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Editorial: Out-of-this-world experiments, at least kids are reading and random thoughts

Plans to launch two local experiments into space today show that this region has got the right stuff.

Eddie and Elizabeth Snell are a happy-at-work couple. He is the head of Buffalo’s Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute. His wife is a molecular biologist working on research to refine a method to use outer space to help provide knowledge to design the drugs of the future.

Three Buffalo Public Schools students – Gabriella Melendez, Toriana Cornwell and Shaniylah Welch – developed the other experiment. In 2015, they were among the winners of a national science competition sponsored by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education. Their experiment will test whether 20 tiny potatoes in a small tube can survive space travel. When the potatoes are returned in six weeks, they will be planted in a University at Buffalo greenhouse.

So we’re thinking had a book like “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days,” by Jeff Kinney, been around in the good old days it might have helped some of today’s so-called adults (read: politicians) learn a life lesson or two. As for those messy journalists: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing,” by Marie Kondo, might help.

They were the No. 1 children’s fiction and adult nonfiction on the reading list provided by the  Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, using circulation data from nearly 300,000 patrons last year.

Wimpy kid books held the top three spots in children’s fiction. “Minecraft: Redstone Handbook,” by Nick Farwell, topped the children’s nonfiction list. We get it. It’s a new generation. The newest. But no Dr. Seuss?

Here and there:

• In Orlando, Fla., a middle school will change its name from Robert E. Lee to College Park Middle. It became Robert E. Lee as a protest against the 1954 Supreme Court order on desegregation. Only 156 years later, the Civil War may be drawing to a close.

• And yet, American hate groups are on the rise, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Many of them are anti-Muslim. Mainly people, we suspect, who never met one.

• And what of the Washington state florist who refused to provide flowers for a gay couple’s wedding? She said same-sex marriage violates her religious beliefs, but people have also cited religion to oppose interracial marriage. Why not just be nice?

• Arnold Schwarzenegger, pushing for national redistricting reform, notes that Congress is less popular even than herpes. Add your own comment here.

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