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What Makes the Center of Ice Cubes White?

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What makes the center of ice cubes white?

Craig McClarren:

The white stuff in your ice cubes is actually very, very tiny air bubbles. Virtually all natural water you deal with is oxygenated to some extent; it’s why fish can breathe in it. Scientists measure dissolved oxygen in streams to determine how healthy the environment is. And when the water flows from your tap, it also tends to be pretty well oxygenated.

As the water freezes, it wants to form a regular crystalline structure (ice). That means impurities like oxygen and other dissolved gasses are pushed away from the crystallization front into the remaining liquid. This means that the last parts of the ice cube to crystallize end up with most of the impurities. If you take a look at an ice cube, you’ll note that the parts of the ice cube that were at the bottom of the tray are the milky colored bits. That’s because those were the last parts to freeze. The ice cubes in your tray froze from the top downward, which pushed the contaminant air downward until it was trapped at the bottom and had nowhere else to go.

You can, however, get bubble-free ice by first deoxygenating it. Oxygen solubility in water decreases with increasing temperature. If you boil the water first, you remove the oxygen from it. Next, cool it and then pour it into your ice cube trays to freeze. It should be much more clear. (See photo below.)

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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Why Does Turkey Make You Tired?
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Why do people have such a hard time staying awake after Thanksgiving dinner? Most people blame tryptophan, but that's not really the main culprit. And what is tryptophan, anyway?

Tryptophan is an amino acid that the body uses in the processes of making vitamin B3 and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep. It can't be produced by our bodies, so we need to get it through our diet. From which foods, exactly? Turkey, of course, but also other meats, chocolate, bananas, mangoes, dairy products, eggs, chickpeas, peanuts, and a slew of other foods. Some of these foods, like cheddar cheese, have more tryptophan per gram than turkey. Tryptophan doesn't have much of an impact unless it's taken on an empty stomach and in an amount larger than what we're getting from our drumstick. So why does turkey get the rap as a one-way ticket to a nap?

The urge to snooze is more the fault of the average Thanksgiving meal and all the food and booze that go with it. Here are a few things that play into the nap factor:

Fats: That turkey skin is delicious, but fats take a lot of energy to digest, so the body redirects blood to the digestive system. Reduced blood flow in the rest of the body means reduced energy.

Alcohol: What Homer Simpson called the cause of—and solution to—all of life's problems is also a central nervous system depressant.

Overeating: Same deal as fats. It takes a lot of energy to digest a big feast (the average Thanksgiving meal contains 3000 calories and 229 grams of fat), so blood is sent to the digestive process system, leaving the brain a little tired.

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How Are Balloons Chosen for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?
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The balloons for this year's Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade range from the classics like Charlie Brown to more modern characters who have debuted in the past few years, including The Elf On The Shelf. New to the parade this year are Olaf from Disney's Frozen and Chase from Paw Patrol. But how does the retail giant choose which characters will appear in the lineup?

Balloon characters are chosen in different ways. For example, in 2011, Macy’s requested B. Boy after parade organizers saw the Tim Burton retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. (The company had been adding a series of art balloons to the parade lineup since 2005, which it called the Blue Sky Gallery.) When it comes to commercial balloons, though, it appears to be all about the Benjamins.

First-time balloons cost at least $190,000—this covers admission into the parade and the cost of balloon construction. After the initial year, companies can expect to pay Macy’s about $90,000 to get a character into the parade lineup. If you consider that the balloons are out for only an hour or so, that’s about $1500 a minute.

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