Sassenach

I must have gone for years without hearing or reading this word until the advent of the improbable television series “Outlander” in 2014 (based on Diana Gabaldon’s novels), which brought the word to the attention of (apparently) the entire English-speaking world, if not beyond. The first season of the series introduced a time-travelling twentieth-century nurse to Gaelic-speaking eighteenth-century Highland Scots, who call her a “Sassenach”. At which point, people started talking nonsense about the word on the Internet. So no change there.

Pole Stars Of Other Planets?

When I wrote about Philip Latham’s juvenile science-fiction novel Missing Men Of Saturn (1953) recently, I pointed out that Latham had made an astronomically well-informed guess about a possible pole star for Saturn’s moon Titan. Latham (a professional astronomer) knew the orientation of Saturn’s rotation axis, which would have allowed him to deduce the location … Continue reading Pole Stars Of Other Planets?

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Moebius 1/144 Discovery Spacecraft: Part 1

This is the large styrene model of the iconic Discovery spacecraft from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. And when I say large, I mean large—assembled, it’s going to be 42 inches long, which will necessitate the hanging of a whole new shelf chez Oikofuge. To get a sense of its weird proportions, take a … Continue reading Moebius 1/144 Discovery Spacecraft: Part 1

Philip Latham: The Juvenile SF Novels

Although the hole made by the meteorite was too small to be readily seen, the hiss of escaping air was unmistakable. They were in dire peril, the worst that can befall a man in space. Philip Latham, Missing Men Of Saturn (1953) A while ago I wrote about two series of science-fiction-juvenile novels, written by … Continue reading Philip Latham: The Juvenile SF Novels

Which Way Does Space Station V Rotate?

The “Phenomena” posts have been a little tied up with abstruse orbital mechanics and obscure revisions to lists of Scottish hills, of late, so I thought it might be time for a break from all that. So this post is about something superficially trivial in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, which has mildly annoyed … Continue reading Which Way Does Space Station V Rotate?

A discursive blog on various topics of minor interest