A Year on Mars

Europe has some elections. Clothing may be more easily recycled because science. Some folks just stepped out of Mars. An old man refuses to step out from behind the wheel.

A Year on Mars

Watch today's episode on YouTube

Listen to today's episode on the Stuff Keeps Happening podcast

Weird: Two Elections Follow People's Preferences

The UK just had an election and it had some outcomes. Specifically, those outcomes were a historic blowout against the Tories (conservatives) and a massive shift to the Labour party (centrist mostly, but the US would call them "left").

The results were such a landslide that the Tories are now in-fighting about the future of their party. Some of them are wondering if they should solve the problem by going further to the right, while others within their ranks are like "are you fucking stupid? Why would we go further right?"

Tories have been in control of the country for the past 14 years, during which time we've seen smash hits like Brexit, a prime minister whose position was outlived by a head of lettuce, and the entirety of Boris Johnson's tenure. The UK's economy is in rough shape and a lot of their nationalized services such as healthcare and railways have been decimated and threatened to go away entirely. Strangely, this 14 year decline resulted in the people in power being pushed out. This is a foreign concept to me, an American.


France's snap election went pretty wild. It was looking like Marine Le Pen's far-right party was set to win big in the recent election, but a coordinated effort from the left and centrist parties snubbed the far-right efforts, landing Le Pen's party in a distant 3rd place behind the left and center parties.

Notably, no party won a majority of seats, leaving the formation of a government up in the air still. Macron has asked for the current Prime Minister to keep the position for the time being.

The Shirt Off Your Back

The fashion industry creates—to put it lightly—a fucking shitload of textile waste. Literal thousands of tons of discarded garments just end up in landfills, incinerators, or more likely, in a giant pile somewhere in a country with less white people.

Recycling clothing is a difficult process, as the materials used in them generally don't like to be broken down. Doing so takes quite a lot of time right now, which makes it gasp not profitable.

But now, scientists have discovered a method of chemically breaking down garments back into their raw materials in as little as 15 minutes. Using "microwave-assisted glycosis" (which sounds like something out of the Metal Gear franchise), researchers were able to break up polyester blends and cotton compounds back down into raw material such as BHET, which is then able to be turned back into polyester.

They estimate that 88% of clothing worldwide could be recycled using this method, as opposed to the 1% of clothing that is recycled today. There's still some research to be done on dialing in the process, but it appears to be an appealing option given the dramatic reduction in time it takes to process materials.

We like science. Good job science.

Disciples of Damon

Think of everything you've done in the past year. Every struggle you've had. Every moment you've shared with a loved one or a dear friend. Every dog you've pet. Every meal you've shared.

During that time, four people have been locked away in a fake Mars environment, doing their best Matt Damon impersonation.

For realsies, just this past weekend, four volunteer science folk stepped out of a fabricated Mars-like environment here in the US, where they've spent the past year (since June 25 2023!) living, working, and experimenting in an isolated environment.

The habitat was built to simulate living on Mars, including the scarcity of food, the isolation from the rest of humanity, and even a simulated communications delay with "Earth." During their time in the habitat, the space folk grew crops, performed experiments, did practice "Mars walks," and probably did a lot of dissociating.

But now, they've stepped back onto the more earthen soil we're used to, leaving me wondering one big question: Why are we so fixated on terraforming Mars, when we could instead just build a Mars here and terraform that? Seems much easier to me.

Literally Just Go Sit on a Park Bench and Eat Ice Cream Cones and Feed Birds, My Dude

Things have been rough for Biden after his disastrous debate performance, followed by a not-very-confidence-instilling interview on ABC.

I wanna clarify something up front: a lot of people seem to be asking why the media is being so hard on Biden compared to Trump, especially from the debate. While I suspect the large corporate media angle is more to do with ratings, I believe the reason for most independent folks is much more to do with the fact that it seems at all possible for Biden to actually be pushed out, while not at all possible for Trump.

With that said, even sitting Democrats—some of whom are in elevated positions—are calling for Biden to step down from the ticket. Meanwhile, Biden is like "nah, I'm staying, and I'm gonna give it my best, and if that's not good enough, then so be it," which is definitely the kind of statement that reassures people that he has our best interests at heart.

It's not even just media and elected officials asking for Biden to step aside. Major donors are also withholding donations, demanding him to step aside. On the one hand, I'm here for the additional pressure. On the other, why are rich people and corporations able to influence elections more than anyone else? (Rhetorical.)

At time of writing, Biden's official stance is that he's staying in the race. Notably, Republicans are already shifting their strategy to focus more on Kamala Harris, who is seen as the likely candidate should Biden step aside.

Here's the Weather

Source: VentuSky

More Stuff

Subscribe to Stuff Keeps Happening

Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.
Jamie Larson