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How to Actually Save Water

This was going to be a long sweeping article about how wrong we are when we care about different things: how many megapixels a camera has, how much electricity we use by keeping the lights on, using cell phones on airplanes, and swimming in the water when there's lightning out. But instead of trying to weave all those things together, I'm going to focus on the biggest one.


This one is near and dear to me, because I am a bad showerer and I got in trouble for it as a kid. I'd wake up on a cold New England morning, snow outside, and tip toe across the cold wood floors.

Cold Showers, Tested

On nickwinter.net

A few months ago, I set out to test cold showers. Here's what I wrote for my experimental mission statement:

People are raving about what hormetic opponent process magic silver bullet it is to take cold showers. A little research gave supposed benefits of increasing circulation, mood, immunity, fertility, energy, exercise recovery, fat loss, mental alertness, pain and stress tolerance, cold tolerance, and skin and hair health. They're even supposed to stop depression and hair loss and tumors. I'm going to alternate two weeks of cold showers with two weeks of hot showers for the next two months and see what actually happens.

So excepting two days of each condition when traveling, every day for two months I woke up, did a 10-minute workout, immediately took a 7-minute shower, recorded my energy, mood, and shower discomfort, and took an 8-minute Quantified Mind battery. This wouldn't tell me anything about skin health and tumors, but it would get the main thing: does a cold shower begin one's day more vigorously than a hot shower?


There were no observable differences on any Quantified Mind tests, suggesting that the brain does not care about the water temperature.

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