Seeing Red

Kitsch 'n giggles for the ROKENROL scene


May 2006

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bygone era October 2002

October 30, 2002

Oh My God! They've Killed Laika!

LaikaRemember Laika, the first being to be launched into orbit from Earth aboard Sputnik 2 in 1957? It was widely believed that Laika lived for a week or so, but Dimitri Malashenkov of the Institute for Biomedical Problems in Moscow revealed in a scientific paper presented at the World Space Congress that thermal insulation problems during the launch caused Laika to panic, overheat, and die within five to seven hours.


October 26, 2002

Music of Space, redux

As previously reported, tonight at the University of Iowa the Kronos Quartet will be performing "Sun Rings", a 10-movement musical composition commissioned by NASA and based on the radio waves that course through space. But if you can't make it to Iowa on time, you can sample a few of the sounds of space online.

Samples of sounds converted from plasma wave instruments from Galileo's studies of Ganymede's magnetosphere

Sound from Voyager's passage through the bow shock of the solar wind against Jupiter's magnetosphere

Sound from Cassini of the interaction between the solar wind and Jupiter's magnetosphere


October 24, 2002

Red Elvis Sighting

Music from the Red Elvises will be featured on the FOX comedy "Fastlane" on their second episode, titled "Gone Native".

To bring down a team of Russian gun-runners, Van and Deaq team with a renegade agent (Rod Rowland) who may be on the wrong side of the law. Katiay: Natalia Shimanchuk. Federov: Ilia Volok. Nikolai: Levani Uchaneishvili. Wisdom: Lamont Johnson.

Check TV for your local listings.


Atomic Barware

Test Shot shot glassThe National Atomic Museum is peddling shot glasses decorated with atomic imagery, including embedded pewter Fat Man and Little Boy glasses. (I recommend you concoct some suitably radioactive-looking drink from the Star Trek Cookbook to serve at your next party.)


October 16, 2002

Cosmic Surfing Soon to be a Reality

Sky diving getting a little stale? Bungee jumping going bland? Thrill seekers will soon be able to take an affordably (?) priced ride in a Vomit Comet from a new company, Zero Gravity of Santa Monica. I shudder to think of what that company's logo will look like, though.


October 07, 2002

How Sputnik Got its Name

From Johnson's Russia List comes memories of Sputnik.

From: "Albert L. Weeks"
Subject: Sputnik 1
Date: Sun, 6 Oct 2002

My own recollection of Sputnik 1, 45 years ago, has an odd twist (in re JRL 6474)..
I was working on Newsweek's Science Desk that memorable October afternoon day in 1957 as the old AP machine tock-tock-tocked with the amazing news of the Soviet launching of an artificial satellite. As an editorial assistant, I tore off those vibrant pages and immediately passed them on to Managing Editor Manning.
He immediately called an emergency editorial-staff meeting. Since I was the only one in the N.Y. office who knew Russian (Newsweek correspondent Leon Volkov was in Moscow and unavailable so late at night, Moscow Time), Manning asked me, "Weeks, what are we going to call this thing, anyway? What does 'ISZ' mean?"
I explained to him that these initials, repeated in the AP wire, meant "Iskusstvennii Sputnik Zemlyi"--or "Artificial Earth Satellite. "
"So, what can we call it for short?" he asked me urgently.
I answered that, well, we could go with the initials. Or, maybe just "sputnik," small "s."
Pronouncing it "sputtnick" instead of "spootnik," Manning then asked me, "What does that mean?"
I answered "fellow-traveler, in the non-political sense, or in the context of the launch, 'satellite.' "
"So, we'll go with 'sputnik,' " Manning decreed.
So, Newsweek came out that Monday with "sputnik" as a common noun, the only publication, so far as I know, to do so on that early date.
Years later Webster's International Dictionary, under "sputnik," credited Newsweek with first usage of this term as a common noun.


Picking the Perfect Present for Putin

Russia is in a tizzy; everyone is trying to decide what to give president Vladimir Putin for his upcoming birthday. Other leaders are considering naming streets, squares, and even mountains after him. And so far he's got to write thank-you notes for three Arabian horses, given to him to by King Abdullah of Jordan. One organization even gave him a crown: a replica of the Shapka Monomakha, the ancient ceremonial crown used at the coronation of the tsars. It's not known yet whether the president will accept it.