As readers of Pirate Cinema will know, I love pointing powerful projectors at distant, public objects, because there's something awesome about watching YouTube videos against the side of an office-building opposite one's 15th-storey hotel room. But I never suspected how wondrous the results would be if I shone the movie-light into a blizzard, as Redditor bmaffitt did three days ago.
jere7my sez, "I pointed my camera out my dining room window for 30 hours of Nemo in Boston, from the start of precipitation on Friday to the end of Saturday's cleanup, and condensed it all down to a minute. Enjoy this wintry timelapse! That's me waving at the camera for a few frames around 0:33."
Josh Fitzpatrick, meteorologist with WSAZ TV, posts this photo (don't know who took it), with this factoid: "The deepest snow with the #blizzard of 2013 was 40" inches at Trumbull, CT! 7' foot drifts. "
Simon Beck creates stunningly intricate patterns in the snow by walking (carefully) in raquettes à neige (snowshoes). "On average they take about 10 hours to really do it properly, some are a little unfinished, if my feet get cold or hurt too much," Beck says. "The setting out is done using handheld orienteering compass and distance determination using pace counting or measuring tape. Curves are either judged or arcs of circle using a clothes line attached to an anchor at the centre. Designs are chosen from the world of geometry or 'crop circles.'" Simon Beck snow art(via Juxtapoz)
Pykrete is a WWII-era experimental material made by mixing wood pulp with ice. It's easy to make, easy to work with, and it's bulletproof:
If so, we’d like to humbly suggest that you consider pykrete for all your snow fort construction needs. Pykrete is a composite material made of a mixture of wood pulp and ice. Named for its inventor Geoffrey Pyke, pykrete was an experimental material developed during the mad science heyday of World War II.
At a time when steel was starting to run into short supply, Pyke looked at ice, a material that can be formed for a fraction of the energy cost of steel, as a potential building tool. Early experiments ran into problems — ice is prone to being brittle — but they came across research that showed that if you mixed in cellulose with pure water, that the resulting stuff, when frozen, turned out to be quite durable.
How durable? Let’s put it this way: Would you like a snow fort that is bullet-proof?
Chalk this up under "Blogs You Ought to be Following". The Tumblr Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics is a great place to find succinct, clear explanations of the forces that make things flow. In particular, they're fantastic at posting explanations behind things you see in YouTube videos, both viral and obscure.
The video above — in which a nice Siberian guy tosses boiling water off his balcony and creates a cloud of snow — has been making the rounds recently. Here's how Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics explains it:
Several effects are going on here. The first thing to understand is how heat is transferred between objects or fluids of differing temperatures. The rate at which heat is transferred depends on the temperature difference between the air and the water; the larger that temperature difference is the faster heat is transferred. However, as that temperature difference decreases, so does the rate of heat transfer. So even though hot water will initially lose heat very quickly to its surroundings, water that is initially cold will still reach equilibrium with the cold air faster. Therefore, all things being equal, hot water does not freeze faster than cold water, as one might suspect from the video.
The key to the hot water’s fast-freeze here is not just the large temperature difference, though. It’s the fact that the water is being tossed ...
Not all snowflakes are unique in their shape. There's one fact for you.
And here's another: The shape of snowflakes — whether individually distinct or mass-production common — is determined by chemistry. Specifically, the shape is a function of the temperatures and meteorological conditions the snowflakes are exposed to as they form and the way those factors affect the growth of ice crystals.
This short video from Bytesize Science will give you a nice overview of snowflake production and will help you understand why some snowflakes are unique, and why others aren't.
Hey, guys, I figured out where all of Minnesota's winter snow went. It's in Cordova, Alaska.
Since Nov. 1, storms have dropped 176 inches of snow and more than 44 inches of rain on the town, about 150 miles southwest of Anchorage.
Temperatures warmed overnight, and residents awoke to standing water because of stopped-up drains. The rain also made the existing snow heavier.
The warmer temperatures - about 35 degrees midday Wednesday - brought another hazard to the Prince William Sound community of 2,200 people: avalanche danger.
There's one road leading out, and it was closed though it could be opened for emergency vehicles.
"We have the National Guard right now using the standard shovel, and they're getting pretty trashed every day - not the shovels but the Guardsmen themselves," he said.
That's from an AP story in the San Francisco Chronicle. Read the whole thing to learn about the intricacies of snow shovel design, and why a standard shovel just ain't enough to deal with 176 inches of snow. Better ones are being airlifted in.
The image above—taken by the Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management—gives you an idea of what it's like to dig out of a snow pack like this. I will admit, as much as I realize what a disaster it would be to live in Cordova, Alaska right now, there is a part of me (the part that is approximately 5 years old) that just looks at this photo and thinks, "I will build the most AWESOME fort EVER!"
In order to study this, they had to grow snowflakes in laboratory conditions. It was not an easy thing to figure out how to do. On his Snowcrystals page, physicist Kenneth G. Libbrecht show you how it's done.
There are many ways to grow snowflakes, but my favorite starts with something called a vapor diffusion chamber. This is essentially nothing more than an insulated box that is kept cold on the bottom (say -40C) and hot on the top (say +40C). A source of water is placed at the top, and water vapor diffuses down through the box, producing supersaturated air. The cold, supersatured air at the center of the chamber is ideal for growing ice crystals.
While working with this diffusion chamber, we rediscovered a wonderful technique for growing synthetic snow crystals that was first published in 1963 by meteorologist Basil Mason and collaborators . One starts by putting a wire into the diffusion chamber from below, so that small ice crystals begin growing on the wire's tip. Then apply a high voltage to the wire, say +2000 volts, and voila -- slender ice needles begin growing from the wire.