Friday, July 12, 2024
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    I was wrong about sun tea

    The story is a good one: put some tea bags in a mason jar filled with fresh, cold water. Put it in the sun. Four hours later, smooth and delicious tea is waiting for you. The photons from the sun go through the clear glass and the water, strike the leaves and transfer radiant energy to the tea.

    This isn’t actually what happens.

    It turns out that the sun simply warms the water a bit, and tea happens. You can make cold water tea in the fridge more safely, because it keeps the water cold (though it takes much longer).

    Of course, the lesson has nothing to do with tea. Or even beverages.

    It’s that I was enamored with the story and stopped being curious. It would have been easy to set up the experiment. Worse, I never bothered to look it up. It was better, apparently, to feel right than to know what was actually happening.

    Curiosity is a choice.

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