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The End of an Era

The space shuttle Discovery launches.

By Chris Rovzar

NASA Loves Whedon

What astronaut wouldn't be thrilled to work 500 miles above the Earth in a vessel named for a show that got canceled after just eleven episodes?

By Matthew Perpetua

Questionable Links

• The city's comptroller has red-flagged a $10 million contract between the Parks Department and Dominick Logozzo, a Brooklynite with serious mob ties; the deal entrusts Logozzo with the management of a city-owned golf course. Best part: Logozzo is also an investor in the Zone Diet, which the Feds claim is a front to hide Mafia profits. [NYP] • Governor Spitzer unveiled his initiatives for New York in his first State of the State speech yesterday, and it left half of Albany slack-jawed. Among other things, the Spitz wants to guarantee health insurance for all children, reduce the cost of worker's comp to boost business, and spend billions on school aid — all that while cutting taxes. Sounds, uh, good. [NYT] • According to a suit filed by "several disgusted janitors," there is hanky-panky afoot in New York's Equinox fitness clubs — as the Daily News puts it, "sleazy gay sex." Gay sex in gyms?! Say it ain't so. [NYDN] • Busta Rhymes turned himself in to the cops on a misdemeanor assault charge, having allegedly roughed up an associate in a money dispute. Not too exciting, but an upgrade over Rhymes's previous brush with the law: a ticket for talking on a cell while driving. [amNY] • And a metallic, gold-colored lump of rock, most likely a meteorite, crashed through the roof of a New Jersey home and embedded itself in the floor, delighting scientists. Okay, progressive politics or not, Jersey is still freaking weird. [NYDN]

To Boldly Go Where No Toque Has Gone Before

You thought NASA wanted to establish a base on the moon just to further the causes of science and exploration? Hardly. The space race is back, baby, and this time the enemies challenging America's rightful dominance are — zut alors! the French. Pardon? That's right. Apparently bored of Tang and freeze-dried ice cream, NASA will soon be sending astronauts to space with meals crafted by Rachael Ray. The cheese-eating surrender monkeys, however, have contributed menus to the International Space Station, via the European Space Agency, by none other than multi-Michelin'd Alain Ducasse. Grub Street has the details — and, now that the battle is joined, will no doubt imminently have news of France's surrender. Ducasse, Ray Feeding Astronauts [Grub Street]

The Man in the Moon Is Feeling Gassy

Do you "outgas" sometimes at inopportune moments? Have you been known to emit a "sigh" after a bean-filled meal? According to an odd blurb in today's "Science Times," the moon does both. That ball of cheese in the sky releases gas from time to time, says the paper of record, which tries to apply poetic whimsy to its report on a recent study published in Nature. The lunar body "shows signs of a relatively recent release of gas from deep beneath the surface," says the article, headlined "The Moon Sighs." (Why not "The Moon Breaks Wind"?) While flatulence is perhaps better attributed to outpourings from Titan (a moon of Saturn wrapped mostly in methane), the real reason, we suppose, to avoid the more direct language is that no gas leak in cold space, whether said to imitate the mouth or the anus, has any odor or sound. So even if the Gray Lady's anthropomorphism of the moon could be excused, one truth remains. In space, no one can hear you fart. — Carl Rosen Spiders, Peppers, and a Pathway to Pain [NYT]