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Wednesday, 04 February 2004

Wednesday trawl, part two

Times Opinion on legal language. Can't work out whether it's praising or damning, to be honest, but if it's any help we get told off for this sort of thing nowadays:

I gave up reading law at university because it made my brain hurt. It was partly a matter of jargon — the definition of non-feasance, the burden of proof required to demonstrate “testamentary incapacity”, the extent to which mens rea is the essential concomitant of the actus reus, they all contributed to a thudding pain behind the eyes. [more]

ESA Aurora Programme - roadmap to Mars:

Aurora’s long-term plan stems from two strands: the current human spaceflight experience in low Earth orbit (LEO) and the development of robotic planetary exploration. The former is to be continued and enhanced so that human spaceflight can be extended beyond LEO. The latter will be pursued throughout the Aurora Programme with the aim of extending capabilities towards larger spacecraft suitable for the human exploration of the solar system. The intertwined development of capabilities in the two strands will eventually result in Europe being able to play a key role in a future international human mission to Mars. [more]

Big-ass convection tower in Australia to generate similarly big-ass sized amount of electricity:

A solar greenhouse with a 7.2km (4.5-miles) circumference will be spread around the base of the tower and heat air so that it is about 30C (86F) hotter than air at the top. The temperature difference will create an updraft of about 50kmh (30mph), which will drive a bank of 32 turbines. At night, tubes filled with water heated during the day will allow the station to continue to produce power.[Times article and Company website]

As expected, really - human cloning attempt fails. Notwithstanding the dubious benefits brought about by human reproductive cloning the anticipated abysmal success rate in terms of mortality for both offspring and mother is more than enough discouragement to even think of trying this at the moment:

The attempt by US fertility expert Panos Zavos to clone a human has failed. The controversial scientist recently announced he had successfully implanted a cloned human embryo in a woman's womb. But tests have shown that the woman did not become pregnant. [more]

Technicians apparently forgot to delete temporary files on Spirit:

The Spirit rover dedicates 32MB of its 128MB of RAM to the onboard Wind River VxWorks operating system and a host of science applications, and as the mission progresses, technicians are scheduled to periodically delete old files and directories to clear out the memory for reuse, [Mike Deliman] said. But with all the excitement after the Mars landing on Jan. 3, and with data being returned to Earth by the rover, that step was not performed quickly enough by mission technicians. [more]

Pearls of wisdom for expectant mothers:

Dads, remember to remark, quite spontaneously, on how much thinner and babe-like she's looking (this is important). If tempted to remark on how tired/stressed out you are, check your own bottom for stitches and/or general battering, and shut up. [more]

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