The participants in the conversation recounted here were not under oath during the conversation, and there exists no official transcript of the conversation.
Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: When we were filling water bottles for soccer practice today, your child had an interesting theory about what was going on with the ice cubes.
Dr. Free-Ride: You put ice cubes in the water bottles? Pretty fancy! So, what was the theory?
Elder offspring: Well, the ice cubes floated to the top of the bottle, near where the drinking spout is. I think that’s ’cause the ice cubes want to get warm and melt so you can drink them.
Dr. Free-Ride: Interesting.
Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: So you think the water wants to do this? That the water has desires?
Elder offspring: (smirking) The water desires for me to drink it. The ice cubes desire to become liquid. Liquids desire to take the shape of their containers.
Dr. Free-Ride: Leaving the matter of the mental states of ice cubes aside, this doesn’t sound so different from Aristotle’s approach, where each element seeks its natural place in the universe.
Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: So, you think when we put water in the ice cube trays and stick it in the freezer that we’re thwarting what the water wants?
Elder offspring: Yeah.
Dr. Free-Ride: That would explain why those ice cubes start melting as soon as we take them out of the freezer.
Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: (casting a withering glance toward Dr. Free-Ride) What about when you leave a glass of water sitting on the kitchen table for a few days? If the water wants to stay a liquid, where does it go?
Elder offspring: Well, if you don’t drink it, maybe the water gets bored waiting around and evaporates.
Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: Hey, if we took a container and put liquid water and ice in it, then heated it on the stove, what do you think would happen? What do you think you’d see if the ice really wanted to melt into liquid water?
Elder offspring: Hmm. Well, the pan gets hot from the bottom, so maybe the ice would try to get to where it’s warmest so it could melt more quickly — so the ice might sink?
Dr. Free-Ride: Hey, I know that ice is less dense than really cold water, but now I can’t remember — is there a temperature at which the density of liquid water is lower than the density of ice?
Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: No. Why would you think that?
Dr. Free-Ride: It’s been years since I learned this stuff. I have this vague memory that warmer water has a lower density than colder water, but I can’t remember how that compares to ice.
A few minutes later, Dr. Free-Ride’s better half returns to the kitchen table with the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics.
Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: I’m going to show you, decisively, that ice never sinks in water.
Dr. Free-Ride: I welcome an authoritative demonstration of that claim.
Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: See, here’s the density of ice. And here’s the chart with the densities of water at different temperatures from 0 oC to 100 oC. The density of liquid water is lowest right around 100 oC, but it’s still higher than the density of ice.
Dr. Free-Ride: Case closed.
Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: That’s the first time I’ve used the CRC Handbook in years.
Dr. Free-Ride: You know, it won’t be long until the kids are turning to the CRC Handbook to settle their arguments.
Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: Yeah, they grow up fast.
* * * * *
Elder offspring: So, I was playing in this desert world in Neopets, and I was chased by icy skeletons.
Younger offspring: (dubiously) Icy skeletons? In the desert?!
Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: The desert does get really cold at night.
Dr. Free-Ride: Cold or not, do bones that have been bleaching in the desert heat all day have enough moisture in them to actually make ice?
Elder offspring: Maybe they were fresh skeletons.
Younger offspring: Maybe the skin beetles finished eating just before dark.
Dr. Free-Ride: I’m still not sure I buy it. What’s the water content of a fresh skeleton?
Dr. Free-Ride’s better half: I don’t know.
Dr. Free-Ride: Why doesn’t the CRC Handbook have that kind of information?
* * * * *
Younger offspring’s take on bones in the desert. In the cave is a coyote.
Elder offspring prefers far off deserts to local ones.
Also, Elder offspring has no faith in Photoshop’s ability to enlarge, preferring to do it the old fashioned way.