Mars, Poetry, Work, Death, Chemicals

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Red Planet Rumble

Dwayne Day | The Space Review | 17th August 2015

Mars One promises a private mission to the red planet for $6 billion by 2027. But in a debate with the company's CEO, two MIT graduate students explain all the holes in the plan. Mars One's technical representative "[conceded] most of the MIT team’s points" and "agreed that the Mars One plan lacks specificity and is mostly generalities." The CEO, meanwhile, "seemed to be saying ... that what is really important is the dream" (3,160 words)

A Giant Triangle Of Anxiety

Blake Butler & Mark Leidner | HTML Giant | 20th September 2011

Interview with the poet Mark Leidner. "A swirl of angels & demons & heroes & villains is a way to see things that gives me the most pleasure," he says, even if it sacrifices truth. "The kid in me wants the world to be a game that by doing the right thing you can win. But it’s not. It’s open and endless and ruleless and then it’s over. Accepting that terrifies me" (2,420 words)

In Praise of Idleness

Bertrand Russell | 1st January 1932

Bertrand Russell advocates a four-hour work week in 1932. "Only a foolish asceticism, usually vicarious, makes us continue to insist on work in excessive quantities now that the need no longer exists.... Hitherto we have continued to be as energetic as we were before there were machines; in this we have been foolish, but there is no reason to go on being foolish forever" (5,060 words)

Living In The Age Of Permawar

Mohsin Hamid | Guardian | 22nd August 2015

On death, war, sex, law, machines, religion, and writing. "Death divides us because often it assumes human form. It makes of one of its future victims a present instrument. And so we humans have come to fear each other. And, because we humans can clearly be beaten, as adversaries we are far more attractive than Death itself" (3,260 words)

Dupont Chemistry Deception

Sharon Lerner | Intercept | 11th August 2015

Ken Wamsley has rectal cancer after working 30+ years at a DuPont chemical plant. DuPont scientists certainly knew that the chemical he handled, C8, harmed lab animals at high doses – but then "even a certain amount of table salt would kill a lab animal." Were DuPont's decisions about C8's handling and disposal driven by profit and liability, rather than safety? Today, C8 is in 99.7% of Americans' bloodstreams (6,090 words)

Video of the day: Submarine Sandwich

What to expect: Stop-motion animation. Seriously (1"55')

Thought for the day

Laughter is the orgasm of fear
Mark Leidner (

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