RSS

Category Archives: Quotes

There have been millions before me. To ignore their experiences and observations would be rude.

It’s How You React to Adversity

“Everybody has a plan ’til they get punched in the mouth.”

“If you’re good and your plan is working, somewhere during the duration of that, the outcome of that event you’re involved in, you’re going to get the wrath, the bad end of the stick. Let’s see how you deal with it. Normally people don’t deal with it that well.”

– Mike Tyson.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 22, 2017 in Quotes

 

How Not to Get Your Story Selected

“The problem is in a pinch I can usually find something from ******** that’s passable after rejecting a dozen other pieces from writers for whom gibberish seems to be their first language.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 8, 2016 in Quotes

 

Why You Should Reconsider Drinking Bottled Water

A retitled and spellchecked version of an article from the rabbithole1 website (no sign of author credit) that is worth reading without the irritating next page demands of their format. Although US biased, it is relevant.

Imagine there was a time when bottled water didn’t exist in our catalogue of popular commodities. Perhaps the trend started in 1976 when the chic French sparkling water, Perrier made its introduction. There it was seductively bottled in its emerald green glass amongst the era of disco and the spectacle of excesses . . . who could resist right?!

What could be more decadent than to package, sell and consume what most consider (in the western world) a common human right easily supplied through a home faucet! It wasn’t until the 1990s when bottled H2O became an everyday common sight and a symbol of our cultural desire towards fitness and “health-consciousness”. Even today health enthusiasts claim drinking water often helps to “detox and boost the metabolism!”

There have been controversies about chemicals leeching into the water from the soft plastic material of bottles, but the FDA determined the containers “do not pose a health risk to consumers.” IBISWorld reports that the “U.S. is the largest consumer for bottled water in the world, followed by Mexico, China, and Brazil”.

Regular drinking water competes with itself in a bottle, but reviewing the cost difference, you’ve got to wonder why or how? As for the water piped into your home or work place, it costs less than one penny per gallon! Fairfax Water organization, (FCWA) states, “The average price of water in the U.S. is about $1.50 for 1,000 gallons.”

Let’s look at your favourite 20 oz. bottled H2O, it will run you up to $3 per bottle at the corner convenience store and up to $4 at a posh restaurant or nightclub. If you buy bulk at Costo or other markets, the price averages are .31 cents per bottle, but that still remains enormously expensive when compared to tap water. Granted many don’t like tap water quality, but modern technology allows for an array of water filters.

In the mid-1990s, soda companies found that the niche market for bottled water could be huge, why not? The profits were obvious! Pepsi and Coca-Cola jumped into a race with their brands Aquafina and Dasani; they led the way to making bottled water what it is today.

It appears people really love their bottled water, today there are dozens of brands and that merits big advertising! The Huffington Post stated that in 2013 Americans drank 58 gallons of bottled water per capita!

With the help of advertisements, bottled water has gone from “reservoir to faddish luxury item to mass commodity.” Bottled H2O is being directly or indirectly sold as: healthy, smart, pure, sexy, clean and simple, it is “the stuff of life.” Ad slogans go like this, Dasani by Coca-Cola: “Treat yourself well. Everyday.” Volvic: “Fills you with volcanicity.” Aquafina by Pepsi-Cola: “So pure, we promise nothing.” Arrowhead by Mountain Spring Water, USA: “Arrowhead. It’s Better Up Here!” Evian: “Approved by your body as a source of youth.” Pure Life by Nestle: “DRINK BETTER. LIVE BETTER.”

No matter how much emotion an advertisement conjures, be it love, fear or rage, in the end water is just water whether bottled or tap. The difference is only in taste, and Evian has to be the only one tastier than tap water, but that’s only if tap water hasn’t been filtered. “Taste comes from negligible amounts of minerals” and filtered tap water removes minerals and chemicals rendering it with no hint of aftertaste, even at room temperature and most importantly the “2 hydrogen to 1 oxygen” part of water we need never changes.

It’s absurd that the cost of designer water is at a “280,000% mark-up” to your tap water and it’s reaching record heights in consumption. The comforting illusion of better water (bottled water) requires a lot of resource to manufacture and merchandise. The industry requires the cost of natural rivers and streams, semi-truck exhaust and diesel fuel, packaging, labelling, pollution of non-biodegradable plastic and the managing of recycling centres.

If you visit a gas station store or grocery store, you’re bound to see that a full third of all cold beverages on sale are bottled water. The Sierra Club explains, “Annually the water bottles themselves take about 1.5 million tons of plastic to manufacture for the global market.” Did you know plastics come from oil and therefore it takes 1.5 million barrels of oil a year?

Additionally the manufacturing process releases toxins into the environment, such as nickel, ethyl benzene, ethylene oxide and benzene. Even with current plastic recycling centres, “most used bottles end up in landfills, adding to the landfill crisis.”

There are relatively few regulations on what bottled water contains. The Natural Resources Defense Council’s scientific study showed over 1/3 of the tested brands contain contaminants like arsenic and carcinogenic compounds. Scientists agreed though that the contaminants were negligible amounts and all of the bottled water was safe to drink, but importantly the study clearly showed how “bottled water purity” can be misleading.

On the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website, they claimed many Europeans believe natural mineral waters have medicinal or health properties. Although WHO didn’t find evidence to support the mineral water benefits. Many researchers conclude that the benefits of bottled water are based mainly on a common misconception.

A large majority of consumers drink bottled water because they believe it has better health benefits, as well as better taste. Interestingly the Environmental News Network reported; on the TV show Good Morning America, a taste test revealed that NYC tap water was chosen as the favourite over the oxygenated water 02, Poland Spring and Evian!

Corporations like Coca-cola, Nestle, Pepsi, Evian and Fiji Water are making billions of dollars on water. Many people are unhappy with their practices, such as sucking up spring water from underground aquifers that are the source of water for nearby streams, wells, and farms.

In Mecosta County, Michigan, Nestle was court-ordered to stop taking spring water as it proved threatening to the surrounding ecosystem. They have around 75 springs in the U.S. and are actively searching to take on more. They own water rights in Aurora County, Colorado, in which they’ve built a diversion of water to the Arkansas River to replace water there, which they are siphoning from underground aquifers that would normally feed into that river.

What’s important about the aquifers is that they safely store precious water underground throughout Colorado during the dry seasons. Sarah Olson, producer of the documentary ‘Tapped,’ notes, “Nestle has a history of pumping more water than its permits allow.” She claims the situation is difficult to monitor and easy for Nestle to take advantage of. Aquifers are significant to the state’s community survival, especially with current warming climate trends.

The Goethe University at Frankfurt conducted another study: they found that a high percentage of the bottled water contained in plastic containers was polluted with estrogenic chemicals.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a U.S. research and advocacy organization that acts as a watchdog on behalf of citizens. They report, “Unlike tap water, where consumers are provided with test results every year, the bottled water industry is not required to disclose results of contaminant testing it conducts.” They felt the water bottle industry is not held to the same safety standards of tap water. Their tests revealed 10 brands that had pollutants, including not only disinfection by-products, but also common urban wastewater pollutants like caffeine and pharmaceuticals (Tylenol); heavy metals and minerals including arsenic and radioactive isotopes; fertilizer residue (nitrate and ammonia); and a broad range of other, tentatively identified industrial chemicals used as solvents, plasticizers, viscosity decreasing agents, and propellants.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a U.S. non-profit, non-partisan international environmental advocacy group and in 1999 they tested 22% of brands and at least one sample of bottled drinking water contained chemical contaminants at levels above strict FDA health limits. What can we do to drink with confidence? Buy a good filter and use it!

Personally: I’m in the UK. I drink from the tap. It is a privilege that we may lose sooner than many want to think about.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 30, 2015 in Quotes

 

Live Like a Gamer

This post is a revised version of the original by Mark Rosewater of Magic:The Gathering, which omits the Magic specific terms to leave the advice, which can also be used by non-gamers. 🙂

Being a gamer is an awesome thing. It gives you great life skills. What I’ve discovered, though, is that many gamers don’t apply all the awesome gaming skills they’ve acquired to their lives. The point of this article is to say, “Stop doing that. You have awesome game skills. If you apply them to your life, I think you might be happier.”

    The Game’s the Thing

What follows are a bunch of things you pick up as a gamer about how to play games. My advice is a simple one. Use them in your life. If you already do, great. Reading them might give you some introspection on perhaps how you can use them more. If you don’t, well here’s a thought to chew on.

    “There’s a Solution”

First and foremost, games need to provide the players with a goal, because the point of a game is for the players to reach the goal. In order to do this, gamers quickly learn that to accomplish the goal they have to just accept that there is an answer to reaching the goal. When presented with the goal, gamers always start with the attitude of, “How am I going to accomplish that goal?” and not, “Can I accomplish that goal?”

Imagine starting chess with an attitude of, “Is it even possible for me to capture my opponent’s king?” That sounds crazy, yet it’s how many people face challenges in real life. Rather than assuming there’s a way to accomplish the goal, they start by trying to identify why they can’t accomplish it. Gamers don’t start games by identifying why they can’t win. They put their energy to figuring out how to win.

My favorite scene from Apollo 13 is the one where the scientists from ground control have to figure out how to make a square filter fit into a round hole. They dump a box that contains everything the astronauts have on the command module. They then are given a deadline to solve the problem or else the astronauts will die. The reason that’s my favorite scene is because I realized that it’s what I do every time I sit down to play a game. I’m given resources and a challenge and I have to make it work.

Bring that attitude to your life. If every problem is treated as solvable, guess what? You’ll start solving more problems. The key is just starting with the right attitude.

    “Try Something Else”

This is actually the first piece of advice that I gave my friend that led to the idea of this article. She was sharing with me how something she had wanted didn’t go the way she had hoped and how it was depressing her. My response was, “So the first attempt didn’t work. Figure out a new plan of attack.”

I then brought up that when she plays games, what does she do when something doesn’t work? She tries something else. You see, the gamer mindset is “it’s not over until it’s over.” If the game hasn’t ended yet, then you still have time to try and find another solution.

The key to applying this to real life is accepting that failure is going to happen. Not every plan proves successful, but gamers know that the key to solving a problem is to not stop looking for solutions. Yes, it can be disheartening when something you’ve worked very hard on doesn’t pan out, but if the goal is important, that just means you have to re-examine how you’re attempting to reach it.

    “Losing Is an Opportunity to Learn”

No one wins every game. No matter how good you are, at some point you will lose. Gamers learn quickly, though, that losing can be an opportunity. For starters, losing is a chance to learn what you are doing wrong. Why did you lose the game? What actions did you take that led to the loss? What could you have done differently that might have kept you from losing?

If you want to get better at playing a game, you have to start taking ownership of your losses. If you believe each loss is the result of something outside of your control, you will never have the opportunity to improve. But if you assume that your actions led to the loss, it will allow you the opportunity to learn and thus get better.

Life is no different. When you fail, don’t blame the factors outside your control. Assume that your actions had an impact. Take the time to figure out what you did that led to the outcome you are not happy with. This will increase the chances that in the future you don’t make the same mistakes. It also will give you a sense of power, because you will see that you can directly impact what happens to you.

    “Identify What Matters Most”

One Thanksgiving Day, my wife and I were tucking our kids into bed when the fire alarm in our house went off. We quickly ran downstairs to see that the candle in our Thanksgiving decorations had burned low enough that it had caught the decoration on fire. The flames of the now-burning decoration were reaching four feet in the air.

I quickly ran to the sink and started filling up a pitcher. While the water was on full blast, it took about thirty seconds to fill the pitcher up. Those thirty seconds felt like it took forever. All the while the fire alarm was still loudly bleating. Once the pitcher was full, I ran over to the decorations and poured the water on it mostly dousing the flames.

Afterwards, my wife was commenting on how she didn’t understand how I could so calmly stand at the sink for thirty seconds while the water was filling up the pitcher. I explained my thought process to her: I knew the danger was the flames reaching the ceiling. The best way to stop the flames was water. My course of action was the most likely way to solve the problem at hand. Standing still for thirty seconds to get the water didn’t phase me because I knew I was doing the thing I needed to be doing. Yes, there were other issues at hand, such as shutting off the alarm (it was freaking the kids out), but it was a lower priority than stopping the fire.

The lesson here is something gamers all know. The key to solving a problem quickly is learning to identify what matters most. There are many distractions, so you have to learn to focus. Note that this applies not just to life-and-death moments such as stopping a fire, but even mundane tasks. What is the actual key to the problem you’re facing? If you understand where to focus, you’re already halfway to solving your problem.

    “Prioritise”

Let’s take the last lesson to the next step. Once you have identified the most important aspect of your problem, start breaking down the other components. This is something gamers do when gaming all the time. The key to winning a game is to figure out a priority for the things you have to do. The priority is important because it allows you to better allocate your resources (more on this one in a second).

I often find that when gamers shift to their real life that they sometimes turn off the critical eye they use when gaming. Life’s problems are no different than those in a game. The difference is the consequences. In other words, when you are playing a game, you feel safe to experiment because the threat of failure is low. What’s the worst that can happen? You lose the game. But in real life, the consequences are larger. Making a mistake has repercussions.

The interesting thing, though, is that the mindset used during gaming leads to better results. Understanding your priorities is simply a means to learn when and where you need to focus. If your real-world problems have bigger consequences, it seems you would even more want to use methods that increase your chances for success.

    “Use Resource Management”

Every year, I travel to San Diego Comic-Con. I’m there for four days, which is a pretty short trip. One year, I decided to treat my packing like a game. My goal was a simple one: What is the least amount I could bring with me? I wasn’t trying to see what I could do without but rather was trying a way to streamline what I was bringing.

Along the way, I made an interesting realization. I have a very large tee shirt collection, much of which is geeky and pop-culture related. One of the best places to buy these shirts is at San Diego Comic-Con. In fact, every year, I buy a bunch of tee shirts there. Hmm. Normally I pack tee shirts to wear at the convention, but I always purchase new ones there. There was a chance to minimize my packing—stop packing tee shirts, as I can wear the ones that I buy.

Gamers are trained to recognize when things are management resource issues and react accordingly. What resources do you need to accomplish your task? How much do you need? This second question is crucial because an important lesson of gaming is that too little or too much of a resource can cause problems.

This lesson is simple. Think about the problems in your life with the same resource-management eye that you would when playing a game. Ask yourself the questions you would ask if the items you are dealing with were in a game. Which resources matter most? Which matter least? How much is enough and how much is too much? You will find, once you use the same mindset, that there is a lot of value to be had.

    “The Value of Things Can Change”

This next rule is a corollary of the last rule. Gamers, in general, tend to look at their resources as tools. They are something you need to use to get to your goal.

The offshoot of this is that gamers learn to accept that, sometimes, something they value has to be sacrificed for the greater good. Often, the key to getting to where you need to be is being willing to let go of something that got you to where you are now but is no longer needed.

In life, what this means is that you have to be willing to reevaluate what matters to you. Just because something once was important doesn’t mean it’s still important today. Often, the key to moving forward to the future is being willing to let something go from the past.

This is an especially hard lesson to apply in real life because people are emotional pack rats. They feel a need to hold onto things that once made them feel positive (happy, loved, safe, etc.) even if it no longer has that impact. The key is to do emotional inventory from time to time to understand the value of the things in your life and judge them as they are now, rather than as how they once were.

    “Trust the Math”

One of the things you learn in gaming is that there’s a lot of math involved. A big use of math is predicting percentage outcomes. How likely is something going to happen? When making decisions where math is applicable, gamers learn to trust the math when gaming. If the numbers say to stand on a thirteen when the dealer has a two showing, you stand, even if the last three times this situation happened, you lost. You stand even if your gut tells you that, this time, you’re going to beat the odds.

In short, what gamers learn is that sometimes you trust your instincts and sometimes you trust the math. When the issue at hand is a matter of numbers, you trust the math. Fifty-one percent does, in fact, trump forty-nine percent. Gamers learn that your emotions will always have an opinion, but you have to know when and where to listen to it.

This problem is directly applicable to real life. When tangible stakes are on the line, people get nervous and, when they do, they tend to listen to their emotions more. That’s fine when the issue at hand is an emotional one, but when it boils down to math, you have to let your gamer instincts prevail. Your gut will never change percentages, no matter how much it wants to convince you that it can.

    “Find Value in Others”

There are many different types of games. One of them is what we call a political game. A political game involves players having interactions where the personal dynamic between the players impacts the outcome of the game.

One of the things gamers learn quickly is to recognize when games have a political component. The key to doing well in political games is understanding that your game is dependent on the other players. You need to recognize that each player has value and you have to learn what that value is. The fastest way to lose is to not respect what the other players have to offer.

Real life is as political a game as they come and this lesson carries over pretty smoothly. Everyone has value and has the ability to impact your life. Don’t dismiss people, understand their value. The worst thing you can do in a political game is to play by yourself without any allies. Life is no different.

    “Let People Do You Favours”

One of the things you learn in political games is that the key to doing well is creating a bond with other players. When push comes to shove, you want players to be allies and not enemies. What is one of the best ways to create allies? Allow others to do favors for you. At first blush, that might sound backwards. Wouldn’t doing favors for others encourage their loyalty better?

Here’s what’s going on. First, humans, as a species, enjoy doing favors. It makes them feel good about themselves. It gives them a sense of purpose. Second, because there’s an expectation of payback, there’s this sense that you want to stay around people you’ve given favors to.

The lesson here is another one easily applicable to real life. Don’t be stingy allowing people to help you. It makes them feel good, it helps create bonds, and – you know what? – sometimes you can use the help.

    Play to Win

Gaming is a great hobby and creates valuable skills that can extend into your real life. The point of my article today is to encourage you all to use these skills not just to win games but to live better lives. Even those of you who already do much of what I pointed out, please be aware that there are always opportunities to do a little more.

~^~

The original article can be found here: http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/making-magic/live-gamer-2013-12-05

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 7, 2015 in Life & Self, Quotes

 

On Goodness

“Goodness is about what you do. Not what you pray to.”

– Terry Pratchett

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Quotes

 

You’re Not Going to Valhalla, So Knock It Off

(Nabbed from the very worthy Not For Nothing blog by Matti Frost – check the blogroll for the link.)

I don’t write very much about religion, especially mine.  Most people who know me know that I consider myself a Heathen but I don’t make a big deal over it.  I don’t blot with a kindred, I don’t observe many holidays, and I rarely pray or participate in rituals.  You know what I do?  I read.  I participate in several online forums where the information flies forth like limitless mead.  One discussion on one part of the Hávamál can easily wipe out three hours of time that could probably better be spent actually doing things around the house that needs to be done.  But, that’s what many Heathens do once we get past the Hail-storm.  You know, whenever someone even mentions Odin the hail starts flying.  Alright, we got it.  You really like Odin.

When I first started down this path I wasn’t much different.  It was all Viking metal, horns full of inebriating substances, lots of hails, calling on the gods as if they were neighbors in my trailer park.  Sign of the hammer, that was a good one.  How a person raised Roman Catholic didn’t put THAT one together is beyond me.  But- all newbies trip and stumble.  We walk in with our eyes wide open.  We all follow those who went before us and sometimes we walk right into a tree.  The trouble is, most people don’t ever get past that point, and they simply superimpose Norse mythology onto, in most cases, Christian premises.

One of the biggest examples of this is the concept of Valhalla.  Simply put, if a person dies honorably in battle, a Valkyrie may appear and carry them off to Asgard where they will spend the rest of time in Valhalla.  Each day they will train for Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods, by fighting, killing, and being slain, only to be resurrected at the day’s end to feast and celebrate with Odin in his great hall.  Sounds great, right?  Personally, I don’t think I would want to die over and over again… it’s a bit Promethean if you ask me.  But, my own opinion aside- ask yourself this:  Doesn’t this sound exactly like what most other religions say about martyrdom?  How many people who think they’re Valhalla-bound scoff at fundamentalist Muslims who believe that if they die in jihad, they will spend eternity in paradise with 72 virgins?  That doesn’t sound appealing either, virgins just won’t be good in bed, and 72?  Nevermind, I am off injecting logic into what is clearly a ridiculous concept.

As is the idea of dying and going to Valhalla. (Yes, I am using Wikipedia for basic definitions of things we can agree on, this is not meant to be a dissertation).

I hate to be the one to break this to a LOT of Brosatruars wearing hammers around their necks lifting weights to Amon Amarth, but you’re not going to Valhalla.  There are many reasons but let’s start with the first- why would you take that tale, or ANY tale from any ancient religion, in a literal context?  And, as a Heathen or Asatruar or even Odinist, how can you NOT see the parallels to the Abrahamic reward-based faiths?  That if you live this way or die that way, here is your eternal reward?  How can you not realize that  kings and lords and generals have always used religious fervor to inspire their warriors, especially when the odds were against them?  Maybe dying isn’t so bad if I can take as many of the enemy with me and earn a spot in Valhalla.  Believing in these things as a literal truth allowed those warriors to ease their fears of being hacked to pieces and left for the ravens.

There are other issues around the myth of Valhalla that need to be deconstructed too.  I’ve seen a lot of people lawyering about, saying things like, “well, in these days, overcoming ANY personal struggle can lead to Valhalla”.  “If I die defending someone I love, the gods will choose me”.  “If I live according to the Nine Noble Virtues, I can get in”.  Or, “Sorry, even if you were a great soldier, if you live to old age and die peacefully surrounded by your family, you won’t get into Valhalla”.  Before I tackle these, allow me a moment to smack my forehead against a stone wall.

There.  Now I feel a little better.

1.  Overcoming any significant challenge is the same as dying in battle.  No, it’s not.  It may be a significant victory, or, should you bravely fight cancer and succumb, how you fought the illness might be looked at with favor by your family, your ancestors, maybe even the gods.  But, nonetheless, it is NOT the same as being hacked to pieces while fighting tenaciously and honorably.

2.  If I die defending someone I love, the gods will choose me.  Not likely, unless you are already a skilled warrior who the gods want fighting at their side.  *I* could die defending my friends and family, maybe even take out one or two attackers in the process, but I’m not a trained fighter.  I am just okay with a sword.  I haven’t fired a gun since I was a teenager.  And, I hate fighting.  Valor alone does not make the cut.  Think about it, the number of Einhejrar in Valhalla is not limitless, and do you not agree that Odin would want the absolute best of the best riding alongside him into battle?  This goes double for the Facebookatru whose battles consist of arguing with other Heathens, hailing every image with a Mjolnir in it, and posting memes about honoring the gods while not really doing much to honor them.  Ask yourself honestly if you meet the criteria of being one of the best warriors in all of history, then you can talk about Valhalla.

3.  If I live according to the Nine Noble Virtues…  look, the Nine Noble Virtues are not the Ten Commandments.  They are not some sort of Heathen orthodoxy.  For those of your not familiar, the NNV are: Courage, Truth, Honor, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Self-Reliance, Industriousness, and Perseverance.  They’re not bad things to strive for, but they are not unique to Heathenry.  You can find most of them tacked up on a wall in any Karate studio in almost every strip mall in the country.  Many religions and philosophies teach these things as good and desirable because they generally lead to self-improvement, but simply adopting this as some type of rigid code isn’t what gets you chosen for Valhalla.

4.  Even if you were a great soldier, if you live to old age and die peacefully surrounded by your family, you won’t get into Valhalla  There is a concept called the ‘straw death’ in which it’s seen as weak to go out of this life sick and bedridden, that it’s somehow more noble to die in a battle.  Back then, warriors who knew they were ill and dying would simply go into the first battle they could and take a sword through the heart.  Hey, it beats lingering around, puking and shitting all over the place until you expire in a pile of your own stench, right?  That’s why today, people are fighting for the right to assisted suicide, so they don’t have to spend their last days in agony, or worse.  However, let’s say you were once a great warrior who didn’t die in a battle.  You instead helped bring about a time of peace and prosperity to your land.  Your exploits were heralded and known throughout, but- by sheer luck, you get sick and die in your old age surrounded by your family.  No Valhalla?

So a guy with zero military training dies with valor defending someone he loves and gets in, but a seasoned veteran whose skill and knowledge of warfare eclipses that of many, nope, didn’t die in a battle.  That’s legit?

Do you really think Odin, who is also the god of wisdom, would see it that way?  Even with one eye?  C’mon.

But this all goes to the greater picture.  Too many of us are hung up on this idea of going to Valhalla when we die.  Why?  I asked myself one day if that was where I wanted to be and when I thought about it, I mean really, really thought about it- I said no.  If there is a life beyond this one, I don’t want to spend it fighting petty battles.  And yes, Ragnarok is petty, but that’s another topic.  According to the mythology there are many halls in Asgard, and there are eight other realms among the nine worlds.  If, like me, you don’t believe in this cosmology, there is infinite space, billions of galaxies, dimensions and other universes.  Is Valhalla really it?  Is there not something much, much bigger out there?  Dare to dream, folks.  Don’t stop seeking knowledge, and for the good of Heathenry in general, let’s drop the macho bullshit.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 29, 2014 in Faith & Magic, Quotes

 

The Santa Calculations

There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist (except maybe in Japan) religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the population reference bureau). Assuming an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that computes to 108 million homes – presuming there is at least one good child in each.

Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stocking, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh, and get onto
the next house. Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household. This amounts to a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks.

This means Santa’s sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second–3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a pokey 27.4miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour. The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element.

Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized LEGO set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousands tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the “flying” reindeer can pull 10 times the normal amount, the job can’t be done with eight or even nine of them—Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch). 600,000 tons travelling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance – this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth’s atmosphere.

The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip. Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 m.p.s. in .001 seconds, would be subjected to acceleration forces of 17,000 g’s. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a dribbling mess of twitching sludge.

Therefore, if Santa ever did exist, he’s dead now.

Merry Christmas everybody. 😀

My favourite piece of Christmas humbug. Originally created by an anonymous engineer with a mean streak, one presumes.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 24, 2014 in Quotes

 
 
%d bloggers like this: