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No Good Water!

Science brain teasers require understanding of the physical or biological world and the laws that govern it.


Puzzle ID:#25149
Fun:*** (2.65)
Difficulty:*** (2.4)
Submitted By:iLuVcOwS_00****
Corrected By:apod43




You are lost in the desert. You are out of water. You can see a spring on the horizon. You run over and touch the cool water. Your mom has told you never to drink water straight out of the ground. All you have is two clean plastic cups, and no way to make a fire to sterilize the water. How do you drink the water?

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Aug 08, 2005

hey good job on this teaser - the cowan canons
(user deleted)
Aug 08, 2005

that was a good one! i didn't get it tho...
Aug 08, 2005

thanx so much its my first 1
Aug 08, 2005

So This is lame. Desert = Low Humidity. Means No Condensation.

And the Condensation is mostlikely no more potable than the spring water.

Worst teaser every.
Aug 08, 2005

excuse me but that was extremely rude! Goodness, constructive criticizm would be LOVELY!
Aug 08, 2005

Not only was Dubyprime somewhat rude, he/she was also somewhat incorrect.

Yes, a desert would have low humidity and thus not much condensation, but any condensation should be fairly pure. At least it should void of most of the contaminates found in the ground water.
Aug 08, 2005

thanx viking!!! So i hope you liked my teaser everyone. I am currently working on another one
Aug 09, 2005

dubyprime is correct, the low humidity of the dessert could possibly have a dew point near or below the freezing point of water and thus there would be no condensation at all on the glass. Second, I doubt the spring water sitting out in the middle of a hot desert would be that much cooler than the ambient air and probably wouldn't be cold enough to create condensation if it were surrounded by humid air. Thirdly, even if you had cold spring water in one glass, and humid air around it to create condensation, your body would most likely loose far more water through sweating from the intense heat than it can take in by drinking the drips of water that form on the glass, thus you would not quench your thirst. And lastly, the danger in drinking water is drinking from a stagnant pool that is infested with microbes and insects, spring water is incredibly clean, and since it is in the desert, there is probably little worry for insects and other microbes. If the spring was in the middle of a forest, then you have to worry. So in my opinion, this teaser is incorrect and should be removed.
Aug 09, 2005

well if it was wrong why didnt any editors reject it?
Aug 09, 2005

The editors are by no means experts. They are just people who have written a lot of teasers and earned enough points to review teasers for the website.
Aug 09, 2005

so you are saying that you ARE an expert??? lol highly unlikely
Aug 09, 2005

and there are editors who specialize in science teasers... thats why they accepted it...DUH!!!
Aug 09, 2005

You don't get it. The editors who specialize in science teasers have read all of the science teasers on this website and review the teasers to prevent a duplicate. They don't have a science background, and will accept a teaser if it sounds good not whether or not it is technically correct (some teasers have obviously slipped by if you read them all.) I know this for a fact. I have a science background and tried to submit a difficult teaser that was scientifically correct but was rejected because none of the editors could verify that is was correct. When I contacted one of the editors, he explained to me that none of them had a science background, they were just people who had read a lot of teasers and did not have the credentials to verify anything more complicated than a junior high level science problem. Now if you read my comment, you'll see that I made a very strong case as to why your teaser is incorrect and you haven't tried to dispute it, you just say that the editors accepted and thus it must be correct. If you really believe in it, please try to find a flaw in my argument.
Aug 09, 2005

As to your other comment, I am an expert. I have a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and I am a Ph.D candidate at MIT (the top school in the world for science and engineering.) If you don't think that is enough, why don't you come to Cambridge and sit in one of my graduate level classes on thermodynamics or on one the undergraduate engineering courses on heat transfer.
Aug 09, 2005

first off, curtiss, you need to chill. second, it was a nice teaser. and while the desert has low humidity, any water from the ground would be significantly cooler than that which is exposed to the sun, and when brought out into the daytime heat, condensation would occur. and, as long as the first cup was partially inserted into the second cup, that condensation would not dissipate as quickly as you might think.

besides, spring water from any natural spring, as long as it is not stagnant, still water, is fairly clean, clean enough to drink, and if you're dying of thirst, any water is good water.

however, this teaser is wrong in another way. in a desert, there are many ways to get water.

one, you know the story of moses getting water from the rock? well, water gets into cracks in rocks, freezes (it gets cold at night) and expands, or simply dissolves albeit slowly, the inside of the rock, providing it with a nice hollow, which, when broken can provide one with a nice little supply of water.
two, those little round cacti that are close to the ground are great for getting water. but you need something good to cut it open with because of the needles and thick rind.
there are many more, but you are going to have to figure it out for yourself because i am going to go get a muffin.
Aug 09, 2005

I know I was a little harsh but there were so many things wrong with the teaser. It will be very hard to make the moisture in the air to condense. I know spring water will be cooler than the air but it's not going to be that cold. I grew up in Colorado and lot of the time an ice cold soda wouldn't even form condensation because of the dry air. We also had a well for our sprinker system (the water was cool but not cold, and we drank right from the spicket because the water was very clean.) I wasn't conserned about the condensed water evaporating quickly, but I was conserned with bodily fluid loss through sweating. You loose a lot of water in hot, dry air and it will be hard to quench your thirst drop by drop of from the condensation. Like you said, if you have a natural spring, just go ahead and drink it.
Aug 10, 2005

well the person in the desert was veryt stupid and decided not to drink the waterand didntr no about the moss and the cacti so yeah...
Aug 14, 2005

I live in Kuwait. During winter water left outside can freeze. Nonetheless, for the thirsty waterborne microbes are the least of worries - irrespective of what Mom said.
Aug 14, 2005

Sorry about all the harsh critics
I'm glad that you got one accepted.
Don't let what these people are saying get you down....make more..make more..make more...
Aug 16, 2005

Hey Curtiss, lighten up MIT boy. Even if we take you at your word that you are an expert...I personally don' make several assumptions. I thought scientific minds were trained to avoid that.

First, the teaser did not specify weather conditions, only geographic location. My parents live in Phoenix, which is in a desert. It rains there, they have days of relatively higher humidity, and they have springs that are fairly cool to the touch. The springs on White Tank Mountain outside Surprise, AZ are a good example. The teaser absolutely could work.
Your lovely diatribe about your experience in Colorado in the summer are nice, but not really relative to the story.
That all being said, I do agree with others in that if you're dying of thirst, take your chances on the spring water!
(user deleted)
Aug 17, 2005

Curtiss. Since your so good at pointing out where other people lack at science, I'll assume your scientific skill got you into MIT and certainly not your ability to spell. The word is spigot. I don't believe that even in the scientific world there exists a "spicket". Lighten up!
Aug 17, 2005

Sorry for my misspelling, I'm certainly not the first to do so on this website. I'm from the Midwest and I have a tendency to spell words as they are pronounced, and where I'm from spigot has a k sound and not a g sound to its pronunciation.
Aug 17, 2005

As for the other comment, scientists have to make assumptions. Otherwise they wouldn't be able to solve very many problems due to complexity. If we were at the level of producing exact results on any problem that comes along, a lot of scientists in the world would be out of a job. But your results are only as good as the assumptions you make. And in this case, I feel my assumptions are valid for a typical day in the desert because like you said, there were no specifics on the weather conditions (low humidity, spring water insufficiently cold, and rapid loss of bodily fluids.) And if you don't believe I have the credentials that I claim to have, send me a private message and I'll prove it for you.
Aug 18, 2005

I have to agree with Curtis in that this teaser has numerous problems, which he outlined very well. And even under the best conditions (high humidity, near freezing water, very large cups, etc.) the amount of water produced would be insignificant. I also have to agree with everyone that said just drink the spring water since it is typically safe in the desert and certainly better than dieing of thirst.
But the teaser has made us think about these issues and therefore has served us well.
Aug 18, 2005

Hey curtiss, really dude, take a chill pill.
First, while I will grant that scientists make assumptions when starting to work on a project, they surely wouldn't use them when making a final statement. If a theory can be proven false so be it, and clearly the theory you presented had flaws in it. Anyway, just got back from Cambridge and Boston, visited MIT and Harvard. Love Boston, don't think I'd really want to live there.
Aug 25, 2005

Holy cows, man!!! What's the big argument?! If you're in the middle of a big desert and you're thirsty...there's no riddle. just DRINK THE WATER MAN! I mean, totally!
Aug 26, 2005

i agree with the cow person
chill out
Aug 27, 2005

I agree with the cow person, also. CHILL, everyone.

I also have my doubts that this solution would work. But then, I don't live in a desert. My first instincts tell me that the watervaopr wouldn't condense because it would be too hot. I also agree with our friend from Kuait spelling??). The microbes are the least of the stranded person's worries.


Aug 30, 2005

Curtiss is absolutely correct. You others need to "take a chill pill" and lay off a person who is just trying to point out that this teaser is illogical and technically inacurate. IMO it should indeed be removed.
Aug 30, 2005

Curtiss is absolutely correct. You others need to "take a chill pill" and lay off a person who is just trying to point out that this teaser is illogical and technically inacurate. IMO it should indeed be removed.
Aug 30, 2005

Curtiss is absolutely correct. You others need to "take a chill pill" and lay off a person who is just trying to point out that this teaser is illogical and technically inacurate. IMO it should indeed be removed.
Aug 30, 2005

Curtiss is absolutely correct. You others need to "take a chill pill" and lay off a person who is just trying to point out that this teaser is illogical and technically inacurate. IMO it should indeed be removed.
Aug 30, 2005

Curtiss is absolutely correct. You others need to "take a chill pill" and lay off a person who is just trying to point out that this teaser is illogical and technically inacurate. IMO it should indeed be removed.
Sep 03, 2005

Kinda hard, I think I would probably just drink it if it didn't look too salty.
Sep 07, 2005

I'm with Cow Dude see H2O drink H2O, I mean wich is worse dirty water or death no brainer
o ya curtiss become a proffessor
Sep 08, 2005

Is this days of our lives? Very entertaining drama sequence. But honestly, getting THIS worked up because of technicalities... Hope you have enough prozac to see you through each day my man... Cute teaser, by the way. I'll try it someday and come back with my findings. Keep 'em comin'!
Sep 20, 2005

Hi I just have to say that I had a LOT of fun reading the comments, especially the debates involving Curtiss, and bbbz's 5 time posted comment! (Sorry if I misspelled someone's name or something!) Lol.
Sep 30, 2005

Oct 07, 2005

I agree with everyone, especially Sir Jean...Curtiss is right about the details and everything, but everyone else is right about calming down a bit--scratch that-a LOT!!!
Oct 07, 2005

I also had a lot of criticism on my first teaser (my only one, still) Keep up the good work iLuVcOwS, don't get discouraged
Oct 19, 2005

custiss is a bit harsh,but 100 percent correct. T.F Wilshire DO
Oct 23, 2005

I for one am glad to know that it's technically incorrect. He wasn't being judgmental whatsoever when pointing it out. He was being factual. And that is all the difference.

It was others who got emotionally triggered. If you cannot look at facts neutrally, what are you doing in a science teaser?

Have fun all.
Nov 01, 2005

fyi, curtiss was pretty worked up, too, Splatt.
Nov 09, 2005

well i have one thing to say. these were the most interesting comments i've read so far. i agree with the cow man, see water, drink water. but who really cares if the teaser was technically incorrect or only workable under unrealistic conditions? at least she's applying herself creatively and not just bumming around all day. keep up the good work, and try not to worry about technicalites, at least not at the beginning.

i found this an educational reading (your comments, i mean.) still, lay off a bit.

i hope to read more of your teasers soon.
Nov 10, 2005

wow, these comments really are interesting. I have no idea about the riddle because I have never been in that position. As for the "see water, drink water" thing if the water IS contaminated you would die anyway whether from dehydration from not drinking the water or from infection from drinking the water. The latter might even be worse.
But I had a great time reading what everyone thinks about the riddle and each other.
Dec 10, 2005

Teasers are meant to tease the brain and this one certainly did!!! Good one and keep writing! Anything that can get this kind of response is worth it to all of us!!!
Dec 12, 2005

Lets see, I would put water in one cup and invert the other over it, and drink the condensation on the top cup...cause i doubt water would condense as fast if it all on the outside of the cup...though it is possible if you hold the cups over could do 2 at a time!
Jan 12, 2006

The correct solution here is to grow up and ignore what mommy told you. Spring water in a desert, as someone above so perfectly mentioned, is incredibly clean and pure. Just drink it.
Jul 01, 2006

*agrees with warrior*
just drink it its water and your in the desert
still a good teaser though
Jul 30, 2006

I like the part where it tells you your mom told you not to. I thought it was a fantastic teaser!!

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