The other day I came across a story on the internet about a couple of Italian teenagers in the 1950s who used to listen in on the American and Russian space ships as they flew overhead.
They claimed that (among other things) they had heard several unannounced Russian space failures, including one ship that unintentionally left orbit and headed off into space never to return, and a couple where something went wrong and the cosmonauts appeared to perish in orbit.
It was all a little unnerving to think about it too much. Not necessarily unexpected what else we know about the Communist government’s general history and behaviour or the problems with the Russian space program that we do know about.
Overall the story is a good short read though.
One of the interesting things I noticed this year in relation to ANZAC day was the changing national cultural attitude to the Gallipoli landings.
Everywhere there seemed to be an increased focus on the experiences of the Turkish forces who were at Gallipoli. Turkish veterans were involved in the dawn services and the marches in the cities. The usual ANZAC day evening barrage of documentaries contained a number of shows that either directly dealt with, or included aspects of the Turkish perspective and history of things, and the focus seemed to be on soldiers from two sides who developed a respect and admiration for each other. They made light of the individual personal perspectives of the Turkish soldiers and officers, and highlighted the fact that in addition to the well known tales of heroism and bravery by the Australian and New Zealand forces, the Turks had also performed remarkably both at an individual and unit level, in a setting of being under strength and poorly equipped, in a war they had little personal interest in.
In what either has to be a spectacular revelation, or the mother of all from-the-grave practical jokes, a guy who worked at the Roswell Army Air Field, signed an affidafit stating that he saw the famous flying saucer and its alien crew, and had the statement released following his death.
I’m going with practical joke, but cool either way.
I have in the past commented several times on my opinion that a really worthwhile application of digital technology lies in the ability to digitally photograph, catalogue and store the contents of old and rare (particularly religious) texts so that they should be accessable to everyone.
The other day I stumbled on another little technology that makes this an easier and more realistic prospect.
It’s called DjVu and is a new image compression system designed specifically to allow documents to be scanned so as to be readable, and to compress the resulting files to be smaller than if they had been compressed with other systems such as JPEG.
One step closer.