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Diary
By TheophileEscargot (Fri Sep 01, 2006 at 10:29:22 PM EST) Watching, Reading, MLP, Space, ODGF (all tags)
 


What I'm Watching
Went to see the London production of Avenue Q: Sesame Street spoof with rude bits. Been meaning to see it since that The Internet is for Porn song that did the rounds a while back.

I'm not usually into musicals, but you can't really go wrong with a concept like that: ranged from at least mildly amusing to LOL-funny. Highlights: puppet sex and the Bad Idea Bears.

Production: some pretty clever set design and nifty puppet-swapping. Found the puppetry a bit disconcerting at first: the puppeteers wander around the stage and do the same body movements, expressions and speech; so at first your eyes seem more drawn to them, but you get used to it pretty quickly.

Audience: oddly seemed less USian than you usually get in the West End: maybe they've all already seen it in New York.

So, worth seeing if you fancy a change and can stomach West End prices. Might even be worth going for the stalls if you can: I think the puppetry may mean the sight-lines are tighter; and they seemed to be directing things straight forward.

Times, Guardian reviews; Wikipedia.

Space
So the next NASA manned launcher is to be Orion. Seems somewhat irrationally depressing. Seems to be pretty much just another Soyuz: capsule launched by rocket. Certainly seems likely to be much safer than the Shuttle, but also much lower in capacity and vastly less ambitious. Seems almost like the end of the reusable spaceship concept.

Also, seems almost like that for getting to the ISS they might as well just stick with Soyuz, since it's little different: it's untried technology, so is likely to be more dangerous,. If it's just being built out of national pride, why bother? At least the Shuttle's dangerousness was partly due to its ambition.

Also not sure that the basic Shuttle concept was a bad idea: stick it on top of the stack where it can't be hit by debris, get rid of the pointless military long-glide capacity; and something like the Shuttle might well work.

Reading
Not been reading much in this week: still busy at work.

Started Douglas Coupland's latest JPod, but haven't got very far. It's not bad, quite niftily done, but just seems very repetitive of his other books so far. Partly seems to be a retread of Microserfs, but with some zany family stuff bolted on.

Operation Don't Get Fatter
Up a couple of pounds after visiting the parents as expected.

Web
Rate DVD commentary tracks from the worst of the worst to the best of the best.

Useful tips on video.

"And it's all in the best possible taste" corner. World Trade Center "coins" with towers on a hinge so you can stand them up, or...

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It's like I'm surfing at the speed of light | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
It's the money by yicky yacky (4.00 / 1) #1 Sat Sep 02, 2006 at 01:31:45 AM EST

The ESA has been kicking NASA's rear in the commercial payload sector for the last few years. For commercial loads — i.e. just sticking stuff in orbit — you don't need anything as complex or reusable as the shuttle. NASA wants that market back. Nothing irrational about it.


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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
But by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #2 Sat Sep 02, 2006 at 01:41:23 AM EST
Surely you don't need a manhuman-rated rocket for the commercial market? And they already have their Atlas and Delta rockets for those kind of launches.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
No commercial launches by Vulch (4.00 / 2) #3 Sat Sep 02, 2006 at 03:10:06 AM EST

NASA isn't allowed to compete for commercial launches, the Atlas and Delta launchers are owned and operated by their manufacturers. What they do want is jobs protection for themselves and their contractors when shuttle flights end.

Orion has been specced to be too large for Atlas and Delta to handle (Size wise, not weight) hence it needs a new launcher. The new launcher will use shuttle components they have decided, that keeps Morton Thiokol producing solid rockets, the various contractors at Michoud keep making tanks, and all the teams at Canaveral putting the bits together, and not to mention all the nice juicy development contracts going to the usual suspects between now and cancellation.

A couple of weeks ago there were some much smaller contracts awarded to cover cargo delivery to ISS between shuttle flights ending in 2010 and the Orions first flight in 2014, these have to have the capability of being adapted to carrying crew as well. It does make you wonder why it is necessary to develop the Orion when an interim vehicle with similar capabilities is also being ordered in half the time and a fraction of the cost.

[ Parent ]
Thing in the Guardian or Observer at the weekend by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #4 Mon Sep 04, 2006 at 01:05:28 AM EST
About the Space Lift happening at last, turned out to be a load of journalistic gumpf though. Can't find a link, sorry.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

I think I saw it by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Sep 04, 2006 at 09:32:31 AM EST
Some sort of competition or other. I don't think they're anywhere near a cable strong enough though: the carbon nanotubes aren't really long enough or mass-producable enough yet.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Also by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #7 Mon Sep 04, 2006 at 11:55:42 PM EST
It mentioned that the most successful climbing robot managed to get about fifteen feet before conking out.

It's a bit of a way off yet I think :-)

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It's political correctness gone mad!

[ Parent ]
Space by Stereo (4.00 / 1) #6 Mon Sep 04, 2006 at 04:04:39 PM EST
You mean like Hermes?

Trollem mirabilem hanc subnotationis exigiutas non caperet
It's like I'm surfing at the speed of light | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback