Monday, July 25th, 2016
Saturday, March 5th, 2016
The voice of MOL
The latest issue of Spaceflight—the magazine of the British Interplanetary Society—dropped through my door, adding to my weekend reading list. This issue contains a “whatever happened to” article about the military personnel who were supposed to crew the never-realised MOL project.
Before Salyut, Skylab, Mir, or the ISS, the Manned Orbital Laboratory was the first proposed space station. It would use a Gemini capsule and a Titan propellant tank.
But this wasn’t to be a scientific endeavour. The plan was to use the MOL as a crewed spy satellite—human eyes in the sky watching the enemy below.
The MOL was cancelled (because uncrewed satellites were getting better at that sort of thing), so that particular orbital panopticon never came to pass.
I remember when I first heard of the MOL and I was looking it up on Wikipedia, that this little nugget of information stood out to me:
The MOL was planned to use a helium-oxygen atmosphere.
That’s right: instead of air (21% oxygen, 79% nitrogen), the spies in the sky would be breathing heliox (21% oxygen, 79% helium). Considering the effect that helium has on the human voice, I can only imagine that the grave nature of the mission would have been somewhat compromised.
Friday, June 5th, 2015
100 words 075
Today was a Salter Cane practice day. It was a good one. We tried throwing some old songs at our new drummer, Emily. They stuck surprisingly well. Anomie, Long Gone, John Hope …they all sounded pretty damn good. To be honest, Emily was probably playing them better than the rest of us.
It was an energetic band practice so by the time I got home, I was really tired. I kicked back and relaxed with the latest copy of Spaceflight magazine from the British Interplanetary Society.
Then I went outside and watched the International Space Station fly over my house.
Sunday, August 21st, 2011
A joint effort by the Tau Zero Foundation and the British Interplanetary Society to research the design of an interstellar spacecraft.
Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
Melville’s masterpiece, translated into Japanese emoticons. All 6438 sentences. Made possible with Kickstarter and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.
Thursday, May 20th, 2010
Mozilla, Opera and Google are collaborating on an open format for audio and video for the web (a wrapper for Vorbis for audio and VP8 for video).
Wednesday, August 26th, 2009
The iPhone App of Magnetic North's wonderful serendipitous Flickr photo viewer is now available for free. It's lovely.
Friday, July 1st, 2005
He described the atmosphere on the world wide web as a free-for-all that was “close to that of unpoliced conversation.” Um... I have to admit that I've never had a policed conversation, online or off.