Sat-ND, 29.8.96

Sat-ND 96-08-28 - Satellite and Media News

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Surprise, surprise
Shortly after the Czech satellite MAGION 5 was launched today with a
Russian Molnya-M rocket, it had a little surprise in store for ground
control. It simply couldn't be found anywhere.
Today's launch from Russia's Plesetsk cosmodrome was supposed to lift three
satellites into orbit: The Russian INTERBOL 2 and two smaller spacecraft,
MICROSAT (Argentine's first satellite) and MAGION 5. Both sub-satellites
were initially docked to INTERBOL 2. While INTERBOL and MAGION were
designed to study the Earth's magnetosphere, MICROSAT's purpose is remote
According to Russian officials, the MAGION separated exactly as planned
from INTERBOL, but according to Russian news agency Itar-Tass Czech
specialists aren't receiving any signals from their satellite.
Russia will now use its national space monitoring system to confirm the
separation. Should the separation be confirmed, it would simply mean that
MAGION 5 is defunct. The Czech side does not seem to trust Russia too much,
though. It was announced they would turn to the United States to get some
independent confirmation.
Let's hope they will find the satellite. As most readers will remember,
neither of the US organisations NASA and NORAD were able to track a huge
Russian broadcast satellite when it was moved from 72 to 36E (Sat-ND,

CHINASTAR's moral support
It is an old pattern that has been observed after many of the numerous
launch disasters involving China's ill-fated Log March rockets. Every time
something goes wrong, there's moral support from a (Chinese) company --
this time from China Orient Telecommunications Satellite Co Ltd. The
company declared it had no plans to switch to another rocket for launching
CHINASTAR 1 some time in late 1997.
CHINASAT 7 was the latest victim of a Chinese launch attempt with a Long
March rocket. The engine of its third stage shut off 48 seconds too soon,
leaving the satellite in a useless orbit (Sat-ND, 19.8.96.) The cause of
the failure is still under investigation.

German decoder war may continue
Germany's largest media conglomerate, Bertelsmann AG from Gütersloh,
unveiled its digital television package 'Club RTL.' More important,
however, was the announcement that the service will not as planned be
offered on Leo Kirch's decoder platform -- at least for the time being.
Club RTL will initially consist of just eleven niche channels and a few
pay-per-view services. It can be received with the MediaBox decoder
developed by Bertelsmann and France's Canal+. The device can be leased
(DM25 per month) or bought, but no retail price has been suggested yet.
A month ago, Bertelsmann officials had announced that Club RTL would also
be available for viewers with Kirch's d-box. Observers said that Kirch and
Bertelsmann were still engaged in negotiations on a common decoder, but
talks seemed to prove difficult.
An agreement would be of special importance to Germany's major pay-TV
service premiere, held by the otherwise competing groups Bertelsmann,
Canal+ and Kirch. Kirch wants his new Partner Rupert Murdoch to take a
stake of 25 percent, but recent reports suggest that Bertelsmann is
unwilling to reduce its 37.5 percent share unless "certain conditions are
met." Bertelsmann officials wouldn't elaborate on the nature of those

Latvia switches off Russian ORT
Terrestrial transmission of the Russian public television ORT in Latvia has
ceased today, much to the dismay of ethnic Russians living in the Baltic
state. Said Ojar Rubenis, Chairman of the National Council for Television
and Radio Broadcasting: "Russian people must be quite clear about what
country they are living in." The Russians, representing roughly a third of
the country's population, probably know by now. They were told to watch
Russian programming on cable or satellite, but of course most just can't
afford it.
The new station using the ORT frequencies, Latvian independent TV, has
meanwhile announced to buy some popular programmes from Moscow. 

Zeroes and ones
By Grandpa Zheng

So what?
Netscape Communications Corporation and IBM today announced the development
of a native version of Netscape's Navigator client software for OS/2 Warp
4, also known as Merlin Netscape Navigator for OS/2 is scheduled to enter
beta testing by September and is expected to be generally available to end
users in the fourth quarter, shortly after the launch of OS/2 Warp 4. The
client will be downloadable at no cost from both the Netscape and IBM home
pages to users of OS/2 Warp.
Oh well, you don't know what OS/2 is. It is an operating system created by
IBM that has proven superior to Windows 3.1 in many ways. In fact,
Microsoft's Windows 95 has borrowed quite a lot of features from OS/2 Warp
3. Too bad there is virtually no mass market software for this fine
operating system, and finding drivers for common devices also regularly
turns out to be a tedious task. This won't change in any way when OS/2 Warp
4, IBM's new client operating system solution, will be available in
The ultimate gimmick of OS/2 Warp 4 will be speech recognition software,
but that's really nothing new to any owner of one of the better
Soundblaster cards. The thing is that you will have to teach your computer
to understand you, and that definitely takes some hours rather than

Internet users are all child molesters
This piece of "news", forwarded to me by Jerome Thorel and Jean-Philippe
Donnio, is very likely to appear in whatever French newspaper tomorrow:
"STOCKHOLM, 29 août (AFP) - Un million d'images pornographiques et 40
millions de pages Internet sont actuellement consacrées à la pornographie
enfantine, estiment les experts présents au congrès de Stockholm sur
l'exploitation sexuelle des enfants." (One million pornographic images and
40 million Internet [Web] pages are actually devoted to child pornography,
estimate experts attending the Stockholm World Congress Against Commercial
Exploitation of Children.)
This congress has sparked off a unique media hysteria all over Europe,
probably with the devastating effect of disabling any serious discussion on
the subject for many years to come. In particular, you better shouldn't
tell your friends and neighbours that you have an Internet access. They
might think you're a criminal. (See also Sat-ND, 26.8.96.)
There's more mindboggling nonsense in this news item, but the first
paragraph should be enough to highlight the brainless condition of some
so-called experts as well as so-called news professionals who don't care a
damn about their claims as long as they can scare the public with ghastly
yet completely false claims. (Did somebody say those guys were "pigs"?
Well, I agree.)
It's pretty unclear how big the World Wide Web really is. It's clear,
however, that if there were really 40 million pages with kiddie-porn on the
Web, every single one of the estimated 55 million users would stumble
across one every day -- at least.
Now, back to the real world. As child pornography is banned all over the
globe, and Internet Service Providers normally are not that suicidal, I
even dare say that there is not a single permanent WWW page featuring child
pornography on the World Wide Web.
Some may appear sporadically, set up by some clever folks using free trial
periods granted by Online services with Internet access such as CompuServe
and AOL, but usually they disappear within a few day's time.
On might wonder if this is the last effort of the mainstream media to
discredit the World Wide Web as it may slowly, but constantly replace the
major media outlets at least in some peer groups. And, yes, I think
somebody maybe afraid of that.

Copyright 1996 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.

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