Justin Li


Good People, Bad People

2009-04-27

Last week's question: How are rain, sleet, snow, and hail formed respectively?

In general, all precipitation is caused by ice crystals forming and growing in the upper atmosphere, until it's large enough to overcome gravity and fall (the Bergeron process). For rain, it passes through a layer of warm air underneath, thus melting the ice. If there's another layer of cold air after that, whether near the surface or not, the rain may freeze again into sleet. For both of these, the ice crystals form around ice nuclei; for snow, however, the ice itself is the nuclei. In an environment where there is a lot of water droplets and not a lot of ice, the droplets contact the ice and add to it, building a larger snow flake.

Personally, I find hail the most interesting one. Only able to form in storm clouds, hail starts off as ice crystals like everything else. However, the updraft of the storm lifts the ice crystal back up, so it falls again and more water can freeze on the surface. This happens again and again until the updraft is not strong enough to lift the crystal, and a ball of ice falls as hail.

This week's question: A common question to religious people is why bad things happen to good people. The answer is usually something along the lines of it being a test, to see if people will remain faithful. Until I thought of it, however, I have not heard anyone ask the other question: why do good things happen to bad people?

PS. jrscheung asked me where these questions come from. Some of them, like this one, are things I've always wanted to know but never took the time to find out. Posting them here is a promise to find the answer. Some are questions that other people have asked (such as the insane voter one: Q/A) which piqued my curiosity. Others are thoughts I have, like this week's, and the rest... are usually just things I found out which I find interesting.

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