Beware of DHMO

I recently read Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut, which featured a dangerous form of solid dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO) known as “ice-nine.”  I thought ice-nine was a fictional substance (and Vonnegut’s ice-nine is), but I was surprised yesterday to read this article that talks about “ice-seven.”  According to Wikipedia, there is also a substance known as “ice IX,” although the chemical properties differ from Vonnegut’s ice-nine.

I’ve always found it fascinating that we live on the only planet known to have an atmosphere that at times may contain solid, liquid, and gaseous dihydrogen monoxide.  I spread grass seed over my lawn yesterday, in spite of the fact that meteorologists predicted a 70% chance of liquid DHMO today.

You can learn more about how this ubiquitous compound affects you and the environment at the Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division, www.dhmo.org.

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