Monday, March 26

Spring has sprung

Spring finally arrived and it's hit hard with its springy warmness the past two days. Though it's been above freezing for more than the past week, there's still some ice loitering out on Lake Mendota.

Talking about all this changing weather reminds me, last night "The Day After Tomorrow" was on tv. Having recently seen Al Gore's movie, I just had to see the other half of the cinematic works of our time. It's technically 'science-fiction', though to say the least, it's overwhelmingly fiction.

A basic knowledge of fluid mechanics and thermodynamics easily debunks most of the movie. For starters, it's impossible for a hurricane to form over land, or be cold, for that matter. Secondly, in the eye of the hurricane, people couldn't be flash frozen because as the air would be sucked down, unless its pressure was close to a vacuum at sea level (which wouldn't happen), the air would heat up as it pressurized. Also, its gravitational potential energy has to go somewhere as it descends to the earth (it gets converted to heat). Thirdly, a bunch of cold air couldn't freeze hundreds of feet of ocean water covering NY in a few hours. The specific heat of air is simply too low to do that. However, another several ice ages will happen in the future, but they will take thousands of years, not a week, to happen.

Also, did you notice that while the sea had risen hundreds of feet over NY, the president was still in the White House at about 10 feet above sea level in Washington about 200 miles away?

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