Jonathan Crowe

I’m a blogger and writer from Shawville, Quebec. I blog about maps at The Map Room, review books for AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, and edit a fanzine called Ecdysis. More about me.

My Correct Views on Everything

Duct Tape and Science!

Duct tape and SCIENCE!

This is a picture of a bucket duct-taped to my office window. I took it on Friday night, when we duct-taped said bucket to said office window. You may wonder why we duct-taped a bucket to my office window on a Friday night; presumably you thought we had better, or at least more interesting, or at least less weird things to do on a Friday night. I will explain.

Lately our windows have been springing leaks. I’ve had it explained to me: ice in the soffits or under the roof or somewhere ice ought not to be. I am not handy so I do not understand. In any event, the result is a drip-drip-drip on the window sill that splashes onto desks full of notes and electronics or sleeping bloggers, which we have been dealing with by putting towels along the sills.

The problem with my office window on Friday night was the volume of water was enough to soak through the towels in less than an hour. Here’s where the SCIENCE! comes in: we measured 100 mL coming down in the space of eight minutes. That’s 750 mL (about three cups) per hour, or about six litres in eight hours. Which is, well, a lot of water to come down overnight when you’re trying to sleep. Clearly, if we wanted to get any sleep, we needed to put together something that could handle that much water. Duct tape and a bucket were what we had. (We almost used an aquarium.)

In the event we didn’t get much sleep anyway, because we were kind of worried that the bucket would fall over (the duct tape wasn’t weight-bearing, it just kept the bucket in place; the bucket rested on shims on the window sill, as you can see in the photo), and every time we woke up in the middle of the night we went to check and sponge off some of the water. And, in the event, the amount was much less than originally calculated: the flow rate was inconsistent and we calculated it at its worst, or we goofed on the measurement (or both).

By the next morning the leak had more or less stopped, and we cut the bucket down early Saturday afternoon, but this absurdity had to be recorded for posterity.