November 19, 2009
It's the Thursday before Ohio State's annual hate-fest with Michigan, which means OSU students will be liquoring up, stripping down, hating the Wolverines with all their little Buckeye hearts and taking the plunge at midnight in Mirror Lake for at least the 107th consecutive year -- although, unlike in 1903, most of them do it voluntarily now:
Last year, students in the College of Earth Sciences tested the water in Mirror Lake before, during and after thousands plunged in to psych themselves up for The Game.
"Interesting results from last year's study include a lake-wide temperature increase of approximately 3 degrees Fahrenheit during the course of the night and an ammonia spike around 1in the morning," said Steve Goldsmith, a postdoctoral research associate.
The temperature increase could be chalked up to warm-blooded people standing in a cold lake, Goldsmith said. But, yes, that ammonia spike means exactly what you think it means.
But it's only a little urine, just enough to cause an eightfold increase in the lake's overall ammonia levels. That's still perfectly safe for swimming and the usual coed revelry, according to the professor overseeing the research, although she does recommend taking a shower afterward and advises, "don't open your mouth," which are helpful tips for life in general, actually. See? It's drunken, disgusting fun and learning.
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Hat tip: Deadspin