How a beautiful moonrise could mean the aliens are coming

I don’t know about you, but when I see a beautiful, hazy moon over Casco Bay in the early evening, I think about one thing: A martian attack.

Photographer John Stetson snapped a nice picture of the moonrise over the water from Cape Elizabeth, in which the rippled glow took on a rectangular shape because of a quirk in the atmospheric conditions. Or because aliens.

As the photo made the rounds on Facebook, many commenters were not fooled by the absurd idea that cool ocean temperatures hitting warm summer air might create an optical illusion.

One online commenter said it best: “If you believe this story then they have primed you for more brainwashing reprogramming.”

Certainly, the much more plausible explanation is that it was a semi-translucent, pink alien aircraft carrier which forgot to put on its invisibility tarp, forcing the scientific community to rush yet again to cover up the shadow lords’ world domination plans by cooking up some smart-sounding excuse for why the “moon” (yeah, right) might look like that.

We’re on to you, scientific community.

(Yes, this is the same scientific community which can’t offer a unified explanation about why monkeys don’t talk.)

Now here are some news stories to lull you into a false sense of complacency while the lizard people quietly take control.

What we’re talking about

Doing their part to distract you from the vast extraterrestrial conspiracy, Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and the head of the Maine Democratic Party both issued statements condemning an inflammatory Facebook tirade by Rep. Scott Hamann, D-South Portland, in which the lawmaker strongly suggested he’d at least harm President Donald Trump if he got close enough to him.

It’s pretty common for people to put their chairs out along the Yarmouth Clam Fest parade route early, but some locals are saying it’s getting out of hand. Portland’s WGME television, CBS 13, is reporting that some people put their chairs out as early as January, and some folks are complaining that unless you’re roping off your own property, claiming wide stretches of prime parade-watching spots is rude. The Clam Fest starts next Friday, July 21.

If this newsletter just arrived and you’re not in front of your TV already, go turn on your tube and watch this CBS 13 roundtable discussion about the power of the mayoral position in Portland. Or you can click here to watch the live stream — it’s scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., so depending on when you open this newsletter, it may have just started. Current Mayor Ethan Strimling will be among those on the roundtable, and questions for discussion will be provided by the BDN’s Jake Bleiberg. The issue of whether the elected mayor position is too powerless to be effectual has been a point of debate in the city over the past six years.

I love the taste of lobster. But I think we can all agree it’s a little bit of a project prying all the meat out. The BDN’s Troy R. Bennett met a guy down the road a piece in Kennebunk who can shuck 1,000 pounds of lobster in a workday. With a little help, he shucked about 100 pounds’ worth in the 15 minutes in which Troy was interviewing him. Watch the video here.

Another prominent Democrat is joining the 2018 gubernatorial race. This time, it’s former House Speaker Mark Eves, of North Berwick. Eves, you may recall, got into a heated legal tussle with current Gov. Paul LePage after the governor in 2015 threatened to withhold state funds from an educational nonprofit if it followed through with a plan to hire the speaker as its director. Other Dems who have declared entry into next year’s Blaine House race include (but are not limited to) Attorney General Janet Mills and Sanford attorney Adam Cote, while the most prominent Republican to step forward has been former LePage DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew.

Tweet of the day

From Carolyn Ryan of the New York Times:

The Big Idea

Scientists are freezing zebrafish embryos using nanotechnology and lasers. Before you assume scientists are doing random things just to see if they can, there’s a point to this. Zebrafish are genetically similar enough to humans that they’re often used as an experimental animal to study diseases and such, so the ability to freeze and unfreeze the fish embryos at will allows researchers to run experiments on the schedules demanded by their study timelines, not the biological rhythms of the fish. Expanded out, freezing and unfreezing embryos of food fish would put rhythm and predictability in the food supply chain, which could reduce prices and avoid boom-and-bust markets.

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email us at or, or tweet @JZBleiberg or @SethKoenig.

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