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No. 102: Nov-Dec 1995

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Sour grapes!

Darn! Just when we find an amusing anomaly, someone comes along and deanomalizes it. Remember the rice grains in SF#100* that sank in a glass of "fizzy" lemonade, then rose to the surface only to sink and rise again -- over and over? Well, this phenomenon is hardly new and has a good explanation. We quote from a book first published in 1925. Here, a grape and soda water are employed:

"A grape is not wetted by water, and so when it is put into the tumbler it sinks to the bottom of the soda water, where it collects bubbles at a great rate. Soon it is covered over with a sheet of bubbles that look like seed-pearls, and these bring it by their buoyancy to the surface. The grape is not much heavier than the water, and does not require much to lift it. At the surface the grape parts with some of its bubbles, which burst into the open air, and this goes on until it sinks again, only to collect a few more bubbles and once more be made buoyant. The process will repeat itself continually for many minutes until the soda water is 'dead.'"

(Bragg, William; On the Nature of Things, p. 109, Garden City, 1950. Cr. A. Mebane)

*SF#100 = Science Frontiers #100.

From Science Frontiers #102 Nov-Dec 1995. 1995-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987