Monday, June 21, 2004

The final frontier

--Burt Rutan did it again! SpaceShipOne successfully became the first private air(?)craft to breach the boundaries of space. After achieving weightlessness, pilot Mike Melvill released a bag of M&Ms and let them float around in the cockpit for about three minutes before beginning the shuttlecock-like descent to Earth. Fortunately, the landing went more smoothly than December's test flight. That's a costly paint job. Speaking of re-entry, did you know that SpaceShipOne has no heatshielding? If you re-enter the atmosphere at low speed, you don't need any.

SpaceShipOne is little more than a proof-of-concept vehicle. It can't carry cargo or more than one passenger, and it's not designed for prolonged or orbital flights. However, the Wright brothers' Kittyhawk flights and Lindburgh's transAtlantic flights were little more than proof-of-concept stunts themselves. All I know is that when, 10 years or so from now, private passenger trips into space come down to the $3k or so mark, I'm booking my seat.

--Courtesy of Robert Fripp's diary comes this disturbing article about Clear Channel's attempt to claim ownership of the concept of bootlegs. Such displays of arrogance, combined with their blatant rightist propoganda, have quickly moved Clear Channel to near the top of my corporate hate list, along with MicroSoft, Monsanto, and Wal-Mart.


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