About Nick Barlow

Nick is on hiatus from AFOE. A Brit who lives in Colchester. Member of the Liberal Democrats. More here. Writes What You Can Get Away With, also contributes to The Sharpener.

ESA and Russia: Together into space?

Interesting news (via Randy McDonald) concerning a partnership between the European Space Agency and Russia to develop the Russians’ new Kliper reusable space shuttle.

It’s all but official?Russia and Europe will soon embark on a cooperative effort to build a next-generation manned space shuttle. Speaking at the Paris Air Show, in Le Bourget, France, in June, Russian space officials confirmed earlier reports from Moscow that their partners at the European Space Agency would join the Russian effort to build a new reusable orbiter, dubbed Kliper. After the cautious optimism they expressed at the beginning of 2005, Russians are now confident that their European partners will be on board for the largest, boldest Russian endeavor in spaceflight in more than a decade.

Interesting to note that, in one of those strange coincidences, the leading designer of the Kliper system is called Vladimir Taneev – the same name as one of the leading characters in Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy.

Britain’s election: A statement

As the UK goes to the polls today, I feel the need to make a statement. A few weeks ago, I promised that I would deliver some posts to this blog regarding the election. Now, some of you may believe that because these posts have not appeared, I should make an apology, but that would not be right. A team of inspectors have searched my computer and discovered that not only were there post-related program activities going on during this time but that election related posts may have been moved to neighbouring blogs.

Britain goes to the polls

After several months of ‘phony war’, the worst-kept secret in British politics was finally revealed today – the next UK General Election will take place on May 5th, just four weeks away.

I’ll try and find the time to post on Fistful during the campaign if none of my colleagues manage it, but I’m also posting on a new blog during the election campaign where we’ll be trying to provide (from Monday), daily roundups of blog coverage of the election, which will hopefully be a good resource for people looking for election reports.

Singing is diplomacy by other means

Yes, I know sometimes it seems as though my job here at AFoE is to lower the high-minded tone with discussion of inanities, but there’s another interesting story about the Eurovision Song Contest today, namely that Lebanon – who were intending to make their first entry into the competition this year – have now withdrawn from it after being told by the EBU that they would not be allowed to avoid showing the Israeli entry. This report on the esctoday site gives more details, including some background of other problems with Arab countries around Israel’s entries over the years. For now, you can also see the gap between Latvia and Lithuania on the list of particpants on the official Eurovision site.

Obviously, there are far more important things going on in Lebanon right now, but it’s another interesting story to add to the file of the intersections between politics and culture at the Eurovision.

The Bloggies

Well, I guess someone has to lose. But, as someone said when we saw we were up against BoingBoing and others for Best Group Weblog, it’s nice to be nominated. Congratulations also to Zoe for winning Best European Weblog.

….David weighs in:

Congrats also to my man Francis, one of my favorite bloggers, who finally won best GLBT blog this year, and to Tom Coates who won Best UK blog and the lifetime achievement award.

It is nice to be nominated.

Not your average Boom-bang-a-bang

Two of the topics that produced some of the most posts on Fistful last year – the Eurovision Song Contest and Ukraine’s Orange Revolution – have come together. Of course, we already knew that this year’s contest would be in Kiev but now Ukraine has chosen ‘Razom nas bagato!’ (Together we are many!) by Greenjolly, an anthem of the Orange Revolution, as their entry for the final. It should help to contribute to what will no doubt be an interesting night.

For a more serious look at the Orange Revolution, Blood and Treasure has some thoughts on ‘freedom as a brand management strategy.’

The hills are just coming alive

This sounds like it should be one of Harry Hutton‘s Killer Facts but did you know that until tonight there’s never been a full stage production of The Sound Of Music performed in Austria? On top of that, the film has never been shown in Austrian cinemas (and only once on Austrian TV).

Which is a roundabout way of suggesting that you read this article from the Independent on that first production and what The Sound Of Music represents in Austria’s 20th century history.