Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Thanks, Steve!

My husband alerted me to the presence of an exciting experiment going on RIGHT NOW in Australia. I pooh-poohed him at first, and didn't even want to look at the live video clip because I was too busy doing other things. Finally, though, I did look ... and now I am hooked.

Here's the link.

This is an experiment that was started in 1927. Nearly 80 years ago! It's one of those "who in the world thought of that and why?" type of things... Pitch, which used to be heated up and applied to boat bottoms to make them waterproof, is quite solid at room temperature - so much so that if you hit it with a hammer it shatters (and there is, indeed, a video of just that at the link I posted earlier.) However, one Professor Thomas Parnell got fixated with proving it is really, in fact, a liquid. He set up an experiment - took him 3 years to get it set up properly - to see how quickly pitch would drip. And, wow, if he wasn't right! In 76 years, 8 -- yes, EIGHT - drops have dripped!!!! (or should I say 8 drips have dropped?) And the 9th one is set to drop ANY MOMENT NOW!!!! (don't be confused by reading the website where it says only 7 drops have dripped - that text was written a few years ago. Another whole drop has dripped since then.)

Now the real kicker is that no one has ever witnessed a drop actually dropping. So there's the challenge. They have a live video cam set up watching the drop about to drip, 24/7, so that all of us out here in cyberspace can watch to see what no person has ever seen before.

So, I admit, I will be watching - or at least checking in frequently. Go stare at it a while. It grows on you. As the website says, thankfully people occasionally walk past the background of the live feed, so it is more exciting than watching grass grow.

Thanks, Steve, for giving me one more thing to do each day!

1 comment:

Mark and Carla said...

OMG--and I thought watching paint dry was the ultimate spectator sport! :-)

Some people just have the knack for digging deep for that one thing that no one else could ever find online!