If you’re NASA, you should really be more careful about throwing around phrases like “one for the history books.” That’s the terminology John Grotzinger, head of the Curiosity rover mission to Mars, used in a recent interview. But he was light on other details, so, since wild speculation is human nature, people are trying to figure out what Curiosity could have dug out of the Martian dirt that can be called “historic.”
The specifics of this discovery are remaining secret until (most likely) a conference in early December, to give the scientists time to triple-check the results. But since one of the primary objectives of Curiosity is to see if the Red Planet has ever been capable of supporting simple organisms, it stands to reason that a discovery along those lines would be the sort of thing NASA was looking for.
So what could they have found in the analyzed soil samples? Large amounts of methane, an organic compound that’s usually produced by lifeforms?
Sure, that’s a reasonable assumption, but who wants to hear that? I prefer the unreasonable, thank you very much:
- a human skeleton
- the Holy Grail
- the Ark of the Covenant
- whatever those magic stones were in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
- Amelia Earhart
- a dinosaur in a space suit (proving they didn’t go extinct, they just got tired of Earth)
- this photo:
There’s three kinds of college students during Thanksgiving break. There’s the people who travel home, gorge themselves on food, and return in the worst possible mentality going into finals.
Group two are the people who see a break coming and decide to get as much out of it as possible.
And group three doesn’t go anywhere, because plane tickets are expensive, they have a lot of work to do, or they don’t have a lot of close family.
If you find yourself in group three, you’ve got to make a plan to keep your sanity. Because if 7 pm rolls around and you find yourself sitting in bed, eating day-old Domino’s breadsticks, and watching re-runs of House, you might start to feel down. So here’s a few ways to stave off the lonesome Thanksgiving blues.
- Makeshift family. You might not have your family around, but the odds are pretty good that there’s somebody else on campus. Scrounge up a group of stragglers who’re in the same boat as you and have everyone chip in a dish or two. You might not have those sweet potatoes your grandma makes that you love so much, but you’ll still capture the spirit of the holiday.
- Hold off for the weekend. Don’t care much for the other people left on campus? Then wait a few days before throwing together your makeshift family meal. Not too many of your friends will object to another awesome meal on the Sunday when they get back. A few of them might be able to smuggle back leftovers of their family’s finest cooking to boot.
- Volunteer. There’s no better way to gain perspective and appreciate what you have than helping out people in need. (Check with your nearby shelters first. A lot of places get more volunteers than they need this time of year… and not nearly enough at other times. You might want to hold on to this thought until later.)
- Spoil yourself. Money might be too tight to get a plane ticket back home, but you don’t need to spend too much for budget decadence. Get yourself a pint of your favorite ice cream flavor. Go see a movie that none of your friends are interested in. Never change out of pajamas. Have a thanksgiving dinner of scrambled eggs and take-out curry… or whatever crazy mismatched dishes people don’t normally serve together.
- Something completely different. Sometimes a day can feel like a holiday just by doing something unique. Go on a hike, visit a museum, take the train or bus to a nearby town. If you do something you’ve never done before, the holiday won’t feel like a waste, just a brand new experience.
It’s gotta be tough coming up with new things to talk about when you’re basically just selling bubbles with water in it. That’s why the people at Polar Seltzer were kind of brilliant for jumping into the comments of this USA Today article on bad college essays, just because it offhandedly mentioned seltzer.
#2 in USA Today‘s list of horrible ideas for college essays is ”I am a can of seltzer.” That’s obviously not a whole category; it’s a generalization of the kind of crazy, surreal, high-concept ideas that some students hope will be eye-catching in the admission process. (The “seltzer” example comes from the article writer’s experience in college admissions.)
So Polar Seltzer comes along, reads the article and thinks, “Oh hi, marketing opportunity.” Here’s what they wrote:
Okay, trying to turn #Sparkling into a trending term is a bit annoying, but otherwise it’s pretty funny and pretty clever.
Disney just bought Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion. This was our first thought.
With Hurricane Sandy, which you might know better as the Frankenstorm, pounding the East Coast, it got us thinking about the weird practice of naming hurricanes after people. It was odder still in the not-too-distant past, since from 1954 to 1979, hurricanes only received ladies’ names.
The practice started with the advent of the National Weather Service (which was then called the National Weather Bureau). The service was started by military meteorologists (yes, that’s a thing) after the end of World War II. They named them after the military phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, etc.). Needless to say, that was a bit boring and repetitive, so the NWS adopted an older, informal practice among meteorologists to name storms the same way people name their cars, boats, guitars, and guns — after women.
It took years of complaining by influential feminists to get the National Weather Service to play fair, since, as it turns out, a lot of women didn’t really like being compared to devastating natural disasters.
But weirder still than the whole idea of giving a unique identity to a giant pocket of low air pressure with high winds whirling around it is the fact that the most devastating hurricanes get their names “retired.” Yes, just as you’ll never see another Chicago Bulls player don the number 23, we’ll never get hit by another hurricane named Katrina or Isabel.
And that’s really weird, right? It’s like we want to honor certain storms as “all-time greats.” I’ve got this weird mental image of jerseys hung in the rafters of the National Weather Service offices.