running water

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Greetings, editor person.

This is one of my second batch of guide entries, the first having been processed a little while back by the first intake of subs. It was an interesting process, and probably a learning time for all of us, so I thought I should make some effort to make it all a little easier this time around.

I see my job as a researcher as being to write entries that at least two of the following three qualities: interesting, informative, amusing

I don't always succeed and don't submit any entries that I feel don't measure up. If you feel that this entry doesn't measure up then I'm sure you'll feel free to reject it and, so far, I haven't disputed with anyone about rejections. (But please remember that the guide is supposed to be diverse and the test is not whether YOU are interested or amused but whether somebody reading the entry because they're looking for information on a particular topic would be.)

I had one entry approved that I felt I could have improved upon quite a lot, but I didn't know it was under review so I couldn't. Please, please email me and let me know that you're reviewing this and I'll go back to it and see if there's anything that I can add or improve upon. The address is in the mailto at the bottom of the page.

Have no fear, I have corresponded amicably with subs about my guide entries and I'm not looking to get into disputes with anyone. But there is one important issue that has come up in the past and could have been avoided had the sub contacted me:

Sometimes researchers write entries whose topic is not clear and the subs have to make decisions about them, without clearly understanding what the writer is trying to get at. On one occasion I was guilty of not communicating my message clearly, the sub got the wrong end of the stick, and made substantive changes so that the entry reflected what he thought it was about. Naturally I was pretty miffed and, after numerous emails, I concluded some very unpleasant things about the editorial process in general and the sub in particular.

If the meaning of this entry is not clear to you then please contact me for clarification - it might not only result in a better entry being written, it could also spare you some unnecessary abuse.

Hope this helps.

Oh, and if you want I can send you a text file of this entry minus the GuideML stuff.


<P><BIG>Running water is probably the most amazing of modern miracles, the one most taken for granted, and the one that people get most upset about the cost of:</BIG></P>

<P><I>"<LINK H2G2="a187599">Water</LINK>'s free," they say, "it falls out of the sky. I'm not paying that for it."</I></P>

<!Guide Entry A187599 "water" was submitted 17 weeks before this one. There should be an approved entry by now and I think it deserves a link.!>

<P>And then they get started about how water companies should be owned by the state and completely miss the point. It's not the water that you're paying for. It's the 'on demand' quality of running water. Running water is delivered to your home by a fabulously complex system of reservoirs and pipes that enables you to use it when you want to - and turn off the flow when you don't.</P>

<P>The alternative to running water is never to take a shower until it rains. This may be fine with small children, except when it rains a lot, but isn't really very practical if you work in close proximity with other people. If you live, for instance, in the UK then even when it does rain you might find that it is too cold to be standing out in your garden with a bar of soap. And, believe it or not, rain is very rarely heavy enough to give you a really good wash down - plus it could always stop suddenly, leaving you covered in soap suds with no way to rinse off.</P>

<P>This could be seriously embarrassing should your neighbours be watching. But if you're the kind of person who doesn't mind stripping off in the street, and attracting attention to yourself by singing Abba songs whilst vigorously soaping your crotch, then this is only a minor problem.</P>

<P>In countries where heavy, relatively warm, rain can be counted on at least some of the time the "outdoor shower" may sound like a more practical proposition. But experiments conducted while waiting for bus connections in Thailand have shown that this is not the case. Although monsoon rain can be fairly heavy, and fairly reliable, it still isn't a patch on good old running water. And even if you keep your shorts on people are still going to stare at you. Maybe less Abba next time?</P>

<P>The first running water in Thailand was in the palace of King Rama V, and was installed following his visit to Europe at the start of the 20th Century, but it didn't work exactly the same as the western model. The King had a large bath made, which was fed by a tap that allowed water to flow down a pipe from a tank in the loft in the usual manner. Unfortunately the king didn't have the benefit of a "mains" water supply and the tank had to be kept filled by servants, who would run down 3 flights of stairs to a nearby canal, fill their buckets, and run back - all to the strains of Mama Mia. For a while this gave a slightly different meaning to the phrase "running water".</P>

<P>Nowadays Thailand, like most other countries, has conventional running water and most people are happy to pay for it because it spares them the legwork - and allows them to sing whatever they like without bothering anyone else!</P>

<PULLQUOTE ALIGN="center" EMBED="center"><I><SMALL>Author's note: I don't have time to monitor notes added to all my guide entries but I'd love to hear from you. <A HREF= "MAILTO: [email protected]">Click here</A> to email me, or visit me at home at <LINK HREF="">planetchris</LINK>. </SMALL></I></PULLQUOTE>


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