100 Posts; a reflection on why I blog and the people that make me better.

This is my 100th post on this blog.  While I’ve written several blogs over the last 5 years, I wasn’t smart enough to migrate posts over when I switch blogging platforms, so… I’m back at lucky number #100!


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Humans like to evaluate at round numbers, we find milestones give good reminders to review behavior.  So, why do I blog?

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Here are the 5 reasons I came up with:

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  1. Shaping my own thoughts – writing makes you clarify. Someone once said: “If you can’t write something, you don’t understand it.” Spot on.
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  3. Sharing ideas – I think often about topics outside of my expertise.  I share these thoughts because I probably won’t be able to follow them (focus is about saying no).  Also: you help me evolve the ideas, that which is deprived of sun does not grow.
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  5. Sharing best practices – I am helping establish the best practices of social marketing. I learn everyday from people who are kind enough to blog about the things they are knowledgeable about, I’d like to share my knowledge, like this and this.
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  7. Define myself – If you are meeting me, it will be helpful for you to know who I am, how I think, how I talk, what I like.  My twitter, tumblr and this blog give you a good idea.
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  9. Recognize amazing achievements, important thoughts, or other significant moments – The attention economy works because we like sharing significant ideas or moments with each other. We should all recognize when people make awesome things.
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So, what will my 100th post be about?  Mostly #4 above this line, and #5 below this line.

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I read “The five things I’d tell my entrepreneurial self” by Jon Bischke today.  Jon gives a 5 pieces of advice that are lessons best learned early, and one of them was so good I wanted to share it here:

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Simply put, if you want to succeed, surround yourself with people who (a) are succeeding and (b) expect you to do likewise. That simple piece of advice will do more to put you on the path to success than anything else I can think of.

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I couldn’t agree more, the people whom I choose to be friends with or work with are all great at what they do, quickly improving at it and expect the same from me.

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I’m not an elitist on this — you don’t have to be impressive and driven for me to like you — but it’s easier to get value from high-octane people, so I try to encourage more of my interactions spent on high-octane people; it’s a primary reason I work at Involver.

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There are probably a dozen people that actively help me improve by virtue of challenging me; without calling you all out individually — thank you!

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Drill, Baby, Drill: What will we look for when we mine on Mars?

It's unlikely that there's anything on the planet that is worth the cost of shipping it back

Surprising Science
  • In the second season of National Geographic Channel's MARS (premiering tonight, 11/12/18,) privatized miners on the red planet clash with a colony of international scientists
  • Privatized mining on both Mars and the Moon is likely to occur in the next century
  • The cost of returning mined materials from Space to the Earth will probably be too high to create a self-sustaining industry, but the resources may have other uses at their origin points

Want to go to Mars? It will cost you. In 2016, SpaceX founder Elon Musk estimated that manned missions to the planet may cost approximately $10 billion per person. As with any expensive endeavor, it is inevitable that sufficient returns on investment will be needed in order to sustain human presence on Mars. So, what's underneath all that red dust?

Mining Technology reported in 2017 that "there are areas [on Mars], especially large igneous provinces, volcanoes and impact craters that hold significant potential for nickel, copper, iron, titanium, platinum group elements and more."

Were a SpaceX-like company to establish a commercial mining presence on the planet, digging up these materials will be sure to provoke a fraught debate over environmental preservation in space, Martian land rights, and the slew of microbial unknowns which Martian soil may bring.

In National Geographic Channel's genre-bending narrative-docuseries, MARS, (the second season premieres tonight, November 12th, 9 pm ET / 8 pm CT) this dynamic is explored as astronauts from an international scientific coalition go head-to-head with industrial miners looking to exploit the planet's resources.

Given the rate of consumption of minerals on Earth, there is plenty of reason to believe that there will be demand for such an operation.

"Almost all of the easily mined gold, silver, copper, tin, zinc, antimony, and phosphorus we can mine on Earth may be gone within one hundred years" writes Stephen Petranek, author of How We'll Live on Mars, which Nat Geo's MARS is based on. That grim scenario will require either a massive rethinking of how we consume metals on earth, or supplementation from another source.

Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, told Petranek that it's unlikely that even if all of Earth's metals were exhausted, it is unlikely that Martian materials could become an economically feasible supplement due to the high cost of fuel required to return the materials to Earth. "Anything transported with atoms would have to be incredibly valuable on a weight basis."

Actually, we've already done some of this kind of resource extraction. During NASA's Apollo missions to the Moon, astronauts used simple steel tools to collect about 842 pounds of moon rocks over six missions. Due to the high cost of those missions, the Moon rocks are now highly valuable on Earth.


Moon rock on display at US Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, AL (Big Think/Matt Carlstrom)

In 1973, NASA valuated moon rocks at $50,800 per gram –– or over $300,000 today when adjusted for inflation. That figure doesn't reflect the value of the natural resources within the rock, but rather the cost of their extraction.

Assuming that Martian mining would be done with the purpose of bringing materials back to Earth, the cost of any materials mined from Mars would need to include both the cost of the extraction and the value of the materials themselves. Factoring in the price of fuel and the difficulties of returning a Martian lander to Earth, this figure may be entirely cost prohibitive.

What seems more likely, says Musk, is for the Martian resources to stay on the Red Planet to be used for construction and manufacturing within manned colonies, or to be used to support further mining missions of the mineral-rich asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

At the very least, mining on Mars has already produced great entertainment value on Earth: tune into Season 2 of MARS on National Geographic Channel.

For thousands of years, humans slept in two shifts. Should we do it again?

Researchers believe that the practice of sleeping through the whole night didn’t really take hold until just a few hundred years ago.

The Bed by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
Surprising Science

She was wide awake and it was nearly two in the morning. When asked if everything was alright, she said, “Yes.” Asked why she couldn’t get to sleep she said, “I don’t know.” Neuroscientist Russell Foster of Oxford might suggest she was exhibiting “a throwback to the bi-modal sleep pattern." Research suggests we used to sleep in two segments with a period of wakefulness in-between.

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Antimicrobial resistance is a growing threat to good health and well-being

Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.

Image courtesy of Pfizer.
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  • Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
  • As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
  • If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
  • Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
  • By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
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