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The Daily Muse
Delves into the unknown
Finally, your tax $$$ at work Pathfinder--with friend--on Mars
The first live images from the surface of Mars in 21 years sent shivers down the spines of many Americans.

Many others spent the Fourth wondering who drank the last Bud...

Netscape denies holding
Comets Hale-Bopp,
Hyakutake & Haley
Netscape browser loading logo
hostage in its logo...

"Is that ewe?"


Evidence of Martian life
If you believe this is compelling evidence that life once existed on Mars--and not an extreme closeup of the unvacuumed carpet in NASA chief Daniel Goldin's office--then, by all means, please send us a check for $100 billion to fund our own private mission to the Red Planet.
(We'll mail you a postcard upon our arrival...)

They'll have a glass of the house red with that

Space Shuttle with Italian tethered satellite
NASA scientists have finally confronted space travelers' biggest complaint--bad food. The latest Space Shuttle (STS-75) mission featured the deployment of the Italian Tethered Satellite System, which was designed to explore new sources of power in space. However tragedy struck when the tether broke and the satellite was lost in space. We have learned from previously undisclosed Italian Space Agency documents that the mission had a secret ingredient: You guessed it, the tether consisted of a 12.5-mile-long string of linguini, boiled lovingly in the shuttle galley. In case of trouble retrieving the satellite, members of the 7-man crew (which includes 2 Italians and a Swiss, giving it a real international flavor) were supposed to take turns sucking it back into the cargo bay. But the mission ended in sudden failure when an over-eager crew member--NASA isn't say whom--lost control and took a bite...

Can they count backwards, too?

Just when we have finished setting our clocks back 1 1/2 hours to allow us to sleep longer, along comes a more unsettling development.

clock approaching midnight clock approaching midnight clock approaching midnight clock approaching midnight

The new millennium is coming! The new millennium is coming!
And boy are U.S. lawmakers in a panic. "Why is this happening and why weren't we told sooner?" one miffed congressman demanded to know. In fact, a House subcommittee has called a hearing this month to discuss the serious risk to the world's computers (yours and mine included) when Jan. 1, 2000, comes rolling around.
As many of you may already have heard, because of a common software snafu, lots of our fancy flying machines won't be able to tell what day it is (come to think of it, that's a problem many of us don't have to wait 4 years to experience). As panel Chairman Steve Horn, R-Ukidding, put it: "This failure could result in the erasing of database systems and the elimination of money transfers, including those which send checks to Social Security benefit recipients."
But hey, what's the big deal? Can't Uncle Sam just blame the calendar for not getting those checks out and maybe slay the deficit in the process?

Down Time

Moving world map
Out-of-control Chinese satellite,
falling so fast to Earth tonight.
Should it crash into Taipei,
welcome to World War III today.

(Poetic license still pending.)

A Hunka-Hunka Burnin' Love

Hubble Space Telescope photo of a star's death

Comings and goings in deep space

NASA Hubble Space Telescope
image of planetary nebula NGC 7027,
fondly known around them parts as "Nebulous Eruptus"
"New features include: faint, blue, concentric shells surrounding
the nebula; an extensive network of red dust clouds throughout the
bright inner region; and the hot central white dwarf, visible as a
white dot at the center. The nebula is a record of the star's final
death throes. Initially the ejection of the star's outer layers,
when it was at its red giant stage of evolution, occurred at a low
rate and was spherical. The Hubble photo reveals that the initial
ejections occurred episodically to produce the concentric shells.
This culminated in a vigorous ejection of all of the remaining outer
layers, which produced the bright inner regions. At this later stage
the ejection was non-spherical, and dense clouds of dust condensed
from the ejected material."-- Today@NASA

Objection, in utero

Members of the Supreme Court had thought they had heard it all before. A genetic research group's lawsuit came all the way up to the highest court of the land with the argument that anybody can sue--including a frozen human embryo. Talk about starting 'em young. The justices wouldn't hear any of it and tossed the case out. We can only guess that the legal fees in this one were not microscopic.

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