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Do you know your Science

December 5, 2010

I always thought I know everyday Science since I finished my ‘A’ level.  What is there not to know?  True, I may not be a qualified electrician, but surely I can explain why there is snow and under certain pressure, how we can have snow even on warmer days and how humidity could affect the way we feel cold.  The lightning, the thunder, even the unreachable fission, fusion and amount of energy in an atomic bomb.

Or so I thought.  Until, one winter, I saw my fluorescent lights in my garage started to flicker.  I took it down and replaced it by a fresh new one.  It still behaved the same way.  In fact worse than before, the light is dimmer.  So I reached out for another new one and replaced it.  Same problem.  I left it as it was and gave up.  Next afternoon, it worked like new.  Even the so-called spoilt one worked like new.  And later I was told that fluorescent lights do not work when the temperature goes below -12 deg Celsius.  Well, I would never know for even the freezer in Singapore is not below minus twelve.

winter wonderland

view from my backyard

Okay, I admit, I would have known that if I read the packaging on the half a dozen fluorescent tubes in the garage.

But here’s another one that I admit I couldn’t solve.

Since we bought a new fridge, we’ve put the old one in the garage.  It very common in America because many men would like to reach for a beer in the garage after (or even during) the mowing of their lawns or yard work.  Mot men like a cookout, summer is the only time they boast their culinary skills.

We do not have beer or alcoholic beverages.  But we used it as an extra fridge/freezer.  It also is easier loading the groceries directly from the car (of course eventually someone has to go to the garage to get it when needed in the kitchen).

But comes winter, some strange things began to happen again.  The fridge seems to work alright but the things in the freezer start to thaw!  And one very freezing cold night, the things in the fridge got frozen, and the freezer still has meat that thaws!

Now why doesn’t my fridge work in the cold?  Our friend also has a very old fridge and it works perfectly all year round.  Maybe my fridge is starting to spoil?  I said something like about the behavior of my fridge and my friend jokingly suggested I put the meat out in the open.

meat exposed

All my meat in the back porch

And the not so frozen but we put in freezer anyway:

Ikan bilies

公鱼干

wonton skin

鱼酱、云吞皮

So I googled to find out.  Not all fridges are made the same, the older your fridge, the more likely it worked in the cold garage.  The new fridge are made extremely energy efficient (if put in the normal kitchen ) because of the way the micro-chip(s) and the thermostat(s) working hand-in-hand.  But under zero degree Celsius, the freezer will defrost and the normal fridge (with orange juice, or even beer) will freeze.

Find out on google by typing “unheated garage”, “fridge”, “winter”!

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