The Word: On missions to Mercury, Google, and Beyoncé

The European Space Agency eyes its next destination, searching for ad alternatives, and Miss Carter’s new single incites divorce panic.

On the front page:

Next stop: Mercury. We knew the folks at the European Space Agency were ambitious, but this is ridiculous. Just a few days after its Rosetta probe landed on a comet billions of kilometres from Earth, the ESA has announced plans to send a spacecraft to explore the mysterious fiery-and-icy terrain of Mercury. The BepiColombo—named after Italian scientist Giuseppe Colombo—is tentatively scheduled for take-off on July 21, 2016, but won’t reach the Sun’s next-door neighbour until approximately 2024. (At a distance of 77 million kilometres from Earth, Mercury's a bit of a commute.)

Call us the “Immigration Express.” With Obama’s executive-level gongshow just getting underway south of the border, Canada’s forthcoming “express entry” immigration policy is also eliciting concerns. As of January 1st, skilled labourers wishing to enter Canada will be matched to job vacancies with the help of an online process that “scores …their human capital and ability to succeed in the Canadian economy.” High-scorers will have their applications for permanent residency expedited. The move has drawn criticism from some business execs, including Dan Kelly of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, who argues the legislation could be prohibitive to applicants in search of lower-paying work.

Boys club. The Canadian Centre for Men and Families opened in Toronto just this week, but the organization has already met with its fair share of controversy. The downtown hub—which aims to provide men and boys with grief counseling, health supports, and other family resources—has drawn ire for its connection to Canadian Association for Equality. (In 2012, protestors clashed with police following a contentious lecture given by men’s rights activist—and CAFE advisor—Warren Farrell.) The Centre’s director, Justin Trottier, said Thursday that the organization opposes “any actions or behaviour which are dangerous, which are criminal and which, frankly, take away from [our] ability to have genuine conversation about gender issues.”

On health:

Just because you get drunk doesn’t mean you are one. A study conducted by the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that 90 per cent of people who drink to excess do not qualify as alcoholics. (In other words, it’s a problem, but not a pathology.)


On business:

Living alone, we think of all our friends that own. One-person households are the fastest-growing real-estate category in Canada, and women now represent a huge buying force in the singles condo market.

A new Google app subtracts your ads. With every donation of $1, $2, or $3 to a website of your choice, Google Contributor will replace those pages’ ads with thank-you notes. The app is in its early stages, but “aw!” nonetheless.

On sports:

This is a stick up. Toronto Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf apologized on Friday after the team’s failure to acknowledge hometown fans with a sticks-up salute ruffled a few blue-and-white feathers late Thursday night. It wasn’t a slight, Phaneuf explained, just a “[change] of routine.”


On culture:

Jay Z still likes it; continues to keep a ring on it. Throne-watchers will be relieved to know that Beyoncé’s new, adultery-inspired single is actually about her parents’ messy divorce.

On dessert disses:

Some are speculating that a recipe for “Jailbird Cake,” posted recently on Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle website, Goop, is a dig at rival Martha Stewart’s 2004 prison stint for insider trading. Apparently revenge is a dish best served sprinkled liberally with milk-chocolate shavings.

The final word…


We don’t have nothing like this in Giles County.” Just a few weeks shy of her 101st birthday, Tennessee native Ruby Holt visited the ocean for the first time on a trip funded by her assisted-living centre.


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