa believed these spirits could act as an intermediate between the living and the spiritual world. Jengu were also thought to cure disease, and played an important role in some tribal rites, for example when a child entered adulthood. In West, Central and Southern Africa some other tribes believe in the Mami Wata, a water spirit thought to resemble the Jengu.

Kappas are presumably intelligent water spirits in Japanese mythology. They are monkey-like creatures with saucer-shaped heads, long noses, and a yellowish-green skin. Kappas are said to lure children to the water and pull them under, feeding on their blood. Their main weakness is that their heads are filled with water, and when this is spilled they lose their powers.

The Kraken is a legendary sea monster often mentioned in pirate myths. It was said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Iceland. People thought the monster to be some sort of giant squid, living in the deep of the ocean and surfacing from time to time to attack ships. Some claim that islands that were seen from time to time and subsequently vanished may actually have been Kraken sightings. It is stated that some traits of the Kraken resemble undersea volcanic activity in the Scandinavian region, including bubbles and currents.

Lady of the Lake
The Lady of the Lake is the name of a mythological aquatic spirit in several different legends, including the famous legend of King Arthur. She was said to have raised Sir Lancelot of the Lake, given Excalibur to King Arthur, and brought the King to Avalon after his death. Evidently, Viviane was Lady of the Lake in the beginning of King Arthur’s life, and Nimue later succeeded her. As Lancelot was raised he received a ring from The Lady that would protect him from all magic.

Nessie is a mysterious creature claimed to inhabit the Loch ness lake near Inverness, Scotland. The creature is often thought of as female, because of the female tone in its nickname. There are many reports of sightings and some people have even taken pictures they claim to be the monster, but none has been marked conclusive evidence so far. The creature is now thought to be a plesiosaur (a carnivorous aquatic animal from the dinosaur era). Many palaeontologists are against the theory, and claim that the water is to cold for a cold-blooded dinosaur to live in, and that the loch simply does not have enough food to preserve it. Additionally, the dinosaur would have to surface often to breathe, and therefore it would have been seen more often. Some palaeontologists claim it is impossible for an animal that went extinct millions of years ago to live in a lake that dates only 10,000 years back. But many people still believe, stating that animals can adapt to different conditions through time.

In biblical mythology Leviathan was a sea monster from ancient Canaan, associated with Satan. The monster was usually portrayed as a twining sea serpent, which was applied as a symbol for chaos. Other religions generally portrayed Leviathan as a whale demon with seven heads, and he was believed to be king of lies, or king of fish. In Modern Hebrew, Leviathan simply means whale.

According to German myth the rock Loreley over the Rhine by St. Goar inhabited a beautiful virgin named Loreley. The river by the rock was very narrow, and hence it was a dangerous place for ships to sale. Myth tells us Loreley endangered shippers by singing, because they would look up and subsequently sale their ships onto the rocks. After the death of a nobleman’s son, soldiers were sent to take Loreley. She saw them and called upon the river to aid her. Consequently, the rocks flooded and Loreley was carried away overseas, never to be seen again.

Melusine was a feminine spirit of freshwater in sacred springs and rivers in European mythology. She is usually depicted as a kind of mermaid, and may even have wings in some pictures. One story tells us she was born to the fay Pressyne and a common man, and taken to the isle of Avalon when she was little to grow up there. When she heard of her human father betraying her mother, she sought revenge on him. Her mother heard of this and cursed her to look like a serpent from the waste down. She supposedly got scaled arms and fins for hands, and could never change back to her old form.

Many a myth represented merpeople as creatures having the head and upper body of a human, and a fishtail instead of legs. Female merpeople are known as mermaids, and male merpeople are known as mermen. They usually had great beauty and charm, and thereby lured sailor men to their deaths. Some stories include mermaids altering their form to resemble humans. In the old Disney movie ‘The Little Mermaid’, Ariel assumes human form to gain the love of human prince Eric.

In Greek mythology Nereids were the nymphs of the sea. They were daughters of Nereus the sea god, and his wife Doris. Unlike sirens, Nereids were depicted friendly folk, always helping sailors through rough storms. They mainly lived in the Mediterranean Sea. Examples include Thetis and Amphrite (see 4).

Dragons played an important role in Chinese mythology. They were often bound to the elements. Panlong were the water dragons, believed to inhabit the waters of the entire Orient (the Near, Middle and Far East).

Rusalka were female ghosts in Slavic mythology. They were thought to be souls of young women died in or near lakes that had usually been murdered. They were not violent, but mainly haunted lakes until their death was avenged. Some explained the Rusalka as women that died prematurely due to suicide or murder having to do with their loved ones had to live out their designated time on earth as a spirit. Other stated that water ghosts are unclean dead, such as unbaptized babies, and people that died from suicides.

In Scottish mythology selkies were sea lions that could shed their skin and take human form. They were thought to live on the shores of Orkney and Shetland. When a female selkie shed her skin and a human captured it, she was forced to become his wife. If she were to ever find her skin again, she would return to sea, leaving her husband to pine and die. In Ireland these mythical creatures are called Roane.

In Greek mythology Sirens were sea nymphs that lived on the island Sirenum scopuli, and were daughters of Ceto the sea monster and Phorcys the sea god. They drew sailors to the rocks by their enchanted singing, causing their ships to sink. It is uncertain how many sirens there would be, as different tales vary their number between two and five. Some claim the sirens where playmates of young Persephone, daughter of Zeus and Demeter. As Persephone was abducted by Hades to become his queen of the Underworld, Demeter cursed the sirens to become monsters of lore. Sirens were often depicted as women with the legs and wings of birds, playing a great variety of musical instruments. However, they may also be depicted as half human, half fish (see picture). Consequently siren is often applied as a synonym for mermaid, because many believe sirens and mermaids are similar creatures. In German mythology, sirens were known as Nixes, and in Welsh and Breton mythology as Morgans.

In Polynesian mythology, a woman named Takua was once abducted by two evil spirits, and they stole the baby inside her. Than the sea rose, and the two spirits dissolved in a cloud. The boy, called Tahoratakarar, was raised by the sea itself. Other sea spirits built him a big boat that was tied to the Underworld. It sailed by night and stopped if someone died at sea, collecting his or her soul. The boat was known in myth as the Boat of Souls, or the Boat of the Dead. The myth resembles that of Charon in Greek mythology.

The Titans were twelve divine beings that ruled the earth in Greek mythology. They were associated with the primal concepts drawn from their names, such as ocean, moon and memory. Oceanus and Thetys, children of Uranus and Gaia, were the Titans that ruled over the sea. Oceanus was said to have the upper body of a man with a long beard and horns, and the lower body of a serpent. He ruled over the oceans. His sister Thetys ruled over the rivers, including the Nile and the Menderes. They married each other and had over 3000 children, known as the Oceanids. After the Olympians, the younger siblings of the Titans, eventually overthrew them, Poseidon (Neptune) and his unwilling queen Amphitrite ruled over the waters.

Uncegila was a mighty water snake in Native American (Lakota) mythology. She polluted rivers and subsequently flooded the land with salt water so nothing could grow. According to myth twins that hit the only fragile spot on her body eventually killed her. As the sun scorched her flesh it dried up the soils, and it is said this led to the development of the Nebraska and Dakota Badlands; a large desert area in the USA.

These were water spirits in Slavic mythology that supposedly lived in underwater palaces made from sunken ships. They were depicted old men with long green beards, covered in hairs, scales and slime. It was said the Vodianoi were offended by the boldness of humans, and would therefore cause swimmers to drown. They took the drowned down to their underwater dwellings to serve as slaves, with the exception of millers and fishermen, whom they might befriend. Vodianoi were often married to Rusalka and like Rusalka, they may have been the spirits of unclean dead. Some thought they were able to transform into fish.

Water nymphs (Naiads)
Nymphs are female nature entities that are bound to a particular location or land form. Naiads are water nymphs, and inhabit fountains, wells, springs, brooks, rivers, marshes, ponds and lagoons. The essence of a naiad was bound to the water body she inhabited. If a spring dried, the naiad within it died. In some stories naiads are depicted as dangerous creatures, because they could take men underwater when fascinated by their beauty, and these men were never to be seen again. Naiads were known by their jealous nature. A naiad that was once cheated by her husband is said to have blinded him in revenge. In Greek mythology naiads were friendly creatures that helped sailors fight perilous storms. They also had the power of foresight, and were said to make prophecies.

The following species of naiad are distinguished:
Crinaeae, which live in fountains
Limnades, which live in lakes
Pagaeae, which live in springs
Potameides, which live in rivers
Eleiomomae, which live in marshes

Water sprites
Water sprites were human females with skins the colour of the sea. They could breathe both water and air, and could therefore live in water and on land. They were thought to be harmless, if only people left them alone.

2. People

In Greek legend Achilles was a hero of the Trojan War. He appeared to be invincible, and no man seemed to be able to defeat him. Legend tells us this was because his mother, sea nymph Thetis, had tried to make him immortal after birth by dipping him the River Styx. She only forgot to wet the heel by which she held him, which became his vulnerable spot. In the Trojan War Achilles killed Hector, and eventually Hector’s younger brother Paris sought revenge upon him. As the fights continued, Paris killed Achilles by shooting an arrow through his heel.

Beowulf was a hero in an old Anglo-Saxon poem. He defeated two monsters living in a lake in an underwater cave. The monster Grendel had been torturing the people in Danish mead-hall Heorot for many years, and he had taken many a brave soldier for his dinner. When Beowulf and his army came, the people of Heorot could not believe they were capable of taking on the monster, but wanted to give them a chance nevertheless. Beowulf and his army waited for the monster in the hall, long after the residents had gone to sleep. As Grendel came it seemed at first Beowulf’s men would get the worst of it, because their swords did not have any effect upon the giant monster’s thick skin. Than Beowulf grabbed Grendel’s arm and would not let go. A long struggle followed, and eventually Beowulf managed to tear off the arm. Grendel returned to his mother, and bled to death. Next, Beowulf went to the underwater cave to kill the mother as well. He managed to do so with a sword present in the cave that had once belonged to Grendel. As his man stared into the water and saw blood flooding upwards, they thought their great leader had perished. But Beowulf swam up, greeted his men, and returned to Heorot a hero.

In Greek mythology, Deucalion was the son of Prometheus, the Greek Titan of fire. Zeus was angry of the Greek people for their holistic beliefs, and he ended the Bronze Age with a Great Flood. The sea rose and washed everything clean, but Deucalion’s father had forewarned him of the flood. He built and provisioned an arc and consequently he and his wife Pyrrha were the sole survivors. As the flood ended they built an altar for Zeus and he changed rocks into children. The men were called Deucalions, and the women were called Pyrrhas.

Daedalus and Icarus
One Greek legend tells us the story of Daedalus and his son Icarus being locked up in the labyrinth of the Minotaur by king Minos. Daedalus had one day helped the queen to get together with a white bull she had fallen in love with, and thus the Minotaur was born. A fierce creature, the Minotaur needed to be fed with at least fourteen Athens every nine years, so Daedalus and Icarus spend their time waiting until the Minotaur would find them, and eat them. One day Daedalus had formulated an escape plan; he decided to fabricate massive wings from the wings of birds his son shot from time to time. He tied together the bird wings with wax. Eventually, the massive wings were ready and the two set out to escape. Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the sun, because the wax would melt and the wings would no longer work. However, Icarus was so stunned by the whole thing working so well he totally forgot his father’s warning. He flew too close to the sun, the wax melted and his wings fell apart. Unable to help him, Daedalus watched helplessly as his only son fell down with amazing speed and landed in the sea. The blow as he hit the water was probably so fierce he died instantly.

In German mythology, Sir Lawrence was a very good-looking knight. One day water nymph Ondine came across him as he was on a quest, and she fell in love with him. As she pledged her love to him they were married. But as soon as a water nymph pledges herself to a human and bares his child, she will loose eternal life. After Ondine bore Lawrence a son, she began to age. Her changing appearance made Lawrence loose interest in his wife, and he soon started to see other women. One day, Ondine caught her husband with another woman in the stables, and she cursed him in revenge. He was to breathe as long as he was wake, but if he ever fell asleep he would die because his breathing would stop.

In Native American legend, Lelawala was a beautiful maiden that was married off by her father to a king. However, she despised the king, and longed to be with her true love He-No. He was the god of thunder and lurked in a cave beneath the Horseshoe Falls, a part of the Niagara Falls by the Great Lakes of the United States. She decided she wanted to find He-No at all cost, and as she paddled a canoe onto the Niagara River she was swept off the Falls. Fortunately He-No had been watching and caught Lelawala while she fell. It is said they stayed together after that and their spirits still live in the caves beneath Niagara Falls to this day.

In Hindu mythology, Manu was a man that survived a great flood. One day as he washed his hands in the river, a fish swam into his hands and begged him to save his life. It was Matsya, an avatar (the bodily manifestation of a god). Manu put the fish in a jar, and as it grew bigger he subsequently placed in a tank, a river and than the ocean. Then, the fish warned him that soon a great flood would destroy all life. Manu built a boat and was towed onto a mountaintop by Matsya, thereby surviving the flood.

Menelaus was husband to Helena of Troy, before Paris came and took her away because he loved her. On his journey back from the Trojan War, he encountered Eudothea, daughter to the sea god Proteus. She confides in him and tells him that by capturing her father he could force him to reveal which of the gods Menelaus had offended, and how to satisfy them before returning home. Proteus usually slept on the beach among the whales, and there Menelaus captured him. Proteus, a shape-shifter in nature, turned into a lion, a snake, a pig, a tree, and some other things. However, Menelaus mentioned to hold him down and Proteus told him how to satisfy the gods. He also informed Menelaus that his brother Agamemnon was murdered, and that Odysseus stranded on the isle of Calypso on his way home from the Trojan War.

In the bible, Noah and his family are mentioned as the sole human survivors of the Great Flood. Noah was of the tenth generation after Adam, and all peoples of the world would descend from his sons Shem, Ham and Japheth. According to Legend Noah was told by God to build an Arc to save himself and his family from the flood that would destroy all mankind. He brought two of every kind of animal with him in the Arc, one male and one female. After one hundred and fifty days the water receded, and the Arc washed onto the mountains of Ararat. Noah built an altar there, and afterwards continued his life. It is said he lived to become 900 years old, and therewith was the last of the ancient peoples that were immensely long-lived. The story has many versions and in the flood myths of different Ancient Near-East countries, the flood survivor is given different names. Examples are Atrahasis, Ziusudra, and Utnapishtim in Sumerian mythology. The man in the Sumerian myth is saved from the flood by a warning of groundwater god Enki (see 4). This god was usually depicted covered with fish scales, with two streams of water originating from his shoulders, one being the Tigris, and the other the Euphrates. Another example of a different version of the legend of the Great Flood is that of Manu in Hindu mythology.

Orpheus was a man that fell deeply in love with river nymph (naiad) Eurydice. They lived a happy life together, and Orpheus sang many a song about Eurydice’s beauty. One day however, Eurydice was bitten by a snake while walking the fields, and she died instantly without being able to say goodbye to Orpheus. Orpheus, saddened by the loss of his loved one, decided to journey to the Underworld to try and get her back. He met up with Hades and Persephone, and sang to convince them of his love for the naiad. They were deeply moved, and told him he could take Eurydice back to the surface. However, he was to walk many paces ahead of her, and if he were to look back she would have to stay in the Underworld without him, forever. After some time Orpheus no longer heard Eurydice’s paces behind him, and he started to doubt whether she kept up with him as he hastily tried to leave the Underworld. Eventually, he looked around at her. There she was, but he only looked into her eyes for a brief moment before she vanished into the Underworld forever. Orpheus attempted to find her again, but Hades would no longer allow him access. He returned to the surface alone, a broken man, and sang songs of Eurydice’s beauty until the day he died.

As Perseus, a hero of Greek mythology, passed the cliffs of Ethiopia, he noticed a beautiful woman tied to the rocks. She appeared to be the Ethiopian princess Andromeda, and she was to be offered to a sea monster that was sent to the country by a sea god her mother had aggravated. Perseus felt sorry for Andromeda and used his sickle to kill the monster. Together, Perseus and Andromeda returned to Andromeda’s home. Her parents were very happy to see her again alive, and decided to approve of a marriage between their daughter and Perseus.

Tristan and Isolde
Tristan was a knight in the court of King Marc of Wales. One day he was summoned to bring the princess of England, Isolde, to king Marc’s court. The king of England had promised her to the king to be his wife. While on their way to Whales, a fortunate accident caused both Tristan and Isolde to drink the love potion aboard their ship that was meant for Isolde and king Marc. They fell in love with each other, and started meeting in secret after Isolde’s wedding to the king. However, they were caught by a dwarf and king Marc was warned. To save Isolde’s honour, Tristan dressed as a pilgrim, and as Isolde passed she asked the pilgrim to carry her across the river. After the pilgrim had done so, she swore to king Marc that none but him and this pilgrim had ever held her in his arms. King Marc, unaware of the fact that the pilgrim was actually Tristan in disguise, believed her and reinstated her as his wife.

3. Locations

Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea, according to legend, was named after king Aegeus of Greece. An oracle predicted that some day Aegeus’s son would be the death of him. Nevertheless, the king entered a secret marriage, and Theseus was born. The boy however was not raised in Athens, and was allowed to go there only after he was able to lift a rock under which a sword and sandals were hidden. Theseus became a great adventurer during his travels, and even managed to defeat the half-man, half-bull Minotaur in the labyrinth of king Minos. As he finally sailed back to Athens, he forgot to replace his black sails with white ones, and consequently his father was under the impression Theseus was dead. In an act of desperation Aegeus proved the oracle right as he threw himself off a cliff into the sea. This sea was named the Aegean Sea, after king Aegeus.

The Greek philosopher Plato first mentioned Atlantis as an island that once existed. He stated this island was a naval power that had conquered parts of Western Europe and Africa. Some 9,000 years before Plato’s time a natural disaster caused Atlantis to sink into the sea. It is thought to have been located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and America. Throughout the centuries the theory of Atlantis was mostly rejected, and often parodied. During the Middle Ages the theory was forgotten, but it was rediscovered in modern times. Some philosophers think that Atlantis existed, and its peoples were highly culturally developed. They were even named predecessors of the modern Aryan race by some. It was thought they possessed aircraft and ships powered by some form of energy crystal. Modern theory sometimes states that some modern Islands are parts of Atlantis that rose from the ocean.

Avalon was a magical island that is said to have existed off the coast of Britain, and supposedly vanquished after some time. It was famous for its beautiful apples. Avalon is part of many stories and legends. It is said to be the island where Jesus and Joseph of Arimathea visited Britain, and consequently it is placed near Glastonbury and the church present there. Arthurian legend states the Lady of the Lake lived in Avalon. It is said that this is the island where they buried King Arthur after the fight with his son Mordred cost him his life. Another supposedly sunken island near the coast of Britain, called Lyonesse, is often associated with Avalon. It is said to be the birthplace of the legendary Tristan, from the legend of Tristan and Isolde.

In the Atlantic Ocean a triangle-shaped area between Bermuda, Puerto Rico and Fort Lauderdale, Florida is known as the Bermuda Triangle. The area is nearly a million square miles wide, and extends from the Gulf of Mexico to the Caribbean Sea. A series of mysterious disappearances of ships and planes has surrounded this location with insinuation and myth. People claim that in this area the laws of physics are violated, and it was even suggested there is extraterrestrial activity there.

Sceptics state that the disappearances where not that many, and most happened earlier before the proper equipment to track every lost ship or plane down was even invented, including the radar and satellite. They also claim the number of disappearances is relatively insignificant compared to the number of ships and planes that do pass through the area safely. The current within the Triangle is associated with heavy weather, which would be a logical cause for any of the disappearances. Some state that the triangle has opposite magnetism, which interferes with GPS equipment and causes ships and planes to crash in reefs. Another possible explanation includes methane hydrate bubbles as a cause of rapid sinking of ships in the Triangle by water density alterations.

An example of a flight that supposedly disappeared in this area was Flight 19 of a naval air force squadron. It was reported that the weather was calm that day, and circumstances surrounding the disappearance where suspicious. However, it was later reported that the plane actually met heavy weather, and that the naval leader of the aircraft sounded disoriented on the radio. This last claim led to suggestions that the flight may not actually have been anywhere near the Bermuda Triangle. This might be the actual reason the plane was never recovered. However, for the disappearance of some other flights, notably the Star Tiger and the Star Ariel, no such explanation was possible and it still remains unclear why the wrecks of these planes were never recovered. It was however certain the planes flew near Bermuda at the time of their last radio transmission.

Today, most agree that approximately 170 ships and planes have gone missing without a trace in the Bermuda Triangle area. Other areas that are surrounded by myth because of the many shipwrecks and disappearances include the Marysburgh Vortex in lake Ontario, and the Formosa Triangle near Taiwan.

A five million square kilometre region in the Pacific Ocean where ships frequently disappear under mysterious conditions, the Formosa Triangle is believed to have many similarities to the Bermuda Triangle. It is located between Taiwan, Wake Island and the Gilbert Islands on the west coast of the United States.

Fortunate Isles
The Fortunate Isles, or the Isles of the Blessed, were thought to be locations where heroes of Greek mythology entered a divine paradise. The islands were supposedly located in the Atlantic Ocean, near the Canary Islands. It is stated that Macaronesia may be what is left of these islands today.

Lemuria is a hypothetical lost continent that was located either in the Indian or Pacific Ocean. Its existence has been thoroughly researched, because many Darwinian scientists believed it to contain the missing link fossil records on the origin of the human species. At present scientists have rendered the existence of Lemuria unlikely by researching plate tectonics. However, occult writers and some ancient peoples have accepted its existence as a valid theory. They believe the continent existed long ago, and sank beneath the ocean because of geological changes. Helena Blavatsky claimed in her book in the 1880’s that the human population on Lemuria turned to black magic, causing the continent to sink and the gods to create a new race on Atlantis.

Mu was a continent once located in the Pacific Ocean that is believed to have sunk into the depths of the sea. Monsieur A. Le Plongeon derived the idea of Mu as a continent from ancient Mayan writings. Modern plate tectonics rules out the existence of a lost continent, because there is no evidence of aluminium-silicon alloys (SiAl) on the ocean floor, which would mark continental masses. Some people now believe Mu and Lemuria are actually the same continent.

The Underworld is a mythological realm of the god or goddess of the dead, where the spirits of the deceased stay. It is known in many different languages under different names, such as Naraka (India), Helheim (Scandinavia and Germany) and Uca Pucha (Incas). The Underworld was separated from the worlds of the living by five rivers, namely Acheron (river of woe), Cocytus (river of lamentation), Phlehethon (river of fire), Lethe (river of forgetfulness), and Styx (river of hate). The latter was famous because Zeus forced gods to drink the entire river Styx if they had forsaken an oath. The water was said to be so foul that the god in question would lose his or her voice for nine years. Additionally, Achilles was dipped in the River Styx by his mother to make him immortal.

Myth tells us in Brittany a city called Ys once existed, which was built by a Briton king for his daughter Dahut. The city was built below sea level, and was protected by a dam to which only one man had the keys. But one day supposedly Dahut tricked the man into giving her the keys, and she opened the door in the dam to let her lover in. Consequently Ys was flooded and disappeared below sea level. Not all stories blame the flooding on Dahut. According to some gods destroyed the dam to punish the city. Ys was said to be so beautiful that the city of Lutèce was renamed Paris, which means similar to Ys.

4. Gods

In the old days, any tribe had its own religion, and different religions described many gods. Here is are some examples of these divinities. Keep in mind that some may overlap.

Abzu – water lord in Sumerian mythology that threatens to take back the creation of men by a universal flood, but is imprisoned beneath the earth by Enki (Mesopotamia)
– god of tides in Inuit mythology (Siberia, Greenland and Alaska)
Arnemetia – water goddess in British mythology
Asopus – river god in Greek mythology, and father to river nymph Aegina
– god of water in Aztec mythology (Central Mexico)
Atlaua – god of fishermen in Aztec mythology
Boann – goddess of the River Boyne in Irish mythology
Chalchiuhtlatonal – god of water in Aztec mythology
Doris – goddess of the Mediterranean Sea, wife of Nereus and mother of the Nereids in Greek mythology
Duberdicus – god of water in Lusitanian mythology (Portugal)
Dylan Eil Ton sea god in Welsh mythology (pre-Christian Britons)
– god of the freshwater ocean of groundwater under the earth in Sumerian mythology (also referred to as Ea)
Hydros – god of freshwater in Greek mythology
Manannán mac Lir – sea and weather god in Irish mythology
Neptune/ Poseidon – god of the sea in Roman and Greek mythology
Nereus – god of the Mediterranean Sea, shape-shifter, fortune-teller, and son of Gaia and Pontus in Greek mythology
Nethuns – god of wells in Etruscan mythology (Italy)
Ninhursag – goddess of the waters and consort of Enki in Sumerian mythology
– pre-Olympian sea god in Greek mythology, and son of Gaia (earth) and Aether (air)
Proteus – early sea god in Greek mythology, he may be either a son of Poseidon, or of Oceanus and a Naiad
– god of the sea in Illyrian mythology (Balkans)
Saraswati – goddess of knowledge in Hinduism, originally a river goddess (the Saraswati River was named after her)
– goddess that walked on water in Inuit mythology
Trition – god of the sea and messenger of the deep in Greek mythology, son of Poseidon and Amphrite, and though to be a merman
– water god with great magical powers in Native America (Lakota) mythology
Varun – god of rain and the celestial ocean (above heaven and below the Underworld) in Hinduism
– god of the waters in Canaanite mythology (Canaan)
Yami – goddess of rivers, sister to the Hindu god of death and daughter of the Sun god

5. Literature

If you are interested in reading about any of the creatures, heroes, gods or locations mentioned above, try the following books where some make an appearance (sometimes briefly), or any other books on mythology of a country or peoples.

Bacon, Francis – The New Atlantis
Blavatsky, Helena – The Secret Doctrine, the Synthesis of Science, Religion and Philosophy (Lemuria)
Berlitz, Charles – The Bermuda Triangle
Churchward, James – The Lost Continent Mu
Homerus – the Illiad and the Odyssey (Greek gods and creatures)
Kusche, L.D. – The Bermuda Triangle Mystery Solved
Lang, Andrew – The Brown Fairy Book (Bunyip)
Miéville, China – The Scar (Grindylows)
Rowling, J.K – Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire (Grindylows)

For more information, you may also visit the online Encyclopedia Mythica, Encyclopaedia Britannica, and Wikipedia.

pictures from Mardi Byrd www.elfwood.com

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90,000 Sea Monsters: Myths and Reality

The Oceanic Abyss is still poorly understood. And this raises many questions about its inhabitants. What dangerous and scary creatures can inhabit the depths of the sea? How do they look and behave? The popular idea of ​​the relationship between the size and the degree of danger of the inhabitants of the oceans was dispelled by the ichthyopathologist of the Center for Oceanography and Marine Biology “Dolphinia” of the city of Novosibirsk Elena Zhabina . For example, Doflein’s giant octopus, which reaches 150 cm and weighs about 30 kg, is friendly and sociable, unlike the little blue-ringed octopus.Despite its small size – the length of its body does not exceed 5 centimeters – this animal has an aggressive character and is recognized as one of the most poisonous animals in the world. The poison released by it can kill not only large fish, but also a person.

The long-horned saber cannot be called a monster either. Outwardly, due to very long teeth, it looks intimidating, but this predator fish attacks only other fish and mollusks. You should not be afraid of the sand shark: according to Elena Zhabina, although it reaches three meters, it does not attack a person.And you can even pet the cat zebra shark!

On the contrary, inconspicuous, but poisonous sea creatures pose a great danger. One of them – wart, or stone fish, lives near coral reefs, mimics a stone, but its prick with poisonous thorns can become fatal to humans.

About what myths and legends about sea monsters existed among different peoples at different times, said Yulia Limorenko, Candidate of Philology, Research Fellow at the Institute of Philology of the SB RAS.

As Yulia Viktorovna explained, the world ocean in many ancient cultures is considered the primary element from which the earth and space arose. For example, in Sumerian-Babylonian mythology, the myth of Tiamat, the female personification of the primitive ocean-chaos, is popular. According to legend, she mixed her waters with the Abzu, thus giving rise to the world.

The perception of the water element among the ancient people was twofold: on the one hand, it gives rise to life, on the other, the ocean is dangerous, and therefore people “populated” it with all kinds of creatures, usually huge ones.

But, as noted by Yulia Limorenko, it is wrong to believe that myths arose only in the past: “We live in a mythological era. This state is a part of our world, therefore, despite the advances in science, people still continue to think that something lives in the depths of the ocean that we have not yet seen. ”

This idea was continued by the candidate of historical sciences, archaeologist, associate professor of the Institute of History and Sociology of the University of Udmurt Alexander Mitryakov .He believes that the story of monsters is the story of the functioning of human consciousness. In any cultural tradition, positive and negative characters appear.

Archeology is rich in iconography of creatures that are difficult to identify. Alexander Mitryakov demonstrated illustrations of objects made in the Permian animal style, related to bronze art plastics of the 7th century. BC – XII century. AD This is a man-deer, and a man-squirrel, and all kinds of chimeras.As the speaker explained, such animals did not exist in real life: there is no evidence to confirm this fact. And a possible reason for the appearance of these hybrid creatures lies in the dominance of figurative thinking over verbal thinking among people who lived in early eras, they do not tend to make logical distinctions and therefore it does not matter that the beaver is a beaver, and the pike is a pike.

Truth and myths about water balance. How, when and what to drink in training

There is no single rate of water consumption.

It’s true. The World Health Organization makes no specific recommendations on how much water to drink. The rate of fluid intake ranges from 1.5 to 3 liters per day. It is unique for each person and depends on age, lifestyle, climate and many more factors. Experts advise drinking water as you feel thirsty, and it’s not as easy as it sounds. We often ignore the urge to drink when we are too busy or have no liquid on hand. You should not quench your thirst with tea and sweet soda.Sugar makes water more difficult to absorb, and caffeinated drinks are diuretic.

Drinking during exercise is harmful.

We do not know if there are still people who believe in this myth. In ordinary life, only with sweating, half a liter of water leaves the body. And during training, the losses increase greatly. When there is a lack of fluid, the blood thickens and it becomes harder for the heart to pump it. Efficiency decreases, metabolism worsens. Together with water, mineral salts are also lost, which is fraught with muscle cramps.In winter, it can be cool in the halls and on rollerdromes, and there may not be a strong feeling of thirst. However, while exercising, you should still drink a little bit every 15-20 minutes.

Isotonics are useless.

But no. Sports drinks, called isotonic drinks, contain minerals and small amounts of carbohydrates in addition to water. They help to restore strength, but you need to approach the choice wisely. The concentration of substances dissolved in water should not exceed 0.9%.More concentrated solutions are more difficult to absorb and are not suitable for drinking during exercise.

Take care of your body and do not forget to quench your thirst on time! And to keep water close at hand, the beautiful reusable bottles from Flying Eagle come in handy.

90,000 How much water should you drink per day: truth and myths about water balance

How much water should you really drink per day, when is it better to drink water and is it possible to lose weight while maintaining the water balance – Anna Ivashkevich, a nutritionist, clinical Nutritional psychologist, member of the National Association for Clinical Nutrition.

Why it is important to maintain water balance

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Water balance affects everything in our body: pressure, normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, the condition of hair, nails and general well-being. Water imbalance also affects the condition of the skin: this can be seen by an unhealthy complexion, increased dryness, flaking, clogged pores. Lack of water in the body leads to increased production of the sebaceous glands.Therefore, if the hair quickly becomes oily, it may indicate a lack of water in the body.

What problems arise when the water balance is disturbed

If the water balance is disturbed, the body will not be able to work properly. Lack of water can lead to headaches and even migraines, especially in women. They may also develop genital infections or an increased bactericidal flora, so it is especially important for women to drink a daily rate of water.

Is it true that you need to drink 2 liters of water per day

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The volume of 2 liters is taken from the ratio of the height and weight of an average person, and not a woman, but a man. In fact, each person has his own norm. Usually it is calculated using the following formula: for every kilogram of your body weight, there should be 30 milliliters of water. That is, if you weigh 50 kilograms, your norm will be about 1.5 liters of water per day. At the same time, the norm is not pure water, but all the liquid that we get by consuming fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee and even juices.

If you spend most of the time in a room with increased dryness, especially in winter, when the batteries are turned on at maximum, and where there is no humidifier, then it is recommended to increase this volume to 35–40 milliliters per kilogram.

Can I drink the entire daily allowance at one time

Drinking the entire amount at one time will not be good for your health. It is recommended to divide it into a long period: it is better to drink 200-300 milliliters once an hour than to drink a whole liter at a time.

What will happen to the body if you do not drink the daily allowance

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A person may not notice for a long time that he lacks fluid. Some claim they feel good about not drinking a single glass a day. But after a while it will certainly affect health. If there is not enough fluid in the body, the sweat system, which is responsible for detoxification, does not work properly. As a result, the body accumulates harmful substances.

Is it true that tea, coffee and juice negatively affect the water balance

Tea and coffee accelerate the excretion of water from our body. Logically, if we drank something with a diuretic effect, for example, a cup of tea or coffee, we should drink an additional one or two glasses of water. Some types of juices have the same effect, especially from celery, apples, cabbage – it is also advisable to add a clean glass of water to them.

Can I drink more than 2 liters of water per day

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If you do a lot of sports or are hot and thirsty, this is normal. And if even in dry weather you drink three to four liters of water, this is quite a lot and suggests that you need to consult an endocrinologist or therapist.

Do I need to drink a lot of water if you suffer from edema

If you suffer from edema, then you need to monitor the reaction of the body. Swelling can occur not only with an excess amount of water in the body, but also with a lack of it.If you did not drink the amount of water per day, and in the evening you tried to compensate for this, then the body will not be able to remove it quickly and in the morning you will observe puffiness. Over time, when you learn to maintain a water balance, the body will no longer feel a lack of water and make reserves, and the puffiness will go away.

What to do if you are constantly thirsty

Some people say that after they drink water, they are even more thirsty. This may be a sign of diabetes mellitus: a constant lack of water, dry throat – these are some of the symptoms of this disease.It is also worth paying attention to the condition of the heels and elbows: if the skin on them is dry and cracked, this also indicates a violation of the water balance.

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What to do if there is no thirst during the day

In Russia, unlike residents of European or Asian countries, there is no culture to constantly drink water. If you have noticed from films and travel programs, a lot of Europeans always go with a bottle of water or a thermos, they must refill it and drink small portions during the day.

We do not have such a habit, perhaps this is due to poor tap water or the high cost of bottled water. Previously, children were not taught that they need to drink a lot of pure water: tea, juices, cocoa are served for lunch in kindergartens and schools.

Therefore, when trying to instill in people the habit of drinking three to four glasses a day – and this is a necessary minimum – they often have rejection. They become uncomfortable, they say that they are choking on water. This turns out to be stressful for the body, since it cannot immediately get used to such changes.Therefore, you need to develop the habit of drinking plenty of water gradually.

Is it possible to replace ordinary mineral water

Mineral water is medicinal and must be consumed in a certain amount. Excess minerals that you get from this water can have a negative effect on the kidneys, which form salts and then stones. Therefore, you should not abuse mineral water: a couple of glasses a day is permissible in order to saturate the body with microelements, but you cannot replace pure water with it.

When is it better to drink water

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It is recommended to drink a glass of warm water in the morning 30 minutes before breakfast to wake up and start the body. Drink when you feel comfortable throughout the day. Since the body does not work as actively in the evening as during the day, try not to drink too much after eight hours. A couple of glasses will not have a bad effect, but two liters at a time in the evening is not the best option.

Can I drink food with water

There is a myth that when we wash down food with water, we dilute the gastrointestinal juice.In fact, to reduce the concentration of juice, you need to drink about four to five liters at a time. If you have problems with the stomach or intestines – an ulcer, some kind of exacerbation – it is really better to separate your meals and water intake. However, if you do not feel discomfort, then you can safely wash down your food with water whenever you feel like it. And so you can drink water half an hour before meals, half an hour after – as you like.

How to check the water balance

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You can measure how many glasses of water and other liquids you drink during the day. If you drink at least three to four glasses a day of clean water, eat fruits and vegetables, then you are fulfilling the daily norm. You can also take a number of tests: a general blood test to check the balance of minerals in the blood – a lack of potassium, sodium and chlorine indicates a violation of the water-salt balance. It is also bioimpedance analysis and urinalysis.

Is it possible to lose weight by observing the water balance

This is true.Very often we confuse hunger with thirst, so it is recommended that you first drink a glass of water and only then eat. Thus, we dull the feeling of hunger: our portions gradually become smaller. Therefore, if the water balance is observed, a few extra pounds go away over time.

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Myths and Tales Rowling Borrowed Characters for Harry Potter

  • Natalie Haynes
  • BBC Culture

Photo by Warner Bros

Nicholas Flamel, and many existed the fantastic creatures that are found in Rowling’s books are borrowed from various sources, including authors and mythology of the ancient world, says BBC Culture columnist .

Everyone already knows where fantastic creatures live – in a magic suitcase, with which the character played by Eddie Redmayne traveled around New York in 1926.

But where did they come from, all those dragons, unicorns and hippogriffs that inhabit the world of Harry Potter?

The monsters and mythical beasts in Rowling’s books are not just decoration – they add symbolic and psychological depth, and also remind the reader that this is happening in a wizarding world.

Rowling acts both as an inventor and as a researcher of fantastic animals, inhabiting the world she invented as “classic”, so to speak, monsters (trolls, centaurs and mermaids), and folklore characters (bow trunks, erklings) and her own notions (dementors).

Don’t go into the water without asking!

Some of the monsters mentioned in Rowling’s books are better known: for example, the Grindilows and Boggarts are borrowed from Celtic and English folklore, although these names are not particularly well-known.

These relatively insignificant creatures are often of far from fantastic origins.

Photo author, Warner Bros

Photo caption,

The phoenix, which Dumbledore keeps in his office at Hogwarts, is mentioned in ancient myths and in the historical works of Tacitus and Herodotus

So, according to legend, the grindilow live in shallow water and from there can grabbing children with their green reed fingers.

It is not difficult to understand where this description of the grindilow came from – it is very reminiscent of aquatic plants, which frighten by the fact that they move in the water as if they were alive.

The popularity of such stories is not surprising either: parents could well tell children such horror stories so that they would not go into the water without asking, even if the children risked drowning more than falling into the clutches of an evil water one.

But the vast majority of Rowling’s favorite monsters came to the modern magical world from the ancient world.

Ou pista! Incredible!

Phoenix Fawkes is not just a fantastic creature that can rise from the ashes, but also a historical reality.

Its color – red and gold – is the same as that of the phoenix mentioned by Herodotus in his History, written in the 5th century BC.

Herodotus is known as the “father of history”, but critics sometimes call him “the father of lies”. He wrote down everything that the people he met on his travels said to him, often without any additional evidence.

In this case, he was informed that phoenixes live in Egypt, and he conveyed this to his readers – adding, however, that he himself did not see them alive, only in pictures.

Even the Roman historian Tacitus, with his more critical approach, reports that phoenixes were seen during the reign of Emperor Tiberius in the 1st century AD – this information also came from Egypt.

Tacitus notes some controversy over the lifespan of this bird, but reports that it is generally believed to be about 500 years old.

However, his informants were unanimous about the bird’s beak and the color of its plumage: everyone declared that it was not like any other bird and served the Sun.

It is interesting to note that neither Tacitus nor Herodotus believed that the bird would rise from its ashes, but believed that the young phoenix chick carried the body of the parent over a considerable distance and buried it.

True, Herodotus accompanies this description with the comment ou pista (“incredible”).

Cerberus, a great connoisseur of music

Another “Potterian” character who has undergone changes in his fantastic nature is a multi-headed dog.

Cerberus in Greek mythology guards the entrance to the underworld.He is endowed with many virtues, but his number of goals is very variable.

The poet Hesiod believed that he had fifty of them, and Pindar took even higher, calling the monster a hundred-headed.

Photo author, Getty Images


The fresco in the Palazzo Ducale in the Italian city of Castiglione del Lago in Umbria depicts Hercules and the three-headed Cerberus

Later, Greek and Roman writers mostly settled on three heads, although on vases (one of which is kept in the Louvre), artists often depicted Cerberus with two heads.

Maybe in the pictures two heads just look better than three. But regardless of the number of heads, Cerberus and Cannon – the three-headed dog from the first Harry Potter book – have one thing in common: both can be distracted with music.

Cerberus is a great connoisseur of music, and, as Virgil writes in the Georgics, only such a great performer as Orpheus can make him freeze with all three open mouths.

The fluff is not so picky – in order to put it to sleep, just an enchanted harp is enough.

Echoing Greek myth, Rowling adopts Cannon as a guard dog, guarding the hatch through which Harry, Ron, and Hermione set off in search of the Philosopher’s Stone.

Is this not a hint that the gates of hell are opening before children? In any case, this is how the trials they have to go through look like: painful riddles, dangers and emotional upheavals …

World myth-making

The philosopher’s stone itself is also rooted in mythology and history.

Dumbledore’s friend and inventor of the Philosopher’s Stone Nicholas (Nicolas) Flamel was a real person who lived in Paris in the 14th century and served as a clerk.

Many years after Flamel’s death, rumors spread that he had discovered the secret of eternal life. Later authors attributed to him the skills of alchemy, but no evidence in favor of this assumption was found.

However, today in Paris a street is named after him (and the name of his wife Pernella) – this is also a kind of immortality.

Photo author, SSPL / Getty Images

Photo caption,

After the death of the Parisian clerk Nicolas Flamel, the reputation of an alchemist and creator of the philosopher’s stone was established

Even dragons are heroes of both European and Asian mythology, which Rowling notes, endowing the dragon with the breed “Chinese fireball” with a shorter snout and bulging eyes, etymologically ascend to the Greek word drakon.

The name of the basilisk dwelling in the Chamber of Secrets also comes from the Greek language – it is a diminutive form of the word “king”.From the mythical basilisk, Rowling took for her monster the ability to destroy everything and everyone with the power of her poison.

But she kept silent about the simplest way to fight a terrible beast, described by Pliny the Elder in his “Natural History”. According to Pliny, a basilisk can die from the smell of an ermine alone.

Perhaps the most mysterious creatures at Hogwarts are the centaurs living in the Forbidden Forest. Apparently, they are direct descendants of the centaurs who, according to legend, lived on Mount Pelion in the central part of Greece – Thessaly.

Rowling’s centaurs also prefer to settle in wooded areas, and although in ancient times they were reputed to be voluptuous creatures, the noble Florentine and his fellow tribesmen managed to avoid such a reputation.

Photo author, Warner Bros


Harry, Hermione and Ron ride a dragon that guarded one of the safes in the Gringotts bank in the second episode of the film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

A prototype of Florenz himself with his the famous centaur Chiron, who taught Achilles, Theseus and other Greek heroes and was at the same time a famous astrologer, served as a love for astrology and teaching.

There is a beautiful fresco in the Archaeological Museum in Naples showing Chiron teaching Achilles to play the lyre. The centaur’s hind legs are tucked in, almost like a dog’s, and, leaning on his front legs, he twists the strings with his hands.

This is a great reminder that people started thinking about mythical creatures as soon as they learned to write, draw and think.

Magic and metaphors

Creatures that are a cross between two genera – centaurs, mermaids – are often found in folk tales.But sometimes there are more surprising mixtures.

The hippogryph is a relatively recent invention, first mentioned in an early 16th century Italian poem. However, the appearance of such a monster – a half-horse-half-griffin (the latter himself is a cross between an eagle and a lion) – was predicted many centuries before that.

In his eclogs, Virgil describes a scene in which all the usual rules will cease to apply: together a horse and a griffin will be harnessed, fearful deer will go to the watering place together with the dogs … and because of the well-known (at least to the readers of Virgil) enmity between horses and griffins.

Photo author, Getty Images

Photo caption,

Peleus and Thetis are fighting in front of the centaur Chiron – the image on a vase from the collection of the Library of Decorative Arts in Paris

It is also interesting what monsters and creatures Rowling does not use in his books.

The satyrs and nymphs, which are so often mentioned in Greek mythology, did not get into the Potter novels (the French sorceress Fleur talks about the fact that nymphs are used as Christmas decorations at the Beauxbaton school, but, apparently, their role is limited to this) …

This circumstance also makes one think about the symbolic meaning of mythical creatures in the Harry Potter books.

Harry’s world – oddly enough for adolescence – is almost devoid of eroticism: the heroes only allow themselves to kiss, but the lust that satyrs personify is absent in it.

Even a girl who bears a name derived from the name of Greek nymphs (Nymphadora Tonks) is not at all like them, having inherited from them only the ability to change appearance (moreover, the nymphs usually did this in order to avoid the harassment of lustful satyrs, and not in the name of the fight against evil).

Other creatures also have an allegorical meaning: elves, for example, play a much more important role in the works of other authors than in Rowling (remember at least the superiority and otherness of elves in Tolkien). At the same time, Rowling’s house elves are clearly associated with slavery.

During the period when Umbridge ruled everything at Hogwarts, centaurs and giants also suffered – they were considered lower creatures compared to humans. There are echoes of racism in this type of discrimination.

It is worth noting that although dragons and basilisks pose a serious danger to Harry and his friends, the most terrible inhabitants of the wizarding world are dementors, invented by Rowling herself.

Outwardly, they may resemble ghosts and Tolkien’s Black Riders, but their psychological and emotional harm is incomparable with anything.

In describing Dementors, Rowling drew on her own experience of depression, reminding the reader (if anyone else needs such a reminder) that the worst monsters most of us will face are in our own inner world.

Medical myths. Do tea and coffee dehydrate our body?

We often hear that tea and coffee cause dehydration in our bodies. Sounds a little threatening, but is there any real evidence for this?

Photo author, thinkstock

Photo caption,

Does drinking coffee make you run to the toilet more often?

Every day around the world, people drink 1.6 billion cups of coffee and roughly double that of tea.Some people just like the taste of these drinks, but for many, the main thing, perhaps, is that caffeine adds vigor.

However, when health gurus urge us to drink six or eight glasses of water a day (a rather controversial recommendation), they usually emphasize that tea and coffee are not included in the daily fluid intake, because they supposedly dehydrate the body. Is it so?

Three men, two winters and caffeine

Although tea and coffee contain many different substances, including vitamins, caffeine is the subject of most research.Having said “the majority”, we must immediately make a reservation: there are very few scientific works on this topic of interest to us.

One of the most widely cited studies was conducted almost 100 years ago, in 1928, with a sample of only three people. Three men were studied for two winters. Sometimes they had to drink four cups of coffee a day, sometimes they drank mostly tea, and sometimes they abstained from both drinks or received water with the addition of pure caffeine. All this time, the amount of urine they excreted was regularly monitored.

The study authors concluded that if men abstained from tea and coffee for two months and then started drinking caffeinated water, the amount of urine increased by 50%. But when they returned to regular coffee consumption, the diuretic (diuretic) effect faded away.

Very high doses of caffeine are known to increase blood flow to the kidneys and inhibit sodium absorption. Hence the diuretic effect – excess sodium must be removed from the body. But the exact mechanism of how this works is still a matter of debate.

However, where we are talking about more moderate doses of caffeine, the diuretic effect is not so pronounced. According to a review of ten studies by Lawrence Armstrong of the University of Connecticut (USA), caffeine is at best a mild diuretic. In 12 out of 15 cases, the amount of urine of the subjects did not depend on whether the water they drank contained caffeine or not.

Can you drink boiled water as well?

So why do many people think that if they drink tea or coffee, they will have to go to the toilet more often?

Photo author, thinkstock

Photo caption,

Scientists need to decide: should they give coffee to subjects or dissolved caffeine?

As demonstrated in Armstrong’s review, most researchers give people an aqueous solution of pure caffeine, not the tea or coffee we usually drink at home.Maybe the combination of substances that these drinks contain somehow makes a difference?

In a rare study where subjects drank nothing but tea for 12 hours, there was no difference in water saturation levels between them and people who drank the same amount of regular boiled water.

As for coffee, one study did find a 41% increase in urine output and an increase in sodium and potassium excretion. But its participants abstained from caffeine prior to the study, so the situation may be different with people who are used to coffee.

Another study did not find any difference in hydration between tea or coffee consumers, so we cannot draw a definite conclusion here either.

And the most recent study …

In a new work by Sophie Keeler of the University of Birmingham (UK), published earlier this year, not only measured the volume of urine excreted, but also checked how the functioning of their kidneys affects the blood tests of subjects. and also calculated the total amount of water in the body.

In the experiment, the men drank four cups of coffee a day, which is much more than the average coffee consumer drinks. There was no evidence that subjects were dehydrated compared to those who drank only water.

Although this study was funded by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee, of which coffee companies are members, it was published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal and the authors confirm that the Institute did not influence the collection and analysis of the data or the writing of the study.

Thus, if we even notice the need to go to the toilet after a cup of coffee, we should not compare it with the situation when we do not drink at all. Because if you drink a glass of water instead of a cup of tea or coffee, the effect is likely to be the same.

About the Author: Claudia Hammond writes articles, broadcasts and lectures on psychology.

Truth and myths about water💧.

Water is the basis of biological life on Earth. If other organisms simply satisfy the need for life-giving moisture, a reasonable person needs recommendations for use, explanations of its action.Truth and myths about living and dead water have existed for centuries, created to this day. Let’s choose a narrow sector – only the practical use of water. How much and when to drink fluids, taking into account trends and contraindications.

Biological requirement

The human body is initially programmed for survival. The brain will give a signal, and all forces and thoughts will be directed to eliminate the threat. So it is with drinking. The word thirst refers to the desire to get drunk.The body does not have enough water, the blood becomes thicker, the heart works with great stress.

Here you need to remember that we do not use H2O, but a solution of salts, gases, microorganisms. The cocktail is fermented and divided into components. The purest h3O is absorbed into the blood. Everything else is absorbed in the right amount, or excreted from the body. It turns out that thirst can be eliminated with kvass, compote, soda. Therefore, any moisture for an organism in need of it is life-giving.

The water balance takes into account the first and second courses, snacks on the run, juices and coffee.Thirst occurs if the total amount of water is insufficient. And then a glass of clear tap liquid seems unusually tasty.

A person’s need for water varies depending on temperature conditions, the intensity of work, or for the removal of toxins after a plentiful feast. Discomfort is removed by drinking. Water is the lowest calorie liquid that quenches thirst, but is not food. It is recommended by nutritionists to replenish water hunger.

We dispel myths, we confirm the truth

one.Myth. The need to drink 8 glasses or 2 liters of clean water per day. The volume is equal, but this postulate, taken out of context, has a continuation: taking into account the fluid received during meals.

It is clear that if there are a lot of fruits in the diet, the traditional family drink is tea, compote, kvass – much less water is needed. Families are known where they do not drink water at all, but the thirst does not torment people, there are no diseases associated with the formation of stones.

Recent developments by international nutritionists have determined the daily fluid intake as 30-40 ml in terms of weight per body mass index.On average, it turned out that the daily requirement for a man is 2.9 liters, for a woman 2.2 liters, regardless of the actual weight.

2. Myth. Only the amount of clean water drunk is counted. No, the amount of liquid absorbed with food and during drinking is considered.

3. Myth. Do not drink while eating. It is debunked by nutritionists themselves. Absorption of dry food in the form of sandwiches, accompanied by a warm drink, will somewhat dilute the consistency, improve the functioning of the stomach.A cold drink is harmful – the food is not completely digested.

Modern recommendations of nutritionists confirm that taking water with food helps to drink the right amount of fluid per day. If there is strong gas formation, give up soda, chew food well and not talk at the table.

4. Myth. There is never too much water. It happens. Drinking 10 liters a day will cause swelling of cells in all organs, including the brain. Overhydration sets in, in severe cases, self-abuse ends in death.A healthy person will not drink that much. In case of neuropsychiatric health disorders, the use of the amount of drinks should be limited.

5. True. A glass of water on an empty stomach with lemon in the morning is a panacea. Yes, the drink is useful, invigorates and helps to remove toxins, starts the digestive system, but it is dangerous for those who have gastrointestinal problems associated with gastritis or an ulcer in the acute stage.

6. Myth. If you are thirsty, you are dehydrated. No, with a lack of fluid in the body of 0.5-2.0% of body weight, thirst sets in.It is necessary to drink, preferably in small sips in several steps. Use plain water or soda without sugar. Thirst suggests that the water-salt balance in the body is disturbed towards an increase in salt concentration.

7. True. Water helps you lose weight. Often we confuse the body’s signals, whether it requires food or drink. If you feel comfortable after drinking, then you will not get unnecessary calories from the snack. Taking care of your figure, you need to drink plain water, not juices and soda. But it is not possible to deceive the body by taking water instead of food.This is verified.

8. Myth. You need to drink, even if you don’t feel like it. It is not necessary if you do not have a temperature, you do not sweat intensely. An indicator that everything is in order in the body is regular urination in 2-4 hours while awake.

9. True. Water detoxifies the body. The kidneys remove toxins in the form of metabolic products in the body, dissolved in water. Dark urine may indicate a lack of water, but not always. Excess fluid will make the organ work harder, increase the load on it.It’s unhealthy.

10. True. It is good to drink water during your workout.

Here in different ways. If the training is strength, then sodium is removed, the water begins to stagnate in the body. You need to drink slightly salted water. Steelworkers and metallurgists do the same in hot shops – they have devices with soda water and salt nearby. In any case, you cannot drink more than 3 liters of water in one hour.

11. Myth. Sports drinks are better for athletes than drinking water.If you are a marathon runner, a stayer skier, it is impossible to do without additional nutrition in the form of sports drinks. But to quench thirst, only ordinary drinking water is used.

12. Controversial statement. Bottled water is better to drink than tap water. Tap water has passed all stages of water treatment and complies with GOST. However, there may be back contamination in the piping. You can get crystal clear water at home by installing a compact post-treatment system.

Bottled water is often poured from the same nets into plastic bottles. Water is a solvent, which means it gets additional pollution from plastic. If you bought bottled water, make sure it is fresh and do not reuse the bottle.

Additional Information on Safe Drinking Water

There is neither living nor dead water, is it usable or not. According to scientific definition, a living substance has a metabolism, multiplies.But water does not have this property. Water participates in biochemical processes as a good solvent. Therefore, raw and boiled water are equally beneficial. You can boil the liquid several times. The taste of the drink changes, but no danger has been identified.

You need to know the following about water in a plastic container:

  • bottles should not be stored in the sun, warm;
  • Plastic containers with a narrow neck cannot be reused, it is impossible to get rid of bacteria inside;
  • bottles have an expiration date – the water does not deteriorate, but serves as an incubator for the reproduction of microorganisms and dissolves bisphenol A from plastic;
  • water is drunk quickly, or poured into a glass container.

An interesting conclusion was made by the researchers about the storage of water on the bedside table. It turns out that during standing, the substance changes its acidity and taste. It absorbs gases, dust from the bed. If a person drank a sip, ran his finger along the edge, bacteria and microbes multiply in the glass.

If the water is closed, in a bottle, but you have already taken a sip, bacteria colonies will develop there overnight. They are not scary for you, you live with them. But no one else can use the container with the drink that your lips touched.

Now imagine what is contained in an office cooler, the vessels in which are changed, but not disinfected. The desire to drink will disappear.

Myths and legends of St. Petersburg. Bus tour of St. Petersburg

You can buy tickets for the excursion on the website, and show them from your phone (do not buy tickets on the street!).

We invite you on a thematic tour of the most mysterious places of St. Petersburg on a panoramic bus, accompanied by a professional guide!

On this journey you will discover another Petersburg full of legends and myths.You will visit the sacred places of the city, where mysticism intersects with reality. Many of the historical events have unsolved secrets and still amaze with their manifestations in architectural monuments. The mysterious myths of St. Petersburg often defy logical explanation, but their influence is felt by most of the guests of our city!

During the excursion, you will see many interesting places and hear mysterious stories associated with them: the mystical emperor Paul I, who died in the Mikhailovsky Castle; Admiralty Adviser A.V. Kikin, who built his chambers near Smolny (Kikin chambers) and laid his head on the chopping block; prison “Crosses” and the sphinxes of Mikhail Shemyakin; Peter and Paul Fortress and its prisoners; the house of the Queen of Spades and the history of the fatal duel – this is an incomplete list of what you will learn about on the excursion.

Three stops are planned during the excursion: at the Mikhailovsky Castle or at the monument to Chizhik-Pyzhik; at the Sphinxes on the University Embankment, at the Smolny Cathedral with a visit (~ 20 min.) . * We recommend that women take a headscarf to visit the monastery.

The tour is conducted in Russian

Why choose this excursion:

-Our modern tourist buses will delight you with their comfort, and large panoramic windows will allow you to see all the beauty of the ceremonial St. Petersburg.

Professional guide will give you a lot of interesting information.Among our requirements for a guide is not only a license, but also a great love for St. Petersburg.

The optimal route, which will allow you to see the most mysterious places of St. Petersburg and visit the Smolny Cathedral!

Three stops with an exit for a more detailed inspection of architectural ensembles and monuments. A great opportunity to take unforgettable pictures.

This tour is often chosen by families with children

Buy your excursion tickets online! It only takes a few minutes.