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Interesting Findings And World Unfolding Through My Eyes.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Space Race

THE moon appears to warp the minds of some men. In folklore unlucky souls are said to transform into werewolves under its influence. But the malign sway of the Earth’s satellite is evident beyond the realm of fantasy. Despite putting men on the moon in 1969 America seems hell-bent on re-enacting the space race, this time pitting its efforts against those of the Chinese. Now a Russian company claims it could develop a system to exploit the moon’s natural resources and potentially relocate harmful industries there. This is lunacy.

Russia certainly has great prowess in space. In its former guise as the centre of power in the Soviet Union it launched the first man-made satellite, Sputnik, in 1957. In a spectacular follow up, Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space in 1961. Another triumph came in 1968 when the Russians sent a spaceship to orbit the moon with turtles aboard, returning it and its living cargo safely to Earth. An unmanned Russian spacecraft also landed on the moon ahead of the first manned landing by the Americans. Even after Neil Armstrong took his one small step, Russia has proved its superiority in keeping people in space stations orbiting the Earth. The Russian Soyuz rocket is a mainstay of satellite launches and would be used to rescue astronauts should any accident befall the International Space Station.
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Nikolai Sevastianov, head of RKK Energia, the spacecraft manufacturer that helped achieve these Russian successes, this week boasted that his rockets could be used to industrialise the moon. So why were his remarks greeted with such scepticism? Mr Sevastianov told a news agency, “It is time to think about the industrial development of the moon. We are sometimes criticised for making such suggestions too early. But it is time to do this given the limits to natural reserves on Earth and the pace of civilisation’s progress. Nor can we dismiss the idea of outsourcing harmful industries into space.”

One reason for the cynicism is that the idea is absurd. A United Nations treaty passed in 1967 bans potentially harmful interference with the Earth’s original satellite and requires international consultation before proceeding with any activity that could disrupt the peaceful exploration of space, including the moon. A second problem is that landing on the moon has proved beyond the budget of any state other than America and of any private company to date. Russian rockets are perfectly capable of orbiting the Earth’s original satellite—as was proved 40 years ago—but landing involves a lot more capability and expense than is at present feasible. Moreover the proposals for “industrialisation” are woefully short on detail. Mr Sevastianov's claim is all to do with getting more money for his company.
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Sherlock Holmes Animated Short

The Murder of Lord Waterbook (Part One | Part Two) is a beautifully-drawn Sherlock Holmes send-up by Russian animator Alexander Bubnov. The visual style and subtle humour are both understated and perfect. Even the animation itself, which looks to be done in AfterEffects is surprisingly nuanced.

You can check out the original script and some sketches on the creator’s LiveJournal. While the film is in Russian, the version on YouTube has English subtitles.
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In My Last Night Dream Came Few Lines Flodded From Moore

Oft, in the stilly night
Ere slumber?s chain has
bound me,
Fond memory brings the light
Of other days around me:
The smiles, the tears
Of boyhood?s years,
The words of love then spoken,
The eyes that shone,
Now dimm?d and gone,
The cheerful hearts now broken!
Thus, in the stilly night,
Ere slumber?s chain has bound me,
Sad memory brings the light
Of other days around me.

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Free E-Books

The Ultimate Guide.
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Size Zero

A fascination with being thin is a defining part of this rapidly fattening age and nothing exemplifies it better than the recent tumult in fashion and the media over the size zero physique. A size zero is officially 31½-23-34 — little-boy statistics that can be applied to some of the biggest red carpet names of the day. But the term doesn’t bring to mind vital statistics; it has come to represent a state of slenderness and richness that to most normal eyes looks like skin, bone, expensive hair and lovely clothes.

Personally I don’t care too much about the debate in fashion. Models have always been thin and while some have issues, generally the model’s body is an extraordinary one: they are a gangly slender breed unto themselves. More fascinating — and alarming — are the lengths other women will go to physically and mentally to keep themselves well under their natural body weight; and the extent to which most of them think their natural weight is essentially fat.

I am never quite satisfied with my body, but aside from largely healthy eating and regular exercise I can’t be bothered to do much more about it. However, when I was challenged to make a documentary about what it takes to attain the distinctive anticurves of the size zero, I said yes.

These are the lowlights of my descent into starvation.
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