The World

“Skycrane maneuver has started…”

We Earthlings have a history of fearing Martians invading our planet 👽, so it’s always amusing to watch a video of us invading them. 🧑🏻‍🚀

I used to be obsessed with 7 Minutes of Terror: Curiosity Rover’s Risky Mars Landing, which shows how NASA gets a rover from hurtling 10,000 mph through space to softly kissing the surface of Mars — all within a few short minutes. It’s still an amazing video if you haven’t seen it and are interested in, well… anything cool.

My favorite part is the skycrane maneuver, which is hard to explain but looks insane. And it seems to work quite well.

“If you’re landing a rover on Mars, there’s no doubt this is the right way.”

In fact, this skycrane show-off maneuver works so well that NASA keeps doing it. Check out a video of the latest invasion — I mean landing — in the name of Perseverance.

Books · The World

On Tyranny – Little Things You Can Do To Save The World

In America, we have the assumption that tyranny naturally comes from the government. After all, our whole origin story is based on some scrappy settlers rebelling against a meddling, powerful empire.

But the January 6 siege of the US Capital showed us that tyranny can also come from common American citizens, determined to disrupt the own constitutional process, spurred on by distributing, nonsensical, violent theories. It’s a reminder that tyranny can happen here, and it may come from the most unexpected sources. 🤔

“We see ourselves as a city on the hill, a stronghold of democracy, looking out for threats that come from abroad. But… human nature is such that American democracy must be defended from Americans who would exploit its freedoms to bring about its end.”

With this in mind, I thought it would be helpful to visit practical tips from book On Tyranny. This book is full of simple lessons from 20th century Europe that we can apply to our own lives to help maintain our freedom in this really weird modern American scenario.

On Tyranny book cover
Look for the fun graphic edition coming this summer. 🙃

Contribute to good causes. (Some ideas: help make good information accessible, empower people, fight hate, or go local.)

Pick a charity or two and set up autopay. Then you will have made a free choice that supports civil society and helps others to do good.

Support a newspaper or a magazine. Real journalism is tough work and needs your support.

“Subsidize investigative journalism by subscribing to print media. Realize that some of what is on the internet is there to harm you. Take responsibility for what you communicate with others.”

Support the multi-party system. It is critical to have viable liberal and conservative parties vying for power.

Support the multi-party system and defend the rules of democratic elections. Vote in local and state elections while you can. Consider running for office.

Be inclusive. Take responsibility for the face of the world.

“You might one day be offered the opportunity to display symbols of loyalty. Make sure that such symbols include your fellow citizens rather than exclude them.”

I try my best. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Practice professional ethics. State election officials got tested this time around but stood strong, even dealing with violet threats. It’s a reminder that democracy doesn’t just happen automatically.

Maintain your rational, independent thought and individualism. Don’t let yourself get duped into something just because you like being part of a group (looking at you, yoga moms).

To abandon facts is to abandon freedom.

The renunciation of reality can feel natural and pleasant, but the result is your demise as an individual—and thus the collapse of any political system that depends upon individualism.

Be a patriot. Love your country and the best of what it stands for.

A patriot… wants the nation to live up to its ideals, which means asking us to be our best selves.

A patriot has universal values, standards by which he judges his nation, always wishing it well—and wishing that it would do better.

So there are some simple things anyone can do to help. It’s easy but also hard.

The World

I Hate Quantum Mechanics 🤦🏻‍♂️

I love science. I love philosophy. I love math. But I hate quantum mechanics.

Sorry, it just makes absolutely zero sense and hurts my brain. 🤯 It’s obviously all made up just to annoy us. 😉

It started with a Schrödinger’s cat joke on Reddit, which was perfect because the joke itself was intentionally as annoying as quantum mechanics itself.

Schrödinger’s cat jokes never get old.
Well, they do, but, they don’t.

Doesn’t make sense, right? Not funny? Annoying AF? Totally agreed.

But I had to know what this joke really meant, so then I went down the rabbit hole of what Schrödinger’s cat was all about. The good news is that the Schrödinger’s cat puzzle was actually tying to point out how silly at last one interpretation of quantum mechanics is. 👍

This trail of sorrow leads to obviously incorrect 😉 theories like quantum superposition, which says that something can be in two different states at the same time. (Thus the annoying joke. ☝️) And the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which says that nothing is ever in one specific place or traveling at any known speed. Tell that to your local traffic cop, amiright?

Science, I love you. Physics, I love you. Quantum mechanics… ehhh… okay, I love you too. But I will never truly understand you. 🧐

History · The World

How the Coronavirus Compares With 100 Years of Deadly Events

This coronavirus pandemic has killed over 100,000 Americans alone. It has changed the way we live.

That’s pretty awful. But compared to other historical events, how bad is it?

This article shows how this pandemic compares to other major disasters of the last 100 years. It’s worse than the 1918 Spanish flu was in New York City and Boston, but still not as bad as the Spanish flu in Philadelphia. And not as bad the 2011 Earthquake and tsunami in Miyagi, Japan.

This article only covers the 20th century. I wish they could have included the Bubonic plague or other plagues to see how our current experience compares. 🤷🏻‍♂️

It’s a great visual to help understand a terrible event.

The World

Know Thy Enemy: Inside the Coronavirus Genome

Here’s an amazing detailed look at coronavirus genome. This article breaks the genetic code down into components such as Protein Scissors, Bubble Maker, and Copy Assistants.

This reads a lot like a software design document, with its factories, helpers, validators, and garbage collectors. 😬

The creepiest thing is the very end, where the genome trails off in a series of a’s, like the padding at the end of a Base64 string. 🧐

The coronavirus genome ends with a snippet of RNA that stops the cell’s protein-making machinery. It then trails away as a repeating sequence of aaaaaaaaaaaaa…

The World

It’s Time To Go On the Offensive Against the Coronavirus

I was talking with my kids about going after the virus the other day, half jokingly but also half serious…

I’m tired of sitting around the house waiting for the pandemic to solve itself. We didn’t win World War II sitting around the house hoping the Axis would surrender! We didn’t land on the moon waiting around doing nothing to see if somehow someone magically landed there!

It’s the same with the virus. We need to go after the virus! We need to hunt it down and destroy it until the planet earth is free if this deadly, hidden nemesis of all humankind.

It’s time for action!

As Winston Churchill would say, or rather did say, near the beginning of World War II…

We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

Winston Churchill – June 4, 1940

I joked with my kids that we should have a day where everyone in the world just Clorox’s every inch of the planet. “Inch by inch!” was our rally cry.

So I was pleased to see this article come up on The New Yorker, which offers more realistic and helpful ideas than a Clorox Day. Still, it basically says that that yes, we can and should go on the offensive against the coronavirus. It offers hope and something specific to actually do! 💪🏻🌎

👉 It’s Not Too Late to Go on Offense Against the Coronavirus

Thank you, Jim Yong Kim, inspiring physician and anthropologist. Via Apple News.

The World

Covid-19 Relief Fund

If you’re fortunate enough to have a steady paycheck through this pandemic and you want to help other people affected directly or indirectly by the lockdown, here’s a simple way.

👉 Covid-19 Relief Campaign

The fund is underwritten by The New York Times. Every dollar goes to aiding organizations that:

  • help food banks across America meet increased demand
  • bring books to children studying at home
  • support social services, arts, and cultural organizations affected by the virus
  • deliver meals to those in need