Monday, December 30, 2013

Secret Archives Of The Vatican

Secret Archives Of The Vatican-1
The new Archives in the Vatican was founded in 1610 by Paul V who transferred it to the new premises in the Vatican Palaces, with the documents and the volume till it was preserved in the Archive of the Apostolic Camera in the Vatican Library and in Castel S. Angelo. The Vatican Secret Archives also known as Apostolic Vatican Secret Archives was so called due to the analogy with the Apostolic Library named Bibliotheca Secreta from the XV century where the term secret since the XV century was adopted in both ecclesiastical as well as secular courts for institutions or people close to the prince while in this case it was the pope and his familia. The most reliable or a trusted person with whom the details of reserved or delicate matters were discussed was the one who would prepare the respective documents known as secretarium and hence in the family role of the prince, besides the secretarii, there existed secret servants, secret cupbearer, secret squire, etc; and the phenomenon was the same in the case of the papal family like the secretarii, the camerarius secretus, the sacrista secretus, the secretus carver etc.

Secret Archives Of The Vatican-2
The requirements of Archives and the Secret Archives as per the revised code of Canon Law1983, states that every diocese should have an archive in which are kept the writings and instruments pertaining to the spiritual as well as the temporal affairs of the diocese, inclusive of all the personnel files. It further states that there should be a secret archive in every diocese where sensitive materials are kept specifying few specific items which needs to be kept in the secret archives which may include internal forum matrimonial dispensations, decrees of dismissal from religious life, secret marriages dispensation from impediments to orders together with documents pertaining to the loss of the clerical state of dismissal and invalidity of order or dispensation. The records of canonical penal trials regarding matter of morals are also to be kept in the secret archive. There is no mention of any personnel files though it is known that every diocese keeps a personnel file on all clerics who are either on loan to the diocese or are incardinated in the diocese where the files have a wide variety of biographical as well as academic information, letters sent about clerics which are both good and bad, records of assignments together with medical as well as psychiatric records.

Secret Archives Of The Vatican-3
Penal procedure matters are kept in the secret archive and when an allegation on any offense is made known, by law, he is obliged to conduct a preliminary investigation. Written record of the investigation should be made and retained and any investigations of priest alleged to have committed any crime on children or anyone would be considered to be under this category. For exchange of information in Church law, there are two places namely the external forum concerning matters where records should be kept and the internal forum where matters of conscience for which no records are maintained except the decisions and decrees of the Apostolic Penitentiary in Rome. The sacramental confession is the most common place for the internal forum where no records are maintained. The external forum pertains to all matters which have records irrespective of them being confidential or not and all records of canonical trials, penal procedures and investigations are of external forum and the matters in external forum are not applicable to the seal of the confessional.

Secret Archives Of The Vatican-4
Moreover the communication between religious superiors, their subjects, bishops and their clergy are not considered to be internal forum matters unless it pertains to communication received in the course of sacramental confession or a spiritual direction or communication which is comprehended to be in the non sacramental internal forum. Besides, the documents in the general archive should not be removed unless with permission to do so from the bishop or from the moderate of the curia and the chancellor which are permissible to be removed only for a short period of time. The documents in the archives should not be destroyed but should be retained though certain documents relating to criminal cases, cases involving the allegation of the commission of a canonical crime, a person accused of crime and who has died or documents related to criminal case, ten years thereafter on closure of the case, are destroyed.

A summary of the case should be retained when the documentation is destroyed along with the sentence of the tribunal if the case has been subjected to a complete canonical trial. The entire documentation which is kept in the Vatican Secret Archive has an occupancy of eighty five linear kilometers of bookshelves which is gathered over six hundred and thirty different fonds and is still growing each year where the various papal delegations throughout the globe, the Secretariat of State as well as the various Congregations deposit hundreds of pieces in the Archive. There are a number of the Vatican Secret Archives which cross over the geographical border of the temporal dominion of the Church which once used to be the main institution of production and receiver of the papers preserved there which could be reached beyond the Orbis christianus and the storerooms together with the premises of the Archives have been increased throughout the ages.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Science Mystery: Supercavitation

Cavitation being a significant cause of wear in engineering context is the formation of vapor cavities in small liquid free zones, in the form of bubbles or voids, which are the consequence of forces on the liquid. In other words, it is the breaking of a liquid medium under excessive stress. It normally occurs when the liquid undergoes a rapid change of pressure causing the formation of cavities due to low pressure and when subjected to higher pressure, the voids generate shockwave and implode. The collapsing voids which implode towards the metal surface give way to cyclic stress due to repeated implosion resulting in surface fatigue of the metal leading to a type of wear also known as cavitation. There are four types of inducing a bubble growth namely gaseous cavitation, for a gas filled bubble, pressure is increased or reduced in temperature. Vaporous cavitation is applicable for a vapor filled bubble by pressure reduction. While for a gas filled bubble, which is diffused, is known as degassing, as the gas comes out of the liquid, vapor filled bubble, rises with sufficient temperature, is called boiling.

It is the use of cavitation intending to create bubble of gas in a liquid which is large enough to cover an object travelling within the liquid, reducing the skin friction drag on the object thus enabling the achievement of great high speeds. It current applications are limited to projectiles, extremely fast torpedoes as well as some propellers but the techniques could be extended to include the whole vehicle and this phenomenon can also be used for fast strike of the appendices of the crustacean mantis shrimp which is used to attack and kill its prey. For supercavitation techniques, an object is composed of a specially designed nose, usually shaped flat with sharpened edges and streamlined body which is both aerodynamic as well as hydrodynamic. When the object travels in water at a speed of 100 miles an hour, the nose deflects the water swiftly thus forming a bubble and the speed of advance through the water prevents the water pressure from collapsing the bubble. Gas if injected in the resulting bubble which is a process known as ventilated supercavitation or if adequate speed is maintained around 110 miles per hour, the nose results in creating an extended and constantly renewed bubble of air which enables the object to fly.

Cavitation is classified into two types of behavior namely inertial or transient and non inertial cavitation. While inertial cavitaion is a process wherein a void or bubble in liquid collapses rapidly, producing shock wave, it takes place in nature in the strikes of pistol shrimps and mantis shrimps as well as in the vascular tissue of plants. In the case of manmade items, it occurs in control valves, pumps, impellers and propellers. With regards to non inertial cavitation, it is a process wherein the bubble in a liquid is compelled to oscillate in shape or size from energy input like an acoustic field which is often employed in ultrasonic cleaning baths and observed in propellers, pumps etc.
Cavitation is basically undesirable since shock waves formed by collapse of the voids are known to be strong enough to cause considerable damage to moving parts. It is often specifically avoided in machine designs namely in the case of turbines or propellers thus eliminating cavitation as a major field in the study of fluid dynamics though it is at times useful and does not cause much harm when the bubbles collapse from the machinery as in the case of supercavitation. Cavitation in water occurs when the water pressure is below the water’s vapor pressure thus forming bubbles of vapor when the water is moved to high speeds while turning a sharp corner around a moving piece of metal as in the case of a ship’s propeller or a pump’s impeller. Greater the depth of water or pressure for a water pipe, at which the fluid rises, the lesser the tendency for cavitation due to the difference between the local and vapor pressure.

Its technique was first used in World War II Germany when supercavitating torpedoes were manufactured and tested but was never used during the war. After the war, the Germans and the Russians only were reported to be in possession of supercavitating weapon systems where the Russian had Shkval torpedoes using rocket engine to gain a speed of 200 knots underwater with a part of the rocket exhaust which was directed to the front of the torpedo to enable the supercavitating bubble. The Germans in their turn started deploying their supercavitating torpedoes in the year 2004. The Russian too had assault rifle for underwater work which was used by their combat swimmers or frogmen. These were developed at the same time as the German HK P11 underwater pistol, which is used by Dutch, German, Norwegian, Danish, Israeli, together with other units of the British SAS and US Navy SEALS as well as other special operational groups.

Monday, December 23, 2013

History mystery: Codex Borgia

Codex Borgia-1
One of the most beautiful surviving pre Columbian painted manuscripts is the Codex Borgia. Though the exact place of its origin is not known it is presumed to originate from the Central Mexican highlands probably near Puebla or the Tehuacan Valley which was an area under the Aztec rule at the time of conquest. The codex which was beautifully painted before the arrival of the Spanish does not indicate any European influence and dates around the 15th century. Towards the 16th century it was sent to Spain from Mexico and then to Italy. In 1805, the great German scholar, Alexander von Humboldt saw it in Rome among the possessions of Cardinal Stefano Borgia who died the previous year and the same is in the custody of the Apostolic Library of the Vatican.

Codex Borgia-2
From its sample sized Mesoamerican manuscripts, it is presumed that the manuscript had been handmade as a single unique piece of art though sequences of earlier manuscripts have been copied. These Mesoamerican codices which are screen fold books have long strips of amate paper, or animal skin which are folded in an accordion style and covered with white lime plaster coating, enabling the scribal priest to paint the manuscript with both mineral as well as organic pigments and the Mayan codices are prepared of amate paper obtained from bark of the ficus cotinifolia or the wild fig tree.

Codex Borgia-3
The original Codex Borgia was made of folded animal skin where the strips of skin were attached at both ends folded into a screen fold with each page measuring 27 x 7 cm containing 39 pages, where 37 of them painted on both sides. Two pages were painted on just one side, where the back side was used to affix them to the end pieces made of wood totaling to around 76 painted pages with a length of over 11 meters. While the Mayan codices read from left to right, this manuscript was read from right to left.

Codex Borgia-4
The Codex Borgia was more like a religious book made by specialized scribal priests and since there were no indication of any type of making device, no huge production was possible. These manuscripts were intended not just for storing information or reading for amusement but the stories were related in an oral tradition. The intention of the Mesoamerican books was to take hold of time and the realm of religion and history where images were more important than words with the Central Mexican and Aztecs people. They were intended to be used in an active manner for religious ceremonies where the priest would make public readings, prophecies or even use them during consultation in order to predict the lives of those intending to marry or those interested in learning about the future of their child and other information.

Codex Borgia-5
Though there is no survivor who could read and interpret the codex in a way it was done by ancient Aztec priest, there is plenty of speculation on the exact content of the manuscript but the known fact is that it was a ritual book. The longest sequence of the Codex Borgia is a mysterious one which shows a story which is unique and probably an account of historical events with reference to Tula and Teotihuacan who were linked to many rituals like sacrifices and ball games. The codex contained plates used as prediction tools for successful marriages while the last pages indicated beautiful image of the sun god accompanied with 12 birds, a butterfly which symbolized the thirteen levels of heaven.

Friday, December 20, 2013

History mystery: Astronomical Clocks

Astronomical Clock-1
The Astronomical Clock is a term referred to a clock with special mechanism and dials which indicates, addition to the time of day, astronomical information as well with relative position of the sun, moon, and zodiacal constellation and at time major planets. Besides the location of the sun and the moon in the sky, it also gives information on the position of the sun on the ecliptic, the age and phase of the moon, the sidereal tie, a rotating star map as well as the current zodiac sign and other astronomical data such as the moon’s nodes which helps in indicating eclipses.

Astronomical Clock-2
It usually represents the solar system with the use of the geocentric model where the center of the dial is marked with a sphere or a disc representing the planet earth and its location is at the centre of the solar system while the sun is represented by a golden sphere shown rotating around the earth once a day around a twenty four hour analog dial. The astronomical clock should not be mistaken with astronomical regulator, a high precision though an ordinary pendulum clock is used in observatories.

Astronomical Clock-3
Astronomical clock of Richard of Wallingford in St. Albans during 1330 and Giovanni de Dondi in Padua in 1348 and 1364 were masterpieces which no longer exist today, though their detailed descriptions of their design and construction are available. While Wallingford’s clock showed the sun, moon – age, phase and node, stars and planets, it had an addition of a wheel of fortune and an indicator of the state of the tide at London Bridge, De Dondi’s clock had a seven faced construction with 107 moving parts which showed the position of the sun, moon and five planets together with religious feast days.

Astronomical Clock-4
These clocks together with many others were somewhat less accurate than they were designed to be. Though the gear ratio could have calculated exquisitely, their manufacture was a bit beyond the mechanical abilities of the time, resulting in working unreliably. Besides the intricate advanced wheelwork, the timekeeping mechanism of these clocks till the 16th century was a simple verge and foliot escapement having errors of at least half an hour a day.

Astronomical Clock-5
These were built for exhibition pieces or demonstration to impress as well as to inform and educate the people and building these clocks indicated that clockmakers would continue to manufacture them, to demonstrate their technical skill as well as patronize their wealth. During the 18th century, the increased interest in astronomy revived more for accurate astronomical information which pendulum regulated clocks would display for philosophical message.

Astronomical Clock-6
There are various examples of astronomical clocks. For instance the Strasbourg Cathedral which housed three types of astronomical clocks since the 14th century was the first clock which was built between the years of 1352 and 1354 and stopped functioning somewhere at the beginning of the 16th century. The second clock which was built between 1547 and 1574 by Herlin, Conrad Dasypodius, the Habrecht brothers and others gradually stopped working and each component was disconnected one after the other and after a period of 50 years, a new clock was then built by Jean Baptiste Schwilgue between 1776 – 1856 with the help of thirty workers and this clock indicates many astronomical and calendrical functions

Thursday, December 19, 2013

History mystery:The Unknown Sukuh Temple of Indonesia

One of the Javanese Hindu temples, Sukuh was built on the northwest slopes of Mount Lawu during the 15th century, at an altitude of around 1186 meters above sea level on the border between Central and East Java. Unlike many other temples, the existence of Sukuh temple is not known to many. It is one of the several temples built when the Javanese religion and art had diverged from Indian precepts and was the last significant area of the temple in Java before the conversion to Islam in the 16th century. It was difficult for historians to interpret the significance of the antiquities due to lack of records of Javanese ceremonies and beliefs of that era and the distinctiveness of the temple. It could probably be due to its location, hidden on the slopes of Lawu Mountain at a height of more than a thousand meters above sea level. This temple is considered to be controversial due to its shape which is very much different from other temples and one can reach it from Karanganyar which is about 20 km from the temple and 36 km from Surakarta. Its main structure is unlike any ancient edifice and it is a type of a truncated pyramid similar to Maya monument which is surrounded by monoliths with skillfully carved life sized statues and the impression gained from it is very much different from that of other major temples in Central Java such as Borobudur and Prambanan.

The relics of the temple appear to be the same like the Mayans in Mexico or Peru Inca cultural heritage. Since it was built after the Hindu religion had weakened, it does not follow the Hindu architecture, Wastu Vidya. The temple instead of a rectangular or a square shape is a trapezium with three terraces, with one terrace higher than the other and a stone staircase rising from the front area of the pyramid to ascent to the top. It represented a mountain and it is unknown as to what was its intended symbol with its unique shape. Moreover there is no evidence that the main building was supported by a wooden structure while the only object recovered was a 1.82 meter, lingga statue bearing an inscription which is now in the custody of the National Museum of Indonesia. It is presumed that the statue could have stood on the platform over the stairway and has an inscription carved from top to bottom which represents a vein with a chronogram date similar to 1440. Three stone alters in the form of enormous turtles stand around the pyramid’s western foot while the central pyramid is set at the rear of the highest of the three terraces. The worshippers earlier gained access to the site from the gateway towards the edge of the western or lowest terrace.

Yoni and Lingam
Towards the left side of the gate’s exterior is a carving of a monster devouring a man, birds in a tree and a dog which is presumed to be a chronogram representing 1437 CE and could be the likely date of the consecration of the temple while the inscription on translation, relates Consecration of the Holy Ganges. Besides this the wall of the main monument portrays two men forging a weapon with a smithy along with a dancing figure of Ganesha which is one of the most important Tantric deity with the body of a human and the head of an elephant. According to the Hindu Java mythology, the smith is believed to possess not only the skill to alter metals but also the key to spiritual transcendence which drew their power to forge a kris from the god of fire. The smithy was also considered to be a shrine and the Hindu Java kingship at times were empowered and legitimated by the possession of a kris. The temple which was built in a shape symbolizing Meru Mountain was built during the 15th century just years before the fall of the Majapahit Empire.


 Many are speculating on the possibility of two different tribes in two different continents in building the same shape and architecture or was there any influence from Mayan in the process of construction of the temple? Several theories have come up with regards to this issue where one relates that the Sukuh temple was built in time when Hindu cultures diminished, resulting in it being built using the concept back of the pre historic Megalithic culture.

Sukuh Temple
Some other theory states that the temple’s shape was a part of finding Tirta Amerta or the eternal life water, a story from the book of Adiparwa and the first sequel of the Mahabharata and a cut pyramid symbolizes Mandaragiri which was cut to swirl the ocean and those looking for eternal life could drink from it. During his reign in 1811 to 1816, Sir Thomas Ruffles the ruler of Java in the year 1815, visited the temple and found it to be in bad shape. He observed many statues were thrown down and several of them were decapitated. The giant statue lingga was broken into two parts which was then shaped together and this vandalism of culture was presumed to be an effect of the Islamic invasion of Java during the 16th century based on some identical patterns found in all other Islamic and monotheistic invasions in general.

History mystery: Lighthouse of Alexandria

The most famous lighthouse, Pharos of Alexandria is one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is the archetype of all lighthouses. It was designed by Sostratus of Knidos, for Ptolemy I Soter an ex-general of Alexander the Great, the conqueror who founded and contributed his name to Alexandria. Alexandra also had seventeen cities named after him most of which are no longer in existence except for Alexandria in Egypt. The city needed a mechanism to guide trade ships into its harbor and Ptolemy I Soter constructed the lighthouse with this issue in mind. The lighthouse was completed during the reign of Soter’s son Ptolemy II of Egypt, who started building the lighthouse in 290 BC, which was completed 20 years later after it was conceived by Ptolemy I Soter.

It was the first lighthouse of the world which stood in the harbor of Alexandria on the island of Pharos and is believed to be more than 350 feet high. It was considered to be the tallest man made structure besides the Great Pyramid and was built on marble blocks. The stairway within the lighthouse led the keeper to the beacon chamber which contained a curved mirror used to project the light of the fire into a beam where ships could detect the beam from the tower at night or the smoke from it could be seen during daytime from a distance of around 100 miles away. As per the ancient sources contributed by Thiersch, the lighthouse was built in three stages and was built on three basic structural elements, sloping slightly inwards while the lowest structure or the base was rectangular, the midsection being octagonal and the topmost or the upper section which housed the beacon was cylindrical.

A broad spiral ramp led to the top where a fire would burn during the night. The Lighthouse of Alexandria for centuries marked the harbor using the fire at night and the sun ray’s reflection during the day. Moreover like famous monuments which are depicted on currency it was also shown on Roman coins. The Arabs admired Alexandria and its wealth when they had conquered Egypt and the Lighthouse is mentioned in their writings and travelers account. The lighthouse faced a little damage in 956 AD when an earthquake shook Alexandria and later in 1303 and 1323, two stronger earthquakes caused considerable damage to the structure.


Towards 1480 AD, an Egyptian, Mamelouk Sultan decided to fortify Alexandria’s defense by building a medieval fort on the same location where the lighthouse stood with the help of the fallen marble and stones. 
Ptolemy II and Sostrates of Knidos, the designer of the lighthouse both wanted their names to be carved on the structure and finally Ptolemy had his name carved instead. Sostrates being clever and tricky carved his name beneath, concealed it with plaster and then carved the name of Ptolemy II over it. With passage of time, the plaster got worn out and his name was revealed. The Lighthouse being solidly constructed survived many fierce sea storms and earthquakes for around 1600 years and though it did not survive till present day times, it has left an impact in many respect where the monument has been used as a model for many prototypes in Mediterranean as well as faraway places like Spain.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

History mystery: Temple of Artemis

Temple of Artemis
The Artemesium also known as the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus is located near the modern town of Selcuk around 50 km south of Izmir in Turkey and was considered as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It was constructed in the mid 6th century BC and was included in the list of monuments by Antipater of Sidon due to its size and beauty as well as its location which was on the rim of the Greek world and helped in admiration to the non Greeks on the vastness of the Greek world. The temple was not of rectangle portico, common to Greek but a mixture of Classic Greek and near Eastern designs. The temple itself was a large marble building measuring 377 feet by 180 feet. It was 170 ft wide and 366 ft long and had 127 columns each of which was 66 ft tall. The front columns were decorated with intricate designs and the entire sculpture was done of marble (which was unusual for a temple building) while a statue of Artemis stood at the centre of the temple.

Temple of Artemis-1
The interior of the temple had sculptured Amazon warriors designed by some of the Greek sculptors namely Polyclitus and Pheidias. Besides this there were also good painting on the walls along with gilded columns of gold and silver. The Temple of Artemis was built by King Croesus of Lydia, in honor of the Greek goddess Artemis the goddess of the moon and of hunting wind nature and this classic Ionic temple was built and designed by the Architect from Crete, Cherisiphron along with his son Metagenes. The temple was located at commercial crossroads in Asia Minor and attracted huge variety of visitors of different religious belief and due to this the cult which Artemis worshipped, also incorporated elements of worship of other deities like Cybele, the earth goddess of the area around Turkey.

Temple of Artemis-2
On a particular night of July 21, 356 BC, Herostratus set fire to the temple as a path to personal fame. Due to the fire, the roof caved in and the columns collapsed while the statue of the goddess came crashing to the ground. The temple was then restored over the next two decades with the help of Alexander the Great when he conquered Asia Mina. Once again in 262 AD, the temple was destroyed and the inhabitants of Ephesus decided to rebuild the same though the temple by that time began to lose its importance since many began to follow Christianity and the town gradually got deserted. Moreover the temple got plundered by Goths and later was affected by floods. Not much remains of the temple with discovery of its location upon excavation done in 1869. Some artifacts have been excavated which are presently placed at the British Museum in London. In recent time, archaeologists have excavated the town making a lot of discoveries and while many attempts have been done to reconstruct the temple, only a couple of columns have been erected on the existing foundation at the site of Ephesus, which was once a gleaming temple where religious and architectural presence made it one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

History mystery: Speculation on Prostitution – Is it the World’s Oldest Profession?

This depends on how one would define the world’s oldest profession – Prostitution. Thousands of years ago, humans have been exchanging goods and money for sex and it seemed that a society which began to develop in material wealth, developed in some form of prostitution. In ancient Rome, it is believed that one could hand over a token at a brothel for prostitution. Prostitution may not have arisen until the Victorian era, when health officials targeted them for the spread of venereal diseases. Towards the 21st century, prostitution spread across various systems even to the extent of operating in socialist societies. Rudyard Kipling, the originator of the phrase `the world’s oldest profession’, relates that prostitution begins, `Lalun is a member of the most ancient profession in the world’, and with many debates on how to deal with prostitution, medical professionals began to misquote the phrase of Kipling that it took a life of its own. Some were of the opinion to do away with this vice since it was the cause of many sexually transmitted diseases which could spread while others claimed that fighting prostitution was not useless since it was the world’s most ancient profession which cannot change human nature and those who had made this claim had no historical evidence to offer to support this claim.

According to some, contrary to this phrase, prostitution is certainly not the world’s oldest profession though it has been found in every civilization on earth throughout human history and goods, services and money had been bartered for pleasure outside marriage. In 18th Century BCE, the code of Hammurabi refers prostitution as the provision to protect the inheritance rights of prostitutes, a category of women with the exception of widows, with no male providers to support them. In Solon’s state funded brothels, Greek literature of 6th century BCE refers to three types of prostitutes – slave prostitutes or pornai, freeborn prostitutes and hetaera educated prostitute entertainers which were a type who enjoyed a certain level of social influence, denied to almost all non prostitute women.

 Street prostitutes or pornai were appealing to male clientele and were either male or female while hetaera was only female. Solon according to tradition established government supported brothels around the urban high traffic areas of Greece and were staffed with cheap pornai consisting of men regardless of their income level who could afford to hire them. It remained legal in Roman and Greek periods though Christian Roman emperors strongly opposed it. In 590 AD, Reccared I, Visigoth King of Spain, newly converted, in an effort to bring his country with Christian ideology, banned prostitution and while there was no punishment for men who hired prostitutes, women who were found guilty for engaging in prostitution was whipped three hundred times and exiled and in many cases was even sentenced to death. Italy embraced prostitution and the Great Council of Venice in 1358, declared prostitution as `absolutely indispensable to the world’. During 14th and the 15th centuries, government funded brothels were established in big cities of Italy.

Brazing Copper: A Comprehensive Guide and Overview

Brazing copper is a process where metal is joined by a filler metal. It is heated above a melting point and distributed between two or more parts. The filler metal is generally slightly above its melting temperature and is protected by a suitable atmosphere. It flows over the base metal—also known as a wetting—and is cooled in order to keep the pieces working together.

Brazing is very similar to soldering. Soldering is a process where two or more metal items are joined together by melting and flowing a filler metal—known as a solder—into the joint, with the filler metal having a lower melting point than the contiguous metal.

The one main difference between brazing copper and soldering is its temperature. When it comes to brazing, the filler metal temperature is higher.

What is important to know about brazing? 

Well, for one thing, obtaining high-quality brazed joints requires parts to be closely fitted. The base metals must be clean and oxide-free. One of the most important parts of brazing is the joint clearance.
What are the recommended joint clearances for brazing?

For brazing, the recommended joint clearances are 0.03 to 0.08 mm, or 0.0012 to 0.0031 in. This is for the best capillary action and joint strength.

What is capillary action?

Capillary action is the ability of a liquid to flow in narrow spaces, without the assistance or opposition of gravity.

What can cause faulty joints?

Faulty joints can be caused by a myriad of various reasons, including improper joint preparation prior to brazing, lack of proper support, improper heat control and distribution, inadequate amount of filler metal applied, and sudden shock cooling.

What are some common types of brazing?

When it comes to brazing copper, some companies specialize in furnace type and some by using the resistance method.  When brazing copper or any precious metals, the brazing of the copper or other metal to each other can be tricky and is a critical part of the process.  Depending on the method of brazing the copper, this will determine whether the copper and other metal are held in place by jigs or by pressure, at least until the brazing is complete. This is common for use when brazing copper to a more expensive metal such as silver alloy for use in making electrical contacts. This allows for electrical contacts to meet the important precious metal content requirement while brazing the copper to the contact material allows for the remaining part of the contact’s design to be formed as needed
Which industries typically implement the use of copper brazing? 

Quite a few, but some of the most common include the plumbing industry, automotive industry, and the HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) industry.

Brazing copper is one of the most common methods of joining copper tubes and fittings. When brazing copper, it is important to braze the assembly to at least 800° F. However, it is important to use a filler metal that will melt above 800° F, but will be below the melting point of the metals to be joined.

John Bowie works in the HVAC industry where he frequently works with metal joining processes. He is quite familiar with brazing copper as a part of his occupation. On the side, John Bowie enjoys writing about HVAC and technical-related topics to inform others.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Merseyside Maritime Museum School Day Trip

Merseyside’s maritime heritage can be explored with a day trip from Selwyn’s Tours. Students can see replicas from the tales of the Titanic, shanties, smuggling, and sea dogs at the museum. They can get a feel of the central role that was played by Liverpool in the Civil War in America or The Atlantic Battle. A tour of the Liverpool pilot cutter that is moored at the dock is another ship to visit. A trip to the adjacent Pier Master’s House where they can see how the pier master controlled traffic that is routed through the dock can edify their young minds. Selwyn’s Tours can transport your students on this educational trip.
If you are of the opinion that the high seas tales were from yesteryear, you will be totally amazed at the discovery that tax evasion, smuggling, war, and protests, as well as some of the ways and objects that were used in the smuggling of contraband items in those days are still being done today. This can be seen at “Seized! The Border and Customs Uncovered”.
This is a gallery at the museum that details the Custom Officer’s world. It tells of danger and intrigue and presents a key theme on anti-smuggling. It shows detectives at work, fighting crime, patrolling the frontiers and investigating crimes. The tactics that were employed in those days are quite similar to those used today by criminals of the sea and land.
They balance the view of the past with a contemporary story and look at issues of safety and fairness in the society that affects all today. The young visitors can download Matt’s Gallery Trail, or get to test their handling skills at cargo landing with the museum’s Cargo-a-go-go game, which is fairly new.

Educational, fun, and enlightening, a Merseyside Maritime Museum School Day Trip can be one of the most popular attractions in Liverpool. The entry for the museum and the Old Dock tour, which can be organized by the museum workers, is free. The booking should be done in advance. Opening hours are between 10 am and 5 pm on a daily basis. The quayside and ships are closed during winter season. They provide free lessons and the curriculum is linked by displays and collections.

Some sessions are done by members of the museum staff, while others are done by the individuals or group. Topics such as pirates, World War II, or the Titanic are included. Home office issues are discussed in approved sessions targeting drugs, weapons, and alcohol awareness.
Whatever type of trip you decide to plan for, Selwyns’ personalized, expert service can ensure you a safe and smooth trip.

Selwyn’s removes the worry from the planning process of your trip. Plan a trip for January 2014, contact them, and rest assured that everything will be taken care of. They provide coach and bus hire service for over forty years at an economical price. They have coach hire services based in Manchester, Liverpool, and Runcorn. They can get you to the destination comfortably and safely. Even though their location is in the North West, they can take you all over the UK.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

History mystery: Interesting Discoveries of Sibudu Cave

Sibudu Cave-1
At Sibudu Cave we find record of prehistoric human occupation which dates back 77,000 years ago or even much longer. It is a rock shelter in a sandstone cliff situated in northern KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. It shows evidence of some of the earliest examples of modern human technology, the spears date back 400,000 years, the bone arrows around 61,000 years old, the use of heat treated mixed compound gluing to 72,000 years, an example of bedding around 77,000 years and the needle 61,000 years old. 

Sibudu Cave-2
The complexity of creation and processing in glues and bedding is of great interest and has evidence of continuity between the early human cognition and the present humans. Besides the spears and arrows, they also have sophisticated stone tools as well as skillfully made bone implements, deep hearths, charred bones of big and small mammals, blocks of red ochre as well as sparkling ornamental beads made from shells of sea snails, bedding made of sedges and grass and other monocotyledons together with some aromatic leaves containing insecticidal and larvicidal chemicals while the leaves from Cryptocarya woodii Engi when crushed were aromatic and had traces of a-purones, cryptofolione and goniothalamin which are useful as insect repellant. 

Sibudu Cave-3
Sibudu Cave being a rock shelter is located roughly 40 km north of the city of Durban and around 15 km inland near Tongaat town. Its steep forested cliff faces WSW which overlooks the Tongati River which presently is a sugar cane plantation. Due to erosion of the Tongati River, this shelter was formed and it now lies 10 m below the shelter and its floor is 55 m long and around 18 m wide. The shelter has a large collection of Middle Stone Age deposits which are well preserved organically and dated accurately using optically stimulated luminescence. The occupation at Sibudu is divided into pre Still Bay between 72,000 - 71,000 BP, Howieson Poort before 61,000 BP, post Howiesons Poort in 58,500 BP, and late 47,700 BP and finally the Middle Stone Age era in 38,600 BP with occupation gaps of almost 10,000 years between the post Howiesons Poort and the late Middle Stone Age era and the late and final Middle Stone Age period. 

Sibudu Cave-4
The occupation during pre Still Bay had lithic flake based industry which made few tools and in addition to flakes, made bifacial tools and points where the tips of the points shows evidence of compound adhesives on their base when they were hafted and shafted. The Howiesons Poort occupation made blade tools which were shaped like the segment of an orange with sharp cutting edges on the straight lateral with a blunted and curved back. 

Sibudu Cave-5
These were attached to handles with ochre and plant adhesive or fat mixed with plant material. The segments were made with a cutting edge all along the length which needed to be attached to their hafts without the need of twine and hence strong adhesive glue was essential. Discoveries show that there were dry phases and the shelter was occupied only during wet climate. The first excavation after its discovery was carried out by Aron Mazel of the Natal Museum in 1983 an unpublished work and Lyn Wadley of the University of the Witwatersrand began a renewed excavation in September 1998.

Friday, December 13, 2013

History mystery: Neolithic structure in Goseck Circle

Goseck Circle-1
A Neolithic structure in Goseck in the Burgenlandkrejs district in Saxony Anhalt, Germany named Goseck Circle is one of the oldest, best known Circular enclosures connected with the Central European Neolithic. It is an early Neolithic circular structure with entrances adapted to the rising and setting winter solstice sun. It comprises of a set of concentric ditches of 75 meters (around 246 ft approx.) across and two palisade rings with gates in places aligned with sunrise and sunset on solstice days. It lies on the same latitude as Stonehenge at 51° 10’ 42” N 1° 49.4’W) just over 1’ minute of longitude further north. It is known as the earliest solar observatory presently known. When archaeologist decided to excavate this 7000 year old circular enclosure, they did not expect to find any major discoveries which would be worth mentioning the history of Neolithic Europe. As they proceeded with the excavation, they soon discovered that the two southern gates of the henge marked the beginning of the summer and winter solstice which made the enclosure one of the world’s oldest solar observatories. 

Goseck Circle-2
It was one of the oldest known constructions with this type of astronomical alignment dating back to the 49th century BC which seemed to be in use till the 47th century and relates to the transitional phase of the Neolithic Linear Pottery and the Stroke ornamented ware cultures. This so called Circular Enclosures is one of the larger groups in the Elbe and Danube region, most of them having similar alignments. Hundred of similar wooden circular henges together with the Goseck enclosure were built throughout Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic around 4600 BC and while these sites vary in size, Goseck is around 220 feet in diameter and they all have the same features. They have a narrow ditch surrounding the circular wooden wall and a few larger gates which are equally placed around the outer edge. 

Goseck Circle-3
While scholars had known about the structure for centuries, they were debating as to their exact function within the Stroke Ornamented Pottery culture which dominated Central Europe during that time. The Goseck circle helped to provide an answer and as one of the researched enclosure which was well preserved, showed that the sites were used at least in parts to worship celestial objects and constellation. According to Biehl, the archaeologist, this was perhaps the first monumental architecture in the world from his observance that the sites served as ritual observatories 2000 years ago before the ancient Egyptian pyramid were erected along the Nile. After its initial research release on the Goseck structure in 2003, by the Halle team, interest mounted in the enclosure with thousand of tourist visiting that area which is located around 40 miles southwest of Leipzig and although the site predates monuments in southern England of more than two millennia, there is no evidence of any standing stones there. To satisfy the growing interest in this site, the German state of Saxon, Anhalt built a structure of the enclosure on the original site and to ensure authenticity, 2000 oak post were stripped by hand by workmen to give it the same appearance during the Neolithic times. This site was made public in August 2003 and opened for visitors in December 2005.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

History mystery: Dholavira remains of a lost civilization

Dholavira -1
One of the most prominent and largest archaeological sites is Dholavira, an ancient metropolitan city in India, also locally known as Kotada Timba Prachin Mahanagar Dholavira which existed during the Indus Valley civilization. It was located on the Khadir Island in the Kutch district of Gujarat and is surrounded by water during monsoon season. The ancient site of Dholavira which was discovered in 1960 is separated by two storm water channels, the Manhar in the south and the Mansar in the north. It is the fifth largest Harappa site in the Indian subcontinent which has been continuously under excavation since 1990 by Archaeological Survey of India. The excavation revealed the sophisticated urban planning and the architecture has unearthed a huge collection of antiquities like seals, animal bones, beads, gold, silver, terracotta ornaments and vessels of Mesopotamia.

Dholavira -2
The archaeologists also believed that Dholavira was an important trading centre between settlements in South – Gujarat, Sindh and Punjab region and Western Asia. Being identified as one of the five largest Harappa sites it gives us details of a civilization which flourished across India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Dholavira was a city or a metropolis and according to archaeologist, its estimated population was between 15000 to 20000 inhabitants. A good amount of evidence is available about the site which indicated that the geography of this site was a lot different 4000 years ago. In the museum, which is small but informative, large sized conch shells excavated from the site as well as piece of a rock used in the construction of a wall bearing fossilized marks on seashells are placed there, which indicates the presence of a sea coast not far from this site. Moreover the museum also displays a large number of broken pieces of bangles and beads made from shells. A fossilized rock formed by a cluster of sea shells is also displayed. These excavations clearly indicate that Dholavira was a port city located near the sea coast where ships often sailed. It also indicates that it was a trading center which also explains the large population of this city.

Dholavira -3
It was believed that Dholavira was a port and the Khadir Bet was located at a distance of more than 150 km from nearest port of Lakhpat in the Kori Creek area, towards the Arabian Sea, where no water body seems to be present between the two areas. The Rann of Kutch divided into two unequal halves, Greater and Little Rann, is a unique piece of landmass with its mean height roughly equal to the mean sea level. The south western wind during summer pushed the water of Arabian Sea through Kori creek, submerging the Rann for few months and during monsoon, the seasonal rivers like Luni surrounding it, emptied into the Rann where the water column height varied between 3 to 6 feet over the Rann though it is a seasonal phenomenon. At the end of the monsoon, the water recedes drying up the area leaving behind flat ground impregnated with salt. Taking these situations in mind, it is clear that there no port could exist near Dholavira and if so, the graphical situation could have been different then.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


The Filioque controversy probably has to do with the Latin phrase which when translated as `and the Son’, was added to the Nicene Creed by the Western churches and opposed by the Eastern churches. The Nicene Creed was then confirmed by the First Council of Constantinople in 381 and with the “filioque” was accepted by the Western churches after the Synod of Toledo in Spain in 589:- “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and the Giver of Life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified”. This extract refers to the doctrine of the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father and the Son.

It was opposed by Photius, the patriarch of Constantinople in 867 and 879 and was not accepted on two reasons namely, i) the addition was made unilaterally, changing a creed which was approved by early ecumenical councils and ii) the formula reflected a particular western conception of the Trinity which was objected by most of the Byzantine theologians. This theological dispute between the two churches in the West and East was a bit subtle when it came to dealing with the Godhead persons and the mystery of the Trinity and it became a continuous friction between them which resulted in an official cause of the Great Schism in 1054 AD.

 Photius had excluded not only `and the Son’, but also `through the Son’, relating to the procession of the Holy Spirit and `through the Son’, was applicable to the temporal mission of the Holy Spirit. According to him, the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit is `from the Father alone’. The Orthodox theologians believe that the phrase was only a reaffirmation of traditional teaching while on the other hand; Sergei Bulgakoy declared that Photius’s doctrine represented a novelty for the Eastern Church. Pontius has been recognized as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church and his criticism has made reconciliation between the East and the West a difficult task and the two churches are still in disagreement over the issue of Filioque controversy. Scripture reading in John 14:26 tells us that `the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name’ and in John 15:26 `When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, He will testify about me’, indicates that the Spirit is sent out by the Father and the Son.

 The concern in the filioque clause is to protect the presence of the Holy Spirit and the Bible in Acts 5:3-4 states that the Holy Spirit is God. Those opposing the filioque clause object since they believe that the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit who is `Subservient’, to the Father as well as the Son. Those upholding this controversy believe that the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son do not believe that the Spirit is equal to God with the Father and the Son. The filioque was probably devised in response to Arianism who denied the divinity of the Holy Spirit.

 Unsuccessful attempt was made to bring about an understanding between the two points of view by the Council of Ferrara- Florence in1439 but the eastern and the Western churches remain separate and the doctrine of filioque remains as one of the most primary point of difference between these two churches. The doctrine of filioque controversy relates to the presence of God’s person which itself is a divine mystery, incomprehensible to man since God being infinite and immortal is most incomprehensible to us, mortal beings.

The Holy Spirit is God, sent by God as Jesus Christ’s representative here on earth when He ascended into Heaven after His Resurrection from his death on the Cross. Presently many Eastern Orthodox bishops are overlooking their old prejudices and are acknowledging that there is no need for separation on the issue of the filioque controversy. Bishop Kallistos Ware who had opposed the filioque doctrine remarks that the filioque controversy which separated the two churches for many centuries is a mere technical issue with a solution.


According to him the problem was more in the area of semantics and different emphases than in any basic doctrine differences. Towards 1014, the German King Henry II who came to Rome to be crowned Emperor was amazed at the different custom present there and requested Pope Benedict VIII who owned King Henry his restoration to the papal throne after the seizure of Antipope Gregory VI, had the Creed with the addition of the Filioque which was sung during Mass in Rome for the first time and in other places the filioque was incorporated in the Creed later. The Filioque clause since then has been included in the Creed throughout the Latin Rite but not where Greek liturgy is used though it was never adopted by Eastern Catholic churches.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

History mystery: Hypocaust

Hypocaust, one of the ancient forms of heating system in underground heating with hot air, originated with the Romans, 2000 years ago and was both a primary as well as secondary system for houses and building for both public and private purpose. Hypocaust is derived from the Greek work `hypo’ meaning `under’ and `caust’ meaning `burnt’. The main use of hypocaust was found in large bath houses and sauna rooms were made by adding water as a pool which was heated by fire and also the air below. The floor was raised above ground level by pillars, or columns or pedestals of stone, called pile stack which had layer of tiles, followed by layer of concrete to top the tile.

 A furnace with continuous burning fire created heat which then flowed through the space below the raised floor, providing heat to the floor and the rest of the room and once cooled the air escaped through flues in the wall and through vents in the roof. Since the furnace area needed to be spacious, it was usually located in a separate area of the room and the flues were constructed in a way that it did not utilize any extra space. This enabled the heating without polluting the interior of the room. Ceramic box tiles were also placed inside the walls in order to remove the hot burned air as well as to heat the walls and where rooms in need of more heat, were placed closer to the furnace.

This heat could be increased on adding more wood to the fuel. This involved a lot of labor and constant attention was needed to keep the fire burning as well as expensive. The purpose of the hypocaust was to heat the room evenly. Similar to the water system, the air flow system was also connected by ducts comprising of brick or stone tunnels built underground towards large open space beneath raised floor ending into wall flues. These flues were provided with insulation for the room and the hot air rising created a barrier thereby retaining the warmth inside the building. One of the main disadvantages of the hypocaust was that it seemed dangerous when the fumes created by the furnace in the form of carbon monoxide crept out of the spaces below the false floor and in the main space and though this is detectable and preventable today, in those days, the Romans had no knowledge about the same. Another disadvantage was that with this system, there could have been the possibility of a fire break out which could be unmanageable and out of control. While the concrete or stone construction could have withstood the fire, the occupants would be in danger.

This system seemed to be useful in ancient times but keeping in mind the safety codes, it is impossible to install them in modern times since the hypocaust system in high probability would be causing the occupant discomfort resulting in falling ill or even the possibility of dying from carbon dioxide or poisoning. Control on the hypocaust system is not user controlled due to the fact of the heat coming off from an open flame and for this reason; there are two setting for this system of on and off.