Tag Archives: #space

Mean Maureen’s Weekly Internet Round Up!


I begin this week’s internet round up with a question – how many tabs is too many tabs to be open on your computer at one time?  I have 16 right now.  Between 7-15 is relatively standard for me.  Is that too many?  Is it… CRAZILY too many?  Am I some sort of tab hoarder who can’t accept the fact that I’m never going to read that article about the guy who survived 8 Nazi death camps?  OR, should I actually read that article right now? And maybe you should too???  It is the weekend, after all, and what better time to get in our long read articles we haven’t found time for throughout the week.

So here, I have a few:

First, since I already mentioned it, the BBC article about a man who survived 8 separate Nazi concentration camps.

Also, from BBC, the story of the world’s youngest cryogenically frozen child.

I actually did get around to reading this one, about why white people won’t choose predominantly black schools, but I would like to read it again and share it with everyone I know because it is really, really good and important to think about.

And in my absolute favorite headline of the week, “Have we discovered megastructures built by aliens around a distant star?”  I don’t know, but that sounds freaking amazing!

But perhaps you’re looking for something a little lighter and more adorable than stories about the Holocaust and aliens who almost certainly could destroy us?  What about some photos of dogs flying through the air and looking hilarious then?

And with that, IT’S THE FREAKIN, WEEKEND, MAN.  (I don’t feel like I entirely pulled off the use of that phrase, but it’s Friday and I no longer care.)  Have a great one!  See you Monday!

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Mean Maureen’s Internet Round Up!

Hi all!  IT’S FRIIIIIIIIDDDDAAYYYYY!!!  (In case you were unaware.)  I’m getting to a super fun point in pregnancy where I’m exhausted constantly and have lower back pain anytime I sit for long stretches of time, so work has been a delight this week, as you can imagine.  I’m looking forward to relaxing this weekend.  No, that doesn’t quite cover it – I am looking forward to curling up into a fat little ball and trying to stay asleep for the next 48 hours.  But perhaps you plan to be awake this weekend and want some cool stuff to look at!

Well, then, here:


First and foremost, we are closer to getting a human on Mars than we have ever been!  Yes, technically, the NASA plan is still about 20 years away, but 20 years ain’t bad!

In ever so slightly less important news, in one of my few waking hours this weekend, I plan to forget that it’s going to be 100 degrees tomorrow and bake this delicious looking fall cake.

And then, when I return to my fat little ball of sleepiness, I will probably strongly resemble the pikas featured here.

If that pika series only whet your appetite for cute, please feast your eyes on the cutest dog wearing a cone photo I’ve seen.  (SPOILER ALERT – He’s not alone in that cone!)

Finally, because I’m a cruel monster, read about the stuff of nightmares and then try, in vain, to forget.


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Mean Maureen’s Online Book Club – the Martian

Hi, all, happy Sunday!  Sorry I’m posting this so late, but my husband and I spent the entire day at Ikea, then desperately trying to leave Ikea, then cursing loudly while putting together furniture from Ikea!  (SIDE NOTE – HOW ARE WE NOT DONE MOVING YET???  It’s been approximately 27 years, I think, that this process has been going on.)  But anyway, the end is finally in sight (I PRAY) and my husband and I spent a whole day in the bowels of Ikea and are not yet divorced, so I’m going to call it a good day.

Enough preamble though – speaking of someone who did NOT have a good day, and in fact, probably the worst day of his entire life, meet Mark Watney:


Mark is the protagonist of the Martian, a guy with a lot of intelligence, wit, and maybe the worst luck in the known universe.  In this excellent novel by Andy Weir, Mark is an astronaut on the third manned mission to Mars (Ares 3), and as he and the rest of his team are evacuating to abort the mission due to an extremely powerful dust storm, he gets speared with an antenna, blown out of sight and left for dead, despite his team’s best efforts to save him.  The only thing is, he ISN’T dead (otherwise this would be a very short novel) but he doesn’t regain consciousness until after his team has left the planet, and the communications system is broken, so he can’t exactly have them turn around and get him.

So, Mark finds himself utterly alone on Mars, with about a year’s worth of rations, about FOUR years from when the next team is planning to come back to the planet.  The rest of the book has to do with him fighting to survive in one of the most hostile environments imaginable, against incredible odds.

I’m going to stop right here, now that the basic set up is out of the way, and strongly recommend that if you haven’t read this book and are planning to see the movie,  you stop reading right now.  This is a very entertaining book, and unless they screw it up royally, it’s going to be a wonderful movie.  I mean, it’s just dying to be a movie.  All of the stakes and various points of extreme jeopardy that Mark runs into are great and they’ll be even better on the big screen as surprises.  So seriously, heed my warning, you’ll have an awesome time in the theater!

But for those of us who have already read the book, let’s plow ahead.  Okay, I obviously enjoyed this book.  As someone with an interest in science, but no formal background in it, it was super fun to watch a protagonist repeatedly save his own life thanks to nothing but science and math.  (Okay, and a helluva lot more optimism than I would have been capable of mustering up in such a dire situation.)

In fact, I’d say this book (and movie) should be the ad campaign for science and math in general.  (Do they have ad campaigns for school subjects?  Seems like they probably do these days.)  Anyway, I’m going to give this book to all of my future children, with the grim warning – hey Junior, if you don’t know your math and your science YOU WILL TOTALLY DIE ON MARS, OKAY???  (Something I won’t tell future children – I would have died at literally every perilous juncture in this story.)

Anyway, enough about my poor chances of survival on Mars – onto other stuff I liked about the book!   It was super interesting to read a behind the scenes NASA type story that seemed very convincing as a layperson.  (I’d have to verify with someone who actually has an aeronautics background, but it seemed legit to me!)  Though it did spark me to research some of NASA’s real fatal disasters and man do I not recommend that!  (Especially Apollo 1, which Mark’s character references in the book.  So, so horrible.)  But honestly – it was just great fun to read a gripping, well paced story populated by so many incredibly smart people in an interesting universe.  I mean, that ticks a lot of What Do You Want in a Book? boxes, for me.

Stylistically, I also enjoyed the diary format for Mark’s part of the story.  Diaries in books can be gimmicky, but I thought it really worked with the plot and also made all the science and math much more easily digested than if it had been written differently.  Toward the end, every time it left Matt’s diary and went into the omniscient narrator explaining what was happening to him, I was afraid he was going to die.

Side note – I would have been so pissed if he died.  I mean, even if that was probably the most statistically likely outcome at, well, every point in the story, if he had just, like, driven into the dust storm and slowly starved to death as his potatoes and solar cells dwindled, I would have showed up at Andy Weir’s house with protest signs.  I mean AFTER EVERYTHING WE’VE BEEN THROUGH???  But luckily, that didn’t happen.  However unlikely, Mark survived in an explosive (literally) and triumphant ending that was tension filled with right until the very end, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

The only criticism I have of the book is that I feel like, for a story set with one guy alone for much of the book, we baaaaaarely scratch the surface of his thoughts, other than him working out his immediate survival.  And I mean, him working out his survival such a crazy situation is plenty entertaining, especially coupled with some of the smartest minds on Earth trying to bring him home at the same time.  But when I say we barely scratch the surface of his thoughts I mean that for a man, presumably in his 30’s at least, with some life experience behind him, he never turns his thoughts to former loves or close friends, outside of the flight crew he was with and some incredibly generic and very fleeting thoughts of his parents.  You would imagine a guy with literally nothing to do but think for well over a year, would have… well, a more developed inner universe, especially since this diary might well be the only thing of him that survives.

I feel like with a touch more inclusion of Mark’s thoughts this could have been elevated from Incredibly Entertaining Book to Incredible Piece of Literature.  Not to be all highfalutin, mentioning the difference between art and entertainment here, but I think if it came down to it, I would classify this as very high quality entertainment, but not quite literature.  I mean, I will definitely read whatever Andy Weir has coming out next, but I think he’s more of a spinner of yarns rather than a writer with big ideas and deep insight into the human condition.  Because if he’d had ’em, we probably would have heard at least some of them with a man stranded with only his thoughts for a year and a half on Mars, alone.

That said, a.) I could be wrong and am eager to read more of his work and b.) he tells a REALLY entertaining tale.  And again, the Martian was just made to be a movie.  A thrilling movie!  It’s one of the few books I’ve read where I thought wow, this could be a movie as is.  Don’t change anything, just have someone write it down in script format and there you go!  (Also, funnily enough, while reading, I found myself hearing Mark Watney’s diary in Matt Damon’s voice, and it really worked, so I think they did a great job with casting.)

Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, those of you who have read the Martian!  Did you love it as well?  Do you think the movie will be any good?  Are you excited to see it, even though you know everything that happens?  (I seriously think going into it without knowing anything would be so awesome and I’m kind of jealous of people in that situation.)  Do you think my thought on this book being really high quality entertainment instead of art holds water or am I the wrongest wrong that ever wronged?  Let me know!  And let me know if you have any suggestions for the next Mean Maureen’s Online Book Club, to be reviewed/discussed October 1st!

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Mean Maureen’s Internet Round Up!

Happy Friday, all!  Believe it or not, I am still in the throes of moving.  Well, “the throes” sounds a bit more dramatic and active.  To clarify – I am still in the part of moving where everything is technically IN the apartment, but almost all of it is still in boxes or strewn across various surfaces in disarray.  And we’ve basically been in that phase since last weekend ended, so I’m looking forward to having this weekend to finally, you know, live like a human being again.

So, since I’m in the nesting/moving frame of mind, I have some links along those lines to share!  (And also, at least one cute thing, because I’m tired today, and I receive 45-65% of my energy from cute.)  Oh!  And my FAVORITE artwork I’ve seen in a while!

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Anyway, here!  Look!

I love almost all of the adorable bathroom accessories in this round up, though no thanks to the whales and whale related stuff.  (PS – WHALES ARE TERRIFYING.  STOP TRYING TO MAKE THEM CUTE.)

Now that we’re in a bigger apartment, that means a lot more wall space.  I’m wanting to buy some affordable art to put on said wall space, and this Apartment Therapy roundup of reasonably priced art sources was helpful to start my hunt.

Also, Etsy is always a good source for cheapish, interesting things.  I really like this constellation print I found.

I’ve been super psyched about my new balcony space for gardening, but did you know there are certain plants you can straight up grow indoors?  Not sure if I’m ready to take that leap (my cats hate all plant life as if it were their sworn enemy) but I’m thinking about it.  Maybe on some high up spaces.

And, in non boring ol’ apartment stuff news, I am IN LOVE with this work from artist Jane Long.  She takes black and white WW1 era photos and manipulates them into vibrant, colorful, surreal works of art.  I mean, I really just can’t get over these.  I love them all.

Oh!  So, we’re having a horrible heat wave this weekend, so I was thinking maybe I should shift my (insane) plans away from making homemade vegetable soup on Sunday, to making ALL OF THESE DAMN POPSICLES.

And finally, your moment of cute.  It’s Friday, you’ve earned it.

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Mean Maureen’s Weekly Internet Round Up

How was your week, everyone?  Mine was busy and long, as per usual, but on the internet it was full of highs and lows.


One of the highs, of course, was the very significant and exciting discovery of the most Earth like planet ever discovered… Kepler 452-b.  (Okay guys, can we work on a more exciting name for it???)

And of course, this got me thinking about my favorite retirement plan, space colonization, and apparently NASA suddenly realized they could colonize the moon for 10 billion dollars instead of 100 billion!  LET’S GO.  We haven’t set foot on the moon since the Seventies.  It probably misses us!

Related to reasons to leave this planet – it was a rough week, news story wise, with the horrifying saga of Sandra Bland and then another movie theater shooting.  This had me revisiting some excellent essays and photo essays.  The first, The Condition of Black Life is One of Mourning, and the second, an incredibly haunting photo essay on the lingering impact of gun violence.

After all of that, what can we do to reform our justice system and end gun violence?  Well, we have a Presidential election coming up.  Connect via email or Facebook with your candidate of choice (no matter WHO it is) and demand change.  This is THE best time to have our voices heard, when every candidate is thirsty for votes!

And man, after all that serious reading and writing to your candidates, you deserve some treats:

Here is a baby mini Appaloosa.  What’s that you say?  JUST CLICK, YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.

Here are several things Donald Trump looks like.  (My fave is the ear of corn.  It. is. UNCANNY.)

Here is a delightful article on a new (old) food writer I hadn’t heard of before – M.F.K Fisher!  I am dying to devour (WITTY PLAY ON WORDS ALERT) everything she’s written, especially the amazingly titled How to Cook a Wolf.

And finally, here is some stunning Arabic calligraphy made of light!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

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Cute of the Week… PLUTO!

Guys, today we have an unusual Cute of the Week.  Generally I feature animals, but as a fan of space, science and new frontiers, I’m making an exception this week for the cutest lil’ dwarf planet in the solar system.  One that, you might say, wears its heart on its sleeve surface… PLUTO!



I mean look at how cute it is!  To be honest, I’ve always had a soft spot for Pluto, especially when it got knocked off the official planet list (which must have been SO embarrassing when all the planets chat with each other telepathically… which they do right???)  Anyway, but now it’s back, it’s high res photographed and it’s upstaging aaaaaaalll the non dwarf planets with its obvious adorability.

And the internet has made lil’ Pluto quite the big sensation!  Buzzfeed had a wonderful feature on the thrilled NASA workers watching as the first photos come in.  (This moment was nine years in the making so it was a pretty momentous occasion.)  And people were going meme crazy, making Pluto everything from the Death Star to uh, Pluto, to well, a gigantic list of things.  Basically, Pluto is whatever you want it to be, apparently!  But no matter what you see it as, I think it’s clear by our solar system’s family portrait it’s our cutest (dwarf) planet:

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Way to upstage everybody, Pluto!  Keep on keepin’ on!

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Mean Maureen’s Weekly Internet Round Up

Welcome to yet another brand new weekly feature!  Every Friday I’ll be posting links to the most fun, interesting or weird things I’ve found on the internet that week.  At some point in the future, I want to draw pay someone to draw a little Mean Maureen icon and a lasso or something for Mean Maureen’s Weekly Internet Round Up, but for now use your imagination!  Anyway, here are the things I’ve been reading, looking at, wanting to buy, or otherwise checking out on ye olde internet this week:


“Godzilla… happy?”

In the spirit of letting bygones by bygones, Japan has made Godzilla an official Japanese citizen.  (He celebrated by devouring the entirety of Tokyo.)

I, for real, want to throw a fancy dinner party and then, once the guests are seated, rush out of the kitchen, breathlessly, wearing this apron to announce dinner is served.

I found out about a bunny named Wally and my life has improved by no less than 50%.

This is the perfect glass to be holding when you ask your friends, “Guys, has my drinking gotten out of control?”

Also, I’ve been getting really into novelty coffee mugs lately (BECAUSE I’M VERY COOL, THAT’S WHY) and I think this mug might be a low key start to my collection.

And finally, I’ve been reading a lot about mining minerals on the moon.  It’s a fascinating idea and it makes me want to write a sci-fi movie about a lunar gold rush.  Though… it would be more of a helium-3 or hydrogen fuel cell rush, which is, admittedly, less catchy.  But still!

Anyway, have a fantastic weekend everyone!  (PS – I’ll be posting some long form ramblings Sunday morning, about crazy baby names, and Kanye, and future lil’ Mars colonists!)

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