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ODE TO AN ICEBERG

Some years ago, some guy wanted to tow an iceberg to the Middle East so that they would have an abundant supply of irrigation water. Your brilliant writer thought it was really stupid to try to grow food with salty water.

Obtain some ocean water (or dissolve 1 ounce of table salt in a quart of water). Pour the water into an ice cube tray, and put it in a freezer. Do the same with an equal amount of plain water. Record the appearance of the water in the trays at 10-minute intervals until the trays are frozen solid.

Next, take several cubes from each tray, melt them in separate saucers, evaporate the water, and inspect the residue.

You will find that very little residue remains. (When salt water freezes, it forms crystals of nearly pure ice -- most of the salt is left behind in unfrozen water.) I guess that guy wasn't so stupid. Well, maybe he was. Maybe it would have melted by the time it got there. Icebergs probably belong in cold areas. That's why they don't form off the coast of Mexico.

What if they got to the Middle East with the iceberg? Would it have to be melted before they could use it? How could that be accomplished?

---oOo---

Place one ice cube in a clear glass of tap water and one in a clear glass of ocean or salt water. Observe how much of the ice is above and how much is below the surface of the water in each glass. (Although the ice floats somewhat higher in the ocean water, about two-thirds of the cube is submerged.)

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