Draper surrenders • About a week ago in this space, we lamented the fact that one well-connected family was getting around rules set by the Draper City Council to protect the beauty of Corner Canyon. This week, there is nothing to do but regret the fact that, rather than stand and fight for the preservation of open space and for the rights of other property owners who favored and were following the rules the council has just given up. On the argument that the city never really had the power to limit how houses that backed up to the canyon could build up their back yards, the council voted 4-1 Thursday to dissolve its 2002 "Limit of Disturbance" rules. Council members now say they should have used a different device, specifically a conservation easement, to accomplish the same purpose. If so, the city's failure to do so from the beginning was a horrendous goof. You can fight City Hall. It's just too bad that, sometimes, City Hall was right in the first place.
Red Rover, Red Rover • Early this month, NASA's Curiosity was a Mars lander. Its spectacular success in traveling 352 million miles and scoring a perfect 10 of a landing on the surface of the Red Planet was an amazing accomplishment all by itself. In the last few days, though, Curiosity has, as planned, evolved from a lander to a rover. It moved 23 feet 15 forward and eight back in an interplanetary test drive before the craft begins what should be a two-year tour of the Martian landscape, looking for signs of ancient and/or microbial life. It is also using lasers to vaporize a few rocks and analyze the mist as a way of figuring out just what kind of rocks they are. Even if the rover doesn't find anything that proves the past or present existence of life, the accomplishments of the Curiosity team suggest that there is, after all, intelligent life on Earth.