Category Archives: Points of Information

First photos from inside Hayabusa capsule

Update and bumped: More details have been released about what was inside the Hayabusa capsule. In total, two 0.01 millimeter particles have been found in the inner capsule, and about 10 large particles in the outer capsule.

The first photo from inside the Hayabusa capsule has been released, showing the presence of a tiny 0.01 millimeter particle. It is still unknown whether this is an asteroid particle or something captured on the return to Earth.

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Another climategate whitewash?

Another climategate whitewash? The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency has reviewed the 2007 UN IPCC report and decided that, though the report did have some really embarrassing errors (including some new ones uncovered by the review), the IPCC’s conclusion — that global warming is happening and that it is caused by humans — must still be correct.

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Government and the impending shortage of helium

The law of unintended consequences strikes again! We are going to run out of our supply of helium, and it is all because the government first tried to manage and control the resource in the early 20th century, and then decided in the 1990s to extricate itself from that management. For those of us following the continuing space war over NASA’s future, this story is most instructive in illustrating how difficult it is to get the government out of our lives, once we have let it in.

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Docking at ISS of Progress freighter fails

The arrival of a new unmanned Progress freighter at ISS has gone wrong, with the freighter drifting past the station by several miles. What happened is not yet clear, but as far as I know from my research into the Russian space station program, this is the first time the automatic docking of a Progress freighter has failed this wildly. There have been some near collisions, but to miss by miles is unprecedented.

Whether they can redirect the freighter back to the station also remains as yet unknown.

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why I remain skeptical about global warming

Here is another example of why I remain skeptical of any claims that the science of global warming is settled. Ken Stewart, a retired school teacher in Australia, decided to make a very detailed comparison between the raw data and adjusted data of all thirteen weather stations in the state of Victoria, and found that, for unknown reasons, the adjusted “data [has] been arbitrarily adjusted to cool earlier years,” thereby creating the illusion that the region’s climate has been warming since the 1930s.

Take a look at the many graphs on his webpage. It will make you wonder.

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why I never use Wikipedia

Why I never use Wikipedia. Key quote:

The larger moral of this story is that Wikipedia itself is a fundamentally flawed and unreliable source. In fact, it is wrong even to describe — much less to use — Wikipedia as a source. Wikipedia is merely a platform. Since anyone and everyone can edit Wikipedia entries and since they can do so anonymously, Wikipedia is, by its very nature, susceptible to constant manipulation.

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More images of Ikaros

A new picture of the Japanese solar sail Ikaros has been released, showing the sail in operation. By turning power on and off to different sections along the sail’s rim, engineers can change the way light reflects off those sections to control the sail’s attitude in space without using fuel. Note also that the power comes from sunlight, not from batteries. The picture below illustrates this, with different parts of the rim either bright or dark, depending on whether they are powered or not.

Ikaros as seen on June 19, 2010

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