songs from the book of knowledge: water

listen to water

Here is a good game. Let everyone write on a sheet of paper, and it should be a large one, every important fact he can think of about water, including its special properties, the things it does, and what it is used for; the winner to be the one with the largest number of correct items in his list.
All the players will, of course, set down rain, snow, hail, ice, and dew, streams, lakes and oceans, the moisture in the atmosphere and in the soil. They will include also the use of water for drinking, washing, cooking, cooling our refrigerators and gasoline engines, driving our water wheels and turbines, and floating our ships.
Many players will probably recall that our bodies are about 70% water and, indeed, that all active living cells and tissue, vegetable and animal alike, must contain a certain amount of water to stay alive. they may add likewise that water is the greatest of all solvents, most of the liquid chemicals used in science, medicine and industry being water solutions.
Some players will know that countless ‘dry’ solids, particularly crystals like borax and washing soda, contain water; and that countless others, such as plaster, bricks, and concrete require water for their formation.
But how many will realize that if water obeyed the rule, common to most other substances, of contracting when it freezes instead of expanding, life would never have appeared on this earth?
And how many will know that it is another exceptional quality of water, its high specific heat, which largely controls the climate of our temperate zones and makes them habitable?
A thousand other such queries could be made. But one thing is certain about our game; no player will make a perfect score. To sit down and explain all the important facts that are known about water would require several books the size of this one and the author would need to be an expert in virtually every branch of human knowledge.

Note: The words in all Songs from the Book of Knowledge are excerpts taken from a 1939 Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia and Fact-Index.

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