Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Haven't we heard this before?

Haven't we heard this before?

In an interesting article I read on the BBC yesterday there was one line which caught my attention

Clive Palmer, one of Australia's richest men, has commissioned a Chinese state-owned company to build a 21st Century version of the Titanic.

The mining billionaire told Australian media that construction would start at the end of next year.

It would be ready to set sail in 2016.

The plan, he added, was for the vessel to be as similar as possible to the original Titanic in design and specifications, but with modern technology.

Mr Palmer told Australian media that he had signed a memorandum of understanding with CSC Jinling Shipyard to construct the ship.

"It will be every bit as luxurious as the original Titanic but of course it will have state-of-the-art 21st Century technology and the latest navigation and safety systems," he said in a statement.

The announcement comes just weeks after the centenary of the sinking of the ill-fated Titanic.

The vessel, the largest luxury ship in its time, struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York. It went down on 15 April 1912, leaving more than 1,500 people dead.

"Of course it will sink if you put a hole in it,'' Mr Palmer said in response to questions from reporters on whether the Titanic replica would sink.

The new vessel is scheduled to sail from London to New York in late 2016, if all goes as planned.

"It is going to be designed so it won't sink,'' he added. ''But, of course, if you are superstitious like you are, you never know what could happen.''

 Haven't we read before about a ship that was said to be "unsinkable"?


 Barry

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Not the place to go for a swim

The Marshall Islands in the Pacific is definitely not the place one would recommend to a person going for a swim. The government has created the world's largest shark sanctuary, covering nearly two million sq km (750,000 sq miles) of ocean.

The Pacific republic will ban trade in shark products and commercial shark fishing throughout its waters.

Tourism, including diving, is a staple of the Marshall Islands archipelago, which is home to just 68,000 people.

Sharks and their near relatives such as rays are seriously threatened by issues such as habitat loss and fishing.

About a third of ocean-going sharks are on the internationally-recognised Red List of Threatened Species.

"In passing this [shark protection] bill, there is no greater statement we can make about the importance of sharks to our culture, environment and economy," said Senator Tony deBrum, who co-sponsored the bill through the Marshallese parliament.
"Ours may be a small island nation, but our waters are now the biggest place sharks are protected."

To put the sanctuary in context, it covers roughly the same area as Indonesia, Mexico or Saudi Arabia, and is about eight times bigger than the UK.
The move will extend the area of ocean in which sharks are protected from about 2.7 million sq km to 4.6 million sq km (1.0 to 1.8 million sq miles).

Global network

Under the bill, commercial shark fishing and any trade in shark products will be banned, and any of the fish accidentally caught must be released alive.
The sanctuary will swallow a huge chunk of the Pacific Ocean
Certain designs of fishing gear will be banned from Marshallese waters; and violators of all these measures face fines of up to £200,000.

The Marshallese government has worked on the plan with advisors from the Pew Environment Group, the US-based organisation that identified archipelago nations as providing big marine conservation "wins" because of the vast scale of their territorial waters.

"We salute the Republic of the Marshall Islands for enacting the strongest legislation to protect sharks that we have seen," said Matt Rand, Pew's director of global shark conservation.

"As leaders recognise the importance of healthy shark populations to our oceans, the momentum for protecting these animals continues to spread across the globe."
The Marshall Islands follows the lead taken by Palau two years ago, whose sanctuary was then the world's biggest. Other nations including the Bahamas have since followed suit.

Last month, a group of eight countries including Mexico, Honduras, the Maldives and Northern Mariana Islands signed a declaration announcing they would push for more shark protection across the world.

Because they grow and reproduce relatively slowly, sharks are especially vulnerable to factors such as accidental or targeted fishing.

Shark protection measures are also likely to help marine biodiversity overall, as they restrict the rights of fishing vessels and require greater scrutiny of landings.
However, with the Marshall Islands as with Palau and some other countries, there are questions over the capacity of authorities to monitor fully such huge expanses of ocean.

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Real Cold Case

A murder mystery dating back to 1879 has been finally resolved after a skull unearthed in BBC legend David Attenborough's garden was formally recognised as that of a woman murdered by her maid 132 years ago.

Julia Martha Thomas, a wealthy widow aged 55, was killed by her 29-year-old housekeeper Kate Webster very close to Park Road in well-to-do Richmond, but her head was never found.

The case became known as the 'Barnes Mystery', which gripped London at the time.

Webster, a convicted thief and fraudster, chopped up Thomas with an axe, boiled the remains and gave the dripping to local children to eat.

A box containing human flesh was found in the nearby River Thames days after the killing and one of the victim's feet was found on an allotment.

Webster was tried and executed, but the head was never found until it was unearthed in October by workmen building an extension at the home of Attenborough, the face of BBC natural history programmes for more than 50 years.

Thomas lived at almost exactly the same spot as the 85-year-old broadcaster, while the garden where the skull was found used to be the site of a pub said to be a favourite of the killer.

Alison Thompson, the west London coroner formerly identified the recovered skull as that Thomas. She recorded a verdict of unlawful killing and the cause of death as asphyxiation and head injury.

After reviewing records of the murder from the time of her death, along with census records and radiocarbon testing, the investigating officer was able to provide the coroner with compelling evidence that the skull was indeed Thomas's.

"This is a fascinating case and a good example of how good old-fashioned detective work, historical records and technological advances came together to solve the 'Barnes mystery'," said Richmond borough police commander Chief Superintendent Clive Chalk.


Barry Eva (Storyheart)

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Teenage Car Thiefs Get BIG shock!


TEENAGE thieves targeting vans parked on a council estate forced open the doors of one - and were confronted by four SAS men on a stakeout.

Two of the Who Dares Wins heroes stayed put while the other two chased the panic-stricken tearaways and gave them "a bit of a slap".

The SAS surveillanced team was on a night-time counter-terrorism training exercise in Manchester.

A source said: "The lads each had a machine gun and a side pistol with live ammunition to make it realistic. They saw these scrotes coming for some time.

"They were trying their luck on every van in the estate, looking for tools they could pinch.

"One of the team was resting, one on standby, one log-keeping and monitoring the radio, and the fourth was watching the practice target through the scope of a sniper rifle.

Heroes ... SAS crest
"They didn't want to move for fear of ruining the exercise and hoped the gang would pass them by.

"The lads decided they would teach them a lesson if they did get into their van, which is exactly what happened.

"To this day, those idiots probably still don't have any idea who they were messing with - but it hopefully made them think twice about doing that to anyone else again."


With the team's cover blown, the exercise was cancelled. But no official report was made to police to prevent members having to give court evidence.

The incident was confirmed by senior defence forces. But The Sun has been asked not to reveal specific details.

ABOUT The Special Air Srvice:

The Special Air Service (SAS) is the principal special forces organisation of the British Army. Formed in 1941 to conduct raids behind German lines in North Africa, with the Long Range Desert Group, it today serves as a model for similar units fielded by many other countries.

The SAS is a small and secretive organisation, but attracts a disproportionate amount of media coverage. It forms part of the United Kingdom Special Forces, alongside the Special Boat Service (SBS) and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR).

The SAS is widely regarded as one of the finest and best trained special forces units in the world.

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Dangers of Rising Damp...


Don’t look now, but there’s an alligator behind your sofa…

A woman in Brazil was shocked to find an alligator hiding behind her sofa after heavy rains flooded her house in the town of Parauapebas, in Para state.

She said she was alerted to the reptile's presence by her three-year-old son, who was patting its head.

The woman snatched the child away and called the fire brigade, who trapped the 1.5m-long (5ft) alligator.

The firefighters said the family was lucky the reptile was not hungry.

Firefighter Captain Luiz Claudio Farias said it could have seriously hurt or even killed the boy.

Capt Farias said it was not uncommon for animals such as alligators and snakes to enter people's houses in towns such as Parauapebas which are built very near rivers and the rainforest.

He said the reptile had been released in a less populated area of the town.

Barry Eva (Storyheart)

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Monday, February 14, 2011

There She Blows....


Published in 1851 by by American author Herman Melville. Moby-Dick is widely considered to be a Great American Novel and a treasure of world literature. The story tells the adventures of the wandering sailor Ishmael, and his voyage on the whaleship Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab. Ishmael soon learns that Ahab seeks one specific whale: Moby Dick, a ferocious, enigmatic white sperm whale. In a previous encounter, the whale destroyed Ahab's boat and bit off his leg. Ahab intends to take revenge.

Now, US marine archaeologists have found the sunken whaling ship belonging to the captain who inspired Herman Melville's classic 19th Century novel, Moby Dick.

The remains of the vessel, the Two Brothers, was found in shallow waters off Hawaii.

Captain George Pollard was the skipper when the ship hit a coral reef and sank in 1823.

His previous ship, the Essex, had been rammed by a whale and also sank, providing the narrative for the book.

'Pretty amazing'

The remains of the Two Brothers were found by researchers from America's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa), about 600 miles (965 km) north-west of Honolulu in the remote chain of islands and atolls.

The wooden vessel has disintegrated in the warm waters, but the researchers found harpoons, a hook for stripping whales of their blubber and cauldrons used to turn whale blubber into oil.

"To find the physical remains of something that seems to have been lost to time is pretty amazing," said Nathaniel Philbrick, an author and historian, who has been researching the Two Brothers, the Essex and their captain.

"It just makes you realise these stories are more than stories. They're about real lives."

The sinking of the Two Brothers was relatively uneventful compared with the Essex's run-in with the sperm whale in 1821.

After the Essex sank, Capt Pollard and his crew drifted at sea without food and water for three months and even resorted to cannibalism before they were rescued.

Pollard gave up whaling and became a night watchman in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

While Meville was inspired by Pollard's adventures, the unlucky seafarer's character is not thought to have been the basis for the novel's obsessive Capt Ahab.



Barry Eva (Storyheart)

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Birds Binge Drinking

We hear about the issue when people fly drunk, but this is something differant.

Birds that were thought to have died from avian flu in Romania instead apparently drank themselves to death.

Residents of Constanta in eastern Romania found dozens of dead starlings on the outskirts of the city on Saturday.

They alerted authorities, fearing the birds had died from avian flu.

But local veterinary officials decided the starlings had died after eating grape 'marc' - the leftovers from the wine-making process.

The head of the local sanitary and veterinary authority, Dvsva, told news agency Agerpres that analysis of the starlings' gizzards showed they had died from alcohol poisoning.

There have been a number of unexplained mass bird deaths recently in several countries, including the United States and Sweden.

Fireworks were blamed for the deaths of thousands of red-winged blackbirds in Arkansas, while in Sweden officials believe almost 100 jackdaws found dead in the centre of a town had simply been run over.


Barry Eva (Storyheart)

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