Meet the Debunkist

Should we really drink a gallon of water a day, and does sugar make children hyperactive?  I meet the man who knows.

I recently met a gentleman who called himself a “debunkist”.  It was not a title I had ever come across before, so I naturally asked him what exactly a “debunkist” did.

It turns out that he specialises in finding advice that is propagated through the popular media and which is total bunkum. He then writes articles and appears on TV and radio programmes telling people not just that it is rubbish advice but also why it is rubbish.

He takes the whole process very seriously, and indeed I found that he considered himself a modern day equivalent of those great luminaries of the past, such as Galileo and Copernicus, who overthrew the notion that the Earth was the centre not just of the solar system but of the entire universe.

Naturally I asked for an example of the modern bunkum that he debunks.

Settling in his chair he looked me in the eye and said, “Drink eight glasses of water a day.”

I was taken aback. “Is that bunkum that needs debunking or are you giving me advice?” I asked as I carefully removed my plastic cup of coffee from the table and placed it in the bin.  I could see where this was going.

But I was wrong.  “Total bunkum,” he said.  “Everyone now believes they need to drink more water, and thus bottled water has become the most popular drink in many countries including our own, but the eight glasses a day stuff is silly.

“It comes from a leaflet in America in the 1940s that said we should drink a certain amount of water for each calorie of food we take in – but it omits the fact that virtually all food is made up of mostly water.

“Added to which the liquid we need doesn’t have to be pure water.  Tea and coffee contain lots of water.”

“But I thought coffee dehydrates people and makes you lose more water than you drink,” I said, bringing my mug of the liquid back to the table and taking a sip.

“Rubbish!” he announced.  “Even the occasional glass of beer – but no more than one mind – will hydrate you, rather than dehydrate.  And don’t start telling me water is better for you.  As long as you are drinking enough tea, milk, juice, etc, taking lots of extra water just makes you go to the loo more often.

“What’s more there is another myth that says that you are really thirsty long before your body tells you that you are in need of water.  That’s bunkum too.  How would our species have ever survived if the “drink now” mechanism was so laggardy in its delivery of such a vital message? It is the reverse – of course. We get thirsty long before there is a need to replenish our liquids, so that we have time to go searching for the nearest stream to stick our head into.

“Worst of all, drinking lots of water that you don’t need can actually be bad for you.  If you are dehydrated you will get a headache.  If you are getting headaches try drinking more water. That’s it.”

I nodded feeling that this was indeed profound advice. Looking at my watch I realised I had to move on in a moment, but felt I probably had time to hear one more gem from the debunkist.

Upon hearing my request the self-styled debunkist solemnly announced, “Sugar makes children hyperactive.”

“Does it?” I asked naively.

“No of course it doesn’t,” he replied impatiently. “There have been lots of studies in which hundreds of children are given something that might or might not contain sugar and then their behaviour is watched, and no one can ever tell the difference in terms of which ones have had the sugar.

“Even children who are registered by their parents as “sugar sensitive” can’t be found in that sort of test – it is all in their parents’ minds. Parents who think their children are sugar sensitive then watch their children’s behaviour and claim they are being hyper-active, while in fact they are just being… children.”

“So does sugar not affect children?” I asked.

“Obviously it makes their teeth rot, and the level of extractions for children is quadrupling each year because of excess intake of sugar.  And it affects their brains.”

That sounded pretty horrifying so I asked why and how, carefully picking up the sugar bowl from the table and dropping it into the bin.

“In the serious studies done on schoolchildren, it was found that after having a glucose drink most children were able to concentrate better and got better scores in memory tests.”

Carefully picking the sugar bowl out of the bin I said, “so that is the opposite of hyperactivity, isn’t it? It means my memory improves with more sugar.”  I edged my spoon closer to the bowl.

“Not really. The sugar boost from glucose doesn’t last very long.  Better to lay off the sugar and have a well-rounded diet. Fruit is a good place to get sugar.”

I noticed an apple in my bag left over from yesterday’s packed lunch and carefully dusted it down and began munching, nodding all the while in what I thought might be a sage-like manner.

“Perhaps you could give me some more advice next time, once I have taken these notions on board,” I suggested.  As he got up and left he nodded and waved in a manner that I took to suggest that yes, indeed, he might deliver some more debunkificationalism the next time we met.


Boiled Ariel Fog

From Cyan Lotus Out Of Blue Water to lots of things done with uranium

You will know, of course, that one of the most important issues facing our country is the fact that we currently have an ever-increasing number of people who have reached retirement age.  And indeed, despite the fact that the government is trying constantly to contain this by increasing the age at which we can take our state pensions, the number of people reaching the age at which they can take their pensions is still going up.

And I have noticed of late that I am getting a growing number of customers coming to the facility who might well themselves be of a certain age.  And some of them do discuss with me the fact that they are putting things into storage because, having reached that age, they find themselves downsizing their living accommodation (or possibly downsizing their part of their living accommodation) as their off-spring move back into the family home, no longer being able to afford the rents that are now being demanded by the local letting agents.

Of course, what people choose to store with me is their business, and I never interfere but I do on occasion get into conversation with my customers, including, of course, some who have reached retirement age.

For some of these people time is sometimes no longer of the essence.  But that is not to say that such customers are sitting around all day with nothing to do.  While I am sure that such a fate does befall some members of society who have stopped the daily grind of having to go to work, most of the retired people I see find themselves ever more busy.

Some, of course, are helping out with the grandchildren, collecting them from school, doing a spot of baby-sitting and so forth, while some enjoy walking the dog.  But others, as far as I can see, will take on a multiplicity of activities and can end up far fitter than the people who find themselves still in work.

Now these activities are not all physical by any means, and indeed a mix of mental and physical activity is always emphasised by medical people.

And so it was that I recently discovered that one of my older customers not only does his spot of walking with a local group, but he also occupies a small part of every day searching the internet for the whackiest things he can find.

And this week he brought me in print outs of two items, asking me if I would like to choose which was the oddest.

The first item came from Amazon.  Now I must admit I do like Amazon – that is the supplier of all sorts of things by post rather than the river, although I am sure the river is a good place to go as well.

And today, and as my customer pointed out, it seems Amazon has an advert from a supplier of a product priced at £11,895.  Which might seem a lot but does come with free delivery so that is all right.   And there are apparently only two left in stock so one needs to hurry.

“But what is it?” I hear you ask.  Or I would if you were closer by.

Well, it is a SweatEvaporating / Sauna / HealthyUrn / NanoAnion / NegativeIon / FarInfraredRay / Hyperthermia / Fumigate / PulseMagneticField / Porcelain / Underglaze Blue And White-glazed—Cyan Lotus Out Of Blue Water made by Sungao.

Now I know that is a bit of a mouthful so with the aim of being ever helpful I decided to delve deeper and discovered that, “Known as air vitamin, nano anions are dissolved in vapour by healthy urn. Through human lung into bloodstream, nano anions can promote human body metabolism and strengthen physiological action.”

A little later we are told “Healthy urn can fumigate with boiled aerial fog.”

My customer asked me if I had any boiled aerial fog in storage.  I told him I would have to check, and carried on reading.

The advert went on like this for quite a while but I was still left wondering what it was all about, and so I skipped to the end, looking for a helpful summary, only to be told that “After stimulating human body, pulsed magnetic field therapy of healthy urn has regulating function for blood circulation, facial, detox, endocrine and even the whole body.”

Now no one has thus far brought one of these healthy urns into the Admiral storage facility but, apparently, you crawl inside the thing and it makes you better – and prevents senility.

So we had a jolly laugh about that one, and decided that neither my customer nor I would buy the thing until it went on special offer.  But I was keen to add what the second odd thing was that he had found.

Here he handed me a print out of a news page with a quote from President Trump.  I read it and laughed, but didn’t believe it was true. So together we looked it up, and seems it was something the President said.  Here it is…

“We had Hillary Clinton give Russia 20 percent of the uranium in our country. You know what uranium is, right? It’s this thing called nuclear weapons. And other things. Like lots of things are done with uranium. Including some bad things. But nobody talks about that.”

My customer then asked me if I had any uranium in the Admiral storage facility.  I confirmed that as with aerial fog, I did not. We both agreed that was probably for the best.

Admiral Document Storage
Bloxwich Lane
Tel: 0800 810 1125