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5 Reasons Going To Mars is a TERRIBLE Idea

With both SpaceX and NASA ramping up plans to go to Mars, maybe it’s time to consider the other side of the discussion – that traveling to Mars might be a terrible idea.

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Issue number one: Radiation.

Outside our protective magnetic sphere, space is a shooting gallery of solar radiation and cosmic rays that would wreak havoc on our bodies to a level that right now we can only speculate.

And then there are the 18 months you would spend on Mars, which doesn’t have a magnetosphere and a very thin atmosphere.

Humans have never been exposed to this type of radiation for this long. It’s a problem we’ve never dealt with before, and it’s going to be a huge challenge to overcome.

Number two: Extremely low air pressure.

The Martian atmosphere has only 1% of the air pressure of Earth.

Walking outside on Mars is not that much different from walking on the moon, from a life support systems perspective.

The thin atmosphere is also a nightmare for landing on Mars.

That’s why smaller rovers like Spirit and Opportunity used bizarre airbag systems to land and Curiosity, which was much heavier, had to use a combination of parachutes, thrusters, and a cable system to get there safely.

So SpaceX’s vertical propulsive landing option is probably best for Mars, but this is something that’s never been done up to this point, so it’s hard to know what challenges there are in attempting this with the thinner atmosphere and lower gravity.

Number 3: Perchlorates in the soil.

In the Biosphere 2 project, they grew their own food and struggled to have enough for everyone to eat. When they emerged at the end, many were malnourished and emaciated.

In 2008, the Mars Phoenix lander found significant quantities of perchlorate in the Martian soil.

Perchlorates are salt compounds that are often used in rocket propellants and they’re extremely harmful to humans.

They interrupt the thyroid gland and prevent the body from absorbing iodine, which leads to aplastic anemia.

That’s when your bone marrow can’t make new red blood cells. Red blood cells are what carry oxygen through the body. Minor problem.

Or, if aplastic anemia isn’t your thing, you might get agranulocytosis, which prevents your body from making white blood cells.

Chris McKay at the Ames Research Center said that if your backyard had this much perchlorate in the soil, it would be considered a Superfund site.

Basically, Mars is a giant toxic waste dump.

Number 4: The gravity problem.

Mars is smaller than Earth, with gravity only 38% of what you’re used to here. An average 150-pound person on Earth would weigh only 57 pounds on Mars.

We do have some idea of what to expect from long-term zero gravity thanks to astronauts like Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko, who just this year completed a year-long space mission.

Although the record was set in 1995 by Valery Polyakov, who flew on the Mir space station for 437 days.

And last but not least, number 5: The Contamination Problem.

We’ve talked in videos about the Fermi Paradox and the Drake Equation in the search for intelligent life in the universe.

Because if life could form twice in one solar system, the potential for life in other solar systems, and intelligent life, becomes very significant.

So one of the biggest problems when it comes to traveling to Mars is that we’re not just bringing ourselves… We’re bringing our microbes.

The second we land on Mars, we have contaminated it.

Vacuum Decay: The Quantum Glitch That Could Destroy The Universe

It’s the ultimate nightmare scenario: A bubble in spacetime that grows at the speed of light and eventually destroys the universe. That’s vacuum decay.

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TRANSCRIPT:

Try to imagine somewhere in the universe, a tiny subatomic bubble formed. A bubble inside which all physics as we know it ceases to exist. Particles don’t form into atoms, atoms can’t turn into molecules, all the fundamental forces cease to have any meaning.

And then that bubble expands outward at the speed of light, obliterating everything it touches. Asteroids, comets, planets, stars, whole galaxies just dissipate immediately, their constituent particles flung apart like ashes in the wind. Until eventually the entire universe ceases to exist.

This is a real thing that could happen, spontaneously at any time and at any point in the universe. In fact, it could have already happened, and we’d have no way of knowing it. Because it travels at the speed of light, the first sign we’d get that it happened would be us and everything we know blinking out of existence in a fraction of a second.

This is vacuum decay. And to understand how this could happen, there are three concepts we need to understand.

The first is the standard model of particle physics.

I did a whole video on the standard model that I’ll share right here, so I won’t go too in the weeds about this but a quick overview is that all atoms are made up of fundamental particles that fall into 3 categories, leptons, quarks, and bosons.

Leptons are our electrons and neutrinos in their various flavors, quarks make up protons and neutrons, and bosons are force carrier particles, they make the four fundamental forces possible.

But the final piece of the standard model that we know of so far anyway was the famed Higgs boson.

But the Higgs boson is actually just a tiny chunk of the Higgs Field. Which brings us to the second concept we need to understand… Quantum field theory.

So I’ve never really done a video on Quantum field theory, so that’s long overdue, but the basic gist of it is that all of the particles I just mentioned are actually just excitations in a corresponding field.

In other words, reality as we know it is made up of layers of fields of different energy levels. You’ve got quark fields, electron fields, neutrino fields, boson fields, and most important for this discussion, the Higgs field.

When the Higgs field was predicted, by the illustrious Peter Higgs, it was calculated at a very specific energy level. Any higher or lower and physics as we know it ceases to exist.

126 GeV is a tiny amount of energy to us, but as particles and fields go, it’s pretty high. Scientists began to wonder if this was really as low as it could go.

And with a little fancy math, scientists at CERN in 2013 were able to prove that there is, theoretically, a lower energy level that the Higgs field could exist in. An ultra-dense Higgs field.

This means that the Higgs field that keeps the entire universe together is not a stable true vacuum, it’s a metastable false vacuum.

Which means that if at any place in the universe a tiny part of the Higgs field slipped down into this energy level, entropy would take over and the entire Higgs field would collapse into the ultra-dense state.

7 Life Extension Technologies That Could Help You Live To 150

Billions of dollars are going into age research, and many experts believe that we’re on the cusp of beating aging. Here are 7 technologies and strategies to look out for.

 

Caloric restriction or dietary restriction is a diet that decreases your calorie consumption by at least 30%. People on caloric restriction eat very little food along with a regimen of vitamins to make sure they get all the nutrients they need. They say it lowers your body’s metabolism by putting your body into a fasting state.

The theory is that when your body is in a fasting state, it focuses its energy on tissue repair, which means less tissue damage and a longer lifespan.

Experiments with caloric restriction in mice showed up to a 45% increase in lifespan, and similar results were found in experiments with rhesus monkeys.

But studies have started showing similar results from intermittent fasting.

There are different types of intermittent fasting, one involves fasting every day, basically not eating until late in the afternoon. This is actually advocated by the actor Terry Crewes.

This has some noted benefits but the type of fasting that’s of interest to age research involves going for 5 days a month without eating.

Studies tend to show that this puts your body into extreme tissue repair and is even helps prevent cancer.

One of the things that causes the most metabolic wear and tear on your cells is oxidative stress.

Luckily there are antioxidants that bind to the free radicals and prevents them from damaging the cells. Just in case you ever wondered what the whole antioxidant thing was all about.

Now antioxidant supplementation has shown a lot of promise in preventing different types of cancers, but it hasn’t shown to really affect the aging process.

A lot of research in the last couple decades has focused on telomeres.

Well, scientists discovered that these telomeres get shorter every time your cell and chromosomes divide and the theory is that over time throughout your life, this leads to the chromosomes and the DNA becoming frayed, which leads to cells becoming damaged and thus, stop reproducing.

This is a point known as the Hayflick limit.

But, they discovered an enzyme that’s created in cells that reproduce often like skin cells and more so in stem cells called telomerase that actually lengthens and prevents the shortening of telomeres, meaning the cells and tissues survive much longer before hitting the Hayflick limit.

This was a big deal, and won the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 2009.

But the drug that’s really got everyone talking these days is metformin.

Metformin is a drug that’s been used since the 1950s to treat diabetes, so it’s nothing new. But researchers started noticing something over the decades.

Patients who took metformin tended to live longer and suffer from fewer age-related illnesses. One study found that diabetics on metformin not only lived longer than diabetics who aren’t on metformin, they lived longer than non-diabetic people as well.

You really can’t talk about aging research without talking about Aubrey De Grey. He’s the founder and head scientist at the SENS Research Foundation and the SENS foundation has pinpointed 7 different categories of cellular damage that leads to aging and has set about fixing them one by one.

But of course, the ultimate option is nanobots.

Swarms of blood-cell size robots that can be programmed to repair tissues, destroy tumors, clean blockages in our arteries and physically connect neurons are the ultimate life expander.

3D Printing, AI, and The Future of Design With Greg Porter from Greg’s Garage

Greg Porter is an architect, designer, maker and the host of the YouTube channel Greg’s Garage, where he builds cool designs and solutions using 3D printing and fabrication machines that he built with his own hands.

In this interview, we talk about his journey to being an architect, what moves him as a maker and designer, and the future of design as we integrate our creativity with artificial intelligence.

You can find more about Greg on his website, www.gregsgaragekc.com.

You can also subscribe to his YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPy-ulK_kHKVnSmb62uOncg

Elon Musk’s 2017 SpaceX Update For Mars

On Friday, Elon Musk spoke to the International Astronautical Conference in Adelaide Australia to update us on his plans for SpaceX. Here’s the nuts and bolts of it.

Friday, Elon took the stage at the International Astronautical Conference in Adelaide Australia and around the world, musketeers gathered around their computers to watch their favorite billionaire visionary slash chief executive stammerer talk about his new plans for Mars.

But that’s not really what they got.

Yes, Elon talked about Mars, but this wasn’t really about Mars so much as it was about the future of SpaceX.

And the first hint of the future of SpaceX is the name he used for their rocket.

Last year, the spaceship he presented was referred to as the ITS, for Interplanetary Transport System.

This was a rocket system specifically designed for voyages to Mars and beyond. This time, the letters ITS were never used. Instead, he went with BFR. For Big F*cking Rocket.

Musk’s new version of the BFR gets smaller, and far, far more versatile.

Satellite deployment, refueling, lunar landing, and shuttling astronauts to the ISS. And as this picture shows, it’s still a pretty big fucking rocket.

This is the future of SpaceX. A one-size-fits all workhorse that can perform a wide variety of functions with only slight modifications to the original design.

In fact, he said that this configuration would make everything before it obsolete, which makes me wonder what is the future of the Falcon Heavy and the Dragon 2?

This workhorse has 31 engines in the first stage as opposed to 42 in the original design. And it’s designed to carry 4400 tons of vehicle mass with 5400 tons of thrust.

He showed in a chart just how much more that is than any other rocket, including the Falcon Heavy. By a long shot.

So maybe the Heavy will just be kept around for special payloads that require it? I don’t know.

But the second stage had a few major changes, including a small delta wing with yaw and pitch controls for better control during re-entry.

He described the crewship as a combination of the Falcon 9 second stage and the Dragon capsule, but bigger.

The crew cabin is designed to carry up to 100 passengers with 40 capsules that Elon says are built for 2 to 3 people each, though you could get 5 in there if you weren’t claustrophobic.

And he says it has as much cabin space as an Airbus 380, which just for reference can carry 853 passengers fully loaded.

One thing that was new was he talked about lunar expeditions and possibly setting up a moon base, which is new for SpaceX but also in line with NASA’s plan to return to the moon.

This obviously positions SpaceX to get some government contracts for lunar missions, which could be a money maker for the BFR.

And back to Mars, he showed a visualization of how the Mars landing would work, using that delta wing shape to slow the craft down in the atmosphere before doing a propulsive landing.

Now he did say that the Mars missions would require producing fuel on Mars, which in rocketspeak is In-Situ Resource Utilization.

Elon’s new timeline put the first trips to Mars in 2022, these are unmanned missions that will carry solar-powered fuel plants to carry out all the stuff I just talked about, along with cargo and food for future missions.

In 2024, he wants to launch 4 ships to Mars, 2 crewed and 2 uncrewed, which are stocked with provisions for a long stay on Mars.

And he showed how a base would start with one landing pad, then becoming multiple landing pads, and growing out a city from there.

Elon himself called these timelines “aspirational” but did say they are already starting to build the first ship so maybe we’ll see these things sooner than we think.

But the big surprise of the night came at the end when Elon channeled his inner Steve Jobs and had one more thing. And suggested that if these rockets could send people to Mars, why not other places on Earth? And unveiled this plan.

It would ferry people to a floating launch pad and launch them to the other side of the world at 27,000 miles per hour, where it would propulsively land less than 30 minutes later.
Basically make long-distance trips as much of a time cost as commuting in bad traffic.

Mind Hacking Happiness With Sean Webb

In this podcast, I’m thrilled to be talking to Sean Webb about his new book, Mind Hacking Happiness (Volumes 1 & 2). Sean is a counselor, author, media personality and something of an expert on emotions. In this episode we talk about how we break past our mental attachments, enlightenment experiences, a simple hack to keep your emotions from spiraling out of control, the newest science on consciousness, and how to gain control of your mind. You can find much much more at Sean’s YouTube Channel.

Find all of my podcasts and YouTube videos at www.answerswithjoe.com

 

5 Major Problems With The Big Bang Theory


The Big Bang Theory is by far the most accepted theory surrounding the origin of our universe – but it’s not perfect. Here are 5 unsolved mysteries surrounding the Big Bang.

If you’d like to support the show in exchange for exclusive perks, visit http://www.patreon.com/answerswithjoe.

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From the concepts of George Lemaitre and Edwin Hubble, the Big Bang Theory developed to explain the expansion of our universe, the development of the four fundamental forces and the standard model of particle physics.

Another theory, called Ekpyrotic Theory, attempts to explain the holes in the Big Bang Theory by merging general relativity with string theory.

For more on these subjects, check out the links below:

The story about the German physicist’s reinterpretation of the CMB: http://nautil.us/issue/15/turbulence/…

http://discovermagazine.com/2008/apr/…

http://www.space.com/24781-big-bang-t…

http://www.learning-mind.com/5-most-i…

http://science.howstuffworks.com/dict…

http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr162/le…

Ekpyrotic theory

http://wwwphy.princeton.edu/~steinh/npr/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ekpyrot…

The Wow Signal – Actual Proof Of Alien Life?

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The Wow Signal is a 72-second radio burst that was recorded in 1977 that has defied explanation for 40 years, leading many to believe it might be proof of intelligent life.

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LINKS LINKS LINKS:

SciShow

Fraser Cain

Graph: By Maxrossomachin – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index…

https://www.livescience.com/59442-ast…

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TRANSCRIPT:

SETI, or the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, has access to telescopes all around the world, constantly scanning the sky for signals of alien communication.

Processing all of this information is a gargantuan task that would require a massive supercomputer that SETI can’t quite afford. So they came up with a brilliant idea.

It’s called SETI at home. It’s a program you can install on your computer that processes tiny parts of that data in the background.

Spreading that data across thousands of computers around the world, they’re able to crank through mountains of information, without the mountainous cost of a supercomputer.

But back in the 70’s none of that existed. Signals from space had to be printed out and processed by hand.

Which is exactly what astronomer Jerry Ehman was doing on August 18th, 1977. He was going over reams of printouts when he found a massive spike in a certain frequency of radio wave.

It was a spike 30 times higher than the background noise, and it was so noteworthy, he literally wrote “Wow” on the page.

It has since become known as the wow signal, and it’s still confusing scientists 40 years later.

The Big Ear went into operation in 1963 and was initially put to use on the Ohio Sky Survey, which catalogued nearly 20,000 sources of radio waves between 1965 and 1971.

Since it was on the ground, the telescope basically used the rotation of the Earth to scan across the sky.

When it measured a radio signal, they could infer by the time of day what direction the telescope was pointing and match that with visual sky surveys to figure out what star or galaxy it came from.

In 1956 on the grounds of Ohio Wesleyan University, construction crews broke ground on a massive telescope the size of three football fields to monitor the sky for radio signals from deep space.

It was officially known as the Ohio State University Radio Observatory, because it was actually run by Ohio State, but it was more well known by its nickname. The Big Ear.

The Big Ear went into operation in 1963 and was initially put to use on the Ohio Sky Survey, which catalogued nearly 20,000 sources of radio waves between 1965 and 1971.

Since it was on the ground, the telescope basically used the rotation of the Earth to scan across the sky.

When it measured a radio signal, they could infer by the time of day what direction the telescope was pointing and match that with visual sky surveys to figure out what star or galaxy it came from.

So a popular misconception with the wow signal is that 6EQUJ5 is some kind of alien code that we received but it’s actually just a measure of signal strength.

Ehrman and others immediately started pointing telescopes at the spot where the signal originated, which is in the constellation Sagittarius, but nothing has ever shown up.

So, it’s not a star or galaxy or pulsar or black hole because we’d pick up more signals from that location. As far as we know, and we’ve looked there a lot at this point, there’s nothing there.

At least, no cosmic body that would normally produce a radio stream like that.

But the mystery actually gets deeper. Because the frequency that this signal was found on was 1420 MHz. And if you were paying attention in last week’s video about the Voyager missions, 1420 mHz is the frequency that hydrogen atoms expel photons during hyperfine transitions.

(also known as 21-centimeter line or hydrogen line)

This same frequency was used by Carl Sagan and Frank Drake when creating the Pioneer and Voyager plaques as a way to communicate with an alien species should they ever come across the spacecraft.