from the world's big
The Mission to Mars is Now a Crowdfunded Reality Show
Even if NASA's Mars Curiosity mission doesn’t end up accomplishing another thing other than establishing the fact that there was once flowing water on the planet's surface, it will have served an even greater purpose – getting people talking about going to Mars as if it were a reality rather than a science-fiction fantasy. Most recently, the Dutch not-for-profit organization Mars One began accepting applications for a one-way mission to Mars that’s scheduled for 2023 and projected at a total price tag of $6 billion. (Which sounds like a lot, until you realize it's really just a rounding error when it comes to the sequestered budgets of the U.S. federal government.) Now that Mars Curiosity is roving the planet's surface, a lot of really smart people – like Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin – are talking about the best way not just to plan a Mission to Mars, but also to set up a human colony there.
The most likely scenario, for now, is one that somehow involves NASA. As Marc Kaufman of the Washington Post pointed out in a summary of Mars exploration projects, “NASA remains the indispensable player or partner for any human landing on the surface.” Yet, even with NASA laser-focused on a trip to the Red Planet, the earliest we'd get to Mars is 2030. Buzz Aldrin, in his calculations, envisions a colony by the mid-2030's.
But what about other, more daring scenarios that project an even earlier arrival date on the Red Planet?
Elon Musk of SpaceX probably thinks we can get to Mars even sooner, and is rumored to be preparing to unveil Mars exploration plans soon. Dennis Tito of International Space Station fame thinks we can get there by 2018 - but that's just a flyby, not an actual landing. And, Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic, well, who knows what they might come up with after zipping around the New Mexico desert at supersonic speeds for a few years.
Mars One, however, has captivated imaginations around the world by projecting a 2023 mission to Mars, which means that sometime during our lifetime, we would see a man or woman walk on the Red Planet. Of all the scenarios for a Mars Mission, the Mars One is perhaps the most unorthodox and also the most daring. Some people dismiss it as "far-fetched" or "wildly ambitious." One of the "ambassadors" for Mars One is one of the original co-creators and producers of the reality TV show "Big Brother," if that gives you any idea of what to expect.
Checking out the Mars One site, it’s essentially a giant Kickstarter project with reality TV show overtones, where people from around the world toss in anywhere from $5 to $73 for the chance to apply to take a one-way trip to the Red Planet. When I visited the site, "applicants to Mars" included individuals from the USA, the Netherlands, Poland, Saudi Arabia and the Bahamas. You could see which applicants were "popular" and send a little digital love their way if you felt so inclined by voting for them. By some estimates, over 20,000 people from around the world have already applied. Even if you don't feel like applying for the Mars one-way trip, you can still support the Mars One mission by buying all kinds of merch, the same way you might back a Kickstarter project in exchange for a few swag bag goodies. Mars One posters, for example, sell for $13. You can also make a tax-free donation, natch, since Mars One is also not-for-profit.
It's easy to mock Mars One, if for no other reason that the idea of average, everyday people paying good money for a remote chance of being selected as an astronaut for a Mars mission sometime in the future strikes one as immediately ludicrous. They say that it's trivializing space exploration by turning it into a reality show competition. But is it? Even Buzz Aldrin plans to turn space into a competition of sorts, promoting a space camp where "one lucky contestant" will get to fly to outer space. In an interview with the Australian media, Buzz Aldrin described the reality show-like process of finding the next astronaut:
"Some of the activities they will have to do include the G-Centrifuge - a cockpit simulator flying in high-speed circles at the end of a mechanical arm where you experiences force up to 4.5G. The Jet Fighter Flight where you'll break the speed of sound and even get the chance to flip the plane on its head in mid-air. There is the Zero G Flight which are parabolic flights that will allow you to experience the weightlessness of space. And there is The Astronaut Assault Course, space briefings, one-to-one interviews with astronauts to help participants get ready for space travel and of course, mental aptitude tests."
If, as Buzz Aldrin writes in Mission to Mars (due out next week), it is "human destiny" to explore space and colonize other planets, then we need to be considering all the options. Getting to Mars is orders of magnitude more difficult than getting to the moon, so the options for financing and then carrying out a mission to the Red Planet will most likely look entirely different from what worked in 1969. Let's keep the NASA option in our back pocket, but for now, sign me up for the crowdfunded reality show known as the Mission to Mars.
image via Mars One
Sallie Krawcheck and Bob Kulhan will be talking money, jobs, and how the pandemic will disproportionally affect women's finances.
Can an orgasm a day really keep the doctor away?
- Achieving orgasm through masturbation provides a rush of feel-good hormones (such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin) and can re-balance our levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone). This helps our immune system function at a higher level.
- The surge in "feel-good" hormones also promotes a more relaxed and calm state of being, making it easier to achieve restful sleep, which is a critical part in maintaining a high-functioning immune system.
- Just as bad habits can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system which can prevent you from becoming sick.
How masturbation affects your brain...<p>Orgasms are a very common human phenomenon. The physical and mental health benefits have been researched frequently as a result, and yet, there is still so much to be learned about how our bodies and brains react to the chemicals and hormones released during and after experiencing this type of sexual release.</p><p>"The amount of speculation versus actual data on both the function and value of orgasm is remarkable" explains Julia Heiman, director of the <a href="https://kinseyinstitute.org/" target="_blank">Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction</a>.</p><p>Masturbation causes a rush of <a href="https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-dopamine" target="_blank">dopamine</a>, which is a chemical that is associated with our ability to feel pleasure. Along with the rush of dopamine that is released during an orgasm, there is also a release of a hormone called <a href="https://www.livescience.com/42198-what-is-oxytocin.html" target="_blank">oxytocin</a>, which is commonly referred to as the "love hormone."<br></p><p>This concoction of chemicals does more than just boost our mood, it also can play a key role in decreasing stress and promoting relaxation. Oxytocin decreases <a href="https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-cortisol" target="_blank">cortisol</a>, which is a stress hormone that is usually present (in high volumes) during times of anxiety, fear, panic, or distress. </p><p>According to BDSM and fetish researcher <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/dr-gloria-brame-colbert-ga/278388" target="_blank">Dr. Gloria Brame</a>, an orgasm is the biggest non-drug induced blast of dopamine that we can experience. </p><p>By boosting the oxytocin and dopamine levels and subsequently decreasing our cortisol levels, the brain is placed in a more relaxed, euphoric, and calm state. </p>
Masturbation boosts your immune system and raises your white blood cell count.<p>How do those effects on the brain from reaching orgasm translate to boosting our immune system and making our body healthier?</p><p>The increase of oxytocin and dopamine that causes a decrease in cortisol levels can help boost our immune system because cortisol (well-known for being a stress-inducing hormone) actually helps maintain your immune system if released in small doses. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.health24.com/Sex/Great-sex/incredible-health-benefits-to-masturbating-20181030-2" target="_blank">Dr. Jennifer Landa</a>, a hormone-therapy specialist, masturbation can produce the right kind of environment for a strengthened immune system to thrive. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15316239" target="_blank">A study</a> conducted by the Department of Medical Psychology at the University Clinic of Essen (in Germany) showed similar results. A group of 11 volunteers were asked to participate in a study that would look at the effects of orgasm through masturbation on the white blood cell count and immune system.</p><p>During this experiment, the white blood cell count of each participant was analyzed through measures that were taken 5 minutes before and 45 minutes after reaching a self-induced orgasm. </p><p>The results confirmed that sexual arousal and orgasm increased the number of white blood cells, particularly the natural killer cells that help fight off infections. </p><p>The findings confirm that our immune system is positively affected by sexual arousal and self-induced orgasm and promote even more research into the positive impacts of sexual arousal and orgasm. </p>
Masturbation can ease and prevent pain, which allows you to achieve the restful sleep that helps your immune system stay strong and healthy.<p>The benefits of masturbation have long been debated, but the more research that is done on the topic the more we understand that there are many positive reactions that happen in our bodies and brains when we orgasm.</p><p>Orgasms can help prevent or mitigate pain, which boosts the immune system, preventing cold and flu symptoms. </p><p>According to neurologist and headache specialist Stefan Evers, about one in three patients experience relief from migraine attacks by experiencing sexual activity or orgasm. Evers and his team <a href="https://www.livescience.com/27642-sex-relieves-migraine-pain.html" target="_blank">conducted an experiment</a> with 800 migraine patients and 200 patients who suffered from cluster-headaches to see how their experiences with sexual activity impacted their pain levels. </p><p>The study showed that 60% of migraine sufferers experienced pain relief after participating in sexual activity that resulted in orgasm. Of the cluster-headache sufferers, about 50% said their headaches actually worsened after sexual arousal and orgasm. </p><p>Evers suggested in his findings that the people who did not experience pain relief from migraines of headaches during their sexual activity did not release as large amounts of endorphins as those who did experience pain relief. </p><p>According to <a href="https://www.sharecare.com/health/chronic-pain/chronic-pain-affect-immune-system" target="_blank">rheumatologist Dr. Harris McIlwain</a>, people who suffer from chronic pain have immune systems that are simply not functioning at full capacity - therefore, alleviating pain (through orgasm, as an example) can help boost the immune system. </p><p>Orgasms can also promote relaxation and make it easier to fall asleep. Serotonin, oxytocin, and norepinephrine are all hormones that are released during sexual arousal and orgasm, and all three are known for counteracting stress hormones and promoting relaxation, which makes it much easier for you to fall asleep.</p><p>There are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1233384" target="_blank">several studies</a> showing that serotonin and norepinephrine help our body cycle through REM and deep non-REM sleeping cycles. During these sleep cycles, the immune system releases proteins called <a href="https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-sleep-affects-your-immunity" target="_blank"><span id="selection-marker-1" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span>cytokines<span id="selection-marker-2" class="redactor-selection-marker"></span></a>, which target infection and inflammation. This is a critical part of our immune response. Cytokines are both produced and released throughout our bodies while we sleep, which proves the importance of a good sleep schedule to a healthy immune system.</p>
Masturbation promotes a high-functioning immune system; a healthy immune system prevents cold and flu.<p>The immune system is a balanced network of cells and organs that work together to defend you against infections and diseases by stopped threats like bacteria and viruses from entering your system. While there are many things we need to do to keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels, masturbation (or other means of achieving orgasm) has proven to have positive effects on the immune system as a whole.</p><p>Just as bad habits (such as an inconsistent sleep schedule or harmful chemicals in your body) can slow your immune system, positive habits (such as a healthy sleep schedule and active sex life) can help boost your immune system. </p>
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought out the perception of selfishness among many.
- Selfish behavior has been analyzed by philosophers and psychologists for centuries.
- New research shows people may be wired for altruistic behavior and get more benefits from it.
- Crisis times tend to increase self-centered acts.