mars society nod

Remember back in November, when I mentioned that the Mars Society was looking for volunteers to live for a while this summer in its research station on Devon Island, far above the Arctic circle? (It’s up there because its polar desert climate is apparently the most Mars-like place on Earth, and they want to use it to learn what’s needed for an eventual Mars colonization.)
Well, I applied. And while they haven’t made their final decisions yet, I took my first step to the Arctic yesterday when I found out I’ve been accepted for a stint at the Society’s other research station, in a remote part of the southern Utah desert. (Actually, I’m not tremendously interested in a space there, and didn’t even apply for one, since the Arctic station seems much more interesting — I mean, look where it is! The largest uninhabited island on Earth, a big meteorite impact crater, farther north than 90 percent of the population of Greenland! Roaming muskox, polar bears, Arctic foxes, walrus, beluga whales! Utah seems much less interesting, no?)
Anyway, I find out by the end of the month whether I get a spot on Devon. Keep your fingers crossed for me. (Well, not all month long — that could hurt after a while.)

working late unnoticed

You want to know what happiness is? Happiness is getting stuck working the evening shift (1 to 10 p.m.) one night and no one realizing it. The guy who should be my boss just came over to give me some good-natured crap about working late. I didn’t mention it’s because I didn’t come in until 1 p.m. and that I’m supposed to be at his beck and call for the next few hours. His ignorance is my bliss.

sesame street changes, tipping point

Big changes in store for Sesame Street, including more focused narratives and features aimed at a younger audience (2-year-olds instead of three-to-fives). If the sort of child development theory discussed in the article is interesting to you, I highly suggest you check out The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, which has a chapter on how children’s TV producers design their programs to match what we know about how children learn. (Very brief excerpt here. The book’s actually mostly about other stuff, and well worth reading even if you hate children and never were one.) complaints, to slc, super bowl

Grrr. Just got word that the problem mentioned below isn’t temporary: the redesign has permanently broken all story links. Which means that all the links to all my stories over the last few months are useless. And the screwups continue — my Sunday Metro cover story apparently never got posted, and my front-page story in today’s paper is only accessible four or five clicks from the front page, buried in a long list of links.
But enough kvetching. I’m waay too busy to kvetch, what with all the silly things I have to do before my flight to Salt Lake City. (Like get some winter clothes, for one thing.)
Finally, how ’bout that Super Bowl? A great game if you’re looking for drama, a horrible game if you’re looking for quality play. But I suppose even a Pee-Wee football game can be fraught with dramatic tension. sucks

Problem #2,476 with the redesign: all the links to my old stories are now broken. And I can’t even find my story from today’s paper on the web site. (Print edition readers, all three of you out there, can find it on the front page of the Metro section.)

wet/dry election story

At the paper, we’re all in a rotation to work weekend and night shifts, and tonight’s my lucky night. Since there’s usually precious little education news breaking at 10 p.m. Saturday night, I write about other, random things, so look in tomorrow’s DMN for a short wet/dry alcohol election piece by me.
And, in other ego news, I should be on page 1 on Monday with a pretty good education story.

more m&m evil

More news from the M&M Evil Empire front. First, my friend Kim points out that calling purple a “new” M&M color is little more than a cheap fraud. From 1941 to 1949, a bag of M&Ms featured red, yellow, green, brown, orange, and violet. Violet! A color known by many as nothing more than purple! The M&M-endorsed attempt at global confusion, already powerful via the purple-pink confusion, is reaching critical strength. Are these new “purple” M&Ms really just old violet M&Ms from V-J Day, kept in storage for lo these many decades? Have they abandoned use of the word “violet” because it’s too eerily close to “violent,” and thus might tip the public off to the M&M plans for global domination?
Secondly, that same bit of M&M propaganda pretends to tell the story of the many color-changes M&M has put its customers through over the years: the 1949 violet-to-tan switch, the 1995 blue-to-tan, etc. But it makes no mention of the most celebrated change in the brand’s color composition, the 1976 removal of red M&Ms because of fears they might cause cancer. No mention of the century’s greatest candy-based health crisis! It’s like Stalin erasing his political enemies from Politburo photos after he had them “neutralized.”
It is my earnest hope that the good, noble people of America may rise up and combat this attempt at revisionist history. Just because it melts in your mouth and not in your hands doesn’t mean that it’s not worth fighting.