Anadrol-50, stanozolol, dianabol, oh my!
No, that's not a list of Pfizer's soon-to-be blockbuster drugs. Those are among the substances that have been flooding the bloodstreams of some of America's most beloved ballplayers, according to the Mitchell Report, an investigation into the past 20 years of performance-enhanced baseball, referred to as "the steroid era." All told, 87 players (34 who played last season) were called out in the 409-page tome for their links to the procurement of illicit substances--including sure-thing Hall-of-Famer Roger Clemens, most recently of the New York Yankees. The investigation, helmed by former Sen. George Mitchell (D-Me.) and undertaken with the permission of baseball commissioner Bud Selig, found that every team in Major League Baseball had a connection to one of the players accused of using steroids. As Mitchell told reporters in a press conference announcing the findings: "There was a collective failure to recognize the problem as it emerged and to deal with it early on." (ESPN)
NASA helps Martian rovers locate hot winter hibernation spots
NASA's intrepid Martian rovers—Spirit and Opportunity—are getting some earthly assistance in their quest to find a safe place to ride out the harsh Martian winter. Researchers at The Ohio State University have developed new software that compares images from the high-resolution imaging science experiment (HiRISE) camera on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter with ground panoramas taken by the rovers to map features on the Martian surface. "HiRISE gives us 0.3-meter [one-foot] resolution on the ground, so we can combine those orbital images with ground images to identify rocks from the orbiter and the ground," Ron Li, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and geodetic science, explained at a recent American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. The technology helped NASA identify a steep Martian mesa known as "Von Braun" as a promising site for Spirit to explore, but also indicated that the upward journey would prevent the rover's solar panels from accessing Mars's weak winter sun to charge its batteries and keep its essential circuitry heaters going. Instead, Spirit is expected to winter on the northern rim of a depression called "Home Plate" and travel to Von Braun next year. The Red Planet's atmosphere is thinner during its winter, which lasts roughly 23 percent of the planet's 687-Earth-day year, or about 154 sols. (A sol is a Martian day, equal to about 24.6 Earth hours.) (press release)
Video game plays on presidential politics
The road to the White House is a tough one that often turns presidential candidates into larger-than-life caricatures whose features and flaws are exaggerated and mocked. A new video game capitalizes on this practice by pitting political candidates, pundits, media figures and celebrities against one another in a digital melee called DC Smackdown. After downloading the game for $4.99, players choose one of 17 different crudely drawn characters—including presidential wannabes Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, both Dem, and GOPers Rudolph Giuliani and John McCain as well as Mr. Climate Change himself, Al Gore, and "no spin" TV mouthpiece Bill O'Reilly—to duke it out with his or her adversaries. Each character is armed with a special weapon: Clinton, for example, can hurl a bottle of prescription pills at her enemies, while faux news show host Jon Stewart can toss fellow fake newsman Stephen Colbert at opponents. And the prize? The White House, of course. If only it were that simple—and fun. Sorry Mac users, although this game is not politically correct, it is just for PCs. (Associated Press)