Daily Digest: Stars, more stars, Mars, and cars

Mike Mullen

Whoa! A new study in the journal Nature, published by researchers from Harvard and Yale (my safety schools) suggests that there could be three times as many stars in the universe as previously thought. Writes the New York Times, “undercounting, of cool, dim dwarf stars in certain galaxies, could throw a monkey wrench into astronomers’ understanding of how galaxies formed.” (Why does that sentence remind me of The Wizard of Oz?) What you’ll notice in the Times’, and other news stories about this, is that it’s missing, you know, like, a number. So, in other words, something for which we’re not given a number value has tripled. I don’t have the first idea of how many stars there were, and now I have to triple that. Please, someone, go outside tonight and count the stars. You’ll have to finish by morning, and don’t get the same one twice. Then take that number and triple it… carry the seven, and — you’ve got it!


— The Grammy nominations are out! Katy Perry! Justin Bieber! Lady Gaga! Et cetera! Among other automatic highlights to look for: Cee-Lo Green is nominated — and may actually win — for a song that literally cannot be said, “[Expletive] You.” I think this is great. Make these award stiffs squirm a bit. Reminds me of the good old days, when Tony Bennett was nominated for “I Left My Mother[expletive] Heart in San Francisco,” and Frank Sinatra for “[Expletive] Summer Wind.” To be serious, there were a handful of good albums this year, and someone at the Grammys has accidentally included one of them on a list: “The Suburbs,” by Arcade Fire, is music for adults who are trying to live with the stock market, technology, and the gaps in their synapses.  Go get it.


— The 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be hosted in Russia and Qatar, respectively. Those two countries, both of them first time hosts, beat out England, among others, for 2018, and the U.S., among others, for 2022 hosting duties. England hosted — and won — the tourney in ’66, and thought its turn had come back around. We, of course, hosted in ’94, and apparently thought it was about damn time we get it back. I must say, the Russia pick I understand: it’s big, produces a few great players (Arshavin!) and, like the US, is probably not fully-tapped as a market. (Many potential Russian fans are distracted by ice hockey and Irina Shayk.) But Qatar? Let’s understand something. We might as well hold the World Cup on Mars. It’s 110 degrees and humid on an average day in Qatar. I’m not even sure if they have water or oxygen. If Zinedine Zidane had headbutted Marco Materazzi in that weather, both of them would have burst into flames. They’ve got some interesting solutions to the weather in Qatar, and I root for them. But, as someone who plans to attend the 2022 World Cup, could I just request that someone put a bottle of gin on ice now, so that it’s cold by the time I get there?


— Finally, in Seattle, the cops are going to start tweeting about stolen cars. According to the Seattle Times, 3,000 cars are stolen in Seattle every year, but 80 percent of them are recovered. (And 100 percent are Subarus or Volkswagens.) Writes the Times, “Criminals are already using social networking, even posting updates on Twitter and Facebook about the houses they’ve broken into or the items they’ve stolen.” They are? I know there are all kinds of complicated cons, and elaborate murder mysteries, but… can’t we at least catch the ones who are tweeting? Besides, isn’t the real crime here Twitter itself? Personally, I’d rather flip the script, and see a team of criminals who drive around in stolen cars, announcing the names of people who use Twitter.