More Junkmail from Bob!
Monday, April 08, 2002
The Latest from Vladivostock!
When I travel I think it's fun to read the local newspapers. It's interesting, funny, and most of the time it's just like home.
With the internet, I don't have to limit my newspaper reading to places I go. It's fun to pick out an arbitrary place in the world and see what's going on there. Such as Vladivostock, Russia. That's in the southeast corner of Russia, close to China and not far from Japan. Here's some recent news from Vladivostock.
Agents uncover Chechen plan to hijack sub
"A Nakhodka journalist was severely beaten last week, in what is widely believed is retaliation for his critical reporting of authorities. It was the third assault on him in recent years." I guess
that's free press up to a point.
Attackers rough up journalist
Some Russian monks (http://www.monast.ru) decided to raise money over the internet. They contracted a company to send out some email requesting donations. They didn't realize the email would be sent to millions of people.
Monastery web site offline for spamming
Some military installations had their power turned off because they hadn't paid their electric bills.
Mongolian maestro conducts city orchestra
Snowfall called biggest in 50 years
Putin may abolish the draft. He was impressed by the U.S. military in Afghanistan.
Putin OK's plan to cancel conscription
The Primorye (state) legislature didn't make it. 18 of 39 seats were elected. The others didn't count because less than 25% of the registered voters voted.
Incomplete legislature elected
Russian Judges have to be careful too.
Judge suffers acid assault
Russian secret police archive released
There are Rotary clubs in Russia, too. This looks like most any Rotary web site.
Really Cold Ocean
When I was browsing around Russia, I ran across a web site talking about someone's trip from Japan, along the coast of Russia, and across to Alaska -- in kayaks!
The second of three new communications satellites was launched in February. Boeing built it and is responsible for getting into geosynchronous orbit about 22,900 miles high. It made it into orbit, but then Boeing had a fuel problem. I haven't been able to find out if it's fixed yet.
Intel vs. Yoga
Intel's lawyers say they own the phrase "Yoga Inside." The Yoga Inside Foundation disagrees. Intel's lawyers say they have no choice in the matter. Right.
Three Microsoft web sites were "defaced" a couple of weeks ago by a Brazilian group of hackers. The exploited a known security hole in -- surprise -- Microsoft's web server.
They left a Portuguese message that said "Bill Gates, my beloved and millionaire friend," and ridiculed Microsoft for failing to heed their own security bulletins. I think that's pretty funny. Some people think it's international terrorism.
Here's a copy of the defaced page. The one on Microsoft's site was replaced fairly quickly.
Who lives where? Here are some populations of some countries, as of 1995 or 1996.
Here are some more:
Paintable Solar Cells
A guy from Berkeley named Paul and some other people have made some plastic, paintable solar cells. It's easier to make than traditional solar cells, but the output is about 10 times too low at the moment. There's a lot of potential if they can make this work. You could put solar cells on just about anything, from boats to backpacks.
Last Junkmail I said that Sally Ride was the first woman in space. Tom Watson corrected me on this, and I had just forgotten about it. Sally Ride was the first U.S. woman in space. Valentina Tereshkova is the first woman to orbit earth in 1963, in the Soviet Vostok 6.
Here's what Tom said -- it's pretty interesting:
"Tereshkova, Valentina (1937 -) Cosmonaut and the first woman to fly in space, born in Maslennikovo, Russia. She worked in a textile factory, qualified as a sports parachutist, and entered training as a cosmonaut in 1962, becoming a solo crew member of the three-day Vostok 6 flight launched on 16 June 1963. She was made a hero of the Soviet Union, and became a member of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party in 1971. Since 1992 she has been chairman of the Russian Association of International Co-operation. (By the way, I got this information from AND Classification Data Limited. I didn't ask their permission to send this to you, so I hope they don't mind.)
"She actually lived in Yaroslavl, Russia for many years, a city I've visited a few times. It's a city of about 800k, about 200 miles north of Moscow. I met a friend of hers there a couple years ago, who proudly showed pictures to us of herself with Tereshkova. My Russian friend (a babushka - grandmother - whose grandson, named Yaroslavl after the city founder, is a good friend of mine) could not contain her desire to tell us all about the first woman in space. They were members of the parachuting club in Yaroslavl. They used to jump out of planes together for fun in the '50s and '60s. It turns out Tereshkova was actually second-pick. The woman the Russians originally wanted to send on this historic flight (I can't recall her name) had begun to train, but got pregnant during training. So they had to go with Tereshkova, who went up with much less training as a result - the communists liked to stick to their schedules for political reasons, I guess. Tereshkova's still around, and from this information, looks like she's still busy. She's getting pretty old though, probably around 70, if she's anywhere close to my friend's grandmother's age."
Among other things, it says "Yahoo!'s practice is to include web beacons in HTML-formatted email messages (messages that include graphics) that Yahoo! itself sends in order to determine which email messages were opened and to note whether a message was acted upon." I guess if I erase Yahoo's messages before I read them, they won't get their web-bug contact and they'll figure they're wasting their time trying to sell me something.
I went to my Yahoo account just now and noticed that somehow I had opted (without knowing) to receive advertisements via email. Apparently when I accepted the new privacy agreement, I "asked" for a bunch of Junkmail. But it's fair because they all get added to my Junklist...
Jamie Dotson explained to me how the USPS stays in business. It's really simple. AOL pays them.
I guess AOL must have sent out about 8,323,734,637,236,217 CDs and diskettes in the past few years. I like the label on this one. The "secret" password is on the outside of the package, and the PO box but is just a hair too big for Pryor.
Two years ago in January, AOL announced they would buy Time Warner for about $160 billion in stock.
Now it looks like it's not such a good deal, at least not for Time Warner. AOL had high-priced dot-com stock at the time. They cashed in by trading it for a "real" company.
I have been accused of hating AOL and Microsoft. That's not true. There are decent people that work at both companies. It's just that AOL and Microsoft are so easy to make fun of, I can't resist!
Last summer at Oshkosh I took a picture of a neat airplane. It's the first pressurized airliner, and I believe it's the only one still flying.
A few days ago some people at Boeing were getting checked out in the plane. They were approaching the airport when they reported a "gear problem." They turned around, and a few minutes later they landed in the bay. I'm not sure what happened, but it's possible that they ran out of gas.
A New Frontier
Last week a Frontier Airlines flight landed at Dulles International Airport near Washington. They intended to land at Washington National, the airport near the White House, Pentagon, and Capitol, etc. They "failed to properly deliver the password" now required for National, and they were forced to land at Dulles instead.
If that wasn't enough, the same crew flew to National later the same day. They had "trouble with their navigation equipment" and flew over some restricted airspace in Washington -- directly over the Vice President's house, and just west of the White House and the Washington Monument. Luckily, the Air Force didn't shoot them down with F16's and the Secret Service didn't launch any Stinger Missiles at them.
The two Frontier pilots were "suspended pending an investigation."
I wonder what they'd do to me if I did that...
Pictures of Today!
Here's a good picture of some thirsty airplanes. It's from avweb.com.
I went to the model airplane show at Toledo this week. We stopped at Dayton on the way at the Air Force Museum. It's really impressive. I left my camera in Dayton, so I only got pictures of "big" airplanes. (I picked it up on the way home.)
The XB70 was a research prototype of a big bomber that could go over mach 3 in spurts. They only made two of them I think. One of them had a mid-air collision and crashed. Here's the other one. Did I mention that it's BIG?
It has 6 engines, each one producing 30,000 lbs. of thrust.
A few weeks ago Don Byrnes gave me a book on the development of the SR-71, "Blackbird Rising." It's impressive what they accomplished, and even more so when you consider that they did it without the aid of modern computers. There were computers then, but they were generally less powerful than a Playstation II. The book has lots of details about the once classified "black project."
This book inspired me to take some SR-71 pictures at the Air Force Museum. This is the first operational SR-71, flown in 1968:
Notice that the pitot tube is bent a little. I guess this must be from air pushing on the "outrigger" at 2000 mph.
The engine, front and back:
The plane, front and back:
Here's the SR-71 J58 engine.
The X15 is a rocket-powered plane that flew even higher than the SR-71. It had to be launched from a B52 instead of taking off from the ground. It had a range of only about 250 miles.
Here's the front of the X15. I think the round part swivels with a small jet coming out of the bigger hole to steer the plane when there's not enough air for the control surfaces.
Here's the rear of the X15. The fire in this section drove this plane to more than 4000 mph.
The museum web site has better pictures than I do, and much better explanations. I'd recommend a cybertour.
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