It is a very sad fact that the toxic, tribalism-focused, divisive, narrow, me-first way of thinking that some humans practice is their prime limiting factor.
In the end, they will probably do themselves in (taking many of us along with them) as they cling to their ancient emotion and fear-driven ideas, ideals, idols, crystals, horoscopes, and divisive, evidence and reason-lacking ancient dusty tablets and texts – all while the real miracles come from the readily available peer-reviewed and often freely offered findings of science, application of engineering, and acceptance of reality.
Sad indeed but it seems this fact may be one of the ways natural selection is exhibited in the human species.
Another trip around the sun completed successfully.
Some perspective: On this day (July 15th) in 1968 I came into this reality – whatever this reality really is – and as of today, I have existed in this reality for 54 earth years.
Some perspective and observations.
I was premature so I had to cook in an incubator for a while until my body took over and I could support myself without the assistance of science and technology.
I was soon adopted by two amazing people Cathy and Clayton – who accepted me into their home as their own child. They later adopted another child in need and named her Lesly who then became my wonderful sister. She met Jonas and they raised two wonderful children – Cody and Ashlyn – who I just know will go above and beyond and do great things. I am lucky and proud to be a part of this family.
I was born in the middle of one of the times of the greatest scientific and engineering achievements humankind has ever experienced: the Apollo-era moon missions and landings…and, fitting the space exploration and cultural turbulence of the times, the first incarnation of Star Trek – my favorite TV series – was on TV…and it still is and all of its incarnations and I love them all for the messages they bring to all of us – if we have the capacity to understand and accept them and put them into practice.
I have been alive (whatever that means) for ~473,040 hours and accruing. I have orbited our closest star Sol 54 times. I have now traveled around 31,536,000,000 miles (50,752,272,384 kilometers) through space in an ever-spiraling circle around a rather remote and average little yellow star while riding on a water-soaked living rock along with you and over 7.9 billion other naked, bi-pedal, mostly hairless, multi-colored, fire and tool-using, thinking apes, and countless other amazing life-forms – while spinning at an equatorial rate of around 1000 mph (1,609.3 kph) while at the same time passing through the icy blackness vacuum of space at around 67,000 mph (107,826 kph) in our orbital path around the sun while also orbiting around Sagittarius A* the supermassive black hole in the center of our home galaxy at a rate of around 514,000 mph. At this rate, it will take me, you, our wet rock, and our star – about 229 million years to make one trip around the galactic center thereby completing one Galactic Year. And all of this, all of us, everything, our entire Milky Way galaxy – is traveling through intergalactic space at around 1.2 million mph (1.9m kph) relative to the cosmic background radiation.
So far, I have had an amazing existence full of tons of excitement, exploration, friendship, laughter love, and light as well as periods of loss, pain, hardship, and a little bit of darkness.
I was here the last time Haley’s Comet passed by our pale blue watery rock of a dot in 1986 (and I plan to be here to see it again when it comes back around again in 2062).
I rode along in spirit and in support of every space exploration mission humanity has launched since I can remember way back as a 4-year-old kid watching it happen live (well, almost live since round trip communication time between the earth and moon is 2.6 seconds) on TV and then running outside in the yard to look up at the moon where the last Apollo astronauts were bouncing about the lunar surface in the early ’70s. I have since watched in awe, great appreciation, and hope as the space programs of planet earth sent many amazing interplanetary probes to the Sun, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Titan, Neptune, Pluto, asteroids, comets, asteroids, and more. I watched as the incredible Space Shuttles flew on huge pillars of flame and 15 nations set aside their differences to build the International Space Station – a castle of science, discovery, and international cooperation 249 miles above all of us in the “sky.” Today I am elated at the rapid evolution of non-governmental space exploration and travel organizations and I hope to see us back on the moon soon – and then sometime before I kick off – great shiny Starships landing on Mars. Go SpaceX! Just a few days ago I witnessed the mind-blowingly beautiful and deeply data-rich images from almost the beginning of time and space come beaming down to all of us overly encephalized hairy tit-sucking mammals living upon this pale blue dot from the incredible James Webb Space Telescope – and I look forward to seeing more that will come to us over the next 20 – 30 years and am so excited for how much the JWST’s imagery will increase our knowledge of our own cosmic evolution.
I chased nature and wild animals, first as a child for personal interest sake, and later in the name of science, education, and conservation of species. My favorites being the misunderstood creatures of the world such as reptiles, amphibians, bats, Opossums, and vultures.
On a few occasions, my body was invaded by festering armies of microscopic “wildlife” that tried to use me as a replicator for more of their kind and/or end me, and yet, my own immune system as well as the findings of many, many great scientists that came before allowed me to boost, augment, and bio-hack my body through the use of antibiotics and vaccinations thereby giving me a “force field of science” inside and out so I could continue awkwardly onward into the future.
In 2014 I came closest to feeding the soil, worms, and trees when a rather archaic and not that useful part of my internal anatomy (my appendix) malfunctioned and suffered a massive R.U.D. (Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly) – so I had it removed by a robot that was designed by science and piloted by a scientist we all call a doctor so I could continue in my present state of gangly existence.
In 2016 I had an encounter with a wild venomous serpent (Timber rattlesnake) who was only defending himself due to my accidental stupidity and, while I was in no danger of meeting my end – it did really hurt a bit and slow me down for a few weeks (yes, the snake still lives in the wilds of the forest ) The only way I was able to overcome this one without losing a finger and possibly suffering lasting damage to my body was through the findings of science. Yep, there is that science thing again. Ain’t it wonderful
This past year the current plague impacting humanity (SARS CoV2) finally caught up with me. It was no fun at all and took me out for a week or so but I recovered – again thanks to science and my science-augmented immune system.
On all these close calls (and many I have not even been aware of due to my science augmented/trained to recognize and destroy the “bad guys” immune system via all the vaccinations I have gladly rolled up my sleeves to receive since I was a small child ) I was given another chance at existing in this reality through the findings of science, miracles of modern technology and engineering…and possibly a little bit of some as yet to be discovered by science mystical energy field or omnipotent ancient and possibly extraterrestrial/interdimensional intelligence that, for some really disturbingly strange reason, many individuals/cultures/factions on the planet have coined many different names/stories/belief systems for – yet cannot ever seem to agree upon…and often even choose to childishly take sides, argue, fight, and believe it or not even murder each other over…so bizarre and childlike is the proudest monkey.
IMHO – if this intelligence exists – it is as far “above” us as we are “above” our closest relatives the Chimpanzee and Bonobo…or maybe the bacterium…or the virus. Whatever the case, I’m pretty sure that if it does exist it might be studying us as we study the animals…or the virus…and it cares not one single bit about our posturings on its behalf, the myriad of books we write about it, our childish bickering on who/what it is, who or what is “right” and “wrong,” who uses which bathroom, who’s skin is what color, who is “left” and “right,” etc. – just like we do not care about the comings and goings of bacteria and viral organisms…until they invade our personal space and become overpopulated…hmmmm…something important to ponder if you are able to see deep enough or large enough to ponder it…
At an early age, I became tired of all the factions telling me what to do, how to believe, how to think, how to live my life, and how to be a human – so I chose to follow my own path. I chose to listen to nature, to the evidence and logic and teachings of the wilderness, and to the findings and ponderings of the great minds and philosophies of history. Some may call me a “free spirit” – nice! – thank you! Some have called me “lost” – really, how rude! But whatever the case may be this is my path, no one can choose it for me and likewise, I will never try to force it on you or anyone. You must all find your own path.
I learned to drone a didgeridoo – so very ancient and cool!
I fell in love with a wonderful, beautiful, and intelligent human female called Marian and we settled down a bit…but not too much
A few years later I fell into a wonderful career inspiring, leading, and sharing nature, science, and reality knowledge with amazing at-risk youth on the connections, beauty, and joy of nature, wildlife, science, and life the universe, and everything.
While working to inspire tomorrow’s youth to better themselves by connecting with nature, wilderness, wild things, and to trust science and let it be their guide in life – I have connected with so many amazing human beings in my students and my coworkers – my life has been so deeply enrichened from my time with all of you amazing people and I am so grateful for all of you and your lasting contributions to your classroom and to my personal journey.
My incredible students, interns, volunteers, amazing friends Jim and Bob, and I all worked together over many solar orbits with many more amazing project supporters to build a photovoltaic solar power plant that benefits not only our classroom and campus but the entire local community with clean, locally-produced renewable energy from our nearest fusion reactor in space – the sun! Update: During my most recent solar orbit we all – and some wonderful and most-generous new friends – worked to create a solar-powered mobile outreach classroom called the SS NaSA PoD (Science Steve’s Nature and Science Adventure Pod of Discovery) – that will allow us to bring our nature, wildlife, and science messages to our students and to the region – so cool!
About 10 orbits ago my wife and I started phasing out almost all our connections to nature, life, and future-harming dirty fossil fuels. We have been driving mostly electric since 2013 and intend to soon go fully electric with most of our transportation, energy, and fuel needs coming from EVs and local renewable energy sources.
Just a few solar orbits ago the amazing findings of the science of genetics and DNA sequencing allowed me to connect with my wonderful biological father, sister, brother, and other awesome family members and answer many of the questions about my genetic roots and my connections to nature that I have had since an early age.
And now I find myself near the end of a global viral pandemic that has sadly ended the lives of many and upset the lives and plans of most. As before, I will follow and trust the science as I ignore all the other randomly repeated, vociferous, evidence-lacking, overly emotional, opinions and options and roll up my sleeve and gladly accept the expertly recommended vaccinations against this microscopic attacker (but I did still get the virus – only not as bad as some I know who did not or could not roll up their sleeves). I will continue to trust in science, even with its changeable and incomplete nature, to give me guidelines and support during this global human emergency. I hope you will choose to join me and in doing so, together, you and I will get through this thing – and hopefully, I will still be here to rewrite this yet again next year on this day.
Whatever all the facts and reasons may be, I am very glad to still be here on this incredible and sometimes bumpy but always interesting wild ride through the cosmos with all of you other crazy wonderful, and beautifully mixed-up mosh pit of humans and always wonderful animals.
I’m not sure where we are going or when, where, and why we exist – but wherever, whatever, whenever, and whyever – at least we are making good time and it has been and will continue to be one heck of a wild ride through the cosmos on this one strange rock we all call home.
Thank you all for being here and for riding along on this roller coaster called life with me Now let’s all take another spin around the sun together on spaceship Earth!
Improvise, adapt, overcome, evolve, survive, and thrive.
Sometimes, I have moments of mind-blowing clarity, epiphany, and illumination when I observe something that I thought I understood and accepted as scientific and factual truth in my limited tiny human way, then I find a new way to experience that thing, and my eyes are opened even wider than I thought possible and entire world’s of wonder are revealed – like living jewels floating in a sea of blackness. This happened tonight when I placed my eye to a telescope and peered at the distant planet Saturn and its moon Titan. Absolutely beautiful and mind-expanding was my experience peering through a rather inexpensive telescope from the porch of a beach house on Edisto Island, SC through 1.2 billion kilometers (746 million miles or 8.2 times farther from the sun than Earth) of space and time. Although Saturn looked like a tiny yellow ball surrounded by glowing golden rings and its fascinating giant yellowish moon Titan a shining point of light adjacent to the planet, I was blown away that I was actually seeing it in reality, as it existed in space and time.
Yes, I have seen it before – recently with my own telescope, at professional observatories, and so on – but the most memorable time was the first time many, many years ago – back in the late 70s when I peered at it through a friend’s dad’s telescope on the same night we watched Skylab crossing over only hours before it fell back to earth. But way back then I was a kid and I did not have a lifetime of experience with which to filter and understand my experience – tonight was very different and so much more powerful because tonight I saw Saturn again in reality. It was not a close-up photo taken by Hubble, a space probe, or a mountain-top observatory…it was a real experience that I lived and felt deeper than I ever thought possible. It was visceral, powerful, moving, mind-expanding, and all those other big words that try to do it justice but really cannot. It was the crushing, humbling, reality that we are such miniscule creatures yet we have built this incredible ability to see reality as it really is and to understand our tiny place in that reality. As Carl Sagan put it: “We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”
I was unable to acquire a photo due to technological limitations so the photo I have included is almost exactly what I observed although it was taken with a bit larger telescope.
This experience has reinforced what I have known for many years and what I live by:
Experiential education is the best way to teach a person a thing, no matter what that thing is. Turn off your tv and get off your butt and get outside, look through a telescope, play in the mud, climb a tree, travel to other places, eat strange foods, meet new people, climb mountains, swim seas, raft rivers, ride a bike, do good things, be nice, make a difference, coexist with all lifeforms, live in continuous awe of the amazing, grand, ancient and wondrous nature that is all around us and you will better off for it – and remember that all the craziness and insanity of today matters not at all when compared to the vast nature of space, time and the cosmos.
We are very, very small. Do not take things so seriously, live, laugh, love and above all else – do good things!
Fear, hate, aggression, anger, greed, judgment, spite, darkness – these things are mind and spirit killers.
Let go of them.
A few decades ago I let go of my fear, hate, aggression, anger, greed, judgment, spite, and darkness. When I did this an amazing cosmos opened up to me. A living cosmos of beauty, coexistence, love, truth, kindness, and light – a cosmos of amazing possibilities.
Today I choose to treat all humans and all beings with the love, kindness, and respect that they deserve until given a reason not to do so.
I do not hold grudges – what a waste of time and energy.
I do not target, belittle and bully those that do not share my philosophy. Doing so would simply breed more negativity and polarization and again – what a waste of time and energy.
However, when needed I will use scientifically supported facts and common sense to educate others on more productive, environmentally sound ways and options of being human. I am aware that sometimes these suggestions may be interpreted as personal attacks but rest assured they are not. A fact is not an attack, it is only a fact. Aggression and attack are easy, evidence-supported facts are sometimes hard because they may require change – and for some people change is an impossible task.
I am simply offering another opinion, another option, or another path based on self-supporting, peer-reviewed evidence and/or common sense that the reader may not have thought of in their popular philosophy. It is up to them to choose what to do with the knowledge I have freely offered. If it does not work for them – so be it – it is they who will suffer the consequences of their actions be they “good” or “bad” consequences.
In adopting this philosophy I have reduced my stress levels, opened my mind, had incredible mind-opening relationships and adventures, and made amazing friends from all walks and ways of life that have made my life so much more beautiful and full than I ever thought possible.
I have followed opportunities that have blossomed into amazing positive learning, teaching, and growth experiences. All of these things, all of these connections, and all of these experiences have worked to create the person I am today.
If I had continued to follow the fearful path, if I had continued to live in fear of the things the sensationalistic media, special interest religio-political, and business groups, and smooth-talking venom spitting charlatans with their powerful hate and fear-filled divisive toxic agendas are continually working to feed us through TV, social media, literature, and movies – who knows where I would be today or if I would even still be alive.
How did I rise above all this? How did I escape the fearful madness that tried to assimilate me into their mind-numbing collectives? How did I form a shield against the never-ending onslaught from all directions?
For me, my answer was and still is nature, knowledge, and willpower.
After spending many years living, working, and playing in nature, in the wilderness – experiencing the ancient, age-old beauty and complexity of all that is nature and all that is this thing we call life – I developed a deep, spiritual reverence for life. This reverence stretched deeper into the core of my being, into my soul than anything I have ever experienced in any place of traditional organized religion/worship or anywhere in the human world.
Unlike all the other ways of living and being that wanted my money, my time, my thoughts, and even my very soul – these powerful natural connections did not want anything at all from me – yet they deeply fed me and I thirsted for more. So I dove deeper into the great naturalistic, scientific, philosophical and religious texts/field guides, and manuals, of the world and I learned from them but did not put all of them on pedestals or see them as “gossip truths” – I saw them as the great and powerful teaching tools that they are and I left it at that.
I also spoke to many wise, well-traveled, learned individuals and mentors who had lifetimes of knowledge to share and I listened to them and often, I followed their examples, and sometimes I did not because their examples did not work for me. Soon, I came to realize that we – our entire species – and all life on our earth – are but an insignificant, yet somehow aware of that insignificance, a minute little speck…a tiny hot candle of life and consciousness in the icy blackness of space, a momentary flaring of self-aware existence in the stupendous grandeur of all that has existed, exists, and will ever exist in deep time.
The time we are given to live on this earth in this form is so very brief, so very fragile, so very special.
To waste this finite time living in fear, full of hate, fighting over petty differences, imaginary lines on maps, temporary things, with eyes closed, and heart hardened to all of the wonders of reality and nature that exist and flow around us and within us – would be the ultimate disrespect to our existence and such an incredibly irresponsible waste of our precious time.
I believe that the biggest decision one can make is how to use the time they have been given.
For me, that decision is to spend my time wisely, free of hate, judgment, and fear and in the service and support of others and in service and support of the infinite living organism we call nature that gives life to us and supports and nourishes us all.
To that end, I will work hard to continue to share with others this knowledge and this reverence for all things that I have found and hope to continue to find. I will continue to use the scientific method and the naturalistic eye to explore the natural world in all its magnificence and share with you what I find.
I will continue to work to respect, trust, love, and accept all life in all of its infinite forms, infinite diversity, and infinite combinations and I will work to promote and support all that is good, positive, productive, and supportive of this grand complexity we call life.
This way is my own and I totally understand that it may not be yours and that is OK, I accept and respect that 100% – as long as your path does no harm to others, works in support of peace, nature, understanding, and coexistence with all beings and all things now and into the future.
Some of us must follow our own path, no one can choose that path for us – so follow the beat of your own drum and when the chance to change, grow, and blossom presents itself, take it, live it, learn it, laugh, love, sing, paint, get out into the woods, rivers, mountains, oceans, and let your inner light shine, be the change, and above all else be yourself and do what you feel is right in your heart and all will fall into place.
The viral scourge has found her and infected she is, but it seems only a mild vexing.
Yet, exiled from society the fair maid has been by the local lords of the magic known as medicine.
Her beloved nature knight, his weapons of choice earth, air, fire, water, and loads of peer-reviewed knowledge freely passed down from the great natural philosophers along with a lot of practical engineering and improvisation, has therefore reclusively retreated into a miniature wheeled home of his own creation.
Within this tiny bean pod-like shell he must reluctantly reside for a fortnight at most – but less in probability – while his princess valiantly fights her battle alone, aided only by countless armies of microscopic bloodborne troops – enhanced by the magical art of medical science – working round the clock to massacre the many millions of maliciously malevolent microscopic monstrosities munching madly in maid Marian’s body.
Nature knight profoundly misses his beauty who is so close, yet so far away just on the other side of an impenetrable wall of wood and masonry – her only company, the mischievous red canine companion and two troublemaking flatulent felines.
The lone lovers are sad yet they know they will be reunited after the microscopic battle being fought within her flesh and blood is finally over.
Therefore, all he can do is wait, wait within his microscopically minuscule science and star-powered abode as he ponders the countless unanswerable questions of deep time, DNA, and the vast ocean of the cosmos – while partaking of vegan ice cream and chocolate stout.
The condensed version: My wife has a mild case of covid, I’m living in the RV for the duration making the best of it hoping it doesn’t get me.
A few days later…
The masked and gloved physician jammed the nasal probe of pain so far up I thought it might bust through into my brain…only to reveal what my rapidly advancing symptoms suggested – the vile microscopic beastie has finally caught up with me.
I hope this thing is short-lived for I have dragons to slay, fair maidens to rescue, and seeds of knowledge to plant.
Be gone with you, vile, villainous, wretched, miserable, microscopic, malevolence! With what little breath I have left I stab at thee with many choice colorful metaphors – and a hefty, healthy dose of SCIENCE!!!
To the rest of you reading this I say this: WEAR YOUR GORRAM MASK AND WASH YOUR FILTHY POXIFIED HANDS!!!
Photo Hubble Ultra Deep Field. An estimated 10,000 galaxies are shown in this image from the Hubble Space Telescope. Photo Source: https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/30946
Space is stupendously massive with countless galaxies, each with hundreds of billions of stars and trillions of planets and moons. Statistically, there must be life elsewhere in the cosmos and IMHO most of it is probably microscopic and/or not intelligent/spacefaring.
However, if there are intelligent, spacefaring species out there, and if they have visited us – then the massive scale of the cosmos and the incredible technology, knowledge, and ability needed to traverse it would suggest these beings would possess technology and intelligence as far “above” ours/us as we are “above” the chimpanzee…or the ant…or the bacterium…or the virus…and lately and with each passing day, evidence reveals that some humans seem to be de-evolving and acting more and more like a virus.
Therefore, as we mostly naked, multi-colored, bipedal, primates will often camouflage ourselves with our technology and technique in order to study other life forms upon our planet without revealing ourselves to them…
…it is very possible the extraterrestrials have similar technologies (yet vastly superior to ours) that would easily hide them from our detection. Yes, that would then suggest that all the blurry photographs, videos, books, and eyewitness accounts/interviews over all the years by all the people claiming to have seen/encountered/been abducted by aliens are in fact – 100% pure and total bunk manufactured by charlatans wanting attention and fortune.
Another possibility exists: they have been here in the past and yet may still be here (maybe not them personally but their technology – think: cellular/internet-connected wildlife/trail camera traps/webcams etc that would allow them to remotely study us from the comfort of their home planet) studying us as we study other lifeforms on earth – such as looking at chimps and deer in the forest, ants under a magnifying glass, bacteria under a microscope, or African wildlife visiting a waterhole…
It is also possible that many randomly selected and/or “of importance” or “special interest” humans have been “tagged” with 100% undetectable with our current technologies tracking devices (no, not injected via anal probes or vaccinations – oh lord people please grow up and just stop it with the TV/hollywood inspired stories and lame conspiracy “theories”) so as to be observed by these extraterrestrial observers in the attempt to study the mundane and unique among our species and learn more about us as we wildlife researchers work to learn more about the natural life movements of wild creatures currently existing with us on our home planet.
Or, they may, in fact, be so far evolutionarily, emotionally, and technologically advanced “above” us that we are only mere curiosities to them…or of no interest at all…
Maybe, due to the destructive, hateful, selfish, natures, and our viral reproduction and expansion without any concern for future generations – maybe our solar system has been put in a physically distanced quarantine zone far from the rest of the galaxy and its populated worlds until we children grow up out of our dangerous malignant infancy, start taking care of our planetary life support system, and coexisting with each other and with all species on this strange water-soaked living rock we call earth.
Another view of our home. Can you find the earth in this image? Yes, we are there, the tiny pale blue dot hanging in space under Saturn’s rings on the lower right.
“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” —Neil Armstrong
Yes, whatever the cause may be, gas prices are getting higher and higher.
Along with this fact many people are now hating on and bashing electric vehicles and renewable energy.
Wait – what?
Yes. In the last two weeks, I have seen many posts and comments by many people about renewable energy sources and electric vehicles that try to paint them in a negative light.
It is all the same old cherry-picking FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) and nay-sayer arguments and then some.
IMHO I think it is because the bullies and bashers do not want to acknowledge that it is time to change from an outdated, toxic, war-supporting, finite, politically polarized, planetary-sourced, energy/fuel system to an up to date, much cleaner, renewable, energy secure, distributed, energy/fuel system powered by locally-sourced energy from solar panels on your own rooftop or wind turbines silently turning on a windy hillside or west Texas ranch. With our current technology, it no longer makes good science-supported common sense to power our society primarily on hydrocarbon-based energy products sourced on the other side of the planet – be it from the Persian Gulf or Russia – when we have the technology, engineering, and knowledge to get things done with clean, secure, home-grown energy sourced close to home – where it is needed and used.
Some will say the environmental impacts of renewable energy and electric vehicles are actually greater than that of fossil fuel sourced energy systems. This is a total falsehood manufactured by fossil fuel mongers using the same playbook used by the people who tried to tell us that smoking was not bad for your health or that lead in gasoline was safe and, more recently, that Volkswagen had developed a “clean diesel” engine – we now see where all those arguments lie – deep in a steaming pile of festering worm-ridden filth in the bottom of a long-forgotten moldering outhouse.
Yes, it is true that everything, even EVs and renewable energy systems has an impact – and the greater our population – the greater our need for resources so the greater our impacts. Our survival as a species is no longer about growing – it is becoming more about balance, it is about reducing our impact on our planetary life-support system so we can reach equilibrium and continue without harming the very life support system that gives us all life. So why do we keep accepting and using the worst possible energy/transportation sources with the biggest most harmful impacts when far better options with far less of an impact are readily available?
Many will often simply say it is too expensive – but my answer to this is have you actually done the math to support your opinion?
Driving electric and going renewable does in fact cost more upfront – but over the life of the product – the solar panels or the EV – you make up for that initial higher cost and the lifetime savings far offset the initial costs. As an example: I power my daily driver EV primarily with solar-produced electricity. Therefore, my fuel costs to drive the vehicle are less than 1 cent/mile. I drive around 200 miles/week – so therefore I spend less than $2/week to drive the car everywhere I need to drive it.
I do still have a legacy vehicle (Honda Pilot 4×4 SUV) for towing/hauling and short trips to town and getting to work in bad weather. It costs an average of 15 cents per mile (at today’s gas prices) to drive. So, to drive the Honda the same distance as I drive my EV I will pay ~$30 (200 miles x .15 = $30)!! Yikes!
How far do you drive and what are your costs per mile? (and don’t forget to figure in the costs of maintenance on your vehicle – all those tune-ups/filters/exhaust pipes/catalytic converters/oil/fluid/filter changes etc)
Now, imagine if you have a few solar panels on your roof and an EV in your driveway – how much money would you save now that you are not paying for electricity for your home and fuel for your car?
Some will say it takes forever to charge an EV. Earlier EVs – yes. They charged far slower than today’s EVs but today’s EVs charge far faster – some add hundreds of miles of range in mere minutes and the speed is getting faster every day.
Fact: Most EV owners charge overnight while they are sleeping or while at work and the car is ready to go when they are. If you can use a smartphone, you can drive an EV.
Some will say “charging an EV at home will raise your power bill unimaginably high.” Nope. In my experience charging at home* only raises my power bill by about $10/week – how much do you spend on gas per week? *back when I most often charged at home – now I rarely do since I most often charge at work so I can take advantage of solar-produced electricity.
Obviously, if you have an EV with a larger battery it will cost more to fill it up – but even a Tesla Model S Plaid with its massive 95 kWh battery would cost less to fill up than almost any fossil-powered vehicle in today’s gas market.
Some will also say “the energy for your electric car comes from dirty coal – so it is a coal-powered electric car.”
Fact: even if an EV is charged with the dirtiest coal-fired energy – it is still far cleaner to operate than any petroleum-powered vehicle. Why you may ask?
Answer: because the entire fossil fuel mining/transport/refining and supply chain (and let us not forget the human costs from war/terrorism and the environmental costs from emissions and pollution from the final use of the product) is now out of the picture for the EV…AND the US power grid is getting cleaner every day as more and more legacy energy power plants retire and more and more renewable energy power plants come online – so every day your EV gets cleaner and cleaner to drive – that is an impossibility with any vehicle powered by fossil fuels.
Let’s face the facts: using fossil fuel-powered anything is simply a subscription to dependency. We are hopelessly addicted to fossil fuels…well, some of us anyway.
Some will say “at the end of their life solar panels and EV batteries cannot be recycled and are just tossed into landfills.” Really. You are really going there? Sad. Ok. Here are the facts.
In reality – solar panels are made mostly of glass and aluminum and these things can be recycled – into more solar panels.
EV batteries, when they are not able to push a car down the road, are repurposed into stationary energy storage such as storage batteries for homes and businesses (think backup generator – but with batteries.) Then, after another decade or so of life as a stationary storage battery – they are recycled – into more batteries. In other words, we can mine the battery for its resources and do not need to dig more holes for more raw materials to make more batteries – we already have them. It’s a win-win for everyone.
In fact, it is just stupid (and illegal in some places) to throw away a used battery due to the high value of the raw materials contained inside. This is why when you need a new 12-volt car starter battery the auto parts store will pay you money (the core charge) for your old one and it is then recycled into a new battery. It is no different with used Lithium-ion batteries.
There are countless erroneous and outright ignorant “memes” circulating on the internet that have been created to spread FUD around electric vehicles and renewable energy sources. One of the most recent I have seen involves the following:
From Diego Loredan on Facebook: “This is a used car dump near Paris, France with hundreds of electric cars. Please note, these are only used cars of the city of Paris and not personal vehicles. Everyone has the same problem …. the battery storage cells are dead and need to be replaced. Why not replace them, you ask yourself? Well, there are two reasons. One, battery storage cells cost almost twice what a new vehicle costs, and two, no landfill or landfill will allow you to dump batteries there. So these green fairy electric cars are dumping toxins from the battery right into the ground. Still think we need to think green ???” Very interesting!!??
I did a quick and simple Google fact check and discovered the following about these cars:
“The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
News reports from France say the cars are part of a fleet from a failed car-sharing service, and the vehicles shown in the field are being resold or sold for parts.
A French television news report in April, with photos like those appearing with the Facebook post, said more than 1,000 vehicles used in the Autolib program are being stored on a lot in Romorantin-Lanthenay, an area about 130 miles southwest of Paris.
The Bolloré company had a contract with local authorities in and around Paris to provide the vehicles, which people could borrow for a fee. That ended in 2018 when the service was in debt and failing.
Some 4,000 of the vehicles were sold, mainly to two companies that have been reselling them, according to the report. That includes the ones shown in the Facebook post.
The TV stories and a French newspaper article noted the claims on social media. “Unlike what buzzes on social media, this is not a cemetery,” the newspaper report said.
We rate the post False.” – From Politifact
Another thing to note is the following from Reuters:
“French media reports here , here and here which show pictures of the cars lined up in a field like those in the social media posts, explain that the termination of the contract meant that Bollore had to remove its 4,000 vehicles from the Paris region to Romorantin-Lanthenay, 200 kms (124 miles) south of Paris. Bollore sold the cars, most of them going to two companies, Autopuzz, which resells the cars throughout France, and Atis Production.
On claims about soil pollution risk posed by the cars, Paul Aouizerate, head of Atis Production, told France Info here “Our vehicles are properly stored. The firefighters are aware, the construction site is well organized. All the batteries have been removed and the connectors are isolated.”
He added that the cars were not going to a junkyard. Autopuzz told France TV Info it is reselling the cars to buyers across France at a rate of 50 per month (here).
Partly false. These are genuine photos of electric cars in France, but they were taken off the road due to financial difficulties, not problems with the battery storage cells. More than 2,500 of the cars have been resold.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.”
If you remain unconvinced – do your own simple research.
This erroneous meme and many like it have been manufactured/miscaptioned in the attempt to illicit FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) about electric vehicles. More than likely the FUD generators that made this meme have money tied up in fossil fuels/fossil fuel infrastructure and are terrified at the prospect of losing their nest eggs.
Along with all that nonsense: many renewable energy haters/doubters/FUD spreaders will often say “wind turbines kill countless numbers of birds and bats” – another falsehood. While it is true that some of the earliest wind turbines were smaller, lower (closer to wildlife habitats), spun faster, and did impact wildlife – today’s turbines are designed from the get-go to lesson wildlife impacts and it is rare for birds and bats to die via modern wind turbines. In fact, do you know what kills the most birds, bats, and small animals in this country: pet/feral house cats and impacts with glass windows. The numbers of wildlife deaths from these two top killers are in the billions per year. Wind turbines do have an impact but it is minuscule when compared to bird/bat deaths from cats/windows and ahem: fossil fuel-related pollution from mining, shipping, spills, refining, use, and incorrect disposal of used oil, etc.
Some people are even saying that when someone drives an electric vehicle they do not pay gas taxes so the roads will suffer. This is simply a falsehood. I have been driving an EV since 2013 and I pay a yearly EV tax which makes up for the gas taxes I would have paid if I drove a legacy vehicle. This tax then goes to support highway maintenance and infrastructure. I have absolutely zero issues paying this tax because I enjoy driving on nice roads as much as the next bipedal naked ape.
I believe that many of these erroneous myths have and are being spread by the fossil fuel producers themselves and the “think tanks” they have hired to sow doubt in technologies that are their competition, as well as those with loads of money invested in fossil fuels – at home and abroad…possibly even in part by Russian government hackers since we all know that Russia’s main export products are soaked in hydrocarbons and they will do anything to keep the oil flowing out and the money flowing in.
Just stop it, people – stop it.
Stop falling for and spreading the clickbait and lies being spread by those who do not want to change – it is not helping anyone or anything except the old fossils running the petroleum companies, their politician puppets, and the tiny dictators who do not want to accept that the future of our species is renewable energy powered and electrically driven.
Change is the way of nature.
The time for change is now.
Change is often scary and it is often hard but remember this: very often the life that exists on the other side of change is far superior in every way to the one you are living in right now.
Someone once said everything worth doing in life exists on the other side of fear. It is time to push through the fear and adapt – because if we do not adapt, we die.
This is something I wrote a few years back on the value of science and modern medicine which seems very applicable to the situation in which we find ourselves today.
I was recently diagnosed to have appendicitis with an appendiceal abscess.
Yep, gross huh.
An infection of that little worm-shaped vestigial organ held over from our raw food diets so epically long ago is most painful and dangerous and of which the only treatment option is removal. So, at some point today, the offending bit of my anatomy will be removed and discarded and I can then get back into life full force. I can tell you that I am so ready to have that maddening little over-inflated meat monkey swinging around on the lower end of my Ascending Colon – that for the last few weeks had been swollen with infection and then one night decided to rupture and spew its putrid contents into my abdominal cavity and is now wreaking havoc with my health and my life – quickly removed and incinerated into the primal elements of its origin.
It has been very painful, I have lost a bunch of weight, there have been loads of tests, visits to doctors, scans and more scans, blood and other fluids and substances taken and tested (originally it was thought to be Diverticulitis, Chrones disease, or something else because I had symptoms that were longer-running and a bit different than the usual case of appendicitis) – then finally a double-contrast CT scan revealed the appendix had in fact blown out and ejected its putrid sappy contents into my abdominal cavity – yuk! Lucky for me my immune system switched into high gear and encapsulated the festering area like a pearl in an oyster – only nowhere near as pretty.
It finally ends today, under the knife, or laser (I hope), using the amazing robotic/laparoscopic tools and training developed by medical scientists, engineers, and doctors to save our lives when our fleshy bodies eventually malfunction or take damage from this thing we call life.
Scoff and speak ill of doctors, medicine, and science if you will – but you will change your tune when it’s your turn.
This brings up a pet peeve of mine, science denial. I feel I must speak out about this, especially after this life-changing science-saturated event I am going through as I write this. My support for the scientific and medical communities could not be stronger and if you live in today’s world, you do so in a very large part because of all that science. If you were born via modern caecerian section, put on life support as a baby, had antibiotics and/or vaccinations to heal your infections or protect you from an uncaring viral disease, have ever had a hospital stay, doctor or dental visit, took your pet to the vet, driven a car down the road, flown in an aircraft, boat, ship, train, submarine, spaceship or bicycle, bought food in a restaurant or grocery store, cooked food in an oven or microwave, kept leftover food cold in a fridge or freezer, heated and or powered your house with energy produced via coal, oil, nuclear, natural gas, hydroelectric, solar, wind or geothermal power, we’re alerted to or saved from a fire via a smoke alarm, brushed your teeth with a tooth brush (standard or electric), played a video game, hunted or fished for dinner using hunting and fishing gear/tools etc, watched TV, listened to music on your radio, stereo, tape deck, turntable, ipod or at a live concert, surfed the net, surfed a wave, snowboarded , skied, climbed a rock face, parachute jumped, base jumped, SCUBA dove, kayaked a raging river, paddled a quiet lake in a canoe, piloted an aircraft, bassboat, airboat, pontoon boat, or battleship, fly fished, slept in a modern sleeping bag on a thermarest style pad or on a memory foam mattress, carried your gear in a backpack, wore hiking boots, cross trainers or running shoes, navigated using a gps, map, or compass, cooked on a gas, biomas, or solar powered camp stove, turned on a light, or answered the phone – landline, mobile, or satellite, (and so much more) – then you my friend have benefited from science and engineering. Nobody on this earth can logically deny that science and engineering have played a massively important role in almost everything we have and do today…so how on this one strange rock of a planet is it at all possible that we still have so many people that so passionately deny the findings of science? From flat earthers, young-earthers, and hollow-earthers, to anti-vaxers, and evolution deniers, to those who deny climate change – all while taking advantage of all the science, engineering, and discovery all around them, inside them, and in their hands – the denial of the science and the evidence all around them is simply maddening.
Take anthropogenic climate change for instance: a massive and ever-growing number of reputable scientists that, after decades of meticulous research, from independent experiments all over the globe, meticulously gathered data from observatories and stations on earth and in space, collaborated with scientists in other earth and atmospheric science disciplines, studied the massive amounts of data, and then drawn informed conclusions, and finally published heavily peer-reviewed reports that have all then come to the indisputable (but yet still passionately disputed by some very loud voices) conclusions that by the actions of we humans burning copious amounts of fossil fuels to power our technologically wondrous culture: that we are causing the Earth’s climate to change in a negative way that is and will continue harming the very life support system that supports us all – and may one day render our species extinct.
How is it still possible that even with all this evidence – there are still people who choose to ignore and deny all the findings and all the hard evidence of these scientists? It would be like me ignoring the scientifically accurate findings of all the medical experts, doctors, and nurses taking care of me in my current uncomfortable situation – AND also ignoring all the findings of all the previous medical experts, doctors, and nurses who came before today’s doctors. If I ignored all these obvious findings, supported by all the hard evidence, and the decades of past medical research/experiences/findings from all the medical scientists/doctors that studied appendicitis in the past – and then just attempted to go on with my life as business as usual. How would that end for me? Simple and no question about it: pain, suffering, death, decay.
Ignoring and denying a potential problem because you do not understand it or do not want to believe the evidence that it exists – either because you do not understand it or it does not fit into your world view of the way things are – will not make it go away.
We have the fastest, most advanced supercomputer ever devised by nature or humanity sloshing around inside our hard hard heads so here is an idea: let’s use it and wake up out of our complacent sheeple-like sleep, cast away the tribal, fear-based, ideas of the past, and look to science as the way, as it always has been, to conquer our ancient fears of the unknown with the knowledge and factual, observation-based, peer-reviewed, findings of science and put into practice using the amazing tools of modern technology and engineering. When we do this we wake up to infinite possibilities, we become more enlightened, more tolerant of others, and more thankful for the beautiful complexities of life, time, space, and existence.
However, we must not forget where we came from, how we came to be where we are today, and always continue to teach the lessons of nature, the old ones, the great prophets of all peoples, the lessons of humility, love, compassion, faith, acceptance, coexistence, interdependence and respect of nature, a reverence for all life, and common sense as taught by the ancients. Without the combined truths of science, history, and the “soul” – our lives will be off-balance, and without a healthy balance we may be tempted to walk down the dark path of fear, hate, toxic tribalism, and confusion – and that trail does not ever end well.
Thank you to all my family and friends, for your friendship and support (even if we do not see eye to eye sometimes on some things) – you all mean the world to me and I love you all 🙂 Thank you to my coworkers, students, and friends for supporting me and my animals in my absence, and visiting me while I was in the hospital, you are the greatest crew to hike the Trails of life with and truly great friends.
Thank you to the doctors and staff of CMG, GPM, MMH, and TRH for professionally and expertly getting me through this tough but scientifically and biologically very fascinating time. Everyone wish me luck and any blessings from your favorite chosen deity, rock, crystal, energy field, or creature because very soon I am going under the knife/laser and with any luck, I will see you all again soon 🤓
UPDATE: 8:15 pm Tuesday. First, thank you all so much for your kind words 🙂 and to those of you that stopped by to hang out with me 🙂 especially my beautiful wife Marian for staying with me through this and helping me do the things that need doing, I love you so much ❤
WOO HOO! Ambulance ride! On way to a nearby city for a special pre-operative procedure. The last time I rode in an ambulance was over a decade ago when I owned an old 1966 ex British Mod Series 2a 109 field ambulance that I converted into an overland camper. Does anyone out there remember the old “Warthog”?
So here’s the big news – no surgery for six weeks!? According to my doc the safer way to deal with this situation is to tap and drain the stinky “sap” out of the appendix and its associated “alien pod of sap.” This will allow the swelling and pain to go down. Then, when the major infection danger is past, they will operate and get the nasty, useless thing out of there. So today I took an ambulance ride for yet another CT scan and Jackson-Pratt drain tube implantation to get the nasty infection out. It was a scientifically fascinating procedure that I was able to watch from a drug-induced stupor but the result is simply the most painful and 100% mobility limiting condition and that is the worst part about it-even more so than the pain. Currently, I’m flat on my back but should be up and moving around again tomorrow and hopefully back at work and life on Monday…but at least I can eat real food again 🙂 I will be sure to keep you all posted on my status in this most interesting health science adventure that I have embarked upon.
The Jackson Pratt drain is in place and so far a great success with over 25cc of “sap” being removed so far!
UPDATE 5:30 Wednesday. I’m finally home 🙂 Drain is working well siphoning off nasty appendix “sap,” not in much pain but moving mighty slow and I’m eating almost normally again. Now I wait for a few weeks to have the appendectomy that will free me from this bout of vestigial intestinal madness.
THANK YOU to everyone who helped me get through this by sitting by my side, shuttling me around, chatting with me on the phone or text, and leaving heartfelt and funny comments and offers of help and prayers on my status updates, you are all great friends and I truly appreciate you all more than you can know. 🙂
APPENDECTOMY: It went very well and as I was under general anesthesia I do not remember anything. It sure was nice to get that thing out of me! Now let’s get back to life and living!
THANK YOU to all the surgeons, doctors, nurses, and others who have saved my life!!!
THANK YOU to all my family and friends who stopped by to visit me and/or send me supportive comments during my hospital stay and recovery.
THANK YOU SCIENCE!!!!
I also like to take this opportunity to thank God, Gaia, The Great Spirit, Allah, Jah, Buddha, the Force, and any other love, health, and peace-fostering omnipotent beings/energy fields – if they actually exist somewhere out there in the cosmos – and/or evolution by natural selection (whatever made our thinking ape brains possible) for giving/granting/tweaking/planting/MacGyver-ing the seed of consciousness into us fragile, mostly-hairless, multicolored, naked, thinking apes which eventually evolved into our ability to craft tools, engineering, and science to better our lives – at the moment I am speaking specifically of all the technologically superior medical, diagnostic, and healing, tools such as digital radiographs (X Rays), endoscopes, computerized lab analysis equipment, and MRI/CT scanners – for without these devices, and all the dedicated professional doctors, nurses, and technicians that operate them – I would probably be somewhat fertile soil feeding some flowers or trees somewhere.
I encountered this on social media and it made me think: we should all be more like the real Jesus.
Ever since I first learned about the real Jesus (not the twisted popular “white-washed,” construct many blindly follow today) I have always tried to carry a few of his teachings somewhere deep inside my heart. I always try my best to be kind, loving, merciful, and respectful to all living things – because my momma, Sir David Attenborough, and Jesus taught me so.
Since I am a naturalist and science communicator and I regularly teach folks about our deep, genetic connections to nature and all living things (evolution by natural selection), and cleaner energy and transportation choices (renewable energy and EV’s) – it seems that I very often find myself telling true, evidence-supported, peer-reviewed stories that make people think a lot about a lot of things – and for some bizarre reason these stories often upset/anger people – especially some closed-minded, holier than thou religious people…and those of certain political affiliations. (see, I’ll bet that comment upset some of you – so be it )
Most of my friends are like me so they are: unpopular nerds, “weirdos,” geeks, scientists, technophiles, nature and animal lovers, and long-haired, pierced, tattooed, tree-hugging, hippie-type, dirt worshipers, “witches,” atheists, agnostics, and those with different colored skin than I have – as well as those who think and learn differently, and those who identify the way their brain says to – not the way society expects them to.
Oh, and guess what: some of these wonderful “sinners” may or may not partake of certain plant/fungi-based diets/herbs that – for whatever the bizarre reasons – some have chosen not to agree with. (I’ll bet that comment upset some of you – so be it )
These wonderful, unique, open-minded, free-thinking, free-spirited, people – myself included – are the types that in days of old would have been arrested and hurriedly burned at the stake, fed to large, drooling, carnivores, or stoned to death by the toxic religiopolitical establishment. In fact, I would much rather hang out with what some of the religious/politically close-minded people of yesterday and today might call “sinners” because these people are:
1. Not usually “sinners” at all, they are just people who are tired of the way things are and they are going against the status quo because they only want freedom from those things and ways that are wrong with the world such as hate, war, prejudice, injustice, the pollution and destruction of nature and wildlife for short-term and/personal profit, and obviously all the greedy religious leaders and politicians.
2. These are some of the nicest, most loving, caring, and compassionate people you will ever meet.
(I’ll bet that comment upset some of you – so be it )
In fact, it seems I do all these things – the sleeping on boats part as well since I once fell asleep on a top bunk in the crew quarters of the USS North Carolina battleship memorial (pictured below).
How you may ask – it is a long story that involves: hanging out with college friends at the beach, missing another boat, a knife fight in a parking garage (that I was not involved in but quickly extracted myself from), sleeping in my car in a vacant lot, a massive coastal thunderstorm, an inquisitive security guard (Barney), a dead eel, some rather heavily amorous teenagers in a dark “alley,” and a battleship with 60-year-old bunks that looked very comfortable to someone who had a very long night but just really needed to get some sleep.
BTW: I am not and would not compare myself to Jesus – but I really do like the old bumper sticker that reads: I like your Christ but not your Christians. Be more like the real Jesus.
Do only good things.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
(I’ll bet all of that upset some of you – so be it and say what you will – my job here is done
Some of us will get through this thing with science and common sense leading the way and sadly, some will not.
As I learned in the Boy Scouts: be prepared.
1. Listen to the experts – they know more than you – that is why they are the experts.
2. Keep your distance – especially from strangers.
3. Wash up well.
4. Keep wearing that mask.
5. Get that shot and then get the booster.
6. Ignore/report/block/delete the ignorant anti-science and anti-common sense conspiracy “theories” and “natural cures” being fabricated/spread/sold by the covidiots, crazy meme trolls, greedy charlatans, and religiopolitical fanatics crapping their steaming fresh clickbait turds all over the internet.
There are only two options in this thing we call life on planet earth: adapt or die. Science, technology, and good old common sense are the ways we humans improvise, adapt, overcome, evolve, survive, and thrive.