Monday, November 26, 2012

Ice Nine?

It was below zero on the Iron Range this morning, but in the saintly city the temperature rose to 22º F. The water in Swan Lake was in its liquid state, whereas the water in Lake Como was mainly changed over to the solid state. I think the reason for the apparent discrepancy in water state may be due to the depth of the lake. Or maybe the presence of ice nine. The fictional ice nine of "Cat's Cradle" fame melts at 114.4º F, and acts sort of like seed crystal and causes all water that it comes in contact with to solidify. It was nasty enough to cause the end of the world in that book.

It looks like this was more likely ice one (which is what normal ice is) because there were a couple of open, iceless areas on Lake Como.  There is a real type of water called ice IX, which doesn't have the properties of the fictional ice nine.

The ice on Como doesn't completely cover the surface yet. There are a couple of pools of what I expect to be very cold water. Incidentally, it is 1.6 miles around that fine city lake. That is about 2.57 kilometers - somewhat less than π kilometers. If it were exactly π kilometers and if Como were a round lake, it would be exactly 1 kilometer across the lake (C=πd, =› d=C/π; where d is diameter and C is circumference).  I walked around it today rather than trying the direct diameter route.

Just to show that the ice is stable, I stepped a couple of feet out onto the ice and took a photo of my shadow.  This the time of year when ice is not yet covered with snow and thus has a unique look, something like a partially transparent and irregular mirror.  I was not the only lake walker today, but they were sparse.

“In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in his cosmic loneliness.

And God said, "Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done." And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close to mud as man sat, looked around, and spoke. "What is the purpose of all this?" he asked politely.

"Everything must have a purpose?" asked God.

"Certainly," said man.

"Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this," said God.

And He went away.”

― Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle  [probably from the book of Bokononism.]


Retired Professor said...

Call 314-159-2653 for good food.

(Another pi story.)

None of that below zero stuff here, yet. I'm hoping for those 50's this weekend that you blogged about earlier.

Gino said...

Good stuff from the Book of Bokonon.

Bookonisms are the says of Bokonon, featured prominently in the Book of Bokonon.

Tiger got to hunt,
Bird got to fly;
Man got to sit and wonder, "Why, why, why?"

Tiger got to sleep,
Bird got to land;
Man got to tell himself he understand.

Jimi said...

I suppose when you dial that number you should ask for Sir Cumference, or Lady Di Ameter) and order some shepherd π.

I think the 50's have been scratched in favor of something in the 40's. Still not so bad.

Jimi said...

Another "Cat's Cradle" ism"

“Live by the harmless untruths that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

Gino said...

Foma, live by the foma . . .

Retired Professor said...

Nice math, by the way. Introducing the km conversion is just showing off, though. I divided 1.6 miles by pi and got a half mile, almost exactly. Useful to know if you ever want to cut across the lake. (After it is frozen, of course.)