Saturday, December 06, 2008

Advent 2008: Week One Saturday

Today we shall summarize a few facts about water, some of which we have not mentioned in our discussion.

I. Water.

A. Biblical Quotes:

1. "I thirst." [Jn 19:28]

2. Jesus answered and said to her: Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but he that shall drink of the water that I will give him shall not thirst for ever. [Jn 4:13]

3. ...the spirit of God moved over the waters. [Gn 1:2]

4. And it shall come to pass in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem: half of them to the east sea, and half of them to the last sea: they shall be in summer and in winter. [Zc 14:8]

5. He that believeth in me, as the scripture saith: Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. [Jn 7:38]

B. Chesterton Quotes:

1. One of the profound philosophical truths which are almost confined to infants is this love of things, not for their use or origin, but for their own inherent characteristics, the child's love of the toughness of wood, the wetness of water, the magnificent soapiness of soap.
["The Position of Sir Walter Scott" in Varied Types]

2. I like the Cyclostyle ink; it is so inky. I do not think there is anyone who takes quite such a fierce pleasure in things being themselves as I do. The startling wetness of water excites and intoxicates me: the fieriness of fire, the steeliness of steel, the unutterable muddiness of mud. It is just the same with people.... When we call a man "manly" or a woman "womanly" we touch the deepest philosophy.
[GKC's letter to his fiance July 8, 1899 in Ward, Gilbert Keith Chesterton 108-9]

C. Other sources

1. [Gandlaf said,] "I cannot burn snow" JRRT, The Lord of the Rings

2. "Water has no color of its own." Wendon Blake, Oil Landscapes Step By Step

3. Water is the phantom ingredient in much Italian cooking. One of my students once protested, "When you add water, you add nothing!" But that is precisely why we use it. Italian cooking is theart of giving expression to the undisguised flavors of its ingredients. In many circumstances, an over-indulgence in stock, wine, or other flavored liquids whould tinge the complexion of a dish with an artificial glow. That is why some recipes will direct that if the quantity of broth used is not sufficient, you should continue cooking with water, as needed. We sometimes use water for deglazing, because it lasts justlong enough to help scrape loose the cooking residues stuck to the pan, and then evaporates without a trace. Whenever broth or wine has a part in developing the flavor of a dish, it is in the recipe. Otherwise use water. Marcella Hazan, The Classic Italian Cookbook

D. Basic Scientific facts
1. Composition: H2O
2. Its structure is an "L" or "V" shape at an angle of 104.5° with 0.099nm between the O and the H. (nm means "namometers", one billionth of a meter, or 0.00000003937 inches).
3. Water has a partial dipole charge of +0.41 on each hydrogen, and -0.82 on the oxygen, divided in two lobes; these partial charges point (approximately) to the corners of a tetrahedron.
4. The "hydrogen bonds" (size 0.26 nm) formed between water molecules due to this partial dipole charge accounts for a number of water's remarkable properties: (a) ice floats (water gets less dense as it freezes), (b) its high heat of vaporization and heat of fusion, (c) its abnormally high specific heat (d) it is liquid at ordinary temperatures and pressures, where related compounds are gases.
5. In pure water, only 1 of every 10,000,000 molecules are ionized - this is pH 7.0; pure water is not a good conductor: its electrical conductivity is 0.04E-6 mhos at 18°C [
6. I have to put this in because it sounds so odd. One can actually compute the concentration of water. It is 55.6M.
7. Water has one of the highest known dielectric constants: about 80 at 20°C.
8. Water is stable: Stability of water: "Even at very high temperature, heat decomposes water only slightly. At 1500°C, less than 0.2 percent of the water vapor is decoposed nuder conditions of equilibrum... even at 2000°C only about 11 percent is decomposed. Water is therefore a relatively stable compound, and we may conclude that both hydrogen-oxygen bonds of the molecule are at least fairly strong. [College Chemistry 187]
9. A vast array of compounds are soluble in water.
10. The human body is average 57 percent water (40 liters in a 70 kg 154 lb. man)

E. What water does for life
1. makes proteins and lipids take on their required shapes
2. serves as a work area
3. maintains temperature
4. reactive, but unreactive medium (another paradox!)
5. transport system: small-scale, by osmosis; large-scale, by circulation (blood)

Now that we have gotten a taste (hee hee) of what is going on with water, we shall proceed into our main topic of food on Monday.

Finally, for your enlightenment, I should mention what will go on the title page:
Jesus said to them: I am the bread of life. He that cometh to me shall not hunger: and he that believeth in me shall never thirst. [Jn 6:35]

Some references:
Rawn, Biochemistry
Guyton, Textbook of Medical Physiology
McGee, On Food and Cooking
Wells, Structural Inorganic Chemistry
Sidgwick, Chemical Elements and Their Compounds
Darnell, Lodish, Baltimore, Molecular Cell Biology
Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia
CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics


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