Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Winter Musings

Brrrr ....

This is the kind of weather (below freezing, wind chill sending us into the realm of unnecessarily cold, having to put warm water out for the barn animals twice a day) that inspires me to write a simplified life book. More on that in a sec, because --

What is it about the dumb, persistent myth that warm or hot water put out in the weather freezes faster than cold water? I heard this again the other day from someone and I was so dumbfounded that I couldn't bring myself to correct them. It defies the laws of thermodynamics, folks. If nothing else, consider that the warm water is cooled by the environment down to a temperature that qualifies as cold water, right? And that this takes time? And then, presumably, this now same-as-the-initial-cold-temperature water will take, what, less time to freeze employing what mechanism? I believe this fallacy must have come from some high school physics course in which the instructor explained calories and heating water and how much energy it takes to heat frozen water as opposed to liquid water. I'm not entirely sure but I suspect that someone took that data and extrapolated it incorrectly. The other thing that might be going on is that it's true that warm or hot water evaporates more quickly. Less water, less time to cool it down. However, I doubt that the evaporation rate reduces the amount of water overall (unless, possibly, you have a really small container) enough to increase the freezing rate.
Rant mode off.

My next project, after I'm done with the YA I'm working on, will be House of Goats. I proposed this at Kris and Dean's master's class and I've had very kind reminders ever since then that I have to write this book. Although I'm not basing House of Goats on my life, you can bet that all my Skunky stories will be included. And of course there will be dogs, and cats, and rodent infestations ... all the gory details of life on a small farm when you don't know exactly what you're doing and learn everything the hard way.

Well, not everything. Learning to make homemade blackberry pies wasn't hard at all. But then pie is notoriously easy.

The puppies have been enjoying life inside the house. They spend a few hours outside every day during the warmest part of the day, which they use for chasing each other around the yard and lazing in the sun, but the remainder of the time they're indoors napping in our living room chairs. The vacuum is my friend. Despite the added work, and the additional fuzzy people always getting in my way and underfoot, it's wonderful having them in the house with us. Aside from occasional forays into the litter box, they're really well-behaved animals.

No more sleeping on the bed, though. They take up more than half of a king-sized futon. The wedgie allotted to me when they're there is warm, but a little too cramped for comfort.


strangerland said...

Well since science doesn't make sense to many people, then anything counter intuitive must be true. Also science has contradicted closely held beliefs, contradictions now sound scientifically true to some people. Maybe.

Carissa said...

While looking up info on frost-proofing one of our old outdoor faucets, I came across the hot water freezing faster and an explanation of its possible origins. Someone put a tray of hot water in the freezer and it froze faster than when they put cold water in, and then claimed it froze faster, without considering that the freezer went into overtime to freeze thanks to the sudden temp change with the addition of heat and steam. So freezer works harder to freeze hot water faster, but cold water, which has little affect on the freezer temp doesn't get the workout. Sounded very plausible to me

Kami said...

Hey Ris, I think you're onto something! Heh.