Science blogging - Redux (updated with your help in comments.

Cthulhu.Science

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Thanks again for all your comments on my Science Blogging post. I have re-written the article. For those who didn't read the old version(s) you can find them below, but really the goal is to see if this new, edited version can stand on its own.

What is the goal of all this? I started a blog site last fall. The idea is this. I like fiction and science fiction. I also like looking at science blog sites, though I don't always understand what is posted there. Some time ago my brain started connecting the article describing the latest in scientific discovery with the fiction that I love. I'd have these AHA! moments. These moments of joy when I'd see these connections. I am hoping to write a blog where I can share these moments of joy with everyone.

But I found that my writing didn't always fulfill those goals. I joined this site specifically to get feed back so I can practice and become a writer that can write in a way that I can share my joy.

Here is my latest version of a post. Please do not be shy about telling me where I missed my mark, and what works. Thanks in advance.
___________________________________________________________
The Ice-IX of Cat’s Cradle is less fiction than we thought.

As children we are taught the three phases of water. Vapor – Water - Ice. Maybe we saw a little diagram like this:
1675274024202.png

(1)

In 1963 Kurt Vonnegut published Cat’s Cradle, introducing the world to a new idea. In his story scientists were madly searching for ways to reorganize the Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms in water molecules. The search was described like finding different ways to stack cannonballs.
1675274032143.png
1675274040493.png

(2)

In the story the goal was to find a way to organize frozen water so that it wouldn’t melt at normal temperatures so that a military general might throw a sample into the mud and freeze the ground to drive tanks over. In the story after experimenting with eight unsuccessful variations, ICE-IX was developed with a melting point of 114 degrees F (46 c).

Naturally, the story described the obvious concern. If the mud freezes the mud next to it, wouldn’t it also freeze the adjacent stream, then the river, the ocean, and then back up to all of rivers to freeze all of the water in the world? --- Vonnegut gives us an answer to that question in Cat’s Cradle.

I, for one, thought it was all interesting fiction and a cautionary tale about human hubris. If you thought so too, it turns out that we were wrong. It’s not all fiction.

In fact, ICE-IX does exist; it was discovered in 1968 and exits under high pressure as a tetragonal crystal lattice but without the properties of Vonnegut’s ice-nine. It forms by cooling Ice III; it has an identical structure to Ice III other than being hydrogen-ordered. (3)

The 1968 ICE-IX was super cooled. Then Harvard got involved. As published in 2007:

A form of Vonnegut’s Ice-IX was “created” by Harvard researchers recently through a computer simulation that shows how it might be possible for water to remain frozen at body temperature. They showed how a layer of diamond, coated with sodium atoms, kept water frozen indefinitely at up to 108 degrees Fahrenheit. The technique only works on a very thin layer of water—a few molecules thick—to successfully keep the ice structure intact. (4) (5)

Naturally we are assured that this is just a computer model. And the 108 degree ice will remain a microscopic layer when it is successfully created. So, nothing to worry about?

There have been a lot of ice versions, nineteen so far. Here is a sampling of ice molecule “Canon ball stacking.”
1675274056327.png

(6)

And then there is the version that has the powers of ICE-IX. Fortunately, not here on Earth. ICE-VII, created in 2017 at Stanford University, is the current contender for a real ICE-IX.

… there is an exotic form of ice dubbed "ice VII" that physicists can create in the laboratory. It's harmless in terrestrial conditions. But on an ocean world like Jupiter's moon, Europa, it could behave just like Ice-Nine under the right conditions, freezing an entire world within hours…

Our work shows that ice-VII forms in a very unusual way—by popping into existence in tiny clusters of about 100 molecules and then growing extremely fast, at over 1,000 miles per hour," (7)


Not to worry, they tell us, unless you currently live on or plan to visit a far-away world.

So, without an ICE-IX to destroy the world, the scientific investigation continues. January 4, 2021 saw the report of ICE-XVII (5). May 26, 2021 saw the publication of ICE-XIX, yes Nineteen (6).

And to what end we might ask. Nobody seems to have a clear answer to that. So far, the earth hasn’t frozen over, and the labs assure us that they are not playing with proverbial fire?



 
Prologue
Now that I've posted, and re-re-read what I wrote I notice a couple of language missteps. Overuse of the phrase "In the story," for example. There are other grammar problems as well.

Does this work as a post? Does the post meet my two goals.
1. Be understandable to someone who isn't me.
2. Share the joy of discovering that ICE-IX isn't just a Sci-Fi invention for Cat's Cradle but instead an ongoing scientific pursuit.

Does the joy come through?
Thanks for any and all comments!
 
Does this work as a post? Does the post meet my two goals.
1. Be understandable to someone who isn't me.
2. Share the joy of discovering that ICE-IX isn't just a Sci-Fi invention for Cat's Cradle but instead an ongoing scientific pursuit.

Does the joy come through?
Thanks for any and all comments!
Ok, first, well done! I enjoyed this post even more than the first one you shared, and I learned a few things, so I'd say you hit goal #1 (I'm not you, and yet I understood it.)

As for the "joy" aspect, everybody has their own sense of what joy is, so it's a little harder to pin down. I'm picking up moderate Keanu Reeves "woah" vibes, so if that's what you're going for, nailed it!

I think if you want your reader to share in your joy, ask yourself what caused that joy in the first place when you made the connection, and write the post to amplify that. For instance, with respect to the ice story, is it the fact that there are nineteen kinds of ice? Woah! Build to that. Is it the fact that Vonnegut wrote about ICE-IX *5* years before it was discovered? Woah! Build to that. Or is it the thought that something as mundane as ice could destroy the world? woah...
 
Ok, first, well done! I enjoyed this post even more than the first one you shared, and I learned a few things, so I'd say you hit goal #1 (I'm not you, and yet I understood it.)

As for the "joy" aspect, everybody has their own sense of what joy is, so it's a little harder to pin down. I'm picking up moderate Keanu Reeves "woah" vibes, so if that's what you're going for, nailed it!

I think if you want your reader to share in your joy, ask yourself what caused that joy in the first place when you made the connection, and write the post to amplify that. For instance, with respect to the ice story, is it the fact that there are nineteen kinds of ice? Woah! Build to that. Is it the fact that Vonnegut wrote about ICE-IX *5* years before it was discovered? Woah! Build to that. Or is it the thought that something as mundane as ice could destroy the world? woah...
Thank you for your response.

As for joy, you described the feeling I was going for better than I did. - Damn You Marie Kondo! - It really is the Keanu Reeves "woah" to struck me when. I'm glad I'm able to convey it.

This post idea came about from happening upon the article about ICE-19. Woah.
Wait, what happened to #9. What the hell are they up to anyway?
 
Much better. I found it interesting. I understood where you were going and why. Tying it more closely to Cat's Cradle was a good idea. It was clear enough that I felt I might understood the science.
 
Much better. I found it interesting. I understood where you were going and why. Tying it more closely to Cat's Cradle was a good idea. It was clear enough that I felt I might understood the science.
As I added the first few images, I thought I was imitating Breakfast of Champions. That was my first Vonnegut and for me not a bad book to imitate. So it goes...
 
This version is awesome. I enjoyed it immensely and it was easy to read and understand. Two nits

1. The catalog of different ice crystals started to overload my mind but I am a firm believer in challenging readers. The catalog still is a bit of a gray area because it wasn't clear to me if it added anythigng central: I don't know if me internalizing the different structures would improve my understanding of the central thread.

2. The naming of the ice versions could be a little problematic: there is the real ice versions and then there are the fictional ice versions. Which is which? When ICE-IX is mentioned is it all fictional, or is there a real name like that. Granted you may not have created this confusion (Kurt probably did) but it might be possible to disambiguate this further.

Well done! I look forward to this on your blog!
 
Found the article interesting - especially after just reading about Ice XVIII. :)
 

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