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Water, the magic elixir

We all know that without water, we and all life on Earth would be pooched.

Just ask Californians.

But did you know that if this fantastic blend of two of the universe’s most common elements were a student in your high school, rather than being on the scholar’s list for outstanding contributions, he / she would be sitting outside the principal’s office for maverick – dare I say – rebellious tendencies.

imgres.jpgIn terms of elements, the two, Hydrogen [atomic number: 1] and Oxygen [atomic number: 8] just don’t like following the rules.

Case in point. Water is a firefighter’s best friend, right? But H2O is composed of two of the most whompingly explosive elements. Remember that NO SMOKING sign around grandpa when he was on supplemental Oxygen?

And Hydrogen, Holy Hindenberg. We know how explosive that single electron orbiting a solitary proton can be, especially when you-know-what is lurking around. [Hint: It starts with the letter O].
images.jpgAnother weird thing about water is that in its solid state – we know it as ice – it’s lighter than its liquid state. That means ice floats on water. Now you’re thinking – wow has this guy ever heard of an iceberg? Hold on, a sec. This defies the norm for all but a handful of other compounds and elements.

What’s the big deal you ask?

If ice didn’t float on water, it would sink to the bottom of the lake/ocean where, without the benefit of the sun’s rays, it would never melt. The next year, more ice would clump to the bottom. After an eon or so all the oceans and lakes in the world would be frozen solid and life, as we know it, would never have evolved. Think of that the next time you ask for a glass of ice water.

For those looking up to the skies in search of rain clouds, if H2O weren’t so quirky, it’d be one heck of a wait – like forever. According to folks a lot smarter than me, water’s density is similar to hydrogen sulphide. If you have a nose, you’ve detected hydrogen sulphide and know it to be a gas. The polite crowd likens the smell of hydrogen sulphide to rotten eggs but honestly in the age of refrigeration who knows what rotten eggs smell like? You can whiff hydrogen sulphide by standing downwind from Farty Arty.

Back to the solid vs liquid issue.  The smart guys say that at anywhere close to room temperatures H2O should be a gas too. That would mean lots of parched throats and shriveled plants.

For more detail than I can supply, check out these and other water oddities at: http://www.zmescience.com/science/water-facts/

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