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Melissa Kush

"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth can save you."

Seneca, PA, USA
single, 3 children
Customer Service Phone Rep
Speaks: English, English as a 2nd Language, Sign Language (American)
Joined May 20, 2002

The Lion, King of Beasts

The Lion is one of the largest members of the cat family. The lion's size and strength have captured human imagination since ancient times, giving these animals the nickname king of beasts. Lions are also known for their mighty roar, a fearsome sound that can be heard by humans more than 8 km (5 mi) away.

Lions once ranged over vast areas on many continents. Fossil evidence shows that until about 10,000 years ago, lions lived throughout Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and into Asia as far as southern India and the island of Sri Lanka. They also lived in North America and northern South America. Since then, however, the lion's range has been shrinking steadily. Human hunters have killed countless numbers of lions as well as the hoofed mammals that lions eat. In many places, people have taken over the lion's habitats, which often are good places to farm and raise cattle. These habitats include grassy plains, savannas, and dry woodlands but never thick forests or jungle. Today, lions are found in the wild in only two places on earth. About 100,000 lions survive in Africa south of the Sahara Desert. Another 300 lions, called Asian lions, live in a reserve called the Gîr National Park and Lion Sanctuary in northwest India. In both places, lions continue to be threatened by human activities. Thousands of lions also live in zoos and circuses around the world.

Lions rival tigers for the title of biggest cat. In fact, lions and tigers are so similar in their physical features that without their distinctively colored fur, even scientists have trouble telling them apart. Male lions weigh between 150 and 250 kg (330 and 550 lb) and stand about 123 cm (about 48 in) tall at the shoulder. They measure up to 250 cm (98 in) in length, not including the tail, which measures an additional 90 to 105 cm (35 to 41 in). Female lions are smaller, weighing between 120 and 182 kg (265 and 400 lb). They stand about 107 cm (about 42 in) tall and measure less than 175 cm (less than 69 in) in length, with a slightly shorter tail.

Lions have massive shoulders and strong forelimbs, long, sharp claws, and short, powerful jaws. As carnivores, feeding entirely on the flesh of other mammals, lions have 30 teeth, including large piercing canines to grab and kill prey, scissorlike molars to slice into flesh, and small incisors to scrape meat from bones.

Adult lions have fur that varies in color from light tan to reddish brown. The tufted tail is tipped in darker fur. Only male lions grow a mane around the shoulders, which grows darker and fuller as the animal ages. Cubs are born with thickly spotted fur, which helps them hide from predators in brush and clumps of vegetation. The spots gradually fade as the cubs grow up, sometimes remaining on the legs and belly until the lion reaches adulthood.

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Joined May 20, 2002 Activist Aspirations Casual 
Here for Meeting Friends, Dating, Support a Cause, Other 
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Hometown Seneca Longhouse, The Clan of the Mountain Lion 
Birthday June 08  
About Me Kind of quarky and a bit electrified. But, that doesn't really matter when things begin to blur around the edges and you find yourself spreading out. Wish I could meet the right particle but it's hard to pin a photon down, all the good ones move at the speed of light. Just one pulsating photon...that's all this quark requests. What's that about little shiny spheres??? Oh, who really cares?

Electrons, quarks and other so-called particles are normally very small blurs or smudges but occasionally, if they escape from atoms they spread out and are what we call waves. The electrons and quarks are what is known as matter - matter is what stuff is made of. On the other hand photons (not to be confused with protons) are almost always spread out - in fact it is almost impossible to pin a photon down. Photons are what light, radio waves, X-rays, gamma rays, and lots of other sorts of rays are made from. Light is simply spread out photons. For instance, when light comes out of your light bulb, it spreads out in all directions. 'Ah, but what about laser light? That's not spread out is it?'. Unfortunately sir, it is. Laser light is spread out along the beam. Photons always move at the same speed - the speed of light. But just as water waves have different distances between the waves, so photons pulsate at different rates. For instance light pulsates at a faster rate than radio waves and at a slower rate than X-rays.

I hope you're with me so far and that my explanation isn't to vague or should I say blurred? Ha! I jest! I have no idea how easy this is to understand because the way I learned it was first by being told an extremely bad explanation then wrestling with that for a couple of years until finally I realised what was really going on. So if you're still clinging to the idea that all things are made from little shiny spheres - then bad luck I'm afraid because worse is to come! We shall now look at where the light comes from that comes out of a light bulb.

Lets assume you know what electricity is made of. I'll just remind those of you have forgotten. Electricity is made of electrons (those little smudges) jumping from one atom to the next all the way around a wire. Because there are so many electrons we can think of this movement as a flow. We won't say why these electrons are moving just yet just that they are. Thus electricity is flowing round this wire perfectly happily until it reaches the really thin bit of curled up wire inside your light bulb. For all these electrons to get through this little bit of wire they must go even quicker than usual. They are moving so fast in fact, that they are in danger of escaping from the wire altogether! The atoms are pulling the electrons down, but in order for the electron to stay within the atoms, they need to slow down. But electrons can't just slow down, the movement that they have has to go somewhere. What happens is that they emit a photon which takes the movement from the electron. If I said that a photon suddenly appears exactly where the electron is and then shoots off - this is hard to believe. But remember everything is far more blurry than this description. What actually happens is that waves of photons gradually start appearing roughly around where the smudged electrons are. This is easier to believe because this is exactly what we think of when we look at a light bulb.

Not all things can emit photons - those that do are said to be charged. Electrons are negatively charged, protons are positively charged and quarks are a mixture. Imagine a pair of electrons close together. If one emitted an photon and it was absorbed by the other one, some movement would have been transferred from one to the other. So both electrons would change speed. Certain rules which we shall seek to find later tell us that the electrons will generally move away from each other. As we never see these photons being absorbed and emitted it seems as if there is some mysterious force pushing the electrons apart. Indeed this is was what scientists believed until about fifty years ago. This mysterious force had a name. It was (and still is) called the electric force. Other rules say that two positive charges will generally move away from each other and opposite charges will come towards each other. It is also easy to see that the nearer these things are to each other the more they are affected by this 'force'.

Electrons stay in atoms because of this exchange of photons between the electron and the proton. 'And that must be what keeps quarks together in protons, right?' Not, quite. Although quarks are charged particles, it is not the electric force which keeps them together in protons. 'What is it then?' The 'glue' that keeps quarks together in protons is the exchange another variety of blurry, wavy things called gluons. Things that emit gluons are given a colour-name such as red, green or blue. This has nothing to do with the colours that we see in everyday life - that has to do with the particular wavelength of light - these are just convenient names. I'm sorry if this is confusing the matter but it wasn't me who invented these daft names! Gluons have several extraordinary properties not seen with ordinary photons. If a quark emits a gluon, it changes its colour. So a red-quark might change into a blue quark for instance. Just as photons can transfer the property of movement between electrons, the quarks do this as well as transferring the property of colour. A proton is made up of three quarks of different colours. The proton itself seems to have no colour at all from a distance - just as a Hydrogen atom made of a charged electron and charged proton seems to have no charge from a distance.

If we want to imagine the insides of a proton, we would have to think about 3 blurs of different colours merging into each other with a haze of gluons linking them together.

Another strange property of gluons, is that gluons can emit and absorb other gluons. In other words gluons can multiply! The effect of this is that the 'force' between quarks seems to get stronger as the quarks are move further apart, whilst quarks close together seem to have no 'force' between them at all. It's almost as if the quarks were stuck together with elastic bands. In other words you can't split a proton like you can split an atom - no matter how hard you stretch it will always snap back into shape. 'Hang on a minute! If I've got this right - you can never see a quark by itself and you never see a gluon outside a proton - so how do we know they exist?' This is a fair comment - but it can't be answered now. All I will say is that we can shoot things into protons, and probe their insides in this way. It's not direct proof but its the best we can do.

When talking of animals it is useful to classify them in some way. For instance it would be very tiresome to talk of 'those warm-blooded, furry critters what suckle their young' when we could simply say 'mammals'. Like wise 'those blurry, wavy things that get emitted and absorbed, such as the photons and the gluons' we shall call 'force-particles' and 'those things that are mostly small blurs with properties such as charge and colour such as electrons and quarks' we shall call 'matter-particles'. We make the distinction between points and particles by saying that particles can be blurry and spread out into waves whereas points are points are points. Force-particles are also called spin-1 particles and matter particles are also called spin-½ particles. Remember this because it is important later on. We'll leave the discussion of what 'spin' actually is until later because it's a complicated concept.

So we have more-or-less dealt with atoms. We know what they're made of and we know how they're held together. We've dealt with electricity, in passing, and how light is emitted from light bulbs. While we're on the subject we should deal with several other phenomena. These are classed as optics. Why is light reflected from a mirror? Why does light bend when it enters water or glass?

In both cases, when the photons of light hit the surface of the object, they are absorbed by electrons in the atoms of the surface. The electrons gain too much movement and the atom is pulling them back so they emit another photon back out again. If the object is translucent, like water or glass, then the light is simply slowed down by the continual absorption and emission of the photons. The light changes direction or is 'refracted' through the material. The change of direction is due to the wavy nature of the photons and is identical to the way water waves behave when suddenly entering shallow water. If the object is opaque then the light is reflected.

Whether the object is translucent or opaque depends on the ordering of the atoms. A crystal, such as diamond, has very ordered atoms. For a disordered substance the photons basically have a harder time finding a path through and most of the light waves cancel out when entering the solid.

Next on this whistle-stop tour through four millennia of scientific knowledge we must turn to the 'force' which keeps the moon orbiting the earth and the earth orbiting the sun. As you should have guessed by now, this mysterious 'force' is actually the emission and absorption of force-particles. These force-particles are naturally called 'gravitons'. (Also called spin 2 particles.) They are emitted and absorbed by all other particles - including themselves. 'This might be a silly question - but might we be able to see these gravitons?' This is not actually a silly question, although it is a difficult one. When we talk of seeing something, we don't claim to see the light, we claim to see the object which the light was emitted from. This is the same with gravitons. We can't talk about seeing gravitons, but we might be able to see new objects using gravitons. Unfortunately, nature didn't equip us with a graviton eye, but it is possible to make a crude graviton detector. Very simply, we put two lumps of heavy metal close together and if a gravity wave passes by, the distance between the two lumps of metal will change very slightly. But when I say slightly, I mean so slight that no-one has been able to say for sure if this has ever happened yet.

'But I was told gravity was due to the curvature in a cosmic rubber sheet. Is that not true?' It is true that this is one very useful way to think of the effects of gravity. Just like we can think of the quarks inside protons as stuck together by tiny rubber bands. It is a useful approximation and it gives many accurate results, but they are only approximations and where we're going we need to be a little more accurate than that.

'Right. This seems to all be in order. So, what seems to be the problem?' I see you're easily pleased. But those of you with more enquiring minds might have noticed that I have not said why all these different particles exist and also very importantly I have not said where they have come from. For instance, have you ever wondered why there's a universe at all; why it is the way it is; why you are you and I am I; why now is now and then was then? Have you ever wondered what time is; why we were born at all and why we die; why everything doesn't just stop? I could go on, but instead I will outline the main problems that confronted me when I was looking for the secret to the Universe and then you shall be in a position to follow me as we find out the answers!

Why are there all these different varieties of particles? I have outlined the main particles that we come across in everyday life. The list doesn't stop there, however. There is one more set of force-particles to add to the list. It is a very weak 'force' and is only ever seen in rare radioactive materials. It is called, surprisingly enough, the 'Weak force'. These force-particles are different to all other force-particles in that they are heavy. In other words they travel below the speed of light. When a neutron (or the quark inside the neutron, to be precise) emits a weak particle it changes into a proton. The weak particle then changes into an electron by emitting another matter particle called an antineutrino (not to be confused with a neutron). We haven't mentioned this antineutrino so far because it is one of the most unremarkable of all the particles. It isn't heavy, as far as we know, and it goes straight through most things. It is a very unsociable particle indeed. One of the problems we shall have to solve is: Why are the weak particles the only heavy force-particles.

For every matter particle that we have mentioned, the six varieties of quarks, the electron and the neutrino, there are two more identical particles with different weights. For instance the identical particles to the electron are the muon, and tau particles. The reason that these particles are of limited importance in every day life is that they always turn into the lighter particles that we know of by a process of emission. For instance we can only see the muon, usually, when we give the electron so much movement that it can turn into a muon by emission. This only happens in gigantic man-made particle accelerators. On our search for the secret to the Universe this is one of the problems we shall have to solve: Why are there three varieties of every particle.

Finally, we have lots of matter-particles and lots of force-particles which are emitted by certain charged particles and then we have the graviton-particle all on it's own. Different to all other particles because it acts on all particles in only one way - it pulls things together. We have to find how this fits in with the scheme of things. In a similar way that Mendelev invented the periodic table of chemical elements which revolutionised chemistry. In the end, we hope to find a similar structure for the elementary particles of nature.

Where did all these particles come from? In the beginning, there was the void. Or so says one theological text. We know from looking through our telescopes on Earth that every galaxy is moving away from every other galaxy - all the stuff in the Universe is gradually spreading itself out. From this we can conclude that a long, long time ago, about ten billion years ago (give or take a few billion years), all the stuff in the Universe was very close together indeed. Shortly afterwards everything started spreading out. It is currently believed that this happened at an explosive rate, the so-called Big Bang theory. The name 'Big Bang', which was first used as a derogatory term, implies an explosion of some kind and explosions have centres. But as the Universe doesn't have a centre, this is quite a confusing name. What we would like to find out is what happened before the 'Big Bang' and why was there a 'Big Bang' in the first place. There are several other questions we should like to know the answer to concerning the infinite nature of the Universe.
  Introduce yourself to Melissa
Activist Aspirations Casual
Political Leaning Liberal
Wild Fact About Me My mother was a Night Owl, and that makes me one too. Hoo...hooo
My Philosophy Love is a rose, but you better not pick it. It only grows when it's on the vine. A handful of thorns and you know you've missed it, lose your love when you say the word...mine.
What Gives Me Hope My beautiful children and granddaughter. Peace-lovers and all you wonderful people at Care2!
If I were Mayor, I'd make the world a better place by I'd give all war-mongers a one-way ticket to the darkest planet in the universe where they could live unhappily ever after, spinning on heated forks like hot dogs screaming like the weiners that they are.
What/who changed my life and why The Bible, The Seth Material & Soul Flame. These books among others... because they introduced me to the concept that there is more to life than meets the eye.
Quotation Would you like it here or there? Would you like it way up there?
I would not like it here or there, I would not like it anywhere...I do not like green eggs and scam...I do not like it Uncle Sam.
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    happy vday
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