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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Robot tests on nuclear sites as UK ramps up research

Robots could soon be roaming over decommissioned nuclear sites and abandoned coal mines in the UK to test their ability to work autonomously.
The proposal to create the test sites is one strand of a broad plan that seeks to co-ordinate UK robot research.

Drafted by the Technology Strategy Board, it calls for "grand challenges" which see researchers compete to make robots that complete specific tasks.
The UK could lead the world in robots, said the authors behind the plan.


Full article on BBC News Technology Section HERE

Monday, 30 June 2014

UK government's secret list of 'probable nuclear targets' in 1970s released

The UK government drew up a top secret list of 106 cities, towns and bases across the country seen as "probable nuclear targets" in the early 1970s, according to documents released by the National Archives.


During the cold war, a list of the places thought likely to come under nuclear attack by the Soviet Union was agreed by military commanders, the intelligence services and the Cabinet Office under Conservative prime minister Edward Heath.

Read the full article by Rob Edwards in the Guardian HERE

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Write Your Letter To An Unknown Soldier

Please watch the video about this amazing project and then visit the website where you can read the growing number of letters that are being written from ordinary people in the street, Stars of stage and screen and members of our Armed Forces.


Visit this WW1 remembrance project HERE

The Biggest Threats to the U.S. Nuclear Missile Corps Are Boredom, Drugs, and Low Morale

Every day 90 uniformed men and women in their mid-20s ride elevators 40 to 60 feet below remote fields in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, and Nebraska in rote preparation for improbable nuclear Armageddon.

Photo courtesy SSgt. Jonathan Snyder/Air Force Global Strike Command
They spend some of their 24-hour alerts seated in front of steel Minuteman III missile launch control panels mounted on shock absorbers, with toggle switches capable of hurling 10 to 50 nuclear warheads—each with 20 times the explosive force of the Hiroshima bomb—to the other side of the globe, at speeds of 15,000 mph.

But their day-to-day enemy, for decades, has not so much been another superpower, but the unremitting boredom of an isolated posting that demands extreme vigilance, while also requiring virtually no activity, according to accounts by missileers and a new internal review of their work.

Read the full article at slate.com HERE

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Gary Stewart Hubble 1961- 2014

We extend our condolences to Jane and family over the tragic death of Gary Hubble.

Gary supported the BNTVA and our official artist Gary Bennett,  designing his website and helping greatly with our exhibition on the Isle Of Man.

His Father was a former Royal Engineer and also very proud of Gary.

Gary was killed Tuesday 3rd June during TT riding home on his motorbike.


Monday, 23 June 2014

Glowing in the Dark, The “Radium Girls”

Interesting article from Daven Hiskey at Todayifoundout

On December 21, 1898, Marie and Pierre Curie discovered the radioactive element radium (in the form of radium chloride), extracting it from uraninite. They first removed the uranium from the uraninite sample and then found that the remaining matter was still radioactive, so investigated further. Along with the barium in the remaining substance, they also detected spectral lines that were crimson carmine, which no one had yet documented or, apparently, observed. These spectral lines were being given off by radium chloride, which they managed to separate from the barium. Five days later, they presented their findings to the French Academy of Sciences.

Five years after that, they won a Nobel Prize in physics for their discovery, making Marie Curie the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. She went on to win a second Nobel Prize in 1911; this time in chemistry, with the help of André-Louis Debierne. The two successfully managed to isolate radium through electrolysis of radium chloride. This second Nobel Prize made her the first person to ever win two.

Radium was soon all the rage- bottled radium water was used as a health tonic, such as the popular Radithor brand “Certified Radioactive Water”; facial creams that included the element were used to “rejuvenate the skin”; the Radium Institute in New York City was giving out radium injections to those who had the money to pay for it; certain brands of toothpaste started including it; high-end spas began adding uranium ore to the water of their pools in an effort to capitalize and the radioactive craze created by the discovery of radium. Radium was even used as a treatment for those who had cancer after it was observed that exposing tumors to radium salts would shrink them.

Beyond medicinal uses, shortly after radium was discovered, it was found that if you mixed radium salts with zinc sulfide and a glue agent, the result would be a pale glowing paint thanks to the radium causing the zinc atoms to emit photons. This wasn’t particularly useful in the daylight, owing to the light emitted being very dim; but at night, the glow was readily apparent close-up.

This brings us to watches. A problem in the trenches of WWI had developed where soldiers crawling and wading around in the mud weren’t able to see their watch dials at night, and their pocket watches themselves simply weren’t suitable for this environment.  To solve this, watchmakers started making men’s watches with straps, specifically designed to be worn, rather than placed in a pocket. (Previous to this, wrist watches were primarily only worn by women, with men outside of the military favoring pocket watches. After WWI, this all changed.)

The watch makers also began painting the watch dials with this special radium paint. The dimness of the glow was beneficial for the soldiers over a normal light as they could tell the time without giving away their position.


Finish reading the article HERE

Thursday, 19 June 2014

The catastrophe of Chernobyl - A 12 Part Series

Part One: A day like any another

"Viva Villa!". That was the name of the movie that a lot of Austrians watched on TV on April 25th 1986 at 11.10 pm. While this exciting thriller was flickering over the screen and a lot of people were already asleep, that's when it happened. Somebody forgot to throw a lever on the fourth floor of the nuclear power plant Chernobyl. That was the beginning of a worldwide catastrophe

Picture by Ukrainian Society for Friendship and Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries
The 25th of April 1986 was a day like another. In Kiev, a town with 25 million inhabitants, 130 kilometres south-east of the "Lenin power plant" in Chernobyl, the people had gone to work as usual, had come home tired, had eaten their supper and then gone off to bed to wake up the next morning to another normal working day just like the rest of the Europeans.
Picture by Petr Pavlicek/IAEA
Read the full article and access all 12 instalments HERE