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Archive for October 2009

Unimpressed By Ares 1-X

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What about the Ares 1-X launch? What we have seen is the 480M$ demonstration that a Space Shuttle’s Solid Rocket Booster can fly on its own. A step towards a Moon mission dream? Methinks not.

It’d be vastly cheaper to develop just a capsule to launch on top of the Ariane-5. Or better yet, order 200+ Soyuz flights from Russia.

What is missing is a really heavy launcher, not yet another reinventing of the manned rocket.

Written by omnologos

2009/Oct/29 at 01:20:51

Posted in Astronautics, Moon, NASA, Space

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Media And Democracy In Italy – What Freedom? And Whose Freedom?

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PANEL DISCUSSION IN OXFORD, 21 OCTOBER 5PM

MEDIA AND DEMOCRACY IN ITALY – WHAT FREEDOM? and WHOSE FREEDOM?
Berlusconi and the case of La Repubblica’s ten questions

Taylorian Institute, Room 2
Wednesday 21st October – 5 pm

A panel discussion organised by
Italian Studies at Oxford and the Axess Programme on Journalism and Democracy
In collaboration with the Oxford Italian Society

Chair: John Lloyd
Director of the Axess Programme, Contributing Editor of the Financial
Times and Director of the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism

Enrico Franceschini
London Correspondent and London Bureau Chief, La Repubblica

Dr. Daniele Albertazzi
Senior Lecturer in European Media, University of Birmingham

Maurizio Morabito
Press Secretary, Freedom Party (PdL), London Circle

Prof. Andrea Biondi
Secretary, Democratic Party (PD) London Circle

for more information, please contact: italianstudies@area.ox.ac.uk

AXESS PROGRAMME ON JOURNALISM AND DEMOCRACY

Written by omnologos

2009/Oct/20 at 21:07:31

Posted in Italy, Journalism, Politics

(Legally) Bombing The Moon

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Still not much out of the LCROSS team, victims of “HYPErspace” to say the least. Let’s entertain ourselves in the intervening time with a Forbes.com article “Bombing the Moon“. And for those in a hurry:

The LCROSS mission is an important and expensive scientific experiment. Nonetheless, comments on Web sites such as Scientific American and Nature indicate that quite a few people thought the whole venture to be some sort of outer-space vandalism. Some even wondered whether NASA might have acted illegally or violated an international law or treaty by setting out to “bomb the Moon.”

The answer is no. But while many might be surprised–dismayed, even–to hear that there is such a thing as “space law,” there are treaties governing activities in outer space, including the Moon.

Written by omnologos

2009/Oct/13 at 21:50:11

Newsweek Explains Berlusconi

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Eye-opening article by William Ward in Newsweek (of all places!) explaining the “miracle” called Silvio Berlusconi:

[…] As strange as this preference seems to outsiders, there are several very Italian reasons for Berlusconi’s ongoing hold on politics at home […]

Italian voters have, in three general elections, chosen the devil they know over his dull and plodding opponents on the left. It’s not just for his showmanship; Italians also appreciate his hard work as a retail politician and electoral strategist […]

he attempts to muzzle his opponents and highlight his achievements through the media […] But in this he is merely following a well-trodden Italian tradition […]

his frequent complaints that Italy’s magistrates (a highly politicized and overwhelmingly leftist bunch) have it in for him are not entirely unreasonable […]

Written by omnologos

2009/Oct/12 at 23:22:19

Posted in Italy, Politics

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Sincerity Reaches Horoscopes

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As mentioned in the BBC’s Radio4’s Friday Night Comedy show The News Quiz on Oct 9, 2009 (25m47s): this text has been published in free newspaper “Metro”‘s horoscope section (Virgo):

You’ve been held back by too many what-if’s and and maybe’s, Virgo. You can’t foretell what’s going to happen tomorrow, next week or next year, so…why waste your time wondering?

Written by omnologos

2009/Oct/11 at 23:30:45

Posted in Humor

Tagged with , , , ,

Novel Peace Prize 2009

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Oslo, October 9 (MNN) – U.S. President Barack Obama incessant mentioning of the word “peace” has been rewarded with this year’s Novel Peace Prize. “No, it’s not a mistake by a person hitting the wrong key at his laptop on a Friday night,” said an anonymous source. “The Committee simply decided it was time to reward the possible future, as it looks so much better than the actual past“.

In other news: bloggers all around the world are rejoicing. Now they know, all it takes to bag over a million dollars, is to talk about nice things.

Written by omnologos

2009/Oct/09 at 21:41:44

Posted in MNN, Nobel, peace, USA

Tagged with ,

First Law of Planetary Building

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First Law of Planetary Building: no two planets will ever be alike.

Corollary #1: if two planets are almost identical, then at least one of them will have at least one outrageously peculiar feature.

Corollary #2: Universes made of perfectly identical planets are not allowed.

The First Law is manifest in the fact that each planet in the Solar System and elsewhere appears to be a unique, very specific experiment with peculiar conditions that are never repeated elsewhere. Even single satellites are all very different from one another. And if you want to top strangeness, how about Corot-7b with its clouds of minerals?

Mineral clouds

Mineral clouds

One objection could be raised about Venus and Earth, or Uranus and Neptune, as both couples look like made of identical twins. However, Venus’s hellish atmosphere and very slow, retrograde rotation are truly outrageously peculiar features; and Uranus basically lies to one side (hence corollary #1).

Corollary #2 is necessary otherwise the First Law is invalidated. It seems plausible, since the number of universes is large but not infinite.

Written by omnologos

2009/Oct/07 at 00:19:02

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