In the News: Falling Gas Stations, Commercials for Dogs, the Garbage Flotilla

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NASA is considering building gas stations up in the sky circling the earth so that men aboard future missions to the moon or Mars could gas up halfway to their destination. It isn’t halfway of course, but as far as fuel it is. The first half is getting through all the heavy atmosphere. The second half is the floating through space to another planet with an occasional puff of gas to modify the course a little bit.

The proposal was put together during the past year. It is being reviewed this month. One of the advantages of having a couple of gas stations up there is that you wouldn’t need these massive three stage rockets to get you up there. Sleek, slender, lower-powered rockets with the men in the front would do it. Then there’d be the space walk, the turning off of the rocket engine for safety, the selection of regular or high test and the opening of the little hatch on the side of the rocket to put the nozzle in the hole. You’d want to be real careful you had the hose out before you continued on of course. [expand]

The whole idea of this makes me pretty uneasy. Last week we had an asteroid come barreling along close to the earth, passing between earth and the moon. A near miss. Last month, we had a piece of space junk the size of a school bus come down through the atmosphere and land in the Pacific Ocean. NASA couldn’t tell us exactly where it would land until about two hours before it hit the ocean. Before that, they said, for several days after announcing the news, it could land anywhere. Hard to say.

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California said he was shocked that NASA hadn’t told Congress it was thinking about gas stations until after a year of study.

“I’m shocked that the leadership of NASA would try to keep a report as significant as this away from decision makers in the legislative branch,” is how he put it.

As for me, I rather look forward to seeing a big old gas station come roaring down from the sky in flames, its donuts and hot dogs and RESTROOM INSIDE sign trailing behind it. Just so long as it doesn’t hit me in the head.



So you’re watching TV with your dog. During a break, a 23-second commercial comes on for Beneful dog food. A dish of it is brought out and set in front of two dogs, who are now wagging their tails and running over. And at that moment, your dog leaps up, his ears perk up, and he runs over.

Effective, no? That is what the Nestle Company, which makes the dog food Beneful, thinks too. The secret, however, is not the dog food, but a high-pitched whistle (too high for you to hear, but not so high that your dog can’t hear it) that can be emitted by the sound system of your TV set. The whistle is a similar to the squeak a dog toy makes.

This is disgraceful, if you ask me. Nestle, instead of bragging about this, should clean up its act and pull this commercial off the air.



So Brad Pitt is in Hungary, making an action-horror movie called World War Z, and there’s been a delay.

“We can confirm that weapons were confiscated at an airport,” Hungary Anti-Terrorism Unit director Hajdu Janos said at a press conference.

What this SWAT team uncovered was a cache of 85 automatic military-style assault rifles that were to be used in a scene where the fighters show up with them, go rat-a-tat-tat at hordes of people, killing almost all of them, and then retreat to a waiting group of huge helicopters.

“This morning a private plane brought guns from a company to an individual,” Janos continued. “Guns like these are highly illegal. We are interrogating witnesses now, getting closer to solving the firearms story.”

The movie stars not only Brad Pitt, but also Matthew Fox, David Morse, Mirielle Enos and Elyes Gabel. It’s based on the Max Brooks’ bestseller by the same name.

None of the actors were involved in the raid, which took place in a warehouse up at the Franz Liszt Airport in Budapest. Other scenes from the film are being shot in Malta, England and Scotland and the movie is scheduled for release on December 21, 2012.



The tsunami and nuclear accident in Japan are over, but the aftermath is not. As you recall, the great tsunami came in, tore everything loose, floated much of it around, and then retreated back to sea. Apparently, it retreated back to sea with a whole lot of stuff. And it is coming to America.

Scientists at the University of Hawaii, studying ocean currents, are predicting that all this debris will be carried along eastward along the northern Pacific, on to Hawaii, then to the western coast of the United States and then back to Hawaii. Eventually, it is going to wind up in this huge swirling area in the Pacific known as the Garbage Patch, where lots of other debris and effluvia from modern society is already located.

The debris has already been seen by mariners heading along its predicted course. A month ago, a Russian ship sailing to Vladivostok came upon an abandoned fishing boat with the name Fukushima on the stern, also a TV, a refrigerator, fishing floats, rope nets and other crap floating along. It will make its first landfall this winter in Midway Island, then go to Hawaii and land on the West Coast in 2013.

I imagine that various travel agents will soon be putting together week-long trips to the beaches for tourists interested in obtaining souvenirs of the catastrophe.

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