RIP Klaus Dinger (a brief note for now)

It completely escaped me earlier today but I’ve only just learned that one of the most astonishing performers of his time and place has passed on. A great, great loss. I’ll have more to say tonight, but for now, please enjoy this live clip from 1974 of the song “Hero” — that’s him singing there up front. If this performance only seems reasonable enough at best, that’s because two minutes is just not enough.

I love headlines like “Robot Ship Cleared to Dock With Station”

Another busy day, but on a science note, this kind of stuff, as I’ve talked about before, is always a thrill:

Managers of the International Space Station on Wednesday cleared Europe’s new Jules Verne cargo ship for its first docking with the orbiting research outpost.

After assessing results of two days of trial maneuvers around the station, including having the two craft close to within 36 feet of one another, the Mission Management Team of international partners in the project gave approval for an attempt on Thursday to link the ships.

The Jules Verne, named for the visionary French author, is the first of a new class of robot station supply ships called Automatic Transfer Vehicles or A.T.V.’s. The robot ship was built by the member nations of the European Space Agency as one of Europe’s major contributions to the international station.

“We have proven that Jules Verne’s systems are safe, reliable and ready to dock to the station,” John Ellwood, the A.T.V. Project Manager for Europe said after getting approval to proceed. “Everyone has worked very hard to get to this point.”

In the wake of Arthur C. Clarke’s passing, noting how workaday this has the appearance of being — even though it isn’t — and how relatively unremarkable this is in a year filled with all sorts of other concerns on the collective is itself remarkable. This is both a milestone and something expected — and I’m pleased and thrilled.

Meantime, here’s to yet another in the endless series of remarkable shots one can get in space:

The Jules Verne in orbit

More about the ATV program run the ESA here. Well worth your time.

Way too tired to think of an April Fool’s

And even if I did it would be somewhat overwrought. So a quick vote for my favorite one of the day — Depeche Mode’s:

When the band were recording their “Black Celebration” album, the boys took a break, and recorded a full album of “oldies”. Named “Toast Hawaii” (after Fletch’s favorite food item at the recording studio cafeteria, and later used as the name of Fletch’s record label), the album has not been heard outside of the “inner circle” of Depeche Mode’s friends since the 1986 recording…until now.

All copies of the album were thought lost, until Mr Gore found a cassette copy of “Toast Hawaii” in a box of old cassettes. After extensive remastering, the project is ready to be released.

Following recent web releases by bands such as Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails, the “Toast Hawaii” album will be a web release. Starting April 8th, fans will be able to purchase multiple formats of the album:

$10: The full album in your preferred digital format (AAC, MP3, FLAC, WAV)
$20: The full album in digital format, along with a copy of the album on compact disc, autographed by Fletch.
$40: The full album in digital format, along with a copy of the album on compact disc, not autographed by Fletch.

I freely admit it didn’t hit me this was a joke until that final part.

Otherwise it’s another busy slog of reviews and other work for me tonight, and will be tomorrow as well. Patience, faithful readers — and I know you’re out there! — and I’ll be posting more soon. But academic quarters take out their own time, as does all the writing work I do. Hope everything’s well — and if all goes as planned, I’ll have a long overdue garden update tomorrow…

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