Monthly Archives: May 2016

Thinking About Astronomical Distances Makes My Head Spin

Wow, already I’m slacking with my posting. Oh well, I just need to get into the swing of things.

So anyway, lately I’ve been thinking about an interesting fact of astronomical observation: When you look out across these huge distances you are actually looking backwards in time. This is due to the fact that while light travels incredibly fast (186,000 miles per second), it is still dwarfed by the distances between objects. For instance the nearest star to us is Proxima Centauri which is located 24.94 TRILLION miles away. Even at its incredible speed it still takes light just over 4 years to get from it to us. So when we see the light from Proxima Centauri we are seeing it as it was when the light left– 4 years ago.

And this is the closest star to us. Other objects involve much greater distances. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, for instance is about 100,000 light years across. That’s equal to about 621,000,000,000,000,000 miles. If you stand at one edge of the galaxy you’re seeing the opposite edge as it was 100,000 years ago.

While thinking about this, I came across an interesting question: If the further distance you see is further back in time, you can’t see the entire galaxy from the same time perspective. While the far edge would look 100,000 years old to you, the middle would be only 50,000 years ago and around you would be the most current. As the galaxy rotates around its axis, things should look ‘smeared’ out from our perspective. So how can we get a good idea of what the galaxy looks like if we can’t see the entire thing as it is at one time?

Interestingly enough, I came across the answer to this in a sheer matter of serendipity in a video I was watching:

In short: Yes we are seeing different sections of the galaxy from different moments in time, but because the galaxy rotates so slowly in relation to the distances the effect is negligible.

So there’s my answer. Something that bugged me for a while actually and I just accidentally stumble upon the answer while cruising YouTube. Funny how things work out that way.

Hobson’s Choice

There is a story about a man named Thomas Hobson, a 16th-century stable owner in Cambridge, England. When a customer came in for a horse he would see a large variety of horses available. However, the only horse Hobson would hand out was the one closest to the stall door. He did this with the intention of rotating his stock and preventing the best horses from being overused. Today the phrase ‘Hobson’s Choice’ is meant to say that the only choice is no choice at all– take it or leave it.

With the news of the presidential primaries ending and the candidates being chosen, it certainly seems like we’re faced with a Hobson’s Choice. Neither candidate is a good choice for the position while many other more qualified individuals have been ignored or eliminated. I’m not going to harp on the shortcomings of Clinton and Trump; there’s certainly an abundance of it elsewhere. However, many disgruntled Democrats and Republicans are unhappy with the candidates and feel that they have no choice at all– either vote for the candidate chosen for them or don’t vote at all (or even worse, vote for the candidate or *gasp* the other party will win!, which is a complete lie). So it seems we are stuck with Hobson’s Choice. Or are we?

Voters who identify as Independent are at an all-time high at 39% of the population, compared to 32% Democrat and 23% Republican. What this means is that more people are dissatisfied with both major parties than the number of people in those parties. If all those people pooled together and actually voted for a 3rd party we could have some meaningful change in a government that currently 81% of the public is dissatisfied with.

And that 3rd party candidate doesn’t have to be perfect. As much as I dislike his economic ideas, I would vote for Sanders as a 3rd party. We do, however, have a candidate who is already running as a 3rd party: Gary Johnson as the Libertarian candidate. He’s not perfect but he’s a hell of a lot better than Trump or Clinton, and with 39% independent voters he has a good chance of actually winning the presidency.

Let’s stop fooling ourselves into thinking we’re stuck with Hobson’s Choice.

Even if you don’t like Johnson, please vote for some other 3rd party candidate. Write in Sanders if you have to. In any case, we have to stop just sending the message that we’re unhappy with our government and actually start making changes. Of course I’m going to encourage everyone I can to vote Johnson since I see him having the best chance of winning.

To many people libertarianism seems like a dirty word, but it really isn’t. There’s plenty there to appeal to both disgruntled Democrats AND Republicans. If anyone is interested in learning more about it please let me know so we can discuss it.

Give it some thought, and spread the word!

Salt and Sanctuary (PS4)

So I am absolutely LOVING this game right now.

I’ve put way too much time into it (I won’t say exactly how much as my wife reads this) and have loved every second of it. At first hearing that it was like a ‘metroidvania‘ I was thrilled. Symphony of the Night is still one of my favorite games of all time and any chance I get to play one similar to it is a bonus for me. After I downloaded it and realized that it heavily incorporated ideas from the Dark Souls I never thought I would play a more perfect game for me.

Between the leveling and skill system to the extensive equipment and magic choices to the challenging monsters and epic boss fights and branching open map and even the deep story and lore, this game has it all.

If you are in any way a fan of metroidvanias or dark souls I recommend this game 100%

Bonus for anyone who needs some tips:


Video I did of the fastest salt farming in the game.

And here is a spreadsheet I compiled of all the armor stats in the game, to make it easier to compare and contrast sets.

Hope you enjoy it!

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