Orbiting a World of Hydrocarbons Around Whales, People and Global Warming
For there is no folly of the beast of the earth which is not infinitely outdone by the madness of men. Moby Dick … Herman Melville
Do you know the common elements that a whale and a candle share? If not, read this amazing bit of personal research.
Who doesn’t admire the magnificent whales … warm blooded mammals who bleed red blood and deliver live babies. But who thinks about how the molecular composition of their blubber almost drove many of them to extinction?
So began this curious research with a mind-blowing discovery about how united the Earth really is because of so many connections orbiting around hydrocarbons. Even the most basic understanding outside of organic chemistry shows how our world depends on hydrocarbons, including petroleum as fossil fuels to human’s lipid fatty acids to photosynthesis itself producing glucose … are all based on a hydrocarbon formula that releases energy when combined with oxygen. You can’t help but think how our necessities and connections are integral and the total masterpiece of Nature’s synergy from the smallest atom to the biosphere.
Fat is Fat Wherever It Is
A fat molecule is composed of hydrogen and carbon molecules in various denominations.
For example, whale blubber is adipose tissue with fat cells filled with lipids. It varies in thickness from 10 to 45 cm and provides a rich blood supply with hemoglobin via a vascular system insulating a consistent temperature of 37 degrees that also gives buoyancy. Centuries ago, whale oil was shown to have commercial value as a chemical in transmission oils, high quality leathers, and the making soaps and cosmetics. The whaling industry culminated in the 20th century with huge factory ships and cannon fired harpoons to hunt, kill and transport tons of blubber. The largest blue whales and sperm whales were hunted to near extinction until 1986 when the International Whaling Commission banned all killing.
Human cells are filled with fat
Like all other natural fat, blubber is comprised of hydrocarbons. As a matter of fact, human fat cells are also called adipose tissue composed of natural triglycerides and many other lipids with omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids based on Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen.
A formula for saturated fats is CH3-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-CH2-COOH. Unsaturated fats are a little different formulation. If you have ever burned food, you’d agree with the black carbon element!
Just think biological carbohydrates are molecules that contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms in specific ratios with the main function of providing energy. Most of the carbohydrates we eat are broken down into glucose to be used as fuel for the body’s cells. To burn a 100 calories is to run a 10 minute mile for 10 minutes. Excess carbs are stored as glycogen in the liver or muscles for later use.
Perhaps this is why to burn more fat we need more exercise … increase the oxygen content to burn the calories.
Petroleum is also fat
Petrochemicals or fossil fuels are comprised of mainly carbon molecules and hydrogen molecules in all states… liquid, gaseous and solid. Generally, they are 80 to 90 percent carbon and 10 to 20 percent hydrogen. By manipulating their bonds and hooking together long chains of smaller units called polymers, plastics of various kinds can be produced.
Power of Combustion with Hydrocarbons
Combustion happens when a chemical reaction happens between two substances including oxygen to generate heat and light (flame)
The most common kinds of fuel for combustion are hydrocarbon compounds like methane (CH4) propane (C3H8) or octane (C8H18).
This explains why spark plugs are needed in internal combustion engines. They supply the electric spark that ignites the air/fuel mixture that causes the piston to move downwards to rotate the crankshaft.
People realize that burning petrochemicals can release extra carbon dioxide molecules to pollute the air. This plays a role in causing a green house effect where excessive carbon dioxide traps radiation at ground level preventing the earth from cooling at night. Another result is the warming of ocean waters that absorb heat and release it slowly to the atmosphere. Global warming a reality.
Yet people are a critical controlling factor because the pandemic infections this March and April, caused a “startling decline” in carbon dioxide emissions as people worldwide experienced an abrupt reduction in driving, flying and industrial output. Read more.
Power of Photosynthesis with Hydrocarbons
Earth’s most essential process for survival is photosynthesis. Its equation:
6CO2+ 6H2O + sun’s energy + chlorophyll >
C6 H12 06 (glucose) + 6O2 (oxygen)
Trees and plants need Carbon to grow and breathe in CO2 to convert energy from the sun into a chemical molecule either sucrose (sugar) or carbohydrate. Oxygen is respired for animals and humans.
And so the cycle completes. Think about it … burning wood or fossil fuels only releases the sun’s energy that once was used to create it. Think about it when you watch a candle burn whether made from paraffin wax (hydrocarbons) or tallow, reduced fat from mutton or pig that once ate grass using photosynthesis and releasing a little of its bright heat. It’s almost as if you hold a piece of the sun.
I don’t know about how you feel but this orbit around hydrocarbons is an amazing synthesis by Nature. We must do all we can to adapt, control and balance it.
What part of the hydrocarbons orbit did you find most interesting?