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Em Drive?

21 May

Every once in a while, science news seems to walk a fine line between fantastic and fantasy. Em Drive, the topic of our latest podcast, is a recent example of exactly that!

Em Drive (pronounced “M” drive) also known as RF resonant cavity thruster is a hypothetical propulsion mechanism designed in part for space travel. Em Drive was proposed by Roger Shawyer, a British aerospace engineer who has a background in defense work as well as experience as a consultant on the Galileo project (a European version of the GPS system).

Em Drive “uses a magnetron to produce microwaves which are directed into a metallic, fully enclosed conically tapered high Q resonant cavity with a greater area at one end of the device, and a dielectric resonator in front of the narrower end. Shawyer claims that the device generates a directional thrust toward the narrow end of the tapered cavity. The device (engine) requires an electrical power source to produce its reflecting internal microwaves but does not have any moving parts or require any reaction mass as fuel.” In layman’s terms, the Em Drive bounces microwaves around in a metal ice cream cone which produces directional energy without using fuel.

 

To learn more about Em Drive, and why you should be skeptical, have a listen to the podcast! Thanks for listening.

References:

http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2015/04/evaluating-nasas-futuristic-em-drive/  (Press release)

http://www.space.com/29363-impossible-em-drive-space-engine-nasa.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EmDrive

http://www.space.com/29363-impossible-em-drive-space-engine-nasa.html

http://www.wired.com/2015/05/nasa-warp-drive-yeah-still-poppycock/

 
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Zen Golf

07 May

This episode we follow up on Chad’s challenge to read Zen Golf by talking about the book.  Zen Golf is one of our favorites.  I can personally confirm that it help drop at least 5 shots off of my game after reading and implementing some of the techniques.  Give it a read, or a listen.  As always, let us know if you have any questions or comments, thanks for listening!

Amazon e-book:  http://amzn.com/0385504462

 
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The Great Outdoors

23 Apr

This week we have an awesome interview with Perek’s sister-in-law Andrea on the great outdoors.  Andrea has an incredible resume with oodles of experience educating and living in the outdoors.  Summer, winter, up high, down low, she’s got a ton of awesome experiences that I wanted to share with the listeners.

I asked Andrea to try and consolidate her voluminous knowledge into some awesome tidbits for the listeners who may be planning their next trip to the boundary waters, or a whitewater rafting trip to Colorado.  I hope you enjoy the interview!

Thanks for listening!

 
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Home Automation!

13 Apr

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Hey everybody, this week chad gives us a rundown of some cool home automation tools and discusses the Internet of Things!  Very cool stuff.

 

I hope you like our homegrown songs and jingles, too!

 

Thanks for listening!

 
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Lower Your Bills

26 Mar

Hey everyone.  Any chance you want to save some money on your bills?  I thought so.  This week Mitch regurgitates an awesome article he read over at bakadesuyo.com.  The article is a cool interview with a hostage negotiator on some principles that you can apply to things like your cable subscription.  Mitch even recorded a conversation with his provider actually lowering his bill with these methods!  Companies HATE him, Good Guys love him.  Please enjoy!

 

http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2015/01/lower-your-bills

 

 
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Cutting the cable cord

12 Mar

This last month I paid $70.96 for cable alone. That doesn’t include phone or internet or fancy movie channels like HBO. Only cable. Through many conversations with friends, I know that I am not the only one with ever-growing contempt for cable companies. And like many of those friends, I am also getting ready to cut the cable cord! Just to confirm my anecdotal assumptions, I found the following quote from Bloomberg: “In 2013, the number of Americans who pay for Cable TV, satellite, or fiber services fell by more than 250,000. This was the first full year where cable users steadily declined.”

Now don’t be discouraged; there are other options that give you access to new television shows without the gouging price tag of traditional cable services. Let’s take a look at some of the best options out there.

 

Netflix:

Price = $8/month

Netflix came onto the scene in 1999 when it introduced it’s flat-rate DVD-by-mail service. Just over 15 years later, Netflix has over 50 million users. The driving force behind what now defines Netflix is the internet video streaming service. A report by Sandvine in 2013 stated that Netflix is the biggest source of North American downstream internet traffic at 32.3%. Now, Netflix offers somewhere around 10,000 online streaming titles. Of all the online streaming TV services, Netflix is also known for having the most exclusive content with shows like House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black headlining.

Hulu Plus

Price = $8/month

Limitations: Commercials

Some people argue that Hulu Plus is a little fish in a sea of sharks. Currently, Hulu Plus only has around 5 millions subscribers. But there is one thing that Hulu Plus does better than anyone else. It offers the most current running episodes of your favorite TV shows. Instead of waiting another year for your favorite show to show up on Netflix, snag a Hulu Plus account and watch the latest seasons now.

Amazon Prime Instant Video

Price = $8.25/month
Amazon Prime Instant Video really doesn’t sound too much different than Netflix. Users of this service have access to over 40,000 titles! More impressive than the video streaming service is that the only way to get Prime Instant Video is to sign up for Amazon Prime shipping which means that you have access to free two-day shipping on Amazon products. An impressive 20,000 people have are signed up for Amazon Prime. But it’s likely that only a fraction (~25%) actually use Instant Video. My suggestion: sign up for Prime shipping and reap the benefits of Instant Video as an added bonus.

HBO Now:

Price = $15/month

Limitations: Available in April, 2015

During Apple’s iWatch announcement event on March 9th, HBO was officially unveiled. HBO Now is a stand-alone service that gives users streaming access to all of HBO’s content. The going rate for access to some of the greatest shows ever created? $15 per month. And don’t worry; it will be here just in time for the season premier of Game of Thrones which is due out April 15th.

Sling TV by Dish:

Price = $20/month

Access: ESPN, ESPN2, AMC, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Disney, ABC Family, CNN, IFC, El Rey Network, Maker, Galavision.

Limitations: You can only watch Sling on 1 device at a time. Picture quality is almost as good as traditional cable. Since you are using the internet to watch Sling, you need an unlimited internet package with no data cap.

At the most recent CES (consumer electronics show), Dish announced a new alternative to traditional cable TV called Sling TV. And on February 9th, 2015, Sling TV was launched. Sling is a version of internet TV that users can access through streaming boxes such as Roku or mobile devices. Basic Sling TV includes Disney, ESPN, Food Network, HGTV, TNT, CNN and TBS. In addition, you are able to purchase more channels grouped by themes (i.e. sports, or kid’s programs) for an additional $5 per month. The TV channels are live channels, just like normal TV, except they are delivered over the internet. An important detail of Sling TV is that it doesn’t require a contract. You can cancel at any time with no penalties.

So there you have it folks. Tons of ways to access cable content without paying the exorbitant cable prices. And as a last bit of advice, it is important to recognize that many of these services have free trial periods! Give some of these options a try and see if you can live with an alternative to cable TV.

REFERENCES:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-03-19/u-s-pay-tv-subscriptions-fall-for-first-time-as-streaming-gains

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-01-05/dish-sling-tv-service-takes-on-cable-television

http://www.cnet.com/news/sling-tv-everything-you-need-to-know/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/dorothypomerantz/2015/01/30/its-time-to-cut-the-cord-five-ways-youll-soon-be-able-to-watch-tv-without-cable/2/

http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/9/8175619/hbo-now-announced

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netflix

http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-prime-versus-netflix-versus-hulu-plus-2014-4

 
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Fatherhood

26 Feb

download (1)

Geo isn’t here this episode.  Quick, let’s talk about babies!  That’s right, without Geo around the Good Guys are discussing becoming new dads this episode.  There is lots to consider, but one of the main struggles I had personally was the overwhelming amount of information out there that my wife and I had to sift through.  The point of this episode is not necessarily to provide more of that information, or to provide the best information.  What I want to demonstrate is that in almost all of these circumstances, there is no one true answer, and even between similar dudes such as the Good Guys, we all do things very differently.  Some things were easy for some of us and hard for others.  I hope you enjoy the conversation, leave us feedback on the website or Facebook!  Thanks for listening!

 
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Measles, Vaccines, and Autism

12 Feb

vaccine_infant

 

Measles Virus

Highly communicable (9 out of 10 in same room will become infected)

Airborn

10-14 day incubation period

Fever (up to 104F or 40C), runny nose, sore throat, conjunctivitis, cough

Eventually, rash that starts on the face and moves down.

Koplik spots develop (small white spots on inside surface of cheek)

Contagious 4 days before and 4 days after rash

Mortality is .2% (2/1000) for developed countries, up to 10% for non-developed

Complications include pneumonia, diarrhea, ear infections, encephalitis, spontaneous abortion in pregnant, thrombocytopenia

 

Measles Vaccination

First isolated in 1954, first vaccine in 1963, first MMR combo in 1971

Reported measles cases in the US dropped from around 700,000 per year in the 50s and 60s to the thousands in the 1980s, and to the hundreds in the 2000s.

Recommendations that children receive a second dose around age 5 started in 1989 (93% are immune after 1 vaccine, 97% with the second)

Side effects:

Mild

Fever in 1/6

Mild rash in 1/20

Swollen glands in 1/75

Moderate

Temporary joint pain/stiffness 1/4

Seizure due to fever 1/3000

Temporary low platelet count 1/30,000

Severe

Severe allergic reaction 1/1,000,000

VAERS system for reporting adverse effects

Exemptions:

Medical – all 50 states

Religious – 48 states (MS, WV)

Philosophical – 17 states (MN included)

 

Why vaccinate if measles is gone?

Zhou et al paper published in Pediatrics 2009:

vaccination of 2009 cohort prevents 42,000 early deaths, 20M cases of disease, saves 13B in direct cost, and 69B in total societal cost

 

Herd Immunity:

Protection by breaking the potential for a disease to spread

“freeloaders” making a game theory risk calculation

Measles R0 12-18.  For herd immunity, need 83-94% vaccination

 

 

Andrew Wakefield

Born 1957

Graduated medical school 1981, practiced as a surgeon and researcher

1993 – published reports that measles virus was linked to Crohn’s disease (refuted)

1995 – published a paper in The Lancet that MMR vaccine caused Crohn’s disease (refuted)

1995 – Rosemary Kessick, mother of child with autism and bowel issues, and head of “Allergy Induced Autism” approached Wakefield

1998 – Paper linking autism, gastroenteritis, and measles/MMR

2001 – Wakefield leaves Royal Free Hospital, moves to US

2004 – The Sunday Times releases report that parents of 12 kids in study were recruited by UK law firm seeking legal action against MMR manufacturing companies, and that 55,000 had been paid to Wakefield’s hospital to pay for the research.  Just prior to the report, The Lancet retracted portions of the Wakefield paper, with the consent of 10 out of 12 co-researchers

Later in 2004 – Another news organization alleges that prior to his research, Wakefield had taken out a patent for a measles-only vaccine

2006 – The Sunday Times reveals that Wakefield was personally paid over 400,000 by the same UK law firm

2010 – UK GMC retracted Wakefield’s medical license (he released an autobiography claiming the medical institution was out to get him on the same day).

2010 – Wakefield paper officially retracted from The Lancet

2011 – BMJ releases Deer article

 

2014 – CDC reports 644 cases of measles in the US – highest since 2000 when measles was declared eradicated

2015 – By the end of January, we’ve seen over 100 cases already…

 

Anti-Vaccination Assertions:

Overloaded immune system – no evidence to support this, just more time at risk

Diseases are gone – not really, just suppressed by herd immunity

In breakouts, more vaccinated than unvaccinated get sick – because there are more vaccinated people to start with

Hygiene and Nutrition reduced disease, not vaccination – Chicken Pox

“Natural Immunity is Better” – see above risks with infection

 

 

 

 

PICS FROM ERNEST COFFEE!
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IMG_0182 IMG_0180

 
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Stop saying umm

29 Jan

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As you know, my new years resolution is to drastically reduce the amount of “filler” words I use during the podcast. “um,” “like,” “uh,” “right” etc. So as per usual, instead of getting out there and practicing , I delved into some research to figure out both why we say Um/uh etc, and if there are any strategies to fix it. And I thought to myself, ‘a good guy to know is really well spoken and can talk in a professional setting without sounding unsure of him or herself.’

After trolling a few public speaking blogs and seeing the same old wisdom; “imagine the audience naked to feel less anxious”, I finally stumbled across one of the good guys to know’s favorite blogs – the Art of Manliness. They basically did the work for me, compiled some studies on WHY we use filler words, as well as some the perceptions others have of you when you use them. (teaser – the latter might surprise you) Finally will end with a few tips/strategies you can implement.

As always, I’ll interject my thoughts along the way and clue you into my thought process on how I plan to tackle some of my speaking weaknesses – but it will pretty much be me stepping through this great blog post so please check it out and have a play around with their site.

The authors open up by pointing out that Ums and Uhs are just one factor when it comes to being well spoken. The rest of the checklist, if your interested – goes like this. You can follow along and kind of mentally check off which ones of these you possess and which you might want to focus in on a bit:

  • Creating well-formed sentences
  • Being articulate
  • Having a large and diverse vocabulary
  • Speaking clearly (not mumbling)
  • Having a good pace, tone, and intonation (not too loud, fast, or monotone)
  • Being fluent – words come easy
  • Being able to explain things
  • Being straightforward and meaning what you say
  • Being thoughtful and courteous to the needs of the listener
  • Using little filler and empty language

So on to the UMS! – The next thing that the article points out is that even though public speaking experts and professional speech givers say you should completely strike filler words from your speaking, almost everyone uses what are called “filled pauses.” It’s a super natural part of human speech and when you’re having a conversation with someone, as long as they aren’t super excessive, both the listener’s brain and the speaker’s brain filter them out pretty easily and you don’t really notice them.

It’s also pretty universal across cultures, though the words may change. We have a really good friend Mike, who has lived in Chile for the past several years and has since become fluent in Spanish. Instead of saying “Um” a lot, he says “Eh” and “Ehmmm.”

Now just because it’s natural to have these filled pauses, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t worry about them. Their appropriateness depends on the situation. i.e. your audience and your purpose. Research has found that how sensitive a listener is to these filler words depend on the speakers social role. People expect someone like the president that is giving prepared remarks to use hardly any of this filler. THIS is why I still DEFINITELY need to worry about them, because I’m the host of a Podcast. A broadcast that is almost nothing more than us talking to the listener.

So let’s delve into WHY we use these filler words. Honestly we don’t 100% know because they can mean a lot of things. Here are a few that were researched that the Art of Manliness article lays out and you can start to psychoanalyze me and tell me why you think I say them a lot:

  • They indicate that the speaker is in trouble: The speaker either consciously or subconsciously needs a moment to plan what he’s going to say next. “uh” signals a shorter delay, and “um” lets the listener know the delay might be a little longer. This happens when you’re trying to think and speak at the same time. (I think this probably happens to me a fair amount when I start to go “off script” and react to something one of the other host says about what I’ve just said)

 

  • Ums and Ahs act as placeholder to let people know you’re going to continue speaking. When you do need that moment, it lets everyone else know you’re not finished and are still in control. Researchers have theorized that this could explain why men use filler words more than women, because they are more worried about holding the floor as they speak. I think this one DEFINITELY happens while podcasting. Since we aren’t sitting around the table from each other, we don’t get ANY non-verbal cues on when someone else should hop in – and we also know that dead silence on air when broadcasting can be VERY distracting. So this one is probably a very legitimate use of Uhs and Ums in podcasting.

 

  • They indicate we aren’t that confident about what we are going to say.

 

  • They indicate that you’re searching for the right word.

 

  • They are more common when speaking about an abstract topic. The research here was kind of cool and found that in the classroom, humanities professors say Uh way more than professors of the ‘hard sciences.’ 4.76 times per hundred words versus 1.47 times. On the podcast, this can come up from time to time, but I think we usually are talking about something pretty concrete.

 

So now we know WHY we use these filler words, so next step is how to stop them. Even though it might not be desirable to totally eliminate these fillers from your speech, at least in my case, I think it’s very distracting to the listeners for me to leave them in as I think I lose credibility with them.

  1. Limit distractions and focus on speaking – Anything that adds to your cognitive load when you’re trying to speak has the potential to pull you off track and make you use fillers while you’re thinking about other stuff. The practical takeaway for me on this one is that I’m going to try and not look at my computer screens during my pillars anymore. Perhaps even turning them off, or at least physically turning away from them. Then I can’t see the other host’s ugly mugs, see when Geo loses internet connection, or have to wake up my screen when the screensaver comes on.

 

  1. Don’t put your hands in your pockets – I thought this one was lame at first, even though there was a study that accompanied it, because I couldn’t think of any time when I shoved my hands in my pockets during a broadcast. But what I HAVE done, is just have them at my sides or on my mouse scrolling through my notes. And the study postulated that when our hands are in our pockets (or in my case, doing something else not related to speaking) since you can’t use your hands to gesture, you’re forced to use more fillers. I’m going to try and use my hands just as I would if I was standing at a podium while I’m doing my podcasting from now on.

 

  1. Prepare rigorously and concentrate on transitions. This is one that is probably pretty obvious but I’m actually not sure a great way to do this. Was looking to you guys on how you prepare for your pillars and how you podcast for some tips.

 

  1. Keep your sentences simple and short. I actually don’t think I do a really poor job of this one, because we do keep our pillars pretty natural. Even though I write the whole thing out, I don’t read it word for word, so the changes that I have a really long complex sentence are low.

 

Before I conclude, there was two more really cool tidbit from this article, and it has to do with what NOT to do as you try to eliminate fillers from your speech. Conventional wisdom on public speaking says that just a silent pause is always better than an Ah or Um. This was a really cool study (the only one I read – but all the ones alluded to in this article are available at artofmanliness.com) where they took a broadcaster that said um a lot and recorded a segment of his show. They played this version for students, as well as a version where the ums had been replaced by silence, as well as one where they totally edited the ums out and the words just flowed.

They found that in terms of perceived “eloquence,” while the smooth version won hands down, the other two (ums and silent pauses) were exactly the same. And on the other thing they measured – how anxious the speaker sounded – the version with the pauses was actually rated as seeming more anxious than the Ums.

So there you have it – more than you ever wanted to know about Ums. Turns out that there are some good reasons we as humans use it in language and we shouldn’t necessarily be on a crusade to totally get rid of them in all circumstances. I’m still not off the hook, however, because I’m a podcaster – speech is our lifeblood of the podcast and if I distract or turn off listeners because of all my fillers, you guys will kick me out.

Which brings me to my last caveat – in a variation of that same study, one group of students was told to ONLY listen to the content of what the guy was talking about instead of focusing on the ‘style’ of his speech. On the recording with the Ums, the group that was told to focus on content didn’t notice the ums and filtered them out. The author of that study concluded “Ums will not be associated with poor speech, but NOTING ums will be… just about every speaker produces ums, but the good speekers, by keeping substance, not style, the center of attention, will effectively hide their hesitancies”.

So I guess ultimately, even if I can’t eliminate some of my filler words from podcasts where I have the main pillar, at least if I can talk about something engaging, listeners will tend to filter them out and not run away from goodguystoknow!

 
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Year in review podcast!

15 Jan

2015-1Hey everybody!  Well, another year is in the books.  This episode we break down all the awesome stuff we did in 2014 on the Good Guys To Know Podcast.  Find out who had the most challenge points.  Hear how we did on our year long challenges.  Hear our NEW year long challenges.  So much content, just the right amount of time.

As always, thank you for listening!

 
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