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North Americans have fun with hot water, cold air

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Since the deep freeze hit in December, North Americans from coast to coast to coast to coast are heading outdoors in the name of science.

Well, it's more than that - the cool factor of the hot water vs. cold air experiment is really high.

If you're unfamiliar with this concept, it's really simple. When the temperature drops to below 30 degrees Celsius (the colder the better) boil some water, put it in a cup, go outside, and toss the water out of the cup and into the air as vigorously as possible.

The result will look like a plume of smoke as most of the water instantly turns into ice crystals. The science part is pretty simple, but experiment can be enjoyed over and over and over again using different methods.

After watching a video on YouTube in 2011, Free Press intern Kristel Mason and I tried this experiment with University of Manitoba physics professor Kumar Sharma with pretty solid results.



And since the "Polar Vortex" struck North America this winter, the experiment has taken on a life of its own.

A video posted last Thursday by YouTube user chrisgsauce in South Porcupine, Ontario, in which he shoots boiling water from a water pistol has garnered a staggering 3,469,247 views and counting.

A quick search on YouTube reveals many more great examples.

And of course, I wouldn't be a video producer and lover of amateur science if I didn't get in on the action. So click on the video at the top to see our Winnipeg winter watergun fight video.

I bet there's 100 other unique ways to do this experiment, so here's your call to action. Upload your cool video to YouTube and send me the link. I'll feature all the submissions in a future blog post.

Of course, please be very careful and wear protective gear. You are dealing with hot water after all.

Science rules.

 

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About Tyler Walsh

After a short but successful stint on CKND-TV's The Great Spelling Bee in 1993, Tyler Walsh knew the bright lights of television were in his future. That was before the World Wide Web came along. He lived the dream for five years, working as a news producer at Global Television in Winnipeg. Never one to back away from a challenge, Tyler left the TV business behind and joined the Winnipeg Free Press in 2008 as the company's first Multimedia Editor. He's worked with the online team and photo department to shape and grow the video product at winnipegfreepress.com, which now includes live streaming video, documentary features and live and interactive events from Canada's first News Café, which is where you'll find Tyler and other members of the online team. Feel free to drop by 237 McDermot Avenue and engage Tyler in conversation about one of three topics: Video editing, curling or Star Trek.

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