Friday, July 12, 2024

Does Outer Space Affect Inner Space?

 Along the spectrum of philosophies and religions of the world, few give much weight to the idea that we are significantly influenced, if at all, by what’s going on beyond our Earth’s atmosphere. They don’t talk about outer space. References to “Heaven Above” are rarely presented in the context of emanating from the physical domain of space.

We could categorize exceptions to this general lack of extraterrestrial attention into three types of people. The first would be those who make space their livelihood. As an example, the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson likely thinks about outer space more in a day than the average person does in a year. He is influenced by the stars. 

The second group would be those faithful to modern religious movements within which doctrines and tenets ascribe divine aspects to planets and stars. That is their faith, and whatever else it might be, we can call it space-based. The third group is not confined to any one cohesive ideology or belief system. Although it has waxed and waned in its popularity throughout history, it’s an undoubtedly resilient school of thought and can be found all over the globe throughout the millennia.  I refer, of course, to astrology.

Although it's not clearly defined and has no organizational centrality, astrology has been defined as a belief that the astronomical objects have a metaphysical influence on our lives and/or character. Some astrologers assign houses of influence to the planets and analyze their relative positions to create horoscopes - individual assessments of the astrological influence at play at any particular moment in time. People of power and influence sometimes believe these predictions to such an extent that disastrous decisions then follow. That’s astrology in its most absurd form. 

More easily accepted is the notion that when we are born has an effect on who we become. In Western astrology, most of us are familiar with the signs of the zodiac and probably know what sign we were born under. It’s been labeled pseudo-science to accept as true certain qualities are baked into one’s character at birth, based on the arbitrary distinctions of the 12 Zodiac. Regardless, the belief persists. Although “what’s your sign?” is rarely heard these days, it is believed by many that Leos tend to be quite able leaders, Aquarius is a sign full of dreamers and idealists. Cancerians are nurturing and Libra are fun to be around. Any treatment of astrological thought will present these common sun-sign characteristics to some extent and with an overall consistency between astrologers. 

My personal opinion about astrology has been shaped by my story. As a child with a vivid imagination, I loved everything related to outer space. Growing up without a prescribed religion, I was free to pick and choose what I wanted to believe. At its core, astrology is space-based, which made it cool and as it was so accepted by the culture of the time, I figured they can’t all be nuts. So when I eventually read works from popular astrologists, I could see clearly that I had the characteristics of a Gemini, my particular sign of birth. I’ll spare the reader the purported details of the mercurial Gemini character, suffice to say that this very writing reinforces one belief about gemini and communications. 

My confidence in the validity of the sun-signs was nearly shattered by a chance encounter. In my early adolescence, at a local Supercuts while I was waiting around for a family member to finish being supercutted, I saw a sarcastic representation of the  Zodiac that was intended to be humorous. With nothing to keep me occupied, the poster on the wall caught my attention. It showed cartoonish characterizations of the worst aspects of the common conceptions of these mythical divisions of our calendar.  For Gemini, it showed the twins. One twin was in a prisoner's uniform and scowled like a hardcore felon, whereas the other twin wore heart-shaped glasses, flamboyant clothes and posed with a limp wrist.  Was I destined to become one of these two?  No!  It can’t be!

I was a boy who was frequently in trouble and perhaps that was predictive of a future life of crime. As for the other twin, I was already starting to feel attracted to girls at that age and was looking forward to getting older and finding out more about these things called girls. Was I destined to have all of that disappear and become gay? I was suddenly much deposed to reject astrology and its fatalistic consequences.

Over time, I recovered from my visit to the oracle of the hairdresser and its prediction of me becoming a felon or a f… another word that begins with F. At university, I came across some studies on the psychology of astrology that debunked the idea of inherent clusters of characteristics assignable to the signs of the Zodiac. People are very quick to believe that their signs are determinant of their character when the traits are presented in a positive way.

It occurred to me that another way to debunk the validity of astrology would be through data analysis. To test the hypothesis that a certain characteristic aligns more with a particular sign, then all one would need is a large enough sample size of individuals who have that characteristic and their dates of birth.

An analysis like this would have taken a lot of work in previous decades, but thanks to modern data mining AI, I knew it was something I could do. It was something worth my while to settle once and for all. I was ready to have my conceptions about the distinguishing characteristics of being a Gemini debunked. I certainly didn’t expect them to be confirmed, and not just by a little bit. The results I’m going to present show a very strong correlation, bordering on proving the hypothesis to be true.

The Hypothesis:

People born between May 21st and June 20th (Gemini) tend to have exceptional communication skills, leading to more of them becoming famous leaders, writers and celebrities.


The names gathered for the sample were chosen through asking Chat GPT to compile lists based on distinctions which are more likely to be earned by individuals possessing the skills noted in the hypothesis. I needed lists of great communicators and leaders. Specifically, the AI was asked to compile the names of:
  • Nobel Peace Prize laureates
  • Presidents of the USA
  • Sec Generals of the UN
  • Pulitzer Prize winners
  • Hugo Award winners
  • Coaches enshrined in the basketball or football halls of fame
  • Losers of the US Presidential Elections
  • Female Heads of state
  • Time Magazine Person of the Year
  • Significant revolutionaries
  • There were a few other search prompts to ensure greater geographical and gender diversity 

Sample Size: 277 names
See Appendix A for the complete list

The data suggests astrology is real.  Here's why:

Expected score based on equal distribution: 23.1
1 Standard Deviation = 6.198
Gemini:  35 represents 1.9 standard deviations above the mean

Chat GPT described this as a very strong correlation, representing  just under a 95% likelihood correlation between the factors is real.  

What do you think?

Link to my raw data

Appendix A: 277 notable communicators

Wednesday, April 24, 2024


I thought I was going to retire there.

I was the senior staff member. I'd been there longer than anyone.

It. Is. Not. Fair. 

But on the brighter side of things, 4/24/24 was fittingly auspicious.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Ten Years in Myanmar

 I couldn't remember the exact date of my arrival in Yangon. I thought the ten-year anniversary was going to be some day next week, so tonight I thought back to this blog. Here I'd find a post to remind me of that date - and there it was, dated 7 March 2014. My anniversary, an hence my workversery was four days ago. 

And no one noticed.

At work, we constantly get emails congratulating this person or that for their 1-year, 3-year or whatever year tenure with the company.  Here I am, the senior member of the staff, and my ten-year milestone comes and passes without a word. 

Man, I feel like I've been kicked in the gut. 

Underappreciated, spurned, underestimated, unwanted...and angry.

I know some people don't like me, but it's not because Ive wronged them in some way.  I'm just a convenient focus for their own frustration. Having been with the company for so long, I'm among the best paid employees, and I've earned that.  That also fosters resentment.

I can't believe it. I mean, I wasn't expecting a gold watch or anything like that, but a mention in an email would have been... the minimum they could have done.  

Do I feel full of righteous indignation? Damn straight I do. 

I can't throw it in their faces either.  

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Sail Away Many Ways


As I was sorting through some old printouts of various songs, I found one I hadn't seen in ages.  It was hand-written on the back of a Otis Millburn song, and as I was filled with enthusiasm, I started on a production. 

In the end, I wasn't entirely pleased with the performance and went back to practicing. When the power went out today, it was time to wrap up. 

Which then led to these three versions...




THis last one is my favorite. It was recorded during practice, which had no video recording just sound. I find some other clips to help there. 

Thanks to Kevin Baiko (AKA Dr Sparkles)


Friday, November 12, 2021

Tour d'House!

I was asked to show the new place I'm renting as I seemed so excited about it.

Does Outer Space Affect Inner Space?

 Along the spectrum of philosophies and religions of the world, few give much weight to the idea that we are significantly influenced, if at...