Wednesday, September 11, 2002

One year ago this morning, I was a little late to work, which, by itself is not very unusual.

My car radio was tuned to Classic Hits WKLH on that Tuesday morning, and the discussion between Dave, Carole and KB concerned why baseballs carry farther when the humidity is high. Seems a little counter-intuitive, doesn't it? Lotsa water in the air, it feels "sticky" and "heavy" ... ? But there's more homers hit in Miller Park when the roof is closed and the humidity climbs... What's up with that?

Knowing a little about the subject, I picked up my then-new cell phone and dialed 414-799-1965. I was rather suprised to hear the phone ringing. (It's one of the most popular radio stations in Milwaukee, and the line is usually busy, especially if you're trying to win a contest or something.) Soon, I was even more surprised to find myself on the air, explaining that water vapor is a gas, not little tiny globules of liquid water, which would be fog or something. And it's a lighter gas than air! Water's molecular weight is approximately 18 - 1 proton in each hydrogen atom plus 8 protons and 8 neutrons in the oxygen atom. Now, "air" is mostly Nitrogen and Oxygen. Each of these molecules consists of two atoms, so the molecular weights of Nitrogen and Oxygen gas are 28 and 32 respectively. Therefore, adding water vapor to this Nitrogen-Oxygen mixture actually reduces its density.

Of course, having this leftover knowledge from high school chemistry at the tip of my tongue makes me Albert Einstein or something compared to Morning Show Radio Personalities. But my elation was short-lived, as some breaking news came over the wire a few minutes before 8 AM CDT... That month's fifteen seconds of fame disappeared like... Like... Like some really insubstantial Thing that all of a sudden isn't there anymore just when you're trying to get a good look at it. What was that? Was it something?

The rest of my day was much like everybody else's, and I don't feel the need to document what I remember about it right here right now. Several months later I saw an old friend, Debbie, who said she heard me on the radio a while ago. Yes, I remember the date... 9/11/01

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