60 years ago in space

Laika, Russian cosmonaut dog, 1957. Laika was the first animal to orbit the Earth, travelling on board the Sputnik 2 spacraft launched on Nov. 3, 1957. The Soviet space program used dogs and other animals to ascertain the viability of later space travel. (Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

From the New Yorker;

On the evening of November 3, 1957, barely a month after the Soviet Union sent humanity’s first artificial satellite into orbit, a rocket lifted off from a secret site in Kazakhstan, carrying its second. The launch of Sputnik 2 was timed to coincide with the fortieth anniversary of the October Revolution, and the craft itself was an appropriately showy statement of Communist know-how—six times heavier than Sputnik 1, designed to fly nearly twice as high, and, most impressive of all, containing a live passenger. A week before the mission began, Moscow Radio had broadcast an interview with the cosmonaut in question, described as “a small, shaggy dog.” Western newspapers, however, were initially confused about what to call her. Introduced as Kudryavka (“Little Curly”), she was also known as Limonchik (“Little Lemon”) and Damka (“Little Lady”). A Soviet spokesman eventually clarified that her name was Laika (“Barker”), which did nothing to stop a columnist at Newsday from referring to her exclusively as “Muttnik.”

It kind of went like this:

Well, not really;

But the story of Laika had a dark lie at its core. In 2002, forty-five years after the fact, Russian scientists revealed that she had died, probably in agony, after only a few hours in orbit. In the rush to put another satellite into space, the Soviet engineers had not had time to test Sputnik 2’s cooling system properly; the capsule had overheated. It remained in orbit for five months with Laika inside, then plunged into the atmosphere and burned up over the Caribbean, a space coffin turned shooting star. Turkina quotes one of the scientists assigned to Laika’s program: “The more time passes, the more I’m sorry about it. We shouldn’t have done it. We did not learn enough from the mission to justify the death of the dog.”

And this final word from Laika’s trainer:

Laika’s trainer, Adilya Kotovskaya, a Russian biologist, recently told Agence France-Presse of her remorse as she prepared to send Laika into space: “I asked her to forgive us and I even cried as I stroked her for the last time.”

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The other side of modernity

I’ve had a few “Blade Runner” moments. Times Square at midnight in summer. Listening to Japanese radio while standing on a hotel balcony overlooking downtown Honolulu. Walking from building to building across interconnecting  enclosed pedestrian bridges in Hong Kong. The marvel of the Las Vegas strip.

In those moments, I felt like I was looking into the future. But it was the present. And the reality is those experiences are now part of my past.

The cliche is true. The future is now.

A fat stupid blowhard has a few words on a hurricane

You all know this is on the way, right?

• Hurricane Irma, one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic, hit the eastern Caribbean on Wednesday with winds of up to 185 miles an hour.

• With two confirmed deaths in the French Caribbean, President Emmanuel Macron of France says there will be “victims to lament.” There was also at least one death in Anguilla, a British territory, and another in the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda.

• The Category 5 storm has begun lashing Puerto Rico and is threatening havoc and destruction in the Virgin Islands, the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Cuba is also at risk.

• President Trump declared a state of emergency in Florida, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands. The storm is expected to reach Florida on Sunday, potentially causing catastrophic flooding.

This is what it looks like from space (click to enlarge):

And here’s a view of it on the ground:

You’ll never guess what the commentators on the right are saying:

The reason that I am leery of forecasts this far out, folks, is because I see how the system works. Now, I don’t mean this to be a personal attack on anybody, but the one thing that’s undeniable throughout our culture is that everything has been politicized. And in that sense much of our public information system, including from the government, from the Drive-By Media, has been corrupted. It has been corrupted by the individual biases and whatever present bigotry of the people who hold these positions.

You can see it in the way the Deep State deals with Trump. You can see it with the way the intelligence community and the Washington establishment deal with Trump. So in the case of a hurricane, what happens? Well, there are many levels here. When a hurricane pops up — and we can’t forget Hurricane Harvey because Hurricane Harvey and the TV pictures that accompany that go a long way to helping further and create the panic.

Now, in the official meteorological circles, you have an abundance of people who believe that man-made climate change is real. And they believe that Algore is correct when he has written — and he couldn’t be more wrong — that climate change is creating more hurricanes and stronger hurricanes. And, of course, when Harvey hit, it was the first hurricane that had hit in 12 years. There haven’t been more hurricanes and no more dangerous than any others in previous years.

But it doesn’t matter because the bias is built in. So there is a desire to advance this climate change agenda, and hurricanes are one of the fastest and best ways to do it. You can accomplish a lot just by creating fear and panic. You don’t need a hurricane to hit anywhere. All you need is to create the fear and panic accompanied by talk that climate change is causing hurricanes to become more frequent and bigger and more dangerous, and you create the panic, and it’s mission accomplished, agenda advanced.

Now, how do you do this? Well, any number of ways. Let’s take south Florida television, for example. There is symbiotic relationship between retailers and local media, and it’s related to money. It revolves around money. You have major, major industries and businesses which prosper during times of crisis and panic, such as a hurricane, which could destroy or greatly damage people’s homes, and it could interrupt the flow of water and electricity. So what happens?

Well, the TV stations begin reporting this and the panic begins to increase. And then people end up going to various stores to stock up on water and whatever they might need for home repairs and batteries and all this that they’re advised to get, and a vicious circle is created. You have these various retail outlets who spend a lot of advertising dollars with the local media.

The local media, in turn, reports in such a way as to create the panic way far out, which sends people into these stores to fill up with water and to fill up with batteries, and it becomes a never-ending repeated cycle. And the two coexist. So the media benefits with the panic with increased eyeballs, and the retailers benefit from the panic with increased sales, and the TV companies benefit because they’re getting advertising dollars from the businesses that are seeing all this attention from customers.

The dipshit saying this is Rush Limbaugh. He’s calling Hurricane Irma “fake news.” His rabies infested mind has decided it’s all a plot by the “deep state,” television stations and stores to create panic and make money.

If he really believes this, he should get a big towel and sit on the beach to wave to Irma when she sidles up the shoreline.

But the cattle in the path of this monster storm who tune in every day to cheer Limbaugh on are going to stay put to defy “them liberals.” And they’re going to die.

Sometimes, you just gotta thin out the herd.

Here comes the Sun, so walk on by

NASA put together a 4K experience with the Sun about a year ago:

And 20 years ago, this song was released:

Even if you had a space suit that could withstand a few million degrees and incredible pressure to keep you alive, you can’t walk on the Sun. There’s no surface. It’s just a big ball of gas and plasma, mostly hydrogen.

Meanwhile, I can’t believe this song is 20 years old. That seems like a long time. But then, the sun is 4.6 billion years old, so from that perspective, the song just happened less than a fraction of a millisecond ago.