Thursday, May 28, 2009
The crew consist of Roman Romanenko (whose father flew on Soyuz 25 which visited the Salyut space station ) from Russia, Frank De Winne from Belgium and Robert Thirsk from Canada. Thirsk is the first Canadian to fly on a Soyuz as opposed to a Shuttle. With the three crew on board the ISS already this will bring its complement up to six for the first time. They will join Gennady Padalka (Russia), Michael Barratt (USA) and spacetourist Charles Simonyi on his second paid for flight.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
STS-125 (Atlantis) and back up Shuttle STS-400 (Endeavour) on the launch pad
This was the last planned manned mission to the Hubble Telescope until it is decommisioned. One of the crew's jobs was to attach a locking ring so that the telescope can be grabbed by a robot vehicle and directed into the atmosphere in a controlled way when its job is done. Because of the improved gyros the mission installed it should stay up a bit longer now, anyway.
So, that's almost it for Atlantis and the other two Shuttles, Endeavour and Discovery. They each have one more flight each next year before they are retired and then it's a four year wait before project Constellation delivers the Orion Spacecraft (basically a big Apollo module) and the Ares launcher. In the meantime Russian rockets will be used to service the International Space Station or, possibly, some of the American commercial concerns using the Falcon 9 and Taurus II rockets.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
It's some days since Eurovision but we feel we can't let the event pass without some comment. We can't say we enjoyed it so much this year and there were a number of reasons for this. Firstly, everyone seemed to be taking it very seriously this year (even the UK) and there weren't quite as many really off the wall acts as usual (although the poor Albanian singer who had to cope with the blue sparkly man had her work cut out for her).
The Germans tried to enliven their performance with a rather underused Dita von Teese writhing around in the background. Generally, however, there was a sad lack of underdressed dollies this year.
We also enjoyed the Belgian-born belly dancing Turkish entrant, Hadise, and indeed she finished in fourth place.
So very professional but rather soulless production by the Russians, OK but not brilliant songs and paucity of underdressed girlies mean a 6/10 from Triple P. At least the new voting system prevented some of the regional tactical voting.
Lto R: Luca Parmitano (Italy), Alexander Gerst (Germany), Andreas Mogensen (Denmark), Samantha Cristoforetti (Italy), Timothy Peake (Britain) and Thomas Pesquet (France)
Major Timothy Peake, from Chichester is the first official British Astronaut. Helen Sharman was the first Briton in space, almost exactly eighteen years ago, but her flight in the Soyuz TM 18 was funded by industry. Five other British born people have been into space but all had American citizenship. NASA astronauts Michael Foale (joint US and British citizenship), Piers Sellers, Nicholas Patrick and Gregory H. Johnson. This group were joined by Richard Garriott, a British born Computer Games tycoon, who paid for his own trip on Soyus TMA 13 last year. Garriott is the son of NASA astronaut Owen Garriott.
Britain nearly had its first astronaut much earlier. Cardiff born Anthony Llewellyn was chosen as a scientist-astronaut by NASA in August 1967 but he resigned in September 1968 having been unable to qualify as a pilot, which was a requirement at the time.
37 year old Peake, an Apache helicopter pilot, will now move, with the other five astronauts (which include Italian fighter pilot Samantha Cristoforetti) to the ESA training facility for an initial 18 months training before another two years of mission specific training follows.
However, only seven of an eventual 14 astronauts will get a chance to fly and so his place in space is far from guaranteed. It could well be a ploy by the wily Europeans to put pressure on the UK to contribute to ESA's manned programme. "With such a good guy, how can they not contribute?" said Jean Jacques Dordain Director General of ESA. Think again Jean-Jacques. Lord Drayson, the Science and Innovation Minister, has said that the budget for Britain's ESA contribution for the next five years is set. So while he is happily taking credit for the selection his inaction on manned projects contributions could well result in Major Tim being stuck in Ground Control come launch day with the slots going to the usual Germans, French and Italians.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Hot pants last held sway on the streets of London in 1971 so its about time they made a come back. People were scandalised at the time, of course, especially as many women said that they had to dispense with their knickers to avoid the dreaded visible panty line. However, even Royal Ascot had to relax its rules that year, although it was stated that "ladies in hot pants should only be allowed to enter the Royal Enclosure at Ascot if the ‘general effect’ was satisfactory". That sounds like an ideal job for Agent Triple P: "Stop! Now turn around young lady. Yes, most satisfactory! In you go!"
Sunday, May 17, 2009
She is curvy enough to be a swimsuit model but tall and slim enough (36-35-45) to do runway work as well (most fashion runway models are about 32-22-34, by comparison).
Elegant in black and white
She is also does editorial fashion magazine work which, again, is not that common for a swimsuit model.
Agent Triple P likes Melissa's figure and looks: she has an athletic build (she used to be a competitive gymnast when she was younger), she's not too tall (5'9"), she has an interesting nose and, of course, those dark looks.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Quite right! Cows are big, nasty, sinister animals and we can never understand people who gaily walk through fields of these terror-beasts with equanimity. When Triple P was small he was chased by one of these monsters and has been sensibly wary of them ever since. They are the hippopatami of Britain. They look innocent enough with their reassuring Ben and Jerry's arcadian black and whiteness but they are nasty things on the whole.
Agent Triple P will continue to eat as many of them as possible. Al Sangue, for me please.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
The top 15 is as follows (last month's position in brackets):
1 (6) Margaret Nolan
2 (2) Ayshea Brough
3 (9) Irena Shayk
4 (7) Linda Lusardi
5 (8) Brande Roderick
6 (3) Sophie Howard
7 (4) Agent Triple P
8 (5) Luci Victoria
9 (2) Gabrielle Drake
10 (15) Holly Willoughby
11 (11) Norman Bel Geddes
12 (-) Kayleigh Pearson
13 (-) Brigitte Barclay
14 (14) Andrea Allan
15 (11) Jade Ewen
Top 10 non-girlie searches:
1 (1) Agent Triple P
2 (2) Norman Bel Geddes
3 (4) How to Murder your Wife Soundtrack
4 (6) Fontainebleau Hotel
5 (10) Hotel Babylon
6 (8) MGM Soundtrack Anthology
7 (-) Indian moon Rocket
8 (-) Sellotape
9 (-) John Williams
10 (-)Venus Kallipygos
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Whilst the ultimate test of a good bartender is the Martini, probably the second biggest challenge is the Negroni as it calls for absolute control of the proportions of the Gin, Campari and Rosso Vermouth that make up its constituents.
The Negroni was created (or so the story goes) in the Caffé Casoni in Florence in 1919 for Count Camillo Negroni who was getting bored with his usual cocktail, the Americano. Either he, or his barman, Fosco Scarselli, ditched the soda water and replaced it with gin. Sadly the Caffé Casoni is no longer there and the site is now Caffé Giacosa owned by and attached to the Milan fashion shop of Roberto Cavalli.
Jessica Alba likes it straight up
The Negroni can be thought of, therefore, as a supercharged Americano. It needs to be scrupulously made from equal parts gin, Campari and rosso vermouth; a few centilitres out for each ingedient unbalances the drink.
Jessica demonstrates the stemmed glass approach...
How do you want it?
Other people mess around with the ingredients: replacing gin with vodka (Negroski), using spumante instead of gin (Negroni Sbagliato), replacing the red vermouth with dry vermouth, fiddling with the proportions such as 3-2-1 Gin, Campari and Vermouth. However, none of these are real Negronis and Triple P wouldn't drink any of them.
So long boys...