'A New Map of the East India Isles', from Cary's New Universal Atlas (1801), by John Cary
American and Chinese warships shadow one another around disputed islets, planes jostle in the skies overhead and seven different governments argue over who has the rights to the oil and fish in the waters beneath. At the heart of this is the question of who owns the rocks and reefs of the South China Sea. They may be tiny – their total area is just a few square miles – but they could trigger a global confrontation.
There are actually two sets of disputes in the South China Sea: one is about the islets themselves and involves China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and, to a limited extent, Indonesia. The other is about the spaces in between the islets – which is really about the rules of the international system, particularly the Law of the Sea – and that predominantly concerns the US and China. It is the overlap between the two disputes that makes them so potentially dangerous. An incident between local fishing boats could end in conflict between two of the world’s most powerful navies.
NASA's Mars Helicopter, a small, autonomous rotorcraft, will travel with the agency's Mars 2020 rover, currently scheduled to launch in July 2020, to demonstrate the viability and potential of heavier-than-air vehicles on the Red Planet.
The Mars Helicopter, a small, autonomous rotorcraft, will travel with the agency’s Mars 2020 rover mission, currently scheduled to launch in July 2020, to demonstrate the viability and potential of heavier-than-air vehicles on the Red Planet.
“NASA has a proud history of firsts,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “The idea of a helicopter flying the skies of another planet is thrilling. The Mars Helicopter holds much promise for our future science, discovery, and exploration missions to Mars.”
U.S. Rep. John Culberson of Texas echoed Bridenstine’s appreciation of the impact of American firsts on the future of exploration and discovery.
“It’s fitting that the United States of America is the first nation in history to fly the first heavier-than-air craft on another world,” Culberson said. “This exciting and visionary achievement will inspire young people all over the United States to become scientists and engineers, paving the way for even greater discoveries in the future.”
There’s a joke, attributed to Oscar Wilde, that the most frightening sentence in the English language is: ‘I had a very interesting dream last night.’ If Wilde did say that, it’s a safe bet that he wouldn’t have liked Insomniac Dreams, because this short book is focused entirely on the dream-life of Vladimir Nabokov.＊ It has at its heart a record of dreams that Nabokov kept for eighty days from October 1964, while he was living at the Montreux Palace Hotel – in terms of his books, after he had finished Pale Fire and before he wrote Ada. He recorded the dreams on waking, using the set-up he employed for writing his books, in his neat pencil handwriting, on lined A6 index cards.