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Он-лайн трансляция старта корабля «Союз МС-05» 28.07.2017
Экипаж - Сергей Рязанский, Рэндолф Брезник и Паоло Несполи.
28 июля 2017 г.
Старт — 18.41 по московскому времени.
Сайт ЦЭНКИ —

Прямая трансляция предстартовой пресс-конференции
Начало трансляции: 15:00 — 16:00 27 июля 2017 (Московское время)

Прямая трансляция запуска РН «Союз-ФГ» с ТПК «Союз МС-05»
Начало трансляции: 15:40:00 28 июля 2017 (Московское время)
Время запуска: 18:41:00 28 июля 2017 (Московское время)
Окончание трансляции: 18:51:00 28 июля 2017 (Московское время)

Прямая трансляция операции по сближению и стыковке ТПК «Союз МС-05» с МКС
Начало трансляции: 00:40 — 01:00 29 июля 2017 (Московское время)

Прямая трансляция открытие переходных люков, встреча экипажа, первая связь с Землей
Начало трансляции: 02:30 — 03:40 29 июля 2017 (Московское время)

Трансляция NASA начнется в 10:45 a.m. EDT (17.45 по московскому времени) на NASA TV и

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Сегодня вечером буду в прямом эфире «Радио России СПб». Расскажу в 19.10-20 в программе «Петербург. Новости дня». События и комментарии» о Старконе и о научно-популярной конференции «Парсек-2017».
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Credit where credit is due:

Donald Trump is such a talented cultural terrorist.

Consider this morning’s tweetage:

After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow...... ....Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming..... ....victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.

There goes Caitlyn Jenner’s Big Dream of becoming a Marine sergeant!


This is a Big Deal because it’s a basic civil rights issue.

Let's say that Pacific Islanders constituted 1% of the U.S. population (I have no idea whether they do or don't; this is just for the sake of argument), and let's say Trump banned all Samoans from joining the armed forces. Today's tweetage would be something comparable in terms of the basic issues involved.

But it’s such a hot button.

I’m convinced the dialogue around transgender bathrooms is what won the election for Trump.

Personally? I think people have a perfect right to do whatever they want to their own bodies and to justify that any way they please. Do I think some people are born into the wrong bodies? No. But that’s because I think constraints like “femininity” and “masculinity” are cultural constructs devised by a patriarchal society that have little or nothing to do with the actual physical experience of being either female or male. If someone wants to claim a gender that has nothing to do with their genes or their genitals, that’s A-Okay with me, though.

Frankly, I don’t care who shares my bathroom. And I don’t understand why the U.S. doesn’t go for the European solution and install unisex public in all new private and public buildings.

I am against expensive public works projects designed to retrofit existing toilets, but that’s only because I think the money would be better spent elsewhere. Like on schools. Or public transportation systems.

Economic resources are limited at the local level.

But transgender bathrooms are a red flag for anyone who’s even just a little bit right of center. So I don’t honestly know how you go about having conversations about transgender bathrooms or about the right of trans individuals to join the military without derailing conversations that have larger implications for the common good.


Trump is able to create a reflexive fear and terror in a significant portion of the American population by violating their norms and expectations about the social code. He does this for political gain and profit, to gain credibility with his base.

Hitler was good at that, too.


In other news, I met up with BB’s pal Magdala in Kingston yesterday. We walked around Kingston, which is an interesting little city and oh-so-historic: The 17th century graveyard of the Old Dutch Reform Church is filled with the names of local towns and bridges.

Magdala is an interesting woman. She lived in a tiny Moroccan village in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains for three or four years. She married a Moroccan musician, 15 years younger than she is. She fell in love with him because of his voice.

Of course, I was dying to ask, And do you seriously believe that he fell in love with you? Or did he just see you as a meal ticket?

But, I didn’t.

Because, you know, propriety.

Fortunately, the subject came up on its own without my having to bring it up!

The marriage ended, she told me, because she’d had to come back to the States for a couple of months to take care of her dying mother, and when she returned to the tiny village in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, her husband had become an alcoholic. And violent. Threatening to kill her.

“It seemed like such a change,” she said to me. “But then sometimes I would think: Maybe it’s not a change. Maybe he always felt like that. Maybe he was just using me.

“Well,” I said as diplomatically as I could. “The cultures are certainly very different. And I don’t know how many questions would be asked about an American woman who disappeared in Morocco.”

I remembered thinking that exact thing about Imaan: For about a year there, I really was the closest thing she had to a mother. And yet, there really wasn’t any closeness. I was dispensable. I was not part of her tribe, so in some essential sense, I didn’t matter.

(It’s funny. I never felt that way about Summer – who comes from a culture that’s even more unlike mine. I’m tempted to pontificate about the essential differences between Middle Eastern and Chinese cultures here. But I’ll spare you.)

We started talking about North Africa in general.

“I’ve been to Morocco, Egypt, and Tunisia,” I said. “Libya sounded interesting, but it always scared me.”

“Libya used to be a great place under Gaddafi,” Magdala said. “I sure wouldn’t go near it now.”

“Under Gaddafi?” I asked.

“Sure! Oh, come on. You can’t believe anything the American propaganda machine churns out. The Libyans adored Gaddafi. Everyone in North Africa adored Gaddafi. He wanted to create a United States of Africa. That’s probably why the U.S. put a target on his back.”

“Make Africa great again!” I said. “A populist!”

“Absolutely, a populist,” Magdala said.

And a consummate narcissist!”

“I suppose,” Magdala allowed.

“Like Donald Trump!” I said.

Magdala was taken aback. “Well, I wouldn’t compare Gaddafi to Donald Trump,” she sniffed.

“Loved by his base? Hated by everyone else? Sounds like Donald and Muammar were separated at birth!”

“I suppose there are similarities,” she said grudgingly.


In other North African news, Samir – my Algerian student - is really, really smart.

He’s a programmer, right?

A programmer who deals with abstractions that are far more complex than computer programs, which are still based on syntax. He’s an electronics programmer, which is pure machine logic, ones and zeroes that follow no syntax save applied mathematics. It’s a kind of crystalline approach to thought, which is light years beyond anything my brain could approach.

But, of course, he knows computer languages.

I had this thought that since he is a programmer, and I’m trying to teach him to read English very, very quickly, that it might be useful for him to define English as a set of objects and instance variables.

“So,” I said. “You are going to be looking at these sentences for three things: Subject, verb, and object. The subject does the action; the verb is the action; the object is the thing the action is done to, okay?

“Everything else is a modifier. Think of all those modifiers as variables and methods inside invisible parentheses, okay?”

I read a sentence: A tradition as old as the civilization itself, Greek pottery can be studied as a chronicle of ancient Greek society.

“Subject: pottery. Verb: study. ‘Study’ is what they call an intransitive verb, so it doesn’t do something to the so much as affect the object. Object: chronicle.”

I peered at Samir intensely. “Get it?”

He nodded thoughtfully. “But what is ‘chronicles’?”

“Stories. History. Old stories.”

He nodded again.

I read another sentence: It was designed to fulfill a functional rather than decorative purpose, so Greek pottery was fundamentally related to everyday life, not separated from it.

“Subject?” I asked.

“Greek pottery.”

Pottery,” I said. “’Greek’ describes the pottery.”

I could see the lights flickering in his brain.


“Related,” Samir said.

“Very good,” I said. “Object?”

“Life,” he said.

“Excellent! Furthermore, the Greeks’ pottery is an essential source of historical information because so much of it survives today. Subject?”






“Very good!”

“What is ‘furthermore’?”

“Also. In addition to. TOEFL uses reading comprehension examples from academic writing, so the writers are going to use a lot of words that people never use, but you will have to know them. Although vessels may be broken, even these remnants of pottery contribute to contemporary historians’ understanding of ancient Greek culture. Subject?”







“But what is ‘remnants’?”

“Things that are left over. Things that remain.”

“Ah!” he said.

And then he began to tell me about the lost city of Timgad, a Roman city almost perfectly preserved because it lies in the Sahara desert just south of the foot of the Aures Mountains where Batna, the city he grew up in, lies.

Timgad was his playground when he was growing up. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but since it’s in Algeria, nobody goes there. And since there’s no money for public works administration in Algeria, there are no officials to keep curious teenage boys from exploring.

After that, Samir began to tell me about the lost city of Tkout, which is even more obscure than the lost city of Timgad: It exists on no map whatsoever. It’s the ruin of an Amazighe city that flourished well before the birth of Christ, about 100 kilometers outside of Batna. The hovels of the modern prefecture of Tkout – many of them constructed from the stones of the forbidden city – were the birthplace of the Algerian War for Independence.

Two more places I long to go to.

Two more places I will never go to.


Nothing happens for a reason.

Everything happens for a reason.
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Осталось чуть больше двух дней до старта экипажа Сергея Рязанского.

Весной Сергей и Рэндольф Брезник провожали в качестве дублёров экипаж Фёдора Юрчихина (МКС-51/52) и при старте сделали очень вдохновляющую фотографию (селфи):

И вот уже 28 июля Сергею, Рэндольфу и Паоло предстоит стартовать на Международную космическую станцию.

В пятницу на Старконе мы с космонавтом Александром Скворцовым проведём прямую трансляцию пуска.
Там на Старконе будет несколько поводов обсудить, какие же пути есть в космос.
Смотреть дальше )

Mars 160

Jul. 25th, 2017 03:35 pm
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На канадском арктическом острове Девон начался второй этап изоляционного эксперимента "Mars 160". Первый проходил в штате Юта, на Марсианской пустынной исследовательской станции MDRS.

В экипаже эксперимента есть россиянка - журналист Анастасия Степанова.

Началось всё в 2014 году. Настя написала много публикаций в СМИ о своём участии в проекте Марсианского общества: 1, 2.

К тому моменту, как Маск сделает межпланетную транспортную систему нужно подготовиться к жизни и работе на Марсе. Этим Марсианское общество и занимается.

Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station
Смотреть дальше )


Jul. 25th, 2017 02:03 pm
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В пресс-центре Молодежного информационного агентства «МИР» на пресс-конференции «Старкона-2017»:

Слева Эльдар Джарахов и Илья Прусикин (КликКлак), они анонсировали фантастический комедийный ситком «Команда «Э», нулевую серию которого покажут 29 июля на Старконе.
В центре Игорь Пылаев и Никита Студилов.
Справа мы с Лидией Ятлук, представители пятой научно-популярной конференции «Парсек-2017».

В четверг 27 июля вечером буду в прямом эфире «Радио России СПб». Расскажу в 19.10 в программе «Петербург. Новости дня». События и комментарии» о Старконе и о научно-популярной конференции «Парсек-2017».
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15 июля астрофизик Сергей Попов, автор научно-популярной книги «Суперобъекты. Звёзды размером с город», посетил Пулковскую обсерваторию на юге Санкт-Петербурга.
Несколько пусть и не профессиональных, но очень атмосферных фотографий Анастасии Ладченко рассказывают об этом визите.

Смотреть дальше )

Мэг Фостер

Jul. 24th, 2017 10:21 pm
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Дал интервью Мэг Фостер, студентке из США (University of Minnesota). Она ненадолго приехала в Россию для работы над учебным проектом о роли советских и российских женщин в космонавтике (The Role of Women in the Russian Space Program). Московские коллеги рекомендовали меня, как признанного эксперта в российских женщинах в космонавтике. :-) Поэтому Мэг приехала в Петербург для встречи со мной.

Заранее рекомендовал для понимания истории нашей космонавтики английский перевод Бориса Евсеевича Чертока, его четырёхтомника «Ракеты и люди» - Мэг уже почти прочитала.

За перевод спасибо Виктории Мнацакановой.


Jul. 23rd, 2017 10:27 pm
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[personal profile] alien3
Земля как-то быстро сделала ещё один оборот.
Спасибо всем, кто так или иначе был рядом.
Родным и друзьям, Северо-Западной организации Федерации космонавтики России.

Смотреть дальше )


Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:22 pm
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[personal profile] alien3
Все (ну или многие) расстроились оттого, что Илон Маск немного сдал назад, приблизив свои планы к реальности. Как по мне, так это нормально и ожидаемо.
Но Марс всё равно будет наш.

Фото на стенде Северо-Западной организации Федерации космонавтики России
Слева направо: Валерия, Александр Суворов (ГНЦ РФ - ИМБП РАН), ответственный исполнитель эксперимента Марс-500, я и Виталий Егоров
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The fabulous [profile] lifeinroseland is visiting this weekend. Whirlwind of activities!

Exciting tour of the Poughkeepsie ‘hood!

Strange dinner cobbled together from ingredients found at Ocean State Job Lot.


Dragonboat fest!

Local Downton Abbey sighting!

Rhinebeck retail! (I bought a $3 pair of scissors at Sharpy’s!)

More sl-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-eep!

Barbecue with L’s drunken boyfriend!



Today’s itinerary:

An intimate meetup with the Biggest Buddha in the Western Hemisphere.

Antiquing in Cold Springs.

Teary farewell!


I am dying to see if that pink Dior jacket in perfect shape that I didn’t buy for $50 three years because it was a tad too small is still in that antique store in Cold Springs.

It was still there two years ago although bizarrely, the store had doubled the price – I mean, if something doesn’t sell, aren’t you supposed to discount it?

The jacket was beautiful, and for an entire year, I tortured myself: I will write away to Hong Kong for fabric swatches to find one that will match its precise color – something between Hello Kitty and that frothy color you get when you beat Cool Whip into raspberry jello – and then I’ll find some struggling seamstress who is struggling to make commissary money to send to her sons – all three of whom have been locked away in the Fishkill Correctional Facility on cocaine trafficking charges – and I will pay her $25 bucks to lengthen the sleeves and do something about the shoulders –

But damn! A hundred bucks for something I can’t possibly ever wear? I don’t know.

If it’s still there, it should be up to $200 by now.


C is a pretty bright guy, but when he drinks, he turns into a total redneck. And not just any redneck: a redneck with liberal kneejerk biases. Thus, instead of the usual All Muslims are scum! from C, you get, All Republicans are scum!

“And the bastards are trying to shut down Poughkeepsie’s bus system!” C growled.

He had started slurring his words.

One of the big local issues hereabouts is that Dutchess County is finally wresting control of the city of Poughkeepsie’s flailing bus system. Really, the City of Poughkeepsie should not be running anything. The City of Poughkeepsie can barely keep its streets plowed in the winter: I still remember Adventures in Grocery Shopping between the months of December and March when I was living in Poughkeepsie and I did not have a car. They involved hopping from ice floe to ice floe kind of like Eliza fleeing the hounds.

Lois Lane does not have a car and is completely dependent on the public transportation system, so I get weekly updates on just how awful the City of Poughkeepsie’s administration of its bus system is.

Public transportation, in fact, is one of those few areas where economies of scale make perfect sense.

So, it was kind of a ridiculous argument to be having, plus I have a deep sense of C’s underlying tragedy – I can hardly look at him without flashing on the beautiful young artist wife who went mad and the beautiful young artist daughter who went mad: How do you survive tragedies like that without hating yourself, without thinking, It was something I did, I drove them mad?

Nonetheless, I continued having it – fueled, no doubt, by my deep contempt for Joel Tyner whom C kept citing as some kind of an authority. Joel Tyner is the flamingly left-wing county legislator from Rhinebeck, a weasely attention ‘ho of a type that’s very common in Berkeley – I used to date his clones regularly, which no doubt accounts for my deep, irremedial hatred for him. Talking about Joel Tyner in front of me is like waving a red flag in front of a bull.

Anyway, at some point, I realized I had an incredibly well-behaved guest sitting to my left who had not made a peep but who no doubt was bored to tears by this conversation, so I made C shake hands with me – See? We’re still buds! We can still discuss the finer points of cinematography in “The Creature from the Black Lagoon”! – and toddled off to the Patrizia-torium where I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca.

What a ridiculous movie, and how Hitchcock must have suffered when Selznick and the Hayes Code board forced him to tack on that awful ending.
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Spent another day doing absolutely nothing.

This is probably Not Good since starting this evening, I’m embarking upon ten – count ‘em! – days of intense socialization with (one assumes) limited opportunities for revenue generation or imagination mining.

And yet, and yet, and yet…

Absolutely nothing seems to be what I like to do.

Other people like to drink, take drugs, and party; climb Mt. Everest; sail yachts; watch PornHub; have orgies; eat German sausages; cook Italian food etc etc.

I like to do nothing.

Why not indulge myself?


In the afternoon, I did venture out in the oh-so-oppressive heat – 92 degrees, dew point 74 – to do some light shopping at Ocean State Job Lot. Ocean State is a bottom feeder in the liquidator food chain.

The setup of the store physically nauseates me – crude shelves, fluorescent lighting, no attempt at display – and yet I find myself really fascinated with the place: This is where brands go to die. It’s artificially created demand’s graveyard.

This is where Nabisco unloads all those Watermelon Oreos and Banana Split Oreos that nobody in their right mind would ever buy at a supermarket.

Wiffle ball set, anyone? Ocean State’s got like a billion of them.

Discontinued olive oils doctored with chlorophyll? Right this way.

I particularly like the counter of anti-aging skin serums, which since they’re the same ones being sold for $80-plus at various mall anchor client department stores, one must assume are years past their expiration dates so all those carcinogenic chemicals have had a chance to ripen and burst into bloom:


Sometimes, it's true, you can find rare and wondrous things. Where else outside an ethnic grocery store (where you would certainly be overcharged) would you find six separate flavors of dried seaweed?

But in general, what you are looking at is the retail equivalent of cholesterol plaque.


Why the hell is there so much surplus inventory? Be-caw-w-w-se… we have an economy that owes the illusion of its robustness to the production of crud.

This would seem to indicate that inefficiencies exist at some very basic level of the capitalist economic model, no? It’s a particularly interesting question in light of the fact that bricks and mortar retail is under siege right now. Customers much prefer to buy their useless retail items online, which adds yet another layer of inefficiencies (distribution and transportation costs) to the model.

Really, it’s an unsustainable model.

Artificially created demand a/k/a marketing is a great way to persuade people to buy things they don’t want and can’t afford, but as the cost of things that people actually need to survive like housing, energy, and food continues to spiral and the gap between the 1% and the 99% continues to grow, ya gotta think at some point, in the not so distant future, this business model implodes.

I could write all day about this one.

But I’ve got to drag my sorry ass out on the trails before the temps hit 90.

2017 МВ1

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:46 pm
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Сегодня российские сетевые СМИ написали громкую новость про пролёт опасного астероида 2017 МВ1 мимо Земли 22 июля. Астроном Мария Боруха пояснила в эфире канала «Фонтанка.Офис», что новость мягко говоря раздута:

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Spent yesterday reading Joshua Green’s Devil’s Bargain cover to cover. An obsessively readable book all about the symbiotic relationship between Donald Trump and Steve Bannon.

Bannon was the mutagen who spun the conservative RNA, and Trump was the pointy-headed virus who penetrated the body politic. The disease was the narrative, Crooked Hillary.

The most interesting part of the book for me - since I am what the Trump team dubbed a “double hater” and it’s all about me-e-e-e, right? – was this:

[B]oth campaigns battled for a group of voters who would ultimately decide the race. ... Trump's data analysts gave them a nickname: 'double haters.' These were people who disliked both candidates but traditionally showed up at the polls to vote. They were a sizable bloc: 3 to 5 percent of the 15 million voters across seventeen battleground states that Trump's staff believed were persuadable.

Early on, many indicated support for third‐party candidate Gary Johnson. But after a series of televised flubs, ... they largely abandoned him. ... Many refused to answer pollsters' questions ... These were the voters Clinton had hoped to shear off from Trump with her 'alt-right' speech in August. ... Comey's letter had the effect of convincing the double haters to finally choose.

Double haters ended up going 47% for Trump, 30% for Clinton.

I stuck with the original game plan and voted for Gary Johnson.

As I see it, Comey's letter was not a precipitating event, but a cumulative event that was like the denouncement of a story that Bannon et al had been telling - but more importantly, circulating - about the Clintons for a very long time. The massive Hillary hatred was the result of a very conscious campaign.

Of course, Trump’s story is filled with as many if not more unpalatable facts than the Clintons, but since Trump was not a public servant until very recently, it’s difficult to work up a sense of moral outrage however easy it may be to feel personal disgust.

Also Trump was a celebrity, and the purpose of celebrities is to function as collective ids, no?

One of the most fascinating parts of Devil's Bargain, by the way, is how Trump managed to carry over the narrative from The Apprentice into his campaign. Trump benefited from advertisers' determination to make The Apprentice an ethnically inclusive show so it could sell more McDonald's hamburgers! Black and Hispanic voters LUVVED The Apprentice!
And this is one of the reasons why Trump didn't tank as badly among black and Hispanic voters as Democratic pollsters predicted he would.

Anyway, it’s very clear to me that unless the Left becomes more comfortable creating narratives, they’re cooked.

Лунный план

Jul. 20th, 2017 03:20 pm
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[personal profile] alien3
Комитет инновационных проектов молодёжи Ракетно-космической корпорации «Энергия» им. С. П. Королёва на МАКСе представил свой вариант лунной экспедиции:

Репортаж о МАКСе у Александра Ильина.
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[personal profile] alien3
Несомненно, важное выступление Илона Маска на конференции International Space Station R&D в Космическом центре им. Кеннеди во Флориде.
Планы компании SpaceX меняются в связи с техническими и экономическими сложностями. И это правильно. Многих энтузиастов вчера порадовало, что он «спустился с небес на Землю».

Всё-таки постоянная действующая база на Луне (и орбитальная станция) - это и серьёзный шаг в космос и то, что человечество сейчас может себе позволить.


Jul. 20th, 2017 09:36 am
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[personal profile] alien3
В 2018 году наш институт принудительно переводят на зарплатные карты платёжной системы «Мир».
Ирония, карты «Мир», которые не принимают к оплате во всём мире, кроме республики Крым.
Впереди выборы, которые не выборы, буду голосовать сердцем. :-)
Ну если что, сам впишу своего кандидата в бюллетень.


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