Editor's Note: Publicity about the Biosphere II project--that plan to seal eight human beings in a greenhouse near Tucson for two years starting in December--is starting to crank up.
Well, since the summer of 1989, New Times Science Editor Cap'n Dave has been conducting his own experiment in "environmentally self-sufficient living."
Last week, he emerged from the Beerosphere--a double-wide trailer parked in Glendale--for the first time in more than a year.
So he says.
In truth, Cap'n Dave has been spotted hundreds of times outside the Beerosphere.
When he began the project a year ago, Cap'n Dave said the objectives of the experiment were: To "live, love and laugh" for an extended period of time within a "carefully controlled environmental laboratory."
"Blow a lot of grant money, as usual."
Eventually generate "a massive amount of pub[licity]."
Cap'n Dave was unable to comment on the success or failure of the project at the time of its completion, preferring instead to leave immediately for "several weeks of quiet rest and relaxation" in an undisclosed location, believed to be Las Vegas, Nevada.
We did, however, find his diary.
MDRVAugust 30, 1989
I enter the Beerosphere tomorrow morning at ten o'clock. My plans are to stay inside for the next year, emerging only for special newspaper assignments, Mojo Nixon concerts and, of course, lunch every day. I've told everybody that I'll be totally sealed inside the Beerosphere for the whole time. Big experiment. Yeah, right. What do I look like, some kind of dope?
Anyway, great care has been taken to prepare my "earth capsule." I've signed up for about twenty different magazines and two premium channels on cable. My "nourishment-supply storage facility" is stocked with all kinds of excellent stuff. And I've got four big jars of Tang.
What I intend to prove during the next year is that man is capable of living--and living well--inside an almost totally enclosed environment. The fact that I don't actually intend to totally lock myself inside this thing may be the only aspect of this project which proves I haven't gone totally nuts.
Meanwhile, I've been advanced several grand in grant money, and I intend to blow it all. As far as supplemental income goes, I'm planning on making a killing with souvenir sales and TV-movie rights. Plus, New Times is kicking in $15 a week for lunch meat.
Naturally, I'll be recycling lots of things, including clothing and videos of the Letterman show. I'll also be conducting several fascinating experiments, some of them top-secret government things. I believe it'll be really neat.
The benefits to society of this kind of research are many. After a full year, for example, I should be able to say for certain which one of the network newscasters is the biggest idiot. Also, I'll know a lot about fungus. MDRVOctober 10, 1989
My first extended project upon beginning my stay in Beerosphere was to get going on a visitors' center and gift shop. I've been keeping very busy on this task during the past couple of months. So far I've got several rough sketches of a visitors' center, including a place for a very cool slide show about the Beerosphere's "mission." Then there's the gift-deployment area and the snack bar, where I'll sell official collectible Beerosphere coffee mugs and other stuff.
I've been doing a lot of creative thinking as to what kind of great junk I'll be selling to visitors. People who visit me here will want to take home lots of down-sized replicas of many of my special Beerosphere tools, and eventually there will be a full line of official Beerosphere knickknacks, such as miniature replicas of my VCR remote control made into key chains and corkscrews. There also will be many racks of nifty Beerosphere garb available for purchase. I'm expecting a Nike endorsement deal any day.
As for the science-related aspects of the Beerosphere project, everything is running along smoothly. Well, almost everything. There is this one glitch: My TV Guide subscription hasn't kicked in yet, so I accidentally missed the first several weekly blocks of cable shows starring the different college football coaches. ASPN runs 'em sometimes five in a row, a whole cavalcade of boneheaded tyrants talking pigskin from coast to coast. I like the chalk talk and the filmed highlights, too, but I especially love to watch the way the announcers on those shows lick Coach Bubba's butt. Every time I start to feel like I'm not doing enough hard-hitting journalism in my career, I tune into one of those shows to watch some jock-sniffing. I feel much better.
MDRVNovember 3, 1989
After several months in semi-isolation, my mood is pretty good. I've had to make a couple of extended trips outside of my carefully controlled environment, and I think that's helped me avoid Beerosphere Fever. On this point, some members of the scientific community will no doubt ~criticize my methodology. Let them carp, I say.