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Thank You America

Celebrating Independence day reminds me how fortunate, and thankful I am to live in this grand country, the USA, and to count myself as an “American.” This is why: Freedom. Two freedoms are particularly dear: 1) the freedom to love who I want without government intervention and 2) the freedom to fly. By far the […]

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Flat Earth and Discussing Science

I was reading about this cool Russian X-Ray orbiting observatory when it dawned on me that I couldn’t even have a conversation about it with flat earthers. Besides believing in a flat earth, they don’t believe we have satellites. Think about that. It requires the increasing number of companies, in an increasing number of space-faring […]

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What is Science?

Science is merely the collection of tools that lead to our most reliable knowledge. Different tools work in different situations but they all require taking careful, methodical measurements. Quality tools work when wielded properly by people who know how to use them while sincerely trying to learn. An underpinning of science is the realization that […]

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Reliable Knowledge

All knowledge comes in degrees of certainty or reliability. Reliability is merely an expression of certainty. We’re MORE certain of knowledge if it: Comes from sound evidence. Makes sense with how the universe works. Is not based on less reliable knowledge. We build stuff that works by basing it on reliable knowledge. How will gasoline […]

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But Science Changes its Mind?

By 2010 it was clear that peanut allergies were a growing problem. And it wasn’t just doctors diagnosing them more often — more kids were presenting at emergency rooms with serious symptoms, and occasionally dying. Not surprisingly, the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) came out with advice to not feed peanut containing foods to babies. […]

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Who Can I Believe?

If you can test something yourself, that’s the best source. You can believe yourself *BUT*, realize the power of bias. We are the easiest to fool if we are trying to validate our own understanding rather than really test it. Test a claim using methods that others will use who question the claim. Otherwise they’ll […]

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Flat Earth Belief

In spite of easily replicated evidence, there are people who still believe the earth is flat. Given how I marvel at how this could be true, I found this National Geographic video helps understand it. Go here to see my suggestion to a flat-earth believer on how to test it for himself with me. Mostly […]

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Intervention of Milo Churchin

I’d just gotten hired at my first employer as a flight instructor. I was determined to be good at it–to teach safely, effectively, and to let the students fly the plane without excessive interference. I remembered instructors who were too handsy on the controls, making it difficult to get the feel. Was it him or […]

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Persistence of Poor Designs

I marvel at how some remarkably bad designs persist. Do these people test their stuff in something resembling a real world? Do they use normal humans with normal fingers? How about the restaurant owners: do they expect people to tease out the finer details of operation while a line forms behind them, and their food […]

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Braile in the Cockpit

I get it, vision deteriorates with age. But we don’t put braille in cockpits, and in fact, airline pilots must demonstrate 20/20 vision at least every year. So it was with some amusement that I noticed the N-Number on this particular 737. Notice how BIG it is! Admittedly, I’m not fond of having to search […]

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Variable Human Traits

Individuals have billions of settings and specifications–all set at birth then tweaked through environment. Specifications (Specs) are the physical and mental capabilities that can frequently be changed through deliberate action like exercise. Physical dimensions are mostly set through genetic programming, but even height can be adjusted through a small range using an inversion table. Other […]

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Where Morals Come From

This is simple. Nearly all morals come from answering this one question: How would I want to be treated? This “Golden Rule” is universal enough to be coded by many religions whose writings have been preserved. Some are shown at right. It’s what we expect of our courts and of our people. Application of the […]

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Status of Wheeled Paramotor Tandems

In the U.S., tandem (two place) paramotor instruction is legal using an exemption such as 9575 from USPPA.org. It is NOT legal for recreational use; that’s what Sport Pilot is for. This, of course, a HUGE safety improvement for training since there is no excuse not to ensure students can handle the craft’s oddities before […]

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Happiness

Have you ever noticed that unhappiness from a sad event fades? We then tend to go back to our average, or baseline level of life satisfaction. This emotional falloff is fortunate. It’s why the saying “time is the best healer” is pretty sage advice. Emotional Falloff Probably the best example of this is when a […]

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My History

My history is intertwined with flight, but there was a time before flight; a time when I didn’t really think about flying as something available to me. I drew ships. I had some fascination with being in moving things. I remember putting a ping-pong table top of a wagon and pulling it around with our […]

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Baloney Detection Kit

Reliable knowledge is important. I saw how fragile it is, and how often nonsense gets pedalled after getting into paramotoring (see FootFlyer.com) and seeing just out how much misinformation was out there. Only a couple years in revealed that much of what was taught regarding safety was wrong. I’d get bits and pieces of good […]

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The Great Tim

I’m lucky to have a human that I truly enjoy spending time with, and I’m hoping for many more years. He is the Great Tim. Many aspects of Timness are difficult to explain, but one of the most impressive is thoughtfulness. He does all these little things that I don’t even think of let alone […]

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Only one Science

There is only one Science. It’s the collection of tools that help us extract reliable knowledge. We know a tool works because the knowledge it uncovers can withstand challenge or serve as a reliable building block for other knowledge.

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Creating USPPA

My paramotoring started in March of 1999. There was no formal (read consensus) training program so I opted for the next best thing: paraglider training using the US Hang Gliding Association (USHGA)’s program. Through my long exposure to aviation I’ve had numerous flying friends die which enforced more respect for the dangers of flight and […]

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Why Care?

So why does this whole bit about knowledge matter? Good question. Primarily, it’s because knowledge has consequences. If you think that Albinos have special powers and are inately evil then you may be OK with killing them and mixing their bones into a special sauce. That’s happened. Search “Persecution of people with albinism” and marvel […]

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What is SOUND Evidence?

So you fancy yourself a critical thinker. You get the importance of basing knowledge on evidence, but what constitutes GOOD evidence? Nearly everyone says they have evidence for all manner of claims. But evidence comes in degrees of quality, of certainty. Belief should be granted in proportion to the evidence. If you think that Lord […]

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Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is the process of analyzing information using logic, reason, and measurable evidence¬†to gain the most reliable knowledge process. We should strive to thinkers. Not feigning intellect to impress people, but rather seeking the most reliable knowledge so we make the best decisions. It includes understanding and seeking sound evidence on which to base […]

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Seeing in Black and White

How many times do we hear that something is “Black and White?” It may be true occasionally, but most often that something is shades of gray. The physical universe is full of shades. Planets orbit in a habitable zone, physical states like solids and liquids can be difficult to define, and all kinds of weirdness […]

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