Homer’s Best Bets

Jump into the Betster’s wayback machine and travel a year ago to the magical time of fall 2012. Remember that, Betsteroids? From Oct. 17-23, the average temperature was 29.93 degrees, with a low of 20. Oct. 23-30 the average temperature was 30 degrees, with a low of 19. From Oct. 31-Nov. 3, the average was 29.7 degrees, with a low of 13. 

Holy Danny Fahrenheit! Last week the average temperature was 42.85 degrees, with a low of 32. See? That’s why you need newspapers around — to keep track of this stuff. If you wondered if the fall seemed warmer, well, there you go. The first snow this season was a pathetic sprinkling of flakes up on the ridge, and if you slept late last Saturday, you might have missed it.

As you might recall, water  feeezes at 32 degrees. Did you ever notice how hot water freezes faster? That’s called the Mpemba effect, after a Tanzanian student. According to Gizmodo magazine, Chinese scientist Xi Zhang and others  from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore think they know why. They suggest it has to do with how hydrogen atoms in water share electrons — you know, the old H-two-O combo. That sharing of electrons by atoms is called a covalent bond. Water molecules also are bound weakly to each other when hydrogen atoms are close to oxygen atoms.

Heat up water, and those hydrogen bonds stretch and the molecules move farther apart. The covalent bonds relax a bit and give up energy, which is a fancy way of saying, “Brr. It’s getting colder.” All this stretchiness stuff means things cool faster.

With Alaska being warmer, that means all those atoms and molecules floating about have gotten stretchier, right? So could there be like a Mpemba effect in the works where because it’s warmer the winter will get colder faster? Uh oh. Sure, there could be lots of other factors like cold fronts, typhoons and all that complex atmospheric science and weather stuff. If this idea works for water, well, watch out.

Meanwhile, as you wait for winter to come, the lakes to freeze and your investment in studded tires to pay off, enjoy whatever comes our way, perhaps with these Best Bets:


BEST GLITZ AND GLAMOR BET: Put on your tux and get out the pearls and long gowns for the big opening of the Metropolitan Opera. No, this isn’t New York, but the Live at the Met broadcast at 6 p.m. today at the Homer Theatre with the opening opera, Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin.” Tickets are $15 general, $10 seniors and $5 students and children.


BEST YOU NEVER KNOW BET: Martin Zeller has been teaching Flex High School students the fine art of improvisational theater the past few weeks. See what they’ve learned in “A Night of Improv” at 6 p.m. today at K-Bay Caffe.


BEST GRUNT WRITER BET: Retired military journalist David Abrams not only got a career out of the U.S. Army, he got a novel, too — “Fobbit,” based on his deployment in Iraq. He reads and holds a craft talk at 6:30 p.m. today at Kachemak Bay Campus.


BEST TURN OUT THE LIGHTS BET: Learn about energy conservation at the Homer Electric Association’s fifth annual Energy and Conservation Fair from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at West Homer Elementary School. There will be more than 30 vendors, a talk about tidal energy, hot dogs, hand outs and great ideas about reducing your energy bills.


BEST GET READY BET: The Betster has taken a vow not to write “S—- C—-” or “C——–” until after Thanksgiving, but hey, you might want to plan a little bit ahead. Get started and help a good cause with Hospice of Homer’s sixth annual Preparing for the Holidays fundraiser from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Saturday at Alice’s Champagne Palace. The event includes a silent auction and a gala dinner. Tickets are $50 at the Homer Bookstore.