Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Too Much Political Junk Mail, Voting Texts, and Election Signs

The next election day is coming up soon which is pretty apparent considering all the political fliers that have been arriving in the mail each day. Not to mention all the signs posted outside promoting the candidates running for office. They are even starting to send out text messages now to try to get people to vote for certain candidates.

I agree that voting is important but I think they are overdoing it with all the things mentioned above. I do not want to receive hundreds of fliers in the mail about political views. Usually I would try to unsubscribe from mailings like this, but they do not even give you this option! Something needs to change with this policy because there should at least be a way to get off these mailing lists.

I also don't want to receive unsolicited text messages. They are sending out personalized messages trying to engage people into chatting about voting. These feel like an invasion of privacy and certainly do not make me want to vote for whoever they are promoting.

As for the signs, I don't support these either. What is the point of the signs? To increase name recognition so when you go to the polls, you will vote for the name you saw on a sign? I don't think this is the way people should be trying to get votes.

With all this unwanted solicitation, it is more of a turn off when it comes to voting. The goal should be to inform people without annoying them with an over abundance of advertisements.

There is much to improve upon when it comes to the voting system. For one, it needs to be easier to find out information about each candidate. If you go in to vote without having done plenty of research ahead of time, you will be lost when you see the dozens upon dozens of names to choose from.

There needs to be a centralized place where candidates submit their information and describe their stance on the important issues. This information should be available before voting but it should also be available at the polls. With voting methods transitioning to computers, it should be easy to add an option next to each name you can click on to read more about that candidate.

I think this would be much better than what we have going on with the spamming of mail, texts, and signs. Have you been getting tons of political mailings? Feel free to share your comments on this issue below.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Scale of the Universe and Meaning of Life

Recently I have been taking an interest in space and the universe and have done some research to try to get an understanding of what is out there and how it relates to us and life in general. One of the things that becomes clear right away is how incomprehensibly large the universe is. It is way bigger than we can make sense of and that is only considering the amount we can see with powerful telescopes.

It is predicted that there are many other Earth like planets out there with the possibility of life, but the problem is they are way too far away to reach or even make contact with, at least with the resources and technology we have available to us today. Even traveling at the speed of light, which is incredibly fast, is not nearly fast enough to reach the other galaxies out there.

One question to think about is what would happen if you just kept going out further and further in the universe? Would you get to an end or would it just keep going on into infinite amounts of space? Based on our knowledge, it is hard to comprehend something going on forever, but what if it does? If not, what is at the end?

Is it possible other lifeforms from other planets have found out how to travel faster and have been able to reach us? It is possible, but there is still not much concrete evidence despite many claims of sightings here on Earth. It is possible other civilizations have developed further and if so, they may find us before we find them.

When you zoom out and realize how small our planet is in the universe, it makes you wonder about our significance. Here on Earth we have so much going on and we care about so many things but in the big picture, we are merely a speck of dust in the universe. Given this scale, we may not be as important as we think we are. For example if the Earth was destroyed somehow, the rest of the universe would go on and there wouldn't really be any noticeable change outside our solar system.

But what about life? This is one of the mysteries that is still difficult to explain. The scientific theory is that life on Earth started billions of years ago as very tiny cells and organisms and over time evolved into everything we have today. There are theories of how it started, but it is still not clear exactly how life was created.

It makes us think about the importance of life and what happens after death. For example, when we die, is that it, or does our consciousness or spirit live on somehow? There is still so much we don't know that anything is possible.

One thing for sure is that we are lucky to be living in these times and should be thankful for every day. Humans have really developed a lot over the past few hundred years. Imagine being born thousands of years ago and think about how difficult life must have been back then. Sure the world is not perfect now and there are still a lot of issues and bad things that happen, but overall it is a pretty good time to be alive.

This leads to thought of what the future may be like. Of course there will be new developments and inventions over time. Some things may make life better, some things may make it worse. There are many predictions out there as to what will happen on Earth over the next hundreds and thousands of years. I think it will be good for some time, but eventually the effect of human actions on Earth will take a toll on the planet even more so than it already has.

People will have to continue to adapt to survive in ever changing conditions with growing population, limited resources, and changes in the environment. Some time way down the line, it is likely that life on Earth may come to an end. What will that mean for us and what will that mean in relation to the rest of the universe?

Despite all we have learned over time, there are so many unknowns to some of life's biggest questions. Which brings up another one of those big questions, “What is the meaning of life?”

Why does life exist and is there a meaning? It is possible there is no exact meaning or purpose. It is something that happens to exist when the conditions in the universe are just right. It is ever changing. At any time in the universe new life may be starting while old life may be ending.

So what should be our goal or purpose here on Earth? It is up to the individual to make their own decision on this. Everyone has different thoughts, cares, and values. We must decide what is important to us and what we want to do with the time we have here on this planet.

It is a lot to think about but it is a topic that is important to give some thought since it can help give direction and meaning to life. What are your thoughts on the meaning of life and how it all relates to the universe? 
Check out more discussion and questions about Life After Death

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Raffle Story

One day back when I was a child, my grandparents took me to some event where they had a dinner and a raffle. Everyone had to buy one raffle ticket for admission. At the end, they would call raffle numbers and if they called your number, you got to go up to this long table that had a bunch of prizes and you could select an item from the table.

There were lots of items so pretty much everyone was going to be able to get something when their number was called, but you wanted to get called early on so there would be better prizes available to choose from. Also they would have a grand prize drawing at the end and the number they called would win the money collected from the raffle tickets.

I was pretty excited about this as I held onto my raffle ticket staring intently at the numbers. One by one, they called off numbers and people would get up to go to the table to select their prize. I kept hoping my number would be called soon, but it was not getting called.

I was starting to get a little worried that all the good prizes would be gone before they called my number. The prize table kept dwindling until most of the prizes were given out. They still had the grand prize to announce so there was still a little bit of hope left.

Then they started calling the numbers for the grand prize winner. I was staring at my ticket as they read each number. As each number was read, it was matching on my ticket! They finished reading the last number and it was my ticket! I ran up to the front to present my ticket and claim the grand prize.

There were some chuckles in the audience since I was a little kid and I had run up to collect the prize. They checked the ticket and confirmed with my grandparents who slowly followed me up there. Sure enough it was a match so I ended up winning the cash prize collected by the raffle tickets!

I don't remember the exact amount but it was somewhere around $100-$200 which was pretty good back then, especially for a little kid to win. As years went by, my grandparents would often recall about the time I won the grand prize at the raffle event. They have since passed away, but it will remain a good memory of the time I spent with them as a kid.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Suspicious Vehicle Story

Where I live is generally considered to be a safe area but one day I noticed a suspicious vehicle parked behind a group of garages on the property. At first I thought it was a bit of an odd place to park but I didn't think much of it. It wasn't until I noticed a pattern of this vehicle pulling in and going behind the garages at the same time each day that I began to look into it.

I was fairly certain the owner of the vehicle did not live here which raised more suspicion. Each day the car would pull in, go behind the garages for about 20-30 minutes and then leave. Considering this pattern and the fact that this location was concealed from view, I figured there might be something going on. It might be nothing, but I figured it was better to be safe than sorry so I called in a suspicious vehicle report.

They sent out police to investigate the vehicle. After checking it out, they met with me to discuss the findings. They said there was no one in the vehicle at the time so there was not much they could do about it. They did run the plates and confirmed that the car was registered to someone who did not live there. They said if the car continues to park there for an extended period of time, we should contact the property management to arrange for the car to be towed.

I thanked them for checking on it and said I would continue to keep an eye on it. The next day, again the same car pulls in and goes behind the garages. This time I went to our manager on duty and let them know about the situation. Together we went out to check on the car. I was a bit nervous but at least I had someone with me in case there was any issue.

As we approached the vehicle which appeared to be empty, we saw a woman emerge from the wooded area near by. We asked her if it was her car and she said yes. We asked why she was parking back there and she said she was feeding the cats. It so happens that we have some wild cats that hang around that area so the story checked out. Apparently she goes there to feed them each day.

I left feeling relieved to learn that there was not something worse going on back there. In my mind, it could have been something illegal that was happening but it turned out to be nothing to worry about. I still find it kind of odd that she keeps going to this place which is a residence considering the fact that she does not live here, but maybe she just really likes the cats.

Reflecting on the situation, I think I did the right thing. Maybe I could have approached the owner of the vehicle first before filing a report, but I didn't want to take the chance of putting myself in a situation that could have potentially been dangerous. If anything it was good practice on what to do if you see something suspicious going on. Yes, it may turn out to be nothing, but it's better to make a report and have it be nothing than to ignore it and it turns out to be something.

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Concept of False Cause and Result

As educated human beings, we are able to make predictions about what will happen as a result of an action. Sometimes the results of actions are very clear and can be attributed to the action with 100% certainty, but other times, this may not be the case.

For example, sometimes something may happen and you think it is a direct result of something else when in fact it is unrelated and just happens to be a coincidence. When this happens, it is easy to mistake the result as being caused by the initial action. I will explain this concept here with some examples.

Say you eat a big meal and you feel full. Then you see a dessert that looks good and you are considering eating it. You might decide to skip it because you think if you eat it, you might get a stomach ache. So you decide to skip it. Then a little while later you end up with a stomach ache anyway. If you would have eaten the dessert, you would have blamed the stomach ache on this action, when in fact, the same result occurred even when skipping the dessert. In this situation the result is blamed on something that was not necessarily the cause.

Another example, say you are driving somewhere and you consider taking an alternate route, but at the last minute, you decide to take the usual route. Then maybe there is an unexpected delay on the usual route. You might think about how the alternate route would have been faster, but it is just as likely that the alternate route could have been just as slow if not slower. You might blame your choice for making you late, when in fact, you might still have been late even if you took the alternate route.

One more example, say there is an update available for your phone but you decide to put it off. Then later that day you have some trouble with your phone. If you had done the update, you probably would have blamed the problem on the update when in fact, the problem occurred even without doing the update.

Examples like these can happen all the time where we blame a result on something that may not have actually been the cause. Have you noticed any instances like this in your life? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Observed Effects of Diet on Health – Sodium, Saturated Fat, Sugar, Water

With so many foods available to us these days and so much conflicting advice on what to eat and what not to eat, it can be hard to know what to do when it comes to diet. Not to mention, people's bodies react differently to food so a certain diet that works for one person may not work for another. I am not an expert on nutrition but I have studied it over the years. I have also noticed patterns in how certain foods affect my health. In this article I will go over my finding in relation to sodium, saturated fat, sugar, and water.

In the past I used to eat a fair amount of processed foods that had a lot of sodium. I would pick these foods because they were easy and convenient, but I noticed they did start to have an effect on my health. My blood pressure began to get too high. I could also feel it physically as my heart would beat harder and I would start to feel twitches in my feet.

To fix these issues I started to cut down on the amount of sodium in my diet. I stayed away from salty foods and highly processed foods that have a high amount of sodium. I also steered clear of sauces that tend to have a high amount of sodium. As a result of these changes, my blood pressure dropped down to a healthier level and my body no longer had the twitches or feeling that the heart was pumping too hard.

Another element of nutrition that I have been better at managing over the years is saturated fat. This is the kind of fat that is thought be unhealthy and one that can cause issues such as clogged arteries. I tend to be pretty good about avoiding foods that are high in saturated fat, but every once in a while I may have something that is high in this fat content.

After I eat foods that are high in saturated fat, I have noticed it has an effect on my circulation. Often that night or the following morning I will wake up with a limb that has fallen asleep with the pins and needles feeling. This is often because the circulation is not good and I believe it is due to the increased amount of saturated fat. Sometimes I also notice mild pain in the chest area after eating too much saturated fat which I think is also related. When getting back to my diet which is low in saturated fat, these symptoms go away.

One of the other ingredients in food I tend to get too much of is sugar. It can be hard to avoid because sugar is one of those ingredients that seems to be added to almost everything. I never really felt any health issues directly tied to sugar, but nonetheless I decided to try to cut down on the amount of sugar I have been eating.

Since cutting back, I have noticed a decrease in desire for sugary foods. Before I would always want something sweet with a meal or a dessert afterwards, but since I have been trying to reduce the amount of sugar in my diet, I have less desire to eat sugary foods. Physically I don't know that I necessarily feel any different, but I believe it is healthier to keep sugar intake to a minimum.

Water intake is another important part of diet and one I have been observing and studying recently. From doing research I realized I may not have been getting enough water in my diet so I started to keep track of my water intake to try to improve it.

With the increase amount of water each day, I did notice a reduced amount of headaches. In the past I would tend to get headaches on days where I would be out and about and not getting enough water. When I follow my regular schedule and get plenty of water, I tend not go get any headaches. So for me it seems to be related where if I do not get enough water, I start to get a headache.

These are just a few of my personal observations on how changes in diet have affected my health. Feel free to take these findings into consideration when looking to make changes in your diet. Keep in mind this is not a substitute for professional advice but can be used as a supplement.