The Last Stoic

Hey! Mr.Comstock Agrees With Me!

Posted in Uncategorized by munty13 on September 1, 2009

I found a book that is pretty interesting. It’s called “Elements of chemistry” and was written by John Lee Comstock, and it appears to have been dated from 1832. I’ve not had the pleasure of reading the whole book, it’s just a few pages which grabbed my attention. Comstock, through his own experiments on hydrogen and oxygen, has managed to confirm some of my own ideas about the atomic weight of water.

…The number for water … is 9, being composed of 1 proportion of oxygen 8, and 1 proportion of hydrogen 1…. it is proved that hydrogen and oxygen unite in the proportions of two of the first, to one of the last, by volume; and in the proportions of 1 and 8 by weight.

It’s always nice to find someone that agrees with me. Shame it’s nearly two hundred years ago, though. But I think it illustrates some of the thinking around at the time of the birth of modern physics. I think they had a lot of things down pat. Somehow, it’s evolved in to the very complicated monster that we know physics as today. Comstock has also given me a gentle reminder about something:

When hydrogen and oxygen are burned together in the proportions in which they form water, a most intense heat is produced.

Now I was thinking that this heat has to come from somewhere. I was wondering if, as the hydrogen and oxygen form a water molecule, if something is being displaced in the aether field. So far I have discussed the possibility that the hydrogen atom shrinks to half its volume when it is burned to create water. Two volumes of hydrogen react with one volume of oxygen to make two volumes of water. Somehow, we end up with one volume pulling a disappearing act.

Another possibility is that the hydrogen atom remains the same size, but the oxygen atom just plops into the middle of it – and stays there – to form a water molecule. As the oxygen atom enters the hydrogen atom – would it perhaps displace some of the electric fluid of the aether which once resided there? It might start to give us an idea about where the energy from the reaction comes from. It’s like me jumping into a bath full of water, and the water spilling over the sides. This spillage is accessible as heat and light, perhaps.

Oh. And there’s something else which Comstock says which might be made of some importance:

When hydrogen is mixed with oxygen and inflamed the mixture detonates violently. The best proportions are two parts of the hydrogen and one of oxygen by volume. If soap bubbles of this mixture are touched with a candle when floating in the air, they give a report as loud as a pistol, but much more sharp and stunning.

I found this so suggestive. Is it saying something about the way sound is communicated through the air – from source to destination – hopping from bubble to bubble? And the pistol shrimp – do you remember him? By snapping its claw the shrimp was able to deliver knock-out blows which stun prey. The claw collapses a cavitation bubble that generates temperatures as hot as the surface of the Sun. Is the pistol shrimp forcing a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen to take place in its claw?

I would like to thank Maui Snorkeling Trips for the awesome photo of the pistol shrimp. And what is that cute curly stuff?

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