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By Madeline Perez

The mysteries of the world are commonly obscured by the ignorance and apathy of the common man. People are so concerned with their actual lives that they forget to sit back and ponder things like “why”, and “how.” What a pity. This phenomenon is leading to the death of critical thought, creativity, and the scientific method as we know it.

What many fail to realize is that it’s everyday mysteries that add zest and flavor to life in what is an otherwise gloomy and depressing reality. “Mysteries like what?” you may ask. Well, I’m about to tell you. There is a mystery so great and profound, after years of research and discussion the conclusion remains almost unclear and unbeknownst to most of society

What is the Drinking Bird, and how does he drink?

Now, it’s quite simple really. Many pass off the inexplicable motion of the Drinking Bird, or “The Insatiable Birdie” due to vague concepts like momentum or physics. Not only are these theories structurally incompetent, but they also come from a place of pure assumption. The actual answer is much more complex. If solid facts and science stress you out, I’d stop reading this article now. 

The Drinking Bird operates through a thermodynamic cycle. This means it uses temperature to create pressure inside the “bird”, which is then converted to mechanical energy (everyone’s favorite type of energy.) The key is getting the Drinking Bird’s head wet, the first step in the instructions. Once his head is wet, the water evaporates from the felt, which lowers the temperature of the glass head. 

Before we go any further, I must make one thing clear. The “red liquid” inside the bird is not red water or “his blood”, as many seem to think. It is Dichloromethane. As the Drinking Bird is partially filled with it and sealed under high pressure, this gives the substance, with an already low boiling point mind you, the ability to work as a heat engine in a low-temperature setting.

Anyway, as the temperature in the glass head lowers, this condenses the Dichloromethane, which leads to a pressure drop in the head. Now the base of the bird has a higher temperature and vapor pressure. This pushes the liquid up the neck, assisted by good old capillary action. The bird then becomes top-heavy and tips over. 

This is heartwarming and revolutionary. If the Drinking Bird has a cup, it is at that moment when he takes a nice, refreshing sip. This will, of course, wet the felt on his head so the joyous cycle can continue for as long as he has water to drink. This is seen by some as uselessly repetitive, for the Drinking Bird remains thirsty no matter how much he drinks. To this, I say it is the bird’s purpose to drink, and the monotonous tone of his life is reflected most easily in the repetitive nature of our own everyday lives. I will expand more on this later, but for now, we must focus on the rest of the cycle. 

Post-tip, a warm bubble of vapor rises through the neck-tube from the bird’s core to its head. This displaces the liquid out of his head and back into the bottom bulb relatively suddenly, pulling the bird from his much needed drink back into an upright position like a child away from its mother; the taste of long-awaited satisfaction lingering on his bird-lips. Pressure equalizes between the head and bottom bulb, peace is restored, and the bird grows thirsty once more. The cycle continues, on and on, forever.

The Drinking Bird lives a repetitive life. Like a seesaw, he is stuck in a futile back and forth- forced to lead a trivial life. In this way, we are like the Drinking Bird; complacently numb with the monotonicity and mediocrity of our own lives.  From the moment we are unpackaged from our box, we are told how to live. How to think. How to form relationships and eat food and do math. Our society is the driving force, the hand that places the daunting cup of water in front of us from which we must drink. No more. 

The drinking bird must drink because he is forced to. We have a choice.

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