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Re: Chem 101

  The following is an actual question given on a
        University of Washington chemistry mid term.  The
        answer was so "profound" that the professor shared it
        with colleagues, which is why we now have the pleasure
        of enjoying it as well.
        Bonus Question:  Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat)
        or endothermic (absorbs heat)?
        Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs
        using Boyle's Law, (gas cools off when it expands and
        heats up when it is compressed) or some variant.  One
        student, however, wrote the following:
        First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is
        changing in time. So we need to know the rate that
        souls are moving into Hell and the rate they are
        leaving.  I think that we can safely assume that once
        a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave.
        Therefore, no souls are leaving.  As for how many
        souls are entering Hell, lets look at the different
        religions that exist in the world today.  Some of
        these religions state that if you are not a member of
        their religion, you will go to Hell.
        Since there are more than one of these religions and
        since people do not belong to more than one religion,
        we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth
        and death rates as they are, we can expect the number
        of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.
        Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in
        Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the
        temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the
        volume of Hell has to expand as souls are added.
        This gives two possibilities:
        1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate
        at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and
        pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks
        2.  Of course, if Hell is expanding at a rate faster
        than the increase of souls in Hell, then the
        temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes
        So which is it?
        If we accept the postulate given to me by Ms. Teresa
        Banyan during my Freshman year, "...that it will be a
        cold day in Hell before I sleep with you.",
        and take into account the fact that I still have not
        succeeded in having sexual relations with her, then,
        #2 cannot be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is
        exothermic and will not freeze.
        The student received the only "A" given.

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