Charlie's Diary

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Mon, 26 May 2003

European Space Agency to acquire manned launcher?

Looks like ESA might (if they want to pony up the EUR 1Bn bill) take out a contract with EADS and Starsem to start launching Soyuz vehicles from Kourou in French Guiana, with the first launches as early as 2006. "Soyuz would give us the full range of vehicles to get into orbit" -- Esa director-general Antonio Rodota (via BBC News Online). "The low-cost Soyuz can lift medium payloads into low-Earth orbit and geostationary obit. It would also give Europe a manned spaceflight option."

[ Link ] [ Discuss space ]

posted at: 23:16 | path: /space | permanent link to this entry

Weird Webby Wibble, again

I'm collecting more weird shit for the blog -- shovelling it into the furnace that is the writer's zeitgeist, I guess.

Are you close-mouthed enough? If not, you probably need to read the NSA Security Guidelines Manual. It'll set you straight on what you should and shouldn't do if you plan to work for the US National Security Agency. It's boring enough that it's almost certainly genuine, and it sure gels with what I'm reading in James Bamford's Body of Secrets, a book I heartily commend to those of you trying to write novels about real spooks (as opposed to James Bond, who is so unlike the real thing that I half-suspect the Broccoli empire is underwritten by MI6 as a disinformation exercise).

If this spook stuff sounds a bit paranoid, for real paranoia Damien DeBarra spins a really plausible line around the thesis that boy bands are a serious threat to society -- manufactured marketing pap intended to swamp real artists in a sea of over-hyped mediocrity and thus neutralize the serious social and critical potential of popular music. Which is, I think you'll agree, a bit off-beat but not as incredible as the revelations of Archimedes Plutonium or Doctress Neutopia.

Proof that the apocalypse is at hand comes in the shapely skins of The Sims, a game originally developed under the monicker "Doll's House" in which you, the player, get to design your Sim's homes, dress them, tell them to go to the toilet, and generally run their lives while they yatter at each other in endearing Sim-speak and form meaningful relationships with each other's pet cats. Or alternatively dress up in fetish gear, get naked and make out, or indulge in some quiet serial killing. Yes, with the aid of various free add-ons The Sims can be just like real life! (Although I'm not sure I want to know just what male Sims do with the FemToy.)

Finally, you too can visit the Second Congress of Atlantis Explorers in Moscow and find out what the latest state of Atlantis-ology is! "I am sure that this issue is extremely complicated and important, so one has to deal with it seriously, on a serious scientific level," as Alexander Gorodnitsky, a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences said when asked if he had any hints about the location of the sunken continent. Maybe the Russian Navy could send their newest nuclear submarine to go join the hunt.

[ Discuss wibble ]

posted at: 21:27 | path: /weird | permanent link to this entry


Is SF About to Go Blind? -- Popular Science article by Greg Mone
Unwirer -- an experiment in weblog mediated collaborative fiction
Inside the MIT Media Lab -- what it's like to spend a a day wandering around the Media Lab
"Nothing like this will be built again" -- inside a nuclear reactor complex

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Some webby stuff I'm reading:

Engadget ]
Gizmodo ]
The Memory Hole ]
Boing!Boing! ]
Futurismic ]
Walter Jon Williams ]
Making Light (TNH) ]
Crooked Timber ]
Junius (Chris Bertram) ]
Baghdad Burning (Riverbend) ]
Bruce Sterling ]
Ian McDonald ]
Amygdala (Gary Farber) ]
Cyborg Democracy ]
Body and Soul (Jeanne d'Arc)  ]
Atrios ]
The Sideshow (Avedon Carol) ]
This Modern World (Tom Tomorrow) ]
Jesus's General ]
Mick Farren ]
Early days of a Better Nation (Ken MacLeod) ]
Respectful of Otters (Rivka) ]
Tangent Online ]
Grouse Today ]
Hacktivismo ]
Terra Nova ]
Whatever (John Scalzi) ]
Justine Larbalestier ]
Yankee Fog ]
The Law west of Ealing Broadway ]
Cough the Lot ]
The Yorkshire Ranter ]
Newshog ]
Kung Fu Monkey ]
S1ngularity ]
Pagan Prattle ]
Gwyneth Jones ]
Calpundit ]
Lenin's Tomb ]
Progressive Gold ]
Kathryn Cramer ]
Halfway down the Danube ]
Fistful of Euros ]
Orcinus ]
Shrillblog ]
Steve Gilliard ]
Frankenstein Journal (Chris Lawson) ]
The Panda's Thumb ]
Martin Wisse ]
Kuro5hin ]
Advogato ]
Talking Points Memo ]
The Register ]
Cryptome ]
Juan Cole: Informed comment ]
Global Guerillas (John Robb) ]
Shadow of the Hegemon (Demosthenes) ]
Simon Bisson's Journal ]
Max Sawicky's weblog ]
Guy Kewney's mobile campaign ]
Hitherby Dragons ]
Counterspin Central ]
MetaFilter ]
NTKnow ]
Encyclopaedia Astronautica ]
Fafblog ]
BBC News (Scotland) ]
Pravda ]
Meerkat open wire service ]
Warren Ellis ]
Brad DeLong ]
Hullabaloo (Digby) ]
Jeff Vail ]
The Whiskey Bar (Billmon) ]
Groupthink Central (Yuval Rubinstein) ]
Unmedia (Aziz Poonawalla) ]
Rebecca's Pocket (Rebecca Blood) ]

Older stuff:

June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
(I screwed the pooch in respect of the blosxom entry datestamps on March 28th, 2002, so everything before then shows up as being from the same time)

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