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Olympus Mons is the largest volcano on Mars (though no longer active), and is also the largest volcanic feature we’ve ever discovered in our entire solar system. It’s so big that you wouldn’t even know you were on a mountain if you were standing on it- it would just look like a vast gently sloping plain, as far as your eye could see. Well, not only is it the most badass volcano ever… it’s also the latest location to exhibit the possibility for life on Mars. According to this Universe Today article, a couple of scientists from Rice University have found evidence that liquid water may be trapped in clay deep underneath the giant moutain, and is the only explanation for its assymetry. The only life that could survive there would be heat-loving microbes called thermophiles, much like the algae that lives in the thermal pools at Yellowstone.

NASA is seriously considering sending a fleet of robots to the moon to do some preparatory construction on what will eventually be a manned moon base. There are some who think going back to the moon is pointless, and that we should just shoot straight for Mars, but I tend to agree with the government that we should take our expansion into the solar system one step at a time. Yes we’ve been to the moon, but we haven’t built a base there, and I think we need to build a base somewhere close before we try to build a base on Mars.

Speaking of robots, The Boston Globe’s “Big Picture” has a series of awesome robot photographs. My favorite is the very last one, which shows NASA’s next Mars mission, the Mars Science Laboratory. The cool thing about it is that there’s a woman in the photo, giving you perspective on the actual size of the thing, which is much bigger than anything we’ve sent to Mars before.

Now for some music-related news…

Wired.com reports that Ticketmaster and Live Nation are running into some problems with their proposed merger (thank god). In a recent hearing they were unsuccessful in convincing Sen. Herb Khol (D-Wisconsin) of the legality of the merger. One of their biggest arguments for the merger is that it will result in lower ticket prices. I’m no economic expert by any means, but even I know that the only thing that really keeps prices low is competition.

Check out this Rolling Stone blog post with a clip from Michael Jackson’s “comeback announcement” yesterday. I wonder just how many shows he can make it through… I’m betting not as many as he promised.

Lastly, if you’re in Murfreesboro this weekend, be sure to check out the YEAH benefit show at the Vine, featuring JEFF the Brotherhood and And The Relatives, and then head over to the Grind for a FREE show featuring the Tits, my band Tigers Con Queso, and Mean Tambourines. Have a great weekend!

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This image links to a great flickr set of vintage ads. Just take a minute to peruse through a few. You will enjoy it. Among my faves “Betty’s Gay with Midol“… “I cure women“… “The Miracle of Marlboro.”

Possibly one of the snarkiest local bloggers/writers/music critics is Andrew J. Smithson. He used to write for the Scene, but apparently didn’t like it very much and focused on his own blog. That original blog died, but now he has a new with an incredibly catchy and indicative name- indieocraty. I highly recommend checking it out.

You Ain’t No Picasso posted this new Microsoft ad about their new software Songsmith. Oh. My. God. According to YANP, this is, in fact, the real ad. Maybe Microsoft is trying to make fun of itself? No matter the intent… I too view this as a sign of the apocalypse.

Improv Everywhere is awesome. Check that link for coverage of their latest shenanigan- no pants day. Imagine being in NYC and seeing a bunch of people on the subway and on the streets just walking around with everything but pants on. I love the “freeze” events that they do as well. Nashville has a small group called the Dive-In Theater that does similar stuff. Megan and I participated in the “June Freeze” event in Hillsboro this past June. We met at the dragon park and walked over to Hillsboro Village, and with our phone alarms synced, we all froze up at the same moment, doing random things. It was hard to keep a striaght face while people looked at us curiously, wondering what the hell was going on. I highly suggest checking them out and participating in one of their events. It’s lots of fun.

Anyone who knows me probably knows that I like to do crazy shit like chase tornadoes, go hang-gliding, bungee-jumping (still on my to-do list), etc…. Well, I may have finally found something I wouldn’t do. I wouldn’t call myself an adrenaline junkie by any means… I don’t have the need to get out and do this kind of shit everyday… but I do love it. In my eyes these dudes are totally badass. I’ve actually seen this video once before… about a year ago. But my dad sent it to me today and I thought it would be worth posting. So what do you think? Are these guys totally badass or totally insane?

And finally, I must leave you with the metal band name flow chart: (click image to enlarge, then prepare to laugh histerically)

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