Achievement: Schrödinger’s New Year’s Resolution
I like to be different so I came up with a new way of making my New Year’s resolutions. It’s what I do.
My idea? Giving the resolutions a Schrödinger’s twist. (Also one of my favorite cocktails but that’s another story.)
What is a Schrödinger’s Resolution, you ask? Easy.
A Schrödinger’s Resolution is a resolution you can’t know you’ve achieved until you’ve either done or not done it.
I came up with the idea during my imaginary free time.
The resolution was this: Blog less and/or blog more.
Some of you (and I’m speaking exclusively to my other personalities here) noticed that shortly after January 1st something went amiss. You had a little more spring in your step. The world was a little brighter and, dare I say it, seemed a little friendlier. Your ring-around-the-collar was gone.
What happened? It turns out I had achieved my resolution. Victory! The sweet smell of success.
I went with the less is more approach. Trust me on this, it was my gift to you. No thanks are necessary. In fact, you’re so gone you’re probably not even reading this.
Back in The Beginning, everything I read about blogging was pretty straightforward. Blog about what you love. Pick a niche and stick with it. Maintain a regular schedule. Treat your readers with respect.
I gleefully ignored all of those rules except one. Somehow I found the temerity of will to post on a daily basis for several long, tedious years. Yes, it’s true, I backdated a post or two to keep up the illusion. But I stuck with it. And what did it get me? Did my stats slowly grow over time? Did I earn a single penny? Did I get a press pass to the Mitt Romney for President bus? Did I even get a simple bucket of dead hair?
No. My stats plateaued then cratered. And I thought I was doing something different by volunteering for the one-way mission to Mars. I’m already a Pathfinder. It was about as successful as a fart in a hurricane. Then I went screaming naked down a beach but that’s another story.
So now I blog less than I did before. It’s amazing how quickly I adjusted to that new reality. The Streak is done. Gone. Zip. Nada. Bupkis. And you know what? I’m okay with it.
Don’t worry. Stay tuned. I’m sure I’ll be back here pounding the keys again the next time a bit of undigested beef brings me visions. When that happens, be ready. I may have a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, or even a fragment of underdone potato with your name on it.
From here on out it’s nothing but gravy.
Spoiler alert: For astronaut Mark Whatney, former Martian, it was a bad trip. Upon his safe return to terra firma he tossed his helmet away, breathed deeply and said, “Fuck space.”
He was still an adventurer, though, so two years later was exploring the depths of the deepest oceans on Earth when he was accidentally left behind.
There he was forced to grow seaweed and sea cucumbers and survive on oxygen he derived from shells and Bunsen burners.
Mark Whatney had become The Crustacean.
I won’t spoil that ending, either, but he did eventually return to space travel.
Venus: Whatney daringly visits the second planet in our solar system and his faceplate is briefly blown loose during an EVA. Yes, you guessed it. He becomes The Venetian Blinded.
His eyesight eventually returned and he went on to visit Uranus, but I have absolutely nothing to say about that trip.
The spirit of the season: Volunteering
This time of year always gets me thinking about volunteering. Yes, even I can do it. Of course, you might not be surprised if I put my own special spin on it.
Helping to feed the hungry? A worthy cause but way overdone. It’s passe.
Build someone a new home? Sorry. Once there are 42 different reality shows on TV pimping the idea I’ll pass.
I need something new and trendy. I’ll volunteer, but only for something cool. You know, like me.
Wait? What’s this??? 😮
The Hundred Year Starship: The Nasa mission that will take astronauts to Mars and leave them there forever
Well played, universe. Well played! You have my attention.
So, yeah. Since I spend so much time bitching about being on the “wrong planet” and all, you might think that I’d jump at an opportunity like this.
You’d be right.
You also, wisely, might think I’m too old, too ugly and too fat to qualify for a trip like this. Again, you’d be right. Except I have an ace up my sleeve. Mwuhahah.
Seriously. I can logically prove why I’m the best life form for the job. And I can even save them some money in the process.
My logic goes like this: Anyone willing to sign up and say they will go with three other human beings obviously needs to be immediately disqualified. That’s a warning sign if ever there was one.
Therefore you need someone willing to make the trip alone. Therefore you need me.
I have no use for other humans so I’m perfect. That’s a 75% savings in life support and food! (Just in time for Black Friday, too.)
So here is my “open letter” to NASA:
Please accept this as my official application to be the chief (and only) astronaut in the Mars Interplanetary Expeditionary force.
Tom B. Taker
Yes, money is a factor on this mission. For example, due to the costs involved, there will be no return trip to Earth. It is simply too expensive. So I’ll do my part and take a one-way ticket!
That’s also a 75% savings in spacesuits. A NASA spacesuit costs approximately $12 million. That might sound high, but remember: It comes with two pairs of pants.
No return trip. That’s genius. No heat shields. No space shuttle tiles. No parachutes. Someone is really thinking outside of the box.
Due to the distance, recycling on Mars will be taken to a whole new extreme. That means, among other things, that someone is going to have to drink their own pee and eat their own poop. Honestly, I can’t think of anyone better suited for the job than me.
So long, Earthlings, and thanks for all the fish!
A big appetite for sharing dessert
Hey. Who’s hungry? And who likes math?
I’m always hungry for math. Thanks to Mars Snackfood US, LLC, I just came across another opportunity to feature some math on my blog. Thank you, Mars. Woot!
Today we will undertake a sweet tutorial of solving a math problem. Grab your calculators and play along as we attempt to divide the rational number 3.27 by 2. Sound like fun? Keep reading!
In my grubby little fingers I’m holding a bag of Peanut M&M Chocolate Candies. The bag proudly says “Sharing Size – 2 Servings” with a quite colorful design featured prominently on the bag.
If you are clever perhaps you’ve already guessed that the bag contains delicious product in the amount of 3.27 ounces. Thar she blows!
Let’s say I want to share this awesomely sharable bag with my friend Cher. (It could happen.) How much will each of us get? Hmm. That’s 3.27 divided by two or …
1.635 ounces each!
Let’s be generous and round that up 1.64 ounces. Oh yes, that sounds like a lot more now.
You better bring your hungry man appetite for this substantial desert. 1.64 ounces? Wow. Can a human eat that much in one sitting?
Brace yourself: Those 1.64 ounces pack a punch. That’s a whopping 240 calories per serving size. Or, in terms most Americans will probably understand, that’s 480 calories per bag. For most of us the concept of “serving size” doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot. How many of us ever eat one-half of a bag of M&M’s and then stop?
As if that isn’t enough, for added bonus there is also 20mg of sodium, or about 1% of DV. (Daily Value.) Don’t worry. It won’t fill you up too much. Probably.
Raise your hand if you feel full? Oh, I feel full alright. But not of M&M candies. What else can you be full of, I wonder? 🙂
Now that you’ve solved a math problem grab one of these small bags of M&M candies and find a friend to share half. You’ll be glad you did!
Avoiding the gift of chocolate exploitation
When you say “I love you” this Valentine’s Day with chocolate, why not make the effort to make sure it’s “slave-free?” Then it will be something that is truly good for the heart in more ways than one.
From Wikipedia’s Fair trade page:
“Fair Trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as social and environmental standards. It focuses in particular on exports from developing countries to developed countries, most notably handicrafts, coffee, cocoa, sugar, tea, bananas, honey, cotton, wine, fresh fruit, chocolate and flowers.”
There is another web site called Stop Chocolate Slavery that explains it like this:
“If you want some chocolate, but don’t want to exploit people, Fair Trade chocolate is probably your best bet. “Fair trade” was a term coined fairly recently, apparently in contradiction to so-called free trade.”
Here’s even more of the “bitter truth” from TreeHugger.com:
The truth behind chocolate is not-so-sweet. The Ivory Coast is the world’s largest cocoa producer, providing 43% of the world’s cocoa. And yet, in 2001 the U.S. State Department reported child slavery on many cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast. A 2002 report from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture about cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast and other African countries estimated there were 284,000 children working on cocoa farms in hazardous conditions. U.S. chocolate manufacturers have claimed they are not responsible for the conditions on cocoa plantations since they don’t own them.
Looking at a list of fair trade chocolate companies, notably missing are companies like Hershey’s and M&M/Mars that control the lion’s share (about two-thirds) of chocolate production in the United States.
So before you give your sweets the sweets you might want to do a bit of quick research and find out if your chocolate has been certified as “fair trade.” That makes a tasty gift even better!
Remarkably, finding an up-to-date list of what is and isn’t fair trade chocolate in the United States is rather challenging.
Looking for a place to shop that offers fair trade products? You can use web sites like TransFair USA and others to find retail locations.
Here is a site that claims to be a comprehensive list of organic chocolate suppliers. I even have a couple tins of Dagoba on my counter at home. Green Promise: Organic Chocolate Suppliers.