Monthly Archives: December 2018

The Big Bang & common sense

The Big Bang & common sense
I have always had my concerns about the concept of the Big Bang. I have not been able to wrap my head around the idea that all the matter in the universe originated from a single point smaller than an atom. That degree of density is mind blowing. Somehow the matter in this point exploded (banged) 13.8 Billion years ago. The matter (regular, dark, and other?) starts expanding at some point. Not only is it expanding, but it is expanding at an accelerating rate. There is actually evidence that the rate of universe expansion could be exceeding the speed of light on the outer edges. While we believe that exceeding the speed of light is not possible for a body traveling within space it is apparently for space itself to expand at a rate that exceeds it!?
I there was a single point (singularity) where was it? Prior to the “bang” there was apparently no such thing as “space” and “time”. These two concepts seem to be enveloped within the expanding universe. What caused the singularity to “bang”. What lies outside the boundaries of our universal bubble? Are we only one universe among a multiverse? If so, what lies between the universes if space is only contained within a universe? Our brightest minds postulate answers to all of these questions but, at best, they appear only be S.W.A.G.s to me.
What is the shape of our universe? Common sense would say that it must resemble a sphere. When it “banged” you would think that the expansion would be simultaneous in all directions. But no. The best competing theories are: 1. That the universe is relatively flat or 2. It is relatively flat, but curved. If it is relatively flat then how thick is the “flatness”? What is the shape of the “flat” boundaries? I have seen illustrations that seem to indicate the boundaries might resemble a rectangle, but how would that be possible?
Did the singularity occur in the center of what we now observe as the universe or at one end? On illustration that I viewed indicated that the expansion only occurred in one direction (if “direction” is even the appropriate term?).
Recent indications are that the diameter of the observable universe is 91 billion light years. If this is true and the universe is relatively flat then what meant by “the diameter”? Does that imply that the shape of the universe is actually a relatively flat circle how do they determine the actual relative location of our galaxy within the universe? Are we near the center or close to one edge? Super minds estimate the Milky Way to be 13.8 billion years old which should put closer to the edge, but that is common sense and the “facts” appear to be uncommon! How did the universe obtain a diameter of 91 billion light years in less than 14 billion years?

Life Expectancy vs HALE

Life Expectancy vs HALE

I recently read an ED OP in our local paper that was a reprint from apublication from a Minnesota paper. The writer was pointing out that while most EU countries were making positive progress to improve Life Expectancy, the US has been heading in the opposite direction for several years. The narrative stated that the CDC has placed part of the blame on drug overdoses and suicides. I did a bit of math on these areas and discovered that the increases in these areas has only had a minimal impact. The writer pointed out deficiencies in our health care system and noted increases in pregnancy mortality & heart disease, but again these numbers do not even come close to explainingaway the problem.

My opinion is that the issue lies with our broken and extremely expensivehealthcare system in combination with our inability (or unwillingness) tomaintain our immune systems through regular exercise and moderation of caloricintake. Our healthcare system costs, on average, 2 ½ times that per capita average for EU countries. Yet, according to the World Health organization weonly rank 31st in terms of quality of care. It is interesting tha this is exactly the rank that the US has with respect to Life Expectancy, again 31st. You would think that since we spend so much on health care we should begetting the best?                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think it important to not befooled by Life Expectancy as a true measure of quality. The better measure isone termed HALE (Health Adjusted Life Expectancy). Following is taken from VeryWell Health: “How Is Healthy Life Expectancy Calculated? This is a bit complicated and uses lots of different data sources for each country. In a nutshell, the World Health Organization takes a country’s data like mortality rates and health status information and crunches them to look at things like how long people are expected to livewith about 135 health conditions. The calculation looks at the mortality ratefor different health conditions and adjusts it for the duration or severity of the illnesses.”

 What this measures isyour expectation of a healthy life span, not just how long we can keep you alive! Again, we fall far behind the EU and in fact we fall to 35thoverall. The difference is significant. Currently our Life expectancy from birth stands at 79.3, but our HALE stands at only 69.1. Keeping us alive those additional 10 years is expensive and they are not our best years.

You might be surprised to learn that the following countries have a better HALE than the US: TheUnited Arab Emirates, Slovenia, Malta, Maldives, Costa Rica, Chile & Cuba. Our HALE is equal to that of China.

Kit Kat (a travel story)

Kit Kat (a travel story)

When I was off to college my family decided to adopt a cat. My younger brother fell in love with the “runt” of the litter. She was a small tortoise shell and he named her Kit Kat. When she was full grown she outgrew her “runt” status and reached 13 lbs. in her prime (the average female cat is in the 10 – 11 lb. range).

When she was several years old the family was living in Montgomery AL and took a week-long vacation. They decided to board Kit Kat with the one of the local vets whose office was located several miles away and the required route crossed two controlled access freeways. As was his custom dad asked a neighbor to look after the house and gave him the phone number where the family would be staying. He asked the neighbor to call if anything were to occur.

Two days into the vacation his neighbor called and informed him that his cat was hanging around the front door. Dad called the vet and confirmed that Kit Kat had escaped. When he contacted the neighbor and explained what happened his neighbor offered to return Kit Kat to the vet and dad thanked him. Another two days passed and the neighbor called my dad again, Kit Kat was back! He offered to put out food and water for the cat until the family would return a few days later.

How did Kit Kat know the route back home? How did she manage crossing two controlled access freeways safely? Not once but twice. I guess the 2nd time was easier!

Kit KAT passed away at age 13. She was a very special part of our family.