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Saturday Links: Life on Mars Edition

Humans are packing their bags for the Red Planet, and other mind-blowers.


This week I read about an independently funded project that will supposedly send four people on a one-way trip to Mars in September 2022. The organizers, who are Dutch, got more than 200,000 applications from all over the world. Even though there is no way I would ever be part of this expedition—not that I even meet the age requirement—I feel like I’ve been waiting for an astronomical advance this big for my entire life. Mars isn’t run by any government, at least not an earthly one, and laws about owning property there are still being defined. Right now, Mars is basically open to anyone who goes there and sets up camp. Organizers say that after the first colonizers have settled in, four new people will be sent to join them every two years. Eventually whole generations of people will be living on Mars, if everything goes according to plan. I never thought something like this would EVER happen, and especially not during my lifetime. Humans will live somewhere other than Earth. They won’t come back! It’s so amazing, and so hard to get my mind around.



Harry Potter was a HUGE part of my childhood, so the announcement that a Potter-related spinoff movie written by J.K. Rowling is in the works made my heart get all fluttery. There isn’t a release date yet, but other details are out there—including the title, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which Potter fans may recognize as the title of a textbook at Hogwarts. Rowling says the story will follow Newt Scamander, Fantastic Beasts’ fictional author, and will start before Harry’s time, in early-1900s New York.


I was kind of sad when the Australian comedian Chris Lilley didn’t reprise his Summer Heights High role as teen girl Ja’mie (pronounced “Jah-MAY”) in his later series Angry Boys. But NOW my dreams are literally coming true, because Lilley is debuting a whole show devoted to just Ja’mie! The series, Ja’mie: Private School Girl, will follow her through her last year of high school. I cannot wait because I could watch her FOREVER.

On Monday, Arcade Fire released this video for the song “Reflektor,” from their new album of the same name. The song made my whole week (and the record will probably make my year). I didn’t even realize how much I missed Arcade Fire until I caught myself listening to “Reflektor” for the third straight day. It has the same kind of end-of-the-world vibes that the band has always been so good at, but I am especially excited about its disco feel—and the fact that DAVID BOWIE MAKES A VOCAL CAMEO. It couldn’t be more perfect.

And some recent news from England: A group of ordinary lads voluntarily fixed a broken bike rack they happened to see during a night out, and it’s kind of wonderful.


Is there anything cuter than this live-action Friend Crush, courtesy of Teen Vogue, starring Kiernan Shipka and her best friend, Tula Goodman? Don’t answer till you’ve also watched this video of the first baby panda born in Taiwan:


This video, which made the rounds on the internet this week, explains the idea behind Phonebloks, a design for a smartphone that would be made of detachable, Lego-like parts. Nowadays, getting a new feature on a phone usually means buying a whole new one, but with a Phonebloks phone you’d just replace or rearrange the pieces. Phonebloks is still in the design and development stages, but I love the discussion it has already opened up about sustainability’s place in technology. If it’s made—and actually works—it could really change the game.


From left: Jay Leno, Cameron Esposito, and Craig Ferguson.

From left: Jay Leno, Cameron Esposito, and Craig Ferguson.

When I saw the headline of Cameron Esposito’s recent story on VICE, The Kindest Thing Jay Leno Ever Did for Me,” I did not expect that the answer would make me smile as hard as it did NOR that it would involve Leno earnestly yelling, “Lesbians rule!” on national television. ♦


  • Princess Mononoke September 14th, 2013 12:16 PM

    Omg you guyz, I want that phone sooo bad, that’s such a great idea!

  • Sophie ❤ September 14th, 2013 1:00 PM

    Anaheed- I wish I had a friend like Kiernan and Tula! It would be so amazing!


  • alienbabe September 14th, 2013 1:45 PM

    speaking of space, you guys should all vote for Rose in the Axe Malaysia space contest. She’s the only female running and has gotten a lot of sexist comments about why she shouldn’t be going. (:


  • Erin. September 14th, 2013 2:39 PM

    I’ve got mixed feelings about all this living on Mars business. On one hand, yeah, it’s a big step for humankind, and who knows what it could lead to? Potential contact with aliens? New discoveries of ancient civilizations on Mars? There’s a whole lot about the universe that we don’t know, and colonizing Mars could reveal plenty of new things.

    The problem is: colonization. Do we have the right to turn another planet into a mini-Earth, fraught with similar problems? What government would be set up? Should things work the same as here, even though so much of what goes on here is horrible? I wish they would make some kind of plan to use only the best things that Earth/humans have to offer. The best things from all cultures and countries, throughout time. It’s my fear that Mars would somehow become just another piece of white-people territory.

    • lilagrace September 15th, 2013 9:02 AM

      Very true! Unfortunately, different people have different opinions of what “the best things that Earth/humans have to offer” are. … so who would decide …? I’m totally with you on that…I’m just saying that – sadly – that would be hard to determine.
      Life on Mars is an amazing (and kind of surreal) thought, though.

  • spudzine September 14th, 2013 4:02 PM

    Now that I know that my grand kids will probably live on Mars, I feel relieved that they’ll get the future they deserve.


  • -anna- September 14th, 2013 4:42 PM

    I can’t wait at all until the harry potter spin-off movie comes out – it sound so amazing ahhh.


  • lilagrace September 14th, 2013 5:16 PM

    So glad you are mentioning Arcade Fire!
    The video release and everything that was going on on Monday made me so giddy and happy and excited!
    How do you like the video, Naomi? I was already super excited last week when I heard that Anton Corbijn had directed the video – always a dream-collaboration for me!
    Ever since it premiered I have spent hours watching the video. It’s playing right now as I’m writing this.
    Apart from the video: I LOVE the song … had it in my head all the time this week (even when I haven’t actually been listening to it) – it’s been literally lightening up weeks of dark feelings…
    I’m counting down the days until the album release! End of October seems an endless wait!
    (And the thing about David Bowie:… makes me smile even wider every time his backing vocals come on!)

    • FlorenceEyre September 15th, 2013 12:09 PM

      Oh God! I haven´t listened to Arcade Fire for half a year, but this song is really, really jaw-dropping.

      I almost forgot how awesome they are, thanks Rookie for bringing them back to me!

  • Ariella95 September 14th, 2013 7:29 PM

    In other Harry Potter related news, check this out! http://www.sparknotes.com/mindhut/2013/09/09/accio-fashion-new-harry-potter-clothing-line-debuts
    Also, the title on the link to the Mars thing says, would you sign up to die on Mars?…No thanks.
    And the panda video is the cutest thing ever!

  • theeyuh September 14th, 2013 7:31 PM

    I think that if the Phonebloks thing works out it’ll be my first-ever (and maybe last!) smartphone.

  • Chloe22 September 14th, 2013 8:38 PM

    Since i was little I’ve always been jealous of people who were alive to see men on the moon. If this works out, I can’t wait to watch it on TV!

  • ivoire September 14th, 2013 9:36 PM

    Does anyone else not realize that Chris Lilley’s Summer Heights High is as problematic as fuck? He poses as an Pacific-Islander boy, and uses real Pacific-Islander kids as an accessory to “make [him] look like an Islander”.

  • wallflower152 September 15th, 2013 2:20 AM

    Two things: I love Summer Heights High! Soooo funny, I’ve never seen them all though I would just catch random episodes. I need to watch them all.

    And hahahahaha they copied Friend Crush! Is Rookie mad about this or flattered?

  • Lilianc September 15th, 2013 3:28 AM

    wow the phone sounds so interesting. I’d love a phone like that!


  • JadeTayla September 15th, 2013 4:56 AM

    I am BEYOND excited for the new Arcade Fire album! They’ve been my favourite band for 5 years and waiting for information about their new album has been AGONY!! Both the song AND the film clip for Reflektor are absolutely perfect, and I’m so excited to hear what the rest of the album sounds like. I ALSO CAN’T WAIT TO SEE THEM LIVE FOR THE FIRST TIME AT THE BIG DAY OUT!!!!!!! WOOOOWOOOOOO!!!!

    PLUS the Harry Potter prequel/sequel/whatever you call it sounds incredible! I NEVER thought that it would be a possibility AND NOW IT’S HAPPENING! IT’S ACTUALLY HAPPENING PEOPLE!


  • ArmyOfRabbits September 15th, 2013 5:02 AM

    I like the idea of Phoneblok a lot! I feel pretty guilty whenever I replace a new cellphones with my older ones (even for e-cycling).

  • Bene September 15th, 2013 6:56 AM

    Ja’mie!! I was feeling homesick for Australia but 30 seconds of Ja’mie’s back and I am all better.

  • Tara A. September 15th, 2013 7:19 AM

    I screamed and ran around the house for around half an hour when I heard about the new Harry Potter (well, technically it’s a Wizarding World) movie. I AM SO EXCITED! I think what makes it extra amazing is the fact that J.K. Rowling is writing the script. If it had been anyone else, I wouldn’t have been as enthusiastic.


  • whatever September 15th, 2013 8:07 AM


    ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡

  • LeavesThatAreGreen September 15th, 2013 10:42 AM

    The Mars thing, Fantastic Beasts and Phonebloks are JUST SO COOL and I finally feel some hope for the future. Wow, future, wow.

  • bookworm123 September 15th, 2013 11:38 AM


  • evaeva September 15th, 2013 11:46 AM

    Super nice article! I always like reading rookie mag!
    x http://evabajema.com/

  • AlisonR September 16th, 2013 12:26 AM

    Phonebloks sounds awesome – I absolutely love the idea of reducing our electronic waste. BUT did anyone else notice that in the video when they talked about getting “the right companies and the right people involved,” all of the figures looked like males? ugh. annoying.

  • monalisa September 16th, 2013 7:37 AM

    phoneblocks and the mars expedition especially excites me oh my oh me!!!!


  • HolographicNights September 16th, 2013 8:27 PM

    Mars??? I’d stay on earth if I were to be the last one. Actually, maybe not… but still!!!! WOW