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Meteorology By Aristotle

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Author Topic: Meteorology By Aristotle  (Read 1169 times)
Bathos
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« Reply #105 on: August 31, 2009, 12:12:10 am »

A thing is viscous when, being moist or soft, it is tractile. Bodies
owe this property to the interlocking of their parts when they are
composed like chains, for then they can be drawn out to a great length
and contracted again. Bodies that are not like this are friable. Bodies
are compressible when they are squeezable and retain the shape they
have been squeezed into; incompressible when they are either inapt
to be squeezed at all or do not retain the shape they have been squeezed
into.

Some bodies are combustible and some are not. Wood, wool, bone are
combustible; stone, ice are not. Bodies are combustible when their
pores are such as to admit fire and their longitudinal pores contain
moisture weaker than fire. If they have no moisture, or if, as in
ice or very green wood, the moisture is stronger than fire, they are
not combustible.

Those bodies give off fumes which contain moisture, but in such a
form that it does not go off separately in vapour when they are exposed
to fire. For vapour is a moist secretion tending to the nature of
air produced from a liquid by the agency of burning heat. Bodies that
give off fumes give off secretions of the nature of air by the lapse
of time: as they perish away they dry up or become earth. But the
kind of secretion we are concerned with now differs from others in
that it is not moist nor does it become wind (which is a continuous
flow of air in a given direction). Fumes are common secretion of dry
and moist together caused by the agency of burning heat. Hence they
do not moisten things but rather colour them.

The fumes of a woody body are called smoke. (I mean to include bones
and hair and everything of this kind in the same class. For there
is no name common to all the objects that I mean, but, for all that,
these things are all in the same class by analogy. Compare what Empedocles
says: They are one and the same, hair and leaves and the thick wings
of birds and scales that grow on stout limbs.) The fumes of fat are
a sooty smoke and those of oily substances a greasy steam. Oil does
not boil away or thicken by evaporation because it does not give off
vapour but fumes. Water on the other hand does not give off fumes,
but vapour. Sweet wine does give off fumes, for it contains fat and
behaves like oil. It does not solidify under the influence of cold
and it is apt to burn. Really it is not wine at all in spite of its
name: for it does not taste like wine and consequently does not inebriate
as ordinary wine does. It contains but little fumigable stuff and
consequently is inflammable.
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