Why oil and water don't mix?

We often relate two things that won't go hand in hand or are very different to each other to the case of oil and water. If we pour a bit of vegetable oil in water and shake it well, it might seem that they have mixed. But slowly, small droplets of oil form, and they will combine to make larger drops, and eventually the oil will settle on the top of the water as a different layer. People know that those two things don't mix but hardly a few seem to know the scientific principle behind it.

Water and oil are made up of entirely different elements and have distinct physical and chemical characteristics. The water molecule is composed of two Hydrogen atoms and an Oxygen atom. But the atoms are not arranged in a straight line. The two hydrogen atoms are aligned to one side of the oxygen atom which occupies a sharp end, forming the shape of English letter V. The molecule has a small positive charge at the end of Hydrogen atoms and the end of Oxygen atom has a slightly negative charge, due to the difference in electronegativity of the two atoms. This makes water a polar molecule. As you know, opposite charges attract each other. Hence, the negative poles on each water molecule are attracted to the positive poles on other water molecules. This constitutes a tight bonding between molecules, called hydrogen bonds.

As for oil, it is a non-polar chemical. Oils are made of fatty acids. The electron sharing is more even in non-polar molecules and they have no charge. Hence, they are not attracted to other polar molecules like water. They attract molecules of their own kind and cluster together. Polar molecules dissolve only in polar solvents and non-polar molecules dissolve only in non-polar solvents. This nature essentially separates water and oil into two separate layers. The oil floats on top of the water simply because it is less dense than water.

However, with the advancement of science, it is possible to mix the two substances now. It is done using a mediating agent, called emulsifier. Most of them create bonds to both oil and water. The end product is an emulsion in which one substance is spread through the other. The detergents and soaps we use in daily lives are examples of emulsifiers.

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What is the history of loafer shoes? What are the different types?

Otherwise known as slippers or slip-ons, loafers are typically low, lace-less shoes, in the model of moccasins. Though born in Europe, they are more popular in the American continent, especially in North. They are worn by both men and women.

Loafers have relatively a short history but they had a great influence on the fashion trends. There are disputes regarding their origin. Their origin is said to have been in Norway. Norwegian fishermen used to wear the shoes designed in the style of moccasins, though the style was not much popular outside.

One of the earliest designs of loafer to hit the market was the Wildsmith Loafer made by Raymond Lewis Wildsmith of Wildsmith Shoes in England. It was designed as a casual wear for King George VI. Later various models of the shoe were developed by other firms as well.

The modern era of loafers began when Norwegian shoemaker Nils Gregoriusson Tveranger started his business around 1908. In 1930, Tveranger introduced a new design called the Aurland moccasin, named after his birthplace. He later renamed the slip-on Aurland Shoe. This design was inspired from the traditional shoes worn by locals in Aurland. The Norwegians began exporting them to the other parts of Europe, and struck a chord especially with the American tourists.

Soon, the American magazine Esquire ran a feature on loafers, including some photographs of Norwegian farmers in a cattle loafing area. It is believed to be the inspiration behind the name loafers. Later, the Spaulding family in New Hampshire marketed shoes derived from this design, naming them loafers. Another turning point came in 1934, when the bootmaker G.H. Bass started making loafers under the name Weejuns, a corruption of the word Norwegians. His design included a leather strip across the saddle. Numerous designs began to come out, and behemoths like Gucci entered the field. Now loafers are among the most favorite casual footwear.

There are many kinds of loafers, though four types are most prominent ones. The Penny loafer is of course the most classic and popular of them. It has a leather strap across the top of the shoe, designed with a diamond-shaped slot. Then there us the Tassel loafer, which had its origin in 1950s. The Snaffle loafer was born in 1968, introduced by Gucci. Their notable feature is the brass strap in the shape of a horse’s snaffle bit laid across the top of the shoe. The other one is the Apron loafer, which has stitches on them.

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Why does standing in one place make legs more sore than walking?

Most of us know that we tire easily when we move around than staying immobile. However, you would have noticed that you feel more tired when you have been standing for a long time in a single spot rather than when you have been walking for a long distance. Our legs will feel more sore and swollen sometimes. It doesn't make sense at first. Naturally, walking involves more work than just standing. Yet the effect is opposite to our conception. There are a number of reasons for this phenomenon.

Firstly, when we stand, our legs are working all the time and are under pressure. To keep our balance, the muscles in our calves must make small adjustments consistently, which tires our legs out easily. But when we walk, the task of keeping our balance is distributed across a greater number of muscles in various parts of our body, such as ones in our core, thighs, calves and buttocks.

When standing still, each foot and leg supports about half of the body’s weight, without a moment's rest. While walking, the weight is constantly shifting between the two legs, which gives them a brief reprieve periodically. During standing, the body weight is more focused on the balls and heels of our feet as well, thereby straining them. When we walk, the load is distributed to different parts of the feet.

Standing still affects the working of heart as well. The heart cannot pump blood efficiently from your feet back up the length of our body if we are standing for a long time. It eventually causes the blood to pool around our feet and is the reason for the swelling in your feet and lower legs. But when we walk, the muscle contractions help the heart to perform well and keep the blood from pooling.

There is also a psychological side to this matter. Have you thought, when do you feel more bored, when standing at one place or walking. It must be the former, though the notion can be challenged in this smartphone era. Anyway, the sense of boredom makes us even more tired, whereas when walking we need to occupy our mind constantly with checking our surroundings.

If nothing else, walking causes our body to release several chemicals that improves our mood, such as endorphins. It also prompts more oxygen intake, which generally helps the body. All these facts prove why walking is better for our body rather than standing still at a single spot.

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Which is the biggest school in the world?

The biggest school in the world is located in India in the city of Lucknow, Utter Pradesh. The name of this school is City Montessori School. This school was founded in 1959 by Dr. Jagdish Gandhi and his wife (with monetary loan of Rs. 300 at the time).

City Montessori School, Lucknow

The City Montessori School started with only 5 pupils. Today the number of pupils in the school is around 59000. It has 1050 classrooms, about 4000 computers, and the staff - including teachers, peons, cleaners, electricians, gardeners, auto-drivers - of 3800.

The school was declared as the world's largest school by Guinness Book in 2013. The record is unbroken till day.

What is the connection between insulin and body fat?

While people are dying of starvation in many parts of the world, obesity is the threat to another group of people. The world is becoming obese, numerous health reports say. And most of the fat people blame the hormone insulin rather than their less than ideal eating habits.

Insulin plays a huge role in our health matters. It is a hormone released by pancreas when the blood sugar rises above the normal level i.e. when we eat food. Our normal diet includes carbohydrates, protein and fat. The food we consume needs to be broken down into basic nutrients for our body to metabolize them. The protein breaks down into amino acids, fats into fatty acids and carbohydrates into glucose. They all make their way into the bloodstream.

These nutrients must then be moved from the blood into muscle and fat cells for use or storage, and it is facilitated by insulin. The rise in sugar levels in blood stimulates the beta cells in pancreas to release insulin which signals the fat cells, muscles and liver to absorb the nutrients, especially glucose. The insulin level drops once the nutrients are absorbed, and maintains a normal level. This is a constant cycle. Every time we eat food, pancreas releases insulin which is essential in regulation of the blood sugar levels. The glucose is stored in cells in the form of glycogen.

Insulin has a significant role in controlling the body fat storage. As said above, insulin discourages the breakdown of fat cells and enhances the creation of body fat. If we consistently consume more amount of calories than we burn, it gradually results in insulin resistance. It means the muscles and liver stop responding to the pancreas' release of insulin. They have only a limited capacity to store glucose and send it to the fat cells, creating more and more body fat.

The insulin resistance prompts the pancreas to release more insulin, and finally the cells fail to respond to the pancreas. This leads to pancreas stopping the release of insulin, making the blood sugar levels go high and result in type-2 diabetes.

Considering its duty, insulin tends to take the blame for making people overweight. However, the problem lies in the eating habits. It is the excess amount of glucose that is stored as body fat. So the simple way to regulate the body weight is controlled diet.

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Why nuclear explosions create mushroom clouds?

Those who have watched the videos of atom bomb explosions must have noticed the different type of smoke created by the explosion, rising in the shape of a mushroom and spreading out. The first thing to be noted is that mushroom clouds are not exclusive to nuclear explosions. Mushroom clouds are created in any explosion that releases sufficient energy for certain conditions to develop. It can be formed from the explosion of vacuum bombs or even volcanic eruptions.

Mushroom clouds can be formed only from the explosions occurring in a gravitational field. Without the gravitational force, the resulting gas cloud will retain its initial form of sphere. As for the nuclear detonation, it is conducted at some distance above the ground to maximize its impact. Immediately after the explosion, a pyrocumulus cloud is formed. This massive fireball made of hot gases spread outward swiftly. Since the fireball is much hotter and less dense than the surrounding air, it will begin to rise rapidly. It is the same principle behind the working of a hot-air balloon. And it is this rising ball of burning gases that eventually forms the mushroom cap.

As the fireball rises, a scientific phenomenon called Rayleigh–Taylor instability is formed. It happens when two fluids of different densities are merged and subjected to acceleration. It propels the lighter fluid upwards. As a result, the air is drawn upwards and into the cloud, similar to the case of a chimney. It causes the volume of gases to form the shape of an inverted cup. The upward acceleration of the fireball produces strong air currents known as afterwinds, and these afterwinds will draw the debris from the ground to form what is perceived to be the stem of the mushroom. Once the rising fireball reaches an altitude where its density is equal to that of the surrounding air, it begins to disperse, and the debris drawn upward from the ground will scatter and drift back down. The stabilization point will depend upon the atmospherical features of the place and the altitude at which the detonation takes place.

Mushroom clouds would mainly consist of the fission materials and debris. It would not be formed in the explosions that take place much above the earth's surface and underground. Mushroom clouds are often accompanied by short-lived vapour clouds, known as 'Wilson clouds', which form a ring around the mushroom cap. It is a result of the low pressure created by the negative phase of the shockwaves from explosion which lowers the dew point as well, triggering the formation of temporary clouds.

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Why is uterus removed? How is it done?

Uterus can be removed for various purposes. Some women remove uterus from family planning point of view, while sometimes it is recommended by doctors as a preventive measure against cancer or other diseases. Before we move ahead in the topic, let us understand the basic anatomy of uterus and other aspects related to it.

What is uterus?

Uterus is a complex organ which is a part of reproductive system of female anatomy. It is also referred as womb. It is roughly the size of a pear and is located in the pelvic region beneath navel or belly button. It holds fetus and expands numerical times its original size. 

Uterus comprises three layers of tissue- perimetrium, myometrium and endometrium.
  • Perimetrium: It is the outermost layer of uterus.
  • Myometrium: It is the middle layer of uterus that consists of soft muscles.
  • Endometrium: This is the innermost lining of uterus which is formed over course of a month. It is this lining that is shed during menstruation period. If pregnancy occurs, endometrium layer plays an important role in supporting placenta and supplying nutrients to the fertilized egg.

How does uterus function?

Ovary releases egg into fallopian tubes and through fallopian tubes, it reaches into the lining of uterus. Fertilization is union of female gamete (egg) and male gamete (sperm). If fertilization doesn't occur in this stage, uterus lining that has been formed over course of weeks will slowly begin to slough away and pass out from female body through menstruation. If fertilization occurs, zygote will be formed and will stick to the inner lining of uterus. This zygote will slowly develop into a baby over gestation period of nine months.

During natural childbirth, fetus is pushed out of the womb by contraction action of uterus. Even after the baby is born, uterus contracts further to regain its original size and help in restricting blood flow that happens during childbirth

Why is uterus removed?

Uterus can be removed for multiple purposes. Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure used to remove uterus. Let us see the reasons for which uterus can be removed. 

  • Treat chronic pelvic pain
  • In case of uterus cancer, cervical cancer or ovarian cancer
  • Infection in uterus lining
  • Benign tumors (fibroids) formed in uterus
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease- disease of reproductive organs
  • Uterine prolapse- Condition wherein uterus slips from its original position into vagina or birth canal
  • Adenomyosis- Thickening of uterine walls when endometrial tissue encroaches muscles of uterus. It causes pain and heavy flow of blood during menstrual cycle.
  • Endometriosis- Condition wherein endometrium layer grows outside the uterine cavity.

How is hysterectomy performed?

To perform hysterectomy, you will be administered either local anesthesia or general anesthesia. Local anesthesia will only make the part which is to be operated numb whereas general anesthesia will make your whole body numb and you will sleep throughout the operation. You may be required to stay in the hospital for few days after the surgery. Let us see different ways in which hysterectomy is performed:

  • Abdominal hysterectomy: Vertical or horizontal incision is made on the patients abdomen. Uterus is removed through this incision. The marks are healed in short period of time and scars are not visible.
  • Vaginal hysterectomy: A small incision is made inside the vagina through which uterus is removed. Since, there are no external cuts, this procedure doesn't leave any visible marks.
  • Laparoscopic hysterectomy: This procedure makes use of laparoscope- a long, thin instrument to which high resolution camera and high intensity light are attached in the front section. Instead of one large incision, three or four small incisions are made on the abdomen. Laparoscope is inserted through these incisions to remove the uterus.

What are the risks of hysterectomy?

Though hysterectomy is uber safe, it does have some minor and rarely occurring risks associated with it. Here are some risks associated with hysterectomy:
  • Chances of infection around incisions
  • Heavy bleeding
  • Injury to tissues and blood vessels
  • Injury to surrounding organs like intestines, bladder etc.

Post hysterectomy recovery tips:

Recovery time depends upon the type of hysterectomy performed. If you have had abdominal hysterectomy, then recovery time is more as compared to other types of hysterectomies. There are few recovery tips that you must follow in order to accelerate healing process.
  • Try walking as soon as possible as it will reduce chances of blood clots in lower body
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects
  • Bending exercises should be refrained
  • Sexual intercourse should be avoided for at least few weeks after hysterectomy

Laparoscopic hysterectomy cost and hospitals in India:

If you search on the Internet, you will come across many websites that provide information about laparoscopic hysterectomy treatment. Many hospitals in India offer cost-effective laparoscopic hysterectomy treatment. Cost of treatments count upon which type of hysterectomy you are recommended by doctor. For more information about hospitals and cost, click here.

It is important to note that once you undergo hysterectomy, menstrual periods will stop and you won't get pregnant. Generally, women and their partners who do not wish to have children, undergo hysterectomy.

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