Friday High Five: Colonising Mars, Awkwardness and Food Fashion

When we colonise Mars

Apparently, humans colonising Mars is now a plan, not a dream. NASA has announced that we’ll have an astronaut on Mars by 2035, with plans to establish a permanent presence. And MarsOne, a Dutch non-profit with plans to establish a human colony, is choosing astronauts from the 200,00 who’ve applied to live there; they’ll start even earlier, in 2024.

Elif Batuman on awkwardness

Elif Batuman looks at the importance of awkwardness in American culture, from Larry David and Curb Your Enthusiasm to Adam Gopnik’s reflections on sexual, intergenerational, and socioeconomic awkwardness, and a controversial new Taylor Swift video.

Custom-grown vegetables

What’s the next step in food fashion? The Atlantic predicts that organic-everything and molecular gastronomy will be followed up by a collaboration between growers and chefs, in which chefs can ask the plant breeders who provide farmers with seeds to engineer plants that meet their requirements.

Photo: Andy Roberts, Flickr.

An author interviews her editor, copyeditor, agent and publicists

Over at The Millions, author Edan Lepucki (whose book California made it big after Stephen Colbert declared it the book of the summer) has interviewed various people who were instrumental in making her book a success: her editor, copyeditor, agent and her two publicists. The result is a fascinating insight into the process of creating and promoting a book, and a welcome exercise in bringing the back-room operatives of publishing into the limelight.

LGBT teens made homeless by religious parents

Rolling Stone has gathered the stories of LGBT teens who’ve been rejected by their religious parents and made homeless, some of them struggling to keep up a facade for their classmates. It’s situations like this that mean LGBT people make up roughly five percent of the youth population overall, but an estimated 40 percent of the homeless-youth population.

‘There is a psychological reality that when you’re an oppressed group whose very existence is under attack, you need to create this narrative about how great it is to be what you are’ … from day one of the Stonewall Riots, homeless kids were not what people wanted to see. No one wanted to see young people coming out and being cast into destitution. It didn’t fit the narrative.