Saturday, November 30, 2013

Connectify Hotspot Lite: turning your laptop into a wifi hotspot

What it is and where to find it

Sometimes you have a single connection to the internet and several devices that you would like to connect. This can happen for example in hotels where you only get a cable connection in which case your phone will have a hard time pulling your latest emails.

So I found a software which does the job. Its main qualities are:

  • free
  • easy to install and configure
  • and it does the job

There is also a non-free version ($25 per year or $40 for lifetime license), which means that the free version has a few downsides, but my personal experience is that the downsides are almost a non-issue except the wifi connection automatically stops after a few hours. I'm not sure exactly after how long. Maybe 12-24 hours or so...

You can find this software from its official website and then you can download the installer by clicking the following links:

  • Try Hotspot Lite, Limited Free Version
  • Download Connectify Now

  • What it looks like

    "Connectify-Erik" is the name of the wifi network created. The free version forces this name to start with "Connectify". Fair one!

    Next to the lock, you see zZr5n23Syx. This is my password (which I should change now). As you see, there's an option to hide it so nobody can pick it up from just looking at your screen.

    You see a button "Generate Password". It will generate strong enough passwords for you, made of random numbers and letters.

    And at the bottom, you find the button Start/Stop Hotspot.


    If you ever needed a software to share your internet connection through wifi, then this one does the job.


    After a few days, it seems the connection uptime is getting shorter, on the order of a single hour. That makes this free version less good, but it is still kind of good.

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    The invention of lying (2009) ★★★★☆

    The plot:

    This is a world where lies and deception do not exist. Everybody says the truth all the time. So much so that the notion of truth doesn't exist. In this world, there cannot be any work of fiction. Cinema is limited to filming a man on a chair narrating history. In this world, Mark Bellison is a loser, a failed cinema writer who's getting fired. But he will discover that he can lie... A capacity tantamount to a super power. This power will change his life and it can change the world. For good or for bad.

    My verdict:

    This is a romantic comedy but its context is a sort of fantasy. And this context is so full of potential that no single story would be able to harness all of it. Knowing this, the plot could have gone way crazier than it has and there might be a slight disappointment about how conservative the story remains. It remains quite faithful to the standard structure of your usual romantic comedy. Still, it is refreshing and shows how lies, white lies, and other forms of trickery can be a positive aspect of our lives. Also, for once, I'm pleased to see Jennifer Garner in a role that she can handle. She's a very pretty woman but beauty is not everything and I think her roles in Elektra/DareDevil or Alias were too ambitious for her. Here, in The Invention of Lying, she's doing a very good job. Ricky Gervais is doing Ricky Gervais. As far as I'm concerned, I love his work so I'm fine with this. But if anyone expected anything new from him, it won't be in this movie. Overall, a very good movie due to the originality of the context, the British humor, and the mirror image of society which hides lies so that we notice more easily how much we lie in very casual moments of our lives. Well worth 4 stars.

    Saturday, November 23, 2013

    Stratfor leak: blame falls on the whistleblowers

    A few hours ago, Jeremy Hammond, 28 years old, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for hacking into the computers of a company named Stratfor (Strategic Forecasting). Barrett Brown, a journalist whose articles always sided with the hacker movement Anonymous is sitting in jail for over a year now and facing a possible sentence of 100 years for merely sharing a hyperlink on the internet.

    But we need to jump back in time by a few years to understand all of this. The war in Afghanistan by the USA was received with some degree of perplexity. On the one hand, talibans were not cooperating with the USA for handing Bin Laden to Uncle Sam, on the other hand, Afghanistan was a sovereign nation with no duty to take orders from George Bush. Then the USA attacked Iraq by telling lies and by basically telling the UN that the USA was not going to be bothered by formalities like international treaties or the Geneva Convention and that it would go and commit crimes against humanity if it wanted. A few years into the conflicts, damning information was revealed by Wikileaks, providing evidence of willful atrocities committed by the USA.

    Anonymous, a social movement for justice and fighting abuses of power through computer hacking had already made a name for itself before 2011, when banking organizations suddenly and simultaneously obeyed to Obama's request of financially asphyxiating Wikileaks. A secondary collective of hackers, involving only highly skilled and highly determined members from Anonymous, was formed under the name "Lulzsec". Fired up by the injustice that was happening to Wikileaks which shares their passion for social justice, Lulzsec and Anonymous hacked into the servers of a few private companies who do roughly the same job as the CIA and the NSA, for uncovering evidence of the administration's order to gag Wikileaks. Stratfor is one of these companies.

    The emails revealed crimes and conspiracies fomented by Stratfor but as has become common under Obama, justice is only going after the small fish, the weak, the whistleblowers who fight for justice while turning a blind eye on crimes committed by the rich and powerful like Stratfor and its executives.

    Jeremy Hammond was one of the hackers, member of both Anonymous and Lulzsec, who performed the attack against Stratfor and copied ~5 million emails from the private company. He was later caught by the police when another member of Lulzsec turned out to be a mole for the FBI who had decided to cooperate in exchange for leniency on charges of hacking. After obtaining the emails, Hammond put these online for people to download and make copies. After a couple of years of trial, Jeremy Hammond was sentenced very recently to 10 years in jail.

    Barrett Brown, a journalist extensively covering the actions from Anonymous with whom he seemed to agree by and large, obtained a URL leading to the emails put online by Hammond and copy-pasted that URL on a Anonymous forum basically saying "Have you seen THAT?". For this act of copying 1 hyperlink, Barrett Brown is facing up to 100 years in jail and has already been detained for over a year.


    Situations like this are very difficult to evaluate because after all hacking is kind of illegal... though jurisprudence establishes the public's right to know as taking precedence over the right to keep information secret.

    Barrett Brown's situation seems unconditionally damning for the political power in place, while Hammond's situation is more complex to grasp. In any case, I encourage you to go and check other sources of information on the Internet about these 2 young men.

    Friday, November 22, 2013

    Insults, obscenities and foul language

    I love insults, obscenities and foul language.

    Have you ever thought that the world would be a better place without them? If we could all love each other and treat each other in the nicest way possible? I have. And it's a horrible world. It's either a world that has lost human feelings or a world of hypocrisy where we still think the same things but give each other snarly smiles while we really want to give each other the finger.

    Humans are wonderful and yet at the same time, they're far from perfect. They're reprehensible in many different ways. It's just the way we are. And often enough, we get on each other's nerves and other people would be totally entitled to tell us that we've done something bad. Sometimes we deserve insults. Sometimes we deserve to be roughed up. And I'm not a masochist!

    When we're on the other side of frustration, when we are the ones upset, we have a sense of outrage that cannot be adequately shared if we stick to correct language. Sometimes "bad person" is simply unfitting for describing what we think of someone and there's no better word to express our emotions than foul language.

    Also, language is not static. The connotation of words evolves with how we use them. It's an illusion to think that if we stopped using foul language, it would be gone forever. Among mundane words, one would become the decent version to describe something while one of its synonyms would gain popularity to be used in a pejorative manner.

    Finally, I think a bit of outrage is healthy. It challenges our preconceived notions. Just like debate. Which reminds me of Christopher Hitchens, who valued debate for itself. A dull life doesn't teach you anything while conflict pits you against new challenges that you may learn something from.


    Insults, obscenities and foul language are not only useful but they're necessary and productive. Not all the time, of course. But I hope this article could challenge some people's preconceived ideas and make you think about it.

    As a side topic, I don't like the way that American media tend to hide less than perfect language in a hypocritical manner. They'll refer to the A-word, B-word, C-word, all the way to the Z-word. But if they say "F-word" or just "F" for short, how is it different from saying "fuck"? It's what they mean and it's what they allude to with a very explicit unambiguous reference.

    Wednesday, November 20, 2013

    The future president of the USA in 2016

    The state of affairs

    In 2008, Obama was elected president of the USA. Another way to look at it is: in 2008, everybody was so disgusted by 8 years of George W. Bush that any non-Republican candidate could have beaten John McCain. So, Obama was seen as the savior. And I, too, thought that Obama was the change we could believe in. Not change to turn the Earth into a paradise, but just to get out of Crazyland and put America and the world back on track towards a sane world where everybody goes about their daily activities without hurdle.

    The banksters were traitors and there was hope that after clearing the rubble, we'd enjoy public contrition (if not public executions) of those responsible for destroying the life of others. But that didn't happen. Obama filled his cabinet with people in bed with the big banks. Tim Geitner, Rahm Emmanuel, Bernanke, etc.

    It was found out that the subprimes had been especially targetting the black population. And nobody was prosecuted. We found out that banksters totally knew it was going to crash. And nobody was prosecuted. We found out that banksters knowingly sold subprimes mortgages to their clients while aware that it was going to ruin these clients while they, the banks, were making profits off of that. When people were evicted from their houses, the banks organized these evictions without being sure who the houses really belonged to. They even evicted people from houses that did not belong to their bank, but they control the money so they control everything. Not one bank and not one banker has been prosecuted despite evidence against them.

    Later, we discovered that HSBC had been laundering money (tens of billions of dollars) for Al Qaeda, for drug cartels, and other organizations or regimes under international sanctions. And what happened? nothing. Who was prosecuted for treason and aiding the enemy? nobody. The banks are above the law.

    One thing that was bad during the Bush regime and which Obama was supposed to change was called the "Bush Tax Cuts". It gave a tax break to the richest people. That was pretty bad, but it was time-limited and it expired during Obama's terms. So what did Obama do? After it expired, after it was over, he reinstated the Bush Tax Cuts, or something amounting to 96% of the Bush Tax Cuts, but this time it is permanent.

    Obama did a few good things. Very few. He repealed "Don't ask, don't tell" so that openly homosexual people can be treated as equal citizens and equally serve their country in the army. He also started the "Affordable Care Act" that many people call "Obamacare" but didn't make it as good as it was originally supposed to be. For all the rest, Obama conducted politics that were even more right-wing than George W Bush himself. He droned the hell out of ally countries: Yemen, Pakistan, etc. He ordered the assassination of his own citizens (Anwar Al-Awlaki and his 16 year old son). He gave the Republicans 98% of what they wanted. I'm not the one saying it! John Boener said that.

    Obama is a very strong candidate who knows how to be elected, but he's an awful president and he's a sellout to the highest bidders.

    The way forward

    That's why, only 1 year in his 2nd term, it's already time to ask ourselves what's on the agenda and who will be candidate in 2016.

    Hillary Clinton: despite being part of the Democratic Party, she's right-wing. She's a fundamentalist religious woman adhering to "The Family", a cult-like organization that promotes the traditional (aka "fundamentalist") values of her religion. She's a traitor who put in place the spying of foreign ally UN delegations. She's in bed with the establishment, which means nothing would change under her leadership. Banks would still abuse citizens and corporations would still be writing the bills of future laws in ways that arrange them at the expense of the people.

    Rand Paul: following in the footsteps of his father Ron Paul, except that Rand Paul is less honest than his father. Even if we don't agree with Ron Paul's libertarian ideology, we must admit that he honestly defended the principles of his ideology. But Rand is a sellout and he'll curve his ideas if that gets him another donor to finance his campaign.

    Ted Cruz: a tea-party crazy. He's about as bad as Osama Bin Laden. He's the one responsible for the government shutdown that happened 1 month ago. His campaign is run by his father who says things like "Obama is a Muslim and he should go back to Kenya" (though Obama's American and the Cruz family is an immigrant family from Cuba), or "Atheists are perverts and molesters" (though statistics show precisely the opposite). So of course these are the words from the father, but Ted Cruz doesn't disavow these things.

    Chris Christie: he's basically the Republican counterpart to Hillary Clinton. That gives him good chances to gain funding from corporations and banks and win the Republican primary over crazier people.

    And then, there's 1 person who's not sure to be a candidate or not. Based on her action, I'd say she's the person whose actions are the most inline with the majority opinion of the poor and middle-class people in the USA: Elizabeth Warren. Her photo's at the beginning of this article. She's been battling the banks. She dared to ask the SEC when was the last time that they prosecuted any bankster... to which the SEC was unable to answer because it's been like forever. Elizabeth Warren is conscious of the problems related to legalized corruption (aka "campaign financing and lobbying"). If she decides to run in 2016, there is hope.

    Wednesday, November 13, 2013

    Game of Thrones: Predictions

    What are we talking about ?

    The TV series Game of Thrones is a great one. It is full of memorable quotes, the characters are deep, diverse and have strong personality traits. The acting is also very good and all actors are charismatic.

    I heard that the books are even better, but I just don't find it in me to pick the book series. The book series will be composed of 7 books in total and the author George R.R. Martin is currently in the process of writing the 6th volume. Seasons 1 & 2 of the TV series each covered a full book while seasons 3 (aired) and 4 (to be aired in 2014) each cover a half of the 3rd volume, reputed to be much bigger than the others.

    In this series, almost everybody plots to end up sitting on the Iron Throne and become the ruler of the 7 kingdoms. But everybody makes enemies or has rivals to contend with and unlike other shows, you can't expect the good guys to win. Quite the contrary in fact. The good guys either get corrupted or they get betrayed, abused, vilified, tortured, and killed.

    So, the outstanding question is: who will be sitting on the Iron Throne at the end?

    So let's make predictions and come back to the subject at a later date to see how far off I've been.

    (if you haven't watched until the end of season 3)


    First things first: I think that whoever sits on the throne at the end of the story must have already been introduced by now... Now referring to the 3rd season of the TV show or the 1st half of the 3rd book.

    Let's see my impressions character by character:

    House Lannister

    • Jaime the Kingslayer: He is smart, committed, and familiar with politics. He would almost make it on a shortlist except he's not driven and has no interest in the throne.
    • Cersei: no way. She's too evil and too many people hate her. There's no way she'll die of old age.
    • Joffrey: Nope! He's a coward, he makes enemies without making friends, and he's not smart enough with politics.
    • Tyrion: He's too charismatic for his own good. But he's a smart politician, knows how to make friends and pays his debts. His loyalty to his family is a burden that prevents him from achieving more, but if Cersei, Tywin and Joffrey get out of the equation and if the wars with dragons and whitewalkers get bad enough, he'll get an opportunity to be at the center of alliances and shine as a natural leader. I'll shortlist him.
    • Tywin: He is too old and doesn't seem interested in the throne.
    • Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish: driven and smart. However, I don't see him forming any real bond of friendship with anyone, and that is a weakness. Like Varys, he would be a good spymaster but the conflict between his ambition and his true qualities will probably get him assassinated.
    • Varys: not interested in the throne.
    • The Hound: he's a true hero of sorts, cynical but good-minded. He seems too disgusted by the treacheries of politics to ever apply for the job.
    • Bronn: he doesn't have the ambition and is satisfied with the luxury of whatever comes his way, but given new circumstances of war, he could be pushed into positions of power that would force him into the political arena. He isn't a hero but he's probably as balanced a character as can be, like Tyrion, between loyalty and opportunity. I'll shortlist him.

    House Baratheon

    • Brienne of Tarth: Strong and honorable, but not interested in politics. Even if she becomes a military leader, I don't see any possibility of her ever accepting a political role.
    • Margeary: she's a Cersei wannabe. She'll do anything to advance her career and she's smart about politics. She can make friends among the likes of Sansa but she doesn't fool smart people. If nobody assassinates her, somebody will find a way to intimidate her and give up her ambition for something smaller. Maybe becoming queen of 1 of the 7 kingdoms.
    • Stannis: too driven and too misled by Melisandre. He's being manipulated. Though ambitious and driven, he's honorable and when he realizes the mistakes he's made, I see him stepping down.
    • Melisandre: evil witch. She can't become ruler of the 7 kingdoms otherwise the whole population will turn on her.
    • Davos Seaworth: honorable and good. He's not a politician. He has great potential of turning his life around, though.
    • Gendry: He's just an average person, without obvious qualities for politics nor interest, even though he would be the rightful heir, being the only live real son of King Robert.

    House Targaryen

    • Daenerys: she's an incredible character but I can't see her ending up on the throne. Magic (or dragon kin) cannot be what will put the last character on the Iron Throne. She'll have to die at some time.

    House Stark

    • Sansa: she's weak, easily manipulated, and overall not smart about politics. Please George Martin! If you get rid of more Starks, get rid of her first!
    • Bran: his ability will certainly develop and he will certainly have an important role to play through this ability, but politics are not his thing. If Varys or Littlefinger could teach him, he could become very useful for gathering intelligence in enemy territory... Sooner or later, there will need to be an open war against the whitewalkers. But I don't see how life experiences could prepare him to climb on the throne. 
    • Arya: One of my favorite characters. Though she's young, she's incredibly brave. She has a good heart and she establishes friendships easily. Exposed to many trying experiences, she will learn a lot about politics, about commoners and socialites, about military tactics. She has even created a relationship with Tywin and there's no doubt that she'll have other trying experiences requiring her to summon the return of Jaqen H'Ghar. I'll shortlist her.
    • Jon Snow: too much involved with the Night's Watch for being a candidate to the Iron Throne.

    House Greyjoy

    • Theon: He's in a difficult situation at the moment. Even if he gets out of it alive, there's nothing that indicates a potential for climbing on the Iron Throne.
    • Yara: She's strong and smart, but her interests are in the Iron Islands only. She would make a good leader for her islands and has the support of her people.


    For now, the only 2 characters who appear as good candidates to hold the throne for a period of stability at the end are Tyrion Lannister and Arya Stark. I'll have to come back to this post in the future to check how (in)accurate my prediction was.

    Monday, November 11, 2013

    Movements on the internet

    Something different

    The internet has facilitated the creation of communities. Some communities will be unquestionably considered positively like the forums where software programmers lend a hand to each other. Some others will be almost unanimously bad like forums where people exchange tips on the creation of software viruses. And then a lot of communities will fall somewhere in the middle, and how we consider them will be a reflection of our very personal views.

    I was listening to episode #215 of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe in which Adam Savage (host of the Mythbusters show) is being interviewed. And at some point, Adam mentioned the connection between the DIY community and the skeptic community. Which led me to the idea of creating a mind-map of sorts of the relationship between a few movements that have been enabled by the internet.

    Green lines represent synergies, correlation, or positive interactions.
    Red lines represent negative interactions

    Undoubtedly, this is partial and each of these communities can be broken into subcategories. I also had to leave out some considerations like political affiliations other than conservative politics. For instance, libertarians tend to associate with the GOP which is (ever more) conservative, but libertarians do associate pretty well to the skeptic movement. As for liberals, it has become impossible to really identify their position clearly on any subject because policies have shifted so much towards the right since the year 2000 that I would consider some of them as left-wing and others as right-wing. It is a spectrum too broad to encompass under 1 single denomination.


    It's not like there's any conclusion to be written about this. Hopefully it can help someone, maybe just myself, figuring out the relationship between groups. Maybe if any reader recognizes 1 group that he belongs to, that will give him the idea to go and check out related communities that he did not really know about.

    PS: just noticed also a few missing lines like a red line between skepticism and anti-vaxers. Well... I'm too lazy to edit the picture now :-p

    Saturday, November 9, 2013

    Asymmetric warfare

    Asymmetric Warfare (AW) is the conflict between 2 groups whose resources differ in nature. As a consequence, the strategies employed by both parties will necessarily differ greatly, and the outcome of such conflicts is probably less predictable than that of Symmetric Warfare (SW). In SW, you merely have to count the resources on both sides and the side with more resources should obtain the victory more than 50% of the time.

    An example of this is the Vietnam war. On one side, US troops had plenty of equipment, and heavy firepower. On the other side, Vietnam had plenty of people but little equipment. The US were using military tactics, while Vietnam was using guerrilla tactics. The US attempted physical domination of Vietnam's cities, facilities and infrastructures, while the Vietnamese were wearing out the morale of US troops and the economy of the USA which was spending tons of money to sustain the war effort.

    AW is a notion that can describe many different struggles.

    • Activists vs. Corporations/Countries (Sea Shepherd vs. Japan)
    • Resistance movements vs. State (Syria)
    • Fighting video games (strong vs. fast)
    • Socioeconomic changes (Israel's Jewish domination vs. Muslim demographics)
    • Family dynamics (Male personality vs. Female personality)
    • etc.

    I wanted to have this article written before moving on to other topics that make reference to asymmetric warfare. So there's no real conclusion here, but just like a house: foundations may look boring but they're useful.

    Wednesday, November 6, 2013

    King of the extreme


    Extremophiles are lifeforms that can live or survive in extreme environments. Such environments can be defined by temperature (extreme hot or cold), acidity, salinity, pressure (high pressure or space vacuum), presence or absence of chemicals, radiation...

    For example, some bacteria can survive in boiling water. Some insects can survive radiations thousands of times more intense than what would kill humans. Some ticks can survive space vacuum.

    Surviving 1 extreme condition is strange. But surviving 2 extreme conditions is radical. This is what we call "polyextremophiles". What about organisms that can survive 3 extreme conditions? Or 4? Or 5? They bring us to a whole new different way of thinking about life itself. Some bacteria can survive cold, dehydration, vacuum, and acid.

    But there's 1 animal that takes the cake. One animal that could potentially achieve the impossible: the tardigrade.

    The tardigrade

     It doesn't look like much. It looks like any kind of bug or acari. But let's look at what it can endure:

    • extreme cold:
      • 1°K for a few minutes (-273°C or -458°F)
      • 73°K for a few days (-200°C or -328°F)
    • extreme hot:
      • 151°C or 304°F for a few minutes
    • extreme low pressure: space vacuum + solar radiation for more than 10 days
    • extreme high pressure: between 1200 and 6000 atmospheric pressures
    • dehydration: for over 10 years
    • radiation: between 5000 and 6000 Gray (=1000 times more resistant than humans)

    Due to these surprising characteristics, tardigrades interest astrobiologists. By studying these animals, their genome, and the mechanical, physical or chemical reasons for its resistance especially in space, there is hope that we can gain knowledge that will prove useful in the future of mankind as we start leaving the Earth for establishing colonies on other planets or as we send entire societies to live and travel in giant space ships towards new solar systems (OK, I admit: I love science-fiction).

    What's even more surprising regarding the tardigrade, beyond the fact that it is a polyextremophile, is the fact that its resistance goes much beyond conditions that can be found on Earth. For example: its resistance to high pressures extends to pressures 6 times higher than the pressure that exists at the bottom of the deepest oceanic trench. The extreme cold temperatures that it can endure are without comparison with the coldest temperatures ever recorded anywhere. To put things in perspective: it can live for a few days in temperatures colder than liquid nitrogen!

    It would be tempting to imagine that unearthly resistances like these must arise in unearthly conditions. But no! The tardigrade is definitely a creature from Earth that finds its place in the tree of life that all lifeforms share on this planet. However, it is very weird.


    You discovered the existence of a fun creature!

    Friday, November 1, 2013

    Moon and sleep


    In the past few weeks, I heard from 2 friends (who don't know each other) the suggestion that their sleep or their child's sleep might be affected by the moon. In 1 case at least, it was a serious suggestion. In the other case, I'm not sure. Could there be any truth behind this story or not at all?

    The gravity hypothesis

    Of course, if you read Wikipedia's article, you'll get an exhaustive neutral summary of this subject. But this is my blog, with my side of the story and no claim to be exhaustive or neutral. That's what blogs are for.

    There are 2 known ways in which the Moon can influence things happening on Earth:

    • light
    • gravity

    We know that the Moon's gravity is responsible for ocean tides and we can be tempted to imagine that a comparable effect could apply to humans who are composed of whatever percentage of water. In fact, let's do the math! This is how the gravitation force works.

    For this demonstration, we'll consider that M1 is the Moon, with a mass of 7.35x10²² kg (*)
    And M2 is an average male human with a mass of 80 kg (*)
    R = 378,000,000 m (*) (**)

    (*) values rounded to a 0.5% precision
    (**) Distance Earth-Moon (384,399 km) minus Earth's median radius (6,371 km)

    F1 = F2 = G x M1 x M2 / (R x R)

    F1 = F2 = 6.67e-11 x 7.35e+22 x 80 / (3.78e+8 x 3.78e+8)

    F1 = F2 = 2.7e-3 Newton

    In other words, the pull from the Moon on a person is equivalent to 0.3 grams (2.7e-3 N divided by the gravity constant of the Earth: 9.81). And this, of course, is much less than the weight of a pajama or bed sheets. If we also assume that we exhale and sweat a total of 25 mL of water per hour, the pull from the Moon is equal to the weight of water we lose through breath and perspiration every 43 seconds. What's more, the pull from the Moon changes very slowly as it takes roughly 12 hours for our satellite to travel across the sky. Final nail in the coffin on the gravity hypothesis: the effect of gravity is the same regardless of the phase of the Moon.

    The other hypotheses

    On the hypothesis of light having an effect, people report being disturbed by the Moon even when their curtains or blinds are closed. So... there's no reason to defend this hypothesis.

    On the hypothesis of magnetism, it must be reminded that magnetism's effect is only strong at very short ranges. A few centimeters at most, unless you have a massive source of magnetism like the core of the Earth which is active due to the high temperatures and pressures. The Moon's magnetic field is 100 times weaker than Earth's magnetic field and its effects over the distance that separates it from our planet, its strength would be weakened by many orders of magnitude. So, the magnetism hypothesis is busted.

    Energy? This is subject in and of itself, that sells books to the "New Age" aficionados. In many of the irrational beliefs and practices, the word "energy" is used for the supposed source of effects. In skeptical terms, it is called "magical thinking". The thing is: energy is not a supernatural unfalsifiable claim on which reason has nothing to say. Energy is something very concrete. It has to be stored somewhere, in some form, before it is released and produces very concrete effects. But the rational notion of energy is not what people allude to, when they invoke Energy as a cause for what they believe in.

    The more rational approach

    We have biases. When something happens to us, our brain naturally fills in the gaps of what we don't know to try and establish the cause of what happened. That's what creates superstitions. And we need recognizable points of reference. If we generally sleep well but have sleep problems on the night of a gibbous Moon or a crescent Moon: it's not an easy thing to remember. But if our sleep problem happens on a full Moon, that phase is very recognizable and easily remembered.


    It's safe to estimate that the Moon doesn't affect our sleep... unless we keep the curtains open of course, in which case the light could reduce our sleep quality. But if we hold the superstition that a full Moon will be a problem, we might actually be disturbed by the anxiety of our superstition, thus turning it into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Sleep tight! Don't let the bed bugs bite!

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