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Posts Tagged ‘space travel

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO notes that a party celebrating the end of Rob Ford’s term as mayor is being planned for election night at City Hall.
  • Centauri Dreams notes the discovery of secondary targets for New Horizons after it passes Pluto.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper that looks to examine the oblateness or otherwise of some exoplanets discovered by Kepler.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to one paper examining underwater archeology and links to a series debating the question of whether or not there was a human presence 30 thousand years ago at a site in Uruguay.
  • Eastern Approaches reports on the aftermath of a failed claim by Radek Sikorski that Russia made a 2008 proposal on partitioning Ukraine.
  • Joe. My. God. notes a Costa Rican survey suggesting that up to a fifth of Costa Rican police think that harassing GLBT people is OK.
  • Language Hat notes the etymology of the Egyptian title of “khedive”, apparently obscure for a reason.
  • Language Log notes a contentious issue in Chinese translation: “rule of law” or “rule by law”?
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at the aftermath of a stunt at a Serbian-Albanian football game.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog considers estimates for Russian losses in Ukrainian fighing.
  • Towleroad notes that Argentina has granted asylum to a Russian GLBT claimant.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that Ukrainian events have awakened Belarusian nationalism.

[LINK] “”Lost” Satellite Photos Reveal Surprising Views of Earth in the 1960s”

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National Geographic‘s James Thompson reports on two data scientists in the United States who have recovered some of the oldest satellite images of the Earth ever taken. This, among other things, gives scientists a baseline on changes in everything from sea ice cover to the shape of storms.

Scientists have uncovered a cache of satellite images of Earth from the 1960s that had been forgotten in storage for nearly 50 years and that push back the first satellite images of our planet a full 17 years.

The trove includes the first publicly available satellite photos of Europe, the earliest aerial views of Antarctica’s ice, and a record of Central Asia’s Aral Sea before it dried up. There’s also a rare photo of the most powerful storm to hit North America in modern times.

[. . .]

Earth scientists David Gallaher and Garrett Campbell liberated the data from a National Climatic Data Center archive in North Carolina, uncovering 25 boxes of magnetic tapes and photographic film from three Nimbus weather satellites launched in the 1960s and 1970s.

Gallaher had heard about the data at a conference and called the National Climatic Data Center to request access to some pictures of Greenland. “We have no way of figuring out what’s Greenland,” came the reply.

That’s because the data had never been sorted or digitized. So Gallaher and Campbell took on the painstaking process of digitizing hundreds of thousands of photos and making them publicly available.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 21, 2014 at 10:47 pm

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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  • blogTO shares ten interesting facts about Scarborough.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze looks at orbits where two or more objects can share a path.
  • The Dragon’s Tales reports on Lockheed’s allegedly promising plan for near-term fusion reactors.
  • Eastern Approaches notes concerns about media bias in Slovakian print media.
  • Geocurrents notes how recent events show that Ukraine does not cleave neatly into pro- and anti-Russian halves.
  • Joe. My. God. observes that the Micronesian state of Palau has decriminalized homosexuality.
  • Language Hat looks at the history of how fonts get their names.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the arguably stagnant and over-regulated labour market of France.
  • James Nicoll has announced his ongoing effort, to commemorate the Cuban missile crisis, to review books on nuclear war.
  • The Planetary Society Blog’s Emily Lakdawalla notes that astronomers have found a second small Kuiper belt object for the New Horizons probe to survey.
  • Spacing Toronto blogs about the demographic and economic challenges of millennials in Canadian cities.
  • Towleroad looks at problems with gay intimacy visibility on American television.
  • Window on Eurasia considers tensions over migration in post-Soviet Russia.
  • The World notes the devastating impact on living standards of the Greek recession.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • blogTO looks at what the Financial District was like in the 1970s and 1980s, recommends things to do in Little Italy, and has ten quirky facts about the Toronto Islands.
  • Centauri Dreams notes simulations of how solitary stars like our own Sun are formed.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper noting that evidence of a planetary system outside our own was first gathered in 1917, from a spectrum taken of Van Maanen’s Star. It was only a matter of no one recognizing what the spectrum meant.
  • Marginal Revolution notes a study of filesharing services suggesting that rich countries tend to see music downloads while poor ones download movies.
  • The Planetary Science Blog takes a look at the discoveries of Dawn at proto-planet Vesta.
  • pollotenchegg maps changes in industrial production in Ukraine, noting a collapse in rebel-held areas in the east.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer compares the proposed Home Rule that would have been granted to Ireland in 1914 with current proposals for Scotland.
  • Torontoist notes that despite population growth nearby, the Redpath Sugar Factory will be staying put.
  • Towleroad notes that Estonia has become the first post-Soviet nation to recognize same-sex partnerships.
  • Why I Love Toronto recommends Friday night events at the Royal Ontario Museum.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests that the collapse of Russian civil society is a responsibility of Russian citizens as well as of their state.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

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[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • Antipope Charlie Stross describes why he’s shifting from science fiction to fantasy: the latter better fits the black-box technological zeitgeist.
  • blogTO recommends thinks to do in Kensington Market and Chinatown.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at some proposals for interstellar drives.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes Indonesia’s participation in a South Korean fighter plane project.
  • Joe. My. God. notes a Jamaican newspaper poll that has found 91% want to keep laws against gay sex on the books.
  • Language Hat notes the conflict between traditional and vernacular registers of the Japanese language in the 19th century.
  • Languages of the World’s Asya Pereltvsaig notes the depopulation of the Russian Far Eastern region of Magadan after 1989.
  • pollotenchegg maps out the divisions of Luhansk and Donetsk between government and separatist regimes.
  • Steve Munro writes about how the TTC should keep statistics about travel more readily available.
  • Towleroad notes Morrissey’s statement that he is being treated for cancer.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy lists more reasons to strike down same-sex marriage bans based on the recent Supreme Court ruling in the US.
  • Why I Love Toronto recommends a charming-sounding late-night antique crawl down on Queen Street West.

[LINK] On Canada keeping Russia and China from the 65th International Astronautical Conference

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MacLean’s shared a Canadian Press article noting that Canada did not give visa to Russian delegates to the 65th International Astronautical Congress.

Canada’s refusal to allow Russian delegates to attend a prestigious international astronautical symposium has angered Moscow, which said the decision flies in the face of international space co-operation and amounts to politicizing space exploration over the conflict in Ukraine.

A spokesman for the Russian embassy on Tuesday called Ottawa’s decision to deny visas for the delegates — including one of the country’s most renowned astronauts — unfortunate.

“In this regard, we can only express regret that a number of members of the Russian delegation did not get their visas,” Kirill Kalinin, second secretary at the Russian embassy in Ottawa, told The Canadian Press.

[. . .]

Ottawa initially declined to discuss the issue, citing privacy concerns, but on Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada confirmed some applications were denied, while others were still being reviewed.

“Each will be assessed on its merits by professional, non-partisan public servants in accordance with Canada’s security and immigration laws,” Nancy Caron said in an email.

The CBC goes further, noting that Chinese as well as Russian delegates have prevented from getting visas.

The leaders of Russia’s and China’s space agencies were conspicuous by their absence at the opening plenary session in Toronto, sparking questions from among the thousands of participants.

The questions initially landed in the lap of Berndt Feuerbacher, past president of the International Astronautical Federation, who was moderating the session featuring the heads of space agencies.

“They were foreseen to be here with us, they have been with us in the past, and they will be with us in the future,” Feuerbacher said.

“It is just unfortunate, due to problems especially in the visa area, that we couldn’t have these delegations here. I apologize for this.”

The issue came amid much delegate talk about the importance of international co-operation in the space-exploration field as symbolized by the International Space Station. Russia plays a key role in the space station — its capsule brought home Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield — but has drawn the wrath of countries such as Canada and the U.S. for its aggression against Ukraine.

“How do you want to succeed talking about global space co-operation without involving representatives from Russia and China?” delegates asked Feuerbacher.

“This is not our intention,” he responded.

Walter Natynczyk, head of the Canadian Space Agency, was unable to explain what had gone wrong.

The retired general said he had only been alerted to the visa problem in the past couple of days.

There is a rationale for Russia, at least. But China? I would have thought that cultivating space links with China, or at least keeping connections alive, would have been a priority for the Canadian government.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 1, 2014 at 6:30 pm

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