Get A Hobby!

Hobbies are the things that keep us human allow us to keep learning when feeling stagnant. How do we obtain a hobby and what does it do for us?

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Finally getting that day off you have been dreaming of. You kick up your feet and binge watch the final season of that show you never got to finish. After taking a long needed nap you wake up and find yourself bored, you don’t know what to do with yourself. You start to eat and watch tv to fulfill your time, but you find it to still be boring and unproductive. You get to the gym to kill more time only to get home and realize its only a little past noon. You can just seem to make the day feel useful or productive. This is a very profound problem that many people specifically young adults and teens have today as they flip through the endless stream of updates on their phone.

Yes, finding a hobby can be difficult, but the journey of finding that thing you love to do can be the most interesting story you have to tell. Hobbies are one of single most important things to find as it keeps your life feeling fulfilled and allow us to keep on learning if our careers seem to be stagnant. A hobby is defined as an activity done on one’s leisure time, so trying to learn something for work or getting ahead on a project won’t count. To find a true hobby its something you do outside of work and is something you find enjoyment out of doing, not like a chore. For me, a hobby is programming, even though its something I will continue to do in my future job, hopefully, I am able to work on independent projects that don’t correlate to any work I am required to do.

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How To Find A Hobby

This is the hardest step in to finding a more meaningful and productive life. Finding the hobby that you always wanted is like trying to apply to very different jobs and see which jobs accept you. You have to try new things every day and see how they feel. If something seems boring just stop right there and move on. If you find enjoyment in a general topic try narrowing it down into different fields until you find the right one for you. A hobby can be as something as simple as reading!

I urge you to not follow the pack as I did to just to stand out or fit in. In the beginning, I tried to do all the typical hobbies a person would expect only to find boredom out of it. Now feeling determined I have found a love for programming and circuits. I no longer feel the need to tell my friends or family about the latest book I am reading to show them that I read on a daily basis, or to show them the latest project I have completed to undermine them.

Stick To It!

One of the things I found time and time again when I was first trying to stick to a hobby is that I felt like was never getting anywhere. I would struggle with the simplest of applications. After figuring out that this was because I never really stuck to it I was determined to keep it in my schedule.

Make sure that when you start your hobby, that thing you love to do, you stick to it. Even if it is reading an article about it on the train on the way to work or possibly a video that will keep the hobby appealing and fresh in your mind. Learning about new techniques or cool projects can also keep your excitement to continue when you get home!

Keep Learning

If you exhausted all resources on a hobby, which is highly unlikely, I encourage you to move on and keep learning. There is an unimaginable amount of resources and topics to learn about that are so interesting and learning is what keeps us at our best! Learning is one of the things that allows us to get up in the morning and know we are going to perform to the best of our ability. Learning is without a doubt one of the most fulfilling things in the universe. No I don’t always mean learning to become a scholar it can even be about working out or determining the most efficient way to complete projects! Keep learning and keep growing!

 

The Future of Meat

Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1940-1945, once said :

“With a greater knowledge of what are called hormones, i.e. the chemical messengers in our blood, it will be possible to control growth. We shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or wing, by growing these parts separately under a suitable medium.”

That day is here. Companies in the United States and around the world are now in the process of creating real meat without the need to raise and slaughter an animal. Memphis Meats from San Francisco, JUST in Northern California, Mosa Meat in the Netherlands, Modern Meadows from Brooklyn, New York, Finless Foods also in Brooklyn, New York and Supermeat from Israel are all startup companies who have created what is called cultured meat in laboratories and are continuing to improve their products. Bill Gates, Richard Branson and agriculture companies like Tyson and Cargill have invested in this new technology. This new technology certainly will revolutionize animal agriculture. Before we get into the science of how cultured meat is produced let’s talk about the negatives of out current animal agricultural system.

The first issue with modern animal agriculture is that it is highly unethical in terms of the treatment of animals, one of which are pigs which are thought to be even more intelligent than dogs. We won’t get into the graphics but we are sure you’ve all seen some videos. It’s an animal holocaust.

The second issue is the amount of resources it consumes in order to produce the animal products purchased and eaten by consumers. Resources such as water, land, food, fuel, medicine and time are all used at absurd levels in order to produce animal products. This is a leading cause of climate change. De-forestation is often done in order to clear land to grow food for animals on farms to eat or to raise the animals. In addition lots of green house gases are released by the animals being raised for consumption. 1 pound of beef requires 38 pounds of food and 1,799 gallons of water. The land used to grow that food and the food and water used to feed the animals could be used to end world hunger.

The third major issue is health risks for people. The animals are crowded so close together that this creates a breeding ground for viruses. This is how the avian flu and swine flu broke out multiple times. The animals are also often very ill because of the conditions and so they are loaded up on antibiotics. Not only does this consume a huge amount of antibiotics that could be used for people and domestic animals, but this also causes the rapid evolution of deadly bacteria. Scientist are afraid that this could lead to incredibly strong bacterial illnesses in the near future that will be unable to be defeated by antibiotics.

These are major issues for our modern world. These will potentially be extinction level issues for the future if we continue animal agriculture in this way. This is because the human population is projected to rise to 9.6 billion people by 2050 and economies around the world are growing which leads to more middle class populations and higher levels of meat consumption. Our modern agricultural practices are not sustainable at our current population level so 9.6 billion people will be an even bigger horror show. There is no way our planet will be able to handle this. Highly unethical slaughter methods will continue, land will be destroyed, ecosystems will be destroyed, and viruses and bacteria will become too strong to be defeated with medicine. Massive extinction of many species will occur, green house gases will rise along with water levels and the human population will suffer greatly from natural disasters, droughts, famines and illnesses.

So yeah, we’re talking an apocalyptic scenario all because of food production. Well cultured meat can stop this. Before we explain how it will stop this, let’s talk about how cultured meat is produced.

The basic science of cultured meat is that there are cells in animal muscle tissue that can self renew. These cells are extracted from the animal and placed in controlled laboratory conditions. They are given the nutrients needed to replicate and grow into the particular muscle tissue that is needed. Eventually the cells grow to become whatever meat it was intended to be. It is called cultured meat because a culture is an artificial medium that provides nutrients for microbial organisms to reproduce. The cells are placed in a controlled environment and given nutrients to reproduce until they become meat. The companies working on cultured meat are also working on creating cultured dairy, sea food and eggs as well. Memphis Meats plans to have their products on the market in 3 years. Of course right now it is pretty expensive but as mass production gets underway the price will go down significantly.

Here is how this new science could help ward off that potential apocalypse we spoke about earlier. First off at a mass production level this new science would eliminate the need to raise and slaughter an animal for meat. Second, an incredible amount of land, food and water would be saved because you wouldn’t need to grow food to feed animals or raise animals. The meat production would be done in buildings. This also means no green house gases being released by farm animals. This would also save fuel because the buildings can be near by the locations in which the meat will be sold. Third, this also conserves anti-biotic usage and staves off the growth of viruses and bacteria into super bugs. The meat will also be much healthier because bacterial contamination would not occur in a clean controlled lab. Most bacterial contamination of foods comes from fecal contamination due to slaughter methods. This is also why cultured meat is sometimes called clean meat. The nutrient content could also be controlled. This would be able to be used to limit fats in the meat and fortify the meat with other essential nutrients people and domesticated animals may need. The prices may even get lower for animal products in the future if cultured meat, sea food, dairy and eggs becomes mass produced because it would take much less resources to create the animal products. Cultured animal products in combination with vertical farming of crops, spoken about in a previous article, could produce healthier food at a rate high enough to end world hunger without harming animals, the environment or people. Everybody wins.

Many people who have tried cultured meat products have said that it tastes just like meat. So yeah, clean cultured meat is coming to the market and it could save the world without making people give up consuming animal products. Let’s hope it does because 2050 doesn’t sound too pretty with 9.6 billion people if we still produce food the same way we do today.

The information here can be found at these links:

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/winston-churchill-imagined-lab-grown-hamburger-180967349/

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/23/bill-gates-and-richard-branson-bet-on-lab-grown-meat-startup.html

Check out this video:

The Zero Waste Lifestyle

With anthropomorphic (man-made) climate change rapidly increasing in strength, and politicians being unable to implement the proper responses to help mitigate the effects in many areas of the world, many individuals are turning to themselves to help contribute towards mitigating the destruction of climate change. How are they doing so? By adopting a “zero waste” lifestyle.

Going Zero Waste means trying to eliminate as much unnecessary garbage that comes out of our houses and goes to landfills as possible. The massive amounts of garbage humans produce is a huge contributor to climate change and the destruction of our planet. Much of our garbage goes to landfills, cannot be broken down very quickly if at all and can often be toxic for the Earth to absorb. Cutting our garbage production down as much as possible will be crucial going into the future in order to preserve our planet’s habitability and the many species it nourishes, including ourselves of course.

So how does someone live a zero waste lifestyle? First, it is important for anyone who plans to adopt a new lifestyle to gradually implement whatever it is into their lives. This is the same with going zero waste. If you try to do it over night, you will be highly likely to become stressed, turned off and ultimately fail. The key to successfully leading a zero waste lifestyle and having a zero waste household is to slowly implement changes over the course of months.

When going zero waste you will want to stick towards buying reusable or biodegradable items. Here are some examples of the types of products zero wasters use:

  1. clay, metal or glass kitchenware instead of plastic or paper. (reusable)
  2. bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic toothbrushes. (reusable and biodegradable)
  3. clothes or household materials like bed sheets made from natural fibers like cotton, wool, hemp and bamboo because these materials are biodegradable (reusable and biodegradable)
  4. handkerchiefs and rags instead of tissues, napkins or paper towels. (biodegradable)
  5. soap bars rather than liquid soap to avoid plastic bottles.
  6. metal bottles instead of plastic bottles. (reusable)
  7. metal containers for carrying food instead of plastic bags, paper bags, or tin foil. (reusable)
  8. glass jars for storing food rather than plastic containers. (reusable)

In addition to trying to stick to reusable and biodegradable items, zero wasters also implement these practices into their lives to reduce their carbon footprint:

  1. buying food in bulk
  2. minimizing buying packaged items
  3. minimizing use of electric equipment because of its dependence on gas
  4. minimizing driving and opting for biking and opting for hybrid or electric cars
  5. adopting a plant based or vegan diet
  6. composting trash such as food scraps and some forms of paper because this feeds the soil rather than going to landfills and being wasted
  7. women may opt for a reusable menstrual cup rather than disposable pads
  8. preparing their own food and limiting dining out
  9. creating a small zero waste kit of items to use when at restaurants to avoid using disposable straws or napkins
  10. creating their own soaps, deoderants and toothpaste rather than buying ones with environmentally harmful chemicals in them
  11. using solar energy

Of course going zero waste does not mean completely eliminating all trash in your home or life. It is rather obvious that this will be nearly impossible, if not completely impossible to do. However, slowly adopting as many zero waste practices as possible for you, such as these, will make a big difference in helping to mitigate the growth of climate change strength and the subsequent problems it will bring. If half the population tried going zero waste, the benefits for the planet would be enormous. Individuals inspire other individuals, so don’t discourage yourself from trying simply because most people aren’t. With that mindset nothing will change, and change is needed to respond properly to climate change. If one person tries zero waste, more will be inspired to do so, as is currently happening, and a movement will take place. If you’re Catholic try implementing a zero waste lifestyle starting this Lenten season. You may even save some money along the way!

Does Meditation Actually Work?

Meditation is the act of focusing on nothing but your breathing and the energy around you, in my opinion. I meditated for the last 7 days to see if I feel a difference and surprisingly I do! There is something about meditation that takes your mind off everything and helps you focus on the here and now. I only did 5 minutes every morning just so I can get the idea of it. I did this by searching up “guided meditation” on youtube and it came back with great results.

First I started to notice I am able to focus on projects more. I don’t reach for my phone every 10 seconds, instead I only answer when I lose this focus which has becoming less and less. Next I noticed when doing these guided meditations, I could feel the energy rising as they described. This energy help me fall into a deeper relaxation. By the the end of the meditation I felt like there was no stress and nothing to worry about. I mean of course there is something to worry about cause ya know life and all, but taking about 5 minutes out of the day to realize your existence and to remember that everything is gonna be okay definitely help bring you back down to earth. In a way doing meditation in the morning it helped me feel a lot calmer throughout the day and seem to not let any situations get to me. I definitely helped me think through problems clearer.

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Studies have shown that only about 8% of Americans meditate, as per NIH, which I find to be extremely low. For me, since I live in New York, meditation has definitely helped me to relax in situations where I would get very upset about. Along with relieving stress, meditation is also known to help, alleviate high blood pressure, IBS, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. For those who idolize very wealthy or productive people, it is known that these individuals usual meditate on a daily bases to help them focus on what has to be done throughout their day.

My thoughts on meditations in general are as follows. I do feel like society views meditation as a very ‘weird’ thing to do in this day and age. As a kid you will be judged as weird if you do this so it sticks with most people as they become an adult and they never tend to try it. I also do feel like most people are glued to their phone, so trying to not look at it for 5 minutes can be a real problem for them. I hope that society will come to the fact of doing things such as yoga, mediation, or some other form of this, helps them become more stress free. If you haven’t tried yoga, do yourself a favor and try it, you won’t regret it.