Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Fascinating Winter Experiment

First, let me just say up front, this is my 666th post at Grandma Slump. Fortunately I have a devilishly absurd idea today to go along with it.

This idea was a brainchild I had last night. It was a scientific experiment that occurred to me just before getting ready for bed. It turned out to be an inconvenient thing, since I had to get dressed again, everything, including galoshes, because it's cold outside. It has to be below zero ... yes, I just checked. At this moment it's minus 4 degrees. And it was equally cold last night, if not colder!

My experiment, now that I'm thinking of it 24 hours later, was probably not that valuable to the furtherance of scientific knowledge. I don't know because I haven't told anyone about it ... until now.

My thought -- and I was expecting the exact results I got -- good scientists always do -- was what would happen if I took a pound of frozen hamburger out of the refrigerator and put it outside over night. Given that it was well below freezing, would the hamburger remain as hard as a rock? Frozen? Would it somehow become even harder than what a refrigerator can manage?

I didn't want to skew the experiment in a bad way, i.e., handling the hamburger too much with bare hands, because of body heat, so I lifted it with some tongs we have and sat it in a bowl. Then, carefully, so as not to heat the bowl with my hands, I put a towel at the edges of the bowl and handled it from there.

Then, outside I went. Bowl, hamburger, towels, and tongs. Very delicately I lifted the pound of hamburger and sat it down in the snow next to the stoop. I was hoping it wouldn't put off a hamburger odor over night, lest a stray dog wander in the yard, smell it, and eat the specimen.

With it securely next to the stoop, I went inside. At that second is when the waiting began, which time I sped up by falling asleep quickly.

In the morning I looked outside for dog tracks. Seeing none, I figured the specimen had to be in place. And sure enough, there it was, still resting in the exact same spot next to the stoop where I put it. Proving once and for all that hamburger doesn't get up in the middle of the night and run around the block.

But that wasn't the experiment. The experiment was to see -- once and for all -- if it had remained frozen and if it was any harder than what it had been in the freezer. It turned out that, yes, on a night when it's below zero, hamburger does stay frozen. But whether it was any harder than what it had been in the freezer, it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't quantified the exact hardness, because I hadn't wanted my warm hands to touch it.

At this point I decided to rely on past experiences of handling frozen hamburger. When I picked it up, with this past evidence in mind, it was not noticeably harder. It was very very hard, to be sure. But whether you could say it was harder than what it typically is in a freezer, I couldn't discern any difference.

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