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5 Really Weird Things About Water

Water, good ol' H2O, seems like a pretty simple substance to you and me. But in reality, water - the foundation of life and most common of liquid - is really weird and scientists actually don't completely understand how water works.

Here are 5 really weird things about water:

1. Hot Water Freezes Faster Than Cold Water

Take two pails of water; fill one with hot water and the other one with cold water, and put them in the freezer. The hot one would be frozen before the cold one. But wait, you say, that's counterintuitive: wouldn't the hot water have to cool down to the temperature of the cold water before proceeding to freezing temperature, whereas the cold one has "less to go" before freezing?

In 1963, a Tanzanian high-school student named Erasto B. Mpemba was freezing hot ice cream mix in a cooking class when he noticed that a hot mix actually froze faster than a cold mix. When he asked his teacher about this phenomenon, his teacher ridiculed him by saying "All I can say is that is Mpemba's physics and not universal physics."

Thankfully, Mpemba didn't back down - he convinced a physics professor to conduct an experiment which eventually confirmed his observations: in certain conditions, hot water indeed freezes before cold water*.

Actually, Mpemba was in good company. The phenomenon of hot water freezing first, now called the "Mpemba effect" was noted by none other than Aristotle, Francis Bacon and René Descartes.

But how do scientists explain this strange phenomenon? It turns out that no one really knows but there are several possible explanations, including differences in supercooling (see below), evaporation, frost formation, convection, and effects of dissolved gasses between the hot and cold water.

*In reality - of course - it's much more complex than that: hot water freezes first (it forms ice at a higher temperature than cold water), whereas cold water freezes faster (it takes less time to reach the supercooled state from which it forms ice) - see discussion on our previous blog post about this topic.

2. Supercooling and "Instant" Ice

Everybody knows that when you cool water to 0 °C (32 °F) it forms ice ... except that in some cases it doesn't! You can actually chill very pure water past its freezing point (at standard pressure, no cheating!) without it ever becoming solid.

Scientist know a lot about supercooling: it turns out that ice crystals need nucleation points to start forming. These nucleation points could be anything from gas bubbles to impurities to the rough surface of the container. Without these things, water would continue to be a "supercooled" liquid well below its freezing point.

When nucleation is triggered, then a supercooled water would "instantly" turn into ice, as this very cool video clip by Phil Medina of MrSciGuy shows:

Note: Similarly, superheated water remains liquid even when heated past its boiling point.

3. Glassy Water

Quick: how many phases of water are there? If you answer three (liquid, gas, and solid) you'd be wrong. There are at least 5 different phases of liquid water and 14 different phases (that scientists have found so far) of ice.

Remember the supercooling we talked about before? Well, it turns out that no matter what you do, at -38 °C even the purest supercooled water spontaneously turns into ice (with a little audible "bang" no less). But what happens if you continue to lower the temperature? Well, at -120 °C something strange starts to happen: the water becomes ultraviscous, or thick like molasses. And below -135 °C, it becomes "glassy water," a solid with no crystal structure. (Source)

4. Quantum Properties of Water

At a molecular level, water is even weirder. In 1995, a neutron scattering experiment got a weird result: physicists found that when neutrons were aimed at water molecules, they "saw" 25% fewer hydrogen protons than expected.

Long story short, at the level of attoseconds (10-18 seconds) there is a weird quantum effect going on and the chemical formula for water isn't H2O. It's actually H1.5O! (Source)

5. Does Water Have Memory?

In the alternative medicine of homeopathy, a dilute solution of a compound can is purported to have healing effects, even if the dilution factor is so large that statistically there isn't a single molecule of anything in it except for water. Homeopathy proponents explain this paradox with a concept called "water memory" where water molecules "remember" what particles were once dissolved in it.

This made no sense to Madeleine Ennis, a pharmacologist and professor at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Ennis, who also happened to be a vocal critic of homeopathy, devised an experiment to disprove "water memory" once and for all - but discovered that her result was the exact opposite!

In her most recent paper, Ennis describes how her team looked at the effects of ultra-dilute solutions of histamine on human white blood cells involved in inflammation. These "basophils" release histamine when the cells are under attack. Once released, the histamine stops them releasing any more. The study, replicated in four different labs, found that homeopathic solutions - so dilute that they probably didn’t contain a single histamine molecule - worked just like histamine. Ennis might not be happy with the homeopaths’ claims, but she admits that an effect cannot be ruled out.

So how could it happen? Homeopaths prepare their remedies by dissolving things like charcoal, deadly nightshade or spider venom in ethanol, and then diluting this "mother tincture" in water again and again. No matter what the level of dilution, homeopaths claim, the original remedy leaves some kind of imprint on the water molecules. Thus, however dilute the solution becomes, it is still imbued with the properties of the remedy.

You can understand why Ennis remains skeptical. And it remains true that no homeopathic remedy has ever been shown to work in a large randomised placebo-controlled clinical trial. But the Belfast study (Inflammation Research, vol 53, p 181) suggests that something is going on. "We are," Ennis says in her paper, "unable to explain our findings and are reporting them to encourage others to investigate this phenomenon." If the results turn out to be real, she says, the implications are profound: we may have to rewrite physics and chemistry. (Source)

So far, other scientists failed to reproduce Ennis' experimental findings (throughout, Ennis herself was skeptical of the result's interpretation that water has a "memory" but maintained that the phenomenon she saw was real).

See also Jacques Benveniste's Nature controversy | Louise Rey's thermoluminescence study

More recently, a team of scientists at the University of Toronto, Canada, and Max Born Institute in Germany, studying water dynamics using fancy multi-dimensional nonlinear infrared spectroscopy did find that water have a memory of sorts - in form of hydrogen bond network amongst water molecules. Problem for homeopathy was, this effect lasted only 50 femtoseconds (5 x 10-14 seconds)!

Bonus: Ice Spikes


photo: SnowCrystals

Ice spikes are, well, spikes that grow out of ice cube trays. They look like stalagmites found in caves, and you can make 'em yourself using distilled water. Kenneth G. Libbrecht of SnowCrystals explains:

How do Ice Spikes Form?

Ice spikes grow as the water in an ice cube tray turns to ice. The water first freezes on the top surface, around the edges of what will become the ice cube. The ice slowly freezes in from the edges, until just a small hole is left unfrozen in the surface. At the same time, while the surface is freezing, more ice starts to form around the sides of the cube.

Since ice expands as it freezes, the ice freezing below the surface starts to push water up through the hole in the surface ice (see diagram). If the conditions are just right, then water will be forced out of the hole in the ice and it will freeze into an ice spike, a bit like lava pouring out of a hole in the ground to makes a volcano. But water does not flow down the sides of a thin spike, so in that way it is different from a volcano. Rather, the water freezes around the rim of the tube, and thus adds to its length. The spike can continue growing taller until all the water freezes, cutting off the supply, or until the tube freezes shut. The tallest spike we've seen growing in an ordinary ice cube tray was 56mm (2.2in) long. (Source)

Bonus 2: Make Instant Snow with Boiling Water

What do you get when you throw boiling water to the air in subzero weather? Instant snow. Interestingly, it only works with boiling hot water:


[YouTube clip]


These aren't the only things weird about water. We didn't talk about how water density changes with temperature (ice, for instance, is less dense than water so it floats - a key property of water that made life possible in the oceans and lakes). Nor did we talk about the weirdly strong surface tension of water, ordered clustering of liquid water, and so on. If you are interested, check out the Anomalous Properties of Water article by Martin Chaplin


very interestig article, apart from one small point.

"In the alternative medicine of homeopathy, a dilute solution of a compound can have healing effects"

No it doesn't Homeopathy is Placebo Medecine.

Beyond that there is no science involved at all.

It's hokum and is actually harming the Health services in the UK, but soaking up resources that should be spent of actual medical care and not dispensing vastly over priced water to credulous dolts.
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Polx said "No it doesn’t Homeopathy is Placebo Medecine. Beyond that there is no science involved at all."

Well, thank god Polx straightened us all out with the undisputed facts. If it doesn't fit his science model, it can't possibly be true or effective. Write a book, Polx, so we can all abide by your truths.
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you can also do the supercooled water trick with soda, as i discovered the time i put a ginger ale in the freezer for just a bit too long. it was liquid when i took it out of the freezer, but as soon as i opened the cap (it was a glass bottle) and the soda started to fiz, it froze solid. really cool, but also sort of disappointing -- it's really hard to drink frozen soda.
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Just because you do not believe in something does not make it "hokum" as it was put. Homeopathy has worked for many ailments in which no medicine exist and/or side effects of current medicine are too risky. If it is the "placebo" effect, the fact that it has shown to work in many cases (not all) still warrants research and money.

The world as we know it is not a binary system (true or false) however has many facets of reality and the fact that the placebo effect works in many cases just attests to that fact. I have seen "miracles" in the doctors office which should not of worked but did do to homeopathy solutions.

Just my two cents.
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How about the most important to us? The fact that ice floats in water. If it didn't all the ice would be at the bottom of the oceans and lakes and we wouldn't be here.
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Guys let's not turn this into a debate on homeopathy.

Another great read Neatorama, did you all put this together on your own or was this taken from another website?

I'm really starting to like these "5" series, but maybe you should space it out a bit so we don't get all these really in the span of 2 or 3 days. :)

(I gotta remember to try the water bottle/instant ice thing out this winter)
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Actually the Ennis experiment was repeated with a double blind study (where the researchers also don't know what is the control sample) and there was NO homeopathy effect whatsoever.
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I think you forgot a very import thing about water.

The fact that you can separate the oxygen and hydrogen from water (by way of electrolysis) and use these two gases are very explosive and can be used for a number of interesting things.

Also, hydrogen and oxygen can be added to a vehicle (car or truck) and it acts as a catalyst to the fuel making your car run more efficient (higher MPG).

-Peter
Check out aquauto.com if you want to know more.
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Discovered only in the last couple of years... If you repeatedly boil then cool water, you remove some of the gasses dissolved in it. When you add oil to the water the oil will completely dissolve in the water, not separate and float on top as it would otherwise do.
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Another wierd water fact: frozen water takes up more volume than liquid water.

If you freeze a mayo jar full of water with the lid on, it will expand an break the glass. I think it has something to do with a pseudo crystaline structure in ice.
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Homeopathy does not work, and I can't stress that enough. It is a psuedoscience. That means, it is made to LOOK scientific, but does not adhere to the rigors of the scientific method. This means that their "science" does things like not use peer review, use vague untestable claims, rely on anecdotal evidence, use reversed burden of proof (that's like me saying pink fairies are the cause of gravity because they hold everything down, and then asking you to prove it), lack self correction... The list is long.

The extreme dilutions used in homeopathic preparations usually leave none of the active ingredient (atoms, ions or molecules) in the final product. That means THEY ARE SELLING YOU WATER. Whatever effects you get are PLACEBO EFFECTS. You are getting ripped off to an extent that is morally dubious, and unacceptable.

When Homeopathy is performed in an unbiased environment, it does not work and fails miserably. If you want to be tricked, cheated, ripped off, and otherwise made a fool of, go ahead and use homeopathy. If you want to be a smart productive person of society, expose them.
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I don't think Oxygen is a catalyst when combined with gasoline as posted above. A catalyst is something that speeds a reaction with out being changed in the reaction. Oxygen would fail this test as it does change when its combined in the combustion.
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Homeopathy vis-a-vis the placebo effect. The placebo effect is real and documented (reproducible). The article points out that there are no such studies to support homeopathy even though water may have some sort of memory. I am a skeptic of homeopathy to be sure, leaning to the highly cynical side at that, but if YOU think it does YOU some good then YOU should pay for it. To hear some of you British wags complain about the government paying for snake oil is pretty sad from an American viewpoint. Our health services are so bad they let critically ill people died in the waiting rooms (for over 20 plus hours btw.). We need to socialize our health services in the US, but by no means do I think it out to include such tripe as homeopathy.

I would support the inclusion of a single homeopathic 'potion' (100ml pure water) that could be labeled as "extract of frog nuts" or "tincture of hoodoo" (whatever the Doc thinks will help the patient). The labels could be printed, attached and the potions distributed to those who 'believe' as necessary. The doctors would not tell the patients the truth about the potions because they know plain water won't do any harm and wish to leverage the benefit of the placebo effect. All I ask it that the standard cost of such 'potions' is 5 cents.

Enjoy.
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Hot water will form ICE CRYSTALS first, but it will not freeze solid first. This is due to the fact that when water gets hot the molecules spread out and it makes the crystals easier to form.

When ice crystals form, it causes the molecules to spread out (the spreading out has already happened in Hot water) which is why frozen water has a larger volume than liquid water.

The spreading of the water molecules when in crystal form also makes it less dense which is why ice floats in water. All of this was from grade 11 chemistry.
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You seriously don't know what you're talking about. I'll bet your science training background is almost zero. It's articles like this I have unteach in my science classes. Shame on you.
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#1 - Hot Water Freezes Faster...
Paragraph 5 - "convention" probably should be "convection." (Unless "convention" has acquired a scientific definition of which I'm unaware, which is possible...)
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I seem to remember from High School chemistry that water is one of the only substances that get less dense when it freezes (e.g. ice floats to the top). If this were not true I think life might not have been possible for reasons I can't remember now.
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i dunno about the homeopathy, but the rest of these things were freaking awesome. I loved the snow video and wish there was more about the glassy water.
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Re: homeopathy. Actually, I've always thought that homeopathy is bunkum. If you think about it, if water has "memory" than it remembers a lot of things other than the dissolved particles that homeopaths want it to "remember." It'll remember the copper in the pipes, and before that all the nasty stuff used to purify it, etc. etc.

I think the problem laid in how I worded the first sentence - I hope that it reads better now.

Re: "convention" - you're right. That was a typo. It should be "convection."

Dave Swaney - if you would elaborate on which point I don't know what I'm talking about, I can respond in a more intelligent manner. BTW, my science background training is PhD in biochemistry.
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Ok, this guy needs to do more research. He really left out some of the most interesting things about how strange water really is...
First- How many solids out there are LESS dense than their liquid counterparts? Yup, just water. (and a few other substances that most of us will never come across in our lifetimes)

Second- Water, while clear in our visible light spectrum (ie. 350-700nm, or violet to red) will NOT transmit most other wavelengths of EM radiation. This has to do with the fact that it's a polar molecule with it's size and angle relative to our small zone of visible light.

Irrelevant- Water is a terrible conductor of electricity. If you have deionized water, it will act as an insulator. The only way electrical current transfers is through all the metals found in any normal glass of water.
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Oh geez, as soon as I saw the homeopathy part and the number of comments I knew we were having an internet fight. Sorry boys and girls, but fighting on the internet is stupid.

Anyway, cool article. The boiling water/snow bit was really cool. I was a little sad you didn't mention superheated water a little more in detail, because when water is heated past boiling point and does not boil, it does the same thing when disturbed that supercooled water does. One difference: IT EXPLODES!

See for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAqqpDF4bVw
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Thirsty McDrinksalot - you're absolutely right. There are a lot of other things that's weird about water (like I mentioned at the end of the article).

You mentioned water is a terrible conductor of electricity. Absolutely right, pure water doesn't conduct electricity. What's even weirder is that under certain conditions, water auto-ionizes.

Another thing that is weird is the formation of ordered water like clathrate hydrate.

The list goes on and on - but I think most people would get bored (or too boggled) past 5 things. Five is the new Ten now on the list-o-verse! ;)
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Yes, great to hear more! And yeah, my bad for not picking up the last few sentences, but I see now you did mention the density thing... And I took a look at the link too, I think you covered it pretty well.
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You're probably well meaning, but an idiot.

Hot water cannot freeze faster than cold water. Simple thought experiment: If hot water were to freeze faster, then it has to cool off faster than cold water. At some point in the cooling cycle, the hot water will catch up to the temperature of the cold water. Now take a snapshot-- you have two containers of water at the exact same temperature. For the "hot" water to continue cooling down faster, it would have to have some "memory" or noticeable difference from the cold water, as to "know" that it used to be hotter water and must somehow continue cooling faster.. Well, water is water, it has no memory. It just can't happen.

similarly your point (3) is non-sensical. There can't be a particular temperature where it goes "bang", as temperature is an average of kinetic speeds.

And the homeopathy stuff is bunker than bunk. Try *thinking*-- what would be the possible mechanism? What are the consequences if it were true? Neither question has a favorable answer re homeopathy.
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Wow... It's amazing how all the skeptics come out of the woodwork just to harp on one fraction of this article. Mouthing off and acting like complete know-it-alls... when I'm sure most of them have never conducted their own homeopathy experiment or indeed ever taken a homeopathic remedy.

I don't know HOW homeopathics work, whether it's actual memory at some level we can't see (and if it's that sensitive, wouldn't it be prudent to question whether our expectations are having some sort of quantum effect on the outcome?), or if it's just the placebo effect. Even if it's just the placebo effect, does it matter? As long as you're not putting all your eggs in one basket and putting your life in danger, I don't see the harm in trying a safe, relatively inexpensive alternative.
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About the first item, it is probably due to the fact that the hot water loses its molecules, which transform into vapor. The process to freeze stuff to 0 kelvin is precisely to heat it with lasers, allowing the particles with more energy (heat) to scape, carrying the heat away from the system.
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Your speaking of the different phases of water reminded me of this old illustration I had lying around, so I thought I'd share it with you guys, seeing that I found it pretty awesome:

http://i33.tinypic.com/xgd01y.gif
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Dave Swaney is right. This article is mostly poop. Did anybody see the nails on the ice cubes that claimed where naturally formed spikes. This author is a silly, silly, silly, silly, silly, silly, silly goose.
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Rexdstone said....

"Well, thank god Polx straightened us all out with the undisputed facts."

I do not care , you let yourself, your parents your children be treated by homeopathty.

No really you feel free.

You can do it by being diagnosed with cancer and responding with....water.

So basically I would like you and evey one of your rem,edial in bred out fit to die, while you espouse this absurd pseudo science.

I do not care how you die, only that if it is THAT stupid that you elect to pay for it yourself.
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Oh also you'll die.

Did you know that the perfect solution of homeopathic water requires more water than jha s EVER BEEN AVAILABLE in the world ever.

Hurrah.

Maths Wins, you lose why ?

well you'd have to be one hell of a kock uscker to not recognise that you had fuct the maths THAT hard.

no really. continue drinking the magic water....... just df*ck off and stop mak9ng any one else pay fot your frgggin voodoo H2O bullsh*t.

failing that If you provide a home addy I'd happily come round with a claw hammer.

you are all that is wrong wiht the species
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grg - That's that I used to think. That's what logic would tell us to think. And of course it's not true that all hot water will freeze faster than all cold water, but there are differences in the way that hot and cold water lose heat, as well as the chemical composition of dissolved components and the molecular physics involved.

Though it seems non-intuitive, it has been observed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mpemba_effect
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Interesting that Polx's concern about homeopathy is that it's "harming the Health services in the UK"; no possibility that it's the incompetence of bureaucrats that's at least partly at fault there?

Or maybe it's the memory of the water in the River Thames that has reportedly been drank who-knows-how-many-times?

Eewww.
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Homeopathy became famouse and successfull about 150 years ago because "regular" doctors were killing and harming so many patients, so that the combined effect of just the placebo effect and avoiding being killed by the therapy *was* probably delivering better results. Early 19th century doctors were more like apes poking around with a screwdriver on a TV circuit board, pouring fluids over it and cutting wires in order to fix it. Today we know way more, but while we have figured out where the wires run and what the main job of most of the chips is, but we still have such a limited understanding of life that we can not really control any complex organism, let alone create one (artificially). Doctors have a long history of creating more trust into their abilities than is really justified on scientific grounds, although is an important part of their job and helps the patient and thus the action itself can be justified on ethical grounds. Today probably the greatest danger comes from economical pressures: There is a lot of expensive stuff that can be done, but it is too expensive to be made available to everyone. And then there is the pressure of making profit, which is an incentive to favor a sick customer to a healthy non-customer. But in any case I am happy that I live today and not fifty or 200 years ago when I get sick.
p.
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Wonderful article, Alex. Plus, the links were most informative. For anyone commenting who didn't follow the links to the very reputable sources, I would question their ability to verify anything for themselves.

I teach physics and chemistry and like to point out to my students that if they wish to get a Nobel Prize they should study water. There have been five given for research in the properties of water -- more than any other specific topic. What I will be adding to that talk this year will be the various phases of water that I knew nothing about. Thank you for posting about them. Now I'm going to do a little snooping and try to find out more details from that incredibly detailed page you linked to at the end. :o)
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As for homeopathy...

Since all the water in the world has been in contact with all other possible compounds in the past few, oh, lets says hundreds of thousands of years, then every single sip of water will contain the cure for every disease that has a homeopathic cure, and there would be no need to make a homeopathic cure.. water would already be that cure.

That should be enough to show how utterly ridiculous homeopathy is.
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whoa there, physics teacher. A little googling reveals that the "glass transition of water" is nowhere near being a verifiable fact. The quote above is a edited down version of an article in the "Red Herring" magazine, written by a free-lance writer. Not exactly the kind of place one should go for reliable info.
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Boiling water freezes faster than cold water ONLY IN SPECIFIC CONDITIONS. And none of those conditions are found in a regular refrigerator freezer. Hot tap water takes longer than cold water to freeze. You can monitor it yourself with a thermometer and two timers. Hot water turns into cold water, then the cold water turns into ice. THERE REALLY IS NO MAGICAL IN-BETWEEN STEP, NO MATTER WHAT YOUR GRANDMOTHER TOLD YOU! If you are going to present extraordinary information, you must present extraordinary proof. A bunch of high school kids arguing on a forum isn't going to cut it as proof, either. The article is well articulated, though, I have to admit. I almost enjoyed being annoyed at the misinformation parts.
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Here's a simplified but objective explanation of homeopathy:
Homeopathy has 2 basic theories. The first is that a substances that causes certain symptoms will cure those symptoms once diluted. Thus, a homeopathic sleeping pill would be made with coffee, for example. Second, the more a substance is diluted, the more effective it is. To continue the example, the most powerful sleep aid would be a drop of coffee diluted in the ocean.
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http://space.newscientist.com/article/mg18624940.300

The Belfast study results were discredited. There are other studies that also seem to support homeopathy, but there's just no reason to believe it works.

How big is a water molecule? How big are the molecules that are supposed to be leaving an "imprint"?
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I think when we talk about life we talk about water.
Water have memory and I know for sure that the bad information water held we can change with our mind and words.
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Good god people, hot water does NOT freeze faster than cold water. I've heard rubes saying that since I was a kid. Trust me...put hot water in one icecube tray and cold in another and put them both in the freezer...go ahead, i dare you.
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You're a complete moron. Have you ever even heard of Newton's law of cooling? of course the acceleration for hot water is faster than cold water but cold water has less of a 'distance' in terms of the thermal spectrum to travel. Put simply, if I do a little hop to an X on the ground, and jump off a ten story building to the same X, I will go faster when I jump out of the building, but I will reach the X quicker by the little hop.

You are the reason abortion is legal.
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"And the homeopathy stuff is bunker than bunk. Try *thinking*– what would be the possible mechanism? What are the consequences if it were true? Neither question has a favorable answer re homeopathy."

Pretty much the same argument is made against chiropractic care, Ayurvedic medicine and acupuncture / acupressure. The only problem is that they keep working. Western medicine sent me home from the hospital with severe back pain. Chiropractic fixed it.

Meanwhile western medicine still needs to answer for bleeding (as a therapy), thalidomide, mercury, electro-convulsive therapy, frontal lobotomies, partial-birth abortions, "preventive" tonsillectomies and also Hepatitis C, Chaga's disease and HIV in the blood supplies. The list goes on ... these are just the mess-ups that come quickly to mind.

My Dad has been told that anytime he doesn't want to come off the operating table, it can be arranged. Every year two or three of the oldsters in his senior apartment building take their doctors up on the offer.

And western methods don't have what I would consider an unblemished record regarding cancer, either.

All in all, rather than say that homeopathy doesn't work, why not simply acknowledge that you don't know how it works or why ... but people sometimes get well using it after western methods have been tried and failed.
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There isn't the slightest bit of proof that homeopathy works. Random anecdotes about how your cousin Mabel's goiter fell off after a treatment with Missah Sauls Healin' Potion, are just that, random anecdotes. Most problems the body will heal by itself, so you could come up with several million anecdotes and they don't mean a thing.

Meanwhile "western medicine" has several thousand definite curative procedures and drugs and more every day.

Which do you think has a better chance of fixing what ails you?
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I must say, I'm a pretty big homeopathy skeptic, my wife is not. Our dog used to always get motion sick when traveling in the car. And I mean ALWAYS. We give her a "homeopathic remedy" for motion sickness and she doesn't get sick when we use it. If we don't, she gets sick. Could be coincidence...as far as I know, dogs can't experience the placebo effect.
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Guys, guys, guys!! Stop yer bickerin'. It is an interesting post. One thing we need to remember about water. It is the most pure solvent on the planet. It is a simple statement but one to ponder.
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The article states that hot water can freeze faster than cold water, which means, correct if I'm wrong that that result is subject to other conditions. Hot water freezes faster than cold water at first.

I've actually done this experiment so I laugh whenever I see people saying "Uh, hot watuh has further go tuh get cold dan deh cold watuh, only existing aspucts of reality r da ones i refer to in my head-other tings aint reelz." Sorry, there are more things out there in reality than you can dream of in your limited hypothesis. Maybe you need to test it.

Or if you're scared of that try reading

Department of Physics, University of California:
http://www.math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/General/hot_water.html
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To all people complaining about homeopathy:
If you don't like it
Don't take it
pretty simple

If someone else wants to take remedies it does no harm to you
Let them do as they please since you believe it won't work anyway

Good god, you people all need to lighten up

To author of the article:
The boiling water to snow was my favorite ^_^
And me did super heating of water in a microwave at school
Pretty bad ass but you have to be careful not to burn yourself >.>
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RE: Homeopathy
Just curious. If a homeopathic solutions with no molecules of the 'cure' works would the opposite be true.

I mix up some poison (say 150mg of arsenic in cup full of water -toxic to a human) and then dump this in the Silver Lake reservoir (600 million gallons of water) everyone in LA should die.
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Homeopathy is not a placebo, unless you are saying that placebos work on animals. Which if they do, then sure, i could go with your opinion that homeopathy is a placebo.
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The supercooling is neat, but the video is a fraud. As water freezes, as has been said previously, it expands. The wonderful plastic bottle does not even bulge a bit. What they are doing is just crystallizing some salts.

Yes, water does supercool and will freeze, I have seen it in a cat water dish that I left outside, but the video is not that.
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I work for a custom Homeopathic manufacturing firm. I make my living off of Homeopathy and I'm still a skeptic.

Here are the largest reasons Homeopathy is discarded by scientists...

1)Robert L. Park, Ph.D., a prominent physicist who is executive director of The American Physical Society, has noted that since the least amount of a substance in a solution is one molecule, a 30C solution would have to have at least one molecule of the original substance dissolved in a minimum of 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules of water. This would require a container more than 30,000,000,000 times the size of the Earth.

This is like dropping a single drop of red dye into all of the world's bodies of water and expecting at least one molecule of the dye to reach every single part of the solution. It just cannot happen.

So, since no one can create a container 30 trillion times the size of the earth...Homeopaths are left with only one other option for acceptance.

2)The memory of water theory has not and cannot be reproducibly proven in double/triple blind tests by the original test firm or third party firms.

I believe I read somewhere once that "in every cup of water (8.4 x 10^24 molecules) there is at least one molecule that has passed through the body of every famous person that ever lived --- Jesus, Aristotle, etc --- which is one more molecule than what it is claimed to contain ... think about that the next time you go to communion.".

That being said, one also has to consider the possiblity that, since water is a highly recyclable/renewable part of our world, that if water does indeed have a memory then the memory of water would span the ages. Part of the renewal of the Earth's water comes from sewage...ie, human excrement. So then it could also be deducted that every sip of water you take has a memory of urine!

Is Homeopathy just reincarnated piss? Beyond the plausible deniability that water has memory, at what point does water "forget" its past? Can water develop amnesia? Does water go to a therapist and learn to block out a harmful incident in its past?

Homeopaths cannot answer the molecular subject noted above, nor can anyone else. They also cannot prove the Memory of Water and until they do it will always be regarded as Pseudoscience or Placebos.

Working inside the industry my standpoint is that while I urge everyone to buy lots of Homeopathics and make me rich...I myself would not waste the time or the money.
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in re: the hot water debate
My son and I put two trays in the freezer compartment at the same time; one hot water from the tap, the other cold water from the same source. The hot water tray froze first.

I'm of the opinion that the difference is that the gasses had been driven out of the hot water and, at some molecular level, no longer insulated the water molecules.

(Relax ... it's only an uninformed guess, not an obiter dictum.)
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It was anteresting article until I read the homeopathy nonesense. If someone can take that stuff seriously, then I'm no longer able to take their other claims very seriously without independent verification.

When you are unable to distinguish between homeopathy and science you are operating in an utterly mindset and world from me.
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http://www.dhmo.org/

The web site for the Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division (DMRD), currently located in Newark, Delaware. The controversy surrounding dihydrogen monoxide has never been more widely debated, and the goal of this site is to provide an unbiased data clearinghouse and a forum for public discussion.
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Everyone who believes in the powers of homeopathy: please rely on that belief so that we can weed you out of the gene pool.
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Very cool stuff. Didn't know some of this. Would love to try the boiling water to snow thing out, but only gets to around 5 F here at the coldest (-15 C). Oh well, maybe some day.
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To Bill in Detroit, I think the hot water freezes quicker than cold because naturally the hot water loses heat much quicker, and the rate of decelleration of temperature remains quicker causing hot water to cool much quicker. I think. Something to do with Latent Heat.
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I find it funny that the arguments go in circles. "Homeopathy doesn't work, you dumbass." "Hot water doesn't freeze faster, it's common sense." Unfortuantely, insults such as "You will die," and "You're the reason abortion is legal," do not make you sound any more creditable. It's also amusing that most of the insulting comments had ridiculous errors in them. For examnple, the one where Polx is ranting his ass off, it looks like he must have been so angry that he wasn't paying attention to what his fingers were pressing.
All in all, everyone must remember that this is a blog. It's not claiming to be a scientific journal; the author was simply posting some things that he probably found on the internet and thought were neat. Anyone who considers something in a blog definitely true without finding more sources deserves to get a D- on their chemistry paper if that is the result.
If you find something that has been discredited, a simple "This is incorrect; here's better information," would suffice. Otherwise, you emd up blowing up over something that is not worth gettimng worked up over as opposed to remaining a rational human being.
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"The world as we know it is not a binary system (true or false) however has many facets of reality"

- Right, because you can sometimes 'half' get cancer right? Maybe then we get 'half' cured with bogus 'medicine'. I look forward to your career as a 'half' healer giving false hope to terminally ill children. Better than nothing right? Is there a homeopathic cure for stupidity?
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Nothing on how difficult water memory or molecular memory would be to research.

Assuming that hydrogen bonds are present for too short of a period of time between water molecules to show water memory vis a vis clustering,

then someone would need to find another mechanism, beginning wherever they believed was most plausible.

I do not possess a scientific authority here, i am just guessing, and my guess is that water or any liquid may have a better chance at "imprinting" things such as where it has been, etc. than solids or gases, and that this recording or imprinting or pattern transference would be found at a mathematical level. That water is like memory foam, mathematically, would be the idea. If this is found elsewhere in nature, then is it found elsewhere in nature such as to point there?
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I think the most important "weird" thing about water is that it exapands when it freezes. Most other things in our universe get smaller and more dense when they are cooled.

If this didn't happen our oceans could very well freeze up. Ice would sink allowing more ice to form at the top and continue to sink to the bottom until the oceans froze solid. This would happen even in wamers climates because the sun can only reach so far down.

This incredible property does have it's draw backs when ice expands to crack roads, water pipes, foundations and pretty much anything it can creep into in the winter. :o)
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I didn't have to patience to read through all the comments to see if someone else beat me to this, BUT:

The hot water/cold water question.

The hot water MIGHT freeze faster if both containers are in non-conductive vessels, like wooden buckets. Steam will rise, and if the conditions are right the hot water will lose enough mass so that it cools down faster than the water that was cold to begin with.

If they're in metal bowls? Forget it. The cold water wins.
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To Bill in Detroit (#73):

If you read this, try your experiment again, but weigh both trays first. Then weigh them after they've frozen.

I'm willing to bet there's a discrepancy with the hot tray.
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Great article!
On the hot water freezing faster point. I am no scientist, however, I have lived in several old houses. The hot pipes ALWAYS freeze before the cold. Usually you don't have to worry about the cold pipes, but you better keep the hot water moving (dripping) or it does freeze first!
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"hot water freezes faster than cold"

Not true! It would be accurate to say that under SOME circumstances hot water can freeze faster than cold. But as a general rule the statement is completely false.

How do I know this? I repaired commercial ice machines for fifteen years. Sometimes we had plumbers who believed that hot water freezes faster and would hook up the machine to hot water. Ice production drops by at least two thirds. The colder the incoming water the faster the ice production.
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hot water freezes faster than cold water cause cold is the absence of heat and the hot water gives off its heat to the surrounding coldness. most of the time it reaches some sort of equilibrium with the cold water and they freeze at relatively the same time
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Hay fellas, can I join your troll thread?

Carolion: that ginger ale didn't freeze just because it was disturbed. When you popped the cap, you released a lot of carbon and pressure really fast, which raised the freezing point of the water in the soda.
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