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FRUITY QUINOA STUFFED PEPPERS: A flavorful, colorful and edible vessel of delicately fluffy, mildly nutty filling combined with chewy apricots, tangy cherries, and crunchy pistachios
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Jonathan Tobin: What Part of No Preconditions Do American Jews Not Get?
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Jewish World Review
June 7, 2012/ 17 Sivan, 5772
Planet Mars slated to become reality show
A Dutch company has been formed to place the first human colony on Mars by 2023. And it will be funded by one of the few products the Chinese can't do better or cheaper -- reality TV.
Go ahead and laugh. We all did when the shows first began appearing 20 years or so ago and now we can't escape them.
The company is the brainchild of scientist Bas Lansdorp, has the backing of respected Nobel Prize-winning physician Gerard 't Hooft and Paul Romer, co-creator of the long-running CBS reality show "Big Brother."
The scheme was given a tremendous boost by the privately launched SpaceX's successful link-up with the International Space Station and its safe return. The company says the Martian voyage will take seven months, and it will place four colonists on the red planet every two years beginning in April 2023, meaning in 10 years Mars will have a population of 20, and maybe even more if the colonists are as randy as the contestants on "Big Brother."
(In a comment thread following the announcement, "Jonathan in San Jose" said the contestants will be too late: "U.S. government already has bases on Mars. It is inhabited by us since 1982." If true, this could morph into another kind of reality show, more like "Lost.")
The colonists -- contestants? -- would live in small metal huts looking something like upside-down baking pans. In the Earth-bound "Big Brother," the 18 or so participants are sealed in a large house without much in the way of distraction, all orchestrated by an unseen Big Brother, who assigns random tasks and spreads ill will for the audience's merriment.
This would sound crazy, and, in fact, does, except that the "Big Brother" franchise has been running in dozens of countries for at least 14 seasons. One would have to take exception to the show's custom of voting contestants out of the house, or hut, in this case.
The Martian atmosphere is thin and what little there is of it is 95 percent carbon dioxide. Without an atmosphere and elaborate protection, the radiation would soon microwave the exiled contestants, not likely to make for attractive television. And, of course, the temperature averages 50 F below.
Finally, there's not much to do on Mars except conduct scientific experiments and how exciting is that going to be for viewers back home?
However, the Dutch should not be underestimated in these matters.
In 1624 the Dutch set off on another quixotic voyage and ended up founding Manhattan, and we all know how that turned out. Mars may not be so far-fetched after all.
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