ME and Ophelia

Friday, April 30, 2004

And Organisational Story-Telling

People think in stories, talk in stories, communicate in stories, even dream in stories. If you want to understand what's going on in an organization, you need to listen to the stories. Moreover, if you want to get anything done in an organization, you need to know how to use to story to move people. Read more on Organisational Story-Telling...
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These Giant African Land Snails are native to Africa and found in parts of Asia. They are known to consume as many as 500 different plants. Maybe people have tried to cook and eat them, like escargot in garlic butter. Interesting how its known that the mucous from these snails can transmit meningitis. Sadly, I once knew a 15-year-old girl who died from meningitis but no-one could say how she contracted the illness. Her name was Tammy and she was adorable.
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By Kevin Drum, formerly of Calpundit

Seems you can't say "suck" on the radio. As in, say, "Saddam Hussein sucks" (just to pull an example from a hat).

Some amusing comments - especially by Phil.

[via Richard Gayle]

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 4/30/2004 0 comments  
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Soyuz spacecraft makes flawless landing

Great news! All three astronauts are safely on Earth. "It was right on the money - an almost bull's-eye landing," NASA said.

Note these photos of the astronauts' landing. Their capsule looks tiny and Foale and Kaleri look poorly. Especially Michael Foale, he looks exhausted. Conditions up there in the International Space Station must have been awful. Six months ago, just before Michael Foale left Earth, his face was beaming with good health. Family and friends must be terribly worried.

Surely, living in space for six months will have had an adverse affect on their health. Weightlessness alone must do something to the bones and muscles. Here's hoping Foale and Kaleri will be feeling better soon. And that they got along together OK.

Imagine the way they lived, in such close quarters, for six whole months. Everyone has their funny little ways and annoying habits. I can't imagine what's worse, living for six months underwater in a nuclear submarine or far away in space on a dodgy platform.

Wish they'd give more interviews on what it's really like living up there for six months in that rustbucket, while taking advice from NASA and the Russians. Imagine the argy bargy, in times of stress and tension, between NASA and the Russians. The cultural barrier alone is mind boggling. Not to mention the bureacracy, egos and politics. It'd be great if the BBC did an in-depth documentary on the life of the astronauts' six month stint aboard the ageing ISS.

Here's the story of today's great landing:

An American who is really British, a Russian and a Dutchman came hurtling back to Earth today strapped tightly into a space capsule, touching down for a spot-on landing that capped a ride they described as beautiful but tiring.

The Soyuz TMA-3 capsule that brought them home, touched down flawlessly in the steppes of Kazakhstan. The bell-shaped descent module landed upright, on its bottom, and the astronauts, enfeebled by the speedy descent, were carried out. Crews rushed to bundle them in fleece-lined sleeping bags and serve hot tea to stave off the early-morning chill.

Nasa hailed the smooth operation as another sign of American-Russian cooperation more than a year after the shuttle programme was grounded because of the Columbia disaster. Columbia broke up as it re-entered the atmosphere over Texas in February 2003, killing all seven astronauts.

The landing of the space station's previous American-Russian crew in October went without a hitch — unlike the dramatic landing of the first American astronaut in a Russian Soyuz capsule in May 2003, when a computer error sent the crew on a wild descent 250 miles off course.

Today's landing was flawless. NASA said it was a testimonial to the depth of the partnership of the International Space Station. The European Space Agency congratulated the Russians "for such a beautiful and safe landing of the crew."

Yesterday, Foale, Kaleri and Kuipers entered the capsule, after formally handing control of the International Space Station to the new crew, Russian Gennady Padalka and American Michael Fincke, who had arrived nine days earlier. Strapped into their seats, they began their descent about 3 1/2 hours before landing near the town of Arkalyk in Russia.

Search and rescue helicopters glimpsed the space capsule as it neared the ground, and the space officials at mission control broke into applause. The bell-shaped descent module landed upright and the astronauts were carried out. "It was heavier, or more violent, than I thought. I braced myself but nevertheless my head went forward - but no wounds," Kuipers said. "But it is a nice feeling if the parachute goes open and, yes, it was a beautiful ride. Everything works fine. It's great!"

Foale said the three were tired. "We got up very early almost a day ago, just had a brief nap," Foale said as he sat outside the capsule, waiting to be carried to an orange medical tent for an initial checkup. “It feels like after a good party,” said Anglo-American astronaut Michael Foale, from Cambridge, who had spent six months circling the Earth on board the International Space Station with Russian cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri.

In Kostanai, a Kazakh town north of Arkalyk, where the Russian search and rescue operation had its headquarters, local officials gave the astronauts a red-carpet welcome. They were presented with traditional embroidered Kazakh robes and hats.

Kuipers was the second Dutchman to fly into space, and his return coincided with the Dutch national holiday Queen's Day. The Dutch ambassador to Kazakhstan, Peter van Leeuwen, gave each astronaut "a piece of the best Dutch product — cheese."

Still unsteady on their feet, each astronaut was walked by the arm and sat down on a chair for a press conference before being flown to Star City, Russia’s cosmonaut training centre near Moscow.

Asked if he wanted to go back to the space station, Foale, from Cambridge who became an American citizen so he could be a spaceman, said: “Not now.”

“I feel the nice smell of earth ... and you are the first people I see after six months away. It’s nice to be here,” he said in Russian.

[via Associated Press and Scotsman]