WRITING: Just “Warm” the Water (An Index Card Novel)

Just “Warm” the Water (An Index Card Novel)

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

—- Arthur C. Clarke

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The fat old white guy injineer, his tall lanky Luddite friend, and his two lovely apprentices has miraculously survived “the troubles”. Who cares what “the troubles” were particularly. They found themselves now on an island with a high water table cutoff from the Disadvantaged Urban Yutes, the Golden Horde, and the various “protective gangs” that use to make up gooferment. A rag tag village had sprung. Fish from the sea, truck gardens galore eked out a modest existence. It was not a rich lifestyle. But a healthy one. And, sumptuous when you compared it to the “main land”. When you Got Out Of Dodge, sometimes you met “interesting” people along the way. Some survived the contact and lusted over “the riches” on the island.

From his long ago science background, the fat old white guy injineer did his best to contribute to the island. Some project were obvious, solar stills. Some projects were obtuse, alcohol stills. And, some were just down right strange; like rolling even thinner sheets of a strange material on plywood one foot square squares. A dollop of special water under the foil and glue around the edges. They were deployed around the island. The beach area had them in a bizarre checkerboard fashion. And, at the town hall a “special radio” transmitter and an old “wake the dead” klaxon were installed. The islanders were instructed to be one foot away from any square if they heard the banshee wail. And, prepare to defend their island if they did because it meant invasion.

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The fat old white guy injineer went to his eternal reward. And while we can wonder what it was and muse on the fact that we will all get one. That’s not essential to the story.

What is essential was that a lot of the science knowledge had been lost during “the troubles” and its aftermath. One can legitimately wonder if the human race had peaked.

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The remainders of the Golden Horde, the Disadvantaged Urban Yutes, and what was left of the Gooferment’s Navy came up with the idea of “rafting” to the island. Sections of 4×8 backyard fence were transported to the shore. It was a warm summer day with a gentle breeze. It was less that a mile to the island. A swarm of hundreds of these raiders assembled on the beach. (There was a tremendous die off from “the troubles” and its aftermath. But some how cockroaches always survive.)

The activity was noticed by the island’s peaceful residents. Weapons were few and far between. The knowledge how to use them was even scarcer. The residents gathered at the town hall and prayed to the pictures the fat old white guy injineer had left as documentation of how to use his creation.

When a watcher ran in from the beach to report that the invaders had landed, an elder pulled the “magic” handle. A loud annoying klaxon blared out over the island.

# – # – #

The invaders were cold and wet from their swim. A raft isn’t a boat. They assembled into squads and were ready to loot the riches of the island. Kill the men; rape the women; and enslave the children.

(Nice fellows!)

As they walked up the beach, they heard the “magic” klaxon. But it made no impression on them. Some dirty jokes were made.

Then one of them stepped on a strange piece of plywood. And screamed like a stuck pig.

Soon, there were more screams.

As their feet and lower legs were instantly frozen solid. Ever had frostbite? The pain is excruciating. When the invaders fell, they often fell on a piece of plywood. Hard to live with a frozen solid heart.

Confusion reigned. You didn’t even have to step on the plywood. Even being close was good enough.

And another change happened. The sandy soil became like quicksand. And, only the wood floated. Bodies with their wooden tombstone attached sunk in the sandy sea. Not all the bodies were dead when they sank. The sand silenced the screams.

# – # – #

Eventually the village elder was getting a headache from the noise. He shut off the apparatus. The tribe went out to meet their fate. But the invaders had disappeared.

As the sand returned to normal, the sunken tombstones rose to the top. Their dead attachments buried deep. The checkerboard was restored. The squares had an attraction for each other.

The villagers went back to eking out their peaceful existence. The legend of the “sandy defenders” was started. Reenforced by skeletons that eventually were exposed on the beach.

Eventually the wooden squares were worshipped as gods. Not as impressive as the Easter Island Tikis, but worshiped all the same.

No one was left, who understood; it was science.

# – # – #

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

—- Arthur C. Clarke

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http://science.slashdot.org/story/10/02/06/0718206/Israeli-Scientists-Freeze-Water-By-Warming-It

“As reported by NPR and Chemistry world, the journal Science has a paper by David Ehre, Etay Lavert, Meir Lahav, and Igor Lubomirsky [note: abstract online; payment required to read the full paper] of Israel’s Weizmann Institute, who have figured out a way to freeze pure water by warming it up. The trick is that pure water has different freezing points depending on the electrical charge of the surface it resides on. They found out that a negatively charged surface causes water to freeze at a lower temperature than a positively charged surface. By putting water on the pyroelectric material Lithium Tantalate, which has a negative charge when cooler but a positive change when warmer; water would remain a liquid down to -17 degrees C., and then freeze when the substrate and water were warmed up and the charge changed to positive, where water freezes at -7 degrees C.”

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One Response to WRITING: Just “Warm” the Water (An Index Card Novel)

  1. John F says:

    Weird story! Especially the part about the lanky luddite friend! lol

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