Jumat, 16 September 2011

Firewater Friday . . . Mmmm, Daddy!

You know the old wives’ tale that says a watched pot never boils? Well, I’m thinking too many old wivesspent too much time in the kitchen and had nothing better to do than make sh!tup to mess with our minds.   Of course a pot will boil even if you’restaring at it.  It just feels like it takeslonger because you are concentrating on the water and nothing else.

In order to distract you from all this water watching, someone invented a device so that you don't have to . . . it's call the Boil Buoy.  It's a little device goes into your pot of boilables and will chime when the water is ready to go.  How cool is that!!

Then there’s the claim that cold water boils faster than hotwater does or that hot water freezes faster than cold water does . . . tell mehow much sense that makes . . . but it must be true because I’ve been hearingit all my life.  Right??

Lets start with the first one . . . it’s true that coldwater gains heat more rapidly than water that is already hot but that doesn’tmean it will boil faster.  Once it getsup to the temperature of hot water, the heating rate slows down and from thereit takes just as long to bring it to a boil as the water that was hot to beginwith. So, obviously, because it takes cold water takes some time to reach thetemperature of hot water, cold water clearly takes longer to boil than hotwater does.  DUH!  No brainer . . . right?

Sort of . . . there’s a caveat: water that has been boiledonce and allowed to cool will boil faster than hot water straight from the tap.Seriously!  How can this be so you wonder just before your head explodes.  The reason is actually quite elemental, literally.  It’s because boiling gets rid of thedissolved oxygen usually found in water, making it easier for the water to boilthe second time around.

Now the second claim, believe it or not, is actually true .. . under the right conditions.  Hot water can actually freeze faster thancold water . . . well not cold water, actually, but lukewarm water.  But howis this possible you are asking dubiously right at this very moment.  Physics, my dear Watson, physics.  Hotter water loses mass to evaporation.  Less mass equals less water to freeze . . .therefore, it freezes faster.  Ta-da!

On a side note . . . where did the term lukewarm come from?  It’s actually a biblical reference.  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were walkingdown the street of Jerusalem.Three of them said they were cool, but Mark said, "Luke warm”.  Okay, okay . . . I made that up.  The word lukewarm is a centuriesold word.  The adjective luke isthought to be an alternative form of lew, an Old English word meaningtepid.  There was a time when the wordluke stood alone and meant the same thing as lukewarm.  Saying lukewarm ispretty much the same thing as saying ATM Machine. 

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