On Stars, And the Satellites that Love Them

Centuries ago, man pondered if there were advanced beings on cosmos-dancing planets like Mars and Venus. What seemed worlds away has been brought closer by developments of human technology, where satellites have peered into the lifeless surfaces of our nearby planets. Lately, with more advances in human technology, we’ve gained the ability to look at far more distant places and wonder again if there was anyone there to say hello back.

Those advances are brought to us by the space satellite Kepler  – and satellites like it – which detect exoplanets.

No, we can’t zoom our powerful telescopes to view alien races that look like sentient Koala Bears when they are playing checkers. What we can see, however, is the total light given off by the stars, and whether the light from those stars fluctuates in any way.

When the light detected by Kepler decreases for a set amount of time and increases suddenly, that means a distant planet has passed over the light of the star. We call these alien worlds exoplanets. Exoplanets are planets outside of our own Solar System.

For a specific star, (KIC 8462852, also known as Tabby’s star) a strange and exciting phenomenon has been observed. The star’s luminosity, or the amount of light a star gives off and reaches us, has shown several dips in its intensity, all at random increments. While a planet would be periodically moving in front of this star and dipping its light every so often, whatever is in front of this star is a jumbled mess of random objects obstructing the light view!

Whatever is obstructing that light source has scientists’ hearts and minds a flutter with curiosity.

That being said, scientists over the years have pondered about what ultra-advanced civilizations would build. “What is one thing these beings would definitely need?” these scientists ask themselves. “And how would they achieve that need in a very efficient way?”

The obvious answer, according to scientists, is energy.  All civilizations will need something to generate ungodly amounts of sweet, surging volts, amps, and joules of electricity to meet their expanding technological capabilities, along with their population. What would allow a civilization to meet these demands, with energy to spare?

What theoretical scientists call a  “Dyson Sphere”.  This hypothetical object would grant a race of super-smart beings seemingly endless amounts of energy. How would they do it? Why, by building an enormous mega-structure that encompasses – or merely partially blocks – some of a nearby star. Think of it as the next step in solar panels. (Elon Musk should be abducted by these hypothetical aliens anytime now.)

I know what you’re thinking.

“Why do you immediately go to there?! An enormous, futuristic power plant? It could just be a facility that manufactures space pens!”

Well, okay. That’s a fair point. But consider the following: We’re almost 1,500 light years away from this faint beam of light, and yet, we can detect this object passing in front of the star. It is very unlikely (impossible?) a civilization would dedicate that much attention to building space pens. Even though I’m quite positive the quality of these aforementioned pens would be out of this world.

This structure would take an endless supply of natural resources and would not be easy in the slightest to build, let alone maintain and draw energy from. But that’s what makes them super-smart beings. They’ve already figured the hard part out.

The idea that this could be an alien mega-structure is speculation. There has been nothing found to tell us that this could be the work of aliens. In fact, honed in upon the pinpoint of light, astronomers have all but ruled out aliens as an explanation for this phenomenon.

An alternate explanation, say scientists, is that this could be an asteroid and comet hodgepodge of obliterated space rocks, with no sense of order or style. Astronomers are keeping a watchful eye and ear to watch and listen for anything that could tip them off, though. Until then, hone your checkers game. A sentient koala could be awaiting your challenge.



It’s a Party!  A party for the Grandmom, more affectionately referred to as Mom Mom by the many people who love and are loved by her.  She is a generous woman, quick to offer help.  A knowledge person, who takes time to think about how the world should be.  Most important this is a woman who has cared and supported me for the entirety of my 29 year life span on Earth, so I’m going to throw her a special Christmas Party.  Why is this special?  Because I will be with her and not in Colorado by myself.


The year is 2016, the month December and the time Christmas!  I haven’t been home for any family holiday events that weren’t centered more or less around me.  But its Christmas and I no longer live 1,500 miles away, only 400.  So a quick hop in the car and I’m in Grandma’s driveway seven hours later.

The whole fam is present as well as Aimee and Liv’s boy Sam.  Cynthia and Mom have prepared all the normal fixins and it’s fixing to be a jolly good time.  I can only hope for snow, but it is the East Coast after all, and all I need is family.


The DailyPost: RSVP

Queen and Quantum Mechanic

This video does an excellent job of describing the fundamentals, or as fundamentally simple as one could go describing string theory in six minutes.  And then gives some background on theorist and the history.  Wrapping up with fairly difficult to understand concepts and diagrams, but in the most impressive way.  Check it out!  Then check out Why? Science.  Excellent site!

Source: Queen and Quantum Mechanics



The Homebody Goes Camping

72…54…23….11…The days were winding down until I finally got the see my bearded man again. The constant question that bombarded – What are you going to do out west? We’re going camping. I’m going camping. I’m going camping? Sam asked it best – Does this guy know you at all? I knew me. I don’t camp. I don’t spend time outside unless the sun is shining or there is an ocean in front of me. What had I gotten myself into? What did I know about camping? Nothing, aside from that fact that I was physically and mentally unprepared. What do you mean we won’t be showering every day? Why can’t I wear cotton? How the hell am I ever going to be ok with peeing outside?

Fast-forward through the two plane rides to Albuquerque, where the cab driver assumed I was in town for business because apparently no one ever comes to Albuquerque for anything else. Fast-forward through the Breaking Bad type views from our hotel on the side of the high way and definitely through the mushy gushy moments of being reunited with the bearded one. Here we are, the morning of Tuesday August 12th, 2015. The car is packed to the brim, equipped with jugs of water, overplayed CDs, and the previous night’s terrible version of pizza, which would remain unrefrigerated and enjoyed over the next two days. We were off.

Ready to go!
Ready to go!

After making the necessary stops – Target, local barbershop (adorned in Jesus paraphernalia), and Trader Joe’s (had to stock up on crunchy peanut butter and cheap champagne), we were officially off. Of course, I made sure to visit every available bathroom, the fear of having to go outside looking over me. Boom. Highway. Lots and lots of highway with lots and lots of emptiness. Wide open skies and fields that went on forever, unless interrupted by, what looked to me like mini mountains. The colors were indescribable. You don’t see those shades of red, orange and purple back east, at least not year round and definitely not on the rocks.

Big Sky
Big Sky

After what seemed like the entire day, we pulled into the Petrified Forest National Park. With the water bottles refilled (guess who was not the one drinking from them every five minutes), post cards bought, the hip hop was back on as we jumped back in the Equinox and began the drive through the park. Arizona is big. HUGE. Never-ending. It looked like we were in the middle of a Western. We pulled over at all the designated pull offs, took photos, and moved on. We saw petrified wood, waded through grass that no doubt held a rattlesnake or two, and watched storms rage in the distance.


The day was getting older and it was time to keep trudging to Flagstaff. Where would we sleep? That was still undetermined. Fortunately, the Coconino National Forest provided us with our first camping spot for the trip. My first camping spot, ever. It was almost dark and apparently it gets chilly out west when the sun goes down. Who knew. I felt completely useless but Andrew was patient and guided me through tent assemblage and insisted that I sit while he tried his damndest to start a fire despite the wet ground. We dined like kings – Ramen with chicken hotdogs and spinach. It tasted much better than it sounds. But here it is, the moment of truth. My first encounter without indoor plumping. I won’t bombard you with the details, but imagine my stress with accomplishing this task. I was able to phrase it best at a rest stop in Delaware yesterday – one of the great feelings in life is relieving oneself. However, this great feeling does not exist in nature, at least not for me. The stress of keeping aim and not falling over left little room for the relaxation one enjoys after a long period of holding it in. Ok, enough of that.

IMG_1465 IMG_1468

The night was actually pretty pleasant. The removable cover on the tent allowed for a view of the stars and the -20 degree bag kept me warm throughout the damp night. The best aspect, aside from the company, had to be the sleeping pad. Picture a pool float. It was like upscale camping. I could get used to this. Luckily, there were no wild animals to be heard (just wait until I discuss California) and I slept peacefully.

Breakfast was pleasant – oatmeal and coffee. I encountered my first two issues with LNT practices, the first being the process of cleaning the cookware. Drinking oatmeal flavored water used to clean the pots was not appealing and I failed miserably at spraying my toothpaste across the dirt rather than just spitting out a big clump. Oh well, I’ll learn. We packed up camp and jumped back on the road (not without making a pit stop at a gas station that was a few miles in the opposite direction – thanks Andrew!). Vermillion Cliffs, were coming for ya!

Work Out of the Day

la platas

Today is a beautiful day in southwest Colorado.  In the sun, a warm 58, and in the shade a cool 48.   The sun is powerful at 6,500′ above sea level.  Above you’ll see the stunning, snow-capped La Plata Mountains.  After I stretch and do some quick core this morning, I’ll go for a nice hike or a short run up some hills all the while watching these mountains and thinking of deep powder turns in a few (hopefully not too many) months.

If you haven’t noticed, my fitness say will not be so much of a cross fit entry, but more of a coaches corner.  I understand why crossfit is successful, and I certainly condone any method of fitness if you enjoy it, but I’ll be writing more from a motivation and meaningfulness of fitness perspective.  I’ll put together some musings and try to attach my workouts, which should start to accelerate as winter approaches and I acclimatize from 70′ to 10,000′ (also, I’m seriously out of shape).

So like I said I’ll start with some stretching and moving before some core.  I’m just getting back into it so I’ll have a strong focus on proper technique and less so on speed or quantity.  Today is a recovery run from two straight days of activity (3 mi, 1000′ run and 2.5 mi 1000′ hike) and will only be a mile or two at an easy pace to loosen up.

Stretch hammies, back, back, core/back, some yoga poses.  Just roll around til you feel looser.   Dynamic stretches help to most effectively loosen you up, but I don’t have that kind of space.

After I fell limber, I’ll take a roller and press out any soreness I have built up in my calves, quads, and hips.

Finally onto core…

50 Row Boat sit ups

10 perfect, slow push ups

40 Russian Twists (Both sides = 1 rep)

10 perfect push ups

30 Slow or V-Position Bicycles (Opposite knee to opposite elbow = 1 rep)

10 perfect push ups

20 Reverse Crunches (If I’m feeling spunky I generally through in 20 straight leg extensions here to get my lower body going)

10 perfect push ups

10 V Sits

10 perfect push ups

Go outside and run for 15-25 mins at a recovery pace.

Have fun!

Remember having a goal is the key to personal fitness success.


The Politician with bad hair

We might as well call this man He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Given-Attention.  I refuse to click on links and in this brief rant I will not use his name.   I don’t think it’s prudent to serve the man with terrible hair any attention as I believe this is his only means of popularity or even exposure at all.

The man with bad hair “speaks how it is,”  according to every ignorant, under-educated, racists, or blatantly insane individual that somehow thinks this man is the answer.  This man is actually not saying anything, especially if you expect him to say something a candidate for the Presidency of the United States of America might say.  In fact this man is saying that we should close our borders, cut funding for social programs, and pay the rich for being rich.

To clarify the man with bad hair was given the equivalent of 8 billion dollars from his father and is only worth 4 billion dollars currently.  I mean, we’re about to elect, or nominate some guy who blew 4 billion dollars of inheritance?  He is not a good businessman.  He is a man who can afford better lawyers than everyone else and has somehow through the grace of IRS loop holes and corporate litigation retained wealth.  This is not what America should look like, dumb rich people staying rich.  It should be the social mobilization that is the Land of the Brave.

But anyway, this man seeks to further this gap, not that he has any idea how he would even screw things up, he’s that clueless.  He states, “If I’m elected I will be brought up to speed within 24 hours.”  Hold the fuck up.  You want to be president and don’t even know the gig?  And I can’t get a job working as a carpenter apprentice because I have no real experience?  Damn, bro, where’d we go wrong?

When did wealth become more important than the future?  When did the social contract get bought out?  When did we become such scared children that we thought a wall is a solution to keep poor, non-English speaking individuals from stealing our cushy desk jobs?  That’s not brave, that’s idiocracy.  And as much as it pains me to source a movie, too many of us are drinking Brawndo: The Thirst Mutilator.

You want to fix America?  Educate these kids coming in.  And the poor populations that consist of so much talent.  Shit educate everyone.  Give America the chance for America to keep up in the this fast paced 21st century world.  Let’s give the future the tools they need to prevail.  And not just the individuals who are lucky enough to go to great schools, but every citizen of the United States.  Why wouldn’t we give America the best chance possible to succeed and find an American Dream.

In case you are unaware of the lack of greatness that I refer to in the current day USA here are some statistics about the US:

The high Ranks

1st in incarcerated citizens

17th (of 175) in Political Curruption

The Low Ranks

14th in education

31 of 74 in mathematics

23 of 74 in science

17 of 74 in reading

44th in Health Care

15th in Economy

94th in Global Peace

So let’s not try making America great again through the use of fear, ignorance, and oligarchy.  Instead how about we invest in our future through education, health care, infrastructure and utilize the amount of positive resources that we have with our population to their fullest potential.  I don’t know who has this magical wonderfication wand to make America great again, but I’m sure it’s not the guy with the bad hair.  So please don’t pay any mind to those you know do not deserve to be in the spotlight of the Presidency of the United States

Gear Review: Osprey Atmos 65 AG


Osprey really knocks it outta the park (baseball euphemism) with this pack.  Detractors may call it small, but stop carrying a tent, grab a warmer bag, and fill the voids with beer and you’re good to go.

Easy access rear mesh is expandable and the water bottle mesh is compatible for a Nalgene holster.  Two large front pockets, two pocket on the hip belt, as well as two pockets in the brain will keep all of your essential gear organized and accessible.  The main compartment is roomy and has an easily removable sleeping bag divider.  Blah Blah blah.

The reason this pack holds up to the rigors of back country adventuring is two fold.  First Osprey has a 100% guarantee.  That’s a good deal.  Second, The Anti-Gravity or AG – I’m not overly found of this misrepresentation of science – system makes any load manageable.   Cushioned straps and a hefty Velcro adjustable hip belt evenly place the weight right a top your tush (if it’s not, go see you local gear shop to be fitted).  Then the pack has an open mesh backing with creates the most lovely of moisture-wicking drafts as you struggle up the mountain.  Comfort on all fronts.

Also, the brain comes off for a smaller day pack, but don’t expect to use the brain as a day pack.  It won’t work.   Comes with a rain cover and hydration port.  All and all this is a functional, reliable pack that will give you some comfort and organization along your favorite wanderings.  Here are some gear head specs.

Atmos/Ariel AG™ 65

65 Litres / ~ 4,000 Cubic Inches

Load Range 30-50lbs

100D x 630D Nylon Dobby
ACCENT   210D High Tenacity Nylon
BOTTOM  420HD Nylon Packcloth