Friday, April 10, 2009

A Supersaturated Solution


Anyone who has has the joy of a high school chemistry class always seems to carry a couple of mental pictures with them the rest of their lives, the changing of colors of an indicator in a titration, the crisp colors of a borax bead.  But the one that sticks the most with me is the sudden explosive growth of crystals in a supersaturated solution when the seed crystal is dropped.  It is the truest of magics, this demonstration of the character of physical law.

I think that is what we are all waiting for now.  We are living in a supersaturated solution.  We have a whole bunch of bodies in the world, well past the carrying capacity of the planet.  We have used oil to provide the energy to raise the temp quite high.  We have also used toxic finances and the incredibly rapid flows of capital and resources to stir the solution and keep it from crystallizing out.  This puppy is getting ready to go.

What will be the seed crystal?  I am thinking that the current attacks that we are seeing on the infrastructure of the US are really interesting.  Consider for a moment what would happen if the internet were to shut down and the delivery of energy in the US were to be compromised. 

What will be the seed?

1 comment:

Ajay Ganapathy said...

I love the metaphor! - I was actually studying chemistry when I chanced upon your blog. A few things amazed me:

1) when I google-searched "supersaturated solution", your blog popped up on the first search results page - now that is an accomplishment - how did you get so many links to your site?

2) I like the way you introduced discussion - though I don't agree that we live in a supersaturated solution - you placed this problem in laymen's terms. good job.

I'm also a blogger -