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Tag: Science

This Man Was Given 2 Years To Live With ALS In 1963, And He’s Still Alive… And That’s Not Even The Most Interesting Thing About Him.

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Stephen Hawking has ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Did I just blow your mind? Discovering this bit of information was actually somewhat exciting for me, as I have always thought of the disease to be an absolute guarantee of death within a few years. I realize that a lot of people that I know do not like Mr. Hawking, and you don’t have to (no one can make you), but it is probably worth at least learning his story, and what makes him significant (other than the fact that he’s survived having ALS for half of a century). It will probably comfort a lot of my friends at least somewhat to know that Mr. Hawking isn’t as militant an atheist as some. He has actually been quoted saying:

“An expanding universe does not preclude a creator, but it does place limits on when he might have carried out his job!” – Stephen Hawking

 

The recent ALS Ice Bucket Challenge campaign has been unbelievably successful. Much of the success of this campaign is probably correlated with the fact that there seemed to be a very simple, and kind of fun activity that tangibly allows people to at least do something, other than give money. The other side of the campaign that is probably responsible for having raised $94.3 million, in less than a month (as opposed to $2.7 million in the same time period the previous year) is the outpouring of personal stories. I recently read the book “You Are Now Less Dumb”, and in this book David McRaney attempts to establish that the most basic of human instincts is to have a narrative – we must make sense of it all. He tries to explain how we tell ourselves simple lies sometimes just to make sense of our environment. It might seem like I’m bringing this up to say that religion is an opiate, but that is not my intent. I simply want to describe the importance in the human condition of relating to others. This is what Stephen looked like before ALS took over his body:

hawking

 

SO, here is my challenge to you: I challenge you to watch this and try to address your prejudices against Mr. Hawking, be they ideological or biological – or simply watch it and enjoy it. I believe there is a God, and that in principle is why I would want to hear as much from someone like Hawking as possible. If you don’t have time for the video I at least urge you to read about some of Mr. Hawking’s discoveries and theories, he is a pretty smart fellow. Now I think I’ll go listen to the audiobook for his record breaking best selling book “A Brief History of Time”.

via Hawking 2013 – YouTube.

David Christian: the history of the world in 18 minutes – Ted Talks

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I always enjoy hearing very smart people simplify things. Mr. Christian in this talk does an exemplary job of just that. I truly appreciate people who consider themselves more so individualistic than most, however I tend to appreciate more the collectivist. I don’t know if it’s my empathy bone, or that I paid attention to what Jesus said when I was in Bible class on Sunday mornings, but I love the idea of people collaborating to make things better. This talk is about history, but of course we talk about history so that we can plan for the future.

Our Future in Space – A Panel with Bill Nye, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Phil Plait, Pamela Gay, and Lawrence Krauss

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Do you like space?… Me too 🙂

‘Jetman’ Soars High Above Wisconsin

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I think that this is the closest that I’ve seen anyone get to what I imagined myself doing most of the time as a child.

A Face in the Crowd: Say Goodbye to Anonymity – 60 Minutes

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I hate to unnecessarily scare people, but this is rather alarming to me. In this report at one point they say that big brother become the private markets. Well, as a social/civic libertarian that is something that i would be afraid of. I have some fear of the government, at all levels, but also of influential industries that change the way that we live. Is there anyway for us to go back? Are we right in our complicity that all technological and social developments are good for us? Watching reports like this really challenge me with how I spend my time and resources. If you are like me and have mistrust for both big government and big business what might you suggest we do about it if we are not supposed to use either against one another?

You Can’t Handle The Truth: Why the World We Create is Increasingly Impossible to Understand

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How Big is the Milky Way?

The picture and the article linked above, as well as the video below, were created by people much smarter than I – so feel free to skip the rambling of this madman if you don’t have too much time. But reading/writing this post is/was fun for me, because it makes me feel enormous, and microscopic at the same time – and suddenly my day is more interesting, and hopefully more meaningful. I hope that this post can challenge/bless you, as these things do me.

I have had this thought for several years now, and as often well intended people try to impress me (not just me) with big gargantuan measurements and calculations about how things are and will be I try to repeatedly remind myself that not only am I not grasping this, but the person “blowing my mind” doesn’t understand what they are saying either. Please don’t take that statement as a condemnation of people trying to know things, I think that trying to know things is wonderful, but actually knowing and understanding many things might be harder than we tend to think. It seems to me that the ideas in our brains reach a critical mass that we don’t seem capable of truly understanding, at least not in the terms in which we tend to think that we can understand them.

The Arabic Numeral System (the one that we use that goes from 0 to 9, and then repeats it’s self) is a brilliant design that allows us to use our nostalgic brains to consider and relate quantities in relation to the number 10. 10 versus 100 is relatively simple for people to understand. One hundred is ten ten’s. Wasn’t it weird that I switched from the numbers to the letters? It was for me. Anyway, the point is that these numbers that we use repeatedly to quantify different things or ideas often to compare to one another can be great for our brains on a relatively small scale. I mean, I can count to 10 and then 100 relatively quickly, and I think that I get the difference in terms of consequence from one rather than the other. Say I have $100, rather than $10, I understand how much stuff I can get for that money. And I’m sorry if this feels silly, I’m trying to get to the point, I just think that it’s important to consider understanding the ACTUAL difference in these amounts.

Ok, now let’s keep with talking about money, because it’s way more interesting than most things that you might try to quantify because you can get stuff with it. I know that I think that I can understand the numbers 1,000,000 and 1,000,000,000, and the scale of both in comparison to one another. However, I’ve come to believe that this is just my ego and some basic comparison skills thanks to the Arabic Numeral System, and that I actually don’t get the comparison (and I don’t think that you probably do either). I am not saying that we can’t use the ideas of these numbers to compute and calculate, i just mean that i believe that our brains cannot full grasp the scale and impact of these kinds of numbers. I don’t mean to offend you if you think that you can and do fully understand these larger numbers, but I’m just being honest. Here are a few little tests to see how you feel about what I’m talking about, and again we’ll stick to money.

In this last Presidential election Sheldon Adelson was in the news for donating $10 million dollars several times to different campaigns. In the end he paid over $100 million to super pacs in the 2012 election. Now, that is simply a lot of money, but lets consider his net wealth really quickly. Mr. Adelson is worth roughly $25 billion, so as a percentage of his wealth his donations were about .4% of what he had to offer. In other words, if Mr. Adelson had $25,000 in the bank he offered $10 ten different times. Having that kind of influence for such a small portion of your wealth is a pretty wild thing, even though all of his candidates eventually lost. Ok, let’s try another example.

How long does it take you to run a mile? And there are 5,280 feet in a mile. Look at something that’s about a foot, and then count to 5,280. Ok, you don’t have to do that, but try to picture how big a mile is to you. Well in 1 second light goes 186,000 miles (imagine getting that many dollars in one second). And don’t forget those are miles, not feet. Light is so fast… I mean, in one second light could go across the united states about 60 times. Are you getting this? Me neither. We are talking about light in one second.

Alright, so as light travels 186,000 miles (not feet!) per second if you do the math light travels about 5.8 trillion miles in a year. I mean, 5,800,000,000,000. Or 5.8 x 100 x 100 x 100 x 100 x 100 x 100. Surely you understand that, I used 100’s. Ok, I’m kidding because you can’t, and I can’t either. But there is the connection, if we try to break things down so that we can understand them then we just use a bunch of 100’s, and thus 5.8 trillion no longer feels so big. I mean, imagine going across the United States in a car. Now imagine doing it sixty times… Now imagine doing that every second of the day for 365 days…. I know, you can’t, neither can I. But that number is about 5.8 trillion…

Our national debt is about $17 trillion. That’s three times as many dollars in our debt as there are miles in a light year. And this isn’t just about debt, it’s about profits that reflect wealthy disparity that we can’t comprehend.

We live in a society with businesses and government which enact policies and creates profits that measure up to this scale – and we are then asked to vote with our ballots and wallets as if we understand what we are doing… I don’t mean to be a glum, but we really can’t… So, with that in mind it might be helpful when listening to people who seem to be trying to sell you a bill of goods so that you can acknowledge your own very necessary skepticism. This doesn’t mean that we can’t compute, test, and challenge ideas (we can), but when the scale is so large you might ask yourself why. Could it be so that those who maybe should be outraged wont know to be? I’m not sure, but it’s hard not to consider all of our worlds inflationary parts without thinking that it might be sick.

Jake: Math Prodigy Proud of His Autism – 60 Minutes

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This 60 minutes segment seems like it could be a mixed bag for most people, as it is inspiring, but it could also cause someone to think about their own life and skill sets as inadequate. I was very good at math as a little boy, almost exclusively. It was one of the few things that made me feel smart, so I could somewhat relate to Jake’s pride in how he thinks, but obviously I am no math prodigy. If only we could all take such pride in the things that we’re good at in regards to our mental capacities…

Black Holes – How We Know They’re There

I love a great space video, and this is a GREAT space video…

Ohio Is A Test Case For The U.S. Economy – Steve Rattner

Ohio is a test case for US economy.

If you read my blog with any regularity you by know are aware that I love Steve Rattner… He is a very smart, and also thoughtful person. I think that he nailed with pinpoint accuracy what citizens of this country should have an understand of, so that we can learn how to face common obstacles together.

At the end of this post I am post a video that is a few years old that I think pertains to what he is talking about… The apparent leakage of our nations power is attributed to so much, and identifying the importance of education is but one way that we can maintain growth and influence in the world (which is obviously of great importance to anyone who considers our nation to be founded on outstanding ideals).

Ohio is a test case for US economy

Can You Make It Through This Post Without Having Your Mind Blown?

Can You Make It Through This Post Without Having Your Mind Blown?.

This is totally the best…

1. Let’s start small:

Can You Make It Through This Post Without Having Your Mind Blown?
Via: ign.com

2. Here’s something that you never realized:

Here's something that you never realized:

3. While we’re at it, here’s some more famous voice actors:

While we're at it, here's some more famous voice actors:

That’s Carlos Alazraqui (Reno 911) and Rocko from Rocko’s Modern Life, Jessica Walter (Arrested Development) and Fran from Dinosaurs, and James Avery (Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince) and Shredder from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

4. Here’s the right way to eat a cupcake:

Here's the right way to eat a cupcake:

5. And cheetos:

And cheetos:

6. Now get ready to have your childhood mind blown:

Now get ready to have your childhood mind blown:
7.
8.

Moving on…

Can You Make It Through This Post Without Having Your Mind Blown?

9. DID YOU KNOW? The “YKK” on your zipper stands for “Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikigaisha:”

DID YOU KNOW? The "YKK" on your zipper stands for "Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikigaisha:"

10. DID YOU KNOW? 3.14 is PIE backwards:

DID YOU KNOW? 3.14 is PIE backwards:

11. DID YOU KNOW? The dot over over an “i” is called a “tittle:”

DID YOU KNOW? The dot over over an "i" is called a "tittle:"

12. DID YOU KNOW? Cashews grow like this:

DID YOU KNOW? Cashews grow like this:

13. And pineapples like this:

And pineapples like this:

14. Before we move on, here’s the ending to “Inception” explained:

Before we move on, here's the ending to "Inception" explained:

15. Now let’s shrink things down. Here’s what velcro looks like close up:

Now let's shrink things down. Here's what velcro looks like close up:

16. Here’s what chalk looks like under a microscope:

Here's what chalk looks like under a microscope:
Via: npr.org

17. And here’s what sand looks like under a microscope:

And here's what sand looks like under a microscope:

18. Speaking of sand, there are more stars in space than there are grains of sand on every beach on Earth:

Speaking of sand, there are more stars in space than there are grains of sand on every beach on Earth:

Thanks to Carl Sagan for this knowledge.

Let’s go deeper:

Can You Make It Through This Post Without Having Your Mind Blown?

19. If you shrunk the Sun down to the size of a white blood cell and shrunk the Milky Way Galaxy down using the same scale, it would be the size of the continental United States:

If you shrunk the Sun down to the size of a white blood cell and shrunk the Milky Way Galaxy down using the same scale, it would be the size of the continental United States:

20. Speaking of things that are huge, a Blue Whale’s heart is so big, a small child can swim through the veins:

Speaking of things that are huge, a Blue Whale's heart is so big, a small child can swim through the veins:

21. There’s enough water in Lake Superior to cover all of North and South America in one foot of water:

There's enough water in Lake Superior to cover all of North and South America in one foot of water:

22. Here’s the true size of Africa:

Here's the true size of Africa:

23. And the Pacific Ocean:

And the Pacific Ocean:

24. Let’s think bigger: If you dug a hole to the center of the Earth and dropped a book down, it would take 45 minutes to reach the bottom:

Let's think bigger: If you dug a hole to the center of the Earth and dropped a book down, it would take 45 minutes to reach the bottom:

25. Here’s what Jupiter would look like if it were the same distance to Earth as the Moon:

Here's what Jupiter would look like if it were the same distance to Earth as the Moon:

26. And here’s what a sunset on Mars looks like:

And here's what a sunset on Mars looks like:

Too much? Just breathe:

Can You Make It Through This Post Without Having Your Mind Blown?

27. DID YOU KNOW? There are more bacteria cells in your body than actual body cells:

DID YOU KNOW? There are more bacteria cells in your body than actual body cells:

Anywhere from 2 to 9 pounds of them. We’re more bacteria than we are human!

28. DID YOU KNOW? John Tyler, the 10th President of the United States, has a grandson that’s alive today:

DID YOU KNOW? John Tyler, the 10th President of the United States, has a grandson that's alive today:

John Tyler had a son, Lyon, when he was 63. Lyon had a son, Harrison Tyler, at 75.

29. DID YOU KNOW? A compressed spring weighs more than a relaxed one:

DID YOU KNOW? A compressed spring weighs more than a relaxed one:

30. JUST THINK: We know more about the surface of the moon than the bottom of the ocean:

JUST THINK: We know more about the surface of the moon than the bottom of the ocean:

31. Speaking of the ocean, there are more atoms in a glass of water than glasses of water in all the oceans on Earth:

Speaking of the ocean, there are more atoms in a glass of water than glasses of water in all the oceans on Earth:

Now let’s talk about time:

Now let's talk about time:
32.
33.
34.
35.

36. Speaking of time: The Ottoman Empire still existed the last time the Chicago Cubs won a World Series:

Speaking of time: The Ottoman Empire still existed the last time the Chicago Cubs won a World Series:

37. Keep this in mind, too:

Keep this in mind, too:

Mind not blown yet? Things are about to get REAL:

Can You Make It Through This Post Without Having Your Mind Blown?

38. The Great Pyramid was built circa 2560 BC…

The Great Pyramid was built circa 2560 BC...

… and Cleopatra lived 69 BC – 30 BC…

... and Cleopatra lived 69 BC – 30 BC...

… and the first Moon landing was in 1969, AD…

... and the first Moon landing was in 1969, AD...

… which means Cleopatra lived closer to the Moon landing than she did to the building of the Great Pyramid.

39. Speaking of the pyramids, they were as old to the Romans as the Romans are to us:

Speaking of the pyramids, they were as old to the Romans as the Romans are to us:

40. Should we keep going? The difference in time between when Tyrannosaurus Rex and Stegosaurus lived is greater than the difference in time between Tyrannosaurus Rex and now:

Should we keep going? The difference in time between when Tyrannosaurus Rex and Stegosaurus lived is greater than the difference in time between Tyrannosaurus Rex and now:

41. Here’s one more: In 1903 the Wright Brothers flew for the first time…

Here's one more: In 1903 the Wright Brothers flew for the first time...

…38 years later, in 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor…

...38 years later, in 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor...

… and 28 years later, in 1969, man landed on the Moon.

... and 28 years later, in 1969, man landed on the Moon.

That’s 66 years.

PHEW! That was intense. Here’s a picture of a puppy burrito (puprito) to chill you out:

PHEW! That was intense. Here's a picture of a puppy burrito (puprito) to chill you out:
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