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In the third century B.C., Archimedes was the leading scientist at the court of Hiero II of Syracuse, a Greek city in Sicily. Archimedes is the guy who discovered that there is an upward force on an object in any liquid that is equaled to the weight of the liquid displaced by the object, or buoyancy.
His King, King Hiero, was in the market for a new crown, one made of pure gold. The king shopped from place to place to find the best price for his new crown. He didn't want to pay any more for his crown than he had to, so long as it was of quality and made of pure gold. One of the crown dealerships in his kingdom offered a beautiful crown for an extraordinarily low price. In fact, he didn't even need to leave his castle, he could order it through the mail. What good deal he thought, and promptly ordered the new crown.
When the new crown arrived, he noticed that it didn't look exactly like what the crown salesman described, but what the heck he got a "good deal" on it and could accept its different look. He wore his crown around his kingdom for several days - boosting to all of his friends, including the higher priced crown dealer, what a good deal he got on his crown made of pure gold. Then one day, while taking his crown off for the night, he noticed that one of the tines on his crown had chipped. Underneath the pure gold surface was a different color. When he called upon the mail order supply house - they said that he couldn't return it because all sales were final.
Well, the king, being the king that he was, wanted to make sure that this low priced crown was, in fact, made of pure gold, as crown shops in those days had a habit of substituting silver for gold. Having no way to confirm this, he called upon Archimedes to verity that the crown was in fact made of pure gold.
Archimedes took samples of pure silver and pure gold, which were equal to the crown's weight and put each in a water filled container. Then he measured the amount of water that overflowed. He discovered that the volume of the water displaced by the gold sample was less that displaced by the silver. When the crown was put into the water, the volume of water that spilled from the container was less than the amount displaced by the silver, but more than that displaced by the gold. The crown was a combination of gold and silver, and the deception was discovered.
The king then went back to the higher priced crown shop dealer and ordered another crown. This time the crown was in fact pure gold and it came with a life-time warranty.
The moral of the story is: Cheap is cheap, pure is pure,
and you get what you pay for! Be careful; more often that
not, low prices mean low quality. And mail order nearly
always means low quality. You may be paying for silver at
gold prices. As the king found out, "Cheap was the most
expensive" and higher prices don't always mean that the dealer is
making more money. Wouldn't it be nice if we had and
Archimedes when we went shopping for dive gear...
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