[CrackMonkey] [email@example.com: Re: Ice Cubes.]
nick at zork.net
Sat Feb 10 20:33:27 PST 2001
----- Forwarded message from glen mccready <gkm at petting-zoo.net> -----
Forwarded-by: Bob Howe <bob at circumjove.com>
Glen, from the Fetish Weather Forecast: http://www.circumjove.com
Fetish Weather Forecast Letters to the Editor for Friday, November 14,
Bill S. writes in regarding his ice cubes [You can't make this stuff
Dear Mr. Wizard:
I am baffled, perplexed, and somewhat unsettled by a strange
phenomenon that occurs in the freezer in my Brooklyn apartment. I
can't drink a soda, it seems, without piling a dozen or so ice cubes
in a plastic tumbler to help cool my beverage to a sufficiently chilly
and refreshing temperature. That's a strange phenomenon, I grant, but
not the one I'm worried about. As you can imagine, my predilection
makes for a rather voluminous consumption of ice in our household,
which means a continual procession of water-filled trays entering our
freezer. I go through a lot of ice.
On occasion, say once every two or three months, I make my pilgrimage
to the freezer to retrieve a tray of ice, only to discover one or more
of the ice cubes have grown stalagmites-a thin column of ice sticking
straight up from the top of the cube, about an inch in length!
Now, I've been making ice a long time, and I've lived all over the
West, but it wasn't until I moved to Brooklyn that my ice began
demonstrating any sign of volition. What causing this? Is it some
strange side effect of the humidity? A crystallization due to
unfiltered lead? Poltergeists? Or is the water here so full of
particulate matter that it has developed a rudimentary sentience, and
is driven to attempt to escape from its container only when it
realizes it's about to freeze?
You've lived here a lot longer than I have. WHAT THE HECK IS CAUSING
THIS? I'm so discombobulated that I don't dare bathe for fear the
water will rise up and smother me in retaliation for all the ice I've
mercilessly frozen. Please help! <glub glub>
FWF Replies: Mr. Wizard is indisposed; you'll have to settle for Mr.
Card Tricks. While we especially liked your theory of sentient
tapwater, just to be on the safe side, we contacted Dr. Peter
Brancazio, a professor of physics at Brooklyn College, and the author
of Sport Science, about the physical principles behind different
Dr. Brancazio attributes your stalagmite problem to well-aerated
tapwater. Air bubbles, trapped in the slowly freezing water, rise
toward the surface of the ice cube but can't escape. The bubbles push
up on the underside of cube's surface, creating little bumps; if the
cubes freeze at the right rate, and there is enough air trapped in the
water, the bumps become stalagmites.
There are several solutions to this problem: drink your beverages
warm; use distilled or bottled water to make your ice cubes (which
will also eliminate cloudiness); leave the filled trays on the counter
for a while to allow most of the trapped air to escape; take the
aerator off your kitchen faucet; or have Karawynn plane off the tops
of the cubes with a saw before you put them in your glass.
----- End forwarded message -----
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