Thursday, August 30, 2007

Gorey/Star Trek Tribbles mashup

Who'd have guessed that Edward Gorey turned into a Star Trek fan in the late 1970s? Shaenon K. Garrity speculates what a Gorey version of The Trouble with Tribbles might have been. She offers deadpan renderings of Gorey's black and white crosshatching, and appropriately understated narration such as "Dr. McCoy commented that he was a doctor, and not of some other profession unrelated to medicine."

A newspaper clipping from the time indicates Gorey was able to hold his own when discussing the the merits of the various Disney "Herbie" movies. As a long-time Gorey fan, that's probably the most disturbing tidbit I've ever heard about him.

Thanks to Boing Boing

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Drunk astronauts go from Right Stuff to the hard stuff

By Richard Luscombe The Guardian

America's space programme suffered unexpected turbulence yesterday when a revelation that astronauts were allowed to fly on the shuttle while drunk was followed by news of sabotage to the cargo of a forthcoming mission.
Nasa officials are expected to confirm today that there have been at least two occasions when crew members were so intoxicated before their launch that they were deemed a flight safety risk.

Meanwhile, engineers checking the shuttle Endeavour, which is on the launchpad at Florida's Cape Canaveral space centre ahead of its scheduled lift-off to the international space station on August 7, found electrical wires on a computerised monitoring device had been cut.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Weekly World News, best tabloid in the universe, going belly up

Let's face it, the only tabloid that ever had space news these days was the World Weekly News. No more chances for would-be debunkers to make snotty remarks about the Face on Mars being on the front of the tabloids, not in a world where Lindsay and Britney sell more than Bat Boy (will he ever become George Bush's son-in-law?) The paper is shutting down suddenly, and staff are bewildered. With Hillary as a strong contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, how will we know what our alien overlords think about this?

Hang the X-Files posters at half-mast. We really did want to believe that the World Weekly News was taking place in our world.


UFO Articles in the Weekly World News, available on their
archive area on America Online (keyword: WWN) as of 3/10/97

"Aliens Gave Face On Mars A Face-Lift! ... and it looks great!"
The Famous Face on Mars has had a face-lift, a startling new photo taken by a NASA space probe reveals!

Images beamed back to Earth earlier this year by the Mars Global Surveyor are radically different from those taken when the mysterious monument was first discovered in 1976 and even from high-resolution photos taken just two years ago.

"There are signs of a chin implant, the jowls have been tightened up, the nose is more aquiline and aristocratic -- even the eyes appear less cavernous," declares Dr. Robert Preakwood


"Forget About The Face On Mars... Nasa Probe Has Spotted The Butt On Mars!"

Spanking-new photo beamed back by NASA's Mars Odyssey space probe shows a spectacular, previously undiscovered monument on the Red Planet that's been dubbed the Butt on Mars.

The adjoined pair of giant boulders -- measuring close to 1.2 miles in width -- look uncannily like human female buttocks -- so much so that flabbergasted scientists believe the structure must be the handiwork of intelligent life forms.

Excited experts are dying to get to the bottom of the mystery.


Joel Achenbach says, "The Face was first photographed in July 1976 by the Viking 1 orbiter, and the image distributed by NASA, with the helpful caption "Face on Mars?" No one paid much attention until the Weekly World News put it on the cover in 1984."

True or False that it was the first paper to show the Face? Remember, decades ago the WWN did try to run with the pack, before they decided that deliciously pure fiction was the way to go. Anyone have any images of the Face on Mars as Pee Wee Herman or Ted Kennedy? I saw them alluded to in a google, but didn't find any.

Thanks to UFO Updates

7/27 Update: BoingBoing reader Nathan Cobb offers a sobering perspective on some of the realities behind the real-life stories that the WWN salted the paper with.

Friday, June 29, 2007

All (known) Bodies in the Solar System Larger than 200 Miles in Diameter

Kokogiak has created an utterly splendid image of the 88 known bodies in the solar system larger than 200 miles in diameter, arranged in order of size against a rich black background. There were a lot of design choices to make, Kokogiak explains:

I chose the Earth as the visual axis, placing it full-disc at 1000 pixels. The larger planets and Sun just bleed off the page, but still give a sense of scale by the visible curve of their limbs. And where to cut it off on the small end? Why 200 miles? Well, that's entirely arbitrary. It so happens that I have a fondness for Saturn's moon Mimas (247 miles across), and 200 was the next round number down. That simple. Also, it captures a fair percentage of known Trans-Neptunian Objects (51), enough to give a good idea of their place in the larger scheme of things.

The full-screen version:

You can buy a copy of this as a 6 x 52 inch poster for your home, office, or classroom at
Scientist Calls Mars a Terraforming Target for the 21st Century

Physicist Lowell Wood tells the Aspen Institute about his wish to terraform Mars, saying we should have a scientific plan to "experiment on a planet we're not living on." I do not ever want to hear the word "Ooops!" coming out of such an experiment.

Wood refers to us as a "terraforming species." The article by Leonard David offers no balancing opinions on the subject that might include ethical considerations if Mars has indigenous life of any sort, nor understanding that we are also a "terraciding" species. His caveat about what he sees as merely a three decade project is that we might not have the "marshaled will."

That's a real sharp pointed stick to poke them with, in hopes that it will lead them to focus their power and influence on making it so. Mom, he said we didn't have will. I'll...I'll show him. We'll terraform the hell out of Mars, just see if we don't.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Welcome to the Mars in the Morning blog

I'll be covering a wide range of Mars and space subjects, ranging from mainstream astronomical news and views, to more speculative and esoteric perspectives. Mars anomalies such as the Face on Mars, as well as Mars in art, literature, film and music will be a frequent subject. UFOs and science fiction will be part of the mix too.

In addition to news, links and commentary, I will soon be offering custom t-shirts, gifts and housewares featuring rare images in the above subject areas through, using images from my extensive personal collection of rare books and prints. While the Mars in the Morning blog will be frequently updated, I'll be using an accompanying website for articles and other content that need a more permanent space. Watch soon for offerings of rare and out of print books, and other related material.