Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Well I'll be damned - an all office work email told me something potentially useful.

Check this out. It is one of those crazy email rumor-type things that according to Snopes actually has some validity, though it doesn't happen too often...
Microwaving Water!

A 26-year old man decided to have a cup of coffee. He took a cup of water and put it in the microwave to heat it up (something that he had done numerous times before). I am not sure how long he set the timer for, but he wanted to bring the water to a boil. When the timer shut the oven off, he removed the cup from the oven. As he looked into the cup, he noted that the water was not boiling, but suddenly the water in the cup 'blew up' into his face. The cup remained intact until he threw it out of his hand, but all the water had flown out into his face due to the buildup of energy. His whole face is blistered and he has 1st and 2nd degree burns to his face which may leave scarring.

He also may have lost partial sight in his left eye. While at the hospital, the doctor who was attending to him stated that this is a fairly common occurrence and water (alone) should never be heated in a microwave oven. If water is heated in this manner, something should be placed in the cup to diffuse the energy such as a wooden stir stick, tea bag, etc.., (nothing metal).

General Electric's Response when questioned:

Thanks for contacting us, I will be happy to assist you. The e-mail that you received is correct. Microwaved water and other liquids do not always bubble when they reach the boiling point. They can actually get superheated and not bubble at all. The superheated liquid will bubble up out of the cup when it is moved or when something like a spoon or tea bag is put into it.

To prevent this from happening and causing injury, do not heat any liquid for more than two minutes per cup. After heating, let the cup stand in the microwave for thirty seconds! Before moving it or adding anything into it.

Here is what our local science teacher had to say on the matter:

Thanks for the microwave warning. I have seen this happen before. It is caused by a phenomenon known as super heating. It can occur anytime water is heated and will particularly occur if the vessel that the water is heated in is new, or when heating a small amount of water (less than half a cup).

What happens is that the water heats faster than the vapor bubbles can form. If the cup is very new then it is unlikely to have small surface scratches inside it that provide a place for the bubbles to form. As the bubbles cannot form and release some of the heat has built up, the liquid does not boil, an d the liquid continues to heat up well past its boiling point.

What then usually happens is that the liquid is bumped or jarred, which is just enough of a shock to cause the bubbles to rapidly form and expel the hot liquid. The rapid formation of bubbles is also why a carbonated beverage spews when opened after having been shaken.

If you pass this on you could very well save someone from a lot of pain and suffering...

Got that people?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

RIP, W... RIP, V...

Yes, it's true. Yesterday was your last chance ever to ride the W train, or the V. And things they are a-changin' - beginning Monday, the M will be an orange train and start its upward swing through midtown and into Queens, and the Q will move past 57th street and all the way on up to Astoria. We've seen Q trains up here before of course, mostly when 7 train service is disturbed. But for keeps, now that's just something else entirely.

There is, of course, a certain justice in the Q train finally serving Queens.

These things happen. Train lines come and go, get renamed, get new routes. And I guess I've just been in New York long enough now that I'm seeing it happen with my own eyes, on my own lines. What's worse that the rerouting, though, is that service is being cut. What is that delusional claim they make? From zero passengers standing to 10 - 12? (I hope they mean per 20 square feet of car space, because that's how it already is during rush hour.) I fear for my evening commute. But only time will tell.

It seems that few will mourn the loss of the V train - except for me, that is. I liked that train, mainly for its *not* being the E train, which is always packed to the gills with people in too much of a hurry to realize that, uh, they could just take the V, which was always half empty. Which was of course why I always liked the V train so much. Will the rerouted M be the same? I'm sure I'll have occasion to find out.

The WFP has struggled valiantly to at least get the MTA to back off of eliminating student metro cards. (Come on folks - are you gonna push them down and take their lunch money too?) And it looks like they're making some headway on that front. But it doesn't seem that any amount of pleading (or demonstrating, or petitioning...) could save these lines, a number of bus slashes, and the service cuts that are now under way.

Thanks much Bloomie, our independently (extraordinarily) wealthy third term mayor! Just a little food for thought: you know this town completely falls apart without usable public service, right? Kay. Just makin' sure.

And yeah, I am so totally getting the t-shirt.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

four years and then some.

I wrote this poem almost exactly a year ago. I don't really ever write poetry, but sometimes one just infects my brain and demands to be spit onto paper. This one was like that. And today it seems particularly relevant. So here you go.

Forget me not
When you grow tired of me;
When dappled cheery sunlight falls to shadow,
And I am mixed instead among the ferns and stones.
Forget me not
When I grow weak and weary,
When bones groan more plaintively
Than Grandmother's rocking chair.
Forget me not
When my blue wedding dress has turned a
Faded yellow-gray,
When words stop pouring for pain of pointing pen.
Because "till death do us"
Means till the sweet, or bitter,