Why do turtle lives longer?


As a general rule, animals with a high metabolic rate die early, and those that burn energy more slowly plod on for decades. The more active the animal, the higher its metabolic rate, as it has to burn energy to maintain its activity.

Take the shrew: its life is a blur, and few live to be two years old. Likewise hummingbirds.
Giant tortoises on the other hand, which burn energy at a far lower rate, can crawl into an eighteenth decade.

So as they are slow and reduce the expenditure of energy they are able to live longer and stronger. Heard of “live fast, die young”? Well, the opposite is true as well.

one another way can we also its as so they can reproduce more effectively. Long life spans provide an evolutionary advantage for certain types of animals. It makes sense to stick around if you live in an unpredictable or harsh environment where it’s hard to reproduce on a regular basis. (Desert animals, for example, tend to get quite old before they die.) You’d also want to have a long life if you could only give birth infrequently for some other reason, or if you spent a lot of time caring for each of your offspring. 

Every species has its own “life history,” or schedule according to which it passes on its genes to the next generation. Some animals invest their time and energy in having lots of babies while they’re young; others use their resources to live longer. An animal might live fast if there are lots of predators around—if you’re going to die young, you might as well get the baby-making over with as early as possible. (This strategy works only in a predictable environment, where you know there will be enough food around to feed all your babies.) The long-lived animals, on the other hand, have often evolved some way to protect themselves from predators.

That’s why armored beasts—like turtles, armadillos, and beetles—tend to stick around for a while compared to similarly sized animals. Flying animals also seem to have an advantage; bats last much longer than rodents, perhaps because they can escape predators more easily. Very poisonous animals can last a long time, as well—any strong defense against predation will do the trick.

The giant tortoise has an armored shell for protection, but it also has a couple of other features that correlate with long life. As an island species, it has enjoyed natural protection from predators over the course of its history. It’s also very large, and larger animals tend to live longer than small ones. (There are plenty of exceptions to the bigger-lives-longer rule—take the little bat, for example. Large body size also goes along with living on an island.

  • All of these factors interact over the course of an animal’s evolutionary history, so you can’t say one trait causes another. We can’t conclude that a tortoise lives to 255 because it has a shell or because it’s big; nor can we say that the tortoise evolved a shell or its large size because it has such a long life. Other types of animals—especially those with bigger brains—seem to have developed long life spans for different reasons entirely: In general, the more social the animal, the longer it lives. Social insects have more longevity than the lonesome varieties: Some flies last only a couple of days, while a termite queen can survive for 30 years.
  • As i discussed in my previous blog all about antioxidants,that it can eat ups all the free radicals generated during metabolism and enhance the life and prevents from became old; Similarly here turtle with slowest metabolism  rate so it create less free radical and ultimately life is increases.
  • One another thing is here is about heart life,as it beats faster rate its validity is decrease;slower as it less wear and tear,and life is increases. Actually turtle travels in water with the speed of 32 Km/Hr which is not slow, and its same as if someone calls us to run under water,as we can’t walk faster under water how can turtle walk faster over the soil.
  • Its also similar to the old Indian monks slows down their metabolism while meditate and decrease all energy consumption and reduce the production of free radical and survive for more than above expected years.

    In psychologically all that are similar “if you try to live all thing at same time your life,  life gets reduced but if you do it slowly life increases, but in both the cases you have to pass same number of moments whatever may its speed”.

A Dream Within A Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow–
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand–
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep–while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Antioxidant

Top 10 High Antioxidant Foods

Antioxidant foods - Dr. Axe

Every single one of us has both antioxidants and free radicals present inside of our bodies at all times. Some antioxidants are made from the body itself, while we must get others from our diets by eating high antioxidant foods that double as anti-inflammatory foods. Our bodies also produce free radicals as byproducts of cellular reactions. For example, the liver produces and uses free radicals to detoxify the body, while white blood cells send free radicals to destroy bacteria, viruses and damaged cells.

When certain types of oxygen molecules are allowed to travel freely in the body, they cause what’s known as oxidative damage, which is the formation of free radicals. When antioxidant levels in the body are lower than that of free radicals — due to poor nutrition, toxin exposure or other factors — oxidation wreaks havoc in the body. The effect? Accelerated aging, damaged or mutated cells, broken-down tissue, the activation of harmful genes within DNA, and an overloaded immune system.

The Western lifestyle — with its processed foods, reliance on medications, and high exposure to chemicals or environmental pollutants — seems to lay the foundation for the proliferation of free radicals. Because many of us are exposed to such high rates of oxidative stress from a young age, more than ever we need the power of antioxidants, which means we need to consume high antioxidant foods.


What Are Antioxidants? 

While there are many ways to describe what antioxidants do inside the body, one definition of antioxidants is any substance that inhibits oxidation, especially one used to counteract the deterioration of stored food products or removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism.

Antioxidants include dozens of food-based substances you may have heard of before, such as carotenoids like beta-carotene, lycopene and vitamin C. These are several examples of antioxidants that inhibit oxidation, or reactions promoted by oxygen, peroxides and/or free radicals. (1) Research suggests that when it comes to longevity and overall health, some of the benefits of consuming antioxidant foods, herbs, teas and supplements include:

  • Slower signs of aging, including of the skin, eyes, tissue, joints, heart and brain
  • Healthier, more youthful, glowing skin
  • Reduced cancer risk
  • Detoxification support
  • Longer life span
  • Protection against heart disease and stroke
  • Less risk for cognitive problems, such as dementia
  • Reduced risk for vision loss or disorders like macular degeneration and cataracts
  • Antioxidants are also added to food or household products to prevent oxidation and spoilage

Why do we need antioxidants, and what do specific antioxidants do inside the body once consumed?  

Antioxidant sources, like antioxidant foods, herbs, spices and teas, reduce the effects of free radicals, also called oxidative damage/stress, which plays a major role in disease formation. The leading health problems facing us today — including conditions like heart disease, cancer and dementia — have been linked to increased levels of oxidative damage and inflammation. In simplest terms, oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, leading to other chemical chain reactions that damage cells.

Sources of antioxidants in your diet offer much-needed help in counteracting the damage done by things like blue light or sun exposure, a poor diet, smoking or using other drugs, taking medications, toxicity or chemical exposure, even high amounts of stress and other natural factors that increase the risk of age-related problems. In the process of fighting free radical damage, antioxidants protect healthy cells while halting the growth of malignant or cancerous cells.

History of Antioxidants Knowledge and Their Usage

It’s not exactly agreed upon who first “discovered” antioxidants. Antioxidants have been dated in medical literature to the early 19th and 20th centuries, but researchers and health experts have been discussing them for much longer. Each antioxidant has its own unique history of discovery. Some, such as vitamin C and vitamin E, were first researched by doctors, such as Henry A. Mattill during the 1920s–1950s, used to explain why animals fed whole foods lived longer and remained healthier. (2)

Joe McCord is another researcher credited with discovering the function of antioxidant enzymes like superoxide dismutase, mostly by mistake, and noting how all organisms held these beneficial compounds inside their bodies but less so as they aged. (3)

Today, the level of antioxidants in any substance or food is evaluated with an ORAC score, which stands for “oxygen radical absorption capacity. ORAC tests the power of a plant to absorb and eliminate free radicals. These measurements were developed by the National Institute of Aging and are based on 100 grams of each food or herb.

Most common fruits, vegetables and herbs in the diet that contain antioxidants include forms like vitamin E, lutein, vitamin C, beta-carotene, flavonoids and lycopene. While there is currently no official recommended daily allowance for antioxidants or antioxidant foods, generally speaking the more you consume each day from real foods in your diet the better.


Top 10 High Antioxidant Foods List

Antioxidants may be easier to add to your diet than you might think. Based on ORAC scores provided by the Nutrient Data Laboratory, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center and Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, below are some of the top antioxidant foods by weight:

  1. Goji berries25,000 ORAC score
  2. Wild blueberries14,000 ORAC score
  3. Dark chocolate21,000 ORAC score
  4. Pecans: 17,000 ORAC score
  5. Artichoke9,400 ORAC score
  6. Elderberries14,000 ORAC score
  7. Kidney beans: 8,400 ORAC score
  8. Cranberries9,500 ORAC score
  9. Blackberries: 5,300 ORAC score
  10. Cilantro5,100 ORAC score

The ORAC scores above are based on weight. This means that it might not be practical to eat high amounts of all of these antioxidant foods. Other high antioxidant foods not listed above, which are still great sources and highly beneficial, include common foods like tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, pomegranates, strawberries, kale, broccoli, grapes or red wine, squash, and wild-caught salmon. Try to consume at least three to four servings daily of these high antioxidant foods (even more is better) for optimal health.


Top 10 Antioxidant Herbs List

Along with antioxidant foods, certain herbs, spices and essential oils derived from nutrient-dense plants are extremely high in healing antioxidant compounds. Here is another list of the herbs you can try adding to your diet for increased protection against disease. Many of these herbs/spices are also available in concentrated essential oil form. Look for 100 percent pure (therapeutic grade) oils, which are highest in antioxidants.

  1. Clove:314,446 ORAC score
  2. Cinnamon267,537 ORAC score
  3. Oregano159,277 ORAC score
  4. Turmeric102,700 ORAC score
  5. Cocoa: 80,933 ORAC score
  6. Cumin76,800 ORAC score
  7. Parsley (dried): 74,349 ORAC score
  8. Basil67,553 ORAC score
  9. Ginger28,811 ORAC score
  10. Thyme27,426 ORAC score

Other antioxidant-rich herbs include garlic, cayenne pepper and green tea. Aim to consume two to three servings of these herbs or herbal teas daily.

Top high antioxidant foods and herbs - Dr. Axe

Top 10 High Antioxidant Supplements

The American Heart Association, along with the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic, recommend getting antioxidants from whole foods and a wide variety of foods. While it’s always ideal, and usually more beneficial, to get antioxidants or other nutrients directly from real food sources, certain types may also be helpful when consumed in supplement form.

There’s still debate over which antioxidants may offer help preventing or treating diseases when consumed in concentrated dosages. Some research has shown that antioxidants like lutein and glutathione may be beneficial when taken in supplement form — for example, in preventing vision loss, joint problems or diabetes. But other research doesn’t always show the same results and sometimes even that certain supplements like vitamin A or vitamin C may be harmful in high amounts.

So just remember that while they might help you in certain instances, overall it doesn’t seem that consuming supplemental antioxidants help you live longer. That’s where your diet and lifestyle come in. Bottom line: We should never rely on supplements to counteract unhealthy lifestyles and poor nutrition.

If you’re generally healthy and eat a varied diet, you might not benefit much from taking antioxidants supplements. However, if you’re at risk for something like vision loss or heart disease, talk to your doctor about whether the following antioxidant supplements in proper doses (and with a healthy lifestyle) might be helpful:

1. Glutathione

Glutathione is considered the body’s most important antioxidant because it’s found within the cells and helps boost activities of other antioxidants or vitamins. Glutathione is a peptide consisting of three key amino acids that plays several vital roles in the body, including helping with protein use, creation of enzymes, detoxification, digestion of fats and destruction of cancer cells.

2. Quercetin

Derived naturally from foods like berries and leafy greens, quercetin seems to be safe for almost everyone and poses little risks. Most studies have found little to no side effects in people eating nutrient-dense diets high in quercetin or taking supplements by mouth short term.

Amounts up to 500 milligrams taken twice daily for 12 weeks appear to be very safe for helping manage a number of inflammatory health problems, including heart disease and blood vessel problems, allergies, infections, chronic fatigue, and symptoms related to autoimmune disorders like arthritis.

3. Lutein

Lutein has benefits for the eyes, skin, arteries, heart and immune system, although food sources seem to be generally more effective and safer than supplements. Some evidence shows that people who obtain more lutein from their diets experience lower rates of breast, colon, cervical and lung cancers.

4. Vitamin C

Known for improving immunity, vitamin C helps protect against colds, the flu, and potentially cancer, skin and eye problems.

5. Resveratrol

Resveratrol is an active ingredient found in cocoa, red grapes, and dark berries, such as lingonberries, blueberries, mulberries and bilberries. It’s a polyphonic bioflavonoid antioxidant that’s produced by these plants as a response to stress, injury and fungal infection, helping protect the heart, arteries and more.

6. Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin is found in wild-caught salmon and krill and has benefits like reducing age spots, boosting energy levels, supporting joint health and preventing symptoms of ADHD.

7. Selenium

Selenium is a trace mineral found naturally in the soil that also appears in certain foods, and there are even small amounts in water. It supports the adrenal and thyroid glands and helps protect cognition. It may also fight off viruses, defend against heart disease and slow down symptoms correlated with other serious conditions like asthma.

8. Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender oil reduces inflammation and helps the body in many ways, such as producing important antioxidant enzymes – especially glutathione, catalase and superoxide dismutase.

9. Chlorophyll

Chlorophyll is very helpful for detoxification and linked to natural cancer prevention, blocking carcinogenic effects within the body, and protecting DNA from damage caused by toxins or stress. It’s found in things like spirulina, leafy green veggies, certain powdered green juices and blue-green algae.

10. Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense oil has been clinically shown to be a vital treatment for various forms of cancer, including breast, brain, colon and prostate cancers. Frankincense has the ability to help regulate cellular epigenetic function, which positively influences genes to promote healing. Rub frankincense essential oil on your body (neck area) three times daily, and take three drops internally in eight ounces of water three times daily as part of a natural prevention plan.


Top Health Benefits of Antioxidant Foods

1. Slow the Effects of Aging by Reducing Free Radical Damage

As described above, the single most important benefit of antioxidants is counteracting free radicals found inside every human body, which are very destructive to things like tissue and cells. Free radicals are responsible for contributing to many health issues and have connections to such diseases as cancer and premature aging of the skin or eyes.

What do free radicals do exactly, and why are they so destructive? The body uses antioxidants to prevent itself from the damage caused by oxygen. Electrons exist in pairs; free radicals are missing an electron. This is their weapon of sorts. They “react” with just about anything they come into contact with, robbing cells and compounds of one of their electrons. This makes the affected cell or compound unable to function and turns some cells into “electron-seeking muggers,” leading to a chain reaction in the body and the proliferation of free radicals. Free radicals then damage DNA, cellular membranes and enzymes.

2. Protect Vision and the Eyes

The antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene have all been shown to have positive effects on preventing macular degeneration, or age-related vision loss/blindness. Many foods that provide these nutrients also supply antioxidants called lutein and zeaxanthin, nicknamed the eye vitamins, and found in brightly colored foods like fruits and vegetables — especially leafy greens and types that are deep orange or yellow.

These antioxidants are believed to be easily transported around the body, especially to the delicate parts of the eyes called the macula and the lens. In fact, there are more than 600 different types of carotenoids found in nature, but only about 20 make their way into the eyes. (4) Of those 20, lutein and zeaxanthin are the only two that are deposited in high quantities into the macular portion of the eyes, which is one of the earliest to be damaged during aging.

Based on concentrations of things like lutein and other carotenoids, examples of antioxidant foods that protect vision include spinach, kale, berries, broccoli and even egg yolks. Research shows that high-lutein sources like spinach are proven to help decrease eye related degeneration and improve visual acuity. (5) Similarly, flavonoid antioxidants found in berries, such as bilberries or grapes (also a great source of the antioxidant resveratrol), may be especially beneficial at supporting vision into older age.

3. Reduce the Effects of Aging on the Skin 

Perhaps most noticeably, free radicals speed up the aging process when it comes to the appearance and health of your skin. Antioxidants may help combat this damage, especially from eating sources high in vitamin C, beta-carotene and other antioxidants.

Vitamin A and C have been connected to a decrease in the appearance of wrinkles and skin dryness. Vitamin C, specifically, is a powerful antioxidant that can help reduce the effect of oxidative damage caused by pollution, stress or poor diet. Vitamin A deficiency has also been linked to skin dryness, scaling and follicular thickening of the skin. Similarly to how free radicals damage surface skin cells, keratinization of the skin, when the epithelial cells lose their moisture and become hard and dry, can occur in the mucous membranes of the respiratory, gastrointestinal tract and urinary tract.

Benefits of antioxidant foods - Dr. Axe

4. Help Prevent Stroke and Heart Disease

Since antioxidants help prevent damage of tissues and cells caused by free radicals, they’re needed to protect against heart disease and stroke. At this point, the data does not show that all antioxidants are effective in protecting against heart disease, but some, such as vitamin C, do seem to be.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition featured a study that found those with high levels of vitamin C in their blood had almost a 50 percent decreased risk of stroke. Countless studies also have found that people who consume highly plant-based diets — loaded with things like fresh veggies, herbs, spices and fruit — have a better chance of living longer and healthier lives with less heart disease. (6)

The Department of Preventive Medicine & Public Health at University of Navarra states, “Fruits and vegetables are dietary sources of natural antioxidants and it is generally accepted that antioxidants in these foods are key in explaining the inverse association between fruits and vegetables intake and the risk of developing a cardiovascular event or having elevated levels of cardiovascular risk factors.” (7) However, when it comes to heart health, certain studies have found that using vitamin E or beta-carotene supplements should be “actively discouraged” because of the increase in the risk of heart-related mortality. (8)

5. May Help Decrease Risk of Cancer

Studies have found that high intakes of vitamin A, vitamin C and other antioxidants could help prevent or treat several forms of cancer thanks to their ability to control malignant cells in the body and cause cell cycle arrest and apoptosis (destruction) of cancer cells. Retinoic acid, derived from vitamin A, is one chemical that plays important roles in cell development and differentiation as well as cancer treatment.

Lung, prostate, breast, ovarian, bladder, oral and skin cancers have been demonstrated to be suppressed by retinoic acid. (9) Another study collected numerous references demonstrating the findings of retinoic acid in protection against melanoma, hepatoma, lung cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer. However, there’s evidence indicating that the benefits of chemicals like retinoic acid are safest when obtained from food naturally, rather than supplements.

6. Can Help Prevent Cognitive Decline, Such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease

Oxidative stress is believed to play a central role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, but a nutrient-dense diet seems to lower one’s risk. The Journal of the American Medical Association of Neurology reports that higher intake of foods rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin E, may modestly reduce long-term risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. (10)

Many studies have found that people eating plant-based diets high in antioxidants, such as the Mediterranean diet, have better protection over cognition. (11)


Are There Any Antioxidant Precautions or Side Effects?

Just like any other supplement, it doesn’t seem that it’s beneficial or even necessarily safe to consume high doses of antioxidants in supplement form. For example, because during exercise oxygen consumption can increase by a factor of more than 10, taking high doses of antioxidants might interfere with proper exercise recovery. (12) Other research has shown that high-dose antioxidant supplementation may interfere with the cardiovascular benefits of exercise, have negative effects on the body’s natural anti-cancer activities, and affect how the body balances levels of different chemicals and nutrients on its own. (13, 14)

When it comes to protection against things like cancer or heart disease, overall the medical literature seems conflicting. Although some studies found a positive relationship between antioxidant supplementation and risk reduction, others have not found such positive effects. (15) To be safe, always follow directions carefully and speak with your doctor if you’re unsure of whether or not a supplement is right for you. And to remain your healthiest into older age, aim to reduce free radical load in your body by practicing things like:

  • avoiding environmental pollutants in water
  • reducing chemical exposure in household and cosmetic products
  • limiting intake of processed and refined foods
  • limiting intake of pesticide and herbicide-laden foods
  • limiting intake of antibiotic and hormone-laden foods
  • avoiding overuse of medications
  • reducing stress
  • getting moderate amounts of exercise
  • using natural, cold-pressed oils (heat oxidizes fats in refined oils)

Final Thoughts on Antioxidants and High Antioxidant Foods

  • Antioxidants inhibit oxidation in the body, also called free radical damage, which is tied to stress.
  • We get most antioxidants from our diets, which help counteract effects of an unhealthy lifestyle, such as accelerated aging, damaged or mutated cells, broken-down tissue within the skin or eyes, the activation of harmful genes within DNA, and low immunity.
  • Some noteworthy high antioxidant foods, herbs and supplements include leafy green veggies, artichokes, cocoa, wild berries, green tea, cinnamon, clove, sea vegetables like kelp, spirulina, quercetin or lutein supplements, and essential oils like lavender and frankincense.

why whirlpool is formed?

Remember the steering wheel? When two opposite forces act on it, it turns. Now similar to that what happens when the  velocity  of fluid at two near by points is opposite? We get a vortex.

A vortex has a centre about which the fluid rotates. It is usually caused by significant difference in velocities exist over small distances. We can see examples of vortex very often in nature. Sea waves is a good example. The receding water meets the incoming water. Opposite velocities at close distances. And a vortex is formed.

Whirlpools, tornadoes are all examples of vortex. Other examples are tip vortices from the tip of an aircraft wing.

A fluid flowing at high velocities into a fluid at rest can also cause vortex. This is one case where a whirlpool can form.

Now that we understand how the rotation comes into picture we will try and understand why the fluid is being pulled down.

Remember the Bernoulli equation, which is an energy conservation equation of pressure, velocity and potential(height)? Let’s now ignore the potential term. Which means as velocity increases in a flow the pressure of the fluid or the height of the fluid will decrease and vice versa.

In a vortex the velocity near the centre is very high, which means the potential(height) at that point will be low. Now the pressure at the surface ofa fluid say water is equal to the atmospheric pressure. Hence the increase in velocity is compensated solely by the decrease in potential.

We can also use centrifugal acceleration to explain this phenomenon.

EDIT:
Bernoulli’s Equation (copied from Wikipedia)
Bernoulli’s principle

where:

is the fluid flow speed at a point on a streamline, is the value of acceleration due to gravity,

is the elevation of the point above a reference plane, with the positive z-direction pointing upward – so in the direction opposite to the gravitational acceleration,

is the pressure at the chosen point, and

is the density of the fluid at all points in the fluid.

PS: Please keep in mind that several assumptions go into the Bernoulli equation and it cant be applicable directly to a whirlpool. However it gives a  general idea of why and hence I have used it here.

Whirlpools result from the turbulent flow of water. In rivers, we often think of water as flowing smoothly, except when it comes to some object blocking its path. The water flows around the object (a submerged rock, a bridge pylon, etc.) and this may cause the water to lose its smooth- flowing properties.

As the water flows in around the object, a ‘whirlpool’ may be created. Another method that creates turbulence is to increase the flow of water through the riverbed. The faster the flow, the more likely turbulent flow will develop and the more energetic the turbulence. In the oceans the process is only a little different. We don’t usually think of ocean water as flowing, but it does.

There are huge ocean rivers that flow all around the Earth. Uneven heating of the ocean waters by the Sun, forces caused by the Earth’s rotation (Coriolis force), and uneven salt content of the various ocean waters, all contribute to the driving forces that keep these waters flowing. Sometimes, these currents run past each other or actually collide. Conflicting tidal flows can also interact.

When this happens, turbulence similar to that described for a river can result. According to the ‘Book of Popular Science’, the best known tidal-generated whirlpool in the world occurs in the Maelstrom, a strait about three miles wide in Norway’s Lofoten Islands, between Moskenesoy and Mosken Islet. One famous and fanciful, description of this whirlpool is in a story by Edger Alan Poe, called ‘Descent Into the Maelstrom”. You may find it interesting if not very factual. The whirlpool of Garofalo, in the Strait of Messina, between the island of Sicily and Italy, is produced by winds that flow against the direction tidal currents.

The destructive effects of such whirlpools have been rather exaggerated; small boats may be entrapped and wrecked in them, but not larger craft. However, even a large boat may find steering almost impossible until the whirlpool subsides. If you are interested in a book that looks at this process from the viewpoint of the Chaos Theory, read ‘Turbulent Mirror” by John Briggs and F. David Peat, Harper & Row, 1990. More recently, Paul Harvey (a U.S. radio commentator) told of a lake, I believe in Wisconsin, USA, that developed a huge whirlpool and actually sucked several boats down. It was later determined that an underground cavern developed an opening into the bottom of the lake and drained the water. In flowing water from rivers refilled the lake. The various kinds of turbulent flow can be a very interesting study. I hope this helps.

Whirlpool Facts and Mythswhirlpool

  • What is a whirlpool?
  • How do whirlpools form?
  • Which way does water rotate down a drain?
  • Hands-on experiments.

We answer these questions and many interesting facts about vortex’s and whirlpools. This information is the most comprehensive collection of whirlpool facts with graphic illustrations and pictures. As a bonus, we will include experiments that can be done in your classroom or home.

Definition of a whirlpool

A rapid circular current of liquid. [syn: vortex, maelstrom]

  • A vortex is any whirlpool with a downdraft.
  • A maelstrom is the term applied to the most powerful whirlpools.

The most powerful “natural” whirlpools are the result of tidal changes and the resulting fast-flowing water through narrow shallow straits.

But most people are more familiar with smaller less dangerous whirlpools that occur in streams or at the bottom of waterfalls. To be sure, these whirlpools can cause lots of problems for watercraft, and they can pull people down and not let them up. So they are dangerous, but not to the scale of a maelstrom whirlpool that can swallow a boat.

How do whirlpools form?

Any time water flows through a narrow path, it forms at least a partial whirlpool. As the water passes through the narrower opening, it accelerates and forms a more powerful force. If the downstream area then enlarges, it can mature into a complete whirlpool.

As water is pulled into an opening by gravity, it begins to spin. The direction it spins is discussed below. Once this begins, it intensifies and forms a cavity in the center of the drain. The cavity creates a vacuum into which objects such as bubbles, water molecules, and other floating objects are pulled. As these objects are “sucked” into the vortex, the centrifugal (outward) force maintains the hole in the middle through which air passes.

What makes whirlpools spin?

As the water is pulled down into the opening, the water particles fight for the smaller space and push each other to the side. This pushing and nudging by itself would not necessarily cause the water to spin, especially in a perfectly-shaped funnel and no other directional influence on the water. But a perfectly-shaped funnel never exists in nature. There are inconsistently-shaped rocks or other obstructions that force the water away from them. This initiates a spinning motion that accelerates as the water is pulled by gravity.

What gives whirlpools their vortex shape?

As the water spins and accelerates, the centrifugal force tries to force it to the outside. Of course, it is contained by the rocks or other naturally-occurring obstructions, so it cannot “fly out” of the natural funnel. Water is heavier than air, so the center of the vortex creates a column of air which is simply the vacancy caused by the water being forced to the side.

Can a whirlpool suck a boat or ship into it?

It is merely a matter of size. If the maelstrom is large enough and the boat or other object is small enough, the object will be drawn down through the vortex along with the water. It is understandable then, that fables exist about large ships being sucked down and eaten up by giant whirlpools, but actual documented cases that we would consider trustworthy do not exist. On the other hand, you wouldn’t want to try to paddle through a large whirlpool in a row boat. Even small whirlpools are VERY powerful. While it may not suck a human being down into it, it is very likely that even an Olympic swimmer would soon tire trying to avoid it, and then risk drowning. So NEVER try to challenge a naturally occurring whirlpool in a stream or river.

What direction does the water spin?

Have you ever heard that water goes down a drain in different directions in the northern and southern hemisphere? Is it truth or myth?

Technically, it is true. If there is no other outside force present such as the direction of the inflowing water, and the drain (hole) is perfectly level, water will rotate counterclockwise north of the equator and clockwise south of the equator. This is called the “Coriolis Effect” named after Gaspard-Gustave Coriolis, a French scientist, who described it in 1835.

The Coriolis Effect is extremely slight, similar to the fact that we can stand on the earth without being knocked over by the 1,000 mile per hour speed of the rotating earth. There are many forces that are stronger on a small body of water such as the angle of the drain, the slightest hand movement as you remove the plug, etc.

In a natural setting such as a stream, there are usually other obstructions that create the spinning direction.

If you were to stir water in the opposite direction of your hemispheric location, that is sufficient energy to create a vortex whirlpool since that stirring is a stronger localized influence than the slight rotational influence of the earth.

Some people even believe that water swirls down a toilet according to hemispheric influence. But that is NOT true. The direction of rotation in a toilet is caused by the direction of the water flowing into the toilet bowl from the outlets around the inside of the rim.

What about a bathtub drain? Will the Coriolis-Effect be sufficient to influence the direction of the vortex? Only if the tub and drain are perfectly level, and the water is not disturbed when the drain plug is removed. But that is nearly impossible.

Try it.

Fill a tub with 3” or 4” of water, let it settle for at least 5 minutes, then slowly remove the plug and watch the whirlpool form. It is best to pull the plug with a chain rather than by reaching in with your hand. Your hand will cause slight currents as you put it into the water and then remove it, and that might be enough to influence the direction of the water.

Pop Bottle Experiment

One of the most fun whirlpool experiments is with a pop bottle. You will probably spill water with this experiment, so it is best to do it outside or over a tub.

Fill a 1-liter plastic pop bottle with water and turn it upside down. Watch as the water fights to get out of the small opening. The fight is between water and air. As water leaves the bottle, it ABSOLUTELY MUST BE REPLACED WITH AIR. If air doesn’t replace the space occupied by the water, a vacuum will form and slow down the water while sucking the sides of the bottle in. Notice the large bubbles of air climbing to the top of the water level. It is very uncoordinated.

You can also demonstrate the power of this vacuum with a straw. Stick a straw down into a glass of water, place your finger over the top end of it, and then remove the straw from the glass of water. Notice that the water stays in the straw. It can’t fall out because you have your finger over the top end so no air can get into the straw to replace the water. Now remove your finger, and the water falls out freely.

Similarly, if you punch or drill a hole in the bottom of the pop bottle, put your finger over it, fill it with water, turn it upside down, and then remove your finger from the hole, you would be able to see how freely the water falls out of the bottle.

tornado in a bottleCreate your own WhirlpoolBut there is an even better way to let air into the bottle, and it demonstrates a whirlpool vortex at the same time.Fill the bottle with water, turn it upside, down, then move it in a circular motion to get the water spinning, then stop making the circular motion and let the water continue to spin.

This will start a vortex action, and it will increase as gravity pulls the water down. Notice the hollow opening in the water that allows air back up into the bottle.Compare how much faster the water leaves the bottle when you create a vortex. It is much faster with the vortex action because the water and air are not fighting as they pass through the same small space.Build a Whirlpool in a BottleClick here or on the picture to see illustrated instructions about how you can build your own whirlpool in a bottle or “tornado tube” like the one pictured here. It is easy to build with two plastic pop bottles, and is lots of fun to play with.

 

Water SculpturesA sculptor in London by the name of William Pye builds large water whirlpools which are located in tourist destinations and other locations. You can see pictures and videos of them on his website.

My first blog “why we are so curious?”

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Evolution made us the ultimate learning machines, and the ultimate learning machines need to be oiled by curiosity.

I hate to disappoint you, but whatever your ambitions, whatever your long-term goals, I’m pretty sure that reading this column isn’t going to further them. It won’t stop you feeling hungry. It won’t provide any information that might save your life. It’s unlikely to make you attractive to the opposite sex.

And yet if I were to say that I will teach you a valuable lesson about your inner child, I hope you will want to carry on reading, driven by nothing more than your curiosity to find out a little more. What could be going on in your brain to make you so inquisitive?

We humans have a deeply curious nature, and more often than not it is about the minor tittle-tattle in our lives. Our curiosity has us doing utterly unproductive things like reading news about people we will never meet, learning topics we will never have use for, or exploring places we will never come back to. We just love to know the answers to things, even if there’s no obvious benefit.

From the perspective of evolution this appears to be something of a mystery. We associate evolution with ‘survival-of-the-fittest’ traits that support the essentials of day-to-day survival and reproduction. So why did we evolve to waste so much time? Shouldn’t evolution have selected for a species which was – you know – a bit more focused?

Child’s play

The roots of our peculiar curiosity can be linked to a trait of the human species call neoteny. This is a term from evolutionary theory that means the “retention of juvenile characteristics”. It means that as a species we are more child-like than other mammals. Being relatively hairless is one physical example. A large brain relative to body size is another. Our lifelong curiosity and playfulness is a behavioural characteristic of neoteny.

Neoteny is a short-cut taken by evolution – a route that brings about a whole bundle of changes in one go, rather than selecting for them one by one. Evolution, by making us a more juvenile species, has made us weaker than our primate cousins, but it has also given us our child’s curiosity, our capacity to learn and our deep sense of attachment to each other.

And of course the lifelong capacity to learn is the reason why neophyte has worked so well for our species. Our extended childhood means we can absorb so much more from our environment, including our shared culture. Even in adulthood we can pick up new ways of doing things and new ways of thinking, allowing us to adapt to new circumstances.

Exploration bonus

In the world of artificial intelligence, computer scientists have explored how behaviour evolves when guided by different learning algorithms. An important result is that even the best learning algorithms fall down if they are not encouraged to explore a little. Without a little something to distract them from what they should be doing, these algorithms get stuck in a rut, relying on the same responses time and time again.

Computer scientists have learnt to adjust how these algorithms rate different possible actions with an ‘exploration bonus’ – that is, a reward just for trying something new. Weighted like this, the algorithms then occasionally leave the beaten track to explore. These exploratory actions cost them some opportunities, but leave them better off in the long run because they’ve gain knowledge about what they might do, even if it didn’t benefit them immediately.

The implication for the evolution of our own brain is clear. Curiosity is nature’s built-in exploration bonus. We’re evolved to leave the beaten track, to try things out, to get distracted and generally look like we’re wasting time. Maybe we are wasting time today, but the learning algorithms in our brain know that something we learnt by chance today will come in useful tomorrow.

Obviously it would be best if we knew what we needed to know, and just concentrated on that. Fortunately, in a complex world it is impossible to know what might be useful in the future. And thank goodness – otherwise we would have evolved to be a deadly-boring species which never wanted to get lost, never tried things to just see what happened or did things for the hell of it.

Evolution made us the ultimate learning machines, and the ultimate learning machines need a healthy dash of curiosity to help us take full advantage of this learning capacity.