Interstellar Civilizations, Macro-Engineering, and Chicken Noodle Soup.

There are three thoughts that cross people’s minds when they’re laying around the house:

What would it be like to live outside our solar system?

What could we even do out in space?

Will this chicken noodle soup help me deal with this cold?

According to the CDC, there are “millions of cases of the common cold” each year and adults have between 2-3 colds per year. https://www.cdc.gov/features/rhinoviruses/index.html

Everybody knows the best treatment for the common cold is chicken noodle soup. But many people believe that our future and the solution to all our problems are in space. I am here to prove that to be the case.

 

Chickens, herbs, wheat, and vegetables all have two things in common. 1. They are delicious and 2. You need a lot of space to produce them. Over population is a legitimate concern, and I have heard people suggesting that we will run out of space to grow enough food to be able to sustain larger populations. Well, that might be a problem if we stay here, but not if we decide to to find more space in, well, space.

As Douglas Adams put it, “Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

So why not take advantage of that?

 

Lets start small. We’ll begin with terminating Mars. Now given our current technology, it would take close to 100,000 years to make Mars an Earth-like planet. I’m not patient so lets say we already did it. to save you from over exposure to math and numbers, Mars has just over 1/4 the surface area of Earth. No problem, keep the vast majority of humanity back on earth and dedicate mars to agriculture and produce production.

 

Having an entire planet dedicated to food production is… overkill given our current population. At least, that’s what my friends keep telling me. But they’re wrong. They underestimate my love for chicken noodle soup.

So, lets go bigger.

Lets make a Dyson sphere. A swarm of habitats in orbit around the sun providing a surface area of, well, the numbers are too big to compare to earth so lets just say: a lot. This will probably take 10-100 times longer than terraforming Mars, but, like last time, lets say we had already done it. We’re getting closer to our ideal goal but that’s just not enough chicken noodle soup. Besides, building a Dyson sphere, making ourselves a Kardeshev 1 civilization, that’s for chumps. We need to go bigger. Also, I forgot to build that Dyson sphere around a different star so now Earth has begun turning into an ice planet and everybody is getting colds on a scale never before deemed possible.

Ah yes. We’re finally here. A giga-structure so large, so mind-bogglingly massive that we might just sate that craving for that sweet, delicious, warm chicky noodle soup. From the tormented mind of a British author, Paul Birch, we get to the biggest and baddest of all, the Birch Planet. This impossibly huge shell will be built around the super-massive black hole in the center of the Milkyway galaxy. The size of this structure is so large that its diameter would be similar to that of Saturn’s orbit. The surface area would be 1.5 trillion times that of Earth’s. Even though Earth is now a solid sphere of ice, this bad mamma-jamma would be able to provide more than enough soup for myself, and the rest of humanity.

So, what’s my point? Why bother writing about these massive structures with a comedic edge? To that I say; why do you day dream? This is just a fun thought experiment. Hopeful, whimsical, and mathematical ideas to toy around with in ones free time. Sure, it’s ridiculous. Who on earth would dare try to tame a horse and ride it, or make an internal combustion engine to outrun that horse, or even try to make a magical flying machine? Who in their right mind would go from making cars, to rockets, to brain implants and have the end goal to live on another planet (Elon Musk)? These things are bold, ambitious, often ridiculed, and have made Humanity better for accomplishing it.

You might start to day dream about such grandiose ideas, but what if one person saw this and dedicated their life to trying to accomplish one of these impossible tasks? I say it was worth it.

Also, I’m kind of sick of chicken noodle soup now. Next time I’ll talk about making a machine that has 2 goals, self replication, and making tamales, and how it will end with the entire observable universe becoming one solid mass of tamales. How wonderful.

For those who want to learn more about these wild subjects, I recommend looking for Isaac Arthur on YouTube. He’ll show you the math behind these concepts.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZFipeZtQM5CKUjx6grh54g 

6 Best Ski Resort Near Missoula…

There are a ton of options for skiing within the western part of Montana, whether this be in our beloved home state, or one of our close neighbors. There is plenty of fresh powder to go around…

To Start off this list we are going to lay down a few guidelines. All of these ski resorts are within 200 miles of Missoula, and for those of you that were worried…They all sell beer as well.

  1. The Montana Snowbowl  (15 miles outside town)                                                    Snowbowl will always a special place in the hearts of Missoulians, for its close proximity to town, and your ability to go from class to the slopes in under 20 minutes.  While Snowbowl may have its ups and downs, you can always count on good skiing when they get some fresh snow up in the bowls. Priced at $48 for a student day pass, it’s not going to break the bank too bad. But they make up for it with $4 beers in the lodge at the base
  2. Lookout Pass Ski & Recreation Area (105 miles outside town)

Lookout pass ski area is known as the #1 Powder Place, and they definitely live up to that name. Lookout gets the most fresh snow out of all the resorts near Missoula, and for the most part, has pretty good weather. This resort is about an hour and 45 minutes from campus and never gets too crazy so you’ll always have a parking spot. A student day pass for Lookout will run you about $46, but the snow makes it worth it!

3. Discovery Ski Area (91 miles outside town)

Discovery ski area is located about an hour and a half from Missoula and will never let you down. With a really good mix of steep groomers and powder-filled trees, this resort is perfect for everyone. For those seeking a thrill, Discovery has an expert only backside of the mountain with some truly crazy runs. The only downfall of this resort is the road up to the lodge can get pretty bad, but you’ll always be able to find a ride up from the bottom. Discovery will run you about $50 for a day pass, but you’ll be able to go on a different run every time all day.

4. Lost Trail Powder Mountain (75 miles outside town)

Lost trail is another favorite among locals, for its close proximity to town and amazing snow. You can almost always count on fresh snow at lost trail, and when the Montana side is open it is absolutely mind-blowing. This resort is never too crazy, and it also has a hot spring just down the road for an after skiing relaxation break. A day pass will run you about $45 and you’ll be able to get food and beer at the base lodge for a pretty reasonable price.

5. Whitefish Mountain Resort (140 miles outside town)

Still known to many locals as “Big Mountain” because of the name change back in 2007, but none the less this mountain is absolutely insane. The most powder you can find in western Montana and offers some of the most diverse terrains. Even though this resort is pretty far from Missoula, it makes up for it with the beautiful views and the chance to go on an inversion day. A day pass will run you about $83 and that’s pretty steep for most college students, but a trick it to go buy 2 day passes for $120 from Costco.

6. Blacktail Mountain Ski Area (120 miles outside town)

Blacktail is known for having some serious terrain, with steep faces and ungroomed runs all over the mountain. This resort gets a good amount of powder and can definitely prove to be tough in some spots. With its close proximity to Whitefish, the resort is pretty easily accessible and doesn’t break the bank at $45 for a day pass.

Small town feel, big town dreams

Drone View

We just bought our dream home in Peoria. It’s much bigger than our last home and we sold most of our furniture when we moved from St. Louis. Now we know where we’re living, it’s time to pick out some furniture. Check out the pictures from the listing!

Front of house picture
Here is our dream home! I can’t wait until it’s spring and I can see all the great landscaping in bloom!
Second Living room Picture
This room is huge! We are trying to figure out how we want to arrange it.
Kitchen
This is truly my dream kitchen!
Family room picture with fireplace
I can’t wait to have a fire in the fireplace and snuggle up with a good book!
Guest bedroom
One of three guest bedrooms.
Guest bedroom 2 - Pink
Second guest bedroom. There is a third guest bedroom on the upper level too. One of these will inevitably become Kyle’s IU room.
Hall bathroom
I love the decor in this bathroom! The tile in the shower continues the brown and blue theme.
Master bedroom
These rooms are so big! I will probably need a bigger bed!
Master bathroom
The master bathroom has a unique style, and I am all here for it!
Master closet
This closet is a dream!
Laundry Room
A great laundry room with a custom, hand-painted mural. The washer and dryer are practically new!
Basement Bar 2
A shot of the basement bar area. Custom painting, copper sink, mini fridge. A great place for entertaining. The door to the right of the bar holds the utilities and irrigation system controls and a crawl space.
Basement Den Picture
The door at the bottom of the stairs is great unfinished storage with tons of shelves. The den will be a great hangout space. Now we just have to figure out where the foosball table goes.
Basement bedroom
One of many guests bedrooms. There are built-in storage and desk; this room will likely be a guest/craft room.
Basement Bathroom
Elegantly styled basement 3/4 bathroom with custom shower curtain.
Backyard picture 2
Backyard and patio picture. Stunning professionally landscaped backyard. Twinkle lights adorn the pergola with a great wooden swing.
Kitchen Picture 2
Great apron sink, concrete countertops, marble-topped island and a Sub-zero refrigerator.
Kitchen 3
The stove will be my pride and joy! A Viking double oven with a flat top!
Another picture of the kitchen
I am very excited about the Miele coffee system!
Dining room picture
A beautiful chandelier graces the center of the formal dining room.
Study room picture 2
A smaller room which was formerly used as a study or an office. How will we use it?

Let me know if you have any ideas how to arrange the rooms. I am open to suggestions!

White Seabass Tournament Catalina Island, California

The trip started out on Thursday when my Captain, Matt, and I set off to pre-fish the tournament Thursday and Friday. Those two days were your typical Catalina Island fishing. We caught Calico Bass, Barracuda, Halibut, Rock fish, and eventually we found the Seabass.

On Friday night we met up with our two other teammates Steve and Tim. The four of us have a pre-tournament “party” at a bar in Avalon. We talked strategy and where we were going to fish and how we were going to fish. I am awoken by Matt at 2:30 AM to start driving around the island to our fishing spot. The tournament started at 4 am so we wanted to make sure that we were in our spot before anyone else. As we turn the corner around the West-end of the island, the abyss of darkness is erased by the amount of boat lights in front of us. Our first spot had the entire fleet sitting on it. We thought to ourselves “Holy shit! Look at all these boats, what are we gonna do?!”.  Before we even got close to the fleet Matt made an executive decision that we were going to a different spot where we caught the Seabass above. After anchoring and setting up on the spot we had a very slow first couple hours. Right around 6 am Matt hooked up with a Seabass. White Seabass live along thick kelp lines in murky water. They use the thick kelp and churning water to hide themselves from prey. Right after Matt set the hook the fish ran straight into the kelp. We could tell because when Matt lifted up on the fish we continued losing line because he was wrapped in the kelp. Matt was pulling so hard on the fish to get it out of the kelp, that I was watching the rod tip bounce as the line eventually broke through the kelp. With each pop of the kelp I feared that he was going to lose the fish. After about 5 minutes (which really felt like 30) the line was finally free from the kelp and the fish headed out into the open ocean where there is nothing to break off on. As soon as this happened Matt knew that he was going to land the fish. After about another 10 minutes of fighting, Matt got the fish up to the side of the boat and I gaffed it and brought it on deck. The whole fight Matt had been telling me that it was a big fish but I had no idea until it was on the boat. Once it hit the deck all four of us started to freak out. High fives, hugs, screaming everything you could imagine after landing a monster fish in the tournament. The day went on and I also landed a Seabass but nothing close to the monster Matt had landed. We returned to the harbor to weigh in our fish and claim our spot on the leader board. Optimistically we thought but never said out loud that this fish could possibly win the tournament. We pull up to the dock and we are immediately being heckled by some guys on the dock. They were bugging us about what we caught, how big was it, where were we, but they had no affiliation to the tournament. Just two drunk guys on the dock. We decided that it would be easiest to move the fish from the main cooler into its own cooler so we could walk it up the dock to be weighed. As soon as I open the cooler the two guys on the dock utter another “Holy shit!”. We quickly closed the lid and started to transport the fish up the dock. Meanwhile the two drunk guys are spreading the rumor of a giant fish around the harbor. We walk the fish to the weigh-in as a very large crowd starts to assemble. Everyone murmuring wondering how big the fish is. As secretively as I could I wrapped the rope around the fishes tail and awaited instructions from the tournament official.  He asked me to lift the fish up the the scale and hook it on. Immediately as the cooler lid opens and the fish is seen by the crowd everyone starts yelling. “Oh my god that thing is HUGE!” I even heard one kid say “Daddy, daddy that the biggest fish I’ve ever seen!”. It was an amazing sight and feeling hearing the crowd freak out as much as we did. All in all the Seabass weighed in at 57.3 pounds. The largest seabass ever caught in the Catalina White Seabass Tournament.

 

 

 

 

Saturday ended with us on top in the Seabass division. On Sunday the fishing was absolutely terrible. The weather completely changed and nothing was biting. The tournament ended at 4 PM so we made our way into the harbor for the awards ceremony. We didn’t know for sure, but we had a pretty good idea that we had won the tournament. The ceremony started and the winners were called up. The tournament was structured with three different fish. White Seabass was the main one but there was also prize money for Yellowtail and Halibut. The tournament official finally got through the other divisions and was on to the Seabass. The top 3 were announced and we waited patiently to see who won. Finally he arrived at the winners calling out Team Breakaway as the winners and presented us our check. Putting in two days of extra work to find the fish is the only reason we won the tournament. This will be a fishing trip I remember for my entire life.

p.s. sorry for the small photos I could not get them to be large and clear.

A Weekend Guide to Whitefish, Montana in Winter

Wintertime in Whitefish, Montana is one of the most beautiful seasons to enjoy the small ski town and all it has to offer. This town doesn’t slow down after a winter storm, it celebrates it! Are you thinking about exploring this hidden gem for a weekend getaway? This article will give you the perfect weekend itinerary for what to see and do while you’re here.

Saturday

8:30 am – Breakfast at Buffalo Cafe

A local favorite, Buffalo Cafe offers amazing breakfast options to keep you energized for your full day ahead!

10:00 am – Ski on Big Mountain

A trip to Whitefish is never complete without a day at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Endless slopes and an approachable mountain offers a day of fun for all level of skiers and snowboarders.

3:00 pm – Apres Ski at Hellroaring Saloon

After hittin’ the slopes, enjoy an apres-ski drink and nachos at Hellroaring Saloon, located next to the village on the mountain.

5:00 pm – Massage at the Spa at Whitefish Lake

You’re bound to be sore after a day on the mountain, so treat yourself to a massage at the beautiful Spa at Whitefish Lake!

7:00 pm – Dinner at Tupelo Grille

Be sure to book a table here, and be ready for one of the best meals in town. Featuring local cuisine influenced by cajun and southern flavors, the superb service completes a meal here.

Sunday

8:30 am – Breakfast at Loula’s Cafe

Loula’s breakfasts include the standard fare as well as popular originals like Lemon Stuffed French toast with raspberry sauce or Eggs Benedict with white truffle oil.

9:45 am – Pick up a Packed Lunch from Montana Coffee Traders

Before you head off for the day, pick up a packed lunch from Montana Coffee Traders. They offer a variety of sandwiches and snacks that you can bring with you to the park which is helpful because most restaurants in West Glacier are closed in the winter!

10:00 am – Drive to Glacier National Park to snowshoe

The beautiful Glacier National Park is only a 30-minute drive away from Whitefish and offers miles of scenic snowshoeing trails.  You can rent snowshoes from multiple places in town as well as outside of the park.

7:00 pm – Dinner at Abruzzo’s

Finish off your day with a delicious traditional Italian meal at Abruzzo’s. They offer extensive selection of shared plates, grilled steaks, fresh seafood, and a small but decadent dessert list, all prepared in-house and served alongside an Italian-focused cocktail program and an Italian-centric wine list.