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312556.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:43 am Reply with quote

We talked about this, and it might be bonkers, but I wonder whether it would make an intelligent panel ponder a bit:

Solid water is called ice. What is gaseous water called?

The answer is "steam", unfortunately, so there isn't a forfeit * - the point is that the stuff that's colloquially called steam isn't the same stuff as the scientific steam.

This was covered by dr bob on the outside, and Will points me at this wiki entry:
In physical chemistry, and in engineering, steam refers to vaporized water. It is a pure, completely invisible gas ... partial pressure of water is much lower than 1 atm, therefore gaseous water can exist at temperatures much lower than 100 C ... In common speech, steam most often refers to the white mist that condenses above boiling water as the hot vapor ("steam" in the first sense) mixes with the cooler air. This mist is made of tiny droplets of liquid water, not gaseous water, so it is no longer technically steam. In the spout of a steaming kettle, the spot where there is no condensed water vapor, where there appears to be nothing there, is steam.

* except "not steam", maybe

312643.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:31 am Reply with quote

How about something along the lines of "Tell me something Quite Interesting about steam" with the answer of "it's completely invisible", at which point one of the panel (doubtless Alan) will demand to know what he can see coming out of his kettle.

312648.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:38 am Reply with quote

Or show them a picture of some "steam" and ask them what it is, of course.

312657.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:49 am Reply with quote

Yeah, but that one's more tricky, since there will be some steam in the picture, it's just that you won't be able to see it.

I was toying with the idea of asking what it had in common with the character in H.G. Wells's "The Invisible Man", but he seems to have just been referred to as "Griffin" and "What does steam have in common with Griffin" seems impenetrably obscure.

312667.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:00 am Reply with quote

Ah, I see. Well, showing them a picture and asking "What can you see?", I suppose, then, although that may be a bit crap.

312775.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 3:02 pm Reply with quote

'How would you know you were steaming?'


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