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links 17dec10

Yeah, so Yahoo changed their story and claim they weren’t shutting down or “sunsetting” and are putting it up for sale instead. Because, you know, firing the team and having the news slip out and then issuing a statement 24 hours later doesn’t at all sound like you’re changing the story after half the internet called you a shitbird.

So, until I get an alternative service set up (that Reeder for iPhone can talk to, ideally), I’m doing links like this:

* “Analyzing the isotope ratios of ancient raindrops preserved in soils and lake sediments, Stanford researchers have shown that a wave of mountain building began in British Columbia, Canada about 49 million years ago and rolled south to Mexico. The finding helps put to rest the idea that there was once a Tibet-like plateau across the western US that collapsed and eroded into the mountains we see today.” While I wasn’t aware that people were running around screaming There Was Totally A Tibet Thing On America One Time, what I’m taking from this is — analysing ancient raindrops. I didn’t know we could do that. That is actually a bit cool.

* “The costly launch failure that caused Russia to delay the deployment of its own satellite system was the result of a fuel miscalculation, a commission charged with probing the accident said Friday.” Yeah, this is why Russian space travel has always worried me a bit. I fucking love the Soyuz, but, at the risk of promoting national stereotypes, it’s generally still all a bit “we hit the tractor with the spanner until it ploughs a straight furrow.”

Raikunov said the fault lay with the Energia Rocket And Space Corporation, which designed the carrier. He said that the company failed to account for the fact that the updated version of the rocket had bigger fuel tanks, which weighed more when filled to the top. “This increased the payload weight and the rocket did not have the energy to deliver the satellites to orbit,” the space official said.

Let that sink in.

* Jim Jupp of Belbury Poly creates “the first in an occasional series of radio shows in which I’ll be playing a few of my favourite tunes, giving you a sneak preview of forthcoming Ghost Box material and leading you all in devotional song.” Or you can click through and stream it through a Mixcloud widget. So that’s tonight’s listening sorted.

* Music writer Simon Reynolds signs off for the year with a list of his favourite records of 2010. Which I haven’t done myself, yet. I suppose I should try.

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