Let’s Not Move to Mars

Let’s not:

IN the early years of the 20th century, zeppelins filled with flammable and explosive hydrogen were all the rage in Germany, a reckless infatuation that ended with the eruption and crash of the Hindenburg in 1937. Sometimes, technology is a triumph of wild-eyed enthusiasm over the unpleasant facts of the real world.

Today we are witnessing a similar outburst of enthusiasm over the literally outlandish notion that in the relatively near future, some of us are going to be living, working, thriving and dying on Mars. A Dutch nonprofit venture called Mars One aspires to send four people to Mars by 2026 as the beginning of a permanent human settlement. In the United States, the nonprofit Inspiration One has plans for a two-person team to fly within 100 miles of the planet, launching from Earth in January 2018. And the entrepreneur Elon Musk, who runs a rocket company called SpaceX, has said he hopes to send the first people to Mars in 11 to 12 years.

Unfortunately, this Mars mania reflects an excessively optimistic view of what it actually takes to travel to and live on Mars, papering over many of the harsh realities and bitter truths that underlie the dream…

Read on in The New York Times.

Womb Transplants Given Go-ahead in the UK

Pregnant woman

Doctors have been granted approval to carry out the UK’s first 10 womb transplants, following the success of the procedure in Sweden.

The go-ahead has been given by the Health Research Authority – as part of a clinical trial – which launches in the spring.

Around one in 7,000 women are born without a womb, while others lose their womb to cancer.

If the trial is successful, the first UK baby could arrive in early 2018.

Read on here.

A New Creed for the Modern World

I saw this on Steve Ray’s blog today:

Everyone knows the ancient Christian creeds are outdated and passé. It is time we have a new creed that fits everyone in our brave new modern world:

We believe that God is in all of us;
He has been created in our image

We believe that each one must find the truth that is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust, history will alter.
We believe there is no absolute truth;
Except the truth that there is no absolute truth.

We believe that after death comes The Nothing;
Confirmed by the dead who say and do nothing.


We believe that man is essentially good,
It is only his behavior that lets him down.
This is the fault of society.
Society is the fault of the conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.


We believe we should all get along and love one another
as long as there’s no inconvenience or discomfort.

We believe in the rejection of all creeds.

Read it in its entirety here.

Farm Workers Accused of Pelting Colleague to Death with Oranges

The Independent:

Police in South Africa have launched an investigation as two rural farm workers are suspected of pelting their colleague to death with oranges.
The man died after the suspects allegedly argued with him, before they collected oranges and began throwing them at him, police Lt. Col. Moatshe Ngoepe said citing witness accounts.
“They started pelting the deceased with all those loose oranges, killing him on the spot,” Ngoepe said of the incident which took place near the town of Tzaneenm in the Limpopo province of northern South Africa.
Mr Ngoepe cautioned that an investigation was still underway and aspects of a case he described as “complicated” still had to be verified.
The man was declared dead at the scene and he had no “visible injury,” suggesting he may have suffered blunt trauma, according to Ngoepe. He did not comment on the cause of the argument that led to the assault.
The suspects were detained Tuesday and later released pending formal charges, which could include murder.
Police and prosecutors are now awaiting the results of an autopsy in the hope it will uncover more details of the man’s death.