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    • Interview Part 2: Politics Thru Climate Change
      This second excerpt from my interview is more interesting and longer. This is the second clip from my interview with Ian Welsh (Ian blogs at ianwelsh.net). For this segment, we went on a wild ride discussing the big picture mess that is US politics and society more broadly. I asked Ian what might happen if […]
  • Top Posts

Just for fun: Open Thread

laughing_horse

Everywhere you look it’s bad news.  Some say that laughter is the best medicine and I think a good chuckle and smile are in order.  Maybe one of these links or stories will be just what the doctor ordered.  This is one of those open thread thingees.

Funny & Addictive Websites

* Beware: This one has the potential to cause excessive wasted hours: Who Wants to be a Millionaire online game

* People watchers will love this armchair version of their favorite game. Look at this F$#%&ng Hipster!

*15 of the Weirdest Magazines Still in Print. Do you have a subscription?

Arts & Leisure

img-Kempton 0221* Female Artist Profile: This week’s artist is Greta Kempton, (1903-1991) known as the American DaVinci.

(note, Greta was profiled a few weeks ago, but based on the limited traffic to the post I felt she deserved another front page.)

Greta Kempton was one of the greatest unheralded artists of the 20th century. Though she excelled in high society portraits, she also painted florals, still lifes, landscapes, and character studies. With a command of a diverse range of styles, her work has been compared to Rembrandt, Rubens, Renoir and Degas.

Her portraits, such as those of the Truman family are considered national treasures, earning her the title of The Capital’s Court Painter.

A lady Leonardo da Vinci of American art, Greta Kempton was a national treasure, revered in her time as “the Capital’s Court Painter.” Though best known for her portraits of President Harry S Truman and his family, she painted political leaders, corporate giants and everyday people in a style that has been compared to the best works of Rembrandt, Rubens, Renoir and Degas. Kempton was elected a Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, was a Life Fellow of the International Kappa Pi Art Fraternity, and a Life Member of the Empire Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters, Washington, D.C. Her works are in the collections of the White House, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Harry S Truman Library, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, the National Portrait Gallery, and many other institutions.

Many of her paintings can be viewed at this link.

*******************************************************

*Check out these Unique Outdoor Sculptures from around the world.

*******************************************************

*It’s amazing how artists can take advantage of almost any medium available. These Amazing Grass Sculptures demonstrate what can be created from a bit of foliage and some sharp clippers.

*******************************************************

*And speaking of unusual art projects, these artists have found a way to make nails into amazing works.  Nail Art.

*******************************************************

*These photos are incredible. Looking at the world through a microscope. From the eye of a fly, to a sperm cell fertilizing a human egg, these are views you won’t see often.

*******************************************************

*If you haven’t had a chance to see the cadaverous exhibit called “Body World,” you can still catch their new exhibit dedicated entirely to sex. Uhmm…sex and dead bodies? No thanks.

*******************************************************

*You might want to scream “Don’t Jump” but, no worries, it’s just art. Artwork gets onlookers asking ‘Will he jump?’

Travel

*If you’re into “Extreme” vacations, check out the World’s Most Extreme Places for ideas about your next travel destination. There is the hottest, the coldest, driest, and the wettest places on earth among other intense locales.

******************************************************

*At City of Rocks New Mexico, you can see “Toilet Rock.” I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t look like a toilet to me.

*******************************************************

*If you’re driving along Route 66 in Texas, make sure to stop by and see The Giant Pair of Legs. It’s apparently in the middle of a cow pasture.  Only in Texas will you find something like this.

Food & Wine

*Wine guru Gary Vaynerchuk apparently has some unconventional ways of instructing on the fine art of sensory detection.

He’s appeared on Ellen DeGeneres’s show and Conan O’Brien’s, where, in the guise of educating the host’s palate to wine terms like sweaty, mineral and earthy, he sniffed Mr. O’Brien’s armpit and persuaded him to chew an old sock, lick a rock and eat dirt (topped with shredded cigar tobacco and cherries).

“You’re an idiot!” Mr. O’Brien exclaimed.

*******************************************************

*Edamame (soybeans) are a tasty alternative for your next meatless meal.  For anyone interested in trying these ubiquitous beans as a main course, here’s a simple but flavorful recipe.  Soybeans with Garlic and Dill.  You’ll need these ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 4 tablespoons minced fresh dill, or 2 tablespoons dried dill
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen shelled edamame (soybeans)
  • Cooked rice for serving, optional.

Some things to make you go hmmm…

*Al Franken can draw a map of the U.S. from memory. Can you?

*******************************************************

*Things may be bad, but are they so bad that a “cuddle party” may be in order?

At a recent Cuddle Party in Oakland, California, Marcia Baczynski is welcoming a new Cuddle Party crew.

Baczynski co-founded a Bay area cuddle party faction. “The feeling we want to create at a cuddle party is a sense of fearlessness and fun”, she explains.

There are rules.  Lots of them.

Nobody gets naked.

Respect people’s privacy.

Be hygienically savvy. Occasionally taking a shower.

No alcohol, no drugs.

Ask before you touch.

The “high” comes from spooning.

*******************************************************

*We’ve had police tasering stories front-paged here at the Confluence before, but none that can match this one:  Man bursts into flames when Ohio police use taser guns.

A homeless man caught fire after U.S. police shocked him with a Taser gun, it has been revealed.

Daniel Wood, 31, was allegedly sniffing gas from an aerosol can as he ran through traffic when he was chased by two officers in Lancaster, Ohio.

*******************************************************

*Apparently there are lots of people who can’t live without that LEGO giraffe tail.

Visitors to a tourist attraction in Berlin have been making off with an unusual memento — the 30 cm long tail of a Lego giraffe.

The Lego tail belongs to a six meter tall model that has stood outside the entrance to the Legoland Discovery Center on Potsdamer Platz since 2007.

It’s a popular souvenir,” a spokeswoman for the center said Tuesday. “It’s been stolen four times now …”

*******************************************************

*Do not try to stiff this pizza delivery guy! One woman did and he took her son and held him for ransom.  4-year-old ‘held ransom’ for pizza.

A DARWIN mum is furious after a pizza delivery man allegedly grabbed her four-year-old son and tried to hold him as “ransom” for payment.

Cindy Paardekooper, 30, claims the driver from Pizza King at the Hibiscus Shopping Centre was an hour late delivering her half-Hawaiian, half-supreme.

When she refused to pay, the driver allegedly grabbed her four-year-old son Cain who was standing on the other side of the fence. ”He grabbed my son, four years old, by the arm through the fence as ransom for the pizza,” Ms Paardekooper claimed.

*******************************************************

*For those guys who find themselves in a conundrum whenever Mother Nature calls, here is a lesson in urinal protocol vulnerability, complete with appropriate mathematical equations.

When a guy goes into the bathroom, which urinal does he pick?  Most guys are familiar with the International Choice of Urinal Protocol.  It’s discussed at length elsewhere, but the basic premise is that the first guy picks an end urinal, and every subsequent guy chooses the urinal which puts him furthest from anyone else peeing.  At least one buffer urinal is required between any two guys or Awkwardness ensues.

*******************************************************

* Word to the wise, just because they’re telling you that you’re on a “Reality TV Show” doesn’t mean you really are. Police free 9 women from fake “Big Brother” house.

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Nine women tricked into thinking they were reality TV show contestants and lured into an Istanbul villa were rescued by Turkish military police after two months confinement, a police spokesman said Thursday.

Cameras in the villa filmed the women 24-hours a day, providing a live stream of images for Internet users who had paid to access the footage, the spokesman said.

*******************************************************

*You can’t win 11 Dimensional Chess this way! Drunk Grandmaster checkmated after dozing off.

CHENNAI, India (Reuters) – A leading French chess player turned up drunk and dozed off after just 11 moves in an international tournament in Kolkata, losing the round on technical grounds, domestic media reported Friday.

Grandmaster Vladislav Tkachiev arrived for Thursday’s match against India’s Praveen Kumar in such an inebriated state that he could hardly sit in his chair and soon fell asleep, resting his head on the table, Hindustan Times newspaper reported.

*******************************************************

*Apparently the police do not find a game of Donkey Kong of interest in the middle of a high-speed chase. Save the beer keg tossing for the video games folks.

Marathon County Sheriff’s Department apprehends four men from fleeing car, keg thrown out during pursuit

*******************************************************

*Some people have really warped senses of humor. Ex-Deputy given probation for jail food prank.

A former Franklin County deputy who was fired for feeding a jail prisoner a tainted sandwich agreed to a plea deal yesterday that places him on probation for five years.

Joseph M. Cantwell, 38, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor health-code violations for giving Joseph Copeland a bologna sandwich that had been rubbed against another prisoner’s penis.

Yeah, real funny asshat.

*******************************************************

*Looking for some unusual “hand soaps” for your guest bathroom? Well look no more! Here are some real “hand” soaps.  Sadly, it looks like they may be on backorder.

The Final Word

* Talk about a snub! Man with the world’s largest penis turned down for roll on HBO show “Hung.”

Jonah Falcon thought for sure that HBO would give him a shot on its new show, Hung, even if it was just for a bit part. After all, it was HBO that confirmed that his manhood stretched 13 and a half inches — longer than a bottle of wine.

SNIP

“If anyone knows what it’s like to have a big penis and be looking for a break,” Falcon says, “it’s me.”

A bottle of wine? Oh reeeeallly.

*******************************************************

*There have been quite a few unusual ads that have turned up on Craigslist and here are a few of the best.   20 Most bizarre Craigslist advertisements of all.

Hmmm…#3 looks rather interesting. Now where can we find one of these….

3) Seeking adult drunk clown for 30th birthday party

“We need an Adult Drunk Clown who is good at getting drunk and stupid. No need to do any clown tricks, just hang out and drink a shit load. We will be hopping around to different bars and want a clown to tag a long and drink heavely. He doesn’t even need to socialize with anyone, just drink.”

digg!!! tweet!!! share!!!!

Funny & Addictive Websites

* Beware:  This one will cause you to waste hours:  Who Wants to be a Millionaire online game  http://www.millionairetv.com/game/index.html

* People watchers will love this armchair version of their favorite game.  Look at this F$#%&ng Hipster! http://www.latfh.com/

*15 of the Weirdest Magazines Still in Print.  Do you have a subscription? http://www.asylum.com/2009/08/28/15-of-the-weirdest-magazines-still-in-publication/

Arts & Leisure

*img-Kempton 0221Female Artist Profile: This week’s artist is Greta Kempton, (1903-1991) known as the American DaVinci.

(note, Greta was profiled a few weeks ago, but the limit traffic to the post made me decide to give her another front page.)

Greta Kempton was one of the greatest unheralded artists of the 20th century. Though she excelled in high society portraits, she also painted florals, still lifes, landscapes, and character studies. With a command of a diverse range of styles, her work has been compared to Rembrandt, Rubens, Renoir and Degas.

Her portraits, such as those of the Truman family are considered national treasures, earning her the title of The Capital’s Court Painter.

A lady Leonardo da Vinci of American art, Greta Kempton was a national treasure, revered in her time as “the Capital’s Court Painter.” Though best known for her portraits of President Harry S Truman and his family, she painted political leaders, corporate giants and everyday people in a style that has been compared to the best works of Rembrandt, Rubens, Renoir and Degas. Kempton was elected a Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, was a Life Fellow of the International Kappa Pi Art Fraternity, and a Life Member of the Empire Chapter of the National Society of Arts and Letters, Washington, D.C. Her works are in the collections of the White House, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Supreme Court, the Harry S Truman Library, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, the National Portrait Gallery, and many other institutions.

Many of her paintings can be viewed at this link.

*******************************************************

*Check out these Unique Outdoor Sculptures from around the world.  http://www.womansday.com/Articles/Family-Lifestyle/11-Unique-Outdoor-Sculptures.html

*******************************************************

*It’s amazing how artists can take advantage of almost any medium available.  These Amazing Grass Sculptures demonstrate what can be created from a bit of foliage and some sharp clippers.  http://www.humor-articles.com/10-most-amazing-grass-sculptures/

*******************************************************

*And speaking of unusual art projects, these artists have found a way to make nails into incredible works http://www.amusingplanet.com/2009/08/life-of-nails-creative-photography-by.html

*******************************************************

*These photos are incredible. Looking at the World through a microscope.  http://www.boredpanda.com/looking-at-the-world-through-a-microscope-part-i/ From the eye of a fly, to a sperm cell fertilizing a human egg, these are views you won’t see often.

*******************************************************

If you haven’t had a chance to see the cadaverous exhibit called “Body World,” you can still catch their new exhibit dedicated entirely to sex.  Uhmm…sex and dead bodies?  No thanks. http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSTRE58A4Z220090911?feedType=RSS&feedName=oddlyEnoughNews&rpc=22&sp=true

*******************************************************

You might want to scream “Don’t Jump” but, no worries, it’s just art. Artwork gets onlookers asking ‘Will he jump?’ http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSTRE5834EV20090904?feedType=RSS&feedName=oddlyEnoughNews&rpc=22&sp=true

Travel

* If you’re into “Extreme” vacations, check out the World’s Most Extreme Places for ideas about your next travel destination.  There is the hottest, the coldest, driest, and the wettest places on earth among other intense locales.  http://www.oddee.com/item_96770.aspx

*******************************************************

* At City of Rocks New Mexico, you can see “Toilet Rock.”  I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t look like a toilet to me.  http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/908

*******************************************************

* If you’re driving along Route 66 in Texas, make sure to stop by and see The Giant Pair of Legs.  My only question is, “Why?”  http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/1242

Food & Wine

*Yum! (or as Rachel Ray says, Yum O!) Who doesn’t love peanut butter? An article in this week’s New York Times offers some history about and ideas for enjoying the beloved spread.

*******************************************************

*Feeling like getting a little bit exotic in the kitchen?  Why not try cooking with culinary lavender?  If you’ve never tried it, now’s your chance.   I’ve made this and it’s delicious!  Lavender Creme’ Brulee.  All you need (in addition to that torchie thing) is:

  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided

Or for an intriguing substitute for cocktail “simple syrup,” try whipping up some Lavender Syrup.

Some things to make you go hmmm…

*Al Franken can draw a map of the U.S. from memory.  Can you? http://www.lemondrop.com/2009/09/10/al-franken-can-draw-the-us-so-can-we-oh-wait/

*******************************************************

* Things may be bad, but are they so bad that a “cuddle party” may be in order?

http://www2.counton2.com/cbd/lifestyles/health_med_fitness/article/stressed_out_a_g-rated_cuddle_party_may_help/55944/

At a recent Cuddle Party in Oakland, California, Marcia Baczynski is welcoming a new Cuddle Party crew.

Baczynski co-founded a Bay area cuddle party faction.

“The feeling we want to create at a cuddle party is a sense of fearlessness and fun”, she explains.

There are rules.

Lots of them.

Nobody gets naked.

Respect people’s privacy.

Be hygienically savvy.  Occasionally taking a shower.
No alcohol, no drugs.

Ask before you touch.

The “high” comes from spooning.

*******************************************************

*We’ve had police tasering stories front-paged here at the Confluence before, but none that can match this one: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1208987/Man-bursts-flames-Ohio-police-use-taser-guns-time.html Man bursts into flames when Ohio police use taser guns.

A homeless man caught fire after U.S. police shocked him with a Taser gun, it has been revealed.

Daniel Wood, 31, was allegedly sniffing gas from an aerosol can as he ran through traffic when he was chased by two officers in Lancaster, Ohio.

*******************************************************

*Apparently there are lots of people who can’t live without that LEGO giraffe tail.  http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSTRE57O4AO20090825?feedType=RSS&feedName=oddlyEnoughNews&rpc=69

isitors to a tourist attraction in Berlin have been making off with an unusual memento — the 30 cm long tail of a Lego giraffe.

The Lego tail belongs to a six meter tall model that has stood outside the entrance to the Legoland Discovery Center on Potsdamer Platz since 2007.

“It’s a popular souvenir,” a spokeswoman for the center said Tuesday. “It’s been stolen four times now …”

*******************************************************

* Do not try to stiff this pizza delivery guy!  One woman did and he took her son and held him for ransom.  http://www.ntnews.com.au/article/2009/09/09/83071_ntnews.html

A DARWIN mum is furious after a pizza delivery man allegedly grabbed her four-year-old son and tried to hold him as “ransom” for payment.

Cindy Paardekooper, 30, claims the driver from Pizza King at the Hibiscus Shopping Centre was an hour late delivering her half-Hawaiian, half-supreme.

When she refused to pay, the driver allegedly grabbed her four-year-old son Cain who was standing on the other side of the fence. ”He grabbed my son, four years old, by the arm through the fence as ransom for the pizza,” Ms Paardekooper claimed.

*******************************************************

*For those guys who find themselves in a conundrum whenever Mother Nature calls, here is a lesson in urinal protocol, complete with appropriate mathematical equations — http://blag.xkcd.com/2009/09/02/urinal-protocol-vulnerability/

*******************************************************

* Word to the wise, just because they’re telling you that you’re on a “Reality TV Show” doesn’t mean you really are.  Police free 9 women from fake “Big Brother” house.  http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSTRE58952J20090910?feedType=RSS&feedName=oddlyEnoughNews&rpc=22&sp=true

*******************************************************

You can’t win 11 Dimensional Chess this way!  Drunk Grandmaster checkmated after dozing off.  http://www.reuters.com/article/oddlyEnoughNews/idUSTRE5831HB20090904?feedType=RSS&feedName=oddlyEnoughNews&rpc=22&sp=true

Apparently the police do not find a game of Donkey Kong of interest in the middle of a high-speed chase.  Save the beer keg tossing for the video games folks.

*******************************************************

Marathon County Sheriff’s Department apprehends four men from fleeing car, keg thrown out during pursuit

http://www.wausaudailyherald.com/article/20090907/WDH0101/90907018/1981

Yeah, really funny asshole.  Ex-Deputy given probation for jail food prank.  http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/09/10/cantwell.ART_ART_09-10-09_B1_3GF1AN0.html?sid=101

*******************************************************

A former Franklin County deputy who was fired for feeding a jail prisoner a tainted sandwich agreed to a plea deal yesterday that places him on probation for five years.

Joseph M. Cantwell, 38, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor health-code violations for giving Joseph Copeland a bologna sandwich that had been rubbed against another prisoner’s penis.

*******************************************************

*Looking for some unusual “hand soaps” for your guest bathroom?  Well look no more! Sadly, it looks like they may be on backorder. http://foliage.myshopify.com/products/handsoap

The Final Word

* Talk about a snub!  Man with the world’s largest penis turned down for roll on HBO show “Hung.”  http://weirdnews.about.com/b/2009/06/30/man-with-the-worlds-largest-penis-snubbed-for-role-on-hbos-hung.htm

Jonah Falcon thought for sure that HBO would give him a shot on its new show, Hung, even if it was just for a bit part. After all, it was HBO that confirmed that his manhood stretched 13 and a half inches — longer than a bottle of wine.

SNIP

“If anyone knows what it’s like to have a big penis and be looking for a break,” Falcon says, “it’s me.”

A bottle of wine?  Oh reeeeallly. 

There have been quite a few unusual ads that have turned up on Craig’s list and here are a few of the best. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/6157363/20-most-bizarre-Craigslist-adverts-of-all-time.html

Hmmm…#3 looks rather interesting. Now where can we find one of those….

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Late Night Fantasy: Would you take a one way trip to Mars?

Mars: the red planet

Mars: the red planet

The Surface of Mars

The Surface of Mars

I think it’s late enough for this. I just had to share this story that I heard about on NPR’s Science Friday. What a fascinating interview! The audio is posted on the upper left hand corner of the page. A One-Way Trip To Mars?

Lawrence M. Krauss is a professor at the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. He got his Ph.D. at M.I.T. He is the author of The Physics of Star Trek He got his Ph.D. in Physics from M.I.T., and has taught at Harvard, Yale, and held an endowed chair and chaired the Physics Department at Case Western Reserve University. He moved to Arizona State University in 2008.

Here’s Krauss’ original op-ed from the New York Times:

Lawrence M. Krauss: A One-Way Ticket to Mars

The most challenging impediment to human travel to Mars does not seem to involve the complicated launching, propulsion, guidance or landing technologies but something far more mundane: the radiation emanating from the Sun’s cosmic rays. The shielding necessary to ensure the astronauts do not get a lethal dose of solar radiation on a round trip to Mars may very well make the spacecraft so heavy that the amount of fuel needed becomes prohibitive.

There is, however, a way to surmount this problem while reducing the cost and technical requirements, but it demands that we ask this vexing question: Why are we so interested in bringing the Mars astronauts home again?

While the idea of sending astronauts aloft never to return is jarring upon first hearing, the rationale for one-way trips into space has both historical and practical roots. Colonists and pilgrims seldom set off for the New World with the expectation of a return trip, usually because the places they were leaving were pretty intolerable anyway. Give us a century or two and we may turn the whole planet into a place from which many people might be happy to depart.

Moreover, one of the reasons that is sometimes given for sending humans into space is that we need to move beyond Earth if we are to improve our species’ chances of survival should something terrible happen back home. This requires people to leave, and stay away.

This story just blew me away. I wouldn’t take the trip, but the idea that some people would fascinates me. Apparently quite a few former astronauts and scientists told Krauss they would take a one-way trip to Mars.

digg!!!tweet!!!share!!!

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