July 17th, 2002


guide to making things that are hot not as hot anymore

NOTE: This guide is for use with the temperature-related definition of hot. Things that would fall under our definition of "hot" include (but are not limited to):

Blocks of solid iron
Small animals (potentially on fire)
Kerosene lamps
Flotation devices

This guide does NOT refer to hot in the sense of spiciness, hot in the sense of electricity, hot in the sense of sexual excitement, or hot in the sense of stolen. However, it is worth noting that in any of the previous cases, the temperature-related definition of "hot" may also stand, for example in the case of a recently cooked pepper, a wire under a bunsen burner, a supermodel on fire, or an illegally obtained Rolex glued inside a jet engine.

STEP 1 - Making The Item Not On Fire Anymore

The first thing to do is often the most overlooked by the novice cooler. First, check to see if the item is on fire. If the item is on fire, make the item not on fire. The practice of this is not part of this guide - it is recommended that you refer to our sister publication, "Guide to Making Things That Are On Fire Not On Fire Anymore".

STEP 2 - Moving The Item

Your next step is to find a way of moving the item in question. If the item is only mildly hot, or only hot relative to something which is, in actuality, very cold, it may be possible to move it with your bare hands. Unfortunately, human's judgement is often flawed in this regard, and if your own judgement proves so, it is perfectly acceptable to drop the item in question and yell "MOTHERFUCKER THAT BURNS" at the top of your lungs. If the item is breakable, however, be careful to drop it on something soft, otherwise a single hot item could multiply and become many hot items.

In the case of an item that is too hot to be picked up by hands, it may be possible to use some sort of "tong" mechanism. Put simply, you use your hands to drive a device that picks up the item for you. We supply a large selection of said devices in our catalog, "Devices You Can Use To Pick Up Hot Items", and this is recommended for perusal by anyone for which contact with things that are hot but shouldn't be is frequent.

Unfortunately, some hot items (for example, superheated boulders, spheres of molten mercury in deep space, or the entire continent of Africa nine minutes after the sun goes nova) may prove impossible to pick up. In this case, skip to Step 4 for in-place heat removal concepts.

STEP 3 - Putting The Item Somewhere Where It Might Not Be As Hot As It Was Where The Item Used To Be In The Place Where It Was Getting Too Hot To Begin With

If you need to get rid of a lot of heat in a hurry, it can often be useful to put the item someplace very very cold. Unfortunately, doing this may also cause damage to the item, generally in the case of things that are either very hard or very soft, i.e. diamonds or children. However, if the item in question is durable enough to handle large temperature extremes safely (i.e. bark or tin foil) it may be reasonable to place the item in something which is cold, for example, a sink filled with cold water, or possibly Europa. The item will cool quickly, possibly with a loud hissing noise and a large amount of gas made up of whatever it is you placed the item in. Please be careful - if the gas is potentially harmful, such as might come from a brick made out of ammonia or Britney Spears, it may be best avoided.

If the item is fragile it may be best to put it somewhere that does not conduct heat as well. On first thought the position is obvious - interstellar space. However, studies have shown that interstellar space conducts heat so poorly that the item will, in fact, cool far too slowly. Instead it is recommended that you place the item in the atmosphere of a nearby planet, possibly away from whatever it is that was making the item hot in the first place.

STEP 4 - Moving The Cool To The Item Instead Of Moving The Item To The Cool

Perhaps the item isn't getting cool enough in its new location, or perhaps the item has proven impossible to relocate. In any case, often one finds it necessary to make an item less hot without moving it. In this case the solutions are limited, but often effective. In general, try moving something that is cool near or around the object. For example, one could do anything from blowing on the item all the way up to blowing on the item really hard. One could also locate an asteroid made entirely out of ice and drop it on the item, or alternatively, lightly sprinkle the item with water.

Please keep in mind the possible side effects of the combination, however. While it seems reasonable to cool down a feverish rat with a city firehose, or use a lake frozen by the breath of a superhuman crimefighter to extinguish a burning refinery, you may get a less than optimum outcome from attempting to use the aforementioned frozen lake to cool down a delicate glass sculpture the size of a house, or perhaps using a cold barely subcritical piece of radioactive substance to cool down a slightly hotter barely subcritical piece of radioactive substance.

Forethought is important.

STEP 5 - Making It So That The Thing Which Got Hot Hopefully Won't Get Hot Again Anytime In The Near Future

Once the item is cooled to a more reasonable temperature for whatever that particular item is, one may wish to invest in a solution to ensure that the item doesn't get that hot again. Several such solutions are detailed below.

Fans: Build a device to aim a continuous stream of coolness over the item. This solution is often appropriate for husbands or sweatshops. However, this solution may be slightly less effective on pulsars or, sometimes, sponges.

Armed Guards: Do what is necessary to keep the heat producer from being brought to the item that should be kept cool. This approach has had high success with the famed ice sculptures of Bringablowtorch III, the unfortunately named planet attracting far more than its share of pyromaniacs. However, some items prove impossible to guard, such as dust, constellations, or George W. Bush's daughters.

Heatsinks: The idea of using an item that is designed to get hot to bring heat from items that are not designed to get hot is one that is relatively recent. However, it is also quite efficient. Some objects prove simple to install heatsinks into, such as trucks, winnebagos, or smaller winnebagos. However, many others are recalcitrant - examples include goldfish, stained-glass windows, and most large rivers.

Maxwell's Demon: Possibly the most efficient cooling mechanism yet devised, Maxwell's Demon operates by placing all the hot molecules on one side of a barrier and all the cold molecules on the other side. Unfortunately, Maxwell is currently on trial for breaking the laws of thermodynamics, and the lawsuits seem likely to extend for years. Maxwell himself was unavailable for comment, though his lawyers said he would likely be acquitted completely.

We hope this guide has come in useful for your purposes. If this guide has been helpful, we recommend you check out the rest of our fine self-help guides, including the "Guide to Stepping Over Obstructions Less Than Two Feet In Height", the "Guide to Stirring Decaffinated Coffee", and our ever-popular "Guide to Doing Things Without Causing The Complete Destruction Of The Universe".
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