First Picture of a Black Hole

Around 9am EDT on April 10, 2019, the first ever picture of a black hole was shown simultaneously at multiple press conferences. They were held in six different locations around the world: Washington, Brussels, Santiago, Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo.

There are actually two black hole photos to be shown- the one at the center of our Milky Way galaxy and a larger, supermassive one in the middle of the Messier 87 (M87) galaxy. Only one has been shown so far. The photo below is of the latter (M87).

This photo of a black hole was captured by the Event Horizon Telescope. Photograph: EHT Collaboration

This is the first time in history that any human has ever gotten to look at a black hole.

How was this picture taken? Observations from the “Event Horizon Telescope” were processed through computer analysis, taking roughly two years to complete. This “telescope” consisted of eight radio observatories located on six mountains and four continents.

5 Reasons to Go Solar

Going solar is not only good for the environment, but also for your wallet! While the upfront costs may seem pricey, you’re saving a lot of cash in the long run. Installing solar panels on your home will also increase your property value.

#1 Your Electricity Bill Will Decrease

No matter what, you will notice a decrease in your electricity bill. Depending on the type of solar system you choose, you may even eliminate your bill altogether.

Even if you could care less about the environment (which hopefully, you do)- your wallet will reap in the benefits. You’ll be spending less money on utilities and more towards what you truly want. If you ever sell your home in the future, having solar panels installed on your home will also increase its value. It will look great in a listing and will attract tech-savvy buyers.

#2 You Will Become Independent

By going solar, you will no longer have to fully rely on a utility company to supply you power. When installing your solar system, you can also choose to have an energy storing system alongside it. If you’re looking to go completely off-grid, this will ensure you have enough juice to power your home throughout the night and during cloudier days.

If you still want to be connected to the grid, you can opt-out of having an energy storing system. If your solar panel system isn’t generating enough electricity for your needs, you can borrow some power from your utility company. Some may even pay you if you generate more power than you use and supply it back onto the grid. Either way, you are still coming out ahead with generating your own electricity!

#3 Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Your carbon footprint will be significantly be reduced when you choose to go solar. Around 40% of all carbon emissions in the United States are due to buildings. You will be helping out the environment and sustaining a better future by relying less on the grid.

#4 Solar is Dependable and Reliable

You may have been led to believe that solar power can only be used when the sun is shining. However, that is not entirely true- if you choose to install a battery system alongside your solar panels, you can store energy for when the sun isn’t at its fullest potential.

Your solar system will begin generating electricity as soon as you can see sunlight. Whether to sun is rising or setting, whether it is raining or snowing, you will be generating electricity for your home. Solar panels also last a very long time and hardly ever need to be maintenanced. Once your system is installed, you’re ready to go for a long time.

#5 You Will Feel Amazing

I don’t know about you- but knowing that I have solar panels on my home is an inspiring feeling. I not only feel great about myself for making a step into the future, but for the environment. I find it fascinating that we can now harvest energy from the sun and use it just as plants have been doing for billions of years.

So what do you think? Are you going to go solar? Let me know in the comment section below! It may cost a bit to install your new solar system upfront, but the benefits are well worth it. You can become energy dependent, reduce your carbon footprint, and end up saving lots of money in the long run. Personally, I also enjoy looking at the statistics of my solar generation and consumption each day- it’s fun to me.

Whether you choose to go solar now or not, just keep it in the back of your mind. I wish you the very best in your journey!

Aspiration: Do Well, But Not So Good

About a year ago, I opened a bank account with Aspiration. They seemed to have a purpose in changing the way of how banks dealt with your deposits. Aspiration doesn’t use your money to support pipelines and oil drills- stuff of that nature. They still have this same motive, but it seems that the consumer is no longer as important to them as it once was.

One major feature that I enjoyed about Aspiration was how easy it was to deposit physical cash into it. Most online banks do not offer this and in my opinion, it makes you feel isolated from the online bank itself. However, Aspiration no longer offers physical cash deposits either.

I contacted Aspiration via Twitter regarding this issue. It seems that they have no plans in bringing back physical cash deposits.

According to Aspiration, this feature was “lost along the way” during their transition to a new partner bank. Previously, their partner was Radius Bank. It is now Coastal Community Bank.

I am a strong, avid believer in the concept that features should never be taken away. It does not matter if you add a few more, a feature should never be removed. I recently discussed this in Walmart’s decision to discontinue their Savings Catcher program.

Aspiration should have thought more of the consumer when making the switch from their previous banking partner. Cash deposits are an important thing in the lives of some people, as I have seen in numerous posts on Twitter. The switch should not have been made unless all previous features could have been preserved.

I’m all for new features, but when features that have existed before are completely removed, it just gets me fired up. Even more so when there are no plans at all to bring the feature back. I’m disappointed in a bank that I once cherished. I personally have been using Discover’s online checking account more since Aspiration has made their “transition.”

Discover’s online bank has no monthly fee, first fee forgiveness, a cashback debit card, and a savings account that earns a whopping 2.10% APR. Although they do not offer cash deposits either, I’d highly recommend checking them out. They have more experience in the banking business and actually know what they are doing.