Betelgeuse

It’s kinda nearby, and it could go supernova anytime soon. It’s a bright star in your night sky. Look for three stars called Orion’s Belt. Very distinguishable for us in the Northern Hemisphere.

Betelgeuse is not one of those three stars. It’s the top left of the group shown in this Wikipedia image of which Orion’s belt is in the center.

Best phone?

Well, the best phone is a matter of opinion. I just upgraded my Google Pixel 2XL 64MB to a Google Pixel 3XL 128MB.

It’ll be here soon. It helps me earn money. Always has the latest version of Android, unlimited picture storage, best camera phone on the market, works with any carrier, and is cool looking.

Be happy for me!

The First Day of Spring

Never happened.

There is no first day of spring. There is a spring equinox. This spring of 2019 it will be March 20th at 4:58 PM Central Daylight Time (future tense as of time of writing). Adjust accordingly for your time zone.

Equinox is when the days and nights are of equal length. There’s two equinoxes: Spring and Autumn. It happens to be when Earth passes a particular point in orbit around the sun. This year, that moment will be at March 20th and 4:58 PM CDT. After that moment we enter the spring season, and days in the Northern Hemisphere will officially be longer than nights.

I recognize this is the Internet and many will read this after the fact, but the principle remains the same. There is no official first day of spring. There is only the moment of the spring equinox.

How does it feel to kill someone for revenge?

I think when the rage dies down they experience an “oh oh” moment. Eventually, of course, they get caught.

After locking up someone for killing out of revenge, even if they have a death sentence, a person remains in prison for many years where some inmates “find God.”

Most inmates say they regret what they did, either because they now realize it was wrong or some because they got caught. The vast majority swear if they could they turn back the clock they’d not do it again. Some claim they didn’t kill anyone and they were locked up by mistake.

Once in prison, inmates are not treated differently due to the crime they committed but by the way they behave with other inmates and prison staff. A well behaved prisoner gets more privileges, like being able to walk to the chow hall on his own. A badly behaved prisoner is often put in more and more restrictive custody.

There are inmates who murdered someone for revenge, received a life sentence due to a plea bargain and walk to the chow hall on their own, sweep walkways or repair plumbing. Some of them work in craft shops where they make items out of leather that officers can purchase, like holders for the C.O.P. gas (mace carried just-in-case). The money is placed in the inmates trust fund (they never see any cash) so the inmate can purchase items from the prison commissary like chips, soda, candy bars, Raman noodles, postage stamps, typewriters and art supplies. Some of them get regular visits from family members who also deposit money in their trust fund.

Inmates in Texas, some of whom murdered for revenge, make all of the license plates for vehicles in Texas and several other states using special machinery.

Thousands and thousands of people in every state are employed and make a living caring for inmates in prison. These include correctional officers, nurses, doctors, psychologists and administrative staff.

After locking someone up and throwing away the key, life does not end for them. It just changes.

This gives lots and lots of time for the person who can’t leave time to think about what they did and what they could have done to prevent it from happening in the first place.

To answer your question, therefore, if you kill someone because of rage, you might feel good in the moment, but then reality sets in.

Above: Inmates unpacking milk cartons which will later be served in the chow hall.

What will be the main economic gains of colonies on Mars, or the Moon?

You don’t want me to answer this question. You are looking for a great, positive answer that will make the future look bright not only for colonies on these places, but an economic base for those colonies.

Meanwhile, I’m going to say I don’t think there’s much justification even for people walking on Mars when our robots can do it more safely and less expensively and achieve the same or better results…. what to speak of “colonies.” I think it’s almost laughable and mostly just science fiction dreaming.

People may or may not one day walk on Mars at great risk, and some will probably die in the attempt. There is little reason to go there from a scientific point of view other than to say we did, just like we walked on the moon and then went away.

In the meantime, a safer, cheaper way is send our machines to go.

You see, what this is all about is finding life. What scientists want to do is prove that life can evolve elsewhere than Earth – a so far unproven theory. We want there to be life elsewhere because we want to prove that life was not “created” on Earth alone, but life naturally develops from matter when conditions are ideal.

We don’t need “colonies” or economic bases in space to prove that. We just need to find some germs under some rocks or on some moon around some planet in our solar system. For that we just need space vehicles and robots like the Mars Rovers.

Whether we find life or not is anyone’s guess, but it is still science fiction thinking we will colonize anything off planet.

If just .001% of 10 billion Earth-like planets orbiting sun-like stars in the Milky Way have harbored advanced, intelligent life, shouldn’t we have seen some kind of evidence of their past existence, since this would equal 100,000 civilizations?

Great question! Complicated answer. Let’s start by looking Earthward at ourselves, then we’ll compare that looking spaceward toward the stars.

As you know, homosapiens are the advanced, intelligent life form on Earth which is now technologically advanced and space faring.

Now by some estimates, humans have been on this planet only for the last 200,000 years, or one fifth of one million years. There are a thousand million years in a billion years, and the Earth is about 4.54 billion years old. So, humans have been on Earth for only a tiny fraction of Earth’s existence. Here’s a graphic to illustrate that point and more to follow below.

This image illustrates what it would look like on a 24 hour clock comparing the age of Earth to the presence of humans. In fact, life itself has existed on Earth for less of half the lifespan of the planet, what to speak of humans.

So you can see, even though we have a planet in the goldilocks orbital region around our sun, someone looking at Earth many light years away would not see humans even though humans are here, because the light or radio waves haven’t reached them. They would assume this a dead planet. Humans have existed on this planet, in terms of a 24 hour clock, 1 minute and 17 seconds. In terms of exploring space, for less than 1 second.

You see, just because humans have been on Earth about 200,000 years doesn’t mean humans have been emitting radio waves and exploring space for all that time. In fact, we only began exploring space 60 years ago and emitting radio waves for a couple of hundred years. In the history of Earth, we have explored space (in terms of a 24 hour clock) for only a flash of a portion of a second.

That’s us. Now let’s look at the stars.

Let’s say there are 100,000 planets with advanced life like humans on them right now.

However, since the galaxy is 200,000 light years across, someone on a planet on the other side of the galaxy from us would not be visible to us. We’d see that as a planet with no human-like people because it would take light and radio waves 200,000 years to reach us. Now take into consideration that of the 100,000 planets with human-like people on them (as you suggest in your question), it took us 200,000 years to get to the point of emitting radio waves and exploring space. Hence, we’re looking for a very narrow window in a planet’s lifespan that intelligent life might be detected. Not only a tiny fraction of the planet’s existence has it had intelligent life, but only a tiny fraction of the time the intelligent life existed there were they able to emit radio waves and explore space, even if all conditions were favorable for that planet to eventually develop intelligent life.

Furthermore, the sky is very big. Looking for exoplanets, we have explored less than 3% of the total sky so far.

Put all of that together and the chance we would have detected other intelligent life is almost nil to date, even though it might still be out there somewhere. The guy below might be the exception.

GoDaddy vs WordPress.com: Pros and Cons

For two years I hosted this site on WordPress.com even though I had a GoDaddy hosting plan. Previously, all my sites on GoDaddy were designed by me from the ground up and were mostly static websites. So when my wife decided to create her own site on WordPress.com, she talked me into starting my own: RationalThinking101.com.

I liked having a WordPress site on WordPress. The pros were many. I could see Stats, how many visitors I was getting and from which parts of the world. I would get likes and comments left by other wordpress.com users. It was great.

However, when it came around to renew the whole package this year, it seemed expensive. Why pay all that when I can host it myself on GoDaddy for free (since I already owned a hosting plan there).

Having made up my mind, I began the arduous procedure of how to move the site from one hosting plan to the other, how to install a free SSL certificate, how to get all the files transfered and so on. It was a hassle, and in the end not perfect. The site has been transferred but some of the media files are missing and some of the links don’t work.

Not only that, no one from wordpress.com “likes” or visits my site anymore, and I don’t have stats telling me how many countries my visitors are coming from.

It is cheaper.

So the pros of moving are: It’s cheaper.

The cons of moving are:

  1. It was a hassle and some files were lost.
  2. Some links don’t work anymore.
  3. I don’t have the stats I used to have.
  4. I don’t get “likes” from my wordpress.com followers.
  5. In fact, I have no idea at the moment what kind of traffic this site generates at all.

I’d say the cons outweigh the pros and it’s better to have a site hosted on wordpress.com or wordpress.org unless price is your number one bottom line.

What would the world be like if everything ran Linux and Windows and MAC/OS never came about?

This is a very interesting question with two answers. The short answer and the long answer.

The short answer is….

The stock market would be much different and many industries that depend on revenue from Windows and Mac/OS would not exist. Computers would be more secure and although there would still be some hacking into computer systems, it would be much less.

However bad that sounds, it simply would be a different parallel universe because….

The long answer is…

Bill Gates and his wife have done a lot of good in the world with all of their money. That wouldn’t have happened.

On the other hand, the whole idea of ransoming and monetizing an operating system is bad for a freedom seeking society.

Even now, all of the top 100 mainframe supercomputers in the world run Linux, not Windows or Mac/OS.

Windows is fading as the desktop computer fades (but will never completely go away). Now we have a lot of reliance on smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and consequently the cloud. Even so, although the Android operating system is in itself a Linux distro, it certainly has been monetized and ransomed in almost all major brands of phones, including Google who created the Android OS.

The conclusion is…

The world would be a little different, but there would be and always will be big fortune 500 companies making money one way or another off of operating systems.

Which historical event had the biggest impact on humanity?

There have been many landmarks in the evolution of history. Here’s my list of important historical events that had the biggest impact on humanity according to me. Although numbered below, they are in no particular order of importance.

  1. The big bang.
  2. The creation of the Earth.
  3. The creation of the moon.
  4. The evolution of life.
  5. The first critter to stand on two legs.
  6. The election of the first black president in U.S. history, a country that formerly supported slavery.
  7. The original Star Trek TV show with Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner being cancelled after only 3 years on the air.
  8. The Wright Brothers.
  9. John Glenn.
  10. Rosa Parks not moving to the back of the bus.
  11. The Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  12. The day the Berlin Wall fell.
  13. The Beatles.
  14. The Internet.