* Posts by Simon Bradshaw

11 posts • joined 11 Nov 2007

Russia slashes space station ship trip to just six hours

Simon Bradshaw

Re: The slow route

As you say, NASA developed rendezvous techniques on the basis of docking within hours of launch. This was in large part because this work was aimed towards having the LM dock with the CSM after a lunar landing, and the LM ascent stage had to dock as quickly as possible; it just couldn't carry the consumables for a prolonged flight. Even for Skylab, the Apollo ferry craft made RV within hours of launch. It wasn't until Apollo-Soyuz that NASA moved to the long-chase model of docking.

Simon Bradshaw

Re: what's time to a pig?

For resupply missions, time isn't important. But the Progress supply ship is an unmanned version of the Soyuz spacecraft, so it makes sense to test out new rendezvous techniques on Progress first and then implement them on Soyuz. Given that Soyuz is rather cramped, cutting the time from launch to docking from two days to a few hours would be a major improvement.

Nuclear power will let NASA Mars rover beat 1970s Soviet record

Simon Bradshaw

"The comparatively primitive Lunokhod was able to roll much faster - and so much farther - than today's Mars rovers for the simple reasons that Mars is much farther from the Sun"

Sort of - but it's not a power issue that caused this, rather the distance from Earth. Lunokhod was able to drive much further because it could be directly remote-controlled from Earth; the round-trip signal time was only a couple of seconds, which is not an inconvenience at a slow roll. Mars rovers have to be semi-autonomous, which means that even with sophisticated obstacle-avoidance software they are limited in how far they can safely drive each day,

Apple iOS4 upgrade adds multitasking, folders... and pain

Simon Bradshaw

The only problem I had...

...was getting iTunes to actually do the update. It seems that you need iTunes 9.2 for the update to work; earlier versions will offer to update your iPhone to iOS4 but not do so. The issue is that in some cases iTunes 9.1.3 won't update to 9.2; if this happens, the cure is to go to the iTunes page on Apple's site, manually download and upgrade (it's very smooth) and then do the iPhone update.

For a 3GS, the most useful feature is that Mail now supports threading and if you have multiple accounts you can view a common inbox rather than have to navigate between them. Also, the camera seems to shoot much faster now.

The Pirate Party is the shape of things to come

Simon Bradshaw

Accusation of falsity itself turns out to be false

"(The literature issued at the protest falsely states website blocking is in the Bill. It isn't.)"

How very odd, because the Parliamentary Business website, in its list of documents relating to the DEB, includes the version of the Bill passed to the House of Commons:


And within that current version of the Bill we find the web-blocking measure, formerly Clause 17 but now, following some renumbering, Clause 18:


Yes, the Clause inserting the new s.97A CDPA 1988, still there.

As for the assertion that ORG helped draft Clause 17/18 (a clue, Orlowski - Bills before Parliament have Clauses, they only become Sections when the Bill is passed and becomes an Act), it is simply risible. (Yes, I can just imagine Richard Mollet and Jim Killock sitting down together to hammer out some legislation!) The BPI drafted that Clause. ORG then put forward some further amendments seeking to blunt some of its worst provisions, as noted in Hansard:


but these were not accepted. They were not accepted and the Clause, albeit renumbered, is still there in its original form, no matter what Orlowski would try to have us believe.

Surplus astronaut right-sizing imminent at NASA?

Simon Bradshaw

It's the 'Excess Eleven' all over again...


- eleven scientist-astronauts recruited by NASA at a point when it was painfully obvious that there were unlikly to be any missions for them for at least a decade. Two - England and Henize - didn't get a mission for eighteen years.

Lords mull Hail Mary penance for file sharers

Simon Bradshaw

ORG - more going on than you might think

Disclosure: I volunteer for ORG. (Which is, apart from a couple of staff, a volunteer organisation.)

We've been doing quite a bit actually - we're running training days on how to constructively lobby your MP, we've been drafting and commenting on amendments for supportive members of the Lords to submit and discuss, and we've been Tweeting regular updates on the progress of the bill.

Yes, we could do nothing but blog about it, but we feel it more useful to actually do something useful. Not that this is stopping us from blogging - there is in fact an update today.


UK dons dunce hat on copyright law

Simon Bradshaw

Not quite like that either

A J Stiles,

Most copyright cases are civil tort actions, not criminal prosecutions, so will be heard by a judge alone rather than a jury. Unless your case gets appealed up to the Court of Appeal or House of Lords, it's not going to set a precedent. And even if it was a criminal case (e.g. for selling bootleg copies) jury decisions don't set precedents.

Aussie-Irish boozer ejects 'terrorist' drinker

Simon Bradshaw

Could have been worse...

He might have been seen reading this:


- in which case he'd presumably have been taken out on the spot by the local SWAT or equivalent.

Ariane 5 is go: Skynet 5B military chat-sat on the way

Simon Bradshaw


Seeing as how Skynet 1A was launched in 1969, perhaps the MOD should have been suing James Cameron for royalties - it might have helped pay for the later ones!

(And to answer one of the other questions, Paradigm is an offshoot of Astrium, which is Anglo-French, but I understand that the Skynet 5 PFI is financed mainly by a bunch of Japanese banks.)

Great War diary reveals original Captain Blackadder

Simon Bradshaw

No, still in copyright

'Captain Steward finished his diary in 1928, and eventually died of old age in 1966, aged 88.'

Duration of copyright is author's death plus seventy years, so this work will not be out of copyright until 2036.


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