Sunday Things - Soviet space edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday May 19 2013

Yet more space? Indeedy. This time with post-communist leanings.

Two-thirds the mass of Mir in a single launch.
The secret laser-toting Soviet satellite that almost was - in the late 1980s, the Soviets launched an immense testbed for a laser battle platform into space, a response to Reagan's Star Wars missile defence system. Perhaps fortunately for the world, while the Energia launcher operated flawlessly, Polyus-Skif itself just span right round before immediately re-entering the Earth's atmosphere. But despite the unfortunate ending, its long-lost descendant lives on at the heart of the International Space Station... The article's author, Ms. Teitel, operates the fascinating Vintage Space blog.
The fashion police have arrived and think this operation is awesome.
Orlan Space Suit Training - one of ESA's newest astronauts, Samantha Cristoforetti, being trained in the operation of an Orlan space suit. The suits haven't vastly changed since Soviet times. Rugged, reliable and far easier and quicker to don than the NASA equivalents. And I still haven't found out why they're always a certain off-white putty colour.
The diving bell and the butterfly, floating down through the Venusian murk.
Venera: The Soviet Exploration of Venus - the Soviets (and subsequently the Russians) never had much luck with exploring Mars, but excelled at Venus. Multiple landers making it down to a surface which would make Hell seem hospitable, Don P. Mitchell's website is a treasure trove of near-forgotten information. Definitely look at his reconstructions of surface imagery from original data!

Bonus 2001: A Children's Odyssey corner:

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey - Howard Johnsons Children's Menu - gloriously confused retelling of the film, from 1968. One of my first memories is of watching 2001 on telly. Given how much I remembered of it, from ape-men to EVA pods to space-baby, I must have seen all of it. Aged four. This probably explains a lot.

Space Oddity

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Monday May 13 2013

Next step: launch Bowie into space as a permanent fixture on the ISS.

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Commander Chris Hadfield? Already people's hero. Now? In his last video from the International Space Station before returning to Earth he's something much, much more.

Sunday Things - yet more space edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday May 12 2013

Links! In spaaaaaaace!

This 1970s-designed space hardware is still more advanced than the Nostromo
Space Shuttle Full Fuselage Trainer - this is perhaps the closest a random member of the public will get to going inside a Shuttle. Fascinating exhibit at the Museum of Flight, Seattle. Of course I took photos. Not to be confused with Le Shuttle!
Let's play spot the duct tape!
Space Shuttle Orbiter Tour - Flash-based interactive panoramas through the shuttles and associated infrastructure. I went looking for such imagery when wondering quite how similar the Shuttle trainer was to the real things - the answer is very. The real shuttles are a bit less worn, but here you can experience the space-going scuffed paintwork, scratches, bits of duct tape and velcro patches everywhere.

Why is there sound in space???/?///1

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Gravity film trailer - perhaps not live footage of NASA's recent emergency repairs to the International Space Station, Alfonso 'Children of Men' Cuarón's upcoming film definitely looks positively splendid. I really, really hope everything else holds up - there could be ... interesting orbital mechanics involved with going from a Hubble Space Telescope service mission (on the Space Shuttle Explorer, no less) to the International Space Station (involving a parachute-deployed Soyuz and a neither-an-Orlan-or-a-Strizh spacesuit). Someone's definitely done their homework in creating fictionalised versions of real-world space hardware. But the physics?

My nice view had an apartment block built in the way.

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Chris Hadfield's Snapshots from Space - happen to find yourself in space with a dSLR, some long lenses and want to take some nice pictures? Here's some handy advice. Jammy git.

Bonus Where-in-the-world-are-you? corner:

  • GeoGuessr - fun exploration game involving Google's Street View. You are placed in a random location. Can you place yourself on a map? I occasionally get the right continent. Even more occasionally the right street.

Sunday Things - miniature egotism edition

posted in Media by Cargo Cult on Sunday May 5 2013

Brain has been eaten by re-release of a side project. For anyone here due to Raspberry Pi hacking or whatever, my previous hobby of computer game modding accidentally turned into a job. Anyway, for various reasons, I've got round to re-releasing my oft-downloaded Half-Life 2 mod. On Valve's mighty, world-spanning Steam. Yay!

A bit higher profile than Das FileGoatMatic®
MINERVA on Steam - or if you'd rather, the super-cryptic official site.

Things will be back to normal next week, once my brain has accumulated sufficient new links for linking.

Sunday Things - Edité-Frignim edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday April 28 2013

Important information! And some rust and decay.

Our fantastic leader uses Helvetica (I checked)

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Building a Human - pay attention to this important message from our fantastic leader, Arpoovian Shebber-Shenty. From the creators of Look Around You (electrocuted).
All the world's a stage, and oops that bit just dropped off
Stages of Decay - newly-available photo book from Julia Solis documenting the fading theatres, cinemas and vaudeville houses in this 21st century. via rjp
A surprisingly cheery post-apocalypse
Happy End - Dietmar Eckell's photos of long-abandoned aircraft wrecks, remnants from crashes in which everyone survived. Loads more to explore on the site as well. via Michael C.

Bonus Spaghetti Code corner:

  • The Marbled Lungfish - largest known genome of any vertebrate, this unassuming creature is the Microsoft Windows of the animal world. What does it do with a genome over forty times the size of a human's?