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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

A Helpful Tip


I check this site day by day, and found this cartoon today.

By the way, there is a curious transatlantic rift over the Beagle: the British media call it a ‘British Mars probe’ and the US media call it a ‘European Mars probe’.

15 comments to A Helpful Tip

  • I’ve found some of the American bloggers’ schadenfreude about Beagle extremely disappointing, and sadly revealing.

  • amoeba

    Re Beagle Here is how the French papers refer to it
    Le Monde: “la sonde europeenne” (the European probe)
    Le Figaro: “la capsule britannique” (the British capsule)
    Liberation: “Le petit robot de l’Agence Spatiale Europeenne” (the small European Space Agency Robot) robot

    When Concorde was retired I was struck by the fact that the British media always described it as a British plane and never mentioned that the French had been involved. Then again they made a huge deal of the whole event and the French media hardly mentioned it (perhaps because the shock of the earlier crash had not yet worn out)

  • I’d be extremely disappointed in people being happy about the Beagle going missing. Things like that aren’t a ‘US versus Europe’ thing, they’re a ‘Earth vs. Mars’ thing. It’s really a shame it didn’t make it enough to get back to us.

  • John Yundt-Pacehco

    As a Texan, I would echo the ‘Earth vs. Mars’ thing. It sucks that it didn’t make it, but it is wonderful that it was sent – maybe next time. It is a helluva thing to send something like that to Mars. Kudos to the UK, EU and the humans for getting that much closer…

    How can anyone look at the list of experiments the Beagle was going to do and feel any glimmer of glee that it was unsuccessful?

  • John Nowak

    I’m inclined to agree — it’s very unfortunate Beagle 2 failed, and there’s too much chuckling over it here.

  • Lewis

    As an American I very much want the Brits or Euros or whomever it was to try again. I hope they don’t give up. Let’s face it, exploration is risky. If the Brits had given up after Jamestown, there would be no USA today! Go for it! (Ahem, might I suggest, however, a US-UK mission . . . do we really need the French? OK, OK . . . I never said that . . . .)

  • steve

    Of course, the big mistake was to call it “Beagle”. Leaving aside the anti-heroic comparisons with “Eagle”, anyone who has ever owned one of those flop-eared pooches knows that their attachment to their so-called owners is very slight. Whole families have spent hundreds of man-(and woman- and child-)years tramping streets and golf courses vainly calling missing beagles.
    I have never reached a conclusion on whether this doggy behaviour is caused by stupidity, malignity, or no sense of direction.
    The current missing Beagle2 is just a domestic aggravation writ large.

  • Adam

    I think the name of the probe was chosen after the ship Darwin sailed on. Bad things happen during exploration. I hope that the British/Europeans try again.

  • Dan McWiggins

    To the British space explorers,

    Keep trying, guys. As Michael Jordan once said, “Failure is a prerequisite for success.” Lord knows we Americans have had at least our share of them. Anyone who smirks or sniggers at your effort is a damned fool, and any American who does so is a bigger one. You have this American’s best wishes for complete success in your next space endeavor.

  • Jonathan

    The Beagle 2 project promised to push back the frontiers of human knowledge about Mars. Gulf II aspires to spare hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. Both are extremely worthy projects. If you’re going to condemn schadenfreude, have some consistency and condemn all of it.

    Americans call Beagle II “European” because it breaks our hearts to see the faithful Brits fail. We are grateful to them (and the other coalition members) for their steadfastness. Whether or not it’s accurate or healthy, I think that’s the dynamic we’re witnessing.

  • “If you’re going to condemn schadenfreude, have some consistency and condemn all of it.”

    Oh come off it Jonathan, I should not have to say “we supported you in Iraq” to get support for Beagle2. I have never expressed schadenfreude about Iraq, quite the contrary.

  • Patrick Donnelly

    I always was confused when some Americans seemed happy that the beagle was lost. It’s not a thing to be amused about, really, no matter who lost it. I’d be happy if the US had some competition in space to spur us on.

    In any case, I’m sure the ESA will keep trying until they stick the landing.

  • S. Weasel

    I honestly haven’t seen any gloating about Beagle in the US, Patrick. Low-budget geeks, Brits and plucky underdogs being great favorites, all.

    Now, Ariadne fall-down-go-booms…that’s different.

  • The loss of the Beagle2 is sad but it underscores the difficulty involved in sending missions to mars where many previous attempts have failed. It is a cautionary note to Pres. Bush’s overly optimistic plan to put men on the red planet in the near term.

  • The Beagle (yes, named after the ship that carried Darwin) exploratory instrument module was built by the Brits as their part in an ESA (European Space Admin.) project.
    The confusion about who to attribute ownership/authorship is much less a slight, or prejudice, or conspiracy, than it is a reflection of different perspectives or focus on writers, and their failure to parse out the full details for their readers. We run into the same problem with the ISS (International Space Station) which even while being supported/created by a consortium of nations is mostly US and US funded (we even pay for other country’s portions, since they usually don’t actually have the moolah when it’s time to have it).
    It is good that there is so much partnering up and international cooperation on the many space research and space exploration going on, but it’s tough to keep the people of each nation involved if we don’t also keep them informed and proud of their contribution/sacrifice (of their own nation’s budget). Sooo… writers and journalists get confused, or a little jingoistic.