Yes, tossing boiling water in cold air makes snow (but it also burns you)
In the freezing parts of America, some are entertaining themselves with a snow-making scientific experiment. Oh, they're burning themselves too.
Man enjoys the idea of being God. Especially technological man.
So when the big freeze hit so many parts of the US over the past few days, it was inevitable that technological man would try and take advantage.
It's too easy licking a metal pole to see if your tongue will stick to it. It's time for something more exalted -- like making snow.
So people have been taking to their balconies and gardens to prove that they can do as the deities do.
The chosen method is to take some boiling water, throw it in the air, and create beautiful snowflakes. However, as with so many scientific experiments, methodologies are letting people down.
Experimenters seem not to be accounting for such factors as wind direction.
Therefore, as BuzzFeed reports, several budding scientists have gotten themselves burned.
Just one example of this unfortunate blowback comes in a YouTube video posted Monday. In this case, the gentleman freely admits he was moved by other YouTube videos of people throwing boiling water in the air to make snow.
Micah Uetricht, a resident of what he describes as "Chiberia," wrote: "My girlfriend and I decided we wanted to give it a try this morning after waking up to a minus 30-something windchill."
What else is there to do on a freezing Chicago morning?
But then the portents turned chilly. Uetricht wrote: "We did it three times with smaller amounts of water (I was really, really amused by it) until I decided to fill an entire pot up with boiling water and throw it off our balcony."
Oh, but this would require technique and good judgment. Well, look at the video above and see what you think.
The results, according to Uetricht, were imperfect: "Most of the water did turn to snow... but some of it landed on my girlfriend's arm and my crotch."
Therein lies the problem. Experiments need to be performed in controlled conditions. And by people who actually know what they're doing. In Uetricht's case, he also admits that he showered a man walking his dog below with snow.
Others, though, had more success. Even the BBC couldn't resist conducting this experiment, but its correspondent only used a little paper cup of boiling water.
It seems, though, that emergency services have more important things to do during extreme weather than be bothered by those who have tossed boiling water for entertainment.
Still, people will push the boundaries. Then they get burned.