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New Yellowstone Thermal Activity Heats Fears of Supervolcano

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Park rangers at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming acted quickly to close down a road near Mammoth Hot Springs after a new thermal feature became “visibly active.” By “visibly active,” they mean heat near the surface measuring 152 degrees Fahrenheit and hot water bubbling from holes drilled only 20 inches into the ground. This comes just a few months after geologists discovered a massive, previously unknown Yellowstone magma chamber that could trigger a supervolcano of cataclysmic proportions. People in the area are understandably nervous. Should they be?

A “thermal feature” is a hole in the earth’s crust that emits hot water and steam (called a geyser) or non-water gases and vapors (called fumaroles). Yellowstone National Park is a stunningly beautiful ecosystem but the main attractions are its thermal features.

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This new one was discovered in May 2015 on Upper Terrace Drive near Mammoth Hot Springs. Besides the high heat on the surface and hot water emissions, thermal imaging showed activity under the pavement, causing officials to block off the road and adjacent areas until further notice.

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Location of the road-closing, ground-roasting thermal event

What kind of “further notice” might they be waiting for? In April 2015, University of Utah seismologists discovered a reservoir of hot, partly molten rock 12 to 28 miles beneath the Yellowstone supervolcano that is 4.4 times larger than the known magma chamber. That’s enough magma to fill the Grand Canyon 11.2 times.

The Yellowstone supervolcano last erupted 640,000 years ago, devastating what is now North America and most likely affecting the rest of the planet’s climate and life. The resulting caldera has remained inactive ever since. However, in 2003, seismic researchers noticed ground temperatures rising in the park (up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit) to the point where geysers dried up and sap boiled in trees. The park was closed until things literally and figuratively cooled down. Seismologists have been on alert ever since.

Is it time to start digging your supervolcano shelter? The Utah researchers put the odds of an eruption at 1 in 700,000 – a number the National Park Service would certainly modify to protect its millions of annual visitors. Volcanologists say the indicators of a possible supervolcano eruption would be much greater thermal features – like earthquakes, rock-lifting explosions and lava lakes forming.

Meanwhile, as their shoes sizzle and flip-flops fry, residents of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho want to know what happened right before the rocks started flying. Should they be worried? Should we?

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How do You Preserve a Rare Three-Tonne Shark?

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Sitting in the depths of the Melbourne Museum lies a very large and extremely rare fish. Known as the Basking Shark, it's the second-largest fish in the world, averaging over 12 metres in length and usually weighing several tonnes. It's so rare, the species has only been spotted three times in the museum's 160-year history.
Late last month, one specimen came into the hands of Museum Victoria after a fishing trawler accidentally caught one and donated it. While they're usually found in the North Pacific and Atlantic, this one was caught off the coast of Portland, Victoria—about four hours drive southwest of Melbourne.
Little is known about the sharks as they rarely—if ever—break the surface. This "unfortunate" catch is otherwise a boon for the museum's marine scientists who want to figure out its story.
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Despite being filter feeders that don't bit or chew, basking sharks have hundreds of teeth.
Right now, the head and fins are being preserved to form a full-size replica. To find out how you actually do this, we had a chat with Museum Victoria's Senior Curator of Ichthyology, Martin Gomon, and its Senior Collection Manager of Vertebrate Zoology, Di Bray.
"Just like with any new project, we just about wing it," Martin told VICE.
Once the trawler had alerted Museum Victoria, they basically had to hit the ground running. Now, for Museum Victoria staff, it's not like you can easily hire the gear that can shift an object of this size—you can't exactly dial for an airlift, let alone have the space to dump the fish in or around Museum Vic's facilities. But in the space of a night, a team of five was organised and on its way to Portland the following morning.
"I don't know if you've ever had to rent a crane, but they're bloody expensive," Martin explained. "Because we were at the end of a financial year, we had no money in the bank, so it only could lift it off the ship and then drop its head into our trailer".
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The frozen head being 3D scanned in Melbourne
Working their way into the night, the team had to manually cut the shark with large butcher's knives out of sheer necessity—they only had a trailer to take pieces of the shark back in.
"People kept asking us, 'why don't you have chainsaws?' Well, the thought of spraying shark all over the place wasn't a great idea," he said.
The team only took the vital bits—the head, fins and its "biologicals": stomach contents, vertebrae, as well as skin and tissue samples. The rest of the shark's carcass had to be biologically disposed of in a skip.
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The resulting 3D image
Back in Melbourne, the team spent the next two days freezing the head and fins in preparation for a 3D scan—a relatively new process for the museum. Previously, replicas were modelled from 2D images, which would have been much easier to capture when dealing with something the size of a basking shark.
"It's been a real learning curve for us because we don't often deal with objects of that size, but the information in this specimen will be critical to scientists who need it," Martin said.
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An angler fish soaking in embalming fluid
Once this was done, the basking shark was put into a tub of embalming fluid called formalin. In most cases, a formalin bath is sufficient, but the basking shark's size meant the team had to inject the head with five litres of the chemical just to stop the insides from rotting while the solution worked its way through the flesh.
"It's really nasty stuff, and if you work long enough with it, it'll preserve you," said Martin.
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The marsupial section
Looking around his office, you can't help but notice the weight of history that surrounds him on a daily basis.
The Melbourne Museum was once the National Museum of Victoria—initially a Victorian-era treasure trove of specimens built with London's Natural History Museum in mind. Owing to Melbourne's initial affluence, the museum completed the city's trifecta of having a university, a national gallery, and a national museum, all within the first 20 years of the city's existence.
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Stuffed birds
Now part of Museum Victoria, the 16-million strong collection encompasses a multitude of rare scientific finds that only a rare few get to see on a regular basis. The basking shark is its latest addition, sitting alongside rooms with Tasmanian Tigers and exotic birds dating back to Charles Darwin's voyages.
"As a collection manager, I'm aiming to build the best collection I can so that people in the future can ask questions that we can't even dream of with our specimens," says Di Bray, Museum Victoria's Senior Collection of Vertebrate Zoology.
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A preserved blobfish
The collection is spread across a number of sites, some in the basement of the Royal Exhibition Building, some in the Melbourne Museum itself, and a few clusters archived in various offsite locations. These aspects of the museum largely go unnoticed. As opposed to the shiny specimens prepped for exhibitions, people like Di and Martin are working with colleagues and students from around the globe in these grittier parts of the museum—places where things squelch and platypus feet are stored in jars.
"We hope that in the future we have a facility where the public can see what we do. Our preparers do awesome work—like how they got the shark ready for casting," she said.
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Museum Victoria's Senior Curator of Ichthyology, Martin Gomon, and Senior Collection Manager of Vertebrate Zoology, Di Bray
For the moment, Martin estimates that it'll take two months for the shark to preserve completely. In that time, the preservation team will be readying a full-size replica of theBasking Shark in a feeding position from 3D scans as well as 2D images taken in Portland. For Di and Martin, they hope this will unlock a wealth of information for both researchers and the public alike.

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JOHAMMER J1

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Johammer J1 is a futuristic electric cruiser developed and manufactured in Austria by industrial designer Johann Hammerschmid. The unusual and unconventional ride is the first e-motorcycle capable of reaching a 200km (125 miles) range on a single charge, and features an almost silent motor integrated into the rear wheel, providing 14 horsepower and a top speed of 74mph (119kph). With a love or hate design and a chopper-like aesthetic, the Johammer J1 is packed with hi-tech features such as two high-resolution 2.4 inch rear view mirrors that are actually electronic displays and provide relevant driving information.

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THROTTLE ROCKER

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Throttle Rocker lets you enjoy hours of riding without experiencing wrist fatigue, it is an inexpensive alternative to a motorcycle cruise control! The ingenious accessory wraps snugly around the throttle grip, allowing you to use downward pressure from the heel of your hand, instead of squeezing the grip to operate the throttle. This means less fatigue and cramping of your hand!

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HIPCAMP AIRBNB FOR CAMPING

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Hipcamp is like Airbnb for camping holidays! The new platform makes it easier to discover great places to go camping and get outside. The creators believe finding a campsite shouldn´t be such a time-consuming, convoluted and confusing process, Hipcamp is committed to making getting outside fun and easy, as simple as choosing what, when and where you want your camping experience to be. Hipcamp is a sleek and surprisingly fun way to find the perfect spot.

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ANTY GIN

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The Nordic Food Lab and The Cambridge Distillery have teamed up to create a gin that is the first in the world to use red wood ants. Anty Gin actually distills the wood ants known for the formic acid that sits in their abdomens, which just happens to be a perfect reactive compound for alcohol. Each bottle is labeled using The Cambridge Distillery's 1924 typewriter and contains the essence of around 62 wood ants. And when Bulgarian juniper berries and wild springtime botanicals are added, it's a unique gin that not only fits well in a cocktail, but carries an incredible story with it as well.

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A Music Festival Is Using People's Pee To Brew More Beer

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If you like drinking pee, you’re going to love the Roskilde music festival. The Danish celebration of rock and roll recently launched a program that recycles festival-goers’ urine in order to make beer. It’s not as gross as it sounds.
While it’s natural to assume that turning piss into beer would involve converting the wastewater into clean water to brew the beer, that’s not what the industrious Danes are doing. With the help of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, the Roskilde Festival is catching people’s pee in special storage tanks and then sending it to nearby farms, where it will be used to fertilize barley. From that grain, beer for the 2017 festival will be brewed.
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“Beercycling is about changing our approach to waste, from being a burden to being a valuable resource,” said the DAFC’s Leif Nielsen in a statement. “Today, the huge amount of urine produced at the festival is having a negative impact on the environment and the sewage system and treatment plant in Roskilde. Beercycling will turn those many litres of urine into a resource.”
If you think that sounds bad, definitely don’t go to Oregon. A wastewater treatment company in Portland has been trying to get a local brewery to turn actual piss into beer — not just using it as fertiliser but purifying wastewater that contains human pee. Drinking toilet water is one thing, but purifying urine in order to make a tasty beverage is a bit much. In fact, it’s against the law in Oregon — for now. You know those wacky Portlandians will do anything for sustainability.
It’s a noble goal. That said, when you’re heading to a cool music festival with your friends from college and an irresponsible amount of molly, “Beercycling” is probably not the activity you’re anticipating. It’s not as gross as it sounds, but it’s still pretty gross.

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Mate, a whole lotta places.

even so... I don't post everything, only stuff I think are worthwhile otherwise I'd have 40K posts by now lol3.gif

You're better than half way there mate!

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This Transforming Lego Optimus Prime Must Be Bending the Laws of Physics

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Half of me wants to believe that this amazing Lego version of Optimus Prime (the Michael Bay movie version) that can actually transform into a robot is legit. But the other half of me is having a hard time believing that Ralph Savelsberg didn’t just hire Industrial Light & Magic to help fake these photos with CG.

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But this isn’t Savelsberg’s only Lego creation. He’s been building masterpieces like this for years now. And even though transforming this model is, as he puts it, “...horrendously complicated and awkward and some bits will inevitably fall off in the process,” the results are still well beyond what the rest of us could ever hope to build.

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A Music Festival Is Using People's Pee To Brew More Beer

This reminds me of that Family Guy episode when they meet Pawtucket Pat:

"Take a drink and you'll sink,

To a state of pure inebriation.

You'll be tanked, like the whole Irish nation!

When you drink enough of my beer,

You will find this magic rule.

Make your every joke a jewel,

You'll drive drunker than Oksana Baiul!

Go on buds, drink my suds,

Till you've reached that pure inebriation.

Thought the beer may be free,

You're just renting it from me..."

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This reminds me of that Family Guy episode when they meet Pawtucket Pat:

"Take a drink and you'll sink,

To a state of pure inebriation.

You'll be tanked, like the whole Irish nation!

When you drink enough of my beer,

You will find this magic rule.

Make your every joke a jewel,

You'll drive drunker than Oksana Baiul!

Go on buds, drink my suds,

Till you've reached that pure inebriation.

Thought the beer may be free,

You're just renting it from me..."

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JOHAMMER J1

....

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"With a love or hate design and a chopper-like aesthetic" HATE as in really hate the design lol but love the concept though!

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Firefighters Can't Save People Burning In Cars Because Of A Stupid Drone

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A giant wildfire currently spreading through Southern California’s Cajon Pass is burning cars on a freeway in what the San Bernardino County Fire Department is calling a “mass casualty incident.” But the firefighters also issued a report that due to a drone seen flying in the area, they couldn’t get their helicopters to the scene right away.

What’s being called the North Fire has burned about 500 acres near the 15 freeway, which heads northeast to Vegas. Firefighters had closed the freeway traffic in both directions when suddenly the grass fire jumped into the freeway and set several cars aflame. Firefighters began mobilising their aircraft, but due to a drone seen in the air, they were forced to ground their helicopters which were starting to drop water on the burning cars.

It isn’t the first time that drones have prevented firefighters from flying their aircraft — it seems to be a frighteningly regular thing. This is the third time in a month that this has happened just in this county. During the nearby Lake Fire in June, a DC-10 with flame-retardant was grounded after a drone was spotted in the air.

San Bernardino’s fire department tweeted out a poster from the US Forest Service reminding drone operators not to fly near firefighting operations.

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If you have a drone — and I think I can stay this with some certainty — stay the f**k away from wildfires.

I live here and drive the Cajon Pass about 4x per week. Drove through the burn area today as a matter of fact. Luckily no casualties and the landscape is desert scrub brush so all in all a mild fire by our standards. Mostly made news due to inconvenience as this is the main thoroughfare from Las Angeles to Las Vegas. Backed up traffic something fierce.

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"With a love or hate design and a chopper-like aesthetic" HATE as in really hate the design lol but love the concept though!

It's a very ugly bike to be sure

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Jeremy Clarkson Is Saying Stupid **** Again, This Time In Australia

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Jeremy Clarkson is on the road around Australia with the new-look Don’t-Call-It-Top-Gear-Live show, and in his travels around our fair country he’s finding new and interesting ways to surgically attach his foot to his mouth.

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We have got jobs at last. Here. As packers.

The photo (posted above) sees Jeremy Clarkson and his co-host and noted chortling schoolboy Richard Hammond standing in front of a sign that reads “Fudge Factory” in Margaret River, Western Australia. The tweet says that the pair have found a new job as “packers”, which — if you’re out of the loop on slurs — is a fairly tasteless joke at the expense of the homosexual community.

It’s typical Clarkson-faire in that it’s dicey: some may take offence, some may not. That’s his brand of whimsey. Either way, it’s not a great look. At best, it’s childish, at worst, it’s offensive.

It has become a tradition for Clarkson to say something stupid almost every time he comes to Australia. There was the time he called former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown (who actually only has one eye)a one-eyed Scottish idiot, and then there was the time he said he’d never come back to Australia ever again as a result of our intolerable media. Bless.

Clarkson is in our great land this time around for the Clarkson, Hammond and May Live tour, which was called the Top Gear Live tour before the host let his fists do the talking in a failed bit of conflict resolution with a producer. The fight saw Clarkson unceremoniously ejected from the show, and rumours now point to the Top Gear trio reforming to host a new show on Netflix.

In the meantime, go follow @JeremyClarkson on Twitter for your regular dose of foot-in-mouth.

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How One Company Plans To Launch Rockets Using Beams Of Microwaves

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More people than ever are joining the private space race, developing new ways to loft craft into the night sky. But the Colorado space startup Escape Dynamics has an unusual plan to achieve that goal, which will use beams of microwaves to power a rocket into space.

Late last week, Escape Dynamics announced that it has successfully tested prototypes of its new spaceship engine. But unlike normal rockets, their engines use high-power microwave sources to power electromagnetic motors aboard the craft. The idea is that the removal of some of the on-board power systems would allow for craft that could make it into space in one piece, without jettisoning components — making them fully and rapidly reusable.

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It’s a bold aim. But tests of prototypes devices here on Earth suggest it’s plausible. Engine efficiency for space craft can be measured in units of Specific Impulse, measured in seconds, with normal chemical rockets topping out at about 460 seconds. The new Escape Dynamics system has shown to achieve 500 seconds, and the company claims that if it swapped out the prototype helium fuel source system for hydrogen that could easily become 600 seconds. That could perhaps be enough to loft a craft into orbit with just one fuel stage.
There’s still a little way to go though. Next, the team behind the technology plans to carry out open-air tests of the set-up in the desert, before moving on to setting up a repeatable system to power drones using the technology. Only then will Escape Dynamics try to put craft into space using the technique — first sending them into space and, later, properly into orbit. There’s a lot to be done, then, but the company reckons that it payloads of over 1000kg into orbit by 2025.

In reality, Escape Dynamics would need to create a large-scale energy storage system, charged from the grid or renewable sources, which would be used to drive its microwave system. Then, a series of phased array microwave transmitters would be used to focus beams of microwaves at the underbelly of the craft, where they’d power a heat exchanger that ignites on-board hydrogen to supply the rocket with energy. As the craft takes off, the microwaves would track the ship, providing continued energy as it moves through the sky.

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A Simple Magnetic Adaptor Gives Your Charging Cables MagSafe Powers

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A magnetic power connector didn’t seem that revolutionary when first revealed, but over the years the Apple MacBook’s MagSafe connector has proven itself to be an invaluable feature. And as the Znaps magnetic adaptor shows, it would be just as useful for your mobile devices too.
Using a pair of simple adapters — one that plugs into the Lightning or microUSB port on the bottom of your mobile device, and one that connects to the end of a Lightning or microUSB cable — the Znaps makes it much easier to plug your mobile devices in for charging at night when it’s dark, or when you’ve only got one hand free. It’s also just as easy to unplug a cable from your device with the Znaps adaptor, as a simple tug easily breaks the magnetic connection.
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It’s an almost perfect upgrade for your mobile devices, but only because the Znaps aren’t actually available for sale yet. Their creators have turned to Kickstarter to raise $US120,000 to help put them into production, and to date the crowdfunding campaign has raised almost half a million dollars. That doesn’t mean the Znaps are guaranteed to make it into consumer’s hands, but it will certainly help the product overcome unforeseen roadblocks and hiccups as it moves into production.

You can pre-order the Znaps for as cheap as just $US9 for a single pair of the charging port and charging cable adapters, but the Kickstarter campaign also allows you to order custom numbers of either if you’re using a single cable for multiple devices. As with any Kickstarter product, the waiting will be the hardest part here as delivery of the Znaps aren’t expected until November of later this year.

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This Month In Dashcams: Don't Crash Into A Police Car

You’ve heard about how dangerous Australia’s wildlife is, but nobody talks about the deadliness of our roads. Here’s a compilation of new dashcam footage that shows rampaging trucks, a guy colliding with a police car, and what happens when you’re in close proximity to exploding power lines.

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The Mystery of the Vanishing Nukes

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We all lose or misplace things from time to time. Our wallet, our car keys, our remote control, no matter how vigilant we are these things just seem to vanish from time to time. There are even those occasions when they remain gone forever, despite our best efforts to relocate them. In most cases, it may be just a minor inconvenience or annoyance, but what of things that people have lost that have potentially earth shattering consequences? I’m not talking about car keys here, but of the rather unsettling habit that human beings have developed of losing track of things that we really should make sure we never lose. I’m talking about how sometimes we have managed to lose whole nuclear weapons, yes in the plural, as in more than one. Say what?! Over the years, various nations have gone and managed to just up and lose dozens of nuclear weapons under a variety of circumstances, and just like your keys or wallet, sometimes they have gone missing without a trace; seemingly vanished off the face of the earth.
Missing nukes are often referred to as “Broken Arrows,” defined as “an unexpected event involving nuclear weapons that result in the accidental launching, firing, detonating, theft or loss of the weapon which does not result in the threat of nuclear war.” These broken arrows occurred much during the Cold War between the late 1950s and the mid-1960s, which was a tense time of unprecedented nuclear weapon stockpiling and transportation of such devices. Even amid all of this confusion and mayhem, one might be inclined to think that there would be no possibility that someone could just lose a nuke, or that one could simply go missing, but they would be wrong. In fact, perhaps even more disturbing than the idea that a nuclear weapon can disappear without a trace is the sobering fact that it has happened with an alarming frequency. To date, the US reportedly has lost 11 nuclear weapons, and there are around 50 nuclear devices unaccounted for worldwide. In many of these cases, the nukes have seemed to vanish off the face of the earth and no one has any idea of where they have gone.
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Many cases of disappearing nukes happened over water. During the height of the Cold War it is estimated that 365 days a year there were airborne nuclear weapons aboard US bombers, typically following four main routes that passed over Greenland, the Mediterranean, Japan and Alaska. Considering the vast distances involved and the lack of fuel capacity to allow planes to cross oceans on one tank of fuel, these missions required midair refueling, a dangerous and hairy operation which, along with the threat of other possible midair problems and perils, such as storms, enemy fire, or simply running out of gas, lie at the heart of some of the most spectacular cases of mysteriously disappearing nukes.
One infamous case occurred on 10 March 1956, when a B-47 Stratojet took off from MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa on a non-stop transatlantic flight to deliver two nuclear weapon cores in special transport cases to an undisclosed overseas base.
Considering the enormous distance involved, two in-flight refuelings were scheduled. The first refueling went off without a hitch, yet the plane failed to show for its second refueling over the Mediterranean Sea. Considering the cargo the plane had been carrying, an extensive search was immediately launched to try and locate the missing aircraft, but no trace of the plane, debris, the crew, or its nuclear payload could ever be found. It is as if the bomber just flew off the face of the earth. It is assumed that the plane went down somewhere over the Mediterranean, possibly due to running out of fuel, but no one has any idea where, and the plane’s disappearance, as well as the location of the missing nuclear cores, remain a complete mystery to this day.
Another nuclear bomb was lost in the Atlantic in 1968, when an American B-52 bomber went down over Greenland and crashed into the ice of North Star Bay, near Thule Air Force base, detonating its conventional explosives in a spectacular fireball.
Unfortunately, the plane had also been carrying four nuclear warheads, at least one of which was never recovered and is thought to have been sealed in the ice after the explosion melted it and it subsequently refroze. Additionally, uranium, tritium and plutonium was scattered over a 2,000-foot radius in the vicinity, leading to serious health problems in those who engaged in recovery efforts. So sensitive was this incident that the military covered it up for decades. It is still unknown as to how many bombs of the four onboard were actually lost and to what extent the radioactive contamination spread. The missing bomb or bombs have never been found and presumably still remain trapped somewhere down in the Greenland ice.
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In some cases, the planes with their nuclear cargo never even made it into the air. What must be one of the most ridiculous cases of a vanishing nuke happened on 10 Dec. 1965 on board the USS Ticonderoga, an aircraft carrier that was on its way to Yokosuka, Japan from Vietnam. A-4E Skyhawk carrying an extremely powerful B-43 hydrogen bomb was carried up one of the carrier’s huge aircraft elevators to be loaded on the deck and prepared for takeoff. The crew surely could not have believed what happened next. Rather than the proud, patriotic, and heroic image of this majestic fighter jet preparing to bolt forth into the sky, those on board were instead treated to the absurd sight of the plane simply rolling off the deck to plunge into the ocean, complete with its pilot and onboard nuclear weapon. The plane would go on to sink five kilometers (16,400 feet) into the ocean depths and would resist all efforts to locate it. To make matters scarier, experts at the time were concerned that the extreme depths involved might actually set off the bomb. This incident was kept under wraps by the government for a long time since it showed that the U.S. had nuclear weapons in Vietnam and also that they had defied a treaty with Japan to not bring such weapons into Japanese territory. To this day the location of the plane, its pilot, and its potent nuclear payload remains unknown.
Some of the missing warheads were not lost over the sea, but under it. In April of 1989, the Russian submarine Komsomolez experienced a catastrophic fire on board during a mission off the coast of Greenland. The resulting damage crippled the sub and sent it hurtling down 1,700 meters (5,500 feet) into the cold blackness to the bottom of the ocean along with the two nuclear warhead equipped torpedoes it was carrying. The nukes were never found. On May 22, 1968, the American nuclear submarine the USS Scorpion was on its way back to Norfolk, Virginia from a three month training exercise in the Mediterranean Sea and was 320 nautical miles south of the Azores when it suddenly vanished along with its two nuclear warheads. The U.S. was at first convinced that the Russians were involved in its disappearance, but the wreckage of the sub was later found strewn about the bottom at a depth of 3,300 meters (10,800 feet) by the research ship Mizar. Because of the incredible depths involved, the nuclear warheads were never recovered and remain lying upon the bottom of the sea.
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It would be somewhat comforting for Americans to think that these are incidents which have only occurred in the middle of the ocean or in faraway lands, but the alarming fact is this is not the case, with 7 of the 11 missing nukes disappearing on U.S. soil. Where to even begin? On July 28, 1957, a C-124 transport plane experienced technical problems when two of its engines lost power after it departed Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. The flight crew could not keep the aircraft on a level flight and so this necessitated the jettisoning of two nuclear weapons off the East coast of the United States, which promptly sank into the ocean to never be seen again. Although the C-124 landed safely near Atlantic City, New Jersey, the warheads or their debris were never located. On September 25, 1959, a U.S. Navy P-5M aircraft carrying a nuclear depth charge went down to smash into the Puget Sound near Whidbey Island, Washington and was never seen again, its nuclear payload lost forever to the deep dark sea.
On January 24, 1961, a nuclear catastrophe nearly occurred when a B-52 bomber carrying two fully operational nuclear warheads and flying on alert over Goldsboro, North Carolina, experienced a defective fuel line and sudden structural failure in one of its wings. The plane’s wing disintegrated, sending it plummeting towards the ground far below and killing three of its crew. The two nuclear weapons were released during the breakup from an altitude of 2,000-10,000 feet. Emergency parachutes had been installed in the warheads, and for one of the nukes the parachute deployed as planned and the weapon would later be safely recovered. However, the second warhead’s parachute malfunctioned and the weapon plowed into some swampy farmland, smashing it to pieces and sending debris flying over a wide area. It would later be revealed that the weapon had had a high probability of accidentally detonating, as five of the six onboard safety devices had failed, leaving only a single switch that had saved the entire area from being consumed in a devastating nuclear explosion. Although many of the bomb’s components were eventually recovered, the highly enriched uranium core was never found even after thorough desperate searches of the area by the military. It is thought that the extremely dangerous core had lodged itself as far down as 50 meters (165 feet) into the marshy, waterlogged ground. Such was the concern over the missing core that the Air Force acquired an easement on the land which required anyone planning to develop the area or start any sort of construction to first obtain permission from the military in order to keep the weapons grade core from falling into the wrong hands.
Perhaps the most notorious and indeed scariest incident on U.S. soil happened on Feb. 5, 1958, when a powerful, 7,000 pound Mark 15 hydrogen bomb, with over 100 times the destructive force of the Hiroshima bomb, disappeared over Wassaw Sound only 12 miles from Savannah, Ga., a city with a population of over 100,000 people. A B-47 Stratojet bomber piloted by Howard Richardson, Bob Lagerstrom and Leland Woolard, had been engaged in a night training flight over Sylvania, Georgia at an altitude of 36,000 feet when it accidentally collided with an F-86 Saberjet fighter, destroying the fighter and badly damaging one of the bomber’s wings. After three unsuccessful attempts to land with their payload aboard, the pilots were then instructed to jettison their nuclear payload before trying to attempt another emergency landing, so pilot Maj. Howard Richardson dropped the bomb over the Wassaw Sound off of Tybee Island in a location near the mouth of the Savannah River before finally managing to land safely at nearby Hunter Army Airfield.
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Mark 15 thermonuclear bomb
It was thought at the time that the recovery of the nuclear weapon would be swift, as it had been ditched in an area of shallow water which wasn’t particularly secluded, yet this would not prove to be the case. The area was completely shut off by the military and a massive search was launched for the missing nuclear weapon, including aerial searches, underwater divers, and meticulous scouring of the surrounding land by soldiers, yet after 2 months the bomb had still not been located. Shortly after, the military called off the search and deemed the weapon to be “irretrievably lost.” In the wake of the failed attempts to recover the lost nuclear weapon, the military went through great pains to enact a cover-up of the event and it has only come to light in the face of partially declassified documents gradually released on the incident. The Air Force would later claim that the missing bomb posed no threat if left undisturbed, but gave the ominous warning in a declassified report that “an intact explosive would pose a serious explosion hazard to personnel and the environment if disturbed by a recovery attempt.” It also made sure to monitor all dredging in the area, stating in another declassified document:
There exists the possibility of accidental discovery of the unrecovered weapon through dredging or construction in the probable impact area. … The Department of Defense has been requested to monitor all dredging and construction activities.
Showing that humans have the disturbing propensity to not learn a single thing, it later came to light in a partially declassified memo that the Air Force had wasted no time in promptly requested a new nuclear warhead to replace the lost one. The memo states:
The search for this weapon was discontinued on 4-16-58 and the weapon is considered irretrievably lost. It is requested that one [phrase redacted] weapon be made available for release to the DOD (Department of Defense) as a replacement.
The missing nuclear weapon of Tybee Island to this day has never been recovered and still lies somewhere out in the water near a major American metropolis. As its existence has become known to the general populace, there has been a great deal of outrage directed towards the military for losing the bomb in the first place, as well as its sudden decision to call off its search for it despite the potentially devastating consequences it could pose to the populace. Understandably, local residents want an investigation relaunched, and want the bomb found and removed. The Air Force has countered various accusations by stating repeatedly that the bomb poses no threat and even trying to downplay the threat by claiming the bomb was not fully functional. This claim stands in stark contrast to a recently declassified 1966 congressional testimony of former secretary assistant secretary of defense W.J. Howard, who stated that the Tybee Island bomb was a “complete weapon, a bomb with a nuclear capsule,” and that it had represented one of only two weapons lost up to that time that was complete with a plutonium trigger.
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In addition to the obvious danger of having a fully operational nuclear weapon lying so close to a major city, there is also the matter of the plutonium and other radioactive materials, such as uranium and beryllium, leaking into the environment. This is potentially horrible news for people and wildlife of the area, as well as for the rich crabbing industry of Wassaw Sound. There have been extensive efforts by several salvage companies to try and locate the missing bomb since its existence became public, but there are also those who think that it should be left alone. The bomb contains many dangerous elements, including the highly unstable lithium deuteride, as well as the over 400 pounds of TNT designed to act as a catalyst for the plutonium trigger to implode and thus create a nuclear explosion, and these have been slowly degenerating from being submerged for so many years. It is thought that any attempt to remove the bomb could be a highly perilous proposition. One can only hope that if someone does manage to find and retrieve it that it will be someone with good intentions and not one of the many enemies of the U.S. who would love to get their hands on some unguarded, unsecured nuclear material. The Tybee Island lost nuke remains elusive, sitting out there in the ocean somewhere posing an ill-defined threat. The Pentagon has notoriously been secretive about the whole affair and has seemingly failed to engage in any in-depth analysis of the situation.
The one thing that is no doubt going through your mind right now is just what exactly is the level of threat posed by these vanished nuclear weapons? This largely depends on who you ask. Otfried Nassauer, an expert on nuclear armament and the director of the Berlin Information Center for Transatlantic Security says:

Weapons that are on the ocean floor are hardly unlikely to explode. Perhaps this risk is somewhat greater with the bombs that were lost on land. But virtually nothing is known about whether such bombs can explode spontaneously.

Don Moniak, a nuclear weapons expert with the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League in Aiken, South Carolina said:

There could be a fission or criticality event if the plutonium was somehow put in an incorrect configuration. There could be a major inferno if the high explosives went off and the lithium deuteride reacted as expected. Or there could just be an explosion that scattered uranium and plutonium all over hell.

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The bottom line seems to be, we don’t know. Perhaps more of an impending threat is the risk of leaked radioactive materials from these missing weapons. Lithium, beryllium and enriched uranium are all building blocks of nuclear weapons that can cause a whole laundry list of health problems in humans and wildlife, as well as irreversible environmental damage. The effects of corrosion on such lost nukes could mean that such dangerous materials could be released slowly into the environment over decades. The problem is only exacerbated by the Pentagon’s determination on putting a lid on the extent of the problem and its insistence on secrecy. There is also the obvious threat of some terrorist group attaining these lost nuclear materials.
Where have these nuclear weapons gone? What threat do they pose? What is the military doing about it? More importantly, how many more are there out there that have vanished without a trace that we don’t even know about? It is startling that not only can this happen, but that we can have so little of an idea of what the repercussions might even be. This all seems rather unbelievable, yet even in this day and age of enhanced security and nuclear awareness this can still happen. Vanishing, unaccounted for nukes are still apparently very much a thing. Bear in mind that there are 7 of these things missing somewhere on U.S. soil. Do you know where they are? I know I don’t. But I sure wish I did. Sleep tight.

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Inside Albania’s Secret Nuclear Bunkers

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Convinced of an attack from both the East and West, Albanian president Enver Hoxha built thousands of concrete-and-iron bunkers. Now, they are being repurposed as stores, restaurants, and tattoo studios.
For two decades, Albania furiously built cement bunkers, steeling itself for the onslaught of nuclear warfare that never came. Today, the country has nearly as many fortifications as it does people.
In 1967, Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha became convinced that his small state would be invaded at any moment, and began preparing.
Already 23 years into his reign, he launched a program of “bunkerization.”
The paranoid dictator had adopted a hardline Stalinist policy and he soon severed ties with both the USSR and Red China.
It became one of the most isolated countries in the world. Convinced of an attack from both the East and West, he poured millions of dollars into building an estimated 750,000 concrete-and-iron bunkers.
When the mushroom-like structure was first designed, the engineer told Hoxha he was “very confident” in their ability to withstand a tank attack.
As the story goes, the president then told the engineer to stand in his bunker while he fired a tank at it.
He climbed out unscathed, and over the next 20 years, until the dictator’s death in 1985, the bunkers were built virtually everywhere.
Today, there’s around one bunker for every four Albanians, and 24 bunkers per square half-mile.
Many think the massive quantity of funds used to built the sturdy structures could have instead fixed the country’s housing drought at the time. Hundreds died building the structures.
Despite their longevity, few of the bunkers have been removed.
They hide in plain site, buried among the concrete tombs of a cemetery, partially covered with sand on the beach, resting askew in a front yard. Some are in clusters, and the capital of Tirana is basically encircled with them.
While many are rusted and gutted, many are still used consistently for storage or even as a shelter for the homeless.
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Young Albanians have found a way to repurpose them in a variety of creative ways.
In a project called Concresco, photographer David Galjaard found one man had turned his into a tattoo studio, while others were used as stores and restaurants.

Since 2010, a small concentration of them have been used for a music festival called Bunkerfest where artists transform the ugly bulbous structures into colorful pieces.

There’s even an entire book devoted to the multiple reuse opportunities for the bunkers.

To make a cafe or bed and breakfast, a group called the Concrete Mushrooms Project recommends adding a window, door lock, and portable electrical functions.
“It suggests that man has the power, through the grotesque and the absurd drama of the past, to cultivate a sense of humor and ease a wounded memory,” the authors write.
The original bunker designer, Josif Zengali, doesn’t think the initial concept was bad—just the excess to which his idea was abused. “There is no country in the world that doesn’t have fortifications,” he told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1999. “But everything in moderation.”
Though the bunkers never saw use as projection from nuclear warfare, they have been made useful in wartime.
During the 1999 Kosovo War, Albanians on the border with Serbia were cleaning up the bunkers and prepping them for possible use.
Some were reportedly used during shelling and later as shelters for refugees fleeing the area.
A few years later, Albania discovered some 16 tons of mustard gas forgotten in a bunker.
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While most of the bunkers are small, Hoxhan and his government built an intricate underground network for themselves to house the wartime government in case of attack.
Last year, the Albanian government opened up the largest of these subterranean lairs.
The 106-room, five-floor structure was buried 330-feet deep in the ground outside the capital of Tirana in 1978.
The site was built to withstand the blast of a 20-kiloton atomic bomb, similar to the one dropped on Hirsoshima. That no longer necessary, Albania now has plans to convert it into an artist exhibition space.
Speaking in the subterranean hall, Prime Minister Edi Rama told a group of ambassadors: “We have opened today a thesaurus of the collective memory that presents thousands of pieces of the sad events and life under communism.”

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SCRIBA STYLUS

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Most styli are designed upon the idea that a pencil is the ideal shape for writing, and that putting added pressure on the tip is the ideal way to control what you're drawing. The Scriba Stylus assumes that both of these are wrong. It was designed to fit the natural curves of your hand, resulting in an open body that lets you squeeze to control the line weight far more intuitively than with a pressure-based tool. It has up to six months of battery life per charge, offers a full half inch of movement, is crafted from high-quality polymer, so it's durable enough to simply be tossed in a bag when you're done with it.

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Spectre Will Be The Last James Bond Film For Director Sam Mendes

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Many people think the most recent James Bond film, Skyfall, was one of the best. Credit for that goes largely to director Sam Mendes, who brought his Oscar-winning skills to the action franchise. He begrudgingly came back for the upcoming film, Spectre, but now says this will probably be his last one.
Speaking with the BBC, the American Beauty director said the following about coming back for a third James Bond adventure:
I said ‘No’ to the last one and then ended up doing it, and was pilloried by all my friends. But I do think this is probably it. I don’t think I could go down that road again. You do have to put everything else on hold.
The last time Mendes said something like that, he famously flip-flopped. In March 2013 he said the following to Empire:
It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie. Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theatre and other commitments, including productions of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and King Lear, that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond.
That changed four months later, when Mendes said this:
I am very pleased that by giving me the time I need to honour all my theatre commitments, the producers have made it possible for me to direct Bond 24. I very much look forward to taking up the reins again, and to working with Daniel Craig, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli for a second time.
Which is a nice way to say, maybe he’ll change his mind again. But I wouldn’t bet on it. The difference this time is he’s not citing anything specific when it comes to not returning. He’s talking about the all-consuming job of directing a movie of this magnitude.
“It really is more a lifestyle choice than a job,” Mendes said.
Then again, if Spectre somehow tops Skyfall, who knows what’s possible.
Spectre comes out November 6 in the United States.

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3DR SOLO SMART DRONE

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3D Robotics’ latest, the 3DR Solo Drone, is a powerful quadcopter drone that streams live HD video directly to your smartphone or tablet from a GoPro attached to its 3-axis gimbal.
The 3DR Solo uses an intuitive ergonomic controller that’s fun and easy to use. In fact, the controller also has dedicated controls for the camera so that you can change views on the fly. The 3DR can also connect to any HDMI port. It has a 20 minute flight time, and can be flown manually or can be set to Follow Mode, which will have the drone follow your every move for action shots. The 3DR also uses a smart battery with an LED indicator. It’s basically a slimmed down, sleeked-out version of the DJI Phantom 3 that adds control of the GoPro, which is strangely not included in the retail packaging. The 3DR Solo is available now for $1,465. [Purchase]
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CARAVAN TOKYO

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Caravan Tokyo is a truly unique travel experience available for those intending to visit Tokyo. It provides all of the comforts of a hotel room without all of the hooplah right in the heart of Tokyo.
The Caravan Tokyo is custom-built by locals, and is a clean and elegantly designed trailer that sits in Omotesando, an upscale neighborhood that is just minutes away from Tokyo’s best food and fashion. It has a bed that can reasonably accommodate two guests. On top of its smartly designed minimal aesthetic, this camper has all of the comforts of a hotel room, including air conditioning, heat, plumbing, the Internet and more. The Caravan Tokyo is an ode to genuinely good design, and is available now for $141 per night. [Purchase]
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THE BISON BAG IS A SLEEPING BAG HAMMOCK

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About a year ago, Clayborne Outdoor Goods launched the Bison Bag, a unique product that was a combination of a sleeping bag and a hammock. The portable, convenient and downright comfy Bison Bag was far superior to the standard tent in a lot of ways, but the Bison Bag G2 is even better.

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Sandwiched in between the outer sleeping bag layer and the hammock layer is a gap that creates a third layer of insulation, which means you probably won’t need any additional blankets for warmth. The Bison Bag G2 also includes a sleeping bag sack that holds the sleeping bag, hammock, rope and carabiners, so everything you need to bed down on your adventure is right at your finger tips.

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