100 Years in Space?NASA might have some job openings in about 100 years and the perks look pretty cool. You get to travel millions of miles into space and land on another planet - probably Mars - where you'll help colonize a new planet in the name of human beings. Oh, but there's a drawback. You never get to come back. And if you conceive a child while en route or perhaps living on the Red Planet, that kid probably won't set foot on Earth either.
This is a rough outline of NASA's 100-Year-Starship study, a partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to explore the possibilities of manned long-distance space flights. Word of the program was leaked by a NASA official recently, leading to plenty of speculation among the scientific community.
"We endeavor to excite several generations to commit to the research and development of breakthrough technologies," said DARPA's Paul Eremenko in a press release.
Although concrete plans have yet to come out of the 100-year project, scientists suspect that such long distance exploration would require explorers to make a one-way trip because of the extreme amount of time needed to reach Mars, which is some 35 million miles from Earth. Any volunteers? (MB)
Fear and Restoring
on the Mall
Ominous is 395N into D.C. at 10 a.m. A sunny Saturday, yet roads are empty, spiting signs flashing "Expect Delays Event Downtown." Stu whimpers when the packs of hungry and quick are revealed, extras in this no-budget zombie flick subtitled "3 Days Until." Reports from New York are riots at Citi Field, liberals hot off the 7 train jumping lines for free buses and annoying punctual moderates; Arianna Huffington proving better at aggregating than mobilizing.
So many one-ways in our nation's Capitol, wrong rights until blessed with a parking spot. Along the actual National Mall no less, fresh fenced grass. Smithsonian across and Washington Monument behind, join the socialist shuffle to glory, hippies selling fake press passes and knit caps, stage almost in sight. Then that fucked feeling of thousands stealing your idea.
Arriving much earlier and better prepared with blankets and babies. Camping with folding chairs and lunch, backpacks without bombs. Acres of black, white, and yellow. Wizard zombie princesses abound. Halloween eve is only partially to blame. A tire costume reading, "We need inflation." So many signs: "This is a sign" and "Hyperbole is Hitler."
Those close enough to see Stewart and Stephen without a screen slept here or know someone at Comedy Central. Advertisers and media buyers, PR abortions, free events always seem more expensive. Cell phones don't work by noon, blocked, suspicious packages from Yemen or standard procedure.
Sixteen blocks of people - if they say it was only a hundred, think a million. The Mall is Mayan: A football stadium lacking walls and the crowd spilt onto the playing field. Some staggered, stopping too often to look back until pushed forever forward. How to accurately tally hipsters slinking this maze of citizens? A farmer from West Virginia with "Stop Bitching Start A Revolution" bumper stickers says he's an artist and they try to eat only what they grow.
A clearing so near yet a grandma wearing a "Birth Control is a Right" sticker has dropped her water bottle. Stop, hope to hear a welcome voice, John Legend and The Roots aren't that, and the guys from "Mythbusters" surely won't solve this patriotic orgy. Who invited them anyway, said, "What if?"
The A/V nerd who set-up this show up deserves a swirly. The sounds sucks, akin to ghosts caught on a digital recorder. Mumbles and giggles, so many questions among the crowd, "Can I go that way?" We wait for those who can hear to roar to roar, too. Stewart calls us 10 million, then something about "color and size." Colbert releases invisible bees on the crowd then says something sarcastic.
Trying to hear beside two teens standing on a garbage can. The trash falls out and onto the ground; Stu notices. An unemployed Tarheel is here because her parents only watch Fox and are "Tea Partiers." Her husband just became a citizen and is voting for the first time on Tuesday. Stu is muzzle- deep in a Subway wrapper and gets yanked, giving that glance, "Are we done yet?"
The stars of this show are going unheard. Maybe that's the point. Stu's nose covered with mustard and tail between his legs. We were here and it's time to go. Happier than after these elections, let's hope they don't tow. (BL)
Good News for Meth!
A recent study has declared alcohol, our legal drug of choice, more dangerous than a few notorious substances, including crack, heroin and meth. Wait, what? Hangovers suck, sure, but they can't be as dangerous as withdrawing from heroin.
The study, conducted by Neuropharmacologist David Nutt, MD, of Imperial College London, rated 20 drugs on a scale that accounts for both social and individual implications. So, while meth might make your face look really messed up, it doesn't make thousands of people drive their cars into telephone poles every year.
The scale was developed by the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD), a group that spent a great deal of time determining that people who drink hurt themselves. Alcohol won the drug battle by getting a score of 72, due to the fact that it's linked to more than 60 diseases as well as social and societal issues, including drunk driving.
The good news is that mushrooms had the lowest overall score with a score of five. We couldn't get a statement from any mushroom activists on the study, but did hear that they've finally found the meaning of life, that Canadian Geese are actually rational beings and did you see all of the colors in that totally radical sunset? I'm pretty sure God is communicating through my nervous system.
While not an excuse to take a larger variety of substances, there is something to be said for the fact that alcohol, the only legal drug on the list (save prescription meds) scored a 72 while crystal meth got a 33, pot scored a 20 and ecstasy scored a measly nine. Perhaps there really is something to be said for everything in moderation. (SR)