Saturday, 27 June 2009

Both the honey and the brood of stingless bees are relished by Africans. The honey is usually sourish and thin compared to that of honey bees, but it can be just as tasty, depending on the species of stingless bee and the source of the nectar. On rare occasions they may make honey from Euphorbia flowers, and since the plant is known to be poisonous, Africans regard this honey as poisonous too.

At the top the nest, which is lined with a mixture of cerumen and mud, is connected to the outside by a more or less vertical passage. Below the nest is a second passage like a pipe, half a metre or more in length and which simply ends in the ground. This acts as a drain pipe for any water that may reach the nest. Within the nest cavity the brood area is enclosed in laminated sheets of cerumen, separate from the storage pots. The brood cells are arranged in layers, to form a more or less spiral comb.

The Bees Knees

Rabbinic tradition related a notable conception of the relation of manna to dew. Drawing primarily on Mekhilta Yoma 75b, the medieval Bible commentator Rashi summarized the midrashic variants as follows:

"There was a layer of dew" [Exod.16:13] The dew lay on the manna. At another place [Num.9:9] it says "And when the dew came down," and so forth ["upon the camp at night, the manna fell upon it"] The dew fell upon the ground and the manna fell upon it, and then the dew returned and fell upon it. Behold, it was as though it were carefully packed in a chest.

--From the Mystery of Manna By Daniel Merkur

Manna is the name of a food which, according to the Bible, was eaten by the Israelites during their travels in the desert. In the description in the Book of Exodus, manna is described as being available six mornings a week, after the dew had evaporated. The God-sent manna fell only six days in the week so that the Sabbath would remain holy. Moreover, twice as much fell on Friday (to accommodate the Sabbath).

"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work" (Exodus 20:8?10)

This is actually a commandment; it is the Fourth Commandment. I have always puzzled over this one. We all deserve at least one day off a week don't we? But do we deserve to be punished if we don't take it? What if we have a different day off - Monday or whatever ? In the grand scheme of things - does it really make any difference which day I rest? Does it really matter how many days a week I don't work?

"For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth ... and rested on the seventh day. Wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it" (Ex. 20:11)

For Muslims it is Friday which is the holy day; for Jews, it's Saturday. Maybe God's not too hung-up-on the Sabbath. Maybe God would prefer it if we were just nicer to one another. Maybe God is trying to draw our attention to something.

Israel is often named in the Bible as a "land of milk and honey," but it was largely thought that this referred to "honey" made from dates and figs, as the book does not mention honeybee cultivation. The new discovery shows that indeed, 3,000 years ago, the Holy Land harbored an extensive beekeeping industry. By those times, Rehov could have had around 2,000 inhabitants, mostly Canaanites (the ancient Jews came from a Canaanite population).

We've all heard of the expression "busy as a bee". Bees are well thought of as industrious, and hard working. One day I was reading something about the everyday life of bees, when I was struck by the significance of six days in their larvae stage.

There are three stages in the development of a bee. The first is the egg stage. The Queen lays an egg in the bottom of each cell. The egg is centered in the cell and one end is stuck to the bottom.

For a Worker Bee larvae this stage lasts three days. Worker Bee larvae are fed Royal Jelly for three days, after which they are fed Bee Pollen and Honey.

Then, after six days in the larval stage, the cell is capped with wax and the bee spends the next 12 days in the pupa stage. After a total of 21 days the adult worker bee emerges!

The way the cells are capped also reminds me of how slabs are pushed in position to cover the entrance of a tomb. After he died on the cross, Jesus was taken by Joseph of Arimathea, and Nicodemus to be buried in a tomb. Joseph placed Jesus’ body in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. It was Preparation Day (the day before the Sabbath), and the Sabbath (Saturday) was about to begin, so everyone hurried home. According to the Bible, the women were the first to return on Sunday (Easter Sunday). Jesus was resurrected on the third day.

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don't be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him." (Mark 16:1-7 )

It is not hard to find differences between what we know of the teachings of Jesus and what we know of the teachings of the Essenes. Some believe Jesus to have been an Essene. The Essenes called themselves Therapeutae, "healers," claiming that their austere lifestyle gave them the power to cast out demons of sickness and even to restore life of the dead. Due to the various spellings of "Essene" the word could also mean "pious one," or "doers," or "doers of the Torah".

The Essenes were members of an ascetic Jewish sect of the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD. Most of them lived on the western shore of the Dead Sea. They are identified by many scholars with the Qumran community that wrote the documents popularly called the Dead Sea Scrolls. They numbered about 4,000 members. Admission required two to three years of preparation, and new candidates took an oath of piety, justice, and truthfulness.

According to Philo of Alexandria and other writers of the 1st century AD, the Essenes shared their possessions, lived by agriculture and handicrafts, rejected slavery, and believed in the immortality of the soul. Their meals were solemn community affairs. The main group of Essenes opposed marriage. They had regular prayer and study sessions, especially on the Sabbath.

One day, Jesus sat amidst people who listened to his words with amazement. He said: "Seek not the Law in your scriptures, for the Law is life, whereas the scripture is dead. The Law is the living word of the living God to living prophets for living men. In everything that is life, is the Law written. You find it in the grass, in the trees, in the river, in the mountain, in the birds of heaven, in the fishes of the sea, but seek it chiefly in yourselves. God did not write the Law in books, but in your heart and in your spirit. "
--From the Gospel of the Essenes.

When I read the above statement from the Gospel of Essenes, I thought it something which could just as readily have been said by Heraclitus, or Zeno. It was Zeno's statement "man conquers the world by conquering himself", followed by his understanding of God as the Universe, which most attracted me to Stoicism. If you think about it, the only way God is ever going to be able to be omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient is by being the Universe itself. Zeno, and Stoic philosophy, was heavily influenced by Heraclitus.

The Heraclitean notion of fire which is physis, logos, and God was reinterpretted, and appropriately elaborated and became the central idea of the ontology of Zeno and the Stoa. This divine fire or aether was for Zeno the basis for all activity in the Universe. For the Stoics, God penetrates the world "as honey does the honeycomb". Sometime later, the Gospel of John identifies Jesus as the incarnation of the logos, or Word of God, through which all things are made.

The Chaldee word for a bee is DABAR which also means a WORD, thus the bee is symbolic for the Word of God, Jesus Christ. The bee is also associated with the lion, in Samson’s riddle of the lion and the bees. Another connection, for Jesus Christ is the Lion of Judah. Samson unaided slew the roaring lion and from its carcass took immortal honey, and out of the LION of Judah came the WORD of God; out of His death came eternal life for man.

The sacredness of the bee has a long history throughout the world. Bee carvings have been found on the temple walls of ancient Egyptians. Indeed, references to honey and its healing powers are found in ancient papyri dating back to 5000 BC. Bee pollen then and now is described by some as "a life-giving dust".

Although the bee has not been deified by the ancient Egyptians, it was worshipped as a source of eternal life. An early title of the pharoahs was Bity, meaning "the one of the bee". The tomb of the ancient Egyptian king Ramses III (1198-1167 BC) has bee designs in it. In most Egyptian funeral vaults, bees are shown in all phases of honey gathering.

The mystical dimension of Islam known as Sufism maintained a secret brotherhood called Sarmoung, or Sarman, meaning Bee. Members of the organization viewed their role as collecting the precious 'honey' of wisdom and preserving it for future generations.

Deborah was the name of one of the greatest prophetesses of Ancient Israel. The Jewish historian Josephus noted that the name Deborah, in Hebrew DBVRH, means "bee".

In India, old Hindu pictures of the god Krishna, as an avatar of Vishnu, has a blue bee in the middle of his forehead. The Hindu gods Vishnu, Krishna and Indra were called Madhava or "nectar born ones", and were often represented as bees perched on a lotus flower. Soma, the moon, is called a bee. Siva is represented as a triangle surmounted by a bee. Kama, god of love, has a bow-string of bees.

In Ancient Crete the bee signified the life that comes from death (as did the scarab in Egypt). The Cretan Zeus was born in a cave of bees and was fed by them, and Zeus also had the title of Melissaios, "Bee-man"; he fathered a son, the hero Meliteus, by a nymph who hid the child from Hera in a wood, where Zeus had him fed by bees.

Dionyous was fed on honey as a babe by the nymph Makris, daughter of Aristaeus, protector of flocks and bees. The priestess of Apollo at the Delphic Temple was called the ‘Delphic Bee’ and the bee was also the symbol of Diana and Ceres, supposedly because of its virginity.

At Ephesus, on the West coast of what is now Turkey, where the many breasted Artemis was worshipped, the bee appeared as her cult animal. Her temple at Ephesus was a symbolic beehive. Her priestesses were called Melissae (bees) and the eunuch priests were Essenes (drones). The title of drone is somewhat fitting for a eunuch because the male bee is castrated by the queen bee during the performance of mating mid-air. Pausanias, Greek traveller and geographer of the 2nd century AD, had said that the "essene" meant "King Bee".

The worship of Artemis merged with that of the Virgin Mary, whose tomb was said to be located there, with the establishment of the church of Our Lady of Ephesus in AD 431 . Bees are symbols of the Virgin Mary throughout the western World and especially in Eastern europe. In the Slavonic folk tradition the bee is linked with the immaculate conception.

Bee symbolism is a vital component of Masonic ideals, although its application within the craft is not without paradox. For instance, the ‘Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry’ informs us that the Bee is important to Freemasonry for the same reason it was important to the Egyptians, because of all insects; “only the Bee has a King.”

Drones are male honey bees. Male honey bees develop when the queen bee lays unfertilized eggs. It is not clearly understood what prompts a honey bee queen to lay an unfertilized egg versus a fertilized egg. The fertilized egg hatches into a worker bee. Can we then not say that the drone is of virgin birth?

Drones are characterized by eyes that are twice the size of those worker bees, and queens. When comparing the head of the drone with those of the queen, one readily notices the compound eyes, those crescent-shaped projections on the side of the head. Three small points, present as well in queen and worker, in a triangle at the top of the head are small eyes, or ocelli. The ocelli are actually three eyes arranged in a triangular pattern, each eye consisting of a simple dense lens, which is made from a thickening of the head exoskeleton, and sensory retinal cells beneath the lens.

A queen bee can lay up to 1500 eggs in one day. In her lifetime, she may lay more than a million eggs. She lays her eggs in special nursery cells of the honeycomb. Each little egg is about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. It hatches into a larva in 3 days and comes out of the cell. Worker bees feed a substance called royal jelly to the larva. Royal jelly makes larva grow rapidly. Queen bee larva eat royal jelly for 6 straight days.

Worker bee and drone bee larva are fed royal jelly for 3 days. They then are fed a watery mixture of honey and pollen. After the 6 days of eating, the larva are sealed back into the nursery cells where they make little cocoons and turn into pupa. In about 2 weeks the pupa turn into adult bees. They chew open their wax nursery cells and come out as adults.

The word "apis" meant "bull" to the Egyptians and also "bee" in Latin. This may not be a coincidence. The antennae, or feelers, of a bee protrude like two long "horns " from its head. It used to be believed that bees could be spontaneously generated from the carcasses of bulls, especially if they were buried up to the horns in the ground. This process was known as bougonia. Virgil describes the practice in his Georgics book IV, attributing it to the Egyptians. Some see the bougonia as not so much a symbol of resurrection or rebirth, but rather "an exchange of death for life".

It has been said that the Goddess was depicted as “Queen Bee” by the Minoans and that bees were believed to have been closely tied to bull worship, once dedicated to the Goddess. The bee and the bull had similar mystical meanings. The Minoans believed that the bees were the spirits of dead sacred bulls. Seals and gemstones often showed a bee on one side and a bull on the other.

Also of note are the bee-masked priestesses which appear on Minoan seals and the Goddess figure of Merope, meaning “honey-faced”, found in Greek mythology. This evidence points towards the possibility that the female representation found in the pendant of gold bees is not merely decorative, but an intentional composition created to symbolize the Great Goddess.

We used the honeybee, Apis mellifera, in which queens are highly polyandrous and able to maintain sperm viable for several years. We identified over a hundred proteins representing the major constituents of the spermathecal fluid, which females contribute to sperm in storage. We found that the gel profile of proteins from spermathecal fluid is very similar to the secretions of the spermathecal gland and concluded that the spermathecal glands are the main contributors to the spermathecal fluid proteome.

A detailed analysis of the spermathecal fluid proteins indicate that they fall into a range of different functional groups, most notably enzymes of energy metabolism and antioxidant defense. A metabolic network analysis comparing the proteins detected in seminal fluid and spermathecal fluid showed a more integrated network is present in the spermathecal fluid that could facilitate long-term storage of sperm.

Abstract: Research on model organisms has substantially advanced our understanding of aging. However, these studies collectively lack any examination of the element of sociality, an important feature of human biology. Social insects present a number of unique possibilities for investigating social influences on aging and potentially detecting new mechanisms for extremely prolonged, healthy life spans that have evolved naturally.

Social evolution has led to life spans in reproductive females that are much longer (up to over 100-fold) than those of males or of nonreproductive worker castes. These differences are particularly dramatic because they are due to environmental influences, as all individuals develop from the same genomes.

Social insect colonies consist of semi-autonomous individuals, and the relationship between the colony and the individual creates many interesting predictions in the light of the common theories of aging. Furthermore, the variety of lifestyles of social insects creates the potential for crucial comparative analyses across distinct social systems.

Queen cups are larger than the cells of normal brood comb and are oriented vertically instead of horizontally - I wonder what is the significance of these factors on development? The queen bee larva is given unlimited rich food, and a larger chamber to grow in, and more exposure to circulating air - all of which must only benefit her growth - but why does it matter that she is vertical?

The compound eyes of bees exhibit hexagonal packing systems, and in some way echo the structure of the hive. The beehive's internal structure is comprised of a densely packed matrix of hexagonal cells made of beeswax, called a honeycomb. Which reminds me of something. When one casts an eye over the "machine" that Maxwell designed to help him in his calculations of EMR, one can't help but see the hexagonal dipolar vortices as a honeycomb structure.

It's funny how the honey bee performs the waggle dance to tell her sisters about a nearby food source in the shape of a figure eight. This figure eight represents a dipolar vortice; one vortex is outlined in a clockwise direction, and the other vortex is done in a counter-clockwise direction. One could almost imagine it was the humble bee which inspired Maxwell into creating his formulas for EMR.

All snowflakes, though never alike, are invariably hexagonal. A hexagon has six sides and six points; in numerology six is the number of man; it is the number of imperfection; the human number. Mind you, just to illustrate the inconsistency to be had in some of these things, others might find that six is far from imperfect:

The [six days of creation] is not perfect because God created the world in 6 days, but rather God perfected the world in 6 days because the number was perfect.
--Vincent Foster Hopper, Medieval Number Symbolism, 1938.

Bees are able to regulate the temperature of the hive throughout the seasons. In the winter the bees cluster around the queen and take turns moving to the cold exterior of the cluster. In the summer they cool the hive and dehydrate the nectar into honey by fanning their wings. If the temperature of the hive rises due to extreme summer temperatures the bees, via an unknown signal, alert all hive members. In response the bees stop what they are doing, even those that are foraging for nectar at a great distance. These tiny insects each collect a drop of water to bring back to the hive to cool it, rushing back and forth with a cargo of moisture until the heat emergency is over.

Amber sounds like it should be related to ambrosia. Etymologists, however, tend to think it has come by mistake from anbar, an Arabic word meaning 'ambergris' (perfumed secretions of the sperm whale); while 'ambrosia' comes from the Greek a - mbrotos meaning 'not mortal' or 'immortal'. So it seems there is nothing between them. Yet they have much in common.

Honey is a key ingredient of ambrosia, and most of the world's amber comes from the Baltic which is characteristically honey-coloured. 'Likeness' rules sympathetic magic. Still in Ajan they go further saying amber is actually honey that has run down the mountain and solidified by the sea.

Honey and amber appear in tombs of Egyptian pharaohs back to 3000 BC, for probably the same reason - both are preservatives. Honey was used for embalming, as was mythical ambrosia; and amber perfectly preserves insects, like bees, in its fossilised resin from pines millions of years old.

Aum is explained in the Upanishads as representing the vast Cosmos and its parts, including past, present and future. It is from this primal vibration from which all physical, mental and spiritual manifestations come forth. This sound can be heard as the sound of one's own nervous system.

Meditators and mystics hear it constantly, very much like the sound made by an electrical transformer or a swarm of bees, or a roaring river or the rushing of the sea. It is a strong, inner experience, one that yogis hold with great reverence. It is the word from which Amen derived.

This is probably one of the longest posts I've made so far. It's hard to resist making it even longer. There's such a wealth of interesting facts, historical tit-bits, and mysticism surrounding the everyday bee, that I almost feel like I am unable to stop myself diving back in and immersing myself in more.

All this talk of the elixir of life has drawn me back to the ear. I think it's possible that the elixir of life has something to do with the otolith organs of the inner ear. I figure that the rate of perception, the rate at which the brain communicates with itself, could be manipulated by the otolith organs, and thereby bend our perception of time. It's in the ear we find we produce something very much in common with honey bees: wax.

Okay it's not exactly beeswax, but tiny glands in the ear canal produce cerumen, which protects the sensitive eardrum. Sound waves bounce off of the eardrum and make it vibrate—very important for hearing. Ear wax protects this tightly stretched membrane from dirt and dust.

Earwax is best described as having shades of amber. The exact composition of earwax varies from person to person and ranges in color from golden-yellow to tan to dark brown or even black. Scientists have not yet discovered exactly what pigment is responsible for giving earwax its color. Indeed, earwax was used in medieval times as a pigment in illuminated manuscripts.

Wet-type earwax has been seen to fluoresce weakly under a UV light. Step with me on a tangent here, but some pieces of amber are known to fluoresce. The Dominican blue amber is known to fluoresce even in daylight. I was wondering, if only for the sake of asking, that there might be something important which shares properties in both earwax and amber?

Many thanks:

Animal Magick By D. J. Conway
The Biology of the Honey Bee By Mark L. Winston
Masonic Symbolism By Charles Clyde Hunt
The Lore of the Honey Bee By Tickner Edwardes

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

It's a small male sperm whale, only a year or two old—maybe 16 feet long if it were all here. Conveniently, only the head remains, at most a ton of blubber, skin, and bones resting on a wooden pallet. "You can lift it with a forklift! I love it," says Ketten, a biologist who studies the hearing of whales. Because this whale has been kept frozen, it is the freshest sperm whale she has cut into in years, and she can't help contrasting it with her last sperm whale dissection in 1999, on New Year's. She was at a party, "in velvet minidress and three-inch heels," when she got the call—a whale had beached and died on Nantucket Island. She dropped everything and got on an airplane. The whale stank horribly. She and her team dissected the ears and returned to the airport. On the way home everyone smelled so bad they were put on another plane by themselves, Ketten recalls.

Her subject this day had stranded on a beach in the Gulf of Mexico months earlier. Bathers poured water on him and covered him with their towels, but he was too sick to return to the sea, too big for any wildlife rehabilitation center. To end his misery, he had to be killed. Because his peripheral veins had collapsed, it proved impossible to inject a mortal dose of sedative. Finally, a veterinarian administered a local anesthetic, cut an artery, and let the whale quietly bleed out into the shallow water. Then the vet and a team from the National Park Service cut off his head, packed it in 150 bags of ice bought at a minimart, and trucked it to a walk-in freezer.

Ketten cuts through layers of blubber and muscle, searching for the tympano-periotic bulla, a bone complex that houses the middle and inner ear. She shows a dry specimen, smaller than her fist, taken from a whale that stranded in 1964. It may be hollow, but it is extraordinarily heavy. Ear bones of cetaceans—whales, dolphins, and porpoises—are the densest bones in the world, protecting delicate inner-ear tissues from damage and the tremendous pressure of dives. Sperm whales are thought to dive as much as a mile below the surface in search of squid and other prey.

Blubber is surprisingly attractive: a spotless milk-white layer, inches thick, beneath the whale's deep, rich black skin. Beneath the blubber, Ketten finds jaw fats, creamy in color, far softer. When she tentatively identifies the shape of the casing that holds the fats, she says: "It's so cool! It's a sort of ovoid lobe of fat—if my theory is correct—that runs along the jaw, conducting sound waves." She describes the lobes as shaped like a pair of rabbit's ears, one on each side of the jaw.

As dusk falls, she reaches the ligaments behind the bulla and calls for a flashlight. Cutting it loose, she holds it up for all to admire before injecting it with formalin to preserve the cochlear structures inside. "It's a rock that has really delicate membranes in it," she says.

On the second day, the biologists tip the head over with a forklift so they can work on the other side. Ketten injects methylene blue dye into the outer ear, a slit about a third of an inch wide and shaped like a sound hole on a violin. The dye travels less than two inches before it hits an obstruction, possibly a lump of wax and dead tissue similar to those Ketten has seen in other whales. The canal may be a blind pouch, a useless relic of the whale's ancestry as a land animal. Ketten says she will examine it "slowly, tediously, carefully" in the laboratory to figure out whether it has any function.

Next, she saws out a block of tissue that contains the middle and inner ear so it can be put through a CT scanner, membranes intact. When the block finally comes loose, she peers into the space behind the ear and points out the enormous auditory nerve that passes through a hole in the skull from the brain to the ear. The nerve is big not only because whales are big; it is big because hearing is a whale's most important sense.

Because cetaceans have evolved so that their outer ears do little if any work, researchers had suggested that jaw fats receive sounds. Ketten was the one who put forth convincing evidence that the soft fat shaped like a rabbit's ear in a whale's head will pick up sound waves as the mammal moves through water and carry the waves to the middle and inner ear. "This particular type of fat has an acoustic impedance that's similar to seawater," she says, referring to cetaceans affectionately as "acoustic fatheads."

While the structure of cetaceans' middle and inner ear is similar to that of land mammals, including humans, Ketten has found differences that allow whales and dolphins to hear higher frequencies than they otherwise might, improving their ability to echolocate. She has determined that cetaceans can hear much higher and lower frequencies than humans because they have evolved a bigger range of widths and stiffnesses in the basilar membrane in the cochlea of their inner ears.

Ketten also discovered that cetacean ears fall into three anatomic groups based on their lives in the water: "The frequencies they hear tell you something about what's important to them in their environment."

For example, odontocetes—toothed whales and dolphins—come in two flavors. Type I odontocetes hear upper-range ultrasonics, peaking above 100 kilohertz, about 80 kilohertz higher than human ears can hear. These animals include species such as the Amazon dolphin, which navigates in narrow spaces and clouded waters. Type II, the lower-range ultrasonic odontocetes, peak below 80 kilohertz. They are creatures of the coast and the open sea, needing lower frequencies to echolocate over longer distances in the search for, say, herring. There's something of a trade-off involved: Higher frequencies give precise images in echolocation; lower frequencies travel much farther but miss very small objects.

So little is known about so many species of whales and dolphins that Ketten becomes frustrated when she is pressured by environmentalists and government agencies to give definite answers. She grumbles that "marine mammalogy is a field in which the plural of anecdote is data." And although she is eager to study the blocks of tissue she cut from the Fort Walton Beach sperm whale, she has had to put much of that work on hold to focus on the most demanding, high-profile case she has ever undertaken: 16whales that beached in the Bahamas two years ago.

Most were beaked whales, and they stranded in the Providence Channels in the northern Bahamas. At the time, the U.S. Navy was testing tactical mid-frequency sonar in the area. Six of the whales died. Ten were pushed back to sea and may have survived. The deaths—and the possibility that sonar was responsible for them—triggered a controversy that is still unsettled.

In 1986, when Darlene Ketten was working at Harvard, she happened to overhear a conversation about cochlear implants in a hallway. "They were saying, 'Well, we can't get good scans because of the metal implant,' and I said, 'Yes, you can.'"

Much of a cochlear implant is made of platinum, a dense element that plays havoc with scans. As dense as platinum is, it's not much denser than cetacean ear bones, which had been a problem Ketten had to overcome in her scans. Soon she began consulting with implant teams at Harvard's Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Why do statues of Buddha have long earlobes? What's the difference between fat Buddha and regular Buddha?

Dear Cecil:
In Chinese restaurants I always see statues of Buddha with long earlobes. I sometimes ask the folks who work there what significance this has. So far, even the Buddhists (three now) have no idea. Do you? -- Eric Bottos, via e-mail What's the difference between the fat Buddha and the regular Buddha? One report I've heard is that Buddha was so good-looking that he asked to be made less attractive so he could study more and fend off women less.
— Cori, Boston

The earlobes are elongated, partly to indicate the Buddha is all-hearing and partly as a reminder of the heavy earrings that weighed them down before Siddhartha renounced material things to seek enlightenment.

The fat, laughing guy isn't the capital-B Buddha but a lesser buddha called Hotei (or Miroku or Miluo or Budai or Putai, depending on language). The model for Hotei was (probably) a cheerful, overweight Chinese zen monk or healer who wandered the countryside helping people circa 950 AD. In Asia the belly is one's spiritual center and source of power, so rubbing the laughing buddha's belly brings good luck, and is as close to achieving buddha nature as most of us will get.
— Cecil Adams

Atherosclerosis is a degenerative condition in which arteries build up deposits called plaques (atheromas) which consist of lipids (mainly cholesterol), connective tissue and smooth muscle cells originating from the arterial wall. Another term used to describe atherosclerosis is "hardening of the arteries"

Significant symptoms of atherosclerosis only appear at the end stage of the disease process when blood flow to a particular body part has been greatly reduced. An early warning sign of atherosclerosis is a crease in the ear lobe. This is because a decrease in blood flow over a period of time results in a collapse of the vascular bed of the ear lobe. This leads to a diagonal ear lobe crease which has been recognized as a sign of atherosclerosis since 1973. Studies show that the ear lobe crease is a better predictor of heart disease than any of the other known risk factors including high blood cholesterol, smoking history, sedentary lifestyle and others. Its presence does not prove that the person having it has coronary artery disease but it strongly suggests it. This correlation, unfortunately, does not work with Orientals and American Indians, but seems to hold true for all other races.

Common sugar promotes higher blood levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and uric acid. It also increases platelet stickiness and should be limited in any preventive diet for atherosclerosis as much as possible. An increase in dietary fiber (especially psyllium seed husks, legumes and oat bran) lowers cholesterol as well as improves bowel elimination.

"There is no magic bullet, diet plan, specific food, or type of exercise that specifically targets belly fat. But the good news is belly fat is the first kind of fat you tend to lose when you lose weight," says Michael Jensen, MD, a Mayo Clinic endocrinology specialist and obesity researcher.

And why is that? "Visceral fat, the kind tucked deep inside your waistline, is more metabolically active and easier to lose than subcutaneous fat under the skin, especially if you have plenty of it," explains Penn State researcher Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD.

And the more weight you have to lose, the more quickly you're likely to start losing your belly fat, experts say.

"People who are significantly overweight may see quicker results in their belly than someone who has less to lose in that area, such as a postmenopausal pouch," says Georgia State University nutrition professor, Christine Rosenbloom, PhD, RD.

"Visceral fat is more metabolically active and easier to lose than subcutaneous fat, especially if you have plenty of it and the right conditions are met...."
At the base of the ocean food web are single-celled algae and other plant-like organisms known as phytoplankton. Like plants on land, phytoplankton use chlorophyll and other light-harvesting pigments to carry out photosynthesis, absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide to produce sugars for fuel. Chlorophyll in the water changes the way it reflects and absorbs sunlight, allowing scientists to map the amount and location of phytoplankton. These measurements give scientists valuable insights into the health of the ocean environment, and help scientists study the ocean carbon cycle.

The highest chlorophyll concentrations, where tiny surface-dwelling ocean plants are thriving, are in cold polar waters or in places where ocean currents bring cold water to the surface, such as around the equator and along the shores of continents. It is not the cold water itself that stimulates the phytoplankton. Instead, the cool temperatures are often a sign that the water has welled up to the surface from deeper in the ocean, carrying nutrients that have built up over time. In polar waters, nutrients accumulate in surface waters during the dark winter months when plants can’t grow. When sunlight returns in the spring and summer, the plants flourish in high concentrations.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Gaseous exchange in earthworm takes place through its skin. The skin always remains moist and is in close contact with the blood vessels so that gaseous exchange can take place.

Behind The Green Door

In simple terms, photosynthesis is the way green plants use light to convert water and carbon dioxide (CO2) into the simple sugar - glucose. Photosynthesis requires a source of hydrogen with which to reduce carbon dioxide into carbohydrates. The plant does this by splitting water into it's bare components - hydrogen and oxygen - in a process known as photolysis.

Photolysis of water occurs in the thylakoids of cyanobacteria and the chloroplasts of green algae and plants. Chloroplasts are the oval shaped structures found in the cells of plant leaves. Chlorophyll is found in high concentrations in the chloroplasts of plant cells. Chlorophyll is a green pigment that is responsible for trapping sunlight so that photosynthesis can take place.

The green colour in chlorophyll is thought to be due to a magnesium atom (well, rather a magnesium ion) surrounded by a nitrogen-containing group of atoms called a porphyrin ring. The structure somewhat resembles that of the active constituent of hemoglobin in the blood. A long chain of carbon and hydrogen atoms proceeds from this central core and attaches the chlorophyll molecule to the inner membrane of the chloroplast, the cell organelle in which photosynthesis takes place.

There are several publications concerning investigations of the electrochemical and electro-catalytical properties of porphyrin compounds. The reasons for this considerable interest in porphyrins and their metal complexes are their semiconductive, photosensitivity and catalytic properties as well as the possibility of modifying these properties by structural modification of the porphyrin ring.

We are told that chlorophyll "absorbs" all the other colours of the spectrum yet reflects green light - and that is why plants appear green. Perhaps though, chlorophyll does not so much as absorb other colours of the spectrum, maybe green is the only colour it emits. All matter emits electromagnetic radiation (EMR) - it just so happens that chlorophyll chooses to do so in the range of the spectrum which we percieve as green.

All matter emits EMR. The electric fluid of the aether moves through molecules. The molecules are static in the aether field - it is the aether which is in motion. It is this motion around molecules which generates EMR. Which says something pretty interesting about colour does it not? A substance does not absorb, and reflect light to create the colours that we see. What we are seeing is light being emitted by the substance.

Sunlight does not create the colours that we see, but rather it acts as a torchlight over something which already exists. Erm... so I now find myself, somewhat surreal as it is, saying that there's no such thing as "white light". Can I say that? Just thinking that there's no such thing as white light makes me feel like I just let one rip at the boss's dinner table. I feel dirty.

I'm not saying that plants don't utilise sunlight in some way for photosynthesis - based on the evidence that would be a bit silly - but I don't think sunlight provides the energy as such. The energy is already here in the aether field. I think of sunlight as more of a signal for a plant to rev its engine, so to speak.

In 1792 Volta stated that "metals are thus not only perfect conductors, but motors of electricity". Now, wouldn't it be interesting if the metal at the centre of the porphyrin ring is, in someway, acting through the aether as a motor of electricity? Perhaps it is this electricity which orchestrates the photolysis in which water is split into hydrogen and oxygen.

The same year that Volta announced the voltaic pile, Anthony Carlisle and William Nicholson used it to decompose water into hydrogen and oxygen in a process which has come to be known as electrolysis. Nicholson and Carlisle used platinum electrodes and separate tubes to collect the gases evolved at each electrode. Hydrogen gas bubbled from around the cathode and oxygen gas from around the anode in the ratio of two volumes of H2 for every volume of O2.

This reaction can be done in pure water, and not necessarily an ionic solution, because the platinum acts as an electrocatalyst. There's something else though ...because the platinum acts as a catalyst, if the electric supply is removed, the gas bubbles of hydrogen and oxygen found at the electrodes begin to recombine to form water again, and in this reaction they produce electricity. It appears as if the gas bubbles are storing electricity! The following site illustrates this experiment very nicely:

We've seen photosynthesis where plants take in carbon dioxide and water, and using the sun, these two gases combine in a chemical reaction to produce glucose and oxygen. The plant stores the glucose and releases the oxygen. The plant actively gets rid of the oxygen as waste. It does look a bit like the plant is storing electricity, or at least one half of the electrochemical reaction, in the form of hydrogen - which it then "hides" inside glucose. To release the electrical energy, the plant needs only to introduce oxygen to the hydrogen.

This process of using oxygen to release energy from glucose is called cellular respiration. Cellular respiration occurs in the mitochondria of the plant cell. The glucose molecule, using oxygen, is broken apart and turned back into carbon dioxide and water, the same types of molecules that originally combined to make the glucose. By recombining the oxygen and hydrogen the plant is generating electricity! And so I'm thinking, that maybe, this is what life is all about - all these reactions between carbohydrates and enzymes and lipids and the like - are really all part of an elaborate sequence which stores and then manipulates the availability of the electrical forces found inside water.

A conventional hydrogen fuel cell works by exploiting the mutual attraction of hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity and water. At the moment, the hydrogen economy champions a PEM, or proton exchange membrane, fuel cell as the future. The PEM still depends on the simple chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. The current version works well in hybrid autos, but users are for the most part limited to using pure hydrogen. That means somewhere, someplace else, water has to be electrolyzed to generate hydrogen. Once we have the hydrogen, then there is the also the problem of storing it, and distributing it. These aren't my thoughts particularly on the subject, but some see the beckoning hydrogen economy as a bit of a faux-pas:

The laws of physics mean the hydrogen economy will always be an energy sink. Hydrogen’s properties require you to spend more energy to do the following than you get out of it later: overcome waters’ hydrogen-oxygen bond, to move heavy cars, to prevent leaks and brittle metals, to transport hydrogen to the destination. It doesn’t matter if all of the problems are solved, or how much money is spent. You will use more energy to create, store, and transport hydrogen than you will ever get out of it.

Wouldn't be a lot more fun if the water itself was the fuel - as seems to be the case in nature? We would have only to fill our tanks with water, and then continously split the water to recombine the hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity. The only waste product being water - which could quite merrily go back inside the fuel tank - no problemos.

A penny for my thoughts? It appears that an important part of photolysis is the pigment. I think I need to examine pigments elsewhere throughout nature, and amongst them, I wonder what is the exact impact of a porphyrin ring. Examples that stand out for me are those that are in the skin and in the blood. I'm also interested in understanding the role of pigments in everyday objects.

In cellular respiration, plants use oxygen to release energy from glucose in the process called aerobic respiration. I'm interested in how, exactly, the plant gains this oxygen. Is the plant able to use the oxygen it released via photosynthesis? Or does it absorb oxygen directly from the air through its leaves, or from water via the roots, or where?

Some plants photosynthesize using the CAM (crassulacean acid metabolism) mechanism. CAM plants live in very arid conditions. Unusually the stomata, the tiny pores on leaves, open at night (when evaporation rates are usually lower) and are usually closed during the day. The CO2 is converted to an acid and stored during the night. During the day, the acid is broken down and the CO2 is released to RUBISCO for photosynthesis.

It gets interesting when the plant suffers particularly dry weather, and tries to retain all its moisture by closing the stomata all night and day. Basically, oxygen given off in photosynthesis is used for respiration and CO2 given off in respiration is used for photosynthesis - but that sounds a bit like a perpetual energy machine, don't it?

Many thanks:

Encyclopedia of science and technology By James S. Trefil, Harold Morowitz, Paul Ceruzzi

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Nailed To A Tree

Canton firm's alternative to oil: Plug in to a tree
By Tim Wacker, Globe Correspondent March 19, 2006

Scientifically speaking, it was a pretty strange scene: In 20-degree weather late last month, a handful of academics were hammering nails into a tree near MIT's Cambridge campus and attaching wires to them. On the other end of those wires was a small sword of copper driven about 2 feet into the frozen earth. In between was a potential revolution in green energy.

''At first we thought it was crazy," said Stella Karavas, marketing director for Canton-based MagCap Engineering. ''Then we went out outside and tested it, and sure enough, it works."

MagCap now thinks it may have found the ultimate in alternative energy. The family-owned electrical components maker says it has found a way to refine a very faint source of electricity found in trees into something that can light a very small light bulb. It is patenting a device that it says can charge a battery from that electricity that, once fully charged, will keep a small light shining forever. And it works -- every time, every tree, Karavas said.


Steam, remember, is evaporated water. When water is heated to a temperature of 212°F at atmospheric pressure it turns into steam. If the water is enclosed in a tightly closed vessel such as a boiler the temperature at which the water turns into steam will be higher. In any case, the volume of the steam produced will be very much larger than the volume of the water from which it was produced. At atmospheric pressure, for example, a pound of steam occupies a volume of 26 cubic ft.

Suppose, now, that you had a pound of steam at atmospheric pressure in a closed vessel with a volume of exactly 26 cu. ft. This vessel would be a trifle less than 3 feet on a side – assuming it to be a cube. It would be full of steam. There would be no air. If you suddenly placed this vessel on a large block of ice, or cooled it by spraying cold water on it, what would happen? The steam would condense – it would turn back into water – into one pound of water. This pound of water, however, would occupy only 1/60th of a cubic foot. It would look about like this:

This is very little water. Most of the interior is now occupied by nothing – 99.93 percent of the total volume. This means a vacuum.

The total surface of this cube bas an area of 7,776 sq. in. Since each square inch bas 15 lb. of atmosphere pressing down on it (and with nothing inside to counteract it) the total atmospheric pressure on the cube is now 7,776 × 15 or about 116,640 lb.

If you want to see whether this is really true, try it sometime. Take an ordinary rectangular gallon can with a screw cap closure, fill it with about half inch of water, and bring the water to a boil by placing it on a gas burner for a few minutes. Do this with the screw cap off. Then, when the water is boiling vigorously, suddenly screw the cap on, and then quickly place the can under a stream of cold water. The can will crumple up like so much paper.

This spectacular experiment is one, which anybody can make at home but it is extremely convincing in demonstrating the production of a vacuum by the condensation of steam.

I wanted to work with this experiment, and to see if there's a different way of looking at it. We seem to all be focused on the forces working from the outside. What if the forces are not crushing the can from the outside though - what if the can is being crushed by forces of suction from the inside?

Could we assume that in a pure vacuum that the aether is a constant pressure of 300,000 km/s, and that there being no atomic vortices to resist it, we would find no wavelength of EMR being emitted? EMR is only emitted by matter. That gives our pure vacuum a frequency of 0 Hz. If the speed of light is written as 1 Hz, that would make a wavelength of 0 Hz faster than the speed of light.

In changing from water to steam we have the same amount of molecules, and the same amount of aether ... so what exactly is shrinking from steam to water? If the can was warmed instead of cooled, the can would have blown outwards - the volume taken up by the steam increases. Looking at it, one way that this expansion and contraction is possible is if the molecules, or at least their spheres of influence, are actually shrinking and expanding.

At standard temperature and pressure, pure steam (unmixed with air, but in equilibrium with liquid water) occupies about 1,600 times the volume of an equal mass of liquid water. We have the same amount of molecules, but the molecules of steam occupy a much greater space. In theory, the aether should be under a higher pressure in the water, water having a higher density than steam. This would mean that steam induces the aether at a lower pressure, in effect the speed of the aether slows down, but then we find we have higher temperatures.

Steam is hot, and ice is cold (no, really?) Ice has a density a bit lower than water. In ice, the same amount of molecules take up a bit more room than those in water. So, one would have to infer that the aether is under a lower pressure in the ice than it is in the water. But huh?! If the aether is under a lower pressure in the steam, then why do we find it hot - certainly not cold?

Water reaches its maximum density around 4 degrees C. What if, at this temperature, this is the smallest a water molecule can go? In ice, if the water molecule is at its smallest capacity, but the water is growing in volume - what the hell is happening? It would suggest that it is the space between molecules which is expanding, and not the molecules themselves. Smaller molecules would offer less resistance to the aether, and we would see lower pressures in the aether because of greater space between molecules.

This insinuates that we are not seeing greater space between molecules in steam. Perhaps it is the molecules which are growing in size. Larger molecules would take up more room, the canyon walls would narrow, and the aether would speed up. Is it possible that the molecules induce the aether at a relatively low pressure - compared to the high pressures of the fluid of the aether which surrounds them? With plenty of rub between molecules, it also gives us heat.

Steam is less dense than air. The same volume of steam is lighter than the same volume of air. It is the pressure of the aether which appears to determine density. Is it the aether at high pressure which makes steam lighter than air - or is it because the molecules are bigger? Or is steam lighter from a combination of the two?

The aether at low pressure in ice allows it to float on water. Gold and tungsten are some of the most dense metals found on Earth - is this density due to the high pressure of aether?

In the case of water, by varying the size of the water molecules we create a pump. The implosive forces where the molecules shrink and generate a vacuum, are just as impressive as when the molecules expand and things blow-up.

If molecules come in all different shapes and sizes, does this start to explain the different frequencies of EMR?

Many thanks:

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Cheshire Cat

A meniscus is the curved surface of a liquid. A concave meniscus curves downwards, with the middle being lower than the sides; this is what we see with water in a glass tube. A convex meniscus curves upwards, with the middle being higher than the sides; as found with liquid mercury in a glass tube. A good textbook explaination is as follows:

A meniscus is usually concave (upward) because the surface tension of the fluid is less than that of the walls of the tube, and the liquid wets the surface of the tube and tends to "crawl up" the tube. That is what is usually seen in aqueous solutions. In the case of high surface tension liquids, mercury for example, the high surface tension of the liquid metal tends to make the liquid attract it to itself. The result is a meniscus that is convex (upward). The size of the tube and the surface tension of the liquid versus the surface of the tube affects the curvature of the meniscus. A side note: I have seen very pure (99.9999% mercury) in a rigorously flamed quartz container (This drives off all the adhered water and gases.) in which the meniscus is flat, at least so far as the naked eye can detect. Both surfaces then have high surface tensions.

Vince Calder

I wonder if there is something else at work here. Something which might be explained by pressure differences in the aether as it interacts between the water, the glass, and the air. I am going to start with suggesting that the aether in the water is under a higher pressure than the aether in the air. I think that this pressure difference in the aether generates a suction force in which the water in a tube is trying to "suck" in the air. What though of the pressure differences of the aether between water - glass - air - interfaces? I wonder what influences glass has on the meniscus in a tube?

The term "glass" in a general sense is applied to the hard brittle, non-crystalline, transparent, opaque or translucent vitreous substance which results from fusing silica with active mineral solvents or fluxes, such as the alkalies, earthly bases, or metallic oxides. Some consider glass to be a supercooled liquid. It is sometimes said that glass is therefore neither a liquid nor a solid. It has a distinctly different structure with properties of both liquids and solids.

For crystalline substances the distinction between the solid and liquid states is very clear, but what about glasses? Indeed, where do polymers, gels, foams, liquid crystals, powders and colloids fit into this picture? Some people say that there is no clear distinction between a solid and a liquid in general. A solid, they claim, should just be defined as a liquid with a very high viscosity. They set an arbitrary limit of 1013 poises above which they say it's a solid and below which it's a liquid.

Solids are elastic when small stresses are applied. They deform but return to their original shape when the stress is removed. When higher stresses are applied some solids break while others exhibit plasticity. Plasticity means that they deform and don't return to their original shape when the stress is removed. Many substances including metals such as copper have plasticity. The resistance to flow under plastic deformation is called its viscoplasticity. This is like viscosity, except that there's a minimum stress known as the elastic limit below which there is no plasticity. Materials with plasticity do not flow, but they may creep, meaning they deform slowly but only when held under constant stress.

I think that the "plasticity" of a substance is important with regards to electricity. I think electricity might be the aether under high pressure, and that this high pressure creates a lot of stress, and that this stress generates higher pressures. Glass, at least normal glass, is brittle and does not exhibit plasticity until it is heated under high temperatures.

When a piece of glass has been expanded under the influence of heat, and is rapidly cooled, the superficial outer portions become intensely strained and contracted upon the interior portions, which retain the heat longer. These stresses or strains are relieved in the process of annealing, under which they are gradually eased by a slow and regular cooling from the heated condition.

If droplets of molten glass are dropped into a bucket of cold water to rapidly cool, they form something known as "Prince Rupert drops". The drops are an example of unannealed glass. The exterior of the drop cools and hardens immediately, while the interior material cools slowly. As the interior material cools, it contracts and sets up powerful compressive stresses on the surface. It is under these conditions that a vacuum bubble forms inside the drop's head.

The pieces of glass are tadpole-shaped. They can withstand the crack of a hammer, but if the tail is broken, or snapped off, the whole piece explodes (or implodes?). It's as if all the energy from the stress is contained due to the surface tension. The potential energy inside the glass is stored in the stressed structure, but having the unfortunate belief that there's no such thing as potential energy, I prefer to write that it is the structure of the glass which manipulates energy in the aether field. You can see some experiments with the drops here on YouTube:

Recently an examination of the shattering of Prince Rupert's Drops by the use of extremely high speed video done by Dr. Srinivasan Chandrasekar at Purdue University has revealed that the "crack front" which is initiated at the tail end, propagates in a disintegrating drop within the tensile zone towards the drop's head at a very high velocity (~ 1450-1900 m/s, or up to ~4,200 miles per hour).

I think there's something special about glass. We've seen its influence in creating X-rays. Early experiments with electricity used glass bottles partially filled with water, known as Leyden jars, as capacitors. They were used to "store" static electricity. It was initially believed that the charge was stored in the water. Benjamin Franklin investigated the Leyden jar, and concluded that the charge was stored in the glass, not in the water, as others had assumed. From my perspective, the glass does not simply store the electricity, but rather it is converting the everpresent aether into electricity.

To increase the capacitance you need a bigger bottle. The larger the surface of the metal or tinfoil, the greater the capacity. The thickness of the metal though is of no value. The thicker the glass, the less the capacity. Can I then say that the thicker glass is less able to convert the aether into electricity? Does a thinner glass therefore induce the aether at a higher pressure? This is by no means an original line of thought, and the following was taken from "Elementary Lessons in Electricity and Magnetism" By Silvanus P. Thompson:

...Electrical phenomena are due to stresses and strains in the so-called "ether", the thin medium pervading all matter and all space... As the particles of bodies are intimately surrounded by ether, the strains of the ether are also communicated to the particles of bodies, and they too suffer a strain... The glass between the coatings of tinfoil in the Leyden jar is actually strained or squeezed, there being a tension along the lines of electric force

The Leyden jar was also once referred to as a "condenser". It was coined by Alessandro Volta in 1782 (derived from the Italian condensatore), with reference to the device's ability to store a higher density of electric charge than a normal isolated conductor. There's something else though. William Leithead, in his book "Electricity" made an interesting observation:

On the inner surface of a Leyden jar a quantity of moisture frequently becomes condensed - although the jar must have been perfectly dry, otherwise it could not have recieved and retained an intense charge. These are subjects of enquiry that are deserving of attention.

This puzzles me a bit, not least because this condensation is barely ever mentioned elsewhere. Perhaps this condensation is another reason why the jar gained the name "condenser". It appears that air, and not simply the electric fluid of the aether, was important in the generation of electricity. The condenser, according to Volta, allowed for the detection of even the smallest discharge of electricity from vaporization and chemical effervesence. The condensation of vapors seemed to hold a lot of importance to Volta. The atmospheric discharge of electricity, such as lightning, was attributed by him to the condensation of vapors.

Condensation is the process of water returning to the air. Condensation occurs when water vapor meets cooler air. One of the most important principles applied in the operation of steam power is the creation of vacuum by condensation. Basically, condensation can pull a vacuum. It works on the premise that steam takes up more space than water. If you cool the steam it condenses to a much smaller amount of water. If the steam were made to rapidly condense in something which was airtight, say an oil can, the water would then only occupy a tiny space, and the rest of the container would be empty - absolutely empty except for the aether - there would be a vacuum.

If we were to experiment we'd find that as the steam condensed, the oil can would crumple up like paper. It's like a paper bag full of air, and then something's come along and sucked the air right out of it. The can has imploded. I'm getting way-laid, I know, but I get a sense that later I'm going to turn to this and understand its importance. For the low-down on this experiment, and steam power in general, I found this site very informative, and really helpful:

So I'm left looking at the concave meniscus in a glass tube with water. If the aether is at its highest pressure in the walls of the glass tube (because it is denser than both water and air) - then is it possible that the glass is trying to suck both at the water and the air? The water could be pulling down the air from above, while the glass is pulling at the water from the sides and below. Could this help explain the concave shape ?

We see a convex meniscus with liquid mercury in a glass tube. I think that the convex shape looks a bit like we are baking a loaf in the oven. Now we have mercury being the most dense medium, and I suspect that it is here that the aether is under the highest pressure. It would appear then that the pressure is on a gradient, being the highest in the mercury, a bit lower in the glass, and then the least in the air.

A convex meniscus occurs when the mercury molecules have a stronger attraction to each other than they do for the container. That's the textbook answer and it pretty much agrees with what we are seeing. The mercury doesn't look like it's trying to suck down the air, or suck to the sides of the glass. The mercury looks pretty much self-contained. I think we have the pressure differences in the aether, but these fail to materialise physically. What, if anything, am I missing?

I can't help but mention that when I look at the convex and concave shapes of the meniscus, and I put the two together, I think of the movement of a diaphragm. So? ......

I quite liked this. A bit different. I wouldn't hope to fully understand it though... whoops, better be careful, or I could end up standing in a greenhouse with a rock in one hand, while pouring myself a nice cup of tea from a black kettle....

And this one too is really good. Washburn et al, were investigating dissolved gases in glass. (I think dissolved gases might be what we call ions). Anyway, the article fits in beautifully with this post.

Many thanks:
Electricity By William Leithead

Thursday, 11 June 2009


Chemically, Salt is sodium chloride (NaCl). As package salt grains look like broken and/or deformed cubes. When dissolved and allowed to recrystalize, salt crystals take on a distinct pyramid shape the outline of which is sometimes faintly seen in the orginal "cubes".

Graphite is a fair conductor of electricity, while diamond is practically an insulator (stranger yet, it is technically classified as a semiconductor, which in its pure form acts as an insulator, but can conduct under high temperatures and/or the influence of impurities). Both graphite and diamond are composed of the exact same types of atoms: carbon, with 6 protons, 6 neutrons and 6 electrons each. The fundamental difference between graphite and diamond being that graphite molecules are flat groupings of carbon atoms while diamond molecules are tetrahedral (pyramid-shaped) groupings of carbon atoms.

Bucky balls are named after Buckminster Fuller, who popularized the geodesic dome. The shape defined by Bucky balls is also found in the Carbon 60 molecule, a form of pure carbon with 60 atoms in a nearly spherical configuration, the truncated icosahedron and soccer balls.

The important thing to recognize is that condensation can pull a vacuum. The vacuum can be substantial if all the air is removed from the vessel before condensation. If air is completely removed and the vapor is condensed, the final pressure will be the vapor pressure of water. At 25C, this is 0.032 bar, 24 mm Hg, or 29.0 inches of vacuum!

Pharaoh's Pump Foundation

Steam engines which used steam at low pressure were phased-out in favour of high pressure steam from smaller engines. Engineers needed higher outputs, and the low pressure engines were required to become bigger and bigger, and simply became too big. I had a thought about the pyramids of Giza. If you wanted a big engine, then why not build a big pyramid?

It is our contention that the Great Pyramid is not just a big pile of rocks but the genius and high technology of the civilization which built it. It was built by our distant ancestors as sophisticated infrastructure to improve their society. That is the Great Pyramid’s legacy to the past. But the Great Pyramid is much more than that. It also represents a tangible and real solution to help our lives in the here and now. The Great Pyramid’s high technology can be utilized to improve our society in our modern but troubled world. By being a tangible and real solution to improve our civilization, the Great Pyramid can help provide a vision for a much better world.

Before any theorizing about the Great Pyramid, a little pump background is helpful. Invented in the 1700’s, hydraulic ram pumps are a primitive but highly effective machine. These simple pumps incorporate only two moving parts. Used extensively around the world until the invention of the electric water pump, these pumps have nearly been forgotten. The basic design utilizes the force of falling water to elevate part of the water.....

Water flows down the drive pipe into the compression chamber. Water escapes from the waste valve until the water‘s velocity forces the valve shut. When the valve shuts, the water stops flowing instantaneously and causes the water to compress resulting in a compression wave, or shock wave, to emanate from the valve area. In the drive line, the water reverses direction until the shock wave reaches air and returns down the pipe.

In the output line, a high pressure surge passes through the check valve. This surge is at least fifty times (3,360 psi at Giza) the static water pressure of the compression chamber. When the compression wave leaves the compression chamber, a low pressure situation exists. The low pressure is equal and opposite to the compression wave. This immediately re-opens the waste valve. The stand pipe is a shortcut for the compression wave to reach air. Once the compression wave reaches air, a wave returns down the stand pipe and starts the water flow back into the compression chamber. The stand pipe, usually twice the diameter of the drive pipe, allows for the highest possible cycling rate.

Most hydraulic ram pumps are free standing, with the majority of parts being exposed above ground (see Figure 3). A specialized application is to have the lines underground (see Figure 4). The stand pipe needs to exit to air, and the waste valve (wastegate) also needs an exit. To facilitate the waste valve output, a line may be extended from the compression chamber to an appropriate location. This allows for the bulk of the pump lines to be centrally located. This layout has an interesting side effect - the compression wave becomes focused in the line leading to the compression chamber and this focused compression wave transmits a pulse through the compression chamber’s ceiling....

Anyone that has experienced the running model all come away saying that the pump function is secondary to the pulse generation. The intense pulse is directed towards the King’s chamber causing it to resonate. The King's chamber is made of rose quartz granite which is 55% quartz crystal (possible piezo effect?). Why resonate the King's chamber? Chris Dunn, Joe Parr and others have theories.

I wonder, what effects the spiral causeway that follows the outside of the pyramid might have on the design of an engine. I saw a bit on TV once, where a guy managed to get a good look at an inside corner of the Great Pyramid. Something like halfway-up the pyramid there was some brickwork missing, and the guy got inside and looked around. He was in a smallish room. I remember he was disappointed because he was looking for a large tunnel to support the "spiral ramp" theory, and though he found something that looked like it could be a tunnel, it was much smaller; big enough for a fox perhaps, but not ten burly men with a whacking great slab. Perhaps though, this smaller tunnel is important.

For those who may have developed a taste for further reading on the subject, I'll keep adding any related sites I might find to the bottom of this post:

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Breaking The Law

I have a few thoughts I suppose. I'm interested in pressure differences in the aether, as imposed by matter, and what happens at the air-water interface, or the air-solid interface, and even the liquid-solid interface. I'm also following a train of thought that electricity is the aether under high pressure. Below, I'm paraphrasing some helpful text I found @ ...

In terms of physics, both gases and liquids are referred to as fluids—that is, substances that conform to the shape of their container. Air pressure and water pressure are thus specific subjects under the larger heading of "fluid pressure." A fluid responds to pressure quite differently than a solid does. The density of a solid makes it resistant to small applications of pressure, but if the pressure increases, it experiences tension and, ultimately, deformation. In the case of a fluid, however, stress causes it to flow rather than to deform.

Matter creates stress in the aether field, forcing the aether to flow.

The three characteristics of fluid pressure described above have a number of implications and applications, among them, what is known as Pascal's principle. Like the SI unit of pressure, Pascal's principle is named after Blaise Pascal (1623 -1662), a French mathematician and physicist who formulated the second of the three statements: that the external pressure applied on a fluid is transmitted uniformly throughout the entire body of that fluid. Pascal's principle became the basis for one of the important machines ever developed, the hydraulic press.

The external pressure being applied throughout the entire body of the electric fluid is something which we write as 300,000 km/s : the speed of light in a vacuum. 300,000 km/s is actually describing a pressure constant and not a speed as such. I think that 300,000 km/s describes a volume in the aether.

As fluid moves from a wider pipe to a narrower one, the volume of that fluid that moves a given distance in a given time period does not change. But since the width of the narrower pipe is smaller, the fluid must move faster (that is, with greater dynamic pressure) in order to move the same amount of fluid the same distance in the same amount of time. One way to illustrate this is to observe the behavior of a river: in a wide, unconstricted region, it flows slowly, but if its flow is narrowed by canyon walls, then it speeds up dramatically.

What happens then at the air-water interface? The aether would be under low pressure in the air, and then under a higher pressure in the water, so I'm expecting something to happen at the surface of the water. There would be a very purposeful change in speed of the aether at the surface of the water. Same volume ... different speed. I'm therefore interested to see if this has anything to do with the forces of surface tension and the appearance of meniscus.

A pump utilizes Pascal's principle, but instead of holding fluid in a single container, a pump allows the fluid to escape. Specifically, the pump utilizes a pressure difference, causing the fluid to move from an area of higher pressure to one of lower pressure. A very simple example of this is a siphon hose, used to draw petroleum from a car's gas tank. Sucking on one end of the hose creates an area of low pressure compared to the relatively high-pressure area of the gas tank. Eventually, the gasoline will come out of the low-pressure end of the hose. (And with luck, the person siphoning will be able to anticipate this, so that he does not get a mouthful of gasoline!)

Winds at the Earth's surface flow from areas of high pressure to low pressure in order to try and maintain equilibrium. The rising and sinking air at the centre of these pressure systems flow from low pressure to high pressure. I think that Animation 2 (from the site at the bottom of this paragraph) does a great job in illustrating the various flows of horizontal and vertical air between high pressure and low pressure systems. I wonder just how bloody close Animation 2 comes to describing an atom?

Heat flows from hot to cold. The first statement of the 2nd law of thermodynamics - heat flows spontaneously from a hot to a cold body - tells us that an ice cube must melt on a hot day, rather than becoming colder. It's funny that vertical winds flow from low pressure to high pressure areas; the warm air rises from the low pressure system, it cools high above, and then the cold air descends into the high pressure system. So sure, the warm air rises to a cold area, but then we see the cold air descend into a warm system - isn't that breaking the law, or something? I thought a high pressure fluid will always travel toward a lower pressure fluid, but here we have the low pressure being sucked down by the higher pressure.

It is supposed that a concave meniscus occurs because the molecules of the liquid attract those of the container. It is supposed that the polar molecules of water are sticking to the glass molecules in the tube, and that's why we get that distinctive curve. I'm going to make a leap perhaps, and question if the concave meniscus we see on the surface of the water around ponds, or in cylinders, is actually due to pressure changes in the aether.

Early steam power plants all depended on condensing steam in a vacuum - they worked by sucking the piston in, more than by pushing it out. Low-pressure steam takes up space, and that made engines large. When the pressure was run up to 50 or 100 psi, the engines could be made a lot smaller. This need to design smaller engines for transport pushed development in the direction of high pressure steam. Maybe it's time for a rethink on low pressure steam and the forces of suction?

Many thanks: Heat Pumps By Eugene Silberstein

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The Threshold of Science: A Variety of Simple and Amusing Experiments

Wet a small gold coin with mercury (by well rubbing) and allow to stand some time; it will become so brittle that it may easily be broken in half; and if the fractured surfaces are examined, it will be seen that the mercury has crept inwards and become distributed throughout the entire mass, the action much resembling the passage of water into a mass of blotting paper...

Compact india-rubber, although not porous to gases or liquids in the ordinary sense, is capable of absorbing or dissolving small quantities (eg, benzene) without in any way losing its solidity, the fluids penetrating the entire mass in much the same as the mercury does the gold in the above experiment.

Is This Too Good To Be True?

Because oceans are alkaline (pH 8.1), they absorb all carbon dioxide from the air, but salt drives out one third the amount of CO2 plants need to grow on. Without salt in the oceans there would not be enough CO2 in the air for plants to grow on.

On a long term basis, CO2 is tied up in the oceans as calcium carbonate in coral reefs. Propagandists claim that increased carbon dioxide is destroying coral reefs by causing the oceans to become more acidic. There has been no measurable increase in acidity of the oceans, because the amount humans produce is miniscule compared to the ocean's capacity. The surface oceans contain 1,000 GTC, and it does not stay there. It circulates into the deep oceans, and it gets used in producing coral reefs. The intermediate and deep oceans contain 38,000 GTC. Humans add 8.5 GTC to the air per year.

A new study and web site explains the oceanography of carbon dioxide and shows the errors of the propagandists who claim that increased CO2 in the oceans will make the oceans more acidic and destroy coral reefs. Near the surface of the oceans, increased photosynthesis creates alkalinity rather than acidity. There is in fact a shortage of acid near the surface for the promotion of photosynthesis. The decay which creates acidity occurs 1-2 kilometers down, which is way below the level of coral reefs.