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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘space travel

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • blogTO shares pictures of the lineups for free food on Canada Day at Mandarin’s buffet restaurants.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper identifying three thousand nearby red dwarf stars as potential sites of Earth-like exoplanets.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a sober assessment of the Chinese space program.
  • The Frailest Thing considers the import of Facebook’s experiment on its user base by noting the ability of complex systems to undergo unexpected catastrophes.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that Google’s social network Orkut, big in Brazil and India but absent elsewhere, will be shutting down at the end of this September.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that anti-gay activists are pleased with the Hobby Lobby ruling.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Adam Block shares pictures of colliding and interacting galaxies.
  • Seriously Science notes that not only do spiders have different personality types, but that these types contribute to the maintenance of their physical cultures.
  • The Signal notes ongoing research into data recovery methods and issues with compact discs.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes cases where putting the victim on trial does matter. (Records of past violence are noteworthy.)
  • Towleroad notes an economist observing that homophobia has an economic impact and points to an upcoming Irish referendum on same-sex marriage in 2015 that’s quite likely to pass.
  • Window on Eurasia quotes a Ukrainian about Russia’s issues with a separate Ukraine and notes a statement by Kaliningrad’s government claiming some Ukrainian refugees in Russia might be anti-Russian activists in disguise.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

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  • blogTO’s Chris Bateman writes about the life of William Cawthra, a 19th century millionaire in Toronto who gave his name to–among other places–Church and Wellesley’s Cawthra Park.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the idea of engines that can move stars and planets, drawn from science fiction.
  • Crooked Timber visits the topic of the First World War.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one paper suggesting TW Hydrae has a borderline brown dwarf in orbit, and to another paper suggesting that exoplanet 55 Cancri e is in a polar orbit of its star.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that Greenland’s icecap is darkening, potentially accelerating the rate of its melt.
  • Eastern Approaches engages with Polish politics.
  • Far Outliers is exploring Soviet history, noting Communist enthusiasm for the Russian civil war and origins of totalitarianism in the war.
  • A Fistful of Euros’ Edward Hugh notes that Japanese inflation is at a 32 year high, and that this isn’t good.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the suicide of a Tea Party leader in Mississippi who filmed the mentally ill wife of his Republican opponent.
  • Language Log approves of a shift to actual language use in the US Supreme Court.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money also discusses the First World War, noting that Serbian opinion isn’t very anti-war.
  • Marginal Revolution notes economic stagnation among African Americans.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine are starting to join the same Russian mental category reserved for the Baltic States, for good and for ill.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • Andart’s Anders Sandberg links to a paper of his examining the ethics of brain emulations. How ethical is it do make very life-like simulations of minds?
  • blogTO notes a public art movement tracing the former path of the Don River.
  • The Burgh Diaspora’s Jim Russell notes that population change in the US is a consequence of migration and natural change.
  • Centauri Dreams considers intergalactic travel. Given the huge travel times involved, travelling on a hypervelocity star ejected from a solar system may be more secure.
  • The Cranky Sociologists’ SocProf notes that not caring about a particular social issue until it affects you actually isn’t good for society as a whole.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to one paper suggesting between 5.3 and 10% of Sun-like star ssupport Earth-sized planets in their circumstellar habitable zones, and another identifying HIP 114328 as a solar twin.
  • Joe. My. God. notes the latest developments in marriage equality in Finland.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen notes that Scottish devolution hasn’t changed much policy, perhaps passing over the possibility that perhaps devolution has prevented change.
  • Patrick Cain maps the 2014 Ontario election.
  • Torontoist notes that the Toronto Star has given the Toronto Public Library more than a million of its vintage photographs.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that, according to a recent court ruling, smartphones in the US are safe from arbitrary search.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine is steadily losing its position there.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • Crooked Timber comments on Amanda Lepore’s essay in The New Yorker criticizing the idea of “disruption”.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes the discovery of Gliese 832c, a super-terrestrial planet orbiting a red dwarf 16 light years away that is either a super-Earth or a super-Venus.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that one consequence of Scottish independence could be the United Kingdom’s nuclear disarmament.
  • The Financial Times‘s The World blog notes speculation that Russia could be behind the bugging of the Polish foreign minister.
  • Joe. My. God. observes that some American reactionaries see Russia as a refuge from liberalism.
  • Language Hat notes the ongoing controversy over the origins of the Yiddish language.
  • The Planetary Science Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla provides updates on Mercury’s Messenger probe and the Venus Express as well.
  • Savage Minds makes the argument that it’s better to engage with people not abstractions.
  • Steve Munro notes extensive construction around Spadina and Dundas this summer.
  • Towleroad links to an article about once-prominent ex-gay John Paulk.
  • Window on Eurasia notes high mortality in Russia.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell wonders how Andy Coulson got his security clearance.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • Centauri Dreams hosts a speculative essay by one Adam Crowl imagining how life could endure for eons beyond the death of stars in an aging universe.
  • The Cranky Sociologists’s SocProf studies the interaction between national identity and team sports in an era of globalization and migration.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper analyzing the connection between a star’s metallicity and the likelihood of it hosting giant planets.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper suggesting that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by itself lengthens the growing season, irrespective of warming.
  • Eastern Approaches looks at the scandal in Poland following the sharing of Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski’s impolitic words about NATO and the American alliance.
  • The Financial Times‘s The World blog wonders what the jeering of a female politician by her male peers means about gender equity in Japan.
  • Language Hat looks at the languages used in soccer.
  • Personal Approaches’ Jim Belshaw deplores the imprisonment of Australian journalist Peter Greste in Egypt.
  • At the Planetary Science Blog, Bill Dunford celebrates the many achievements of the Cassini probe at Saturn.
  • Van Waffle of the Speed River Journal writes about the return of bullfrogs to his local lake this year, in the context of issues for amphibians generally.
  • Torontoist features trans male Alex Abramovich’s writings about the personal and broader importance of pride.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • blogTO comes up with a shortlist of some of the most noteworthy Giorgio Mammoliti controversies.
  • Centauri Dreams has a couple of posts (1, 2) talking about how nice it would be to have space probes orbiting the ice giants of Uranus and Neptune.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to an analysis suggesting that Russia is going to annex Abkhazia and South Ossetia to punish Georgia.
  • Language Log tackles a myth that vocal fry is caused by stress.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes the superexploitation associated with prison labour.
  • Steve Munro notes the latest delays with reopening Queens Quay to streetcars.
  • The Search has a fascinating interview regarding what it takes to archive electronic art, including video and programs.
  • Torontoist shares photos of the Monday night storm.
  • Towleroad notes the story of two Texas gay fathers who not only weren’t allowed to cross-adopt the other’s biological son (each father having one child, both children product of the same egg donor), but who weren’t registered as the fathers of their own biological child.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes that up to a quarter-million people were displaced in Brazil to make way for the World Cup.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the weakness of Russian liberalism.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • blogTO notes that the Global Village Backpackers building on the northeast corner of King and Spadina is up for sale.
  • Centauri Dreams and the Planetary Society Blog both comment on the almost last-minute search by the Hubble space telescope for Kuiper belt objects to be targets for the New Horizons probe after it passes Pluto.
  • Crooked Timber’s Corey Robin speculates that the alleged boredom of Obama in office might be taken as a marker for imminent revolutionary sentiment.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that the protoplanetary disk of protostar IRAS 16293-2422 is composed of two segments, both rotating in opposite directions.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money approves of Mattherw Yglesias’ argument that some wars, like a proposed intervention in Iraq, are unwinnable.
  • Marginal Revolution has more on the court decision against Argentina for the benefit of its creditors.
  • Registan describes what the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is doing in Pakistan. (Putting down roots.)
  • Savage Minds features a post by a pair of anthropologists advocating that the discipline take part in a boycott of Israel.
  • Torontoist profiles the #parkdalelove Twitter campaign mounted after Mammoliti’s ridiculous statements.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy reports on a lawsuit by a convert to the church that converted him, alleging that because they publicized his conversion from Islam contrary to his request his life was threatened in Syria.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that Russia annexed Crimea because it thought alternative separatist movements in Ukraine were budding.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • Centauri Dreams features an essay by Andreas Hein arguing that interstellar travel will be quite easy after the singularity hits, when our minds can be copied onto physical substrates.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that the dispute between Vietnam and China over their maritime boundaries runs the risk of intensifying.
  • Far Outliers chronicles the Australian creation of the Ferdinand radio network in the 1930s, a network of civilian radio broadcasters in northern Australia and Papua New Guinea charged with reporting on border security.
  • Joe. My. God. notes controversy in Israel over a harmless music video by trans pop star Dana International.
  • Language Hat notes one Russian writer’s suggestion on how Russian-language writers can avoid Russian state censorship: write in officially recognized variants of the Russian language (Ukrainian Russian, Latvian Russian, et cetera).
  • Language Log examines “patchwriting”, a subtle variant of plagiarism.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money is just one blog noting the insanity of George F. Will’s claim that being a rape victim on a university campus is a coveted status.
  • The Map Room’s Jonathan Crowe links to OpenGeoFiction, an online collaborative map-creation fiction.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that, before Hitler, the Biblical pharoah was the figure used as the embodiment of evil.
  • The New APPS Blog takes issue with the claim that photographs sully our memories. Arguably they supplement it instead.
  • Personal Reflection’s Jim Belshaw notes, following Australia’s recent budget cuts, how young people lacking connections can find it very difficult to get ahead.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that ethnic minorities and secessionist groups in Moldova are being mobilized as that country moves towards the European Union, and observes the maritime sanctions placed against Crimean ports.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell is very skeptical of UKIP founder Alan Sked’s statements that the party was founded free of bigotry.

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • Caitlin Kelly at the Broadside Blog lists five reasons to become a free-lancer and five reasons not to do so.
  • Centauri Dreams’ Paul Gilster looks at the oddly misaligned planetary system of Kepler-56, possessing three known planets orbiting at different inclinations to their aging and expanding star’s equator, two of which will fall into their star shortly.
  • The Cranky Sociologists’ SocProf quite likes sociologist Saskia Sassen’s new book Expulsions, which examines the way people and regions and things are and aren’t included in a globalizing economy.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper on planetary formation in binary systems that seems to suggest it might be easier for planets to form in some binaries, owing to lower impact velocities of planetesimals.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that Canada is set to purchase 65 F-35 fighters, notwithstanding political controversy.
  • The Frailest Thing’s Michael Sacasas wonders about the potential anxieties associated with having a smart, on-line, home.
  • Language Log shares an interesting study suggesting that the phenomenon of “vocal fry” doesn’t hurt the credibility of speakers, so long as the speakers aren’t trying to hide it.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Jason Davis explores the so-far promising crowdsourced attempt to reactivate the decades-silent ISEE-3 probe.
  • Registan’s Casey Michel argues that the new Eurasian Economic Union isn’t that significant, given the reluctance of its member-states to accept transferring sovereignty to the centre and the growing influence of external powers including China.
  • Towleroad notes the late great gay icon Freddie Mercury.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy’s Stewart Baker suggests that France and Belgium may well have direct wiretap access to telecommunications.
  • Window on Eurasia links to a Russian writer who argues that the net effect of Russian policies has been to shrink the Russian sphere of influence, by alienating first Georgians then Ukrainians.

[LINK] “This Is How You Stream Netflix to the Moon”

Wired‘s Klint Finley describes the advent of a new high-speed communications system that would let people on Earth connect to computers on the Moon at a very high speed.

Traditionally, NASA has used radio frequencies to communicate with spaceships, satellites, and rovers, but that’s rather slow. Plus, the further a contraption gets from earth, the more power–and the bigger the dish–it needs to send a signal. That’s why NASA’s most distant probe, Voyager 1, requires a 70-meter antenna to be heard. Optical connections are much faster, but they’ve been limited by things like varying lighting conditions, cloudy skies, and atmospheric interference.

So, in order to quickly send signals across the approximately 250,000 miles between earth and NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) observatory, Stevens and his team built a completely new optical communication system, with new transmitters as well as receivers, drawing on techniques used in past projects. “People in the space business have long known that laser communications has a lot of potential benefits including higher data rates and smaller space terminals,” Stevens says. “NASA has been pursuing parts of the technology for several decades.”

On the transmission side, the team used four telescopes to beam information coded as pulses of infrared light into space. Each of the four signals travels separately, and though each will encounter interference, this four-pronged approach improves the odds that at least one signal will make it to the receiver.

When a signal arrives, it’s focused into an optical fiber similar to what’s used in high-speed internet connections such as Google Fiber. Then it’s amplified and is converted into electrical pulses that carry the data transmission. Less than one billionth of a watt will be received of the original 40-watt signal, but that’s still about 10 times the signal strength required for error-free communication.

The satellite had its own transmitter, which was able to send the data signal back to earth at an even faster speed: 622 megabits per second. That’s faster than most home internet connections, though not quite as speedy as the one-gigabit speeds you get with something like Google Fiber.

Written by Randy McDonald

June 2, 2014 at 7:58 pm

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