Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Current Realities of Space Travel

Would you go boldly where no one had gone before knowing you would return weak, arthritic and blind?  The disadvantages of space travel have not been well publicized while the herocism, blast offs and cobalt ball views of Earth are shown over and over.  The unfortunate truth is that time in space and zero gravity is increasingly known to cause severe health issues.  This is not to say they won’t be able to come up with new ways to counteract these problems, but for now, think about them before plopping down the millions to take a trip to the moon.

Blindness – The most recent released report from The University of Texas Medical School in Houston is based on scanning the eyes and brains of 27 astronauts who had spent an average of 108 days in space, either on space shuttle missions or aboard the International Space Station.  They found that those who spent more than a month in space were more likely to suffer from intracranial hypertension — a potentially serious condition that occurs when pressure builds within the skull.

The symptoms included excess cerebral-spinal fluid around the optic nerve in 33 percent of the astronauts studied, while a fifth showed a flattening of the back of the eyeball, which affects the ability to focus, research published in the Journal of Radiology showed.

The scans also showed that 15 percent of the astronauts had a bulging optic nerve and 11 percent experienced changes to the pituitary gland, which is located between the optic nerves and secretes and stores hormones that regulate a variety of important body functions.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/03/13/space-travel-may-damage-eyesight-brain-study-shows/?intcmp=features#ixzz1qYgbPmT0

So, with extended time in space, you will go blind and likely suffer other brain and neurological issues.  This is in addition to the well known loss of bone density and muscles in weightless conditions and the much less known difficulty in performing sex with a partner in a weightless environment.

Bone loss – Spaceflight osteopenia refers to the characteristic bone loss that occurs during spaceflight. Astronauts lose an average of more than 1% bone mass per month spent in space. There is concern that during long duration flights, excessive bone loss and the associated increase in serum calcium ion levels will interfere with execution of mission tasks and result in irreversible skeletal damage.  This was found as early as the Gemini flight.

Muscle loss – Dr. Per Tesch, associate professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden said results from a study conducted on muscle atrophy in space over a 17-day period showed a constant drop in muscle mass at the rate of 2 percent loss per week.  Results indicated that women are generally more susceptible to muscle loss in space than men, though both genders are substantially affected.

Sex and Birth – ‘Giving birth in zero gravity is going to be hell because gravity helps you,’ said biologist Athena Andreadis of the University of Massachussetts, ‘You rely on the weight of the baby. Sex is very difficult in zero gravity, because you have no traction and you keep bumping against the walls.’

Other researchers speculated that living in zero gravity could harm children or prevent conception. What is known is that even months spent in environments such as the International Space Station can be incredibly damaging for the human body. Long periods away from Earth’s gravity result in damage not only to muscles, but to our skeletons.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2044749/Sex-space-The-survival-human-race-depend-it.html#ixzz1qYibMGwl

So, do you still want to be an early space pioneer knowing you will end up a blind monk on crutches?  Something to think about.

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Racism and Rushing to Judgement in America

It is increasingly upsetting to me how the press incites riots in the United States by mis-reporting on incidents and playing on racial divides.  Whether it be the Duke Lacross team that was later proven innocent or many other cases it needs to stop.  Let’s dissect the latest such event.

THE PRESS INCITES- Initial reports come out that a racist white man shoots an honor student young man who was simply walking by with a drink and a bag of skittles on the way to his dad’s house.  Reports are that he can be screaming for help on the 911 call.  The police in Sanford Florida do not arrest or charge this man.  What is going on, why is this racist killer of an unarmed black youth not in jail?  Picture is posted that we all see over and over – George Zimmerman racist white guy in mug shot, Trayvon Martin when he was 14 and a cute kid, three years ago.

THE RESULTS – As a result, I get tons of facebook posts and emails about this horrible racist and the horrible police.  I say I don’t really understand what is going on and want more information first.  I am viewed as defending a racist.  President Barack Obama says it is an injustice and the man should be convicted.  The Black Panthers come out and offer a $1 million reward for the capture (kidnapping) of this man because they do not follow “white man’s justice.”  A former black panther Congressman appears on the floor of the House in a hoodie.  “Hoodie protests” sweep the nation.  Spike Lee tweets what he thinks is the man’s address.  He gets it wrong.  It is an old man and woman that live there.  They are attacked and harrassed and have to leave their home and go into hiding.

MORE INFORMATION:  Suppose you had heard the police report first…  George Zimmerman, a Mexican-Amercian man and Captain of His Neighborhood Watch was on patrol.  There were an increase of robberies in his neighborhood.  He had called the police 46 times during previous patrols without an incident.  He had taken initial training to become a police officer.  In his spare time, he tutors black kids on how to read in his home.  He has black relatives.  On patrol he sees someone wondering around, not from his neighborhood.  He calls the police.  While on the phone he follows the man who takes off running.  He tells the police he thinks the man might have a gun in his belt.  The police tell him to stop following and he does.  He goes back to his car.

The youth then follows him to his car and asks, “You have a problem?  George replies, “No.”  The youth says, “You do now!”  he punches George in the face, breaking his nose.  He jumps on top of him and begins to slam George’s head into the ground over and over.  George is the one heard on the 911 call yelling for help.  He is afraid the boy is going to kill him.  He asks a neighbor for help, and the man goes inside his house.  In desperation as his head is battered, he pulls out his gun and shoots the boy, killing him.

The neighbor confirms the story and tells police he saw Trayvon on top of George beating the crap out of him with George yelling for help.  Doctors examine George and find he has a broken nose, his skull is cut open badly on the back of his head from being slammed in the ground, and his clothes are stained with grass on his back.  Trayvon had no injuries other than the one gun shot.  Tayvon was in the neighborhood because he was under suspension from school for a drug violation.  Suppose you had then seen these pictures:

Yes, the same two people.  Racism enflamed by the press through guilty until proved innocent and public reputation lynchings are going to result in people getting killed and us being even more divided.  When real racist acts occur, we need to jump right on them.  But please, try to wait until the facts are out.  The Duke Lacrosse players hired a black prostitute to provide them sex.  She lied and said they raped her, beat her and drew a swastika on her head and called her the N word.  She later recounted and said that was all a lie to get money.  But how many of you know that?  Most still believe it happened.  We have enough terrible racism without fanning the flames of division over events that are not clearly racist.

I don’t know if George fired in self-defense or if he should be charged with manslaughter for over-reacting to a stranger in his neighborhood.  I don’t know if he followed Trayvon because he was black.  I don’t know if Trayvon attacked him because he was angry for being followed because he thought it was because he was black.  I just know it was a tragedy.  But the second tragedy is the way the press and our national figures have reacted, inciting hatred, racism and anger without all the facts.

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Appearing At LepreCon 38!

Michael Bradley will be appearing as an author and panelist at the 38th LepreCon Convention on:

April 6-8, 2012 at Tempe Mission Palms – Tempe, AZ

This is the premier Arizona event for Science Fiction fans.  You can get more details at their website at:

http://www.leprecon.org/lep38/

Michael had the following schedule:

Friday

LIT-Good, Bad & Ugly of Genre Fiction 1-2pm               Palm E

SCI – Laboratory went Boom 6-7pm                                  Joshua Tree

Saturday

SOC-Here comes the Apocalypse           2-3pm                 Xavier

Autograph session in dealer’s room       3-4pm

SCI-The Stem Cell Hamburger Drive-Thru 4-5pm           Xavier

LIT – Independent Publishing Update 5:00-6:30pm                   Palm F

LIT/MED – Why is Steampunk picking up steam                              7-8 pm                        Palm E

Sunday

Michael Bradley Reading                        11-11:30am        Boardroom

SCI/LIT – Science research for book writing 3-4pm                   Xavier

Please stop by and catch a panel or get a book signed!

A special thanks to Patti Hulstrand, the Program Director for adding me to the program.  As you can see under the STORE page on this website, I have been a frequent writer recently for the ConNotations Newszine which Patti also publishes.  In addition, Patti writes her own novels and markets and publishes for many other authors.  I don’t know how she finds the time to do it all, but I appreciate her.

Michael

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Monday Furry Critters To Make you Smile

Sorry to be late, had some bad back pain this morning and it slowed me down…

Here are some cool dog pics to make you happier on a Monday, or on Tuesday if that is when you get to see them…  Tried to get ones with babies as a theme this time:

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Taxes, a Look at Them as April 15th and then the Election are coming.

Most people have no idea how much they pay in taxes.  Tax Freedom Day, adjusted for the federal deficit, is almost up to June now.  That means that on average, everything Americans make through May goes to the government.  After that, they get to make money for their own families.

Taxes include Sales tax, property tax, business tax, gasoline tax, excise taxes, duties, fees, filings, income tax, federal, state, local, county, library tax, hospital tax, school tax, overrides, Medicare, etc.  If it moves, breathes, or even dies, government taxes it.  This next picture startled me:

That is right, no income or other payroll taxes until 1913.  They said they needed some extra money temporarily to get some things taken care of.  Since then, this is the history of income taxes:

For a period of time there at its worst, the marginal rate was over 90% for high earners.  If you made $1,000,000, you gave $900,000 to the federal government.  Just in income taxes.  If you got it from a corporation, you paid corp taxes too.  If you got it through investment, you paid capital gains as well.  If you got it through a state with local income taxes you paid them too.  If you paid after social security, you paid that too, both parts if you were your own boss.  Then the money you kept… would be taxed when you bought something or invested it.

Here is what states added:

Then the federal government added Social Security and Medicare:

Then each year we pay property taxes of all kinds, we pay taxes to the state and feds on all petroleum.  The state and federal government make more profit off of oil than everyone else combined.  They don’t explore and find it, they don’t drill it, they don’t refine it, they don’t distribute it, they don’t sell it at retailers, but they make more than all those people.  As much as half of the cost of your food is due to petroleum taxes to plow, seed, harvest, spray and take to market your food.  You get on a plane and half your fare is aviation fuel and taxes at the airport authority.

I had a fellow employee who told me she didn’t pay taxes.  I told her I should turn her in for a 10% reward – half joking.  She said she always got a refund.  I showed her on her own checkstub that she was paying 30% of each check in taxes and her refund was about 2% of that.  She got mad and did not believe me.

Today, over half of Americans do not pay payroll taxes, such as income and social security.  Many even pay negative taxes because they get earned income credit and get money back they never paid in.  Our free welfare and healthcare systems are poised within the next year to have more recipients than we have taxpayers for the first time in history.

I was a former one percenter and I have dropped out.  I can no longer afford to work that hard to support so many other people, only to be labeled as an evil person for my efforts.  As an Economist, I don’t know how we have managed this long without an economic catastrophe.  I wish we had no payroll deductions, no at the counter sales taxes, no property taxes paid in through escrow on our mortgages.  I think if we all wrote a single check for our taxes for the year, and saw it was our entire income through the end of May – things would change.

But just like the live lobsters and crabs, we don’t jump out of the pan as the heat is constantly turned up, until it is too late for us.

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How Much Can Your Brain Hold?

Several people over the years have told me they don’t want to learn anything new, because if they do, they have to toss out something they already know because their brain is already full.  While it is true that we form clusters of neoron synaptic connections that work in mysterious yet theoretically limited ways, I have never really worried about running out of space on my own head’s hard drive.  Of course, someone had to calculate an estimate, instead of leaving well enough alone…

From Eric Allen Bell at Global One TV:

The human brain cell can hold 5 times as much information as the Encyclopedia Britannica. Or any other encyclopedia for that matter. Scientists have yet to settle on a definitive amount, but the storage capacity of the brain in electronic terms is thought to be between 3 or even 1,000 terabytes. The National Archives of Britain, containing over 900 years of history, only takes up 70 terabytes, making your brain’s memory power pretty darn impressive.

Still, my own computer currently has a solid state drive for my boot up stuff, and I have a 2 Terra Byte main hard drive.  This is just one of my computers on my network.  So, if the brain is at the low end of the estimate, my current computer network had the same storage as my own brain.  If at the high end, give computers a few years to catch up.

As I look at my computer hard drive, my novels, writing, spreadsheets and work take up a pitiful amount of the space.  I have thousands of files, but work seems to absorb very little space.  I do have about 600 games and hundreds of pictures and fun stuff that comprises about 95% of my used memory space.  So far, I have filled up over 500 gigabytes, or about one fourth of the two terrabyte drive.  This got me to comparing…

My own brain must be at least a quarter full by now, perhaps even more.  There is schooling of course, an AA in Electronic Engineering, a BS in Computer Science, a Masters in Economics.  But those are probably not taking much space, just like my work files.  My boot up disk – basic language skills, the major senses, knowing how to breathe and move kind of work on their own hard wired for the most part.

So, I have to conclude, that like my computer, most of my brain storage is used for bad jokes, dreaming, pictures, bad TV shows I have watched and movie clips.  It took a lot of storage space to memorize all the lines from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, not to mention Airplane!  I think I will put in a pic here to stop me writing about the Knights who say Nee! or cat juggling, or unladen swallows…

 

 

 

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Check Out my New Book Video – Courtesy of the Awesome Christopher Wilke!

Click on the video link below to hear and see the new clip advertising my novel – The Travelers’ Club and The Ghost Ship.

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/21227970/TravelersClub.wmv

Chris is a fellow author but also a graphics art designer and marketer extraordinaire.  He will be launching his own new site soon to help aspiring writers – The Iron Quill.  I will let you all know when IQ goes live.

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