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Friday,  02/03/06  07:09 PM

Wow, I'd missed this.  Venus Express blasted off (last November).  "European-built spacecraft designed to explore the hot, dense atmosphere of Venus made contact with mission control after blasting off on its five-month journey to Earth’s neighbor, scientists said.  The European Space Agency’s unmanned Venus Express probe, which lifted off from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, should take 163 days to reach Venus."  That's excellent.  Mark your calendars!

I'd saved this but haven't linked it:  In response to the challenges faced by the Space Shuttle, Xeni Jardin asked "what would Burt Rutan do?"  And then she got this answer: "One can argue that Rutan could make a design that could make orbit cheaply.  However, his building SS1 is not good evidence of that.  That is a completely different requirement requiring entirely different engineering.  A much harder and much more expensive requirement."  Exactly.  Which makes what Elon Musk is trying to do with SpaceX (launch next Wednesday, BTW) so impressive.  Check out the post for lots of hard numbers.

I guess we'll find out more when SS2 launches, followed by SS3.  "Orbital vehicle SpaceShipThree (SS3) will be developed by space tourism company Virgin Galactic and Mojave-based SpaceShipTwo (SS2)-developer Scaled Composites, if the planned SS2 suborbital service is successful, says Virgin Galactic president Will White­horn."  So be it.

Lance Armstrong and Sheryl Crow have split.  So be it.  I still love them both :) 

O.M.G.  Screenshots from Windows 1.01.  Wow.  Brings back memories.  Good ones, oddly enough. 

Slate on Penn Jillette.  One of my very favorite entertainers, because he doesn't assume the audience are idiots, he assumes they aren't idiots.  And has fun anyway :) 

Eric Raymond: The Cheesecake Factory Must Die.  "When some soulless android of a chain restaurant designer willfully perverts the meaning of 'traditional' so he can sell dreck to the ignorant with the illusion that said dreck is just like what his Yiddish grandma made, that’s where I reach my limit.

Continuous partial attention.  Say what?  (Are you paying attention :)  Yes, this is a meme of the moment, to which people are paying some portion of their attention.  Somewhat related to attenuation: "Any time you have to make a choice about anything is a time when you need to attenuate, and maybe you could externalize that method of choice into the system itself; any time there's too much complexity to be understood immediately is a time when time-based attenuation can help."  Riiight.  Clive Thompson tries to clarify; "Can anyone find a way to make your constantly beeping computer leave you alone and let you work?  Inside the nascent field of interruption science."  There is something to this; I find excluding external interrupts so I can concentrate is crucial. 

Ottmar: contemplationTonight's sunset is courtesy of Ottmar Liebert (at left, click for bigger pic).  Awesome!  Puts me very much in mind of the artwork at right (click for bigger pic), entitled "contemplation", which Ottmar received from a viewer.  That could be him, composing a haunting ode to the sunset...