by Jack Baugh
This is a glimpse into a 26-page comprehensive nutrition and lifestyle analysis.
Part 1: Dietary Analysis (Tracking)
Part 1: Dietary Analysis
Part 2: Physical Activity Analysis
Part 3: Step Tracker
Monday 9/23: I took more than my normal amount of steps on Monday. This was due to a morning workout and playing basketball after school.
Tuesday 9/24: Tuesday was a normal day in terms of walking. I walked to and from my classes at school, did a few shopping errands, and went home.
Wednesday 9/25: Wednesday was also a normal day in terms of walking. I walked to and from my classes at school. After school I did 30 minutes of swimming and my weight-lifting workout, but these activities did not equate to a high count of steps.
Thursday 9/26: The extra step count today came from the basketball I played after school. The rest of the steps came from the normal to/from classes.
Friday 9/27: Today’s activities were extremely similar to yesterday (Thursday). The high number of steps came from playing basketball after school.
Saturday 9/28: Today I did chores around the house and went back to rec center to play basketball. These activities resulted in a large number of steps.
Sunday 9/29: Today I stayed home all day, doing homework and playing video games. This is actually a pretty normal Sunday for me, resulting in few steps, but gets me rested and ready for the upcoming week.
Part 7: Try a New Activity
For a new activity, I tried using the stair climber during a workout at the North Boulder rec center. Rarely do I use any cardio machine and this was my first time using the stair climber. I warmed up doing some stretches and then did the cardio portion of my workout on the stair climber. The activity was much more difficult than I expected and I would describe its feeling closest to backpacking. I may use the stair climber again but I would rather do cardio workouts in other ways, like running or playing basketball. Since I don’t think I’ll add it to my workout schedule, it won’t really contribute to my overall health. If I did enjoy it, it would be a good way to get in a quick cardio session and gain strength.
For the dietary analysis, what surprised you about your results?
The number one thing I found most surprising in my nutrition analysis was how low my calorie intake was compared to what I should be eating. My average calorie intake was 2500 calories while the DRI created for me by NutritionCalc was 3000 calories. As I am also currently trying to build muscle, my calorie intake should probably be even higher than the NutritionCalc DRI. I was also surprised that my sodium intake was high. I eat mostly unprocessed food and eat most of my meals at home, so I was surprised that I was getting more than the recommended amount of sodium.
What was the effect of taking pictures and recording your moods and hunger?
The effect of taking pictures of what I ate was probably helpful in remembering what I ate when it came to entering in NutritionCalc program, but it was also a little irritating as it was difficult for me to remember to take the pictures before eating. Also, my phone camera doesn’t work very well so it was hard to get good in-focus images. However, recording my hunger levels throughout the day made me realize that I was ignoring hunger throughout large sections of the day. Its effect was to change my future eating patterns to include small meals between breakfast and lunch, and the same between lunch and dinner. This should also help add the additional calories I was lacking in my daily intake.
How did your step tracker results compare to the U.S.average and to the recommended number of steps per day?
Over the week of tracking, my steps per day averaged to 10,175. This was slightly over the recommended steps per day of 10,000, and double the average number of steps taken by Americans (4,774), according to a study published in Nature in 2017 and referenced in an online article by CBS News.
What are the national recommendations for exercise (i.e., how many minutes or days of activity/week and types of activities recommended)? Consult the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website for these recommendations. Did your exercise level meet these recommendations? Did the quality or quantity of your sleep affect your activity level the following day?
The Center for Disease Control publishes guidelines for exercise on their website, which points to a publication put out by the Department of Health and Human Services. This publication lists guidelines for amounts of activity people should strive for to remain healthy. For adults aged 18-64, at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity, or 75-150 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity is recommended. The guidelines also state that this aerobic activity should ideally be spread out through the week. It is also recommended that adults do muscle strengthening activities on all major muscle groups at least twice a week.
My current exercise routine consists of 3 days a week of weightlifting, interspersed between my job on 3 other days, which consists of physical labor. My workouts each focus on isolating a different set of muscles in intense exercise. Each workout lasts an hour and consists of intense exercise, giving me 180 min per week of intense exercise and more than the recommended 2 strength training days. In addition, I work 16-18 hours a week for my job at a tire shop. The job has a lot of physical activity, pulling, mounting, and stacking tires in a fast-paced environment. At least half of my time on the job counts as moderate intensity exercise, adding up to 480 minutes per week. Given the guidelines I well exceed the recommended amount of weekly exercise for an adult to remain healthy.
The amount of sleep I had the night before didn’t affect the amount of activity I did, but rather affected how I felt about doing it. The less sleep I had, the more reluctant I was to work out, but I did it anyway.
In 1817, the first bicycle was invented. Since then, it has undergone multiple drastic changes over the years. Once the safety bicycle—the basic template nearly all modern bicycles are built off of—was invented, it diverged into road bikes and mountain bikes. However, it was quickly overtaken by the car since that was faster and more convenient. Now, it is mostly used as a mode of recreation. It is, nevertheless, an underrated mode of transportation; its cheap short distance convenience and relatively low need for infrastructure makes it perfect for use in places in which other mechanized transportation is inconvenient or impossible. It is not, however, limited to such places, and in many cases, the benefits of using a bike outweigh the downsides.
The bicycle’s lack of fuel requirements, along with its size, makes it a much more versatile mode of transportation than nearly any other. They don’t drip oil or hydraulic fluids and they produce no significant pollution. The previous points notwithstanding, it’s easier to find space to lock one’s bike, especially in crowded cities. Bikes also reduce road wear, saving tax dollars for more productive things. And if one can’t use a car, or has to go farther than normal bikes allow, electric bicycles are an option. They are more expensive than bikes, but still much less expensive than cars. If one can’t qualify for a driver’s license, and it’s hard to get places easily, bikes are a more direct way to get where one is going than public transportation, and electric bikes extend the effective range even farther. They can even be used in conjunction with buses since they can carry bicycles. If one lives in a dense city, where congestion and traffic are common, bikes can be faster than cars, and even if one doesn’t, they can be just as fast as cars in distances under 5 miles. However, the need for long-distance transportation exists and is something that bikes are less well suited to. Even so, in situations where the distance isn’t too far, electric bicycles cost little to charge. Further, the family car costs $1.26 per mile to operate (Cycling Benefits). The estimated cost of congestion is $305 billion in the U.S. Biking reduces congestion since it doesn’t add any cars. If one lives under conditions that make it undesirable to bike long distances, using a bike for the close-range situations still brings many of the benefits associated with it.
Cycling is a very good form of exercise, it uses all of the major leg muscle groups with one pedal, as well as being an easy to learn form of exercise. Biking increases cardiovascular fitness, stamina, and can improve navigational skills, as well as handling and spatial awareness. To add to that, the intensity of exercise while biking is nearly entirely self-directed, and it improves strength, balance, and coordination. Riding a bike regularly can reduce mental health conditions like depression, stress, and anxiety; plus, it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and cycling for more than 30 minutes per day decreases the risk of developing diabetes by 40%. Moreover, a study by the University of Glasgow found that cycling to work can cut a rider’s risk of developing heart disease or cancer in half (Cycling - Health Benefits). The exercise also improves sleep. Health professionals recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each day, and bicycling is a good way to incorporate that into one’s day, even if it’s broken up into 10-minute segments. Contradictory to what one might normally think, bikers are exposed to 1/5th of the air pollution when on the roads.
Bicycles have their niche, and right now, cars and public transportation are filling it—not very well either—which is leading to undesirable consequences. Using bicycles for short-distance city travel is much more efficient and sometimes more convenient—not to mention the various health improvements gained from biking than using cars or public transportation. Used properly, a bike can improve both physical and mental health, mitigate pollution, and lower transportation costs without great consequence against time and speed. The perceived convenience of cars is not worth the downsides.
One thing people use every day is cars, but what some people never see is that people also use bikes. People use bikes every day to get to work and other places. Imagine a world where there were no cars and only bikes—would our world look the same, or would it be way different? This essay will be talking about how bikes can change the world.
Bikes are really important to health--Better Health Channel says that the bike has a huge health benefit and that it helps our environment. Unlike cars, bikes don't use gas and they don’t put bad toxins into the air. Not only that, but the bike can help a single person to stay healthy. Bikes improve your cardio and it helps you lose weight. It also helps your heart, lungs and prevents cardiovascular diseases. Bikes also help people with disabilities who have been paralyzed. They found that when they used bikes, they were able to gain strength in their legs to feel them again.
In class, the topic is about how one bike can change one person’s life in Africa. What the class learned is that some people have to walk miles and miles just to get water—and when they run out of water, they have to go get some more. If they had a bike, they could carry five times more and halve the travel time. Instead of walking 3 hours there and back, it would only take 3 hours total. We watched a video called Water Within Reach. It talks about a 5 year old girl who has to walk 3.7 miles just to fill up a tea kettle of water. She has to do that walk almost every day.
If thinking about it, bikes are our future. Millions of people in Africa need bikes, and many people in the world also need bikes. With bikes, we can solve many problems that we otherwise couldn't—whether it's from easy transportation or helping our environment. I want you to imagine what the world would look like in 25 (plus) years. Will there be more bikes or more cars? I'm sure most people would say cars. If people didn't know, cars are one of the leading causes of global warming. If humans use bikes, we don't have to worry about that—and that's why I think bikes are really important.
All of this brings me to my answer—my answer to how can bikes change the world. It's simple: bikes are already changing the world. Every day, thousands of people ride bikes, which changes the world in ways like global warming and even transportation. Bikes keep people healthy making the world a better place.
The first bicycle was invented in 1864. The first bicycle revolutionized transportation and started this wild new trend. Bicycles became more popular as they improved and became easier to use. The first bicycle wasn't very efficient, so the inventors went back to the drawing board to improve their new trusty steed. Eventually, after many inventors trying out many different prototypes they got a very similar model to the bicycle you see today. Back in the 1860’s bicycles gave many women a sense of freedom. When riding the bike, women didn't need a man to escort them—this is an example of one of the many ways that the bicycles helped women gain their liberty. Bicycles reduce pollution, revolutionize transportation, and change the health and mental state of the people who use them.
When riding on a bike, one can improve their mental state immensely. If you ride your bike to work every day you would be able to go into your office or workspace and jump right into a task more easily because your brain is activated and ready to go. When riding your bike you lessen your risk of developing [later in life depression]. An article from bicycling.com stated, “[S]cientists found that people scored higher on tests of memory, reasoning, and planning after 30 minutes of spinning on a stationary bike than they did before they rode.” This quote illustrates the point that bicycles can help with memory cognition and overall brain function. Many people die from car crashes each day—the website movoto.com quoted that “30,000 people die in car crashes, but only 667 are killed while riding a bike, making it much safer.” If more people were to ride their bike, the stress and danger of getting in a car accident dissipates immensely.
The production of a medium-sized car emits 17 tons of CO2, and producing one bicycle emits only 530 pounds of CO2. (Just for reference, 1 ton equals 2000 pounds). If one were to ride 400 miles on bike, they would be able to make up for the 530 pounds of CO2 one emmits by buying the bike. By riding your bike you cut down on your carbon footprint immensely. Every day, people get into their cars to go do small errands and such and they don't even take a second to think about how their small drive will affect the planet. By choosing to ride a bike you are saving the planet and you are also mentally and physically benefiting much more than just sitting in your car.
As the gas prices rise, running your car just becomes more and more expensive. Your bike doesn't need gas to run. By riding your bike, you skip a lot of the traffic, getting to your destinations much faster. If more people rode their bikes to go and do their daily tasks, there wouldn't be a need for copious amounts of large dysfunctional parking lots. This would save so much space, and also save lots of money to be used in more productive ways. A website called green is my thing cites, “if everyone in the U.S. stopped driving for a day and rode their bicycles, theoretically we would prevent approximately 3.5 million metric tons of CO2 emissions entering the atmosphere.” One could wonder what the changes would be like if everyone didn't drive for years.
There are many ways bicycles can change the world. In almost all of these examples, the change revolves around the people, and just one person taking action will make a difference. Eventually, little by little, that one person that tried something different actually affects the world. All of the components that were talked about in this essay—plus just one person—is all it takes to start a change.
Bicycles can change the world in many ways. One of which is the health benefits that it can bring. Studies such as Cycling for transport and public health: a systematic review of the effect of the environment on cycling have proven in many ways that the bike should be your main source of transportation.
The first topic I’ll be talking about is how cycling can increase your mental and physical health enormously. Cycling can help reduce urban air pollution, the increase of physical inactivity, and the burden of chronic non-communicable diseases. Many tests have proven that cycling decreases risk of cardiovascular problems, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, certain cancers, musculoskeletal and mental health problems, and respiratory disease.
Another benefit of cycling is transportation. For one car payment, you can buy a well made bike, it will likely last a while. It’s cheaper and easier to finance. When you use a car to get to work or school, you’re polluting the air. Air pollution has been rising—and that just doesn’t exist with bikes. When cycling, you save taxpayer money—you wear down the road much less than a two ton car. Every cycle on the road amounts to money saved from having to patch potholes in our streets. You can literally save thousands of dollars a year using a bicycle for transportation instead of a car.
Bikes also have huge environmental benefits. It’s simple. Bikes use no gas and a lot less energy than a car. They also don’t require toxic batteries or motor oil. An SUV produces 1.7 tons of CO2 every year. Bikes produce 0. Every car pollutes the air much more than you would think. During a cars’ lifetime, it will produce 1.3 billion cubic yards of polluted air. It also shoots and scatters and additional 40 pounds of tire plastic, brake debris, and worn road surface into the atmosphere. Cycling significantly reduces travel emissions, while at the same time, slimming traffic congestion and the need for petroleum.
Overall, these are all the reasons why biking is a much better mode of transport than cars. It saves you money, it saves your life in some cases, and it saves our world. Biking is the best solution to travel and taking a step to clean out pollution from our earth.
Looking back to the 1800s when the first bike was made, bikes have been a very important part of our daily lives. But how are they changing our world? There are three big reasons that stand out to how they’re changing the world. Those three reasons are impacting our environment, transportation, and health.
Bikes are positively affecting the environment of our planet. An article by Davis Jonita says, “80 percent of the carbon monoxide in the atmosphere came from motorized vehicles that operate on gas and diesel. Riding a bike, however, contributes zero pollutants, a statistic that is definitely a pro for the environment.” In other words, bikes don’t give off any carbon at all. Plus, there’s no worry about finding a parking space for a bike, because it takes up less space and can be parked just about anywhere. According to an article from Biofriendly Planet Magazine, “cycling requires no gasoline and, therefore, no harmful vehicle emissions or smog are released into the air when a person is riding his or her bicycle. Bicycles require no gasoline, no antifreeze and don’t need many of the other fluids vehicles need to operate…if you don’t want to pay for gas but still need to get somewhere, ride a bike.” This way you pay less money to get from one place to another, and riding a bike these days makes you cool.
Secondly, bikes are affecting transportation in a positive way as well. According to WorldBicycle Relief talking about transportation in Africa, “before the buffalo bike, this four-kilometer journey would take twice as long on foot.” These people in Africa have to walk a four-kilometer journey every day which takes a very long and tiring time. But when they ride a buffalo bike, the journey is two times shorter than walking. Gliemann Jennifer writes, “bicycles saved workers’ time as well as providing them with freedom and greater independence, they could thus emancipate themselves from their employers and find a new job thanks to the mobility that bikes gave them.” In other words, when bicycles were first invented, it gave people the freedom and independence to ride and feel in control.
Finally, bikes are positively affecting people’s health. According to Mark Martin from his TedTalk about bikes, “students of ADHD or the adult version of it suffer, well, terrible attention problems. But when you ride a bike, you don’t.” He was talking about how people with ADHD can struggle to walk and move, but when they ride a bike, they instantly peddle fast in circles. From the article Treehugger by Lloyd Alter “when people say cycling is dangerous, they’re wrong. Sitting down—which is what most of the population does far too much of—that’s the thing that’s going to kill you.” He meant that getting on a bike and riding will get you stronger, but just sitting down on your couch can make you unhealthy, which could lead to death—so riding a bike is healthier than being lazy all day long. It would be a lot healthier to ride a bike and get outside than being on the couch, because if everyone stays on the couch then it could lead to death or worse even.
In general, bikes are changing the world by helping us every day—whether that’s with our health, transportation, or even the environment. They are a reliable machine that everyone needs in their daily lives. If bikes were never invented, everyone would rely more on cars and buses. In conclusion, bikes really are an important part of our lives and society should make sure that everyone doesn’t stop riding a bike.
by Titan Mikuta
What is the Mind-Body Problem?
The mind-body problem is an unsolved problem concerning the relationship between the body and the mind. How can a conglomeration of atoms eventually incite the existence of metaphysical experience? How can perception be possible? These questions have baffled physicists, neuroscientists, and philosophers since their conception. It is the hard problem of consciousness. It is considered hard, because as opposed to easy problems, the answer will not arise through complete understanding of all relevant mechanisms. Understanding all of the physical mechanics of heat does not describe the felt sensation of holding your hand over a fire. A complete knowledge of the material happenings of the brain does not explain the arising of awareness, of something immaterial. There seemingly exists a gap between mind and matter that is impossible to bridge.
The Knowledge Argument
To better understand this separation between body (physical), and mind (metaphysical), the examination of something known as the knowledge argument is necessary. The knowledge argument, also known as Mary’s room, is a thought experiment meant to argue against physicalism, the view that reality is entirely physical. It goes like this:
The knowledge argument seeks to contradict common Western understandings that we can fully understand reality through the sciences, through material knowledge. The problem with a materialist understanding of the world is that it disregards experience as an aspect of reality and fully prioritizes matter. Matter is a very tricky concept when properly evaluated, as it implies the existence of something behind the sensory data that we perceive.
Imagine a circular table. In the center of the table, there is an apple — an instance of matter. Around this table sits every possible entity that can perceive — birds, bears, fish, worms, dragonflies, humans, ants, aliens, cats, buffalo, etc. They are each observing the object in the center. Due to the fact that each of these animals have different modes and organs for perceiving, a different image of the same object is created within each of them. A dragonfly’s eyes see a drastically different image of an apple than yours do. If I were to pick one of these images, none of them would be the true image of the apple. Our human eyes present us with an image of matter no more accurate than those of a dragonfly, it is simply a different image. Matter is the thing outside of perception that is being looked at. To truly know what the object at the center of the table looks like, you would have to see it without eyes, perceive it outside of perception. This is simply not possible, meaning that an objectively true image of matter does not exist. Perception is the matrix through which matter can be known, and it will be known to be different depending on the sense organs of the sentient creature. This understanding of the elusive nature of the physical world means that some primacy of the metaphysical world of perception must be acknowledged. It would be more accurate to say that we observe perception and sensory data than matter. Western philosophy births the mind body problem by abstracting from perceptual experience with the conception of matter, and then attempting to explain perception using this abstraction. It divides reality into two substances: the mind, and the unperceivable physical world that we assume to exist outside of it.
Western philosophy takes a dualistic stand on the nature of reality, believing the universe to consist of two seemingly unconnectable substances, mind and body. Eastern philosophy proposes a much different approach: mind and body are one and the same. The East has developed a compelling case that reality is non-dual, that there are not two separate substances that are frustratingly unconnectable. It is able to combine mind and matter into one unified whole, by stating that it is impossible for one to exist without the other. If reality didn’t exist, the mind couldn't possibly exist. If the mind did not exist, there would be no conception of reality that existed either. Have you ever seen a world outside of consciousness? If not, that’s okay, because nobody has!
Western, physicalist understandings of reality are what give birth to the mind-body problem. The belief that matter is the primary substance of reality has caused unsolvable problems to arise: how do we use the sciences to explain the subjective qualities of experience? How can matter explain the felt sensation of color, or heat? What role does rational understanding play in revealing the irrationality of existence? The East very early on developed philosophies to understand the impossible nature of reality. The Taoists observed the Tao, the Hindus conceptualized Brahman, monotheisms hypothesized about God. All these concepts speak about the functions of ultimate reality as a unified whole that lies infinitely beyond human understanding. It distills reality into non-numerical oneness. Dualistic Western beliefs cause reality to be viewed as two separate things: the universe, and us. What ensues is societies of glorified apes trying to denote why existence is. Non-dualistic Eastern beliefs see that we are clearly inseparable from the universe, finding relief in an unbreakable inability to understand why we are.
by Dani Cooke
I am not a science or math person; I have no interest in becoming a software engineer or computer programmer. In terms of gender expectations set in academic fields, I fall pretty firmly into the pigeonholed “woman-interested-in-humanities-and-only-humanities” category. There are times when I’ve wished that I didn’t so easily fit these stereotypes—I’m writing this while wearing a soft pink sweater, sitting with my legs crossed delicately, feeling like part of the problem—but despite my best efforts, my academic interests veer strictly toward the liberal arts and other wordy endeavors often associated with femininity. However, visiting Google’s Boulder campus with the Gender, Media, and Technology class, the conversation of women and minorities in the tech industry unavoidably piqued my interest.
The computer programmer who gave our class a tour cited two schools of thought when it comes to why only 20% or so of software engineers are women. “It’s easy,” he explains, “to blame it on a ‘pipeline issue,’ saying that fewer women want to become software engineers or work in STEM.” The truth, in his experiences, is that unconscious bias and deep-seated toxic masculinity have pushed women out of STEM fields, sometimes before they even get the chance to begin exploring them.
Google, a tech giant which is unavoidable in our everyday lives, has taken a number of initiatives to avoid this bias. They have removed given names from the initial application process so that the gender of the applicant is not immediately apparent when their qualifications are being evaluated. In project teams, members and managers are constantly reevaluating their processes to create a culture where issues of identity can be brought up and the true representative nature of teams can be questioned. Outreach initiatives like “Girls Who Code” seek to empower and recruit women in the field. Employee Resource Groups like “Women at Google,” “Gay-glers,” and the “Black Googlers Network” seek to connect and support employees at Google who may identify with minority groups and implement some of these transformation ideas.
So, why should companies like Google care? Why does it matter that women aren’t as represented in the tech industry? Put simply by a member of the panel of “Googlers” with whom we spoke, “There is hard research that says diverse teams make better products. If we have everyone represented at the table, we will build products that are more accessible to everybody.”
There is no denying that women are underrepresented in the STEM workforce. While women receive about 50.3% of science and engineering bachelor’s degrees, they make up only 29% of the science and engineering workforce (National Girls Collaborative Project). From both social justice and purely productivity-based standpoints, many agree that more inclusivity in the tech industry can only be a good thing.
The push to include women in STEM is, of course, not isolated to Google alone—it’s a global movement. Some organizations set the lofty goal of “50/50 by 2020”—50% of people in the industry being women. Whether or not that goal is met, the future of women in tech is headed in a positive direction and gaining momentum by the minute.
by Elliot Marks
These are photos of the blood red wolf moon that appeared on the 20th of January. The way that the light refracts off of the side of the Earth causes the moon to appear red.
by Sam Andrews
The discussion of the possibility and the implications of the existence of extraterrestrial life are far too often relegated to the realms of science fiction. Specifically, arguments for belief in the existence of life outside of Earth have often been portrayed or treated as ridiculous, unfounded, or just plain nerdy. The first two of these descriptors could not be further from the truth (what can be said for the third, I’m unsure). While it is unlikely that all life outside of Earth is made up of short, green, bug-eyed men flying around in UFOs, or monstrous, jet-black xenomorphs that drool acid and birth out of human stomachs, according to basic probability as well as the findings of modern astrophysics, it is nearly guaranteed that aliens do exist.
In order to understand how probable it is that we are not alone in the universe, one must first comprehend exactly how large the universe is. Seeing as it may very well be impossible for the human mind to fathom the vastness of space, this must be represented mathematically. The observable universe, as far as we have been able to measure, is roughly 8.8x1023 kilometers from “edge” to “edge” (mind you, the observable universe is generally considered to be miniscule compared to the entirety of the universe). In more relative terms, roughly 880,000 Milky Ways, 2.2x1019 Earths, or 4.8x1026 of you could fit in a single file line across the observable universe. Seeing as the universe is a sphere, simple use of the equation V=(4/3)πr3shows that the observable universe could fit 3.57×10x17 Milky Way galaxies, 5.58×1057 Earths, or 5.79×1079 (five quinvigintillion, seven hundred ninety quattuorvigintillion) of you inside it. The point is that the universe is like, pretty big.
After one recognizes this, part of the Drake equation can be used to determine whether or not alien life exists. The Drake equation is: N = R* • fp • ne • fl • fi • fc • L. where N= the number of civilizations that we can potentially contact, R= the formation rate of stars in our galaxy at the current time, fp= the fraction of those stars with planets, ne = the fraction of those planets which develop a suitable environment for life, fl= the fraction of those planets that actually do develop life, fi= the fraction of those species that develop intelligence, fc= those intelligent species which develop interstellar communication, and L= the length of time that these societies exist on average. Of course, we do not know, fl, fi,fc, or L and so we set our own variable: in this case, we can assume one in a million regarding our fractions, and the length of time for which life has existed on Earth for the average length of time which life exists. For our galaxy specifically, according to stats taken from NASA, there are three stars formed in our galaxy yearly, seventeen percent of stars hold planets in orbit, and forty percent of those planets exist within the goldilocks zone. One can then make the following calculations:
This shows that if we consider ourselves to be one in a million (which is relatively self-centered), it is likely that at least 714 planets support alien life, and we can potentially communicate with none of them, currently. However, using our set variable for intelligent life that exists, the value we receive is less than one, when we know that at least one intelligent species exists in the Milky Way (humans), and thus, we can infer that the ratio of either planets that support life to total planets, or life that becomes intelligent to all life forms, is significantly higher (and thus more probable) than we assumed. When these calculations are applied to the total size of the universe, the calculated number of intelligent species with the capability of communication becomes unimaginably high. Essentially, not believing in alien life is a decision contrary to evidence.
As Carl Arthur C. Clarke once said, “Two possibilities exist: we are either alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.”
While it is extremely probable that unknown life forms exist, there is not a 100% chance. There is always the possibility that we are alone. If we are not alone, then we stand to gain immeasurable quantities of knowledge through communication. If we are alone, then it is our duty to understand, explore, treasure, and love all that this life has to offer us—for if we don’t, no one else will.