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How Refrigeration Changed The World

Tom Jackson

Ancient Egyptians used evaporative cooling to chill wine. Amphoras taken to rooftop at night, kept soaked as wind blew past, with slaves fanning if wind not strong enough. For a pharaoh, all it took to get a refreshing drink was a single night of frequent sprinkling and frantic fanning by a squad of slaves.

Empedocles was a Greek C5 BC who first recorded the earth, wind, water, fire concept of matter. He also believed in reincarnation, and threw himself into a volcano in the belief that he would come back as an immortal fire god.

Pascal developed probability theory after gambler commissioned him to calculate card game odds. He went on to calculate the odds od heaven and hell being true, and opted for the long odds of great eternal reward and became the epitome of piety for rest of his life.

Newton first mentioned his apple story after a long dinner with friends and 60 years after it was supposed to have happened.

Celcius created scale with freezing point of water at 100 and boiling point at 0. Linnaeus flipped it round so that it is what we use today, but his attempt to have it called °L not °C failed.

Water made with boiled water barely expands when it freezes. Ice made with unboiled water, still filled with air, expands by almost a tenth. Clear pure water makes ice that's an eerie blue, whereas the stuff we usually see is clouded white with all the minute air bubbles in it.

CFCs replaced earlier more dangerous refrigerants in 1928. Discovered by Thomas Midgely, who also added lead to petrol, making him one of the most dangerous scientists ever.

Most effective terrorist attack would turn off all the fridges in the supply chain. The saying goes that no city is more than 3 meals away from anarchy.

Veges and meat frozen slowly grows large ice crystals, which when thawed, tear holes in cell walls, leaving food tasteless and unappetising. Clarence Birdseye got his idea from seeing Eskimos flash chilling fish at about -40°C.

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