THE WATER – The liquid of life, the most powerful force of nature on Earth_ PART I (What is Water and Why it is essential for life? )

It is often said that humans are the most intelligent beings on planet earth and because of these outstanding abilities we should be able to control everything. At some point with the technology development we indeed can control a lot of things, but we will NEVER be able to control the Nature. That’s simply impossible. Regardless how advanced the technology is, we are NOT and we will NEVER able to control what Nature can do. Unfortunately many people still don’t get this and the consequences turn out to end up in a very dramatic way. In this post I want to talk about a substance that allows life to exist on Earth. Let me share this with you and let’s understand it together, we can only work with it, we can NEVER fight against it. This is the WATER.

What is WATER and Why it is essential for life?

Water, is a substance composed of 2 chemical elements, it is made of molecules containing 2 atoms of Hydrogen (H2) and 1 of Oxygen(O) (H2O) , existing in gaseous, liquid, and solid states. It is one of the most plentiful and essential of all compounds available on Earth. At room temperature is a tasteless, transparent and odourless liquid, and it has the important ability to dissolve many other substances.

Indeed, the versatility of water as a solvent is essential to living organisms. Life is believed to have originated in the aqueous solutions of the world’s oceans, and living organisms depend on aqueous solutions, such as blood and digestive juices, for biological processes. Water also exists on other planets and moons both within and beyond the solar system. (On Mars, On the Moon, in the atmosphere of Saturn, Neptun, Jupiter even in detectable amounts around the sun and on other extrasolar planet atmospheres).

Water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface, mostly in seas and oceans, but small portions of water also occur as groundwater something of 1.7%, in the glaciers and the ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica (1.7%), even in the ais as vapor, clouds (consisting of ice and liquid water suspended in air), and precipitation (0.001%), The Water moves continually through the water cycle of condensation, evaporation, precipitation, transpirations and runoff usually reaching the sea. In small quantities water appears colourless, but water actually has an intrisic blue colour caused by slight absorption of light at red wavelengths. Water is essential to life. Although water molecules are simple in structure (H2O), the physical and chemical properties of water are extraordinarily complicated. It’s not a secret for anyone that without water you won’t live long.

How Long Can You Live Without Water? …well sure you won’t die immediately but proper hydration is essential to your survival. Your body needs to consume a significant amount of water each day to function properly. This is because you constantly excrete water through sweat and urination, so your body needs to replenish the lost fluids. You won’t live long without consuming a healthy amount of water. It’s only possible to survive without water for a matter of days. You may be susceptible to the effects of dehydration even sooner, depending on certain factors.

HOW much Water should you drink and WHY?

Being attentive to the amount of water you drink each day is important for optimal health. Most people drink when they’re thirsty, which helps regulate daily water intake. But according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, general water intake (from all beverages and foods) that meet most people’s needs are:

  • about 15.5 cups of water about 3.7 liters (125 ounces) each day for men
  • about 11.5 cups 2.7 liters (91 ounces) daily for women

People get about 20% of their daily water intake from food. The rest is dependent on drinking water and water-based beverages. So, ideally men would consume about 3 liters (100 ounces) of water from beverages, and women, about 2.12 liters (73 ounces) from beverages.

You’ll have to increase your water intake if you’re exercising or living in a hotter region to avoid dehydration. Other ways to assess hydration include your thirst and the color of your urine. Feeling thirsty indicates your body is not receiving adequate hydration. Urine that is dark or colored indicates dehydration. Pale or non-colored urine typically indicates proper hydration.

What’s the big deal about water? WHY is so important to drink it up constantly?

Here is why: This substance makes up a majority of your body weight and is involved in many important functions, including:

  • flushing out waste from your body
  • regulating body temperature
  • helping your brain function

You get most of your water from drinking beverages, but food also contributes a small amount to your daily water intake. I can think of a lot of reasons WHY you must drink up water regularly. Here are at least 10 reasons of what WATER can do for you, these are as follows:

1 – It helps create saliva – Water is a main component of saliva. Saliva also includes small amounts of electrolytes, mucus, and enzymes. It’s essential for breaking down solid food and keeping your mouth healthy. Your body generally produces enough saliva with regular fluid intake. However, your saliva production may decrease as a result of age or certain medications or therapies. If your mouth is drier than usual and increasing your water intake isn’t helping, see your doctor.

2 – It regulates your body temperature – Staying hydrated is crucial to maintaining your body temperature. Your body loses water through sweat during physical activity and in hot environments. Your sweat keeps your body cool, but your body temperature will rise if you don’t replenish the water you lose. That’s because your body loses electrolytes and plasma when it’s dehydrated. If you’re sweating more than usual, make sure you drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.

3 – It protects your tissues, spinal cord and joints – Water consumption helps lubricate and cushion your joints, spinal cord, and tissues. This will help you enjoy physical activity and lessen discomfort caused by conditions like arthritis.

4 – It helps excrete waste through perspiration, urination and defecation – Your body uses water to sweat, urinate, and have bowel movements. Sweat regulates body temperature when you’re exercising or in warm temperatures. You need water to replenish the lost fluid from sweat. You also need enough water in your system to have healthy stool and avoid constipation. Your kidneys are also important for filtering out waste through urination. Adequate water intake helps your kidneys work more efficiently and helps to prevent kidney stones.

5 – It helps maximize physical performance – Drinking plenty of water during physical activity is essential. Athletes may perspire up to 6-10% of body weight during physical activity. Hydration also affects your strength, power, and endurance. You may be more susceptible to the effects of dehydration if you’re participating in endurance training or high-intensity sports such as basketball. Negative effects of exercise in the heat without enough water can include serious medical conditions, like decreased blood pressure and hyperthermia. Extreme dehydration can cause seizures and even death.

6 – It aids in digestion – Contrary to what some believe, experts confirm that drinking water before, during, and after a meal will help your body break down the food you eat more easily. This will help you digest food more effectively and get the most out of your meals. Reasearch shows that the body adapts to changes in the consistency of food and stomach contents, whether more solid or more liquid.

7 – It helps with nutrient absorption In addition to helping with food breakdown, water also helps dissolve vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from your food. It then delivers these vitamin components to the rest of your body for use.

8 – It helps improve mood Not getting enough water can also affect your mood. Dehydration may result in fatigue and confusion as well as anxiety.

9 – It improves blood oxygen circulation – Water carries helpful nutrients and oxygen to your entire body. Reaching your daily water intake will improve your circulation and have a positive impact on your overall health.

10 – It aids in cognitive function Proper hydration is key to staying in tip-top cognitive shape. Research indicates that not drinking enough water can negatively impact your focus, alertness, and short-term memory.

The bottom line – Water is important to nearly every part of your body. Not only will hitting your daily recommended intake help you maintain your current state of being, it may even improve your overall health.

However the first thing to consider before to drink your daily need of water is to make sure that the water you drink is safe. This is however hard to check 100% but at least you can count on the bottled water versus the one from the tap for example. Anyway, bottled water can also be different but at least you can read the label and see what’s its composition. One thing is must be very obvious, the water in your plastic bottle is very different from the water in the ocean. The differences are not just in composition – their respective salt contents and so on – but also in behaviour. The Earth’s oceans are in a constant state of flux:

  • they both create winds and are driven by them;
  • they create the clouds and our weather systems, and are driven by them;
  • they heat up the atmosphere, but also store heat.

Huge global currents are established inside the oceans, and these affect our climate. Thus,despite being made of roughly the same molecules, the oceans and seas that cover 71% of our planet are not just giant versions of the water in a bottle. They are utterly different beasts. And beast is probably the right word to describe them.

The oceans are dangerous, no matter how competent a swimmer you might be; keeping afloat in the open ocean is extremely difficult for more than a few hours at a time. My advice if you do find yourself stranded at sea is not to exhaust yourself trying to battle the currents; instead float on your back while you await rescue. Though, in my opinion, floating is really the wrong word to describe what happens when humans bob about in the water. Floating is what boats do. They are majestic; they cruise along with just a small portion of their bulk submerged. Whenever you try to ‘float’, most of your body sinks; if you are lucky you can just about keep your nose poking out of the water while you snort like a whale, breathing in air while simultaneously trying, and usually failing, keep water from getting up your nose.

Real floating, in my view, entails not just resting on top of water, but doing so with ease. But that’s not the standard definition, and it’s certainly not what Archimedes meant when he discovered the principle of floating 2.000 years ago, and famously shouted ‘Eureka!’ in his bathtub.

Archimedes was a Greek mathematician and engineer. He noticed that when you get into a bath, the water level goes up. The reason is obvious enough: you’re sitting where some of the water used to be. It doesn’t get compressed underneath you like a foam mattress would; instead, because it is a liquid, it flows around you and finds somewhere else to go. In the contained space of a tub, the only place for it to go is above the initial water level. If the bath is already full when you get in, then the water will flow over the edge of the tub and on to the floor. This is where Archimedes’ famous experiment comes in. By collecting the water that spills over the edge in another vessel, it tells you something interesting: the weight of that water equals the so-called buoyancy force acting on you. If that force is lower than your weight, you will sink; otherwise you will float. This applies to any object. Eureka!

What Archimedes had discovered is that you can predict whether something will float or sink by simply working out the weight of water it will displace. For solid stuff you just have to compare the density of the material to the density of water. Thus wood, which weighs less per volume than water, is less dense than water, and so it floats. Steel is more dense than water so it sinks. But there is a trick: you can still make ships of steel if you make them hollow. Then their average density can be less than water, and so they float. It’s as simple as that.

Fast-forward 2,000 years from Archimedes’ heyday, and we find that the price of steel is now low enough for us to actually be able to build ships this way; our current maritime shipping fleet, which carries 90% of the world’s traded goods, is made up almost entirely of steel ships. The human body is made up of materials of varying density: there are dense bone and less dense tissue, and in some places we are hollow. Overall we’re a bit less dense than water, which is why we can float. But if you adjust your density to exactly match the water’s, by wearing something heavy – a metal belt, for instance – you’ll be in a state of neither sinking nor floating; you’re neutrally buoyant, the ideal state for scuba diving. When you’re neutrally buoyant under water, there’s no net force trying to make you float to the surface, nor is there a force making you sink to the bottom of the ocean. In your scuba gear, you’re effectively weightless, free to explore the coral reefs and sunken wrecks of the deep. It’s so close to the feeling of weightlessness you’ d find in space that astronauts train in swimming pools.

Without the aid of scuba equipment, the human body floats. But our bodies are only slightly less dense than water, so more than 90% of our body needs to be submerged in order displace enough water to support our weight. Fatter people are more buoyant than thinner people because their fat to bone ratio makes them less dense. Wetsuits also make you more buoyant – they’re coating you in a significant layer of material that is less dense than water. It’s a little bit easier to float in the sea than it is in a swimming pool, because it has minerals dissolved in it like salt, or sodium chloride (NaCl). The sodium (Na) and the chlorine (Cl) get inside the liquid by splitting up and inserting themselves between the water molecules. Having these atoms inside it makes the water more dense, so you don’t need to displace quite so much water to counter your weight as you would in pure water. In fact, the Dead Sea in the Middle East as so much salt in it (10 times as much as the Atlantic Ocean) that you can bob around like a duck right on top of it.

Once you can float, you can swim: one of life’s greatest pleasures. In water, not only are you weightless, but you can glide like a dancer. There’s a hidden world lying just under the surface. Forget the expense of going to Mars and the excitement of searching for life on other planets – the oceans are, in all practical respects, alien worlds for us. By donning a pair of goggles and ducking under water with a quick kick of the legs, we can visit them. Gliding down to the turquoise depths of a coral reef is one of the most wondrous things you can ever do. The fish observe you with weary eyes and flick their tails to swerve expertly out of your way. When you swim, you reach forward with one arm outstretched and, by pulling it back, you cause the liquid around you to move rapidly enough to prevent the water molecules from moving past each other, so they jam against one another, exerting a force on you. It’s that force which propels you forward in the opposite direction. This is the essence of swimming – your arms and your legs are constantly moving the water behind you, which has the effect of pushing you forward. It’s not just thrilling; you essentially become a different person. Whereas on land you might be clumsy and plodding, in the water you can whirl and glide like a dolphin: you’re free.

When holiday season starts and you want to go to the sea side I bet that in case you decide to swim and enjoy your holiday you will choose warm destinations where water is comfortable to jump in. But in the same time there are people who are willing to challenge their bodies and they just dive in cold water even during the winter such as the well known swimming habits of people living in the northern countries or even most of western Europe such as Ireland, UK and even France (on the Atlantic side). In Ireland for example rarely gets truly warm water but still people of all ages sometimes are jumping into cold water and enjoy the experience to swim in a water of 10°C.

Diving into 10°C water is not a comforting feeling. It is more like a slap in the face. It’s not that the temperature is so extremely cold, but that you’re surrounding your skin with water that’s a good 25°C colder than it is. The water molecules draw heat away. But since liquids are denser than gases, there are many more molecules interacting with your skin per second than when you’re just exposed to the air, so the heat conduction away from your warm skin is that much more extreme.

What makes it feel worse is another characteristic of water, called heat capacity. When water molecules are exposed to something hot, they jig about faster. These vibrations are what we call temperature. So the faster they go, the hotter the water gets. The hydrogen bonds holding the water molecules together strongly resist this vibration, so it takes a lot of heat to increase the average temperature of a litre of water molecules by even just one degree. To put this in perspective, it takes 10 times more energy to heat up water than it does to heat up the same weight of copper. This feature of water, its exceptional heat capacity, explains why it takes so much heat to make a cup of tea. It also explains why an electric kettle is typically the most energy-intensive gadget in the kitchen. But that’s just one of many ways that water’s high heat capacity – the highest of any liquid except ammonia (NH3)– affects us. It’s also what allows the oceans to store a lot of heat, and so their temperature always lags behind the air.

In Ireland for example the air temperature might heat up to 22°C in a sunny summer day, while the sea temperature will hardly change from 10° C. Sadly, for Irish people, this means that the sea never really warms up from the summer sun before winter comes again to cool it down. However this is a major advantage for us as a species because the high heat capacity of the oceans allows them to absorb a lot of the excess heat brought about by climate change. In other words, the oceans are stabilizing our climate, keeping us warm in the winter and cooling us wn in the summer.

However, when you dive into the cold sea, you have to swim, to be alive and alert; it is so uncomfortable that it forces you out of a conscious rational mindset. It’s impossible to worry about your failed experiments, unsubstantiated theories, or even your failed relationships when you’re gasping for breath – the very breath that is knocked out of you because you chose to dive into forbidding, uncontrollable waters.

Hypothermia is always at the back of your mind when you’re swimming in cold water. Hypothermia sets in when your core temperature drops below 35°C. You start shivering uncontrollably and your skin changes colour as your surface blood vessels contract, diverting blood towards your major organs. First you go pale, then your extremities turn blue. In very cold waters, the shock can cause uncontrolled rapid breathing, gasping and a massive increase in heart rate that can lead to panic, confusion and drowning. But even if you remain calm, swimming in 0°C water for just 15 minutes will be fatal, as hypothermia sets in and shuts down your muscles.

The ocean’s ability to swallow you up without a trace is laid frighteningly bare when you look out at its harsh, seemingly endless expanse from the stratosphere, which is often the feeling I have everytime travel by plane.

Size matters when it comes to bodies of water. When wind blows over a small pond, this creates friction, which slows the wind down and pushes against the water. This causes a depression in the water’s surface. The surface tension of the water resists this change much as a rubber band resists being extended. Once that puff of wind ceases, just as with a rubber band, the release of tension, along with the force of gravity, restores the surface to its original form. As that water descends, a ripple is generated that radiates outwards, as each water molecule displaces another, which, in turn, displaces still another, and so on. A ripple in water is really a pulse of energy. Energy, having originated from the wind, is now stuck on the surface of the pond. It makes the surface of the pond rougher, and so increases the resistance to the wind flowing over its surface. Thus the ripple is joined by others and they’re pushed higher and higher. The higher the ripples, the greater the restoring force pulling them back down again, and so the rougher the pond becomes. There is a limit, though, to how high these ripples can go; eventually they’ll hit the edge of the pond, and most of their energy will be absorbed by the land. But the Ionger they travel, the higher they’ll get, which is why in a small pond ripples are never very big, but in a lake they can become so big that the wind will turn them into waves.

The top of a wave is called its peak (or crest) and the bottom is called the trough. The distance between them is what we refer to when we talk about the size of a wave. As long as the size of wave is smaller than the depth of the lake it’s in, then the wave will travel uninhibitedly. But as the wave approaches the shallower waters at the shore, the trough will start to interact with the bottom of the lake, causing a kind of friction that will slow the wave down and force it to break, leaving it lapping on the beach.

In an ocean thousands of kilometres wide, those initial ripples have the time and space to grow to several metres height. Wind blowing over the surface of the ocean for 2 hours at 20 km/h can make waves 30 centimetres high. A 50 km/h wind blowing for a whole day can make waves 4 metres high. And a storm wind blowing for 3 or 4 days at 75 km/h can make 8-metre-high waves. The largest wave of this sort was recorded during a typhoon off the seas of Taiwan in 2007 as 32 metres high.

The waves produced during storms don’t stop when the storm abates. Like ripples in a pond, they travel across the ocean, which is when their length becomes important. The length of a wave is the distance from its peak to the peak of the next wave. In a stormy ocean, it’s hard to determine length because the waves are jumbled on top of each other; a rough, stormy sea looks like a moving morass of angry water. When the storm ends, though, the waves carry on their way, and cause they all have different wavelengths, they also have different speeds. So, as the waves travel across hundreds of kilometres of ocean; they separate out into sets, based on which ones are moving at similar speeds. Within the sets, the waves align so that they run parallel. Eventually, each set will arrive at the coast in an ordered and regular pattern. Thus the crash of waves on to the beach is essentially the sound of a storm that’s come from very faraway. That beautiful, hypnotic rhythm is all thanks to the complexities of ocean dynamics.

Given that storm waves are generated all over the ocean, it is a bit surprising that they usually approach land perpendicular to the beach. Surely, you might think, they should approach land at an angle determined by the straight line between the beach and whichever place in the ocean the waves were generated. But, no, waves are too tricky for that. As a wave travels across deep water, its speed remains constant, because there’s almost nothing that can slow it down. But as it approaches land, the water gets shallower, and the trough starts to interact with the seabed, slowing that part of the wave down. Meanwhile the parts of the wave that have not yet encountered shallow water carry on at the same speed. The difference in speeds turns the wave in the same way that braking on one wheel of a car changes its direction. The net result is that, as waves approach land, they turn so that they are parallel to the contours of the seabed, which tend to run perpendicular to the beach, and thus most waves approach the shore from the same direction.

Surfers all know this. They also know about shoaling, which is what makes surfing such an exciting sport. Imagine you’re sitting on your surfboard looking out to sea; what you really want to know is where and when the waves are going to break. As the waves come into shore, they slow down because they encounter shallow water, but that also increases their height. This is shoaling. The shallower the water gets, the higher the wave gets, until the steepness of the wave reaches a critical angle where it becomes unstable. It’s become so steep that you can slide down it on a surfboard, as if you were skiing down a mountain slope. Surfing requires balance, timing and an understanding of how waves behave. If you want to surf along a wave, you need part of the wave to start breaking before the rest. This means you need the contours of the seabed to slope gradually along the beach, because the moment a wave breaks is determined by the depth of the water it’s moving through. You also need to understand the tides, which change the depth of the water throughout the day based on the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun.

In sum, to catch a wave you need a storm out at sea to produce waves big enough to travel across the ocean, towards a beach with an appropriately shaped seabed. You need them to arrive at just the right time of day to align with the tide. Then, if you’re there at exactly that moment, wetsuit on, surfboard in hand and ready, you might catch a sweet wave to shore. The exquisite timing of this confluence of events is what makes surfing such a special sport – it requires surfers to be completely in tune with the storms out at sea, the sun, the moon, and with the water they’re riding.

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