Do Close Encounters Happen?

AreWeAloneHave we been visited by aliens from outer space? One of the most monumental scientific discoveries and astonishing human experiences would be that of a confirmed alien visitation. I believe there is a part of our lonely human existence that longs for company in the vastness of space and time.

Has an alien visitation happened or are various sightings and stories simply products of a well-placed desire to experience what would be the most profound encounter in the history of human civilization?

I always try to respect someone’s personal experience. This applies equally to UFO encounters, premonitions, and the old fashioned ghost in the attic.

By the same token, it has been said that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. So far, extraordinary evidence for alien visitation has been lacking. In the absence of verifiable and repeatable results in the quest for UFO confirmation, as with any conjectured topic, we are left only to consider what may be possible in some broad sense along with what comparatively is most likely.

I must clarify that an unidentified flying object is just that and the term does not necessarily imply that the object is being operated by intelligent life from outer space. It does follow all the same that the fascination with reports of UFOs is drawn from the possible inference that our planet could be visited by extraterrestrial life. Polling varies but on the average a third of the public believe in UFOs. To put this in context, this percentage is about the same as for people stating that they are baseball fans.

Is it possible that there is intelligent life somewhere else in space? Yes, it is. New information is becoming available all of the time regarding the existence of other planets that could possibly support life. The exhilarating prospect of taking this another step and suggesting that we could be visited by some other life form from space has inspired speculation about aliens in fictional works and in society as a whole.

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Percival Lowell

Aliens in pop culture can be traced in a roundabout way to the observations of Percival Lowell. I actually visited the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona some years ago. Viewed through his telescopes in the late 1890s, Lowell believed he was observing a network of canals on the surface of Mars. The word canal implies that designers and builders were involved in some sort of construction, who of course have to be intelligent.

The scientific community was less than enthusiastic about the notion of intelligent life on Mars building canals, but Lowell’s depiction of Mars captured the general public’s imagination. Science fiction was becoming popular and H.G. Wells published “War of the Worlds” in 1898, shortly after Lowell’s first Mars book. The radio performance of “War of the Worlds” terrified a large portion of the audience who mistakenly interpreted the radio show as an account of real events in 1938. Movies featuring flying saucers and aliens from just about anywhere in space became popular during the 1950s and still prove box office gold to this day.

There is no question that aliens exist in our collective imaginations. It may be evident that our human imaginations are the inspirations for most of the depictions of aliens in entertainment as well as with the descriptions of aliens by those people claiming to have encountered them because these representations of alien life most often resemble humans. We have all heard stories featuring little green men. Portions of one alleged account of an alien body recovered from Roswell, the infamous and fabled supposed alien crash site in the desert outside of Roswell, New Mexico, includes such particulars as a four foot human shaped figure with arms, bizarre four fingered hands, and an over-sized incandescent light bulb-shaped head. We humans are psychologically predisposed to interacting with creatures that have similar structures as ourselves, such as a body with a head and four major extremities. Dogs, cats, and horses all fit these criteria. E.T. would not have been as endearing if the character was based on the shape of a maggot. If horses could imagine aliens might their descriptions of aliens resemble horses with exaggerated features?

This is where what is likely, or perhaps what is not likely, begins to separate from what is possible. How likely can it be that intelligent alien life would have any type of a body structure comparable to that of life existing here on Earth, let alone similar to humans or even vertebrates?

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NASA Image

Right here on Earth when part of the general progress of life is separated from the rest of the world the development of species can be become unique. An example of this would be the life found at hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean. If these life forms can evolve to endure poison gas, heavy metals, extreme acidity, and other harsh conditions imagine what direction alien life could take on a different planet all together. To truly consider what alien life might be like we have to suspend everything about life as we know it.

We most likely can assume that any alien life we happen to find will be carbon based, although even that is not a given. This is a good possibility because carbon is proficient at making complex structures and such structures are the building blocks of life. It is after life starts up that the possibilities really become multifaceted. The potential complex combinations in the initial microbiology of these early life forms are endless and furthermore there is no way of predicting the influences under which these life forms would grow and evolve in an alien world. The very definition of intelligence, consciousness, or even morality may have to be radically modified.

PhoneGraphicIn judging what is likely regarding alien visitation we also must consider the incredible distances in the vastness of space. A light year is the total distance that light travels in one year. Light travels at an approximate speed of about 186,000 miles per second. Even with the substantial speed of light, 50,000 light years is a remarkably short distance in the universe. Now, consider what this means to us on a practical level. Most people consider the signals in their phone conversations as pretty much instant. On the other hand if you were to call someone who was 50,000 light years away, their phone would ring about 50,000 years after you hit the send button. By the time they said “hello” and that signal traveled back to your phone, 100,000 years would have elapsed after you first placed the call. Taking into account my luck I would probably get voice mail.

I find it ironic that UFO enthusiasts suggest that aliens can supposedly utilize all of their advanced technology to traverse space and time, dive through worm holes, or even travel faster than the speed of light; but cannot conquer the particular challenges of navigating over the American desert.

So, is it likely that some intelligent life form resembling human beings has evolved somewhere in the cosmos, made their way through the vastness of space to visit us, and furthermore is for some reason keeping their presence a secret? I’m going to say no on that one. That is not to say it is impossible or that our own technology may not soon discover something astonishing.

There is very real science working on the possibility that other life might exist right in our own solar neighborhood. Microbial life might very well exist in our solar system including such places as the moons orbiting Jupiter and Saturn. Finding these small life structures may not seem as dramatic as a movie depicting an alien invasion, but would have possibly two very significant scientific and in some cases spiritual ramifications. For one, if the life we find is something completely different than the life present on Earth we could conclude that life may well start up any number of ways throughout the universe. On the other hand, if the life we find is consistent with that of life on Earth that could mean that life may have some sort of a common origin in space.

Now, I would stay up for that late show.

Note:

This was a subject of one of our recent podcasts.

Spring 2020 the Pentagon officially released three short videos showing what they termed as “unidentified aerial phenomena.” This episode is a discussion about UFOs and covers aspects of science, religion, and conjecture in the public arena.

For your convenience the interview is available below at the bottom of this post. Just hit play. The podcast episode is also available on most of the major podcasting platforms including Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, and many others under the Billy Dees Podcast.

The episode appears on these services as:

UFO Pentagon Videos – Are We Alone? Billy Dees with Jack Casey

Podcast: Handling Behavior Issues from Children

KayThumbThis interview is with Kay, who is an education and behavior specialist. During this time of quarantine and restricted activity, the regulation of children’s behavior can be more of an issue for parents and others. Kay covers topics related to why children act out and has suggestions as to how these situations should be handled.

You can find KayPal7 on TikTok.

For your convenience the interview is available below at the bottom of this post. Just hit play. The podcast episode is also available on most of the major podcasting platforms including Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, and many others under the Billy Dees Podcast.

The episode is titled on these services as:

Interview with KayPal7 – Handling Behavior Issues from Children

Billy Dees Talks About LinkedIn

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LinkedIn Tips

I don’t claim to be an authority about LinkedIn Strategy. I do belong to several marketing and multimedia groups whose members requested that I put something together.

As a radio production person, podcaster, and multimedia creator I have found LinkedIn useful.

The days of LinkedIn being just a place for a static online resume are over. Video use has surged on LinkedIn. I would highly recommend LinkedIn to be apart of your overall content marketing strategy.

 

HumorOutcasts Interview with Mary Farr “If I Could Mend Your Heart”

Marr Farr Book CropOur guest on this podcast episode is Mary Farr. Mary has been a guest before in regard to her book, If I Could Mend Your Heart” which deals with the subject of managing grief. This sorrow may be due to the loss of life but also any event or circumstance which heavily impacts our lives.

We talk about these subjects again and this time around we discuss how the techniques of managing loss and stress may relate to people who are strongly being impacted by the Covid19 crisis.

Even though these are a difficult themes, this is not a depressing discussion. Mary’s message is that often times carving out an alternative and positive path in life can be a part of how we manage stress and difficult times.

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Mary Farr and Billy Dees

Donna Cavanagh and Mary Farr have teamed up to offer non-profits and other organizations bulk and package rates for the book. For more information please contact Donna at Donna@HOPress-ShorehouseBooks.com. Donna also was responsible for setting up this interview for HumorOutcasts.com.

You can find more information about Mary Farr and her books on her blog Desire to Inspire.

For your convenience the interview is available below at the bottom of this post. Just hit play. The podcast episode is also available on most of the major podcasting platforms including Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, and many others under the Billy Dees Podcast.

The episode is titled on these services as:

HumorOutcasts Interview with Mary Farr – If I Could Mend Your Heart

HumorOutcasts Interview with Daniela V. Gitlin, MD Author of “Practice, Practice, Practice: This Psychiatrist’s Life”

PracticeCoverthumbnailThis HumorOutcasts interview is with Daniela V. Gitlin, MD who is the author of, “Practice, Practice, Practice: This Psychiatrist’s Life.”

Daniela’s book gives you a view of therapy sessions from her side of the couch along with transcripts of what’s going through her mind as she’s working. Along with stories from her growing up and training years, the majority of the book spans 25 years of rural psychiatric practice. Written with candor and a light touch, these clinical and personal tales reveal a way of thinking that is essential for living actively, fully, and doing good work with a sense of wonder.

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Daniela V. Gitlin, MD

The interview is lighthearted, informative, and entertaining. Even if mental health fields are not of a particular interest to you, her career journey and life experiences are worth a listen. Much of the same can be said about the book. If you are in the field of mental health I’m sure you will find the material that much more stimulating but even as a novice or just someone who is just curious about human behavior, the book might very well be worth your time.

The interview was set up by the publisher, Corner Office Books and HumorOutcasts.com.  You can find out more about Daniela at DanielaGitlin.com.

For your convenience the interview is available below at the bottom of this post. Just hit play. The podcast episode is also available on most of the major podcasting platforms including Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, and many others under the Billy Dees Podcast.

The episode is titled on these services as:

HumorOutcasts Interview with Daniela Gitlin Author of “Practice Practice Practice …”

Interview with Catherine Bosley about Her Advocacy of Avoiding Online Digital Dangers

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Catherine Bosley

Our guest on this episode of the Billy Dees Podcast is Catherine Bosley, an accomplished speaker, group consultant, personal coach, and television journalist.

Her mission is to help people stay safe in this day of increasing “digital dangers.”

Her passion is as an advocate of hope for those who have been victims of cyber humiliation and bullying. A better you can emerge on the other side once we find the steadfast inner strength that she believes we all possess.

During this interview Catherine talks about her background and experiences as a public figure and why she is such a strong advocate for online safety. We cover the topic of how some people are currently venting their negative opinions and frustrations regarding the Covid19 crisis on social media and how those online remarks could potentially come back to haunt them. We then discuss 5 online tips to avoid falling into this trap.

We also cover numerous categories of “digital dangers” that social media usage and online activities in general can often pose.

If the worst does happen, and we fall victim to a cyber catastrophe of some kind, the interview concludes with Catherine’s recommendations of how we can regain control of the situation.

You can find out more about Catherine Bosley on her website which is CatherineBosley.com.  You can also find her on Twitter @CBosley19.

You can find my podcast interview with Catherine Bosley on most of the major podcast platforms under the Billy Dees Podcast including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and iHeartRadio.

For your convenience the full interview is here:

We also have her TEDx talk from YouTube available right here:

The Billy Dees Podcast is Now on YouTube

Billy Dees Podcast on YouTubeI have been producing a fair amount of video content for my clients and employers for a long time. However, for whatever reason I haven’t had YouTube flashing prominently on my radar for myself.

There are two reasons why I have not. The Billy Dees Podcast has been a vehicle to demonstrate my audio production and radio skills.

It is the wheelhouse in which I feel comfortable. The last several years have been kind to my wheelhouse. Podcasts have exploded especially with streaming devices in the home and automobile. Audiobooks and even video creators who need voiceover work have also kept voice professionals busy. There was a time when being a voiceover professional was a niche profession and now there are schools and online courses to develop the skills of a burgeoning marketplace.

Secondly, work has a tendency to keep you busy, well, working. There are times when my time and creative juices have been squeezed out creating content for my clients. I very much enjoy helping others craft a message and being witness to their success. Their need for online video along with their demands has made me a better videographer and editor over the last number of years. I have found these collaborations very fulfilling and have made some great friends along the way. As the saying goes, however, there is only so much time in the day. What time I had to create content and promote myself went into such places as iTunes and Spotify.

So, why YouTube now?

I am somewhat of a small influencer on LinkedIn. Video content has risen prominently on the platform over the past two years or so. I have found myself in front of the camera more often. Additionally, I have been on TikTok. Don’t laugh. I admit I have more fun on there than I work but again, more on camera time. Therefore, I have a lot more video content that could use a home base.

I found myself revisiting YouTube. I decided I could mix up three types of content. First, the audio from my podcast episodes could be uploaded to the platform. Second, videos that I create for social media could also be placed on my channel. Third, YouTube offers a long-form video platform that could be used for content ranging from industry trends for multimedia, information about audio gear, and various categories of commentary along with whatever creative video stylings that happen to find my fancy.

As of April 2020 I now have an updated YouTube channel although it is still a work in progress.

Please, feel free to pay my YouTube channel a visit and subscribe if you wish.

The podcast itself will remain a strong focus of what I am doing and some great interviews are coming up. You can find the Billy Dees Podcast on almost any major podcast platform including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and iHeartRadio.

Here is a recent video post from my channel. Has your content not been getting the traffic it normally gets since the Covid19 crisis? Here is why and don’t stop creating.

Capturing Good Conversation Long Distance

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Jeanné Giddens

This installment of our Twitter interviews is with Jeanné Giddens, otherwise known as @TuneTalks to her Twitter followers. Jeanné is a talented song writer, voiceover artist, and host.

As an old school radio and audio recording guy, I have always felt the best way to record an interview is with the guest in the recording studio. The benefits of this are obvious. You can interact with your guest one on one and have complete control of the recording. However, there are times when this is just not practical. For example, in this case Jeanné is based in Florida and I am in Ohio.

Recording options in these types of cases vary and a lot depends on the guest. Many interview subjects do not have any audio gear. Others have busy schedules promoting their work and do not have the patience to be walked through a technical process of some kind. In these cases phone signals may be the most expedient choice and other times maybe a VOIP service will work just fine at getting the job done.

With Jeanné, however, there were better options available. She is in the audio production business and has good tools at her disposal. So, we decided to use Zencastr for this interview. In simple terms this type of technology does not record “over” the internet per say. Both subjects are recorded locally and then those two audio tracks are combined in post.

The results are terrific but there are also other important steps to take.

For one, use the most dependable connections with your gear. I would avoid using WiFi with your computer or using any type of wireless microphone or headset. Also, close all of the programs on your computer.

Let me throw in some information about microphones. There is a lot of confusion about USB microphones in particular.

There are basically four types of microphones in terms of how they capture sound; dynamic, condenser, ribbon, and contact. There are variations of each but those are the basic groups.

Many of the widely popular USB microphones are condenser microphones. I have heard them referred to as “digital” microphones and that term is as overused as “pro” is in the audio and video equipment industry. The key difference between a USB condenser microphone and a standalone XLR condenser is that the USB microphone has a USB interface built into it. Combination units in general are designed to hit a price point and as plug and play devices for their ease of use.

I have used USB microphones to have my clients record audio into their PowerPoint presentations. They are also good for gaming, YouTube, and for basic podcasting. I would stop short, however, of considering any USB microphone truly a professional’s first choice.

I have been in many radio stations, media production studios in advertising agencies, and music recording studios. I have never run across a USB microphone being used as a primary recording tool in any of these applications. An entry level pro audio interface alone costs more than the average USB microphone. Many voiceover agencies will ask what microphone that you are using and if the answer is a USB microphone that might be a missing check mark on your credentials list.

The sky is the limit in terms of what you can pay for pro audio gear but there are cost effective options. Yes, separates do cost more but come with some practical benefits in addition to better quality, namely interchangeability. That professional XLR microphone that you bought for your podcast will plug into a USB interface, a digital recorder, a mixing board and so on. You can also upgrade your interface or microphone without replacing both or purchase more microphones to use with the same interface.

For the interview with Jeanné I used a (XLR) Golden Age D2 dynamic microphone. I happen to like dynamic microphones for voiceovers but that is largely my preference. My favorite is probably the (XLR) Shure SM7B and my runner up would be the (XLR) Electro-Voice RE20. Jeanné used her (XLR) RODE NT1 which is a condenser microphone. Both the Golden Age D2 and the RODE NT1 are not “cheap” when compared to most USB microphones, however, in the professional ranks these microphones are extremely cost effective and for anyone considering getting started doing voice work these are good choices. For this particular interview we both also used Focusrite interfaces.

To sample the sound quality captured with these microphones and Zencastr here is an excerpt. Notice how it sounds almost as if both of us were in the same studio.

For your convenience the entire interview is available at the bottom of this post. The Billy Dees Podcast is also available on your favorite podcasting service including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and iHeartRadio.

You can follow Jeanné on Twitter at @TuneTalks and me at @BillyDees.

People on Twitter by Billy Dees Interview with @TuneTalks Song Writer and Creative

The TikTok Podcast Interviews – The First Guest is @KayPal7

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@KayPal7

If you follow my media blog or listen to my podcast you are probably familiar with my foray into the TikTok social media app. You can follow me @BillyDees01 on TikTok. Hopefully, you have had a chance to check out a few of my previous Twitter podcast interviews and I am now booking TikTok creators as well.

The first guest has the screen name @KayPal7 on TikTok. She has over 26,000 followers and that is a number that is growing. Her content is primarily political commentary. KayPal7’s videos are shot mostly as close-ups, often expressionless, and with a pleasantly acerbic cadence. She often sites her sources for information and doesn’t hesitate to address her critics.

During this interview she talks a little bit about herself, her political views and video styling, and why she likes the TikTok platform. It is a very interesting and entertaining interview.

More are on the way…

For your convenience you can listen to the full interview at the bottom of this post. Just hit play. The Billy Dees Podcast is also available on your favorite podcast platform including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and many more.

Interview with @KayPal7 from TikTok 

 

 

 

Welcome to My Tik Tok Don’t Scroll Up Turn the Heart Red!

The Next Big Thing_ Maybe...It’s pretty near impossible these days to do any kind of marketing without being aware of social media platforms. One of the new social media apps that keeps coming up more and more in conversation is TikTok.

For me, doing social media marketing is very much akin to being a politician. I always keep my options open. For this reason I seldom dismiss a new platform out of hand. The bright and shiny object off in the distance today can morph into the way things are done a year from now.

“TikTok is just for kids.” Okay.

Remember when Facebook was just for juvenile college students? Instagram was what your kids were playing with in the backseat? Before we knew it our competition had thousands of followers on their business pages and we were fumbling with how to set up our pages to catch up.

I have noticed this pattern of progression for most successful social media platforms. They generally start with kids as the primary members. Then they are followed by adults, many of whom were introduced to the platform by their children. That brings in more adults. As the population of users grow, influencers on the platform begin to emerge. Then, brands and advertisers follow.

During the first quarter of 2018, TikTok was the most downloaded (non-game) app in the Apple store globally reaching 45.8 million downloads. It is estimated that TikTok currently has over 500 million active users worldwide, and other data trackers put that number considerably higher.

I have spent some time experimenting with the app as a user. I wouldn’t refer to myself as a TikTok pro but this is what I’ve learned. TikTok is a video sharing app. If you use the app you can record for 15 seconds or upload your videos up to a minute long. The app itself has some nice special effects for video and graphics that are easy to incorporate into your content. If you amass a thousand followers this enables you to live-stream.

TikTok is owned by the Chinese company Bytedance. They purchased Musical.ly during November 2017 and merged the two platforms internationally in 2018. TikTok has many of its forerunner’s traits, including many dance and lip-syncing videos.  At this time, by my estimation, this musically driven content has a dominance on the platform. A popular feature seems to be “duet,” which allows a user to lip-sync along with another user’s video.

However, influencers and brands are arriving. There are influencers well into middle-age and beyond on the app giving tips on everything from buying cars to how to stay motivated at life.

I don’t know if this shiny object will brighten or fade away, but TikToK is off to a fantastic start. I would stop short of saying that I would make TikTok a priority at this time but if you create content for other platforms anyway why not repurpose it for TikTok as well?

If you decide to do so you may wish to follow these three suggestions:

  • First, I would not follow or follow back accounts that do not have content or are listed as private.
  • Second, choose several hashtag subjects or genres of content to search. Interact with and like the content that interests you from the results of your search. Choose several dozen accounts that are creating good content and follow them.
  • Third, create good content of your own and utilize the proper hashtags when posting it. Be sure to acknowledge all of the positive feedback that you get. My general rule of thumb is to not engage negative comments on any platform.

If you care to say hello on TikTok you can find me at @billydees01

Happy social media marketing to you!