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Thread: What am I seeing?

  1. #1 What am I seeing? 
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    Since I was a little kid I've noticed that when water is splashed on a flat surface, there are usually some 'special' bubbles that I called 'reverse bubbles'. Reverse bubbles differed from the regular kind by their appearance (very bright and shiny) and their motion, (rapid, indicating substantial mass). Oddly, whenever I mentioned this, no one ever claimed to see them! The phenom was especially obvious in stainless-steel sinks and on cars being washed. it was obvious to me that these were bubbles of water instead of air; the mystery was how this was possible. Anyway I recently got a digital camera with a high-speed mode video and decided to capture some of my reverse bubbles to show to an oblivious world. Upon examining my recording I found something amazing (to me). The 'bubbles' were in fact not bubbles but little spheres of water rolling along like glass marbles! So now I'm even more bewildered. The balls of water skitter along very quickly and usually last less than a second, but they are definitely little spheres of water rolling along across a layer of water (?) To eliminate the idea of surface tension holding them together I spread a thin layer of soap (dishwashing liquid) across the surface; if anything the effect is enhanced! I'm posting this here, risking scorn and derision for treating a well-known thing as a new discovery because i want answers and haven't been able to find any! I put the video on YouTube and can provide a link if anyone's interested.


    Many thanks


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  3. #2  
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    Hi AmigaJoe,

    Before commenting on your claimed phenomenon, I'd just like to point out my ideas about thread discussions. As genuinely-felt inquirers in science, we try to expect the worst reaction to the thread we initialize (mostly rude and critical remarks). But as thought through from my own experience, we'll find that our threads yield neither derision nor discussion. Despite the OP's confident syntax, these threads may attract absolutely nothing. I suspect it has to do with other users' inability to comfortably respond to the unorthodox way the topic is presented, thus it is left at a single post. Basically, the thread falls in an awkward region outside the usual, easily discussible things like pseudoscience and the specific subject questions. I just hope the majority of users here get past this barrier so the lonely threads can get the attention they were expected to get. *somewhat related rambling ends*

    As for your spherical droplets, I can't reasonably guess what they are based off what you've said so far. If anything, so far it sounds nothing out of the ordinary. Just water droplets skimming down a surface. You can thank gravity and water's cohesive property for that. But if you really suspect something peculiar then please elaborate on your observations.


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  4. #3  
    The Enchanter westwind's Avatar
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    And of course more experimentation. On heated surfaces of various temperatures. Capture results on your camera. Weare not talking splatter here are we? Cold water and hot water? Water with vinegar? water with Soda ash? Little beads of water eh? Like sweat on a brow? Like capsules or raindrops on different leaves? Add Quinine and splash. Sieve with finest of sieves. You havn't started yet to investigate. westwind.
    Words words words, were it better I caught your tears, and washed my face in them, and felt their sting. - westwind
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  5. #4 It's real and now I know what it is... 
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    Thanks to a similar posting on another science-based forum I have my answer. They're called 'AntiBubbles'
    Read the discussion here if you like :How can water do this? .Fairly spammed the Physics web community looking for answers and found it. Amazingly, the vast VAST majority of responses
    failed to do what I would have done in a similar situation: simply searched my own memories for recollections of the phenomenon.
    As I pointed out, this was something I've seen my whole life; it's very common, yet all these presumably experienced and trained observers
    failed to notice something they have to have seen many, many times! They inevitably turn to tangentially related phenomenon like the
    Leidenfrost Effect, etc, because that's what they know. The ability to make the mental leap into the (for them) unknown seems to me
    to be the hallmark of scientific progress. Imagine if more people could do that! Alas, despite the fact that antibubbles are a well-known
    (in some circles) phenomenon, I have yet (after only 10 hours!) to find a cogent explanation of how they work; much speculation and theorizing,
    but nothing definitive. The search continues. However I have gotten some real and fascinating insight into how people, even scientists,
    approach the 'unknown'. Maybe I'll start a discussion about it in the Psychology Forum...?

    Last edited by AmigaJoe; July 21st, 2012 at 07:13 AM.
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  6. #5  
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    I've always thought of this as "the coffeemaker effect" because it's commonly observed while watching the drip. I just tried running the maker without grounds or filter - and got less antibubbles than usual.
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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