Let's start with frosting a cake or cookies, also known as "icing" them. (Can you tell I'm hungry?) I haven't had breakfast but picked up a coffe at the bakery. There I stoically bypassed those fresh, beautifully ICED cookies and cupcakes! sigh (That's the truth.) Gotta move along fast so I don't talk myself into heading back to the bakery. It's a lovely spring morning and a short walk - now wouldn't that be nice? NO!!
Colloquially, people often refer to putting something "on ICE" when they want to postpone it. It's easy to see where that probably comes from. Many things spoil if they aren't kept cool so I guess it's a metaphor. (If you're a a serious grammarian please correct me.)
And TV hitmen now refer to "ICING" a victim. That seems to be replacing "offing" which I preferred. Icing sounds so cold-blooded vs offing which seemed gentler and more polite. Maybe it's a matter of political correctness.
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Now let's consider the case of "DRY ICE". For starters, it's not ice at all. It's the solid form of the gas carbon dioxide. It shares the main feature of "wet ice", the solid form of water, but that's about their only similarity: both preserve frozen foods and other products that must be kept cool or frozen.
Dry ice can do many things that wet ice cannot, and it has a huge advantage: it leaves no residue when returning to its original state as a gas, while wet ice leaves water behind when it thaws. That's because carbon dioxide has no liquid state. It goes directly from solid (frozen) to gas. (Think of the ruinous floods that sometimes follow a spring thaw.)
But wet ice has only a couple of minor advantages over dry ice: There's no risk of quick frostbite when handling wet ice as there is with dry ice. And the average person can easily produce and store ice cubes at home whereas dry ice must usually be purchased elsewhere from a producer or distributor.
A few of the many uses for dry ice:
- Blast cleaning - major industrial use!
- Arrest and/or prevent insect activity in containers of grains and their products.
- Create fog via machines in theaters and other venues for dramatic effect.
- Capture mosquitoes, bedbugs and other pests.
- Loosen asphalt floor tiles for construction purposes.
- Various scientific lab procedures.
Good news: Space exploration has revealed that the polar caps on Mars are made entirely of dry ice!
Serious Risk: Great care should be taken when using dry ice to avoid frostbite on any exposed body surface as well as the risk of hypercapnia, a lung condition that can lead to death.
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Now for my favorite part of this post - sharing with you a breathtaking video of ice caves in Alaska's Mendenhall Glacier. Taken by drone just a few weeks ago, it portrays a journey that no human will ever take. Enjoy.