Noelle Talmon

Writer/ Martial Artist & Fitness Instructor/ Car & Motorcycle Enthusiast

Noelle Talmon

SpaceX’s Elon Musk Outlines Ambitious Plan to Colonize Mars by 2024

Billionaire and inventor Elon Musk announced on Friday that he’s determined to send cargo ships to Mars by 2022 and a colony of people to the planet by 2024. A smaller version of the interplanetary transport system, which Musk has dubbed BFR (Big F- -king Rocket), would be used to boost travel on Earth and help pay for the Mars mission.

SpaceX has already started working on the project, and the company expects to start building the first ship in the next six to nine months. Musk is “fairly confident” that the ship will be complete and ready to launch in approximately five years.

He hopes to send two cargo ships to Mars by 2022 with the goal of locating a water source. Rockets would drop off equipment and life-support systems on the planet to enable future colonizers to live there. In 2024, four ships would bring people and supplies to Mars for habitation. The BFR will hold about 100 passengers and include 40 cabins as well as communal spaces. The voyage is expected to take three to six months, but that’s open to debate.

Musk also revealed plans for developing rockets that will transport people between Earth’s largest cities in just minutes. For example, a trip from New York City to Shanghai would take less than 40 minutes. The flight currently takes passengers 15 hours. This system, in turn, would help pay for future missions to Mars.

Musk told audience members at a global space conference in Adelaide, Australia: “The most important thing… is that I think we have figured out how to pay for (BFR), which is to have a smaller vehicle, it’s still pretty big, but one that can… do everything that’s needed in the greater Earth orbit activity.”

He explained how it would feel to travel from city to city by rocket: “Once you are out of the atmosphere, it would be as smooth as silk, no turbulence, nothing.”

It would also take a fraction of the time it takes to travel by plane. He noted: “There’s no weather… and you can get to most long-distance places in less than half-an-hour. If we are building this thing to go to the Moon and Mars, then why not go to other places on Earth as well.”

Musk plans on funding the missions by using the BFR for several functions, including launching satellites and servicing the International Space Station for NASA. That will allow SpaceX to focus on one spacecraft to perform various tasks instead of several.

He did not disclose how much money would be spent on developing the rocket or the price of the tickets to ride it. Last year, Musk described a rocket system that would cost $200,000 per ticket.

SpaceX has successfully launched 13 missions this year so far, more than any of its rivals. Musk’s plans to colonize Mars are ambitious, and many are skeptical that he will be able to follow through with the timeline he’s proposed.

Museum Hack’s ‘American Museum of Natural History: Un-Highlights Tour’ Is So Much Fun & Very Punny

Most people agree that the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in Manhattan’s Upper West Side is a great place to spend the day. First, there are dinosaurs. But it also features a neat mummies exhibit and includes the Hayden planetarium. But did you know that there’s a pretty neat offbeat way to explore the space? Enter Museum Hack. The group leads what they call “unconventional tours” of some of the world’s most interesting museums. They fill you in on bizarre facts and morsels of adult-focused content you wouldn’t learn about during a regular museum visit.

I recently took part in Museum Hack’s AMNH “Un-Highlights Tour,” and it was highly entertaining and definitely unconventional. The tour took place on a Sunday afternoon during a particularly busy day at the museum. Five of us were instructed to meet our guide, Dustin Growick, in the lobby by the tail of the Barosaurus. After a quick introduction, we were asked to name any animal we could think of that we’d like to see that day. I chose an aardvark (and Dustin eventually delivered an anteater, which I deemed close enough). We also pumped our hands together in solidarity and shouted “Mu-seum!” before starting our adventure.

We began our tour in the Akeley Hall of African Mammals, which includes 28 dioramas. We only had two hours to spare, so our time there was brief. However, Dustin clued us in to many unusual facts about the making of the dioramas and the history behind explorer/taxidermist/all-around badass Carl Akeley, the hall’s namesake. I don’t want to spoil the tour for anyone interested in taking it, but it’s safe to say I had no idea real animal poop was on display at the AMNH.

When you visit a museum, it’s impossible to see everything and read every description. So, it’s good to have a guide point to things you might miss. While you can’t miss the slab from a giant sequoia on display in the Hall of North American Forests, you may not know who cut it down or why. If you take the tour, you’ll get the answers.

While it was the AMNH “Un-Highlights” tour, you still get to see some of the things that the museum is known for, including the model of the giant blue whale that hangs in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. But unless you dig deep, you won’t learn about the pranks involved in its display or that the whale has a bellybutton.

There are some things the museum doesn’t want the average visitor to know, but that didn’t stop Dustin from telling us about one of greatest thefts that occurred there or how rodents have caused problems with several of the exhibits over the years. We also got some behind-the-scenes info about the installation of the Cape York Meteorite, which is 4.5 billion years old and weighs 34 tons.

Museum Hack’s AMNH “Un-Highlights Tour” also included time in the Koch Dinosaur Wing, where we played a game, got our pictures taken, and received some treats from our guide. The tour was geared towards adults (and you have to take it to find out why), but there’s a family friendly version too. At $59 it’s worth the money, particularly if you leave time to explore things you may have missed during the tour itself.







7 terrible exercises for people over 40

Even if you’ve been active and a frequent exerciser most of your adult life, your workout should reflect your age as well as your experience. If you’re in your 40s, you shouldn’t be doing the exact same routines you did in your 20s.

Nagging injuries can prevent you from executing proper form, and your body is more susceptible to problems associated with age. Here is a look at seven exercises people over 40 should avoid.

1. Crunches

Ab-targeted exercises alone won’t shave off belly fat. A well-rounded workout combined with a healthy diet will help you lose weight overall. Even if you do 1,000 crunches a day, you can’t get rid of that spare tire without working your entire body. Ab exercises are good for toning muscles that are already trim and lacking fat.

When you’re middle aged, crunches, situps and other ab exercises can cause spinal problems. In extreme cases, you can sustain a spinal fracture. Crunches can also strain your neck and cause poor posture. Unless you keep your back 100 percent straight when doing crunches, you can injure yourself.

As a substitute, try planks instead.

2. Intense cardio

Women in particular love cardio, but it can be strenuous on a middle-aged person who is not used to extreme exercise. If your body is working too hard under stress, it produces the hormone cortisol, which will actually make you gain weight. That’s the exact opposite of what you want to achieve!

Cardio includes jumping jacks. While they are an excellent full-body exercise, they can also be tough on your ligaments. High knees are also strenuous for the joints, tendons and ligaments. They can hurt the knees and hip flexors.

In moderation, cardio is great for your cardiovascular system. But if you’re over 40 and frequently engage in intense cardio routines, it can be difficult on your muscles. So, skip the 60-minute boot camp class and opt for a shorter, high-intensity workout instead.

3. Squats

Squats are one of the most basic and effective exercises for the legs and glutes. However, older bodies are more susceptible to injury, particularly if weights are involved. If done incorrectly, squats can cause lower back and knee injuries due to muscle strains, tears and pulls.

In addition, squats may add muscle to your hips, making them appear wider. Many people will mistake the added bulk for fat gain when it’s actually muscle gain. It’s one area that people usually want to slim down, not emphasize. And because your body’s metabolism slows down after age 40, this is one spot you probably want to keep trim.

Good alternatives to squats are lunges and step-ups.

4. Leg extensions

Leg extensions can be taxing on your knees, particularly as you age. And if heavy weights are involved, it can cause big problems.

Your knees are not built to fully extend while pushing out a heavy set of weights. Knee and ankle injuries are a common problem associated with the use of a leg extension machine. Even younger people should avoid the equipment because it could cause knee problems in the future.

Try dumbbell lunges instead.

5. Deadlifts

If done improperly, deadlifts can be damaging to your back. At the very least, you’ll complain of lower back pain for a few days. At worst, you can suffer a spinal injury. In addition, if you drop the weights while doing a deadlift, you can severely injure your foot.

When you age, it becomes more difficult to maintain proper form because you may have other injuries and try to compensate for the problem. Bent-over rows are a good substitute for deadlifts as long as you use proper form.

6. Triceps dips

One area that people often target is their triceps. Nobody likes their arms to jiggle. However, if you don’t position your arms properly when doing this floor exercise, it can be painful and cause injury. Your upper arms and rotator cuffs include tiny muscles that can be easily damaged.

As an alternative, try triceps pushups or single-arm triceps kickbacks.

7. Behind the neck lat pulldowns

This is a slightly awkward exercise when just using a little amount of weight, so when you start piling on the pounds it puts increasing pressure on your shoulders and rotator cuffs. Some people who perform this exercise sustain shoulder strains and tears.

Close-grip pulldowns in front of the body are a good substitute.

Cut your chances of cancer and heart disease by biking to work

The League of American Bicyclists notes that 40 percent of all trips in the United States are less than two miles, and cycling is a fun and easy way to run errands and go to the office. Bicycle commuting in the United States is on the rise. In bicycle-friendly communities, commuting rates increased 105 percent from 2000 to 2013, much larger than the national average of 62 percent.

Bike to Work Day is May 19, and a new study shows why you should opt for two wheels instead of four when commuting around town. Research by the University of Glasgow published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) reveals that cycle commuting is associated with a much lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer and any cause of death.

In general, individuals worldwide are exercising less, in part because fewer people are walking and cycling to work.

The five-year study examined more than 250,000 U.K.-based commuters, with the average age of 52, and found that those who ride their bikes to work have a 45 percent lower chance of developing cancer and a 46 percent lower chance of getting heart disease. During the study, 37 people died; however, 63 would have died had they opted to use a car or public transportation to commute, according to researchers.

Walking to work also has its benefits, but they’re not as big as cycling. Walkers have a 27 percent lower risk of developing CVD and a 36 percent lower risk of dying from the disease. But there was no correlation between walking to work and a decrease in cancer risk.

One of the study’s authors, Dr. Carlos Celis-Morales from the University of Glasgow, told the Telegraph: “This may be because walkers commuted shorter distances than cyclists, typically six miles per week, compared with 30 miles per week, and walking is generally a lower intensity of exercise than cycling.”

According to the World Health Organization, 30 to 50 percent of cancers could be prevented by several factors, which includes regular exercise such as cycling. In 2015, 8.8 million people died of cancer.

Why cycling is so beneficial

There are many reasons why cycling is so good for your health. According to Harvard Medical School, it’s easy on your joints because you put your weight on the bones in the pelvis instead of on your legs. Bicycling is also an aerobic exercise, which benefits the heart, brain and blood vessels.

Cycling is also great for muscles. Pedaling works the buttocks, thighs, hamstrings and calves as well as the flexor muscles in the hips. In addition, the abdomen works to keep you balanced and stay upright while the arms and shoulders help steer.

People who use bicycles are better equipped for walking, standing and stair climbing, and they have better balance and endurance. The act of pushing pedals also increases bone density.

Tips for safe cycling

For those interested in bicycle commuting, several factors should be taken into account. First, be careful if you have heart disease, arthritis, thinning bones or a recent fracture. Talk to a doctor before getting on two wheels.

Also, make sure your bicycle is in good working condition and that the seat is the correct height so you don’t fall off. Wear a helmet, try to use bike paths instead of the street when possible, and carry plenty of water to stay hydrated.

The League of American Bicyclists established Bike to Work Day in 1956, and communities across the United States organize big events to coincide with the May 19 event. In Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia alone, more than 85 pit stop events will be held throughout the day. Free commuter convoys will also be scheduled for those who want to bike to work with others.



I’m a writer with a passion for fitness, martial arts, motorcycles, and classic German sports cars. Learn more about me and my work by clicking the links above and reading some articles below.