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Maes

Big black balls

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I get it, as reservoirs run dry the government will top them up with black balls to give the impression there's still some water being conserved.

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Shouldn't they be white balls to reflect sunlight away? Black balls will heat up a lot in the sunlight.

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These pictures are the kind of thing I would want to see in another language, so I have no idea what's going on. if there was a video of them pouring balls into a big thing while some guy is speaking in a different language, that would be amazing.

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Gez said:

Shouldn't they be white balls to reflect sunlight away? Black balls will heat up a lot in the sunlight.


They claim that only the black polyethylene is able to "reflect UV rays", which could very well be, depending on what special chemicals they use to achieve that. Plus just being white doesn't necessarily guarantee long-term UV resistance. Try leaving a ping-pong ball or any white plastic object out in the sun and see how it will end up.

Also, it's possible to make something that appears white to the eye and yet heats up when exposed to sunlight (most of the sun's energy comes as infrared), as well as something that appears black and yet doesn't heat up.

Edit: a different set of photos shows an interesting phenomenon: the balls form clearly separated "islands" or "domains", each with its own arrangement and orientations:

http://lh3.ggpht.com/-fQJLc4o-fGU/TrvypWc66DI/AAAAAAAARlw/zVj-Cl3FWr4/ivanhoe-resorvoir-32.jpg?imgmax=800

That reminds me of magnetic domains in ferrous materials:

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I'm not sure how but something about this is nagging at me that it is going to mess up somehow.

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You know, eventually someone is going to have to clean up all these goddamn things.

Gez said:

Shouldn't they be white balls to reflect sunlight away? Black balls will heat up a lot in the sunlight.

Even if they did heat up, the effect on evaporation would be minimal compared to what the balls are meant to do: reduce surface area of the water air interface where evaporation takes place. Unless of course the wind starts spinning the balls somehow, that would be bad.

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Captain Red said:

I've seen bigger

Where they literally laying in your eye sockets? Did you sense the delicate scent of vinegar?

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Technician said:

Where they literally laying in your eye sockets? Did you sense the delicate scent of vinegar?



You know, I've always wondered why that is?

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Enjay said:

I'm not sure how but something about this is nagging at me that it is going to mess up somehow.


I am constantly thinking about those balls slowly giving away and eventually leaving a bad after-taste and releasing slight toxins... and its not even my problem.

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Wow, the little 'islands' and shapes theyre forming are pretty crazy.

FireFish said:

I am constantly thinking about those balls slowly giving away and eventually leaving a bad after-taste and releasing slight toxins... and its not even my problem.

That was the first thing I thought..

Hoodie said:

These pictures are the kind of thing I would want to see in another language, so I have no idea what's going on. if there was a video of them pouring balls into a big thing while some guy is speaking in a different language, that would be amazing.

Yes, god yes!

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FireFish said:

I am constantly thinking about those balls slowly giving away and eventually leaving a bad after-taste and releasing slight toxins... and its not even my problem.

Yup, that was one of my thoughts.

and that there are now 20,000 polythene balls just floating around in the environment.

and that the surface of the balls could encourage the growth of undesirable organisms.

and that light being excluded from the water could have a knock on effect for the health of the water, other organisms and possibly encourage near-anaerobic conditions and associated basteria.

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Doominator2 said:

I realized that if you make a thread with the word "Black" in it, Captain Red will find his place in the thread.

Well you know what that say about going black...
(I make roughly one low effort post a month I'm still noticed :3)

Technician said:

Did you sense the delicate scent of vinegar?

I actually didn't know that was a thing.

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Would the material that the balls are made of leave microscopic fragments in the water?

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Don't Americans treat their water before drinking it? An open reservoir would be full of crap anyway.

The domains of balls are neat. It's fun to find new instances of phenomena like that.

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Well, the balls are polyethylene (PET, supposedly food safe), strengthened with carbon black (should be pretty chemically stable). The only thing safer would probably be glass balls coated internally with carbon black....but then good luck handling breakages.

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Enjay said:

and that there are now 20,000 polythene balls just floating around in the environment.

That's just a single release. The total in that reservoir is around 96 million, making it a thirty four and a half million dollar black plastic pool cover.

Aliotroph? said:

Don't Americans treat their water before drinking it?

I get the impression most Californians drink bottled water, so the quality of tap water might be less of an issue, provided it doesn't burn skin or clothes on contact.

@Clonehunter - looks like they're large enough to be considered child-safe. :P

Whoever authorised their release would be in deep shit if they turned out to be a choking hazard.

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GreyGhost said:

That's just a single release. The total in that reservoir is around 96 million, making it a thirty four and a half million dollar black plastic pool cover.

I did think that 20,000 seemed a small number to do that job. thanks for the correction.

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Just imagine, each ball representing an individual solar system with corresponding planets. That is potentially how large the universe could be. If we negated the rapidly increasing distance being put between clusters of matter and the ever-winning force of entropy. We are not alone!

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96 million is far too small a number for that:

One estimate says that there are about 100 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy alone and there are about 100 billion galaxies in the universe.

However, from this article:
http://www.space.com/26078-how-many-stars-are-there.html

"Kornreich used a very rough estimate of 10 trillion galaxies in the universe. Multiplying that by the Milky Way's estimated 100 billion stars results in a large number indeed: 100 octillion stars, or 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars, or a "1" with 29 zeros after it. Kornreich emphasized that number is likely a gross underestimation, as more detailed looks at the universe will show even more galaxies."

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