Cloud Law up in the clouds

7Dec/120

Not So Ordinary Events in an Ordinary Life

Introduction

There are things in life that are better left alone. For many people, the experience I had during the latter part of this last century would count as one of those things. I am very familiar with the sciences, no expert; but I keep an open mind. Whatever new or cutting edge research that is being done, I like to read as much as I can. Its a hobby of mine, as I am sure it is with many people. I had a professor once state that, " The more you gain in knowledge, the more you realize just how little your truly know". What I took from this was that; with increased knowledge comes the realization that no matter how much knowledge you attain you will never know enough. This is very true, in my opinion. The world is full of information, things we think we know, things that seem true. Then we also have to take into account our eyeballs and the way our brain interprets the information it receives from those eyes. This explains why two people who witness the same event can have differing versions of the truth. The truth is that we live in a world where much of the information that we receive gets filtered, watered, down and twisted to such a degree that we have to ask ourselves; "What is the truth once it is changed to such an extent?" Much of what we take in through out the day turns out to be only one version of truth based upon actual events. Then there are those cutting edge research truths that turn out to be otherwise, but remain true for a time. This truth is given power through belief. The majority of people once believed the earth was flat, now we know better. The fact remains that that was a truth for a long time. The earth is not flat and yet many believed that it was and so that was truth. Truth does not always stand the test of time. We must consider all of these points when we look at unexplained events.

Mysteries for the ages

There are instances throughout history where certain events are ignored for the sake of sanity. Of course other people relish in these challenges and take on such stories head on with the determination of proving or disproving the event in question. There are many instances throughout history where strange objects were found or seen where they should not be. A spark plug found encased in stone that predates that technology. A toad encased in stone and still alive when the rock is split open. There was even a case where miners believed they released a pterodactyl encased in stone, still alive. All of these animals died soon after there release. Are these stories true? Similar stories have been told and retold for years. Even if we assume that most are lying, we cannot state that all are lying. Even with one or two of these stories remaining true we are still faced with the inexplicable. The more popular topics are the Lochness Monster, Bigfoot, UFOs, Shadow figures, and so on. With each topic you will find believers, non believers, with the majority of the population in the middle or simply willing to turn a blind eye. One of my personal favorites is the "Sandal and the Trilobite". An individual was out fossil hunting when he split open a rock and discovered what he believed to be a sandal impression crushing a trilobite. What are we to make of this? One explanation put forth has a larger trilobite coming to rest on a smaller trilobite. This larger trilobite would have left the candle like impression with the trilobite clearly crushed beneath it. It could also simply be the way the rock formed. A trilobite came to be fossilized and when the stone broke open it appeared to be a candle footprint crushing the trilobite. Much like those famous toasted cheese sandwiches an image of Jesus or the virgin Mary on them. Sometimes we like to see what we want to see. Of course, it could also be a human foot wearing a sandal that stepped on and crushed a trilobite. We don't like to think of such things as being true. We can only state that it is highly unlikely that human beings lived while trilobites lived, let alone were wearing sandals. We could also assume that a visitor from another world stepped on that trilobite and crushed it, leaving their footprint to find millions of years later. There is also the possibility that a small population of trilobites survived and went extinct right around the time early man began wearing sandals. Whatever the truth, the fact remains that we are faced with this unexplainable event. The best we can hope for is coming up with versions of the truth that we can believe in. Some people will latch on to one version and feel better about the whole situation. While at the same time other individuals will choose a different version to believe in, because it makes the world make sense to them somehow. Me, I don't know what to believe. I prefer to take in the information and then store it away for a later date. To me that is the only safe way to process information in this day and age. We are bombarded with multiple versions of the truth on a daily basis. By keeping an open mind and acquiring as much knowledge as possible you are positioning yourself to stumble upon the truth all on your own. It is very possible, because of this one simple fact; A series of events occurred leading to the dilemma, all we need to do is figure out the events that lead to the existence of the question. If we do this then it will only be a matter of time before we deduce the truth.

Another famous tale from the past was called, "New England's Dark Day". There was a period of time during the 18th or 19th century when the day became dark as night all across New England. This remained a mystery for years until recently. It turns out that a massive forest fire in Canada may have been to blame. Scientific evidence exists to suggest that it was something as simple as fire that lead to this great mystery. Case closed. This explanation may not sit well with some, but I have read the research and I have found it to be a credible explanation supported by scientific evidence. Another wonderful example of this are all of those famous spontaneous combustion cases. For years it remained a mystery as to how a person could burst in to flames and then have only some parts burn perfectly and completely while leaving a foot or a hand untouched. With a little big of research and experimentation we came to find out that a human body burns really good. Especially the fat, all that is needed is some sort of ignition source. It was also speculated that depending on how a person is clothed it could create a wick effect. This could explain how a body could burn so intensely in some areas while leaving the room, surroundings, and certain body parts untouched. So, here again we have another unexplained event that had a very real and rational explanation. What does this teach us? Well, it teaches us that if these events can be witnessed and experienced over and over for thousands of years that there is truth. As unbelievable as these tails were, it turns out they were true and there was a very logical explanation. This leaves us with having to deal with many other stories that are being told or have been told by thousands more people that are stranger and more difficult to believe. What do we then make of ghost stories, UFO stories, stories of Bigfoot or Lochness. We know from the mysteries that we have explained that it turns out that those events did occur and that they had a logical explanation for them. So now we feel comfortable believing all of those people that we once enjoyed calling a liar or crazy? This forces us to have to at least assume that a great deal more people are telling the truth about events that remain unexplained. More people than we would like. That fact causes me to cringe when I attempt to figure out how a human footprint can come to be found walking next to a set of dinosaur footprints. There are so many more, too many to cover in this one paper.

My Encounter with a UFO

This title alone has some of you cringing or rolling your eyes. Some of you are thinking, "Great, another crackpot who thinks he saw little green Martians". That is fine, some people would rather seek the comfort of ignorance rather than seeking the liberation of truth. Once I relay my own personal experience I do not expect anyone to believe me. Why should they? I had this experience, and I saw it with my own two eyes. Unless someone is standing right beside me to witness the same event, I wouldn't expect anyone to believe me fully. The reason is that no one will believe an a truth more than the individual who discovers that truth. I experienced this, and no one else did, therefor; it will only ever be 100% true to me. Some of you may embrace my life experience, but even then there will always be doubt. That is a good thing. It goes back to what I said about taking in information for consideration only. Formulating concrete truths over second hand information can be a dangerous undertaking. The only safe concrete truths are the ones we experience ourselves. Everything else must only be taken with a grain of salt. I can also understand fully why many scientific minds may have a problem with my experience. They see the vastness of space as something too immense to overcome. It does seem that way, space is mind boggling big. That does not mean that some other race of beings have not figured out something that we are not advanced enough to realize for ourselves. To me that seems pretty arrogant. We have only been Industrialized for a few hundred years. That's a fart on the cosmic scale of things. Who's to say that another race of beings some1000 years beyond our technology has not figured out a way to zip around the stars? I know, Einstein, and Relativity, and blah blah blah. Einstein was a brilliant man and he did make some discoveries along with some interesting observations. I laugh when I try and figure out why we can't believe that an advanced species cannot travel to earth, but we are more than happy to believe that time is a thing that is woven together with space to give us a "Space Time" fabric. Am I the only one that realizes just how bleeping retarded that sounds? Time is a concept, not yarn. The same goes for space! We have discovered some truths about our universe, but we are far from discovering them all. It takes time, but just as our knowledge of our solar system evolved, so too will our knowledge of the bigger picture. Many of the great scientific minds of their day believed in things that we know now not to be true. If you look back over there distinguished careers, you will find many brilliant contributions that hold true to this day. What I am saying is, that it does not matter who you are; you will be wrong as many times as you will be right in your lifetime. Einstein hit the photoelectric effect right on the head, while some of his other concepts are fuzzy at best. I will never state the math is wrong, I suck at math. I will only say that the conclusions drawn from that math may be inaccurate.

Slowly the scientific community has warmed up to the fact that the odds are that life exists somewhere out in space. I am pretty damn sure of it. The problem is that there are just sooo many stars out there, with planets orbiting them, and moons orbiting the planets. Hundreds of billions of stars contained within a single galaxy, one of hundreds of billions of more galaxies. It would be irresponsible for us to believe that we are it. The odds are that space is teaming with life, we just have yet to develop a sophisticated enough ability to look where we need to look. I am talking about advanced forms of life, not microbes. It is possible we have already found evidence of life in that form elsewhere. We are finding life on some of the most inhospitable places on the earth. Why not in space? The fact is that life may be waaaaaaaaaaaaaay more abundant than we realize, and intelligent life waaaaay more abundant than we believe. Some of these advanced beings would naturally have a more evolved notion of the universe around them. Perhaps a race of beings has been around so long that they have figured out all of the big secrets. Maybe coming to earth for them is no different than you or I going out for pizza?!

The jury was out for me as to whether or not we had been visited by intelligences beyond our own planet. I believed that is was highly probable that life existed elsewhere in space, and possible that they could have visited the earth before. These were just assumptions based upon outside information. Information I gathered in school, from the news, friends, books, magazines, etc. I had no concrete evidence or proof for myself, so the best I could do was make assumptions. That is until that night when I saw proof of life beyond our world. I am 99.9% sure that what I saw was not of this earth with the other 0.1% reserved for the highly unlikely possibility that what I saw was a secret military or scientific experiment. So here is my tale for your consideration.

At around 11:00/11:30 pm I was standing out on my deck looking up at the stars. I did this a lot, because where I lived I could see hundreds of stars. I do not recall the time of year only that it was not that cold and there was no snow on the ground. I know that school was in session, because my brother was home visiting from college. It must have been around early October, or early April would be the times of year that suited the temperature that I remember. I do remember the time of night and the events that followed quite clearly. If you have a map of the United States than take it out and look at the state of Maine. On that map and in that state you should see a town called Rockland, and next to that a town called Owls Head. I grew up in Owls Head and it is the location of the following events. I lived not far from the ocean, in fact on some nights when the wind was just right and the waves were rough I could hear them crashing on the nearby beach. I will also get this point out of the way, YES, I LIVE RIGHT NEXT TO A SMALL AIRPORT. Knox county regional airport to be exact. Some people might think that this somehow makes it a fact that what I am about to describe must have been a plane. Had to be because the alternative assaults the senses and it is the only rational explanation. I beg to differ. I am very familiar with the things I should and would typically see growing up next to that airport. I assure you that what I saw was nothing like I had ever seen before, or have ever seen since. And I have seen some pretty convincing things. For instance, some visitors to my home were duped when a plane would be coming in for a landing from the south at night. They would see the light through the trees and be like, "Dude, what's that". They would as that, because they were naturally unfamiliar with something that I had grown up with. I was used to it and knew exactly what it was. More recently I have noticed what I like to call "Night Bursts". The first time I saw one I had to think on it for a while to try and comprehend what I had seen. It soon occurred to me that the sudden bright flashes I had been seeing in the night sky were satellites. These flashes would start out as a pinpoint of light and then would grow intensely, flash, and then disappear. What I realized was that as a satellite moves across the night sky, if it catches the suns light just right, it can direct it back towards earth. If you happen to be standing in the path of this directed light then you would see what appeared to be a star growing very bright and then dimming down again. I looked at all the evidence and then took the time to formulate the proper conclusion. That doesn't mean I was right, perhaps it was the space station or space junk. Doesn't matter, I knew that something was up there catching the sun's rays just right and directing down to my eyes. What I saw that night could not be explained, and remains my only sole experience with an unidentified flying object.

The object appeared out of the east and moved across the night sky to the west. It was roughly 75 degrees above the horizon and moving in an unusual way. As it moved across the sky it would flip, rotate and then flip and rotate again. This was its flight pattern as it moved across the sky. I could make out this movement thanks to the red lights it had, one on each point. The craft was either a six sided diamond shaped or an eight sided diamond shaped object. I believe the later based upon its motion across the sky. The object itself was a very jet black color, so black that I could easily make out the craft against the background above. I cannot say how high up it was, only that it appeared to me to be fairly low in the sky, perhaps only a few thousand feet. As it moved across the sky it would rotate and then flip, rotate and flip, rotate and flip. It continued this movement until I lost sight of the object over the trees. The single red light on each corner really allowed for me to see this rotation and flipping clearly. That was the one solid fact that convinced me that what I was seeing was not of this world. I naturally opened my front door and yelled for my brother to come quick. I never took my eyes of the object while I continued to try and convince him to hurry his ass up. He was engrossed in a television show and was starting to dose on the couch. Once I finally convinced him to come out, you guessed it, the object was out of site. I was more disappointed than pissed off, because I knew how it was going to look. I didn't have a witness, that just left me with a story. An incredible story, but a story none the less. My brother believed me, but it would have been more comforting to have the eye witness to corroborate what I had seen.

So, what do I believe I saw. I do not believe that there were any little green men on board. I don't believe anyone at all was on board. It flew in a straight line across the sky from east to west, flipping and rotating in a regular pattern along the way. It was at night and I didn't really have a whole lot of indicators to show me exactly how big the object was vs how high up it was. Like I said before I believed it was fairly low in the sky and I also believed that it was not a very large vessel. No bigger than bus. I can only speculate based upon what I had seen. What I believe I saw was a satellite that was surveying our planet for whatever reason. Perhaps it was sent here for scientific research or to ascertain if this planet has life, resources, etc. We can speculate as to the vessels purpose, but at the end of the day we will probably never know. Much like we send satellites to observe and research our nearby planets and moons within our own solar system this vessel was sent here to look at us. I assume there were no beings on this vessel based upon the fallacy that a being would get ill flying in a ship flipping and rotating across the sky. Perhaps that motion is normal or enjoyable to the life forms aboard, or perhaps they have figured out a way to overcome the inertial problems. I would also assume that the ship was too small for anyone to be on board, but they could just be tiny little smart aliens. Who knows, really unless they come back and fill us in on the details, I will never know. As I said before, I believe that this was a satellite sent to earth for the purposes of research. Once that UFO was finished surveying our planet it began its journey back to wherever it came from. Leaving me behind to try an comprehend what it was I had just seen.

This was a life altering event for me. Before this event I only believed in the possibilities of this or that being true. After that experience, I now know that there is something else out there. They have expressed interest in researching and surveying our planet. I know this, because I saw the evidence with my own eyes. The way this object moved across the sky simply does not fit with our current knowledge of aerodynamics and propulsion. This was a technology beyond our capabilities....to my knowledge. But until some secret government program operative comes forward to claim responsibility I will have to go with the little green men and the belief that we are not alone.

An Interesting Whether Event

This is no where near as amazing of a life experience as my encounter with a UFO. Still though, it ranks right up there with some interesting whether events. Some of these events have included fish or frogs raining from the sky, ball lighting, angel hair, and so on. Mine falls into the odd storm variety. When I was a child, around 7 or 8 years old I remember the single most interesting storm cloud I had ever witnessed in my life and I am 31 now. I have only seen one other event come close to this when I was round 22, but it was no where near as strange or spectacular. I will describe it at the end of this section.

When I was a child I witnessed the most interesting storm cloud I had ever seen. I remember the sky being a very dark shade of blue all around this cloud with no other clouds in sight. The storm cloud appeared to be extremely high up in the sky. The thunder was loud, but you could tell it was coming from a great distance. Lightning was constantly flashing out from the cloud and then returning back into and around this intense little storm cloud. I just stood there looking up in amazement as the cloud moved very slowly across the sky. It seemed to have all of the furry of a full blown storm cell, but it was a tiny dark storm cloud. The flashes of lighting and thunder were almost constant. This could was moving so slowly that I eventually got tired of marveling at it and went back inside. I remember very little of my childhood, but that memory remains one of my most vivid memory. I couldn't comprehend how such a little cloud could be acting like a big storm. I was only a kid then, but as I got older and learned more and more about the way weather systems and thunderstorms worked I began to realize the significance of what I had seen. I also came across a similar story in "Mysteries of the Unexplained" where a person witnessed another small cloud system that seemed to have ball lighting dancing around it as it moved across the sky. I couldn't help but think that the same mechanisms were at work behind these compact little storm clouds. Since they are not a common occurrence than it is reasonable to assume that some set of special circumstances need to occur to allow for a small intense storm like this to form independent of any nearby storm systems. Perhaps one day soon they will be able to fully explain how such a small cloud can pack so much energy.

I hypothesize that it may have been due to a pocket of warm moist air becoming trapped and surrounded by much cooler air. For whatever reason this pocket of warm air is prevented from rising any further. At the same time the moisture has condensed out to form a cloud that is the same size and shape of the pocket of trapped air. The extreme difference in temperature coupled with the moisture may provide the energy needed for a nasty little storm cloud. It just takes the right conditions.

Conclusions

This about sums up the two strangest events of my life. I consider myself lucky to have experienced them. Some people go their whole lives without ever experiencing anything out of the ordinary. Some would say that is a blessing, I would rather have the out of the ordinary. Growing up I always tried to reconcile things, figure things out, and discover what truth there may be out there. For the most part I had to settle for second hand information passed on through the ages and by various mediums. The significance of the storm cloud I had witnessed when I was a boy eluded me at the time. It wasn't until some years later that I was able to fully appreciate what I had seen. The UFO on the other hand was icing on the cake and far more important of an event to me. As interesting as that compact little storm was, it was still an earth bound natural event under the right conditions. The UFO was something entirely different. It was a confirmation, at least for me, that we are not alone in the Universe. And if that is true than it is equally likely that there are many more different races of beings spread out across the stars. The fact that I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of an actual UFO is something I will continue to be grateful for until the day I die.
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30May/120

The End of Pompeii and Herculaneum (August 24-25, A.D. 79) Part 3 of 3

As the eruption grew more violent, the earthquakes grew stronger as written by Pliny the Younger: “But that night the shaking grew much stronger; people thought it was an upheaval, not just a tremor. My mother burst into my room and I got up. I said she should rest, and I would rouse her (sc. if need be). We sat out on a small terrace between the house and the sea. I sent for a volume of Livy (Titius Livius (59 B.C.-A.D. 17)); I read and even took notes from where I had left off, as if it were a moment of free time; I hardly know whether to call it bravery, or foolhardiness (I was seventeen at the time). Up comes a friend of my uncle's, recently arrived from Spain. When he sees my mother and me sitting there, and me even reading a book, he scolds her for her calm and me for my lack of concern. But I kept on with my book.”[45]

Yet despite the terror in Pompeii and Stabiae, Herculaneum remained relatively unscathed. The town, being “upwind” of the volcano was coated only in a light layer of ash – 8 inches compared to the 12 feet that covered Pompeii.[46] However things were soon to be different as the old day ended and the new day dawned. At about 11:30 PM the situation began to change “when the lower levels of [Vesuvius’] subterranean magma chamber, the gas-rich, volatile material that had sustained the eruption cloud”[47] were reaching the point of depletion, which occurred about one-and-a-half hours later.

By midnight, the volcanic cloud “reached almost 19 miles into the sky, [as the volcano was ejecting 150,000 tons of lapilli and ash per second][48] and torrents of lava [began to pour down] Vesuvius[49] [as magma violently tore rocks away from the side of the vent, creating a wide ‘caldera’].”[50] “Then came a smell of sulfur, announcing the flames…”[51] “It grew lighter, though that seemed not a return of day, but a sign that the fire was approaching. The fire itself actually stopped some distance away, but darkness and ashes came again, a great weight of them. We stood up and shook the ash off again and again, otherwise we would have been covered with it and crushed by the weight. I might boast that no groan escaped me in such perils, no cowardly word, but that I believed that I was perishing with the world, and the world with me, which was a great consolation for death.”[52] Back where Pliny the Elder was, “…the flames themselves, [while] sending others into flight… [revived] him. Supported by two small slaves he stood up, and immediately collapsed. As I understand it, his breathing was obstructed by the dust-laden air, and his innards, which were never strong and often blocked or upset, simply shut down,” Pliny the Younger wrote.[53]

Lapilli and ash poured down at a rate of about 6 inches per hour. Everywhere southeast of the volcano was covered in volcanic debris driven by the strong northwest winds. Roofs collapsed killing people sheltering indoors. Others fleeing through the streets were “struck down by rocks, [tephra], falling tiles [and slates] or collapsing masonry”[54] while still others, standing on the shores of the Bay of Naples desperately tried to protect themselves with their hands, cloaks, and other makeshift shields as “a group of priests… abandoned their… meal of fish and eggs…; some were struck down when a portico collapsed on top of them, while most others were asphyxiated in a building where they sought shelter.”[55] Some screamed in terror as they attempted to flee the deadly storm of falling tephra, rocks, and ash while the injured writhed in pain. With all hope lost, a mother made a feeble attempt to protect her child with her body. It was to no avail.

An hour later, at 1:00 AM on August 25, the top of Vesuvius was “blown off”[56] in a violent explosion. The “volcanic column” quickly collapsed “in an avalanche of boiling gases, pumice and rocks”[57] sending a lethal 900°F pyrrhic cloud (nuée ardente) into Herculaneum, the first of six surges to strike the town, killing all remaining inhabitants, almost all of whom were alive up to this point. It killed adults, some still clutching money, jewelry and other valuables, along with children and babies, and the gladiators who had been training at the amphitheater, within a fraction of a second. About 80 people cowered in a dozen beachfront chambers and storerooms and close to 300 hid under the vaulted archways of the town’s “public baths overlooking the sea”[58] – children tightly clutching their parents and brothers and sisters holding tightly onto each other, fearful of the molten lava and boiling mud that was pouring out from Vesuvius.

Elsewhere on a beach just outside of Herculaneum, Lupercus Augusti, an imperial slave, clutched a bronze seal with his name and status, as he stood among a number of people including a Roman soldier dressed in armor, a young man whose arm was draped around his girlfriend to comfort her, aristocratic women wearing their jewelry, people lying on the sand to get a few moments of sleep, and small clustered groups of people in discussion as they watched the “torrents of hot mud [that] were spewing out of Mt. Vesuvius.”[59] All were “killed instantly by thermal shock” without time to “display… self-protective reaction or agony contortions [or] any reaction” to their impending deaths.[60] Some were sent flying into a tangled, heap of bodies from the force of the pyrrhic cloud. “Even people sheltered from the direct impact” perished.[61] Within seconds a pyroclastic flow of glowing lava, rock, and ash covered the resort town.

Additional surges followed from 1:00 AM-6:00 AM with a second pyrrhic cloud hitting Herculaneum at 2:00 AM, and a third at 5:30 AM, after deflecting off the walls built to protect Pompeii from a military attack. An hour later, a small pyrrhic cloud reached Pompeii, “asphyxiating many who “breathed in [its] hot gas and incandescent ash.”[62] Among the victims was dog that had been “chained to a post and struggled for hours, ‘scrabbling upward as stones filled [the area]’ before succumbing… – ‘suffocating when it reached the end of its leash’”[63] and another dog that merely curled up and fell into an eternal sleep with little sign of suffering. Just north of Pompeii, a slave whose flight was hindered by a chain clamped to his leg and another person who likely tried to assist, also perished, overcome by the volcano’s “ash and toxic gases” as they progressed up a dirt road.[64] It was followed by several large earthquakes. By this time, “about [8 feet] of hot ash lay in the [town’s] streets.[65] It was the start of the volcano’s deadliest phase as “heavier magma from deeper down made its way to the surface.”[66]

As Vesuvius entered its deadliest phase, a group of 13 Pompeiians who had been hunkered down for the last 12 hours in a small portico that had been converted into a wine cellar, decided to attempt an escape when they noticed that it was becoming difficult to breathe. Initially, the group, which among them, included a pregnant woman and a young boy, had decided to ride out the eruption in this shelter, nicknamed, “The House of the Fugitives.”[67] While a rich person brought a meticulously packed wicker basket of silver dinnerware, others brought items for survival – amphorae (two-handled jugs) of water, ceramic lamps, and walnuts.

As they climbed the stairs, proceeding in a single file, the group came upon an endless wall of ash. Upon discovering that their shelter had been completely buried, they faced two choices – return to the wine cellar and suffocate slowly or take a chance to reach fresh air. The task though was impossible. As they held their breaths and struggled and groped their way up the stairs, they collapsed “one after the other”[68] and suffocated in the opaque endless wall of volcanic ash. Out of the group, only one person made it close to the roof – but he too, collapsed and died without reaching fresh air.

It was about this time that the people of Misenum decided to flee. With the earthquakes growing more violent, everyone decided to leave as recorded by the teenaged witness: “Now the day begins, with a still hesitant and almost lazy dawn. All around us buildings are shaken. We are in the open, but it is only a small area and we are afraid, nay certain, that there will be a collapse. We decided to leave the town finally; a dazed crowd follows us, preferring our plan to their own (this is what passes for wisdom in a panic). Their numbers are so large that they slow our departure, and then sweep us along. We stopped once we had left the buildings behind us.”[69]

Then at 7:30 AM, a huge intense pyroclastic surge ranging from 750°F-1475°F blasted through Pompeii’s walls “like a red-hot sandstorm… [that swept away] the nine-foot thickness of pumice that had previously fallen.”[70] It rolled into Pompeii instantly extinguishing all remaining life, among them a man who was resigned to his fate and “seemed to be sleeping, his head resting peacefully on his forearm [with] his eyes closed, [others with ‘agonized facial expressions’],[71] [the high-class prostitute], a beggar [who] lay beside the sack in which he had been collecting alms; on his feet were a pair of incongruously elegant sandals, no doubt a gift from some wealthy benefactor, a servant… as he [tried to lead] a mother and her two sons toward safety; in his hand was the bag in which he had salvaged provisions from the wreckage of the household, [an] individual [who] had sought refuge by climbing a tree… with the snapped branch to which he had been clinging still firmly gripped between his legs, and a “determined individual [who] had tried to fight his way out; he used an axe to cut his way successively through [a] building’s partition walls, only to meet his fate when he came up against an impenetrable barrier of lava,”[72] and a family of 12 who had sat in the darkness of their house hearing the “groans of the dying and shrieks of the terrified, noises from the mountain, [and] the sound of roofs collapsing” after their initial attempt to escape through the falling lapilli had failed.[73] It was quickly followed by “a pyroclastic flow of gas, ash, and rock” that took about 6 minutes to reach the town from the lip of Vesuvius’ crater as it “rolled, hugging the ground.” “Walls were thrown down, columns toppled, [tops of houses were sheared off], tiles shot… [through] the streets [and] …wooden timbers, doors and shutters [were carbonized].”[74] This surge was followed by subsequent surges throughout the day that also left “Stabiae and Oplontis buried in ash and pumice.”[75] By 8:00 AM Herculaneum and Pompeii lay in deathly silence. Herculaneum was buried under 65 feet of pyroclastic deposits, Stabiae under between 9-20 feet of ash and pumice, and Pompeii under 9 feet of pumice, another 6-10 feet of pyroclastic deposits, and about 21 feet of ash.

“…it buried two entire cities, Herculaneum and Pompeii; the latter place while its populace was seated in the theatre. Indeed, the amount of dust, taken all together, was so great that some of it reached Africa and Syria and Egypt, and it also reached Rome, filling the air overhead and darkening the sun. There, too, no little fear was occasioned, that lasted for several days, since the people did not know and could not imagine what had happened, but, like those close at hand, believed that the whole world was being turned upside down, that the sun was disappearing into the earth and that the earth was being lifted to the sky,” Dio Cassius wrote,[76] while Roman Poet Marcus Valerius Martialis (c. A.D. 40-A.D. 104) wrote in Epigram 4:44 in A.D. 91, “Observe Vesuvius. Not long ago it was covered with the grapevine’s green shade, and a famous grape wet, nay drowned the vats here. Bacchus loved the shoulders of this mountain more than the hills of Nysa [his birthplace], satyrs used to join their dances here. Here was a haunt of Venus, more pleasant than Lacedaemon to her, here was a place where Hercules left his name. It all lies buried by flames and mournful ash. Even the gods regret that their powers extended to this.”[77]

Furthermore, “as the discharge of magma cracked and collapsed the rocks overlying [the volcano’s] emptied chambers… shocks rippled across the bay. The sea was sucked back and hurled at the beaches in seismic [tsunamis].”[78] “Strange things” began to happen, Pliny the Younger wrote. “Many strange things happened to us there, and we had much to fear. The carts that we had ordered brought were moving in opposite directions, though the ground was perfectly flat, and they wouldn't stay in place even with their wheels blocked by stones. In addition, it seemed as though the sea was being sucked backwards, as if it were being pushed back by the shaking of the land. Certainly the shoreline moved outwards, and many sea creatures were left on dry sand. Behind us were frightening dark clouds, rent by lightning twisted and hurled, opening to reveal huge figures of flame. These were like lightning, but bigger. At that point the Spanish friend urged us strongly: ‘If your brother and uncle is alive, he wants you to be safe. If he has perished, he wanted you to survive him. So why are you reluctant to escape?’ We responded that we would not look to our own safety as long as we were uncertain about his. Waiting no longer, he took himself off from the danger at a mad pace. It wasn't long thereafter that the cloud stretched down to the ground and covered the sea. It girdled Capri and made it vanish, it hid Misenum's promontory. Then my mother began to beg and urge and order me to flee however I might, saying that a young man could make it, that she, weighed down in years and body, would die happy if she escaped being the cause of my death. I replied that I wouldn't save myself without her, and then I took her hand and made her walk a little faster. She obeyed with difficulty, and blamed herself for delaying me.

Now came the dust, though still thinly. I look back: a dense cloud looms behind us, following us like a flood poured across the land. ‘Let us turn aside while we can still see, lest we be knocked over in the street and crushed by the crowd of our companions.’ We had scarcely sat down when a darkness came that was not like a moonless or cloudy night, but more like the black of closed and unlighted rooms. You could hear women lamenting, children crying, men shouting. Some were calling for parents, others for children or spouses; they could only recognize them by their voices. Some bemoaned their own lot, others that of their near and dear. There were some so afraid of death that they prayed for death. Many raised their hands to the gods, and even more believed that there were no gods any longer and that this was one last unending night for the world. Nor were we without people who magnified real dangers with fictitious horrors. Some announced that one or another part of Misenum had collapsed or burned; lies, but they found believers.”[79]

Subsequently, when the eruption ended and the dark volcanic cloud began to dissipate at about 1:00 PM, Pliny the Younger wrote, “At last the cloud thinned out and dwindled to no more than smoke or fog. Soon there was real daylight. The sun was even shining, though with the lurid glow it has after an eclipse. The sight that met our still terrified eyes was a changed world, buried in ash like snow. We returned to Misenum and took care of our bodily needs, but spent the night dangling between hope and fear. Fear was the stronger, for the earth was still quaking and a number of people who had gone mad were mocking the evils that had happened to them and others with terrifying prognostications. We still refused to go until we heard news of my uncle, although we had felt danger and expected more.”[80] Two days later, they had their answer – “When daylight came [with ash and pumice covering 186 sq. miles of land around the volcano, having transformed the entire Sarnus Valley] … his body was found untouched, unharmed, in the clothing that he had had on. He looked more asleep than dead”[81] as did all of Pompeii and Herculaneum, when they were unearthed nearly 1700 years later.

“I sing these words to you… on the Cumaean shore where Vesuvius sends up a broken anger, upwhirling fires emulous of Etna. In a future generation, when crops spring up again, when this wasteland regains its green, will men believe that cities lie beneath?” Publius Statius asked in Book IV, Chapter IV of Silvae.[82] In the words of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 121-A.D. 180), Pompeii and Herculaneum were “entirely dead,”[83] abandoned and forgotten. Yet artifacts such as paintings, frescoes, and cavities where victims had perished and decayed in the ash, remained intact providing proof that at one time these towns were full of breath and life.

_________________________________________________________________

[45]Pliny Letter 6.20. 30 April 2006. http://www.amherst.edu/~classics/DamonFiles/classics36/ancsrc/02.html

[46]Joan Jahnige. Eruption of Vesuvius. January 2004. 30 April, 2006. http://www.dl.ket.org/latin3/historia/places/vesuvius/eruptions.htm

[47]Bonnie S. Lawrence, Project Editor. Restless Earth. (Washington, D.C.: The National Geographic Society, 1997), p. 192.

[48]AD 79 – Vesuvius explodes. 5 of May, 2006. http://www.archaeology.co.uk/cwa/issues/cwa4/pompeii/eruption.htm

[49]Rosella Lorenzi. The Long, Deathly Silence. 2 May, 2006. http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/pompeii/history/history.html [50]AD 79 – Vesuvius explodes. 5 of May, 2006. http://www.archaeology.co.uk/cwa/issues/cwa4/pompeii/eruption.htm

[51]Pliny Letter 6.16. 30 April 2006. http://www.amherst.edu/~classics/DamonFiles/classics36/ancsrc/01.html

[52]Pliny Letter 6.20. 30 April 2006. http://www.amherst.edu/~classics/DamonFiles/classics36/ancsrc/02.html

[53]Pliny Letter 6.16. 30 April 2006. http://www.amherst.edu/~classics/DamonFiles/classics36/ancsrc/01.html

[54]AD 79 – Vesuvius explodes. 5 of May, 2006. http://www.archaeology.co.uk/cwa/issues/cwa4/pompeii/eruption.htm

[55]Tony Allan. Secrets Of The Ancient Dead. (London: Duncan Baird Publishers, 2004), p. 92.

[56]Mount Vesuvius. Encarta.com. 2006. 2 May, 2006. http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761564987/Vesuvius.html

[57]Joan Jahnige. Eruption of Vesuvius. January 2004. 30 April, 2006. http://www.dl.ket.org/latin3/historia/places/vesuvius/eruptions.htm

[58]Nigel Cawthorne. 100 Catastrophic Disasters. (New York: Barnes & Noble Publishing, Inc., 2003) 152.

[59]Rosella Lorenzi. The Long, Deathly Silence. 2 May, 2006. http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/pompeii/history/history.html

[60]Rosella Lorenzi. The Long, Deathly Silence. 2 May, 2006. http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/pompeii/history/history.html

[61]Helen Briggs. Vesuvius victims ‘died instantly.’ BBC.com. April 11, 2001. 2 May, 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/1272171.stm

[62]AD 79 – Vesuvius explodes. 5 of May, 2006. http://www.archaeology.co.uk/cwa/issues/cwa4/pompeii/eruption.htm

[63]Vesuvius, Italy. 5 May, 2006. http://volcano.und.edu/vwdocs/volc_images/img_vesuvius.html

[64]Jason Urbanus. More Vesuvius Victims. Newsbriefs March/April 2003. 5 May, 2006. http://www.archaeology.org/0303/newsbriefs/pompeii.html

[65]http://www.volcanolive.com/vesuvius2.html

[66]AD 79 – Vesuvius explodes. 5 of May, 2006. http://www.archaeology.co.uk/cwa/issues/cwa4/pompeii/eruption.htm

[67]Mr. Sedivy. Historical Background: The Ancient City of Pompeii. Highlands Ranch High School (Highlands Ranch, Colorado) 8 May, 2006. http://mr_sedivy.tripod.com/pompeii.html

[68]Regio I Garden of Fugitives. 8 May, 2006. http://www.pompeisepolta.com/english/fuggiaschi.htm

[69]Pliny Letter 6.20. 30 April 2006. http://www.amherst.edu/~classics/DamonFiles/classics36/ancsrc/02.html

[70]Bonnie S. Lawrence, Project Editor. Restless Earth. (Washington, D.C.: The National Geographic Society, 1997), p. 192.

[71]Bonnie S. Lawrence, Project Editor. Restless Earth. (Washington, D.C.: The National Geographic Society, 1997), p. 192.

[72]Tony Allan. Secrets Of The Ancient Dead. (London: Duncan Baird Publishers, 2004), p. 92.

[73]Rosella Lorenzi. The Long, Deathly Silence. 2 May, 2006. http://dsc.discovery.com/convergence/pompeii/history/history.html

[74]AD 79 – Vesuvius explodes. 5 of May, 2006. http://www.archaeology.co.uk/cwa/issues/cwa4/pompeii/eruption.htm

[75]Joan Jahnige. Eruption of Vesuvius. January 2004. 30 April, 2006. http://www.dl.ket.org/latin3/historia/places/vesuvius/eruptions.htm

[76]Dio Cassius. The Eruption of Vesuvius that buried Pompei, “Roman History Epitome of Book LXVI” (A.D. 203) 2 May, 2006. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Cassius_Dio/66*.html

[77]Marcus Valerius Martialis. Epigram 4 :44. A.D. 91. 4 May, 2006. http://www.amherst.edu/~classics/DamonFiles/classics36/ancsrc/04.html

[78]AD 79 – Vesuvius explodes. 5 of May, 2006. http://www.archaeology.co.uk/cwa/issues/cwa4/pompeii/eruption.htm

[79]Pliny Letter 6.20. 30 April 2006. http://www.amherst.edu/~classics/DamonFiles/classics36/ancsrc/02.html

[80]Pliny Letter 6.20. 30 April 2006. http://www.amherst.edu/~classics/DamonFiles/classics36/ancsrc/02.html

[81]Pliny Letter 6.16. 30 April 2006. http://www.amherst.edu/~classics/DamonFiles/classics36/ancsrc/01.html

[82]Publius Papinius Statius. Silvae, Book IV Chapter IV “Epistula ad Vitorium Marcellum.” 1 May 2006. http://www.amherst.edu/~classics/DamonFiles/classics36/ancsrc/10.html

[83]Marcus Aurelius. The Meditations. A.D. 167. 4 May, 2006. http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~wldciv/world_civ_reader/world_civ_reader_1/aurelius.html
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9May/120

Is Global Warming Caused By Greenhouse Gases Or By The Sun?

Most scientists believe that the current global warming is caused by man-made emissions of greenhouse gases and that the most important of these gases is Carbon Dioxide or CO2.

They also believe that the Sun's influence for this warming is very small. We now know that the irradiance or "heat transfer" from the Sun to the Earth has varied relative little during recent decades. Therefore the conclusion that most scientists have done is that the resent warming must be man-made, this is because they haven't found any other reasonable explanation.

However what we know over how much a specific increase of CO2 has on global temperature is poor. The reason in that the knowledge of how greenhouse gases affect cloud formation is mostly down to speculations. Cloud formation physics is quite a complicated process to explain with many factors.

So, rather than having a solid theoretical and measured basis for how much man-made greenhouse gases affect the climate, the made estimation is mostly down to deduction.

They argue: We know how much the temperature has increased so therefore we can calculate how much a specific increase in greenhouse gases will increase the global temperature in the future. We have done this through deduction as we already have attributed the known increase to be greenhouse driven.

However scientists who study the Sun have long noted similarities between solar activity and terrestrial weather patterns.

Also the weather changes the last century is not something unique. Given the relative small changes in the observed irradiance "heat emitted from the Sun", those changes in temperature during past centuries are hard to explain if you don't include some other types of influence from the Sun.

It was not until the Danish scientist Henrik Svensmark suggested that cosmic radiation could influence cloud cover that a plausible explains for this apparent correlation was given.

Here is this theory!

When the Sun is very active, as it is now, the solar wind and the solar magnetic field are both strong. This in turn shields the Earth from high energy particles coming from the cosmos, usually from particles which were once created in supernova explosions. This affects low cloud cover formation as the radiation create ions which seeds cloud forming water droplets. During times when there are many high energy particles reaching low altitudes there are more low cloud cover and the Earth cools. When there are few high energy particles penetrating to low altitudes then less clouds form and the Earth warms.

Usually clouds higher up in the atmosphere are almost always ionized from both low and high energy particles because both those types of particles penetrate high altitudes at all time.

The created variations are only in the low altitude cloud cover which is affected by very high energy cosmic particles.

Recently an experiment called SKY (Cloud in Danish) was made by Svensmark which conclusively confirmed this cloud forming mechanism experimentally and that this type of cosmic ionization has an important seed effect on clouds. Links between low cloud cover variations and high energy particles intensity have also now been confirmed by satellite studies.
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6Jan/120

Atoms and Molecules

The idea of the atom

Models and mechanisms of how particles and other materials behave have been proposed for thousands of years. Especially in the last few centuries, however, these models have been constantly improved and specified. In the following chapters, a cross section of these developments will be presented, leading all the way to our present model of the atom, which will be explained along with all of the laws that govern its behaviour.

The first model of matter which included elements and atoms was proposed in ancient times. The Greek philosopher Leukippos (around 500-400 B.C.) and his student Democritus (around 460-370 B.C.) were the first to describe the matter present in our world as a collection of atoms (Greek: indivisible). Their theory was based on the idea that if any body is divided into its smallest constituent parts, at some point the parts are so small that they can no longer be divided. They used the word indivisible to describe this remaining matter. According to this theory, atoms are small bodies which are not able to be divided.

Atoms of different materials must differ in their composition and size. The characteristics of materials must therefore be determined by differences in their individual atoms: differences in their size, grouping and mutual arrangement. At the beginning of the 19th century, the Greek atomic model was expanded upon and specified by J. Dalton (1766-1844). According to his theory, elements are composed of small particles called atoms

Atoms of individual materials differ in their mass and size. During chemical reactions, atoms themselves remain unchanged. Of course, the number and position of individual atoms in the reactant compounds can and does change. They are combined in certain proportions, only to change those combinations and proportions during a reaction. In more advanced atomic models, atoms are composed of a nucleus and electrons.

The atom, of course, is composed of elementary particles. In an atom's nucleus are neutrons (uncharged) and positively charged protons. Atoms of the same element always contain the same amount of protons. Only the number of neutrons can differ slightly (in isotopes). Isotopes are actually different atoms of the same element differing only in the number of neutrons they contain and their atomic weight. Otherwise, isotopes of one element generally have the same chemical and physical characteristics as the element itself.

The average atomic nucleus is relatively small compared to the atom itself, but it makes up the greatest part of an atom's mass. The mass of protons and neutrons has been designated with the relative number 1. The number of protons in an atom determines its atomic number. This number is also used to symbolize the atom, or element, in the periodic table of the elements. (hydrogen (H)=1, Helium (He)=2, etc.). Electrons (negatively charged particles) revolve around the nucleus of an atom in electronic orbitals, designated areas where they can be found. Their mass is relatively small - 1/1836 the mass of protons and neutrons. There is the same amount of electrons as the number of protons in the nucleus. For this reason, every atom, in its natural state, is neutral.

Atoms can lose one or more of their electrons. When they do, they become positively charged. Or, atoms can gain electrons, which makes them negatively charged. When an atom gains or loses electrons, it is called an ion. The outer reaches of an atom, its shell, away from the inner nucleus and where electrons are found, makes up the greatest part of its size. This area is mostly empty space. Electrons move in certain designated areas around the atomic nucleus. Some electrons are closer to the nucleus than others (inner orbital, or shielded electrons). Others are further away from the nucleus (outer orbital electrons).

The nucleus of an atom does not change during a chemical reaction. For this reason, it does not appear to be very important. Of course, an atom's electrons determine its chemical behaviour (mostly these are outer orbital electrons).

The energy of a specific electron is defined with the help of both letters and numbers, according to the orbital where the electron is found. Of great importance is an electron's distance from the nucleus. The exact placement of an atom's electrons at any one time is impossible to determine, because location and direction of an individual electron are not able to be calculated (The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle).

The more accurately we try to determine the location of a specific electron, the less accurate is our ability to determine its direction. Why? Because it is impossible to tell which direction that electron will move in the moment we have determined its location. Unfortunately, only the probability of where an electron might be found can be calculated. On the other hand, if we know the direction an electron is moving, its exact location becomes impossible to locate. The spacial limitation, more simply the area where an electron of a certain energy can be found with greatest probability, is called the atomic orbital.

Duality

Because atoms and their electrons cannot be directly investigated, reality at the atomic level is more or less unknown. From atomic characteristics which can be observed, however, atomic models can be made. The accuracy of these models is seen in their ability to explain certain phenomena. Often, these incredibly small particles show characteristics that are not usual in the macro world we live in. Electrons themselves are capable of a certain principle of duality - as is light: the duality of waves and particles. This means that on the one hand, an electron can behave as a sort of particle beam, a bit like a ray gun. On the other hand, electrons also show a purely wave-like character. Electrons are not, however, one or the other, because these two characteristics are contradictory. Yet we need both concepts to be able to describe an electron's behaviour. The wave-like mechanical atomic model comes from the description of the outer shell of an atom and the wave-like characteristics of electrons.

Quantum numbers

In the atomic model of Niels Bohr (Danish physicist), an electron cloud swarms around the nucleus of an atom. Electrons are allowed to move only in certain orbitals around the nucleus. The individual orbitals represent a certain amount of energy. All of the electrons in one orbital are seen as containing the same amount of energy.

The energy of an electron is given by a quantum number n. The larger this number is, the more energy an electron contains, and the further away it is from the nucleus.

When an electron is excited to a more distant orbital from the nucleus, one with a higher energy, a certain energy must be added to the electron (a quantum). When an electron moves from a higher energy orbital to a lower energy orbital, closer to the nucleus, energy must be omitted in the form of radiation (heat, light or in the form of a different type of electromagnetic energy. With the help of the main quantum number, we are able to figure the maximum number of electrons in the outer shell of an atom.

The number of an atom's electrons can be calculated using the formula 2n2, where n is the main quantum number. More recent atomic models use other quantum numbers to describe an atom and its electrons. A secondary quantum number, designated as l, represents the spin of an electron, or its angular momentum. That means its geometric spatial orientation. This quantity is decisively important in order to explain the arrangement of certain chemical bonds in the atoms of a compound.

The energy of a specific electron is defined mainly by the main quantum number n, and to a lesser degree by its secondary quantum number l. From the position of the energy level of an electron, from its orbital (where the electron moves) compared to the outer magnetic field, the magnetic quantum number m (also called the direction quantum number) can be determined. According to the value of m, orbitals can be divided on the basis of their energy.

There is one s orbital (spherical symmetrically placed around the nucleus), three p orbitals (which look like three dumb-bells protruding from the nucleus in their centers and and pointing out in three directions), five d orbitals (four-leaf structures lying between the p orbitals) and seven f orbitals. Within the individual types (s, p, d, f) are individual orbitals of the same energy. If we take the electron to be a small particle, we can imagine it to be spinning on its own axis, to the left or to the right. The direction of its rotation is termed its spin, and is determined by the quantum number s, for spin. With the help of these four quantum numbers, each and every electron can be exactly described.

Stable electron orbitals

The assignment of electrons to their individual orbitals is termed electron configuration. According to the Pauli principle (Swiss-American physicist), no more than two electrons can be found in one orbital at one specific time.

Orbitals are occupied by electrons from lowest energy orbital to highest energy orbital (in the order s, p, d, f). First of all, every orbital of a specific energy is occupied by one electron. Then, an orbital of opposite spin moves into an orbital to join the first electron. Once there are two electrons in one orbital, it is filled completely. The two electrons are called an electron pair. Individual electrons are called unpaired electrons. In each element of the main group, all s and p orbitals are filled gradually, as electrons are added. For the elements of other groups, the d orbitals are filled.

Ionisation energy

Electrons have a certain amount of energy associated with them, and this energy determines their distance from the nucleus. If energy is added to an electron, an electron can increase its distance from the nucleus, or can even escape from the nucleus. In the latter case, an atom becomes a positively charged ion. The amount of energy which is necessary for an electron to leave the atom is called its ionization energy. Therefore, the ionisation energy necessary to free an electron in an outer orbital from an atom is less than for an electron which is closer to the nucleus.

The density of an element is a relative number given by how the matter of an element is arranged around its atoms, on average. The density of different elements can only be compared given the same volume. Density is a function of both mass and volume.

Density units are often given as kg/m3 or g/cm3. The densities of a number of materials are included in tables.

At first glance, many elements share a number of characteristics. A closer comparison of those characteristics, including colour, state of matter (solid, liquid, gas), odour, flammability and density, allow substances to be distinguished one from another. When substances' characteristics are compared and contrasted, they can be divided into groups. The most important groups that chemistry deals with are: acids, bases, oxides, salts, metals, hydrocarbons and polymers (materials with a great number of atoms which repeat their patterns in a periodic way.

Molecules and Moles

The smallest possible chemical unity is formed by the union of a number of atoms - a compound - also called a molecule. If we want to produce a certain amount of a material, we choose whether to produce that certain amount as a function of its mass, volume or even amount of individual particles.

In chemistry, we use the variable (n) very often as a measure of the amount of a certain substance. One unit of a material is called a mole. We can imagine this amount of a substance as a chemical dozen, an even unit, so to speak. And just like a dozen, or 12, one mole is always equal to a certain number of particles. Of course, this number is more than 12, because of the minute size of atoms and molecules. It would indeed be difficult to count in multiples of 12.

One mole is given as 6.022 x 10 23 particles. This seemingly arbitrary amount of particles is actually based on a chemical truth, using carbon (chemical symbol C), because this element plays one of, if not the, most important role in chemistry. Twelve grams (g) of the element carbon contains exactly 1 mole of atoms. Why is the number of smallest particles so important in chemistry? The answer to this question has to do with the nature and types of chemical reactions. During a chemical reaction, particles interact with one another, often combining to form a new substance. For example, water is actually the combination, or a compound, of two atoms, two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen. The mass of the two reacting elements would not be enough to ensure a sufficient amount of each element for combination, because oxygen atoms are significantly heavier than hydrogen atoms.

In the laboratory, a chemist cannot determine the amount of a substance by deduction, or by some type of instinct. The amount of a substance can, however, be determined by its mass, which directly relates to the amount of particles a certain amount of substance contains. The quotient of a certain amount of mass (m) and an amount of substance (n) is given by the molar mass (M), with the unit number of grams per one mole.

Molar mass is determined by the sum of the masses of the individual atoms in a molecule. Atomic masses are easily attainable, from the periodic table of the elements. (Hydrogen (H) 1g/mol, Helium (He) 4 g/mol, Lithium (Li) 7g/mol, Beryllium (Be) 9 g/mol, etc.). See the periodic table for more atomic masses.

The molar mass of water (H2O) is 18 grams per mole: 1g/mol for each hydrogen atom (H) and 16 g/mol for the one oxygen atom (O). The molecule is composed of three atoms (2H + 1 O), or more simply: three parts, or atoms, join to make one larger compound, or molecule. The amount of particles corresponding to 1 mole of water is 6.022 . 10 23 molecules of water.

Individual atoms of each element have the same mass. The variable masses of individual molecules is a function of the bonding capabilities of those molecules' constituent atoms, and their atomic masses.

Matter, or mass, is neither created nor destroyed. If during a chemical reaction a compound, or other products of that reaction have less mass than the original reactant materials, most likely one of the products is not easily detectable - possibly an invisible, odourless gas, or some other byproduct of the reaction. If a scientist accurately compares the mass of all reactant materials with the mass of all products produced, the same amount is always present on both sides. Matter is neither created nor destroyed; it can only change form.

A mixture of a solid material dissolved in a liquid is called a solution. These mixtures can be measured by their volumes. The amount of a material dissolved in the same volume of a solution can vary from one mixture to another, however. To determine the amount of a dissolved substance in a solution, we use the chemical formula concentration (symbol: c), a measure of its variable "strength". The units of concentration of a solution are amount of moles dissolved in one litre of solution. Substance concentration is indicated as the concentration of a substance in solution. It is the quotient equal to the amount of a material dissolved in a certain volume of a solution (12 g of carbon (C) in one liter of water has a concentration of 1 mol/l). We call this amount of solution a one molar solution of carbon, and abbreviate it as 1 M.

In order to determine the molar concentration of a solution, or in the case that a chemist might need to prepare a solution of a given molar concentration, it is necessary to calculate the mass of each material. The mass of the dissolved substance is calculated from the necessary material mass and mass of one mole of the material. The amount of a substance in a solution can be calculated from the concentration of a substance and the volume of the solution.

For example, for a 1 molar solution of table salt we need 58.5 g of table salt in 1 l of water. Table salt is made of one part sodium and one part chlorine. The chemical formula of this compound is NaCl. The mass of one mole of NaCl is 58.5 g, because sodium (Na) has a molar mass of 23 g and chlorine (Cl) an atomic mass of 35.5 g. Add the two together (23 + 35.5 = 58.5). The mass of one mole is easily attainable from the periodic table of the elements.

A certain molar concentration does not tell how much volume a certain solution contains. That is, a 1 molar solution does not guarantee that there is 1 liter of solution. Rather, a 1 M solution implies that the ratio of dissolved substance (solute) to volume of substance dissolved in (solvent). In our example with table salt, then, rather than use 58.5 g of NaCl with 1 l of water, we could have just as easily used 29.25 g of NaCl with 0.5 l of water, or 117 g of salt with 2 l of water.

Chemical symbols

Substances and chemical reactions can be denoted in a simple and straightforward way in chemistry. A system of symbols, abbreviations and chemical formulas is used, and these are all internationally recognised - thanks to a committee of international experts who have agreed upon these symbols. At first, however, somewhat abstract symbols were used. Eventually, circular symbols to denote compounds were used. Today's system was introduced by J. J. Berzeliem (Swedish chemist 1779-1848). According to this system, each element was assigned a chemical symbol, usually taken from its Latin or Greek equivalent (for example Magnesium - Mg or oxygen = Oxygenium - O).

Elements are made up of small particles of one and only one kind. We call these particles atoms. In some elements, atoms combine in their natural state, in twos or even more, to form a compound of the given element. In this case, the atoms of one element are joined tightly together, thereby attaining an increased chemical stability. We call these combinations molecules and molecular substances. Molecules are often the smallest building blocks of

gaseous or fluid substances. For example, atoms of hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen are always joined together, in pairs, two each. There are molecules, however, that are made of different elements. The compound " water " is made of one atom of oxygen and two atoms of hydrogen.

One important foundation of chemical terminology is the concept of using small numbers after a chemical element symbol to indicate number of atoms, called stoichiometry. In the language of chemical symbols, an element symbol is often combined with these numbers, and is called a chemical formula. A formula, then, is made up of the element symbols that a certain compound is composed of. And, after each element symbol, the number of atoms of that element contained in the compound is given. This number is smaller than the element symbol. Ones, as in one atom of an element, are understood, and therefore not written, as in the chemical formula of water, H2O, understood as two atoms of hydrogen, and one atom of oxygen. Water is therefore not written as H2O1.

The formula of a compound characterises the material it represents and denotes its constituent elements, the elements it is made of. At the level of individual particles, the formula symbolises the molecule and gives the amount of all atoms in the molecule, and their ratio to one another. The ratio of the number of individual atoms in a molecule can be calculated for example with the help of the mass ratio of the individual elements and their atomic masses.

Stoichiometry says that the atoms in a compound are mutually bonded in unchanging ratios.

1. Dalton's law: The ratio of the masses of two elements which are bonded together in one molecule can be given as the ratio of one whole number to another.

2. The law of definite proportions: Every compound contains elements in a certain specific and constant mass ratio.

3 The law of consistent proportions: Elements combine together in certain specific ratios of masses or in whole number amounts.

How many atoms of one element join together with how many atoms of another element can be determined by experiment and calculation. The true chemical formula of a number of compounds can be determined rather simply, however, if we know the bonding possibilities of individual elements (their valence). This is the deciding factor for individual elements. For example, once we know the bonding possibilities of an element, we can figure out quickly how many hydrogen atoms could conceivably bond to it. The valence of an element when bonding with hydrogen is given by the amount of unpaired electrons in the outer shell of its electron cloud (the cloud made up of electrons moving at certain levels or in certain orbitals around the nucleus). For example: in water (H2O) one oxygen atom (O) bonds with two hydrogen atoms (H) and therefore has a valence of 2.

In chemical bonds, elements, or their atoms, are not only joined in whole numbers, but their mass ratios also remain constant. For example, in the chemical reaction of iron (Fe) se sulfur (S) iron sulfide (FeS) is formed. The ratio of the number of individual atoms is 1:1. The ratio of masses of the individual atoms is determined from the atomic masses of sulphur and iron, and is 1.45 (7:4).
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18Aug/110

Empirical Evidence for Evolution

On his website, a certain Mr. X has a standing offer of $250,000 to anyone who can give any empirical evidence (scientific proof) for Evolution.

To prove Evolution, there are three main subjects to consider, being Knowledge, Science and Belief. Knowledge is about facts. Science is about explaining and working with facts. Belief is about non-facts. Atheist and religious fanatics, being people you can't discuss common sense with, combine these three subjects in one, which they call "Truth". Not A truth, but THE indisputable Truth. If Mr. X would belong to this category, he might want to pay me for deleting this article, something I surely would consider.

Knowledge

We can be rather short about this one, unless someone can tell us what energy, matter and time is. Especially time is a great mystery, but it stands central in debates about Evolution versus Creation. How long time ago happened what, how much time did what development take, etc? Matter is a great mystery also, no scientist ever saw an electron as yet, just traces it leaves behind in various pieces of equipment. We only know the mass and electrical charge of an electron, but nothing about its internal structure. Yet, electrons are the main agents in the forming of chemical bonds, matter and life as we know it. Nobody ever "saw" energy either. We only know forms of energy, matter being one of them (Einstein). We can observe those various forms, but we don't know what the H2O of energy is. In fact, when it comes to the basic components of Creation and Evolution, we know absolutely NOTHING.

Science

Scientific facts are observed behaviors of matter and energy as functions of time, which can be described in formulas that we can work with. These "facts" however can change, some even become invalid as new discoveries are made and new "facts" emerge. The only "complete" science is that of mathematics. What is known of it since thousands of years will never change, never become invalid. Only more sophisticated methods can be developed, but for the rest, mathematics are stable as a rock.

Belief

When knowledge and science fail, Belief is left to explain whatever. It is therefore very hard to prove any Belief, or to deny it, because it is not based on knowledge and/or science. Nevertheless, we have also common sense, which allows us to judge the probability of something to be true. This is the field of philosophy, which is considered a science, but it is not an exact one and therefore it can be categorized under Beliefs. Religion is a special category within Belief, because it usually is dogmatic. In religions indisputable postulates are made to be "facts" and "truths", which rules out "common sense". Hence, it is rather useless to want to prove whether God exists or not. Those who try to do that, are no longer dealing with religion, but with science. If God ever would become a scientific fact, we can close all holy books and churches, fire all priests and instead ask a computer what God's will is, by letting it make "divine" calculations. If it then answers with "syntax error", the computer proves that God does not exist - a scientific fact.

However, there are false gods and false beliefs, which can be discovered by "common sense". Common sense must be based on a logic that everybody can agree with and this is not always the case, so even "common sense" is not always "convincing".

This brings us on Mr. X's first event to prove, without the need of a God Creator:

1. Time, space, and matter came into existence by themselves.

Because we don't know what energy, matter and time is, there can be no empirical prove on the origin of them, but theories only. What we can say about time though is, that nothing can be infinitely old, because whatever would be (God), cannot become a second older than it is already - you can't add anything to infinity. From this follows that time does not flow from the present into the future, but the other way around, from the present into the past and the future does not exist. This means that only the present moment exists and indeed, tomorrow never comes, it is always today and always right now. The present moment then becomes ageless and so both Creation and God are ageless. In that case there is no origin in time, but in Evolution only, changing the conditions of the present moment. This neither includes nor excludes a God Creator, just the perception of God would become a fundamentally different one from the Abrahamic view of the Bible. We are thus totally confined to the field of belief and speculation here and therefore I deem this point to be invalid in respect to proving Evolution.

Mr. X's second event to prove:

2. Planets and stars formed from space dust.

Mr. X requires an empirical prove. In my Oxford Dictionary, "empirical" is defined as: based on observation, experience, or experiment, not on theory.

As to observation, we have a very interesting physical law, called the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The interesting thing is this context is, that this is a purely observational law. This means that it is not based on any physical principle, but on observations only. Hence If I can prove Evolution on the basis of the Second Law, Mr. X has to accept it as valid.

The Second law has great significance for the mechanisms behind Evolution. Evolution is characterized by an almost infinite number of random events, bringing about unpredictable results over time, the more unpredictable, the longer the time of a certain process of consideration is. It is here where the Second Law comes in, based on our observations that random events indeed do occur. Random events relate to disorder, the very subject of the Second Law in terms of entropy. The creationists say that the Second Law predicts that everything develops to greater states of disorder (= higher entropy), which then erroneously is seen as to be in conflict with the high order we observe in the structure of the galaxies, planetary systems and the extremely high organized organisms of life, that thus must be created by God. This point of view thus rejects the Second Law, as it goes against God's creative order.

A correct understanding of entropy lets one see that organized matter instead causes an increase of entropy. For example, the Sun (or any star) was formed by gravity from a chaotic interstellar cloud of dust, into a more organized concentrated body, that converts matter into heat energy by nuclear processes. This energy disperses in space far more chaotically than the mass of the original cloud did and thus the entropy (disorder) has increased. Likewise, the chemical energy in food is in the body converted to heat, that is given of to the environment, thus spreading in a more chaotic manner, causing increase of entropy. There is order in chaos!

Evolution leads to more organized forms of matter and so doing increases the total entropy of the universe and is thus a direct consequence of the Second Law. The amazing complexity of these structures is due to the incredibly long time over which they were formed - billions of years of random events, finally resulting into a perfect system, perfect by necessity, in order to exist as the only sustainable solution - anything else would not be possible to last over (long) time. There is no "intelligent" design behind these structures, none that could be proven, nor would be required to explain them.

Hence, already at this point I can say to have proven Evolution on basis of the Second Law

Mr. X's third event to prove:

3. Matter created life by itself.

The prove of this is largely the same as of event 2, just the scene is a different one. Again, consider the time factor. Hundreds of millions of years of an almost infinite number of random events, chemical experiments, finally resulting in something that was sustainable, again later developing into something that could reproduce itself - life. This reproduction requires chemical energy (food) to be converted to ambient heat, increasing entropy, which was the driving factor behind the probability for it to occur - the Second Law. Evolutional development is about 100 million errors against one success, finally resulting into something that is without errors, "supreme" perfection. Hence, the extreme complexity and perfection of natural systems, including life, talks in favor of Evolution, rather than against it. Anything less perfect could not survive over time. Evolution can do "miracles", by virtue of the Second Law.

Mr. X's fourth event to prove:

4. Early life-forms learned to reproduce themselves.

This statement suggests that there could be life forms not learning this. That would be in conflict with the definition of life, being the ability to reproduce itself. Something that cannot reproduce itself, is not life.

Mr. X's fifth event to prove:

5. Major changes occurred between these diverse life forms (i.e., fish changed to amphibians, amphibians changed to reptiles, and reptiles changed to birds or mammals).

In view of said above, there is nothing peculiar for life to have spread over the planet, by which major changes between the various life forms occurred. Naturally, migrating to new environments with different conditions for survival, needed the migrating life forms to adapt to that. This just follows from common sense. An empirical prove of this event lies alone in the observations of paleontology, fossil findings of previous life forms.
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10Apr/110

Earth’s Dark Matter Halo

We now know that galaxies have gigantic halos composed of dark matter. Does Earth also possess such a halo? If so, we would be living inside this halo. Based on research so far, it is highly probable that Earth does possess a low density halo of dark matter because there are numerous sources for Earth to receive and attract dark matter into its gravitational influence. We also know that there is a mutual affinity between dark and ordinary matter throughout the universe.

Dark Matter within the Solar System

Our Solar System and the Earth sits inside the dark matter halo of our galaxy, the Milky Way. D Lin, a University of California astronomer, calculates that our galaxy’s halo of dark matter is equivalent to 600 to 800 billion solar masses, compared to the only 100 billion solar masses of visible matter. As our Solar System orbits the galaxy at a speed of almost 220km per second, it sweeps through the invisible sea of dark matter particles in the galaxy. Every kilogram of matter on Earth scatters as many as a thousand WIMPs (i.e. dark matter particles) per day.

The Solar System, itself, is sitting in an interstellar cloud of dark matter. The existence of the cloud and its geometry can be deduced from its effect on the spectra of nearby stars and cosmic rays. Priscilla Frisch of the University of Chicago calculates that our Solar System first encountered the cloud (moving at right angles to it) between 2,000 and 8,000 years ago.

Dark Matter Clouds Passing through Earth

Jürg Diemand, a physicist at the University of California in Santa Cruz, US, and colleagues say that computations suggest that small clouds of dark matter, which could be detected by future space missions, pass through Earth on a regular basis. He says that perhaps a million billion of them drift around our galaxy's dark matter halo. These clouds float through Earth every 10,000 years in an encounter lasting about 50 years, according to Diemand. However, they do not affect the (physical) Earth to any appreciable effect. Their relatively low densities mean they could only nudge our planet out of its normal orbit by less than a millionth of a meter per second.

Dark Matter Particles Blasted-Out from the Sun

According to researchers from the University of Oxford (as reported in the New Scientist journal), the Sun is harboring a vast reservoir of dark matter. Astrophysicists Ilidio Lopes and Joe Silk reasoned that passing dark matter particles would be captured by the gravity of heavy bodies like the Sun. In addition to heat and light, the Sun constantly emits low density plasma of charged electrons and protons called the ‘solar wind,’ which blasts out from the Sun in all directions at very high speeds to fill the entire Solar System and beyond. The solar wind and the much higher energy particles ejected by solar flares can have dramatic effects on the Earth ranging from power line surges and radio interference to the beautiful and mesmerizing aurora borealis. The composition of this solar wind has been largely analyzed by Science, up to now, to consist of only ordinary matter in the form of plasma. If there is a large dark matter reservoir in the Sun, as certain scientists are convinced, it is a logical next step to expect dark matter particles captured by the Sun from various sources to be also blown out of the Sun in its solar wind — just like ordinary matter particles. Trillions of dark matter particles from the Sun would be hitting Earth every minute.

Dark Matter Particles Raining Down from Dwarf Galaxy

Astrophysicist Heidi Newberg at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her colleagues suggest that dark matter may be raining down on Earth from the dwarf galaxy "Sagittarius". For eons, the Milky Way has been absorbing and tearing apart Sagittarius, which is about one-tenth the size of the Milky Way. Newberg and other astronomers recently discovered two "tails" or streams of stars flowing-out from Sagittarius. The streams are believed to also contain dark matter particles. Our Solar System sits in one of these streams. We are therefore stuck in the middle of a fast-moving stream of dark matter particles, billions passing through every square meter of the Earth (and our bodies) each second at speeds of over a million kilometers per hour. Day-in and day-out, countless random dark matter particles rain down upon the Earth and through our bodies undetected.

Density of Earth's Dark Matter Halo

If trillions of dark matter particles are passing through ordinary matter - the Earth and our bodies every few seconds then it would not be difficult for Earth to capture these particles under its gravitational influence. Dark matter could also be already present during the formation of the Solar System – so that ordinary and dark matter worked together to form our Solar System. Perhaps the Pioneer anomaly was also caused by the presence of clumps of dark matter in the Solar System, as conjectured by Marcus Chown.

However, it appears (ignoring the effects of any dark energy) that whatever dark matter is present in the Solar System, it must be low in density. Firstly, this is because the planets comply with Newton's gravity laws – unlike the stars at the edge of galaxies. (Dark energy has a repulsive gravitational effect. To what extent this would neutralize the attractive gravitational force of dark matter within the Solar System is a matter of conjecture.) Secondly, the density is low based on extrapolations of the density of dark matter in the local halo – which is roughly 0.3 GeV/cm3. The Earth-Sun distance is roughly 1.5 X 10^13 cm. So the amount of dark matter enclosed within Earth's orbit is approximately 10^40 GeV. For comparison, the Sun's mass is about 10^57 GeV. So the dark matter enclosed is 10^-17 of the mass of the Sun. It therefore has a negligible effect on the orbit of the Earth around the Sun. Based on these estimates, the average dark matter density is much lower (a trillion trillion times lower) than that of rocks, water and other substances typically found on Earth.

Is this Density Understated?

The numerous sources of dark matter particles suggest that there could be a local excess of dark matter in our Solar System over and above the galactic background. However, since the orbits of the planets comply with Newton's gravity laws very closely, the excess cannot be significant (barring the effects of any dark energy).

However, Newton's gravity laws require the mass of the Earth to be input. This mass is computed based on the gravitational acceleration measured at different places on Earth. This assumes from the start that the acceleration is due to only ordinary matter. The contribution of any dark matter on Earth has been ignored. A similar assumption is made when computing the mass of the Sun and the other planets. Scientists have speculated that there could be a large reservoir of dark matter within Earth. David Peat says that the best calculations suggest that our Earth could contain as much as 10 per cent shadow matter. Shadow matter (consisting of supersymmetric particles and objects) is generally considered to be the same as dark matter (which also consists of supersymmetric particles and objects).

Halos of dark matter, as large as our Solar System and with the mass of the Earth, were the first structures to form in the universe, according to calculations from scientists at the University of Zurich. If we could allow 10 per cent of the Earth's mass to be in the form of dark matter, this would mean a halo one-tenth the size of the Solar System – this is really huge relative to the size of the visible Earth. The visible Earth would seem like a little stone sitting inside this gigantic halo.

Implications

Based on the above discussion, there is no doubt that there is dark matter in the Solar System and on Earth. What are the implications? If we are living within a dark matter halo and there is mutual affinity between dark and ordinary matter, do objects on Earth (including our physical bodies) possess low density halos of dark matter? Does dark matter also play a part in the formation of our visible bodies just as it probably did in the formation of the visible Solar System? Can these low density halos organize themselves into life-forms (just like physical matter), survive the death of the physical bodies and evolve independently of life-forms composed of ordinarily visible (or measurable) physical matter?

According to plasma metaphysics, a significant amount of dark matter is in the form of a (magnetic) plasma of super (i.e. supersymmetric) particles. See the author's article on Dark Plasma. A low density gas of dark matter particles (which has no electrical properties) probably would not have allowed the development of life-forms composed of dark matter. However, plasma consists of electrically conductive soups of charged particles that respond collectively to electromagnetic forces and are overall (quasi) neutral. Renowned plasma physicist David Bohm was surprised to find that once electrons were in a plasma, they stopped behaving like individuals and started behaving as if they were part of a larger and interconnected whole. He later remarked that he frequently had the impression that the sea of electrons in a plasma was in some sense alive. Unlike particles within atoms, particles in magnetic plasma have long-range effects and correlations; and each particle has an electric field. In other words, the effects of the field become dominant. The invisible spaces between the widely dispersed particles in a low density plasma are not empty – they contain electric fields and dynamic magnetic field lines which twist and turn – generating complex dynamics in plasma. There is a network of filamentary currents in plasma.

Hence, even a low density plasma of (supersymmetric, massive) dark matter particles in the Solar System and on Earth could have significant effects on the formation of the Earth and our physical bodies because of its electromagnetic field properties.

© Copyright Jay Alfred 2007
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26Jul/100

Bioplasma Bodies – Formation of the Central Pranic and Kundalini Currents

"Astronomers say they have discovered a giant magnetic field that is coiled like a snake around a rod-shaped gas cloud in the constellation Orion."
- Ker Than, Space 'Slinky' Confirms Theory with a Twist

The helical shape of the magnetic field around the gas cloud in the constellation Orion is believed to be caused by matter in the interstellar cloud moving in a straight line along the length of the filament. When this happens, it causes the magnetic field around the cloud to spiral around in a corkscrew pattern. The researchers were able to detect this spiral shape using the Green Bank Telescope, a radio observatory in Virginia. When helical magnetic fields form in plasma, charged particles move along the field lines generating helical currents.

Kundalini is a Sanskrit term meaning either "coiled up" or "coiling like a snake". It is derived from the term kundala, which means a "ring" or "coil". Kundalini energy has often been depicted in ancient drawings as a serpent coiled around the back part of the root chakra in three and a half turns (comparable to a solenoid or a compressed helical current) around the sacrum. The phenomenon of "kundalini awakening" gives rise to the bio-energetic phenomena experienced by meditators. The intensified energy is supposed to originate from an apparent reservoir of subtle bio-energy at the base of the spine.

The central vertical currents in the subtle body (described as Ida, Pingala and Sushumna in the yoga literature) are often depicted in the metaphysical (particularly the yoga) literature as a pair of mutually entangled helical currents with straight currents passing through them. They appear in a familiar structure which resembles the caduceus symbol found in medical literature.

Mutually entangled (double spirals) currents are frequently seen in space and laboratory plasmas. This shows that there is a strong connection between plasma dynamics and the formation of the central kundalini and pranic currents in the (supersymmetric) bioplasma body as described by plasma metaphysics. Helical structures can also be found in dusty (or complex) plasma. This article will describe the processes from the viewpoint of plasma metaphysics as to how this structure forms within the bioplasma body, which is composed of complex plasma. According to plasma metaphysics, a series of (dark) bioplasma bodies are coupled to our carbon-based body. These bioplasma bodies can exist independently of the carbon-based body (except for the lower physical-etheric body which is strongly coupled to the carbon-based body).

Absorption and Self-Organization of Particles within the Bioplasma Body

Kundalini and prana particles are considered super(symmetric) particles in plasma metaphysics. The light prana particles are often said to originate from the Sun while heavy kundalini particles are often said to originate from the (fiery) core of the Earth. These two types of particles form plasmas with different characteristics. Plasmas with different characteristics (in this case different densities and temperatures) has a tendency to self-organize into "cells" with double-layers around themselves. Hence, as kundalini and prana particles are absorbed into the bioplasma bodies (via the plasma vortexes or chakras) they self-organize into pools (or reservoirs) of kundalini and prana particles.

In Chinese Qigong studies, qi is said to accumulate in specific areas – identified as "qi vessels" (also sometimes called "qi reservoirs"). There are eight of these qi vessels; four of the most important vessels lie within the torso – including two at the lower abdominal region. These vessels act like the capacitors in electrical circuits which store electrical charge, according to Dr Yang Jwing-Ming – an authority on Qigong. From the perspective of plasma metaphysics, these vessels are plasma cells containing different types of plasma with double layers around them which act like capacitors.

Plasma metaphysics observes that the center of the bioplasma body (coinciding somewhat with the lower abdomen of the biomolecular body) contains a pool of the highest density charged magnetic plasma composed of heavy particles (this plasma can be identified as kundalini-type particles and 'Earth qi'). In Chinese Qigong this area, just below the navel, is frequently referred to as the "cauldron". It is separated from a pool of lower density magnetic plasma of an opposite charge (or polarity) near the head composed of light particles (this plasma can be identified loosely with ‘prana-like’ particles and 'Heaven qi'). An electric field develops in the bioplasma body due to the separation (or polarization) of the plasma and double layers form. (The thermal potential contributes to this polarization.) V N Tsytovich and his colleagues demonstrated, using a computer model of molecular dynamics, that particles in a plasma can undergo self-organization as electric charges become separated and the plasma becomes polarized.

Formation of Double Layers

A double layer is a structure in plasma that consists of two parallel electrostatic layers with opposite electrical charge. The two sheets of charge cause a strong electric field and a correspondingly abrupt change in voltage (or electrical potential) across the double layer. Various types of instabilities may occur with double layers in the laboratory and in space, often arising due to the formation of beams of ions and electrons.

The production of a double layer requires regions with a significant excess of positive or negative charge, that is, where the quasi-neutrality of the plasma is violated. MHD (i.e. Magneto-hydrodynamics) theory does not include the possibility of parallel electric fields while observations of accelerated particles suggest their existence. In general, quasi-neutrality can only be violated on scales of the order of the Debye length. The thickness of a double layer is of the order of ten Debye lengths, which is a few centimeters in the ionosphere, a few tens of meters in the interplanetary medium, and tens of kilometers in the intergalactic medium. We would therefore expect to see only thin double layers within bioplasma bodies.

Formation of Straight and Helical Pranic Currents within the Bioplasma Body

As a result of the formation of an electric field or potential, within the bioplasma body, a straight (or axial) current carrying the lighter charged particles develop initially. This current generates magnetic fields around itself. Based on basic electromagnetics we know that these magnetic fields will be in the form of circular loops around the straight current. These are often described as circular 'azimuthal' magnetic fields around straight 'axial' currents.

For plasmas immersed in strong magnetic fields, electric currents tend to flow along the magnetic field lines, which act like wires guiding the current. Charged particles entering the ovoid therefore then flow around the azimuthal magnetic field which approximates a tightly wound (i.e. where the turns are close to each other) solenoid. This causes a dipole magnetic field to form, aligned with the axial current and extending outwards at the north and south poles. Along the central currents, the magnetic field lines are relatively straight and uniform.

The application of an axial magnetic field on the azimuthal magnetic field produces magnetic shear and transforms the azimuthal magnetic field into a helical one. As electric charges stream along the helical field lines, a helical current develops. This situation, where a helical current follows a helical magnetic field, is called a "force-free" configuration. The field-aligned current is called a Birkeland current. The density of the Lorentz force j × B generated by Birkeland currents is zero. Although the magnetic field is not in the lowest energy state possible (the vacuum state), it is in a local minimum energy state and so represents a stable equilibrium.

Formation of Straight and Helical Kundalini Currents within the Bioplasma Body

The kundalini current does not develop as rapidly as the pranic current as kundalini consists of heavier, more massive, particles which are more difficult to accelerate. (The "three and a half turns" at the base of the spine, often cited in the yoga literature, suggests a retarded development of the current.) Hence, it is only when the electric field is amplified that sufficient potential is generated to move these particles. The electrical potential can be amplified through certain meditative practices. When the potential reaches a certain threshold, an axial current will ensue followed by a helical current which will develop in a process similar to the development of the pranic currents. As the kundalini current develops from the base of the spine it will be guided by the helical magnetic field lines and would be seen to be slowly rising by twining around the existing axial current in a spiral. Metaphysicist G S Arundale tells us that "kundala represents a coil, spiral or ring, which expresses the way the inner fire unfolds". In other words, it describes the spiral or helical path that kundalini particles take as they rise from the base of the spine and twirl around the axial current, guided by the helical magnetic field generated by the axial current. According to experimental metaphysicist Charles Leadbeater, the course through which (kundalini) ought to move is spiral. This field-aligned current of kundalini particles is a Birkeland current.

Plasma Dynamics between Pranic and Kundalini Currents

The potential drop across the double layer will accelerate the charged prana and kundalini particles in opposite directions. (Barbara Brennan has observed a vertical flow of energy that pulsates up and down the center of the body. She calls it "the vertical power current".) The magnitude of the potential drop determines the acceleration of the charged particles. In strong double layers, this will result in beams or jets of charged particles. In the end, the electric field builds up until the fluxes of particles in either direction are equal, and further charge build up in the two plasmas would be prevented if the system was isolated. However, due to fresh intakes of prana and kundalini particles (via the plasma vortexes or chakras) the process continues within the (living) bioplasma body. (Meditative practices sometimes force the kundalini particles back in the opposite direction towards the direction of the pool of kundalini particles which causes disequilibrium. The reverse path is more difficult because the kundalini current will be repelled by the pool of kundalini particles, with the same charge, at the base of the spine.)

The kundalini axial and helical currents together make up the kundalini composite current. The pranic axial and helical currents together make up the pranic composite current. The kundalini composite current is opposite in polarity to the pranic composite current. This would result in a configuration that would be equivalent to a configuration where both composite currents were carrying particles of the same polarity in the same direction. According to Biot-Savart law, the composite currents would therefore exert a magnetic force attracting each other so that the two axial currents come closer together. They will attract each other even at close distances because of their different polarities - unlike the situation where currents of the same polarity are flowing in the same direction. In the latter case, the currents attract when further apart (because of the magnetic force) but repel each other at close distances (due to the electric charge). The helical components of the composite currents, being attracted to each other, then twine around the axial currents like two snakes wrapped around a tree trunk (the "trunk" being represented by the axial currents which form a flux tube).

Conclusion

As the helical currents transport charged particles in plasma, they will glow like bright twisted snake-like fluorescent lamps twined around a bright axial flux tube. Leadbeater says that kundalini is "luminous as lightning". When kundalini or prana particles are accelerated during meditative practices, (super) electromagnetic waves are radiated and heat is generated. The identification of a signature feature in magnetic plasma (i.e. the helical pinch) in models of the subtle bodies in the metaphysical literature establishes further that subtle bodies are in fact composed of magnetic plasma - more specifically, a magnetic plasma of high energy particles, including the predicted super(symmetric) particles.

© Copyright Jay Alfred 2007
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15Jun/100

What’s the Difference Between "Lockdown" and "Shelter in Place"?

With a new "event" occurring all too frequently in the news, a lot of the terms seem to get confusing. If you have children, they need to now do "lockdown drills" in school. What is a lockdown? What does it mean to shelter in place? What's the difference between the two? Well, here's the official word on the subject.

DISTINCTION BETWEEN "LOCKDOWNS" AND "SHELTER IN PLACE"

1. LOCKDOWNS: A lockdown occurs when occupants of the facility are directed to remain confined to a room/area with specific procedures to follow regarding locking of doors, closing of windows/shades, seeking cover, etc. This procedure is implemented when a criminal element is believed to be on the premises and officials expect that these measures will minimize risk exposure of the occupants to the criminal element. Lockdowns necessitate a law enforcement response and immediate intervention. While responsibility for determining a school district policy regarding lockdown rests primarily with that school district, both the school officials and the law enforcement officials are strongly encouraged to confer with one another when drafting their respective policies. This will help ensure safe and efficient handling of school lockdown events.

2. SHELTER IN PLACE: Sheltering in place is similar to lockdown in that the occupants are to remain on the premises, but may require that they be moved to a different part of the facility due to an environmental event taking place outside of the facility, for example the release of a chemical cloud from a nearby plant. To evacuate the occupants may put them at greater risk then sheltering them within the facility. However, it may be prudent to move all of the occupants to another part of the facility to further minimize the risk of exposure.

Due to the increase of these type of events in schools, many schools throughout the country are now equipping their classrooms with Classroom Lockdown kits. These kits are to prepare and provide for the students in just this type of situation. They supply emergency food, water and sanitation basics.
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27Apr/100

Antiques – Are There Bones in Bone China?

Conventionally, the development of bone china is attributed to Josiah Spode II (1754 - 1827) who introduced it in 1797, but like many stories, bone china goes back a lot further than that.

We must first acknowledge China as the first country to produce porcelain, a prototype, or early type of porcelain, about the year 1000. About 400 years later, examples of Chinese porcelain arrived in Europe. From then on and right up until the early 18th century, the race was on to discover the "secret mystery" of how to make porcelain.

The earliest recorded attempts were in late 16th century Italy, in the Medici ruled city of Florence, where experimental porcelains were produced by mixing powdered glass with clay in an attempt to reproduce the tantalizing translucency of the Chinese examples acquired.

Further attempts were made in the late 17th century at Rouen in France until porcelain, at last, was successfully made at Meissen during the first early years of the 18th century. This was known as high fired or hard paste porcelain in the Chinese manner.

To the princely ruler of Saxony, Augustus, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, the production of porcelain at Meissen soon saw Saxony become "the wealthy state of Saxony". Everyone wanted porcelain, everyone who could afford it that was, as at that time, porcelain was a rich man's, luxury product.

To keep the secret of "how porcelain is made" Augustus enacted laws which resulted in the death penalty for anyone revealing, or assisting anyone outside of the Meissen factory "in the secret mystery" of porcelain making. But, just like all the best kept secrets, the secret mystery escaped and competing factories sprang up throughout Europe. (Interestingly, some of the hardest edged porcelain connoisseurs still claim that the finest porcelains made in Europe, were all made in the first half of the 18th century!)

Up until the mid 18th century, there is no doubt that the most beautiful European porcelains were produced at the French factories, such as St Cloud, Chantilly and Mennecy. Many are the writers who describe these porcelains as "delicious" and "luscious". The French factories, some would say, peaking with the famous porcelains of Vincennes and on to Sevres, in 1756. These famous French porcelains were all soft paste, which is also known as "artificial porcelain" which was produced by the addition of powdered glass to china clay, as in the early Florentine, Medici porcelain. Powdered glass was used as a substitute for feldspathic rock, also called "petuntse". This naturally occurring silicate fuses under a high temperature changing into a kind of natural glass.

However, it is not possible to completely outline the story of bone china without first looking at the development and contribution of English soft paste porcelain.

The first mention of soft paste porcelain (1742) was by Thomas Briand, a speaker and member of the prestigious Royal Society. Briand delivered a paper on porcelain to The Society and it is now believed to have been based on the French, St Cloud formula.

The first English factory to produce soft paste porcelain in the French manner was Chelsea, established in 1743. Chelsea, true to the French style, used powdered glass to produce its superb and now, incredibly rare porcelain.

The two partners who established the Chelsea factory were Thomas Briand (the same Thomas Briand who delivered the lecture to the Royal Society) and Charles Gouyn, a silver smith, both of French Huguenots descent, hence the connection to St Cloud! We now arrive at bone ash porcelain, or the more widely known term, "bone china".

Bone china does indeed contain bones, lots of bones usually cattle bones! The raw bone, left after cleaning, is heated in a kiln to about 1000?c, at which temperature the bone is reduced to a fine ash. It is then finely ground with water before being blended with crushed feldspar and china clay. Bone china, in fact, consists of a remarkable 50% bone ash, 25% feldspar and 25% of the finest china clay.

Bone ash porcelain was first introduced at the London Bow factory c1750 with Chelsea following c1755. The bone ash mix produced better moulding properties and greater stability. These factors substantially reduced kiln loss, which caused problems for most of the 18th century factories.

Here is where we meet Josiah Spode I, who in 1767, after a seven year apprenticeship and a number of other partnerships, opened his own factory. His son, Josiah Spode II, now having inherited his father's factory, is attributed with the refinement and perfection of bone china. (The Spode factory still stands on this very same site and holds the title of "the oldest porcelain producing factory still standing on its original site").

Spode's great contribution was to experiment with and discover the ideal porcelain body. In short, he took the standard hard paste porcelain mix of china clay and feldspar, based on traditional Chinese porcelain and added refined bone ash.

This process totally transformed the English ceramic industry and by the end of the 18th century, with one exception, no soft paste porcelain was made in England.

Bone china became and is now the standard English porcelain which has been an exclusive English product ever since. Bone ash has rarely been used outside of England, with the US and European manufacturers preferring the hard paste porcelain in the Chinese manner.

It is the bone ash which gives bone china its strength and whiteness, with a remarkable translucency. I am very positive that if Josiah Spode II could see the results of his work today, not only would he be surprised, but he would feel a very proud man!
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10Aug/090

Chemistry – Alkenes to Alkanes

Simple Organic Compounds Containing Carbon, Hydrocarbons With Functional Groups

Carbon (C) is present in most compounds, both inorganic and organic. Carbon is fairly unreactive, but at high temperatures is forms compounds with hydrogen, oxygen and various metals. Carbon is the only element with the ability to form chains and cyclical compounds of carbon atoms that line up next to each other in various lengths. This makes carbon the basis of organic chemistry. Thanks to carbon, more than 10 million known organisms survive, even thrive, on this Earth. In addition, there are around 200,000 known inorganic compounds which contain carbon.

Carbon is an important rock-forming mineral, forming carbonates. As carbon dioxide (CO2), it can dissolve in water and is also found in the atmosphere. It is an important component of all plants and animals, of all living organisms. Those organisms which died in the early years of our planet's history have helped to create a huge supply of carbon and carbon-based fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas.

In organic material which contains carbon, its atoms are bonded together in simple, single bonds (in saturated compounds) or in double and triple bonds (in unsaturated compounds). Carbon chains are the result. The sites which are not used for direct carbon-to-carbon bonding can be used for bonds with hydrogen (hydrocarbons) or with other elements.

According to the type of carbon chain present, we can differentiate between compounds with open chains (linear or branched - aliphatic or acyclic) and cyclic compounds. Aliphatic compounds are categorised in the ranks of branched carbon-containing compounds. Cyclical carbon-containing compounds are distinguished by their carbon atoms being arranged in a circle, in a closed cycle. Of these, the most important are aromatic carbon compounds, beginning with the founding member of the aromatic compounds, benzene (C6H6). In it, carbon atoms form a circle together, with the individual bonds between them showing both single and double bond character, a sort of hybrid between the two. Some of the more important organic compounds are fats, proteins and hydrocarbons.

Hydrocarbons

Hydrocarbons are composed exclusively of atoms of carbon and hydrogen. They are the simplest of all organic compounds. There are three types of homologous families of hydrocarbons: alkanes, alkenes and alkynes. Alkanes contain only single bonds between carbon atoms. Alkenes contain at least one double bond. Alkynes contain at least one triple bond. Most of these types of hydrocarbons can exist with the same chemical formula in different form or chemical structure. When a compound has the same chemical formula but two possible structures, these two structures are called isomers.

Hydrocarbon molecules can also contain what are called functional groups. These are groups which contain at least one atom which is neither carbon nor hydrogen. These functional groups can affect the chemical behaviour of the molecule that contains them by giving that molecule special chemical properties. One example is ethanol - CH3CH2OH. Here, the functional group is -OH, with oxygen the determining atom.

Stereochemistry

Stereochemistry is simply the three-dimensional arrangement of a molecule. Organic molecules of the same chemical formula can have their atoms arranged differently in space. When they do, they often have significantly different chemical properties.

Isomers are those types of compounds which have the same chemical formula but different atomic arrangements in space. Isomers can be divided into stereoisomers and structural isomers.

Stereoisometric molecules change their atomic arrangement as a result of changes in pressure or temperature. All bonds and types of bonds (single, double, triple) are conserved in the same original fashion, however.

Structural isomers have atoms which change their position in a molecule. One example is a linear compound (where all of the carbon atoms are lined up in linear fashion), compared to the same chemical formula compound with a shorter linear structure and branching (chain isomerism). Functional groups can change their position (functional isomerism), or can differ from another isomer in the position of a double or triple bond (bond isomerism).

The number of carbon atoms in a hydrocarbon determines how many forms that compound can take. The number of possible isomers in a compound rises as the number of carbon atoms it contains rises.

Alkanes, Alkenes, Alkynes

Hydrocarbons are composed exclusively of oxygen and hydrogen. There are three types of homogeneous hydrocarbons (whose members differ by one CH2 unit): alkanes, alkenes and alkynes. The difference between these three groups is in the bond types between carbon. Alkanes form only single bonds, alkenes form double bonds, and in alkynes there is at least one triple bond.

The simplest alkane is methane. It is formed from one atom of carbon which is bonded with four atoms of hydrogen. If a CH2 group is added, the second alkane compound is formed. The naming of alkanes, as with all other hydrocarbons, is based on the rules of IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry). Alkane names all end with -ane (from alkan). In front of this ending is a prefix which describes the amount of carbon atoms, corresponding with either a Greek or Latin number. The first four alkanes are named according to historical convention.

Methane: CH4, ethane: C2H6, propane: C3H8, butane: C4H10, pentane: C5H12. The formula of all alkanes can be calculated according to the simple formula CnH2n+2. The number of carbon atoms is the defining factor as to which alkane is which. The alkanes, despite how many carbon atoms they contain, all share some common characteristics. For example, it is typical for all alkanes that they are not highly reactive, they burn well, and they react analogously with halogens in photochemical substitution reactions (exchange reactions). With increasing size of the molecule in the alkane family, alkanes begin to differ from one another in a fundamental way. The first four alkanes are found in the gaseous state of matter. Alkanes containing 5-16 carbon atoms are liquids, and alkanes with 17 or more carbon atoms are solids. Boiling and melting points rise with increasing atomic number.

Branched alkanes are first named according to the amount of carbon atoms they contain in a row. If a radical is contained in an alkaline compound, the -ane ending is replaced by -yl. The branch must be denoted in some way, so as to pinpoint its location on the main carbon chain. For this reason, carbon atoms are numbered from left to right from least to greatest number, so that the branch is arbitrarily assigned the lowest number possible. The main chain has to be the longest one in the molecule. If there are multiple chains in the molecule, they are assigned letters of the alphabet.

Properties and Reactivity

The bond between carbon and hydrogen in an alkane molecule is a weak, polar atomic bond. For this reason, the individual atoms of alkanes carry only a very weak partial charge. These partial charges cancel each other out over the molecule, since it is perfectly symmetrical. The result is a molecule which is non-polar overall. This is not to say one molecule of an alkane does not interact electrostatically with other atoms of its own kind. Weak van der Waals intermolecular forces are found between non-poplar molecules, causing them to mutually attract and repel each other in a weak way. The size of these forces increases as molecule size increases. According to this idea, the characteristics of unbranched alkanes change with increasing size of the carbon chain.

At room temperature, the first four alkanes are found in the gaseous state of matter. Pentane is the first of the liquid alkanes. Until hexane (16), alkane compounds become more and more viscous (parafin oil), because their viscosity rises as the strength of van der Waals forces increases. From heptadecane (17), the alkanes are solids (parafins). Their melting and boiling points rise as a function of the number of carbons in their chains.

Alkanes burn readily. When they do burn, carbon dioxide and water are the products. With increasing chain size, alkanes, given the same amount of oxygen, burn less easily, so that more carbon soot (elementary carbon) is formed with increasing chain size. In alkane molecules, all bonds are said to be saturated. For this reason, alkanes are not very reactive. They do tend to form compounds with halogens.

Van der Waals Forces

Because molecules carry a partial charge, there are forces and attractions between neighbouring molecules. These forces between molecules are very small, but they are big enough to hold the molecule together. The longer the carbon chain of a molecule, the more atoms can take part in these mutual forces, and the greater the resultant attractive force. If the inner forces in smaller alkanes are small, they may not be strong enough to hold the molecule together at room temperature. With increasing carbon chain size, however, these intramolecular forces do increase. At a chain length of 17 carbon atoms, the van der Waals forces are so strong that the individual molecules are held together in the solid state of matter.

Alkenes

Alkenes (olefíns) are unsaturated compounds of carbon with hydrogen which contain one or two double bonds between atoms of carbon. They burn to form carbon soot and carbon dioxide and water. They are more reactive than alkanes because of the fact that they contain double bonds.

Multiple bonds (double, triple bonds) are energetically less advantageous for atoms than corresponding single bonds. For this reason, the atoms in a compound will attempt to break multiple bonds to form single bonds, which are more advantageous energetically. This explains why compounds which contain double and triple bonds are so much more reactive than those which contain single bonds. The alkenes include ethene: C2H4, propene: C3H6, butene: C4H8 and pentene: C5H10. Up to butene, the alkenes occur as gases. Up to hexadecene (C16H32) they are liquids, with higher alkenes found in the solid state of matter. Their general chemical formula is CnH2n.

Alkynes

Alkynes (acetylenes) are unsaturated necyclical hydrocarbons which contain one or more triple bonds between atoms of carbon. When they burn, they tend to form carbon soot. When oxygen is present during burning, high temperatures can be reached. The general formula for alkynes is CnH2a-2. Among these are acetylene: C2H2, propyne: C3H4 and butyne:C4H6.

Alkenes and Alkynes, Unsaturated Hydrocarbons

The carbon atoms of hydrocarbons can be arranged in circles. These cyclical hydrocarbons with single bonds are called cycloalkanes. Benzene and its derivatives, however, are called aromatic hydrocarbons. They contain double bonds. Benzene (first called benzol) was discovered in 1825 by M. Faraday. The name benzol was coined by J. von Liebig. Because benzene is not an alcohol, we call it benzene, not benzol. Benzene is a colourless liquid which refracts light and has an aromatic odour. This characteristic smell was the reason why benzene's group is called the aromatic compounds. Benzene is less dense than water and does not mix with water. On the other hand, it does mix with, or dissolve in, non-polar solvents. Benzene can itself dissolve fats, resins and rubber. Its boiling point is 80.1° C, lower than that of water. At 5-6° C, benzene solidifies and begins to crystallise. When it is burned, benzene releases carbon soot. In its pure form, benzene can be dangerous for human health. If humans are exposed to benzene for long periods of time, their livers, kidneys and bone marrow can be harmed. Benzene is a carcinogen, but it is a useful material in chemistry, serving as a reactant in the synthesis of a number of organic compounds.

Cyclic Hydrocarbons

Cyclic hydrocarbons can be differentiated from aliphatic hydrocarbons. The cycloalkanes, which are composed of multiple CH2 groups and have no double bonds, form a homologous group of compounds. The first member is cyclopentane. The same as the next member cyclohexane, it is very unstable. Because cycloalkanes are saturated compounds, they, like linear alkanes, are not very reactive. They also share a number of properties. The aromatic hydrocarbons are derived from benzene. Group members have six free valence electrons which are distributed in a circle in the form of a charged cloud. Because of the presence of these valence electrons, we can predict that the reactivity of these aromatic compounds will be similar to other unsaturated hydrocarbons. This time, however, our prediction is incorrect: Benzene is much less reactive than other unsaturated hydrocarbons. Only at high temperatures and in the presence of a catalyst can benzene take on another hydrogen atom. When it does, cyclohexane is the resultant product.

The Molecular Structure of Benzene and Cyclohexane

Benzene (benzol), which was discovered as early as 1825, was described by A.F. Kekule von Stradonitz for the first time in 1865. According to Kekule's description, benzene was a circular compound with six atoms of carbon. The benzene circle contained three double bonds which alternate with three single bonds. Kekule believed that these double bonds were fixed in one place in the molecule. He thought that there were two isomeres of benzene which existed side-by-side.

Modern models of benzene's structure show that each carbon atom has associated with it one unpaired electron, a free electron. These unpaired electrons are divided among the circle in the form of a charged cloud. They do not have one certain position in the formation of double bonds. This strange electron arrangement is called mezomeric. It is the reason why benzene is not as reactive as we might expect as compared to other compounds which contain double bonds.

Cyclohexane belongs to the cyclic hydrocarbon family of single-bonded compounds between carbon atoms. It is made of six carbons, each having two hydrogens associated with it.

Noble Gases, Halogen-Substituted Alkanes

The noble gases are found in Group VIII of the main group elements, the A groups. They have a full outermost electron shell and are therefore nearly unreactive. The lighter noble gases do not form compounds at all, and the heavier ones form very few, these being able to be formed and exist only under certain conditions. The elements of the noble gas group include: helium (He), neon (Ne), argon (Ar), krypton (Kr), xenon (Xe) and radon (Ra). All occur in the gaseous phase of matter. It is possible to produce them through the distillation of condensed air (at temperatures of around -200° C).

The noble gases are not flammable. Helium is used in hot air balloons and other balloons, because it is lighter than air. Radon is the product of the fission reaction of the radioactive element radium. The other noble gases are used in numerous types of lighting because they do not react (light bulbs, neon tubes).

Halogens are found in the seventh main group of elements. They have seven electrons in their outermost electron shell. They can react with other elements and form covalent bonds as well as being able to react to form ionic bonds. They occur in nature in compounds. Smaller halogens, the ones at the top of the periodic table, are more reactive than the halogens in the lower portion of the table, so the smaller halogens can take the place of larger ones in compounds, replacing them or substituting for them. All halogens are poisonous. The halogens are: fluorine (F), chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br), iodine (I) and astatine (At). Fluorine and chlorine are gases at room temperature. Fluorine corrodes and attacks almost all other materials, including glass. Chlorine is highly poisonous. Other halogens are either liquids or solids at room temperature, based on their size, where the largest halogens are solids. In the gaseous form all halogens are highly poisonous.

Substitution Generally

The substitution of halogens with alkanes is another way besides burning that they can react. In a substitution reaction, one atom of hydrogen is replaced by one atom of a halogen. This type of reaction is called a halogenation. The halogenation of alkanes occurs in the presence of light, making it a photochemical reaction.

Methane (C2H4) reacts with chlorine (which occurs as a two-atom molecule Cl2) in the presence of light to produce methyl chloride, CH3Cl, and hydrogen chloride (HCl).

These compounds can be differentiated according to various criteria, including:

1. The type of halogen, for example fluoro-, chloro-, bromo-, and iodo-.

2. The type of carbon chain: open, closed, aromatic, saturated, unsaturated.

3. The number of atoms in the halogen: mono-, di- and poly halogen compounds.

The name of the compound is based on the number of carbon atoms present, and where the substitution of a halogen for a hydrogen atom has taken place. Before the name of the hydrocarbon the names of the substitued halogens are given, in alphabetical order if possible. Each carbon atom is assigned a number so as to place the substituted halogen at as low a number as possible. Then the number of the carbon which has been substituted is placed before the halogen prefix. For example:

The carbon chain is always numbered in such a way so that the substituting groups are assigned the lowest numbers. If, however, there are multiple substitutions or some larger group has been substituted, a functional group, that is, it is assigned the lowest possible number.

Fluorine is the first of the halogen group, which means that it is able to substitute for all of the other halogens in a chemical bond. For this reason, hydrocarbons containing fluorine are very stable, non-flammable, and are not poisonous. They are used as an ingredient in aerosol sprays or as the refrigerant liquid in refrigerators, and as a solvent. Their use has become less popular in recent years because of the damage they do in the atmosphere to the ozone layer.
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