Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Don't Worry! Gotcha covered!


Here it is, a public service round up of current news items for your edification and financial benefit: 

In the category labeled “Neener!  Neener!  Neener!” more commonly referred to as “I Told You So,” we find today’s headline from the Associated Press:  “Pentagon project aims to strip satellites for their spare parts” or as the AP dubs it: ‘space grave robbery for a cause.’ 

That’s right.  The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), that quirky, fun-loving exploratory wing of the Pentagon, is about to spend $180 million to test technologies that will soar into space and scavenge valuable parts from the orbiting junk yard above our heads.   

(In their kinder, gentler Pentagon vernacular, those inoperable clunkers are denoted by a politically correct euphemism – “retired satellites.”  Being retired myself, I now feel compelled to watch my back, as it were.) 

Here’s the plan:  First, they’ll identify a functional antenna or solar panel from the revolving rubbish overhead and send a robotic mechanic with a toolkit to salvage it.  Then, they’ll launch a bunch of mini-satellites.  THEN, the robot will string together the mini-satellites and hook them up with the old, but perfectly good satellite parts, thereby creating a new communication system right there!  In space!   

It’s recycling!  It’s a time saver!  It’s a money saver!  What could possibly go wrong? 

Here’s the part where I gloat and rub it in:  If you had only listened to me you would already have known this.  You could have invested a wad o’ cash in the project two years ago and be poised right now to rake in the dough.  Oh yeah.  I told you so ‘way back in September, 2011, in my column titled “Your mother doesn’t live in outer space.”   

OK.  Mostly I ranted about the folks at NASA who, like a bunch of sullen teenagers, have to go back into space to clean up after themselves.  But no matter!  DARPA awarded contracts to several companies to develop these new technologies.  And, it is seeking fresh proposals from interested parties now.  Eh?  Eh?!!  

So what do you say?  We could get everyone together, buy a bunch of intergalactic lotto tickets, and chant:  DARPA!  DARPA!!  until our numbers pay off. 

All right.  In other news, Beyonce` lip-synced the national anthem.  

I’ll give you a moment.  I know.  There, there.  

Evidently it was a conspiracy.  She moved her lips and emoted without having to draw a breath (I thought it looked effortless!)  AND the Marine Corps band members pretended to blow into their instruments while the director waved his arms in an impressive display of faux conducting.  

Wow.  They can assemble a transistor radio in outer space, but they can’t master the acoustics on the steps of the Capitol.   

What else?  Lindsay Lohan declined multiple offers topping out at $550,000 to appear on the next season of Dancing with the Stars.  Me too.  Like Lindsay, I like to be selective in my career and lifestyle choices.  Wouldn’t want to lose my credibility. 

OK.  Let’s see.  What’s this?  “Good-cop” brain cells are turning bad and causing Alzheimer’s disease.  Seems these microglia go rogue and prune away necessary synapses causing the cognitive decline so evident in Alzheimer’s patients.  That sucks. Who can you trust anymore if not your own brain cells?   

“Fear of estrogen is needless.”  That’s a relief.  “Ducks and geese can find their own chow.”  Again, relieved. 

Oh, here’s a good one:  Facebook sparks envy and misery, researchers say.”  OMG!  

According to two studies to be reported at a February conference on information systems, one in three Facebook users reports feeling worse about themselves after viewing vacation photos of their friends on the social networking site.  With its 1 billion users, the researchers characterize Facebook as the largest social comparison site.   

Miserable users also reported feeling envy when they didn’t get as many birthday wishes as others.  That’s right.  Facebook has created one billion 12-year-olds.  Or, I guess technically, it’s only 300 million. 

So what do these envious adolescents do to assuage their jealousy?  They exaggerate their own achievements and post more self-promotional content to make themselves look and feel better.  Of course!  That’s what I do. 

That about sums it up for the week.  Rest easy.  I’m on it!  And, as always: you’re welcome!