Posts tagged ‘fog’

Fake Smoke is Not Usually Dry Ice

I frequently hear people refer to fake smoke as “dry ice.” It’s true, you can make smoke from dry ice. But, in many cases, it’s dangerous and inconvenient.

That’s why they invented fog machines. Fog machines are made up of a small heater, a fluid reservoir and a pump. These machines vaporize mineral oil, glycol or glycol/water mixtures to produce fog. Low powered machines for home use are pretty affordable, you can get a decent one from Amazon for $40. Around Halloween, many other stores carry them too.

Fog machines are great for enhancing lighting effects and creating an eerie mood. The fog usually fills the room from floor to ceiling, but cooling the fog with ice creates layered fog that stays below your knees.

In sixth grade, my friend Troy and I had a vision for our school air guitar competition. He saw himself as lead lip sync-er, rocking out to Tone Loc’s Wild Thing. I didn’t know that song when he mentioned it, nor did I care — I just wanted lots of smoke and lasers.

I called a few equipment rental houses and got quotes to rent a fog machine and lasers. It was a hefty amount for an 11 year old, but I was making a name for myself in the newspaper delivery business and I was willing to spend the money — I knew that lasers would help us win the competition.

I shared my creative vision with the drama teacher and he said, “no smoke.” He had worked with dry ice before and said it makes the floor slippery; it was a liability he wasn’t willing to take on. I told him, “people don’t use dry ice anymore — there is new technology that is completely dry and doesn’t make the floor wet.” He wouldn’t listen and said his decision was firm: no smoke. Without smoke, you can’t see lasers, so that meant we were back to the boring house lights.

I told Troy that smoke and lasers were off. He could tell I was upset, but he said with great confidence, “It’s alright. We’ll still win.” Comparing our rehearsals to the other groups, I knew he was wrong

In the end, smoke and lasers wouldn’t have made a difference. You see, Troy was the most hyper kid I knew. On the day of the show, he focused all of that energy into his performance and he completely stole the show.

That day I learned, you don’t need smoke to see lasers. Everybody has amazing potential and the secret lies in how you focus that energy.

Broken Secrets | By: Chad Upton

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Sources: Theatrical Smoke, Fog Machines, Dry Ice

May 17, 2010 at 8:11 am 5 comments

Defog Your Bathroom Mirror In 30 Seconds

You’re running late, so you try to have a quick shower. Then you get out of the shower and the mirror is foggy. That means you can’t do your mirror activities (shaving, hair, makeup…etc). Forget wiping it with a towel, that leaves a lot of streaks and the mirror will still be a bit foggy.

The secret to defogging your mirror quickly, without any streaks: use a hairdryer. Set both the heat and blower on high and aim at the mirror directly in front of your face. In 30 seconds, the hot air will perfectly clear a big enough space to get you back on track.

If you’ve ever stayed in a fancy hotel, you may have noticed that part of the mirror never fogs up. These hotels have a mirror heater installed behind the mirror so it never fogs up.

There are some sites that claim wiping foam shaving cream on windows keeps them fog free, but I haven’t confirmed this. Please comment if you’ve tried it. You can also buy Rain-X anti-fog for your bathroom mirror or car windshield from amazon.

Broken Secrets

Written By: Chad Upton

[available on Kindle]

Photo: add1sun (Creative Commons)

December 16, 2009 at 12:22 am 14 comments

Rear Fog Lights

Most North American cars have one set of bright lights on the back, of course those are the brake lights.  But some American cars and most European cars have other bright lights on the rear: rear fog lights.Rear fog light on an Audi

If you’re not familiar with this concept, then you probably assumed their lights were malfunctioning or their break lights were “stuck.”

Rear fog lights make it much easier for the vehicle behind you to see your car when fog, rain or snow is heavy.

Some rear fog lights are a pair of lights mounted low on the rear bumper.  Other cars have a single light, mounted near the driver’s side rear turn signal.

There are debates about the validity of rear fog lights.  Some claim they can be confused with brake lights, others agree but believe that is still safer than not seeing the vehicle until it is too late.

In the photo of the instrument cluster, the icon on the left is the front fog light indicator and on the right is the rear fog light indicator.

Some cars have separate switches for front and rear fogs, other cars have one switch that activates both.

Studies have shown that in North America more people inappropriately use their fog lamps in dry weather than use them properly in poor weather

Photo Credit: mroach (Creative Commons)

Sources: Wikipedia SAE

December 1, 2009 at 1:35 am 4 comments

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