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Elon Musk jokes about his work and his quirks

Elon Musk made his mark tonight on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” — not only as the richest host in the late-night skit show’s 46-year run, but also as the first host to acknowledge on the program that he has Asperger Syndrome.

That’s not exactly a surprise: For years, folks have noticed that the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla has the laser focus and social awkwardness that’s associated with Asperger’s. But Musk fully embraced his Aspieness during tonight’s monologue.

“I’m actually making history tonight as the first person with Asperger’s to host ‘SNL,’ or at least the first to admit it,” he said. “So I won’t make a lot of eye contact with the cast tonight. But already I’m pretty good at running human in emulation mode.”

It’s true that Musk probably won’t make “SNL’s” greatest-hits clip show for the roles he played in the comedy skits — including an Icelandic TV producer, a Generation Z doctor, an electric-horse-riding cowboy and Wario (the “misunderstood” Mario Bros. video-game character). But he won the day with his self-deprecating humor.

The spaciest (and spiciest) moment came when Musk played himself, dealing with a Mars crisis involving Chad, the clueless slacker who’s a recurring character played by Pete Davidson. (Watch the clip all the way to the end — if you dare.)

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Cosmic Space

Rover spots ‘alien skull’ and other Mars oddities

As sure as Martian winter brings on carbon dioxide frost, the release of high-resolution Mars imagery brings on a rash of alien sightings.

So it’s no surprise that today’s unveiling of a high-resolution, 360-degree panorama, based on image data from NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars, has inspired serious and not-so-serious efforts to find anomalous shapes amid the reddish sands of Jezero Crater.

More than one sharp-eyed observer spotted a skull-shaped rock not far from the rover’s wheels. Others pointed to a bright-colored spot near the horizon — and wondered whether it might represent the wreckage of the rocket-powered “Sky Crane” descent stage that dropped the rover onto the Martian surface and then flew off to a crash landing.

The most surprising anomaly was spotted not on the panoramic image, but on one of the pictures snapped by a hazard avoidance camera just a couple of minutes after the Feb. 18 landing. A column of dust and smoke could be seen rising up from the horizon. Yes, it was coming from the dearly departed descent stage. But no, it wasn’t anywhere close to the bright-colored formation, which was probably just a rock formation gleaming in the sun.

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Cosmic Science

Ancient fast-food joint served up spicy language

A just-unveiled excavation at Italy’s Pompeii archaeological site shows that ancient Roman restaurants had a lot in common with modern-day fast-food eateries — including rude graffiti.

But at Pompeii’s snack bar, naughty comments weren’t just scratched on restroom walls. They were right out in the open, inscribed onto the counter where hot food and drinks were served.

The nearly 2,000-year-old fast-food joint, which was known back then as a thermopolium, got rave reviews this weekend when the Archaeological Park of Pompeii opened it up for pictures. The site was first excavated in 2019, but this year, archaeologists dug down all the way to the floor, unearthing marvelous frescoes in the process.

They also found traces of the tasty wares that were once stored inside the restaurant’s vessels and doled out to customers — as well as the remains of someone who died suddenly when Mount Vesuvius’ eruption in the year 79 covered Pompeii with hot ash and debris.

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Cosmic Science

Wonder and whimsy on the Web

Ever since Cosmic Log was founded, back in 2002, we’ve passed along links to tales that caught our eye elsewhere on the Web. With Twitter’s rise, there’s typically less need for that kind of aggregation — but just in case you’re not following me religiously at @b0yle, I’ll occasionally pass along a selection of the Web’s wonder and whimsy, like this one:

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GeekWire

Space Force’s new seal sparks Star Trek snark

We don’t know whether Mr. Spock would have cocked an eyebrow over the Starfleet-like U.S. Space Force seal that was revealed by President Donald Trump today, but we’ve found out what Star Trek’s Mr. Sulu would do.

Get the news brief on GeekWire.

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GeekWire

Reality-TV dating game offers moon trip as prize

Yusaku Maezawa
Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa tweeted a casting call for a woman to go on a round-the-moon trip with him, for a streaming-video documentary. (Yusaku Maezawa via Twitter)

What do you get when you cross “The Bachelor” with “Survivor,” and then throw in a round-the-moon trip? You might get the reality-TV project that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa has signed on for.

Get the news brief on GeekWire.

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GeekWire

Revisit the wacky world of corporate musicals

No fan of Broadway musicals should miss classics like “I Never Enjoyed My Operation More,” “My Insurance Man” and “My Bathroom Is a Private Kind of Place.”

What’s that? Never heard of ’em? For decades, those songs were heard only by employees at morale-boosting events, plus a precious few record collectors enchanted by what are known as industrial musicals.

Now one of those record collectors, TV comedy writer Steve Young, has had his quest turned into a hilarious and sweet documentary titled “Bathtubs Over Broadway.” The movie has already been picking up awards on the film-festival circuit, and it’s opening this weekend in Seattle for a regular run at the Varsity Theater.

Ironically, the innovations that have allowed Young to flesh out the little-known saga of industrial musicals — including the rise of the modern tech industry, the internet and online video — also contributed to the decline of industrial musicals.

Get the full story on GeekWire.

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GeekWire

Artist uses spaceship to launch double entendre

Work magazine spread
A photo spread from the latest issue of Work magazine had a little fun with Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket venture. (Work / CIPD / Blue Origin Photo via @christhebarker on Twitter)

It’s hard to top the risque rocket scene in “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” but Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket has also spawned its share of comparisons to the male anatomy.

The latest double entendre paying tribute to Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ space venture appears in Work magazine, a controlled-circulation quarterly published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in Britain.

Graphic designer Chris Barker, who was also behind the viral “Lonely Hearts” roundup of 2016’s celebrity deaths, deemed it a point of pride that he was able to get his visual joke into print. “Pleased my headline/image combo got through,” he tweeted.

The layout shows Blue Origin’s New Shepard on one page, in all its phallic glory, opposite a bold headline reading, “What Exactly Is Jeff Bezos Trying to Prove?”

Get the full story on GeekWire.

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GeekWire

Elon Musk and Malala tweet cute over parody

Starman and Malala
Human rights campaigner Malala Yousafzai and SpaceX’s Starman Roadster are paired in a parody posting. (Clickhole Illustration)

Billionaire Elon Musk hasn’t exactly had a smooth week in press relations, but today brought a string of feel-good tweets over a fake-news story on the ClickHole website.

The headline? “More Bad Press for Elon: The Car Elon Musk Launched Into Orbit Has Fallen Back Down to Earth and Crushed Malala Yousafzai.”

Get the full story on GeekWire.

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GeekWire

Elon Musk turns Tesla’s woes into April Fools’ joke

Elon Musk "bankwupt"
Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted out a picture of himself seemingly “passed out against a Tesla Model 3, surrounded by ‘Teslaquilla’ bottles, the tracks of dried tears still visible on his cheeks.” (Elon Musk via Twitter)

Between Model S recalls and Model 3 production snags, Tesla has been having a hard time lately — but not as hard as CEO Elon Musk made them out to be today in a hilarious series of April Fools’ tweets.

Get the full story on GeekWire.