News Briefs 25-09-2006

All your base are belong to us.

  • A Japanese probe has been launched to investigate solar flares. Unlike the new film Sunshine, it’s an unmanned mission.
  • China’s Shijian-8 satellite has returned to Earth with its payload of special seeds that may feed billions.
  • NASA chief Michael Griffin is brown-nosing the Beijing beaurocrats and sniffing around China’s space program.
  • The Hubble Space Telescope has done it again, finding more than 500 galaxies that existed less than a thousand million years after the Big Bang.
  • Saturn has a new ring, sparking rumours that the gas-giant is engaged.
  • UP Aerospace gears up to launch cargo aboard low-cost rockets into space from its New Mexico base.
  • Space tourist Anousheh Ansari continues to work and manage her business, despite orbiting the Earth on the International Space Station. What a waste, turn off the laptop and enjoy the view!
  • More than 1100 US Commerce Department laptop computers were lost, stolen or missing in the last five years. I feel guilty when I steal a pencil.
  • DARPA is spending millions of dollars on programs researching how to grow arms and legs back for soldiers who lost them at war. Someone at DARPA’s been reading Richard Morgan’s science-fiction novels.
  • Altered Carbon, by Richard Morgan, is the first Takeshi Kovacs novel (Amazon US or UK). Scifi, crime noir, French and Japanese cinema, William Gibson and Philip K Dick, it’s one hell of a futurist mix.
  • Here’s a transcript of former US President Bill Clinton’s venomous reaction to Fox News’ attempt to smear him. Think Progress also has video. Great website.
  • The state of California has filed a lawsuit against six leading car manufacturers, arguing that exhaust fumes are damaging the state’s climate, economy and public health.
  • Attendees at a secret pirate radio camp learn how to build their own FM transmitters and avoid the Feds. This one time, at Pirate Radio camp …
  • The flamboyant Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, leader of the Russian republic of Kalmykia, claims to be in telepathic contact with aliens.
  • Do the Russians have a Bigfoot carcass on ice, or are the caretakers of Lenin’s corpse getting sloppy these days?
  • Sam Ejike Okoye, a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science, discusses extraterrestrial life and its possibilities.
  • A recent study in Japan has found that all parts of the human hand emit detectable levels of light. Clyptomaniacs are the brightest because they’re light-fingered.

Quote of the Day:

The personal, as everyone’s so f*cking fond of saying, is political. So if some idiot politician, some power player, tries to execute policies that harm you or those you care about, take it personally. Get angry. The Machinery of Justice will not serve you here – it is slow and cold, and it is theirs. Only the little people suffer at the hands of Justice; the creatures of power slide out from under with a wink and a grin. If you want justice, you will have to claw it from them. Make it personal. Do as much damage as you can. Get your message across. That way you stand a far better chance of being taken seriously next time. Of being considered dangerous. And make no mistake about this: being taken seriously, being considered dangerous, marks the difference – the only difference in their eyes- between players and little people. Players they will make deals with. Little people they liquidate. And time and again they cream your liquidation, your displacement, your torture and brutal execution with the ultimate insult that it’s just business, it’s politics, it’s the way of the world, it’s a tough life, and that it’s nothing personal. Well, f*ck them. Make it personal.’

Quellcrist Falconer, Things I Should Have Learned By Now Vol II

from the novel Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan

  1. Mutant seeds
    Hi Rick,

    Apparently, all your base belong to China’s mutant seed program. That link is tied to the Shijian-8 satellite article (as it should be), the NASA chief Michael Griffin and China’s space program article, and the Space tourist Anousheh Ansari article.

    BTW, I remember an ancient SciFi movie where the grasshoppers eat the mutant seeds and the village gets eaten by grasshoppers the size of busses.

    Thanks for the news.


    1. China still cool
      Thanks Bill,

      I have no idea how I posted the same link, because I did those news pieces at separate times of the day. Weird. Now excuse me, I must get back to reading Mao’s Little Red Book …


  2. Saturn has a new ring
    I recall an article in the Fortean Times a few
    years back in which some fine fellow claimed that the rings of Saturn are being constructed by vast machines of unknown origin and purpose.
    I think he had a book out called ‘The Ringmakers of
    Saturn” (or maybe that was what the article in the mag was called?)
    It definitely was FT and Pravda.

    1. Takeshi
      I ripped through all three in quick succession. I paced the third one out, because I just didn’t want the books to end!

      Apparently Morgan isn’t bringing Takeshi back, but I reckon he will. Morgan said he’s finished the Protectorate universe and has no more exploration to go, and he’s making up a new one now. It’ll be interesting to see what he does, considering how politically conscious he is. It’s not every day John Pilger’s journalism gets worked into a scifi novel.

      I could really use neurochem, and a resleeve …

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