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Revealed: Snow Is Actually Ice

[Very rare and special glimpse behind the scenes at The Washington Post: Here I am having a disagreement with my editor over the placement of a comma.]


[And now super rare footage of the man who taught Mick Jagger all his moves!]


Snow has finally revealed its true stripes. It's just ice. A couple of days ago we had "snow" that fell in highly granular form, and the deep freeze has turned it into something with the texture of marble. It still looks like snow, but you'd need a pickaxe to make a hole big enough to accomodate a golf tee. The only way I got my car unstuck was by using my flamethrower. (As you know, I have a permit to carry a concealed flamethrower.)

And so we know snow for what it really is and what it has always been. No form of frozen water has ever had such a good run of favorable publicity. All that Currier & Ives nonsense. Disingenuousness among precipitates has dogged our lives since time immemorial (think of all the "showers" that were actually rain, and the "mist" that was actually fog), but we've been particularly vulnerable to the romanticization of snow. It's just ice, people.

There are actually 14 types of ice, according to Wikipedia. That's only the start of the different types of "solid water":

"As well as crystalline forms solid water can exist in amorphous states as amorphous solid water (ASW), low density amorphous ice (LDA), high density amorphous ice (HDA), very high density amorphous ice (VHDA) and hyperquenched glassy water (HGW).

"Rime is a type of ice formed on cold objects when the humidity in the air crystalizes on them. This can be observed in foggy weather or when the temperature drops during night. It contains a high proportion of trapped air, making it appear white rather than transparent, and giving it a density about one quarter of that of pure ice."

[This is the stuff you really have to worry about: Ice IX.]

[...more on ice as the story develops ... ]

[Many apologies for the glitchiness of the blog today...we have our best people working on it.]


I'm been perusing Teddy White's The Making of the President 1960, which pretty much invented the industry of campaign books. It's fabulous. The writing can at times get a bit florid, maybe. Here's White talking about the act of voting:

"All of this is invisible, for it is the essence of the act that as it happens it is a mystery in which millions of people each fit one fragment of a total secret together, none of them knowing the shape of the whole.

"What results from the fitting together of these secrets is, of course, the most awesome transfer of power in the world -- the power to marshal and mobilize, the power to send men to kill or be killed, the power to tax and destroy, the power to create and the responsibility to do so, the power to guide and the responsibility to heal -- all committed into the hands of one man. Heroes and philosophers, brave men and vile, have since Rome and Athens tried to make this particular manner of transfer of power work effectively; no people has succeeded at it better, or over a longer period of time, than the Americans."

Two words of rebuttal: Florida Recount.

Today's inspirational message to The Young: You never know when a bit of ambling around, poking at this and that -- what we in the biz call "shoe leather" -- will pay off. You know that story about new evidence of water on Mars? It comes only after a scientist spent many hours traipsing around our own sphere, looking at rocks. From NASA:

"Dr. Chris Okubo, a geologist at the University of Arizona, Tucson, discovered the patterns in an image of exposed layers in a Martian canyon named Candor Chasma. The image was taken in September 2006 by the High
Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera aboard the orbiter.

'"What caught my eye was the bleaching or lack of dark material along the fracture. That is a sign of mineral alteration by fluids that moved through those joints," said Okubo. "It reminded me of something I had seen
during field studies in Utah, that is light-tone zones, or 'haloes,' on either side of cracks through darker sandstone.'"

Martian images here.


One more week. Then we're done with these rich kids and their problems.

By Joel Achenbach  |  February 16, 2007; 7:41 AM ET
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