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Wiz kid strikes again
By JOSEPH SITARZ
Saturday, August 17, 2013 8:00 PM
Who needs an expensive air-conditioning unit when all you really need is a fan and some ice? That's what I'm thinking after learning about another science experiment gone right by my older son, Mr. Wizard.
Not too long ago, I wrote about science experiments he tried. He turned white roses into black speckled roses, even after I messed up the experiment about halfway through the process. He put food coloring into the water in order to turn the flowers black, without my knowing, of course. Seeing the water turned black, I dumped it and put clean water in the vase. More food coloring was added after he let on to what he was doing.
He also made a bottle-top shooter. An empty plastic water bottle and a few twists can produce a shot probably capable of taking an eye out. The Red Ryder BB gun from the classic movie "A Christmas Story" has nothing on a tightly twisted water bottle.
But I digress.
It was late the other night and I heard the icemaker in the refrigerator in the kitchen grinding out some ice. I thought nothing of the sound because we use a lot of ice in my house.
The only odd thing about it this time was the grinding went on for what seemed like 10 minutes. Still, not a big deal. My older son came out of the kitchen through the dining room and headed upstairs to his room. As he went up, I could hear a few pieces of ice hitting each other in a bag he was carrying.
The next day, we were eating dinner and he came and got some water from the ice and water dispenser in the fridge. He was headed back to sit down when I asked him about the ice from the night before.
He didn't answer at first, opting to shoot me a grin, the kind that indicated something was up. I asked him if he was sitting on it to cool down. The smile got bigger and he asked, "Why?"
This got me to thinking there was something wrong with the air-conditioning unit that cools the upstairs. I have a history of a temperamental units upstairs.
Nope, the upstairs was cool enough, he said.
It didn't take too long to get the answer out of him. He said he made an air-conditioner.
That brought up the question again, was it too hot upstairs?
Again, the answer was no.
Apparently we were in the middle of an experiment. I asked him if it worked. Being of few words, he said, "I guess."
Later that night, he came downstairs with bag in hand and headed to the fridge. He pushed the paddle to make the ice come out. It did, and not only went in the bag, it went on the floor. I went over and helped him corral the ice into the bag.
I figured I might as well help. It's always fun to see what he comes up with and how things turn out.
When it was about three-quarters filled, he was done and went back upstairs.
I didn't even ask about whether it was cool enough upstairs. This really had nothing to do with being too hot; it was more about having fun.
According to several Internet sites, you can cool a room with some very basic items found around the house. The items are ice, salt, a container to hold the ice and a fan. Salt helps bring down the temperature of the frozen water.
All you have to do is put the salted ice in a container in front of a fan so it blows on and around the container. The air around the container is cooled by the ice and, thus, the fan will blow cool air on whoever is in front of it.
The website said one or more two-liter bottles can be used. They need to be filled with about 70 percent water and 10 percent salt ... the other 20 percent needs to be air. Freeze them. To use, place them in a container to catch the dripping condensation. Place in front of a fan. The fan will blow cool air. The bottles can be refrozen and used again and again.
There are even some sites that suggest making some elaborate devices that would pump water through a cooling unit and through the fan.
I don't think we've advanced to that stage just yet. I'm really not sure if we've moved on to the two-liter variation yet. I haven't see any two-liter bottles come in the house lately.
Who knows, Mr. Wizard might have moved on to another experiment. I can't wait to find out what it is. I'm sure I will - someday.
Sitarz can be reached at 943-2529 or via email at email@example.com. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.
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