Water, the stuff of life, seems to ex­ist ev­ery­where

North Penn Life - - Opinion -

When we’re caught in a thun­der­storm, we never think about a water short­age. On the cold days of win­ter, men are never in the mood to drink 13 glasses of water a day and women will get a chill just think­ing about the daily 9 glasses they’re sup­posed to drink ac­cord­ing to rec­om­men­da­tions from the In­sti­tute of Medicine.

Water is no longer the fa­vorite it used to be in our na­tion now fix­ated on soda, diet soda and en­ergy drinks. Un­for­tu­nately, for many in the United States, water is just plain bor­ing.

When we fo­cus on places out­side the United States, water is more pre­cious than di­a­monds. World­wide, over 1 bil­lion men, women and chil­dren do not have enough safe, clean water that is eas­ily ob­tained and nec­es­sary to pre­vent ill­nesses and an early death. In many coun­tries of Africa, 80 per­cent of the world’s health prob­lems re­sult from con­tact with con­tam­i­nated water.

Suf­fi­cient quan­ti­ties of fresh water have been on the de­crease for cen­turies. Of the 326 mil­lion tril- lion gal­lons of water on Earth, 98 per­cent is in the oceans and con­tains salt mak­ing it un­drink­able. Only 2 per­cent of the water on our planet is fresh water.

The de­crease in amounts of fresh water is a re­sult from cli­mate change in which glaciers, lakes and streams are at lower lev­els than years ago. Also, more than half of the pub­licly sup­plied water in the United States is used in Amer­i­can homes. The amount used in homes has in­creased in the last few gen­er­a­tions.

In coun­tries such as Africa, the ma­jor cause of death in chil­dren who die be­fore the age of 5 years is a wa­ter­borne in­fec­tion from con­tam­i­nated water. Even to­day, not enough ed­u­ca­tion is dis­sem­i­nated on the dan­ger of drink­ing or bathing in con­tam­i­nated water.

When an­i­mal and hu­man waste are in the water such as a stream, dis­eases such as di­ar­rhea, cholera, ty­phoid and malaria take on epi- demic pro­por­tions. Lack of potable water can in­ter­fere with chil­dren’s learn­ing and the en­ergy level of young adults.

Ap­prox­i­mately 60 per­cent of a per­son’s body weight is water. Drink­ing safe water helps flush out tox­ins that can dam­age the vi­tal or­gans. The water car­ries nu­tri­ents to all the cells of the body. We lose water when we breathe, sweat and elim­i­nate urine and bowel move­ments. If men drink 13 eight ounce glasses of water a day and women drink 9 glasses, the body loss of water will be re­placed. Usu­ally, drink­ing 8 glasses of water will pre­vent de­hy­dra­tion with more needed when exer- cis­ing.

There is a lack of agree­ment of whether soda, cof­fee and tea will cause too much loss of water through uri­na­tion. How­ever, drinks con­tain­ing al­co­hol might re­sult in too much loss. A per­son can roughly judge his or her in-and-out lev­els of water by look­ing at the urine. If it is col­or­less or a very light yel­low in color, suf­fi­cient water in­take is likely.

Water is found all around the uni­verse. On our moon, water is lo­cated deep un­der the moon’s sur­face and in craters at the poles where sun­light never reaches. The same find­ing of frozen ice has been lo­cated in deep craters on the planet Mer­cury. Soon, Mars will be shown to have had past lakes of water. Jupiter prob­a­bly has an ocean on its moon Europa and water on other moons such as Cal­listo and Ganymede.

Th­ese moons can be seen in small tele­scopes from our area. Saturn has gey­sers spit­ting out streams of water on its moon Ence­ladus. Even the dis­tant plan­ets Uranus and Nep­tune are mostly water.

Comets are com­mon in our so­lar sys­tem. Th­ese are known as dirty snow­balls made of dust, rocky ma­te­rial and water. The most shock­ing find­ing was the dis­cov­ery of an ob­ject known as a quasar lo­cated far out in the uni­verse. A quasar is the most lu­mi­nous ob­ject seen in our vis­i­ble uni­verse and hun­dreds of th­ese have been dis­cov­ered. A dis­tant galaxy has a su­per mas­sive black hole in its cen­ter.

From our planet, Earth, a quasar looks like a star but, it is really gob­bling up stars equiv­a­lent to a hun­gry bright ob­ject. What makes the dis­cov­ery amaz­ing, is that huge quan­ti­ties of water were al­ready there shortly af­ter the birth of the uni­verse. A

ccord­ing to the ex­perts, in that dis­tant quasar, there is enough water va­por to fill all the Earth’s oceans 140 tril­lion times. This is ev­i­dence that water was al­ready present shortly af­ter the uni­verse came into ex­is­tence at the Big Bang.

The dis­cov­ery of the most dis­tant water in the uni­verse and the fact that it had formed shortly af­ter the uni­verse came into ex­is­tence is fur­ther ev­i­dence that water keeps all life alive and prob­a­bly is the nec­es­sary in­gre­di­ent for life here and ev­ery­where.

It’s time we make a toast. If we’re smart, we’ll all drink a few glasses of water to that!

Health & Sci­ence Dr. Mil­ton Fried­man

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