How Ritalin Acquired its Name

Methylphenidate, more commonly known by its brand name “Ritalin”, was developed in 1944 by Swiss scientist Leandro Panizzon. Panizzon created the medication in part as he wanted his wife Marguerite to become more energized, play better tennis, lose weight, and help improve her hypotension. Panizzon created the term “Ritaline” (pronounced “ree-tah-lean”) for his newly invented medication, named as such for his wife Marguerite (pronounced “mar-gah-reet”) as Marguerite always referred to herself using the shortened version of her name, “Rita”. When Chemische Industrie Basel, more commonly known by the acronym “CIBA”, the company which owned the research, released methylphenidate into the marketplace, the “e” was discarded from “Ritaline” to create “Ritalin” (pronounced “ree-tah-lin”)

The Renewable Resource of Urine Powered Electronics

Urine is rich in minerals and it is believed that this resource will be able to be harnessed and extracted efficiently and cost effectively at some point in the future to produce electrical energy. At the Bristol Robotics Laboratory in the U.K., urine is being studied as a potential energy resource for residential use within the near future (e.g. used to charge a smartphone etc.). Charging a smartphone with urine requires battery like fuel cells with Professor Ioannis Leropoulos (pronounced “yan-iss lee-raw-po-lis”) having developed a system capable of meeting this requirement. The application itself is referred to as “microbial fuel cell” technology, a system which leverages live bacteria to generate electrical current. Urine contains carbon, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, magnesium, and creatinine, all elements which microbes require to continue living and growing which is why this technology functions as it does. The microbial fuel cell’s central tube is porous ceramic, allowing urine to permeate the tube and microbes to colonize it. As the elements of urine are consumed, electrons generated by the microbes are picked up by the cells of opposing wire coils, creating a battery. Not just any microbe will suffice however, as specific microbes are required for this process to be effective. To source the correct microbes, scientists leverage a plethora of microbes available within the natural environment (e.g. lake, pond, river sediment etc.). Each fuel cell produces 1.5 volts of electrical current, and when linked together in series, output can be increased to a level which is useful for daily activities. The system is able to be scaled so that it can be built into future homes, allowing for individuals and families to recycle urine as a means of generating electrical energy. Leropoulos’ work has been funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as well as by the European Commission among others and is close to becoming commercially available as of 2020. For this system to benefit users, separate urinals would be installed but with redirected plumbing to funnel urine away from becoming mixed with common sewage and into a collection container, providing an on demand resource which can be utilized when needed

The Coca Leaf Extraction Process to Manufacture Cocaine

The cocaine extraction process is complicated but begins with workers shredding the leaves of the coca plant into fine particulate with machinery (e.g. weed trimmer etc.) after which cement powder is added, then sulphuric acid dissolved in water, with the leaves then being placed into an oil drum and doused with gasoline. The mixture is left to sit for an extended period of time so that the cocaine itself can be extracted from the coca leaf. The oil drum mixture is stirred continuously using a large rod and then poured through a filter into another container where battery acid is introduced. The battery acid is sulphuric acid making it similar to the first few steps but it is slightly different as it is diluted with water to become no greater than a 37% concentrate. Battery acid helps to separate the cocaine liquid from the gasoline, with 90% of the barrel being gasoline and 10% at the bottom being pure liquid cocaine. Because the gasoline and liquid cocaine have different specific densities, plantation workers place a hose into the bottom of the barrel so that the liquid cocaine can be extracted, either using a pump or gravity by manually sucking on the hose until liquid cocaine starts flowing through. Pure liquid cocaine is clear like water, and has an acidic, bitter, strong taste. Sodium bicarbonate is then added as it helps to eradicate the excess gasoline and battery acid which remains and turns the liquid white. Once the liquid is dried, it begins to resemble cocaine but the process is not yet complete. The dried powder is then cooked on a stove top and stirred continuously to remove further impurities, the top layer is then removed the same way soup skin is removed with a brown colored liquid left remaining which is cocaine. The brown liquid is spread onto a baking pan and left to dry. It is this paste that is passed onto drug cartels to then be distributed internationally

The Reason Most Cats Adore Cat Nip

Catnip is a perennial herb which is a member of the mint family, specifically the species of the genus Nepeta (pronounced “nah-pee-tah”) in the family Lamiaceae (pronounced “lah-me-yay-see-aye”). The chemical compound in the nepeta cataria plant which attracts and affects felines is nepetalactone (pronounced “nah-pee-tal-ack-tone”). Nepetalactone is indigenous to Southern and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of China. When cats consume catnip orally the compound acts as a sedative, but when inhaled for its scent, it causes short bursts of hyperactivity. Nepetalactone is extracted via steam distillation and acts as a natural mosquito and fly repellent. Several scientific studies have demonstrated that leopards, cougars, and various species of lynx often react to catnip in a similar manner to their domestic house cat cousins, whilst lions and tigers may react strongly, but may also have little or no reaction whatsoever. 33% of cats are unaffected by catnip with the behavior theorized to be hereditary in nature. In 1962, it was discovered that susceptibility to catnip may be directly related to the Mendelian-dominant gene. Other plants can have similar effects upon felines including the roots and leafs of the valerian plant, silver vine which is sometimes referred to as “matatabi”, and Tatarian honeysuckle wood. Cats who do not respond to nepeta cataria are more likely to respond to one, some, or all of these alternatives plants. In addition to its use with cats, nepeta cataria is also a popular ingredient in herbal tisanes and teas, and is highly valued for its sedative and relaxant properties”

Civilizations Mastery of Metal By Manipulating Fire

The more carbon rich a fuel is, the more heat it produces. Typical wood fires burn at 700 degrees Celsius, however 6000 years ago, ancient people discovered the adaptation of burning wood in a low oxygen environment, only partially burning, but in doing so creating a much purer carbon rich fuel; charcoal. Charcoal can burn at temperatures upwards of 1100 degrees Celsius, hot enough to melt ore out of rock. The mastering of metal produced tools, finance, and weaponry, forever changing the evolutionary story of human beings. By the Middle Ages, the production of charcoal for metal smelting and metal work was a major industry


The Reason Alcoholic Hangovers are Unpleasant

A hangover at its most basic premise is caused when the body does not have enough water to run its citric acid cycle (also referred to as “CAC”, “tricarboxylic acid cycle”, “TCA cycle”, and/or “Krebs cycle”). This is exactly the process which occurs when a person dies of thirst. Although hangovers are typically not dangerous, this is part of the reason why they feel so uncomfortable

Textile Pollution of the Citarum River in Indonesia

The Citarum River (pronounced “chit-ah-rum”) in Indonesia is considered to be the most heavily polluted river in the world with over 400 textile factories situated nearby which choose to dump their industrial waste directly into the river itself, treating the river as a sewer system which carries away waste. The problem is so intense that the Indonesian military has been implemented to help clean up the area but corporations have resorted to dumping their waste products at night and because the unseen chemicals are the real threat to those living near the river, these companies are permitted to continue dumping as no one can definitively prove their culpability without scientific measurements which are difficult to ascertain as Indonesia is a developing country. Corporations have even begun to strategically place their waste pipes under water so that they can pollute with impunity as no one can physically see the pollution being dumped. Water darker than its surroundings, steam, bubbles, and froth are all key signs which activists use to spot these illegal port systems. It’s difficult to pin point which factories produce textiles for western companies as western companies virtually always refuse to disclose which factories they work with. Some of the largest corporations in fashion (e.g. H&M, the Gap, Levi’s etc.) have revealed their sources but even with this disclosure, some of these companies have been linked to factories within this region. Indonesia isn’t a top 5 global producer of textiles, so to say that Indonesia is part of an even larger problem, is an accurate statement. Most people who live near the Citaum River use the river for bathing, drinking, and/or cooking, and noticeable dermatological effects have been noticed by those living within the area. The primary problem with the Citarum River is with heavy metals (e.g. mercury, cadmium, lead, arsenic etc.). Long term exposure to these substances can cause neurological problems as brain function becomes permanently damaged. These heavy metals are so dire that they can actually lower the intelligence quotient of children who are developing and attending their education. 28,000,000 (28 million) people rely upon the Citarum River daily and eat foods (e.g. rice) irrigated with its waters. Human rights activists have engaged these corporations by physically blocking piping and ducts which have caused the affected corporations to start hiring mercenary criminals to follow and attack those known to be a part of this resistance. Western consumers are the primary cause and possible solution for this problem because if there are no clients willing to purchase the garments, the industry as a whole will shift, not because of political pressure or governmental oversight, but rather because of sales. The problem is not centralized in Indonesia as other developing countries (e.g. India, Bangladesh, China etc.) are equally negatively impacted

The Ability of Quantum Theory to Explain the Existence of All Matter

The theory of quantum mechanics is the most accurate and powerful description of the natural world which scientists have at their disposal. Quantum fluctuations are written into the stars as modern day theories explain that as the universe sprang from a vacuum, it expanded very rapidly, which means that the rules of the quantum world, should have contributed to the large scale structure of the entire universe. The universe is shaped by quantum reality, essentially the quantum world inflated many, many times in that nothingness has shaped everything, with this concept now being definitively proven as fact. Quantum physics provides a natural mechanism through quantum fluctuations to see into the early universe with small irregularities that would later grow to create galaxies. The idea that a cluster of gas and dust like the Milky Way Galaxy, a collection of billions of stars, could begin life simply because of small quantum fluctuations, is absolutely mind boggling, as these tiny fluctuations within the vacuum of space were only present upon a submicroscopic scale, yet had the ability to grow into some of the largest objects in the universe. This is possible because the Big Bang produced equal amounts of matter and anti-matter but as the universe cooled down, matter and anti-matter annihilated almost perfectly, but not quite, as every 1,000,000,000 (1 billion) annihilations will lead to 1 particle of matter being left behind and this is what has built the matter of the physical world, everything from stars to the Earth to the smallest life forms and inanimate objects. Everything within the universe which is physical to the touch is simply debris of an enormous collision between matter and anti-matter at the beginning of time

Technology Provided by the Iron Age

Iron was favored over bronze throughout history because it could be formed into thin and detailed structures which could not be achieved when casting bronze. This is important because it meant that iron blades could be worked and therefore sharpened to a much more refined degree than bronze which was brittle. Iron is also more readily found, a metal which could be found locally around the world and did not depend upon an immense, trading network. By 400 B.C., iron tools and iron objects became ubiquitous throughout various civilizations with the effects of this new technology felt upon the cutting edge of agricultural technology. Iron is more practical than bronze as bronze needs to be melted down and recast if broken in opposition to iron which could be taken to a fire, hit with a hard object, and repaired to the point at which it becomes functional once again. These aspects helped iron to gain favor worldwide as the metal of choice for building and advancing society. As the Iron Age progressed, knowledge about where iron deposits are found became better understood with more and more iron becoming available upon the open market. This is important because the more readily available a particular type of artifact is, the younger the item typically presents as. As time progressed, iron became akin to plastic of the modern day, being cost effective and readily available to manufacture virtually anywhere. Iron tipped wooden plows allowed for more difficult soils to be farmed, which meant that more land could be cultivated making iron truly an agricultural and commercial revolution in the ancient world. Despite lasting for a period of 1000 years, the Bronze Age was quickly replaced with the more effective and efficient Iron Age. The issue of total replacement is complicated as bronze was not only used for tool making, it also helped to create an elite class and was used for spiritual and ceremonial objects as well as visual displays of prestige and wealth. Iron tools several hundred years later, failed to achieve the same intrinsic value within society that bronze once had as it was less rare and precious and therefore less valuable. Iron tools however were highly practical unlike their bronze counterparts, a feature which plagued agriculture and society as a whole

The Four Ancient Greek Concepts of Love

The Ancient Greeks had 4 terms for love. The first term, “philia” (pronounced “feel-ee-ah”), refers to “affection which grows from friendship”. The second term, “storgē” (pronounced “stor-gay”), refers to the “kind of love one has for a grandparent or sibling”. The third term, “érōs” (pronounced “air-ohs”), refers to “romantic love, the uncontrollable urge to say “I love you” to another person”. The fourth and final term, “agápē” (pronounced “ah-gah-pay”), refers to “steadfast love as an action, the kind of love to take care of a partner in their elder years as they decline further and further”