The Things I Just Don’t Understand. A Great Player And A Better Man.
After listening to outgoing NASA chief Jim Bridenstine last week, I called a friend of mine to vent. I told him that after listening to Bridenstine, and realizing I only understood less than half of what he was describing, I questioned my basic level of intelligence and comprehension.
My friend “reassured” me that 99% of people could have no possible idea what Bridenstine was explaining about NASA’s Artemis program. My lack of understanding NASA’s Artemis program has prompted me to wonder about some things I Just Don’t Understand.
- The 45-second, grotesque verbal disclaimers in prescription drug ads. There has to be a better way to disclose the potential side-effects of prescription drugs than to read them aloud during the commercial. A commercial will start with a man in the park with his wife and he will state: “I used to be depressed. I didn’t want to leave the house; I didn’t want to spend time with my family; I didn’t have the will to make myself happy. But then I discovered Alorex. Alorex let me love life again“. During the next 30 seconds, they’ll show him running around the park with his wife and 3-year-old daughter and dog, and it will all be in slow motion and everyone will be smiling and laughing and the sun will be shining. And while this is happening, the inevitable voice over: “Alorex may lead to further depression, low self-esteem, and sudden acts of violence. Alorex may also cause cancer, heart disease, strokes, hives, and diarrhea. In rare cases, Alorex may cause sleep apnea and sleep walking. Don’t take Alorex if you take nitrates for chest pain or if you don’t want to be potentially possessed by Linda Blair.” In the final shot, the man tells us: “Because of Alorex, I feel like me again”. Seriously? Here is a disclaimer for ERNESTO, a drug that treats people with heart disease:
ENTRESTO may cause serious side effects including: Angioedema that may cause trouble breathing and death. Get emergency medical help right away if you have symptoms of angioedema or trouble breathing. People who are Black or who have had angioedema and take ENTRESTO may have a higher risk of having angioedema. Other side effects include low blood pressure, fatigue, kidney problems, increased levels of potassium in your blood, and various kidney problems. What?
- NASA scientists identified a molecule in Titan’s atmosphere that has never been detected in any other atmosphere. In fact, many chemists have never heard of it or know how to pronounce it: cyclopropenylidene, or C3H2. Scientists say that this simple carbon-based molecule may be a precursor to more complex compounds that could form or feed possible life on Titan. Okay, I read that Titan is Saturn’s largest moon (like I knew that Saturn had moons), but if “many chemists have not heard of cyclopropenylidene”…does NASA really think I understand what the hell they are referencing?
- Why does bottled water cost more than a soda? Is bottled water the biggest rip-off on the planet? It might be, right? There will be a $1.00 soda next to a $1.99 bottle of water. How is that possible?
- Why are land plants green? Scientists finally understand why. Here is one explanation: Plants photosynthetic pigments reflect green light, even though those wavelengths hold the most energy. That clearly answers all my questions about photosynthesis. Even mistaken hypotheses and theories are of use in leading to discoveries. This remark is true in all the sciences. The alchemists founded chemistry by pursuing chimerical problems and theories which are false. In physical science, which is more advanced than biology, we might still cite men of science who make great discoveries by relying on false theories. It seems, indeed, a necessary weakness of our mind to be able to reach truth only across a multitude of errors and obstacles. Who are these people talking to? Anyone want to chime in on what ‘chimerical problems’ refer to? I think I may have many of them.
Someone please enlighten me to the use and function of bitcoins. I have heard the term ‘cryptocurrency’ but to me that word has no meaning. Wikipedia’s explanation: Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a form of electronic cash. It is a decentralized digital currency without a central bank or single administrator. Bitcoins can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network directly, without the need for intermediaries. Transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Many financial and tax people read this blog…please offer up the dumbed-down explanation.
- Business speak is probably in my top five things I do not understand and actually despise. My theory: Systemic rhetoric = rubbish.
- I am a follower of AERION, a company designing and manufacturing supersonic jets. Their amazing technology is truly remarkable allowing their jets to travel at speeds of 1,000 miles per hour. Then AERION spits out this piece of information on the fuel design and engagement that of course everyone understands: Aerion Supersonic announced July 8 that it would explore using synthetic jet fuel made by Carbon Engineering, a Canadian company developing technology to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Let’s see, I am on a jet cruising at 1,000 mph, consuming synthetic fuel derived from sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere. Perfect.
- Speaking of things in the air, I am not ashamed to reveal that I still do not understand the concept of how aircraft take off and remain in the air. Yes, I have been privy to the word “lift” and people explaining that “lift” is related to air flowing past the wings – which for some reason results in “lift”. Here is a simple, clear, and easy to understand explanation of “lift”. Lift occurs when a moving flow of gas is turned by a solid object. The flow is turned in one direction, and the lift is generated in the opposite direction, according to Newton’s Third Law of action and reaction. Because air is a gas and the molecules are free to move about, any solid surface can deflect a flow. For an aircraft wing, both the upper and lower surfaces contribute to the flow turning. Neglecting the upper surface’s part in turning the flow leads to an incorrect theory of lift. Of course that explains it all and now I get to Google “Newton’s Third Law of action and reaction”.
- Here is something I do understand:
- On a serious note, I was very sad to learn that Henry Aaron passed away on Friday. Even if baseball is not on the top of your list, read about him as a youngster born into poverty, the discrimination and bigotry he put up with, his amazing baseball career, and more importantly his humanity. RIP Mr. Henry Aaron.