Archive | November 2016

The Soviet SST


When most of us think about supersonic airline service, we instantly think of the Anglo-French Concorde.  Likewise, most people think the Concordes were the only supersonic transport (SST) planes ever put into commercial service.  Actually, the USSR got a two-month jump on the Concorde with their own SST, the Tupolev TU-144.


The first ideas for SSTs were hypothetical projects proposed on both sides of the Iron Curtain. There were design prototypes intended for military use as possible bombers and transports.  Aircraft manufacturing companies proposed their own designs in the pursuit of lucrative military contracts. It was from these efforts that the possibility of building a civilian SST were realized. The Soviet SST concept began in the early 1960s. Journalists in the West first received official Soviet reports about the TU-144 project in 1965.

The Soviet SST design relied upon earlier research for the USSR’s TU-125 and TU-135 bombers. The design…

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2016: 007’s lost year?

The Spy Command

Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter Image for the official James Bond feed on Twitter

While there’s a little more than month yet to go, 2016 is shaping up as a kind of lost year for the cinematic James Bond — when pretty much nothing substantial happened.

Decision made about a studio to actually release Bond 25? No.

Release date, if only the year? No. Can’t set a release date without somebody to distribute it.

Script? Not that anyone knows about.

Director? No.

Bond actor cast for sure? Not really. Incumbent Daniel Craig said in October of Bond, ” Were I to stop doing it, I’d miss it terribly.” But that’s not the same thing as saying, “I’ll be back.”

Something else of note that Craig said was, “There’s no conversation going on because genuinely everybody’s just a bit tired,”

That evokes the 2002-2006 period when Eon Productions co-bosses Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson were going through…

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James Bond Ultimate List – 007 Franchise (1962 – 2015)


James Bond Ultimate List – 007 Franchise (1962 – 2015)

Before I begin, if you wish to read all preview Reviews and Ultimate Lists, head here and find links to each film.

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James Bond – The Living Daylights (1987) REVIEW


James Bond – The Living Daylights (1987) REVIEW
Director: John Glen
Producer: Albert R. Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson
Writer: Richard Maibaum and Michael G. Wilson
Based on:James Bond by Ian Fleming
Cast: Timothy Dalton, Maryam d’Abo, Jeroen Krabbé, Art Malik, Joe Don Baker, Andreas Wisniewski and John Rhys-Davies

All James Bond film reviews and ultimate lists can be found by clicking the link here, or via out the drop down (James Bond) menu above.


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Lessons from the Telecommunications Industry for Space Commercialization

Roger Launius's Blog

The switchboard in Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1921. The switchboard in Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1921.

Everyone agrees, or almost everyone since there are a few pretenders to this title and each have their champions, that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876 in Boston, Massachusetts. A year later he organized the Bell Patent Association to lease equipment to users. What became known as the American Telephone and Telegraph Company expanded over time, operating the full system to which subscribers paid a fee for use as well as equipment rental built at its laboratory, Western Electric Company. By 1895 the Bell system had grown to over 300,000 phones, this was nothing compared to expansion in the next ten years, to 2,284,587 phones in 1905.

In the early twentieth century AT&T began buying out the competition and consolidating various telephone providers into an ever larger network. Company president Theodore Vail aggressively pursued this corporate strategy epitomizing it by the slogan…

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Warfare State: World War II Americans and the Age of Big Government”

Roger Launius's Blog

warfare-stateWarfare State: World War II Americans and the Age of Big Government. By James T. Sparrow. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

This book has a simple, but elegant, thesis: The author challenges the longstanding belief that FDR’s New Deal, an effort to mitigate the suffering of the Great Depression, ushered in the age of “big government” in the United States. Instead, James T. Sparrow asserts that the New Deal was a modest effort with confined results that lasted only a short time. What truly refocused the America nation was the effort to win the Second World War, setting in place a massive government apparatus ten times the size of the New Deal’s welfare programs.

This seemingly permanent transformation of the United States discussed in Warfare State not only demonstrates the how and why of FDR’s vast expansion of the federal government during World War II; its most important contribution…

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Retro-View: The Living Daylights (1987)

Technicolor Dreams


As part of a group blog effort, other online agents are rolling out their own indispensable takes on various 007 films. Check out Getafilm and Coleman’s Corner in Cinema and Living In Cinema and our own femme fatale at Cinematic Passions.

I am a James Bond fan. The first erotic movie image I ever saw was Maurice Binder’s luxurious Panavision titles for THUNDERBALL (1965) at the drive-in; that’s about all I remember of the film (and my only memory of the second feature that night, BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967) was Faye Dunaway). It wasn’t Sunday night at our household without the ABC Movie of the Week and Ernie Anderson’s cool voice intoning, “Tonight…James Bond is back…” Followed by the awful pan-and-scan prints with the ever-present “Edited For Television” chyron at the bottom of the screen. I still have VHS recordings of a few of the 80’s Bond films on ABC…

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