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 with few resources. 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”

The First Advancement of Medieval Gunpowder Technology

To create the earliest form of gunpowder, 3 substances were mixed together which included, sulphur, charcoal, and saltpeter which is comprised potassium nitrate. Because these ingredients have varying specific densities, they constantly separated when mixed, forcing soldiers to re-mix gunpowder after having been transported to the battlefield. By the end of the 15th century, a new technique for the manufacturing of gunpowder emerged, that of corning which made gunpowder much more reliable. Corning involves mixing together the 3 primary ingredients to create a slurry. This is more effective than the traditional method because as the mixture dries, the ingredients do not separate due to their different specific gravities. This acts to increase the stability of gunpowder and allowed cannons to evolve into lethal siege engines no longer governed by the strength of soldiers or the laws of mechanics. Gunpowder, the first chemical explosive ever invented, was the driving force behind the weaponry used against fortifications, hurling projectiles faster, further, and with greater force than previously designed mechanically powered machinery (e.g. trebuchet, catapult, ballista etc.)

The Tradition and Method of Selecting a New Pope

Murder, bribery, and nepotism were the primary ways in which a pope would enter or exit the papacy prior to the 12th century. It was during the 12th century that cardinals who were senior clergy in Rome, Italy created what they referred to as a “college” to act as a council which would regulate the elections of future popes. This system became referred to as the “conclave” which refers to the practice of a “private meeting assembly of cardinals for the election of a pope”. The term “conclave” was chosen because of the Latin term “con” with means “with” and the Latin term “clavin” which means “key”, more literally translating to “locked room” as cardinals would be locked away to avoid the interference of outside politics. As of 1274 A.D., all papal elections are held in secret, adhering to this strict tradition in an attempt to remain unbiased. Elections are held again and again until a 66% majority is achieved at which point white smoke is released to signify that the council has reached a decision. The election ballets from each voting round are burned so that the election is completely anonymous and private, even for those who are present in the meeting. It is this burning which creates the iconography of the smoke being released to signify a decision. In the Middle Ages, cardinals added damp straw to the ballots which created black smoke to signify that a pope had not yet been chosen. White smoke was created by burning the paper alone, but during the modern day, chemical additives are added to ensure the white smoke color is as unambiguous as possible

The Comparison of Medieval Gunpowder Explosives toward Modern Day Plastic Explosives

During the modern day, soldiers use plastic explosives to blast through walls, similar to that of the gunpowder powered cannons of antiquity, but different in the sense that they can be directly applied and finely controlled. Despite these differences, the principle of both weaponry remains the same which is to create a powerful burst of kinetic energy to smash apart solid structures. Soldiers with explosive expertise during the modern day plant explosives in a lowercase “i” or “t” shape format by separating the explosives with a gap in the middle. This design ensures the explosive will blow a hole in the top and the bottom of the blast site, as well as the sides in some instances, leveraging the physics of the shockwaves produced to disrupt the wall and weaken it in the middle. Explosive experts don’t attach plastic explosives at the bottom of walls for two distinct reasons, the first being because the foundation upon the other side of the wall which cannot be viewed has the potential to be higher than the foundation facing the impending soldiers, which means that the explosives would be blasting into solid ground soil which is much less effective than blasting into walls made of concrete or otherwise, and the second being that explosives close to the ground create rubble directly next to the hole created, making forced entry more difficult, especially under siege conditions with active enemy combatants attempting to stop the breach. The main difference between Medieval gunpowder and modern day plastic explosive is the amount of material required to produce the same effect as plastic explosives are an entire order of magnitude more powerful than gunpowder, with 2 kilograms of plastic explosive equating to multiple barrels of gunpowder. Explosives are categorized as either “high explosives” or “low explosives” with high explosives having the front of the chemical reaction travel faster than the speed of sound and low explosives having the front of the chemical reaction produced travel slower than the speed of sound. To provide comparison, modern day C4 plastic explosives have a detonation velocity of 8,092 meters per second whilst gunpowder has a detonation velocity of just 171 – 631 meters per second