Russia Eyes Replacement Spaceport For Baikonur
Russia, whose space programme relies heavily on a base in neighbouring Kazakhstan, is to build its own launch site for manned flights by 2018, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov was quoted as saying Wednesday.
The new Vostochny base in the Amur region of southeast Russia, bordering China, will be an alternative to the Baikonur base, a Soviet-built facility that Russia now leases from Kazakhstan.To use a military term, we will open a ‘second front,’” Ivanov said, Russian news agencies RIA Novosti and Interfax reported.By 2016 the new cosmodrome should be ready for rocket launches of any type and by 2018 it is planned that we will also be able to make manned flights from there,” Ivanov said.
*Sigh*. An end of an era. The Baikonur Cosmodrome saw the beginning of Sputnik, manned space flight (Yuri Gagarin), the Space Race, the first female cosmonaut launched, all of that cool Cold War stuff! Oh well, all good things must come to an end. *sniff*
Unbelievable — What Are the Odds of This Happening?
Life can sometimes produce fascinating, extraordinary coincidences. Here are a few of the most amazing ones:
- In 1975, a man riding a moped in Bermuda was accidentally struck and killed by a taxi. One year later, the man’s brother, riding the very same moped, was killed in the very same way by the very same taxi driven by the very same driver — and carrying the very same passenger.
- Twin brothers Jim Lewis and Jim Springer were separated at birth and adopted by different families. Unknown to each other, both were named James, both owned a dog named Toy, both married women named Linda, both had a son they names James Alan, and both eventually divorced and got remarried to a woman named Betty.
- Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, and John Adams helped to edit and hone it. The Continental Congress approved the document on July 4, 1776. Both Jefferson and Adams died on July 4, 1826 — exactly 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
- A German mother who photographed her infant son in 1914 left the film to be developed at a store in Strasbourg, but was unable to collect the film picture when World War I broke out. Two years later she bought a film plate in Frankfurt, over 100 miles away, and took a picture of her newborn daughter — only to find, when developed, the picture of her daughter superimposed on the earlier picture of her son. The original film, never developed, had been mistakenly labeled as unused and resold.
- In 1858, Robert Fallon was shot dead by fellow poker players who accused him of cheating to win a $600 pot. None of the other players were willing to take the now unlucky $600, so they found a new player to take Fallon’s place, who turned the $600 into $2,200 in winnings. At that point, the police arrived and demanded that the original $600 be given to Fallon’s next of kin — only to discover that the new player was Fallon’s son, who had not seen his father in seven years.
Coincidence? Weird stuff.
Second Life cracks down on virtual world banking
Second Life operator Linden Lab of San Francisco now bans members from offering interest or any direct return on cash investments unless they have real-world proof they are a legitimate financial institution. Since an in-world bank called Ginko Financial collapsed in August of last year Second Life has been bombarded with complaints about such operations breaking promises of wildly high annual rates of return.The situation posed legal hazards and threatened to destabilize the Second Life economy, has its own currency, called Lindens, which can be earned in-world or bought with real-world cash, according to Linden Lab. “We’re implementing this policy after reviewing resident complaints, banking activities, and the law, and we’re doing it to protect our residents and the integrity of our economy,” Second Life said a website posting.“Usually, we don’t step in the middle of resident-to-resident conduct — letting residents decide how to act, live, or play in Second Life,” the company said.
Hmmm, I wonder if the Linden Labs honchos read Charlie Stross’ Halting State?