Saturday, February 01, 2003

Of course the big news today is the Columbia accident. Like most, I got up this morning and was blindsided by what I heard on the TV. As the day went on a few more details came to light, but nothing really substantial. I'm sure the news will stay in this mode for this incident until something else happens, like a realy juicy murder or the coalition forces invading Iraq.

My friend Colby makes a point about takeoff vs. landing that I don't quite agree with. While takeoff is amazingly scary, due to the tonnage of explosives strapped to the vehicle, landing is no cakewalk or "poetic serenity" as he calls it. At the moment of disintegration, the shuttle was moving through the atmosphere at Mach 18. The temperature of the wing surfaces can top 1500 degree Celsius. And let's not forget that the re-entry before the accident was visible from the surface 40 miles down due to the fireball created between the lander and the atmosphere. Not exactly serene in my books.

In less horrible news, the Garry Kasparov vs. Deep Junior match continues. Garry took an early lead by winning game 1, took a draw on game 2 but went down to defeat on game three to tie up the series. To my eye, it looks like he got greedy. Junior got into some trouble early but recovered and Garry didn't want to settle for a draw. This lead to time pressure and a mistake that ended up costing him the game. The next game is live tomorrow at 12:30 PST. There are a number of live feeds, but I recommend the US Chess one. The commentary seems a little stronger and the flash interface works pretty well and is fairly stable.

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