Daily: 24th February 2011

24 February, 2011 at 02:02 (GMT)

By Pat W

Hello Thursday, you've come around quickly! Let's see what's happening..

Space

Tonight we will hopefully see a shuttle launch, as Discovery will be lifting off at 9.50pm GMT to fly to the International Space Station. Sadly this is Discovery's final flight, at the completion of this mission it is scheduled to be retired. You don't want to miss the final launch, especially as there are a limited number of flights for the rest of the shuttle fleet. NASA info page here, and Spaceflight Now has a live blog and an embedded stream - the stream is also available directly here.

(I'm amused to see blurb next to the SFN embed, Miles O'Brien will be giving a talk - I don't think it is the transporter chief of the starship Enterprise but I might be wrong!).

The other launch due today was the Glory mission on a Taurus rocket, but that has been deferred a few times and will now launch on Friday at 10.09am. There is a technical issue with this flight so it may yet be deferred again. NASA page.

Thanks to Steven for the heads-up on both.

Racing

Check out the F1 Big Picture. I can't say I'm a fan of the weird effect on the photo which manages to completely neuter the effect of the shiny shiny silvery livery, but I am a big fan of long-running partnerships. Mobil 1 have been with McLaren for 17 years! I'm sure I read somewhere recently that Hugo Boss have been around at least as long. Good on them all for not chopping and changing every year.

I was disappointed to learn Tony Kanaan's IndyCar deal has fallen through, he's a great guy, such a character he needs to be in the series. I hope something gets worked out for him.

Allen Wedge tweeted this great piece about the teamwork between Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti. It doesn't matter if you don't like IndyCar because I'm sure the lessons hold for F1 too. Okay so it is hosted on a sponsor site, but it is a nice non-fluffy piece about drivers working together having a positive effect on all the other people in the team, great bits of banter too. Kind of puts you in mind of Vettel/Webber and how the garages must've been divided at the time, even if only mentally.

Drayson Racing has quit ALMS/LMS sportscar racing to join the all-new all-electric EVCUP. This is a bold move but it lends real support to the fledgling series to have a name like that involved. Drayson Racing always said they are a green team, their previous use of 2nd-gen biofuels is an example, now they've really gone for it. I was and remain sceptical of this series - to convince me the cars need to be fast and the teams/drivers need to be 'known names'. Drayson is the first step.

Christine and Mr C were in fits of laughter this morning listening to the latest offering from Another F1 Podcast, which features a part about Sidepodcast. I checked it out this evening, the rest of it is pretty funny too! There is a MAJOR swear-alert though as it is NSFW. In the words of Mr C:

"this is too funny for words, we're in tears of laughter this morning. you must listen to this podcast. comes with a strong language warning, but essential listening, promise :)

What's Racing This Weekend?

The three NASCAR series (Cup/Nationwide/Truck) visit Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona. This is a 1-mile oval with a unique dogleg on the backstraight which makes things a little less repetitive (some of these ovals all look the same). The dogleg is being redeveloped in time for NASCAR's second annual visit later this year, so do catch one of these three races to see the classic layout for the final time.

Meanwhile in Australia, Phillip Island hosts the first round of the World Superbikes. I can't say this is a series I follow all too closely but it is good to have another championship getting their 2011 season up and running.

Don't forget: the next round of Red Bull Crashed Ice happens this Saturday, live from Moscow. I'm sure we'll be following along here with a dedicated live thread. Extreme downhill ice skating! Like snowboard cross from the Winter Olympics but with ice skates instead of snowboards. Completely mad. What's not to like? Btw, did you know the Winter Olympics were last February? How has it been a year already??

Next weekend: WRC Mexico, NASCAR Las Vegas and GrandAm Homestead-Miami.

Just as a quick plug, I run a predictions game involving several racing series, at the moment there are only NASCAR Cup races involved but F1, MotoGP, ALMS and others will kick off soon. It isn't too late to join!

Music Choice

The Rifle Volunteer - End Season

This band is relatively unknown. One of the guys in the band is a friend of my sister and her boyfriend, they all used to hang out in Southampton and then London. I really like their sound, really good wintery stuff, reflective.

I do recommend checking out their Bandcamp, Facebook and Myspace pages. There are different freely streamable songs at each, and on the Bandcamp site you can buy an MP3 for as little as £1. Bargain. Just click the covers and remember the 'more releases' link.

I hope you like them. I don't get a penny for this I just think they are really good.

I am sure there is plenty I have missed, but I think that'll be all for me for now. If you spot something interesting do bring it up in the comments! Have a good day!

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