To Drink or Not to Drink… That is the Question. :)

Water, water everywhere. And not a drop to drink.

Choosing the best water purification system.

That’s what this post is about.

Something that should be simple.

Safe water.

I have spent more time than I wanted, looking for a reliable alternative to my AQUASANA Counter Water Filter; which, underneath their cloudy claims, is not NSF certified. They are California certified but that certification shows they remove very few contaminants, about the same # as a cheap $20 faucet water filter would. Namely Aquasana doesn’t remove Mercury, and Fluoride.

Now, Some people want fluoride in their water, and that is fine… more power to you, I personally don’t want it in my water. (To preemptively ward-off the fluoride lovers/cult who always pops up when people dare question not having fluoride in their water, if you want my stance on fluoride, do a search on my blog and you’ll find a post I wrote specifically on fluoride).

Anyhow so I’ve been looking at a ton of choices in the last 24 hours. I’m compulsive that way. It really is staggering, how difficult it is to find a certified product that does something as simple as remove Mercury and Fluoride as well as bacteria, and other contaminants.

I’ve learned enough in the last 24 hours, to earn my PHD in the subject. And the main thing I’ve learned… is there is no really good alternative. Well let me correct that there is one good alternative theoretically, but not practically.

A reverse Osmosis system with a Solid carbon Block filtration stage. That’s it, over all the other systems… loose carbon filter, ultraviolet systems, gravity systems, and just reverse osmosis systems… the solid block RO is the holy grail.

But before pulling the trigger I like reading the comments of people who didn’t like a product, so I surf the review sites. Specifically for reviews of A Solid Carbon, Reverse Osmosis water filtration system.

Most of the time you can discount consumer placed online/shopping reviews, particularly the negative ones. They are typically posted by idiots (usually with only one comment or only negative comments) complaining about slow shipping, or the fact they didn’t read the description correctly and want to blame the product for their illiteracy. Reading a lot of reviews I would say 90% of the time… negative posters are not the sharpest knives in the draw.

However you occasionally get the other 10%. An informed, consumer/fan written review.

Specifically I stumbled across just such a negative review in regards to the water filter ($330+) I was considering buying. His review was well written, straight to the point, and clear on the reason he didn’t like it. Basically he stated that his RO tank that held the freshly purified water… was actually a plastic that was leaching into the water.

That was his guess.

But is it accurate? Well since I’m in my compulsive mode I decided to find out. The short answer is yes.

The container that virtually all ROs (Reverse Osmosis Water Filtration Machines) utilize is an internal plastic liner. Now that’s not as horrible as it sounds because in the better tanks, the lining is made out of a type 5 plastic called Polypropylene. It’s the best plastic and the only one that does not significantly leach into water over time. (for your information most bottled water uses the cheaper plastic that breaks down 1/in sunlight and 2/overtime. So that water you’ve been storing in plastic jugs for the apocalypse, either move it to glass quickly or toss it out).

So that’s the good news. It is possible to get a tank with a relatively safe liner.

Here’s the bad news. Inside of that liner is a bladder that the water is held in and comes in contact with. It’s made out of Butyl. A component of something you don’t want in your water , which is MTBE, basically a fossil derivative, not much different then what they use to make dolls and tires out of. Now MTBE in no way shape or form should be anywhere near water.

So the question is: how safe is Butyl by itself to house water and act as a container for your expensive filtration system? The answer: There is no documentation, I could find regarding water and over time exposure leaching with Butyl.

However if that’s what is in the tank that was negatively reviewed, and most peoples’ RO tank, that could explain that stale/plastic taste that some RO users report. The plastic of your very water filter, is contaminating the water you’ve just filtered.

It’s so disheartening, here I am not a scientist, but with just a cursory look and cursory research, I can determine that someone spending good money for the quality of their water, perhaps would not want that compromised by plastic and petrol byproducts, that are going to leach over time, into the very water they’ve spent a good sum to purify.

From $40 faucet system to $500 Ro/Solid Carbon systems it’s almost laughable how each one is designed with a point of failure, to ultimately defeat the very reason you’re getting it. These companies, should all be ashamed.

So what does that leave us?

Well, unless you know someone who can design you a safe tank, to more than likely include the filter containers, everything solid stainless steel, inside and out, a bladder-less system, or a bladder made of something that won’t leach into the water, well until that happens you’re spending a lot of money on a flawed system.

Distillation would be a good alternative, but even the Distillers that say ‘American made’ are made in China. And China’s quality control being what it is, the distiller will probably have an aluminum interior and add more contaminants than it removes. In addition almost none of the distillers are certified in any way, so you have only the manufacturers word it’s even effective.

Getting water devoid of additives you don’t want, in a supposedly developed nation, should not be this difficult. It shouldn’t be impossible, and 24 hours of research later… all I can say is… it largely is.

Unless you have the filter built to your specifications by a company you trust, or you are handy enough to build it yourself… you are relegated to drinking little better than tap water, regardless of your choice of filter.

Well, following my own advice I’m going to look for that certified stainless steel Distiller and or RO/Solid Carbon filter, or make it.

It can be a project for my next 24 hours. :) (unless someone here has discovered the holy grail of filters, and if that’s the case drop me a line).

Well hope all this has helped, at least save you some running around, and maybe clarify your choices. Till later, be well.

MOVIE REVIEW! THOR IMAX 3D… The Verdict is…..????

Well the long awaited THOR movie is finally exploding across screens everywhere, and as I mentioned in my previous posts a lot hinged on this film, not least of which is a turnaround in a string of commercial disappointments for director Kenneth Branagh.

Well having just come back from seeing THOR in IMAX 3D… my verdict….??

It’s good, I enjoyed myself. It’s nicely paced, surprisingly smart film that also hit all the notes and plot points to shut-up people who were complaining about a multi-cultural cast, particularly Idris Elba (who always brings it), for pretty much all the story reasons I surmised.

So I was expecting it be action packed, but not necessarily as inventive, and even touching as it was.

Now that said, it does perhaps not quite meet the Juggernaut action expectations built up, but a solid story and performances, make up for that.

Kenneth Branagh handling perhaps the most difficult of all comic adaptations, exceptionally well, finding that difficult balance between regal and relate-able.

THOR even in the comic books, is extremely hard to a/get right and b/command a storyline. Instead working best as the heavy gun of the Avengers, then as a solo character. So for Branagh to steer this ship safely into movie theater shores, is no small accomplishment.

That said the ending felt a bit anti-climatic, the most effective action is clearly in the early portions of the movie. But that aside, the story beats, the emotional intensity, the Shakespearean like levels of tragedy and sacrifice, Branagh hits well. Hits hard enough… to satisfy.

Now leaving the movie proper to discuss the projection of the movie. I saw this in IMAX 3D, paying rather than the normal $8 matinée price, an exorbitant $14.50 for ‘IMAX 3D’. A $6.50 surcharge.

Before seeing this movie I couldn’t get any reviews to really discuss the 3D and if it was worth it. I’ve seen my share of IMAX 3D movies, real ones and the retrofitted AMC ones, and the ones not shot in 3D but simply post-processed, ie THOR.

Outside of a real IMAX THEATER (5 to 8 stories high, viewable at better science centers throughout the world), the best I’ve seen at an AMC IMAX theater (a midget IMAX) is of course AVATAR. Cameron pushing the technology to create 3D that actually works in a cine-plex.

But beyond AVATAR on IMAX 3D, most other 3D films suffer in comparison. THOR is no exception, it looks okay in 3D, but closer to the inferior Sony backed REALD 3D process, then real IMAX 3D. Sony’s inferior REALD 3D, gives a sense of looking into the screen, but it’s unable to give a real sense of the screen coming forward into real space, your space. This is what true IMAX 3D does so well. Not only offering depth, looking into something, but immersion, the film intruding and surrounding your real space.

So THOR IN IMAX 3D, looks okay, it just isn’t great. It isn’t IMAX 3D, and therefore is not worth the $6.50 surcharge. I personally think 3D movies should be the same price as 2D movies, but particularly if you’re going to charge that premium, the 3D experience should be breathtaking, and THOR IN IMAX 3D is just okay. The 3D almost transparent, and therefore, what’s the point.

So all in all if you can see this in 3D for no price increase, go for it. Otherwise avoid and stick to 2D on a big screen, you won’t be missing anything. And may actually gain something in brightness of picture.

3D is a nice thing for the occasional viewing, for the gee whiz factor, but it is no replacement for a really beautiful rendered and composed 2D film.

Just as HDTV for all its praise is not, nor never will be the equal of 35mm film, much less 70mm film.

HDTV is like DVD, a bastard compression medium, used to compress film into something viewable into the consumer confines of a tv and a living room, rather than the commercial standard of a movie screen and theater. Similar, but make no mistake, inferior, to true film.

And whereas a 70mm true IMAX 3D movie is in no way inferior to standard 70mm film, it is not appropriate for everything.

Cinema is a language.

And just as Black and White film can speak in a way color film can’t, and why I’m a huge Film Noir fan, 2D is also a distinct cinematic language, and sometimes that flat plane is the thing.

Not being in the shot, but observing the shot, is the thing.

Just as you can do THE THIRD MAN in color, but you would lose an ineffable part of the tone by so doing, that’s the same way that David Lean’s LAWRENCE OF ARABIA in 70mm, saying things about distance and alienation, would be lost translated into the “in-your-face” histrionics of IMAX 3D.

I like 3D in all its forms, to differing degrees, but even in its best forms I understand it’s a gimmick, that should not be overused.

3D ultimately is about lying to your brain, it’s about forcing a lie onto your brain, that this thing in front of you on the screen has as much depth and reality as the person sitting beside you or the world outside the theater.

In moderation it’s a fun gimmick.

But with this recent push to 3D TVs, you risk making it something else. You risk making the exception of lying to your brain, the rule, and what long term effects this can have, particularly on children’s development, growing up exposed constantly to this new medium, what challenge or aberration to their motor skills, and coordination, and socialization?, are questions that in the rush toward a new revenue stream… too many are ignoring.

Some of these 3D TVs are coming with warnings. You should heed them, and leave the 3D in the theater. My gut reaction? Stick to 2D for the home. At least till all the bugs are shaken out.

Likewise troubling, is the Sony push to digitize cinemas, as it has nothing to do with the best picture quality and everything to do with control and maximizing profit streams. The theaters forced to go this route will see their profit margins dwindle, and find themselves ever more at the mercy of the studios. And true 70mm and 35 mm theaters will go the way of the dodo, becoming a high priced specialty item for the few to seek out.

Here ends the public service announcement. :). Back to our THOR review.

Here on out I’ll be avoiding all 3D movies, unless a/specifically shot in IMAX 3D, with the Cameron cameras, or b/if it’s something especially gimmicky and is the same price as a regular film.

So given this criteria Michael Bay’s TRANSFORMERS III, which meets criteria # 1, will be the next 3D flick I check out. Unlike some people, I’m still quite enamored of Michael Bay’s visuals and always have fun at his movies. So if any movie can visually give Cameron’s AVATAR a battle, it may be Bay’s TRANSFORMERS.

So getting back to THOR, a very good if not great movie, that is poised to be the critical and commercial hit that Kenneth Branagh was definitely needing. And stay past the credits for the easter egg, if so inclined. Nothing earth shattering, but it’s fun that Marvel continues to do this universe building. Giving people a reason to sit through the credits.

Grade is a strong B/B+.