The Value of Quality Reachsearching

Ah…spring is finally in the air. As I approach this time every semester when I begin discussing the paramount value – both academically and personally – of how to research and assess “evidence” with my students, I’m reminded of how increasingly complicated starting such rigorous work can be today, and will only become more so tomorrow.

This revolutionary factor I refer to is, of course, our modern era Wild West: the Internet.

While the Internet provides countless resources, studies, and other data, so too arises the muck and malignancy of either erroneous or misappropriated information. With so much good and bad to work with, how do we decide which is which?

Luckily, I have one recent example of quality information – along with my well-reasoned analysis. When I came across these photos (obviously – as I’ll explain in a moment – leaked NASA photos of Mars), you can imagine my shock in needing to spread the news about such disturbing images that nobody is talking about for some crazy reason (clearly the same people denying the reality of FET (Flat Earth Theory)). And so here is my analysis – and helpful hand – in proliferating ‘good’ thought on a topic vital to the public well-being.

Giant feet or small dunes? The one thing about this image that’s truly impossible to tell.

In this first image, there are a few very notable details. For starters, the sand and rocks here definitely have a reddish hue, as one would expect of the Martian environment. If ‘A’ can be added to ‘B’ then they equal ‘C’, right? And so, Mars it is then. Case closed.

But note the sharply angled depression on the mid-right side. The foot-length imprint is clearly the marking of some alien creature. Unless… Have humans already been to the red planet? It’s entirely possible given all the other secrets that the government has kept from us over the years. Sadly, we won’t know more unless further such revealing pictures are leaked.  I will attest, however, that this is evidence that humans should be able to colonize the fourth planet from the sun regardless.

Next, you’ll find below what appear to be an exotic set of alien fossils. These are like no land creatures I have ever seen on Earth. And so if I’ve never seen them, then they must be aliens – natives of the red planet. One can only imagine how many billions of years old they must be…

The remains of parent and kiddie aliens.

And finally, this image below clearly shows a real-life Martian lake. This makes sense since we’ve all been told that Mars is a cold, dry place, but by whom? The government, of course! Could there be more water here that we’re not seeing? Perhaps that’s where those creatures featured above live? Only going to this exact spot will we be able to find out for sure. But where is this spot? And what else exactly is the government not telling us about it? The lies continue to build.

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Real estate is cheap on the red planet. Invest now!

Anyway, I hope you’ve learned something from these profound examples. You can’t always trust what people tell you, least of all people you don’t know. But how do we even know that people are telling us this? How do you know that I am even a person? And not a scambot? A government hack?

You’ll just have to judge things for yourself, I suppose, based on the evidence you find, and whatever logic you can apply.

Happy April 1st everyone!

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Unpocalypse Now

America might run on Dunkin’, but the oceans don’t.

I wish the picture above was a Photoshopped or staged image. But, sadly, it is not. Sadly, it is what you will find simply walking up too many beaches in too many parts of the world, as long as you have your eyes open.

There is no doubt. We are facing a self-made apocalypse. This seemingly dour realization has not come easily to me, but it is the undeniable conclusion based on honest research and observation. I write not about impending nuclear conflicts, but rather the much more mundane, the much more common, and much more individually avoidable: waste.

Someone’s excited to get into the trash!

There are entire dissertations to be written on a topic this broad, so I’ll instead focus on my own experience picking up trash on a warm but rainy February Sunday afternoon at my local beach in Long Island, NY. Anyone can do it. Most people probably should. And you can even bring an adorable pup with you like I did. As with most things worth doing in life, why not have fun while your at it?

Our beach does have an annual clean up, but when you consider that this well meaning event comprises only 1/365 days of the year, you start to realize as I did that such an effort is far from enough in the larger scheme of things. The other 364 days is plenty of time for plastics to degrade into the sand and then water, poisoning the world rather than simply vanishing into it. Some pieces will even become buried where they’ll continue to decay or be eventually washed out to sea.

Took less than an hour to fill this full size garbage bag 😦

Combing the beach with my happy companion, we stumbled across all manner of objects that have no place in any environment, let alone a marine one. Some were more puzzling as to how in the hell they got there, like shotgun shell casings, auto parts, and balloon carcasses. But others were simply dismaying to see, like beer cans, coffee cups, and more bottle caps than I could count. The latter most of these items are frustrating to find because they seem so easy to recycle, or even just put in the trash as an absolute worse case scenario. Yet there they lay, half-buried and already blending in with the rocks around them.

I did get thirsty, but was worried this might make me sick.

Much of the refuse seemed to collect in the dunes or among the tide lines of tangled seaweed and beach grass. Within these tufts were all manner of tinier objects, and these perhaps were the most depressing of all, such as already worn Styrofoam that crumbled when I went to pluck it out, blowing off in the wind before I could snatch the little bits out of the air.

Even smaller pieces, some as small as the tiniest pebbles or even grains of sand, were an even more disturbing sight. For these bits it was too late to really even tell them apart from what should be there.  They were now a part of the landscape.

My point isn’t to lecture here from some sort of moral high ground. I’m just as guilty as anyone else of not being the most efficient and sustainable consumer. But it seems that there’s plenty of little things that we can all do in our lives, and so if this is just a first step, then I reckon it’s a damn good one.

Well, that doesn’t belong there…

But we need to try harder as a species if we’re going to make it through this current century relatively intact, and beyond. Whatever your beliefs, the truth is irrefutable: there’s no reason for any of us – or our society – to exist, to continue. It is up to us to maintain our planet, and by extension, society. This isn’t to suggest turning your life on its head and becoming an 100% efficient woodland hippie, but learn what you can, do what you can, and share that voice with others. There are certainly others who are much more knowledgeable on these issues than I am (see here for example), and so I implore you to do the research yourself. It will certainly confirm your observations the next time you do take a stroll on the beach.

For me, I’m looking forward to me and the doggo’s next beach cleaning adventure. Again, it’s just a start, but all good things need one.

But the fact remains: too long have we ignored what we waste. It’s time to open our eyes. Let’s unpocalypse this situation.

Someone sniffs trash…

Thunk Tank Podcast: Episode 12 – Falcon Heavy Launch, SpaceX, Elon Musk

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Yup. That’s a real picture, of a real car, floating around real Earth! But do we really expect anything less from SpaceX’s founder and CEO Elon Musk? Is he really a super hero? A super villian? Or just a dude who gets awesome stuff done? Join us in our latest episode where we watch the maiden launch of SpaceX’s revolutionary Falcon Heavy rocket (the biggest since the moon rockets!).

It’s FREE to listen! So….

!!!CLICK HERE TO CHECK IT OUT!!!

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Updated/New Publications!

Hello perspective bookworm! Looking for some new, lively reading? Please take a moment to check out my new publications page! Now with updated titles available online, in ebook, and paperback forms – whatever you prefer! Poetry, prose, and news features on topics ranging from daily life musings, to commentary on the American Dream, to narrative nonfictional reflections – I hope you can find some entertainment, and inspiration, within these works! Please give them a gander and share, comment, and review if you enjoy what you read. Thanks!

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Thunk Tank Podcast is a collaboration of educators, artists, and craft beer brewers. We discuss the finer things (and drinks) in life, from, well, craft beer, to everyday life struggles, to the meaning of existence and our place in the cosmos. Yeah, you’re going to want to crack a cold one with us.

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