Meteorite Older Than the Sun Found in a U.K. Driveway
Mar 13, 2021, 10:24 am EST | 1 min read
A photo of the rare meteorite that landed in a UK driveway.
Natural History Museum
There are two ways to get your hands on a meteorite. You can send up a billion-dollar robot to retrieve asteroid samples, or you can wait for a friendly space rock land at your doorstep for free. The latter option happened on February 28th, when a rare meteorite from the early solar system landed in a driveway in Winchcombe, England.
Scientists call this kind of meteorite “carbonaceous chondrite.” It contains a lot of carbon, so it looks a lot like coal, but carbonaceous chondrite actually dates back to the beginnings of our solar system and could help us understand Earth and other planets came to be. If this is like other samples of carbonaceous chondrite, it should also contain bits of diamond, graphite, and soft clay—a sign that the rock encountered water at some point.
Residents of Winchcombe, England, noticed a fireball reigning down before exploding in the sky the night of Sunday, February 28th. The next day, someone found the rock in their driveway, bagged it up, and contacted the U.K. Meteor Observation Network.
As noted by the Natural History Museum, the Winchcombe Meteorite is significantly larger than rocks collected by billion-dollar space probes. The Hayabusa2 probe returned to Earth last year with just 4.5 grams of asteroid rock, while the OSIRIS-REx probe is expected to return in 2023 with 60 grams of rock. But the Winchcombe Meteorite is 300 grams. Good things come to those who wait, I guess.
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On This Day - What Happened Today In History | Britannica
British actor Peter Sellers, who portrayed an astonishing range of characters but was perhaps best known as inept Inspector Jacques Clouseau in the Pink Panther films, was born.
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On this day in motoring - Tuesday 18th August 1959
On This Day
Tuesday 18th August 1959
61 years ago
The first pictures of BMC’s new compact four-seater Mini, designed by Alec Issigonis, were revealed to the press. Designated by Leonard Lord as project ADO15 (Amalgamated Drawing Office project number 15) and the product of the Morris design team, the Mini came about because of a fuel shortage caused by the 1956 Suez Crisis. Petrol was once again rationed in the UK, sales of large cars slumped, and the market for German bubble cars boomed. Lord, the somewhat autocratic head of BMC, reportedly detested these cars so much that he vowed to rid the streets of them and design a 'proper miniature car'. He laid down some basic design requirements: the car should be contained within a box that measured 10×4×4 feet (3.0×1.2×1.2 m); and the passenger accommodation should occupy 6 feet (1.8 m) of the 10-foot (3.0 m) length; and the engine, for reasons of cost, should be an existing unit. Issigonis, who had been working for Alvis, had been recruited back to BMC in 1955 and, with his skills in designing small cars, was a natural for the task. The team that designed the Mini was remarkably small: as well as Issigonis, there was Jack Daniels (who had worked with him on the Morris Minor), Chris Kingham (who had been with him at Alvis), two engineering students and four draughtsmen. Together, by October 1957, they had designed and built the original prototype, which was affectionately named "The Orange Box" because of its colour. The ADO15 used a conventional BMC A-Series four-cylinder, water-cooled engine, but departed from tradition by mounting it transversely, with the engine-oil-lubricated, four-speed transmission in the sump, and by employing front-wheel drive. Almost all small front-wheel-drive cars developed since have used a similar configuration, except with the transmission usually separately enclosed rather than using the engine oil. The radiator was mounted at the left side of the car so that the engine-mounted fan could be retained, but with reversed pitch so that it blew air into the natural low pressure area under the front wing. This location saved vehicle length, but had the disadvantage of feeding the radiator with air that had been heated by passing over the engine. It also exposed the entire ignition system to the direct ingress of rainwater through the grille. The suspension system, designed by Issigonis's friend Dr. Alex Moulton at Moulton Developments Limited, used compact rubber cones instead of conventional springs. This space-saving design also featured rising progressive-rate springing of the cones, and provided some natural damping, in addition to the normal dampers. Built into the subframes, the rubber cone system gave a raw and bumpy ride accentuated by the woven-webbing seats, but the rigidity of the rubber cones, together with the wheels' positioning at the corners of the car, gave the Mini go kart-like handling. Initially an interconnected fluid system was planned, similar to the one that Alec Issigonis and Alex Moulton were working on in the mid-1950s at Alvis. They had assessed the mechanically interconnected Citroën 2CV suspension at that time (according to an interview by Moulton with Car Magazine in the late 1990s), which inspired the design of the Hydrolastic suspension system for the Mini and Morris/Austin 1100, to try to keep the benefits of the 2CV system (ride comfort, body levelling, keeping the roadwheel under good control and the tyres in contact with the road), but with added roll stiffness that the 2CV lacked. The short development time of the car meant this was not ready in time for the Mini's launch. The system intended for the Mini was further developed and the hydrolastic system was first used on the Morris 1100, launched in 1962; the Mini gained the system later in 1964. Ten-inch (254 mm) wheels were specified, so new tyres had to be developed, the initial contract going to Dunlop. Issigonis went to Dunlop stating that he wanted even smaller, 8 in (203 mm) wheels (even though he had already settled on ten-inch). An agreement was made on the ten-inch size, after Dunlop rejected the eight-inch proposition. Sliding windows allowed storage pockets in the hollow doors; reportedly Issigonis sized them to fit a bottle of Gordon's Gin. The boot lid was hinged at the bottom so that the car could be driven with it open to increase luggage space. On early cars the number plate was hinged at the top so that it could swing down to remain visible when the boot lid was open. This feature was later discontinued after it was discovered that exhaust gases could leak into the cockpit when the boot was open. The Mini was designed as a monocoque shell with welded seams visible on the outside of the car running down the A and C pillars, and between the body and the floor pan. Those that ran from the base of the A-pillar to the wheel well were described as 'everted' (lit., 'turned outward') to provide more room for the front seat occupants. To further simplify construction, the hinges for the doors and boot lid were mounted externally. Production models differed from the prototypes by the addition of front and rear subframes to the unibody to take the suspension loads, and by having the engine mounted the other way round, with the carburettor at the back rather than at the front. This layout required an extra gear between engine and transmission to reverse the direction of rotation at the input to the transmission. Having the carburettor behind the engine reduced carburettor icing, but the distributor was then exposed to water coming in through the grille. The engine size was reduced from 948 to 848 cc (57.9 to 51.7 cu in); this, in conjunction with a small increase in the car's width, cut the top speed from 90 to 72 mph (145 to 116 km/h). In 1959, BMC and Alec Issigonis won the Dewar Trophy, for the design and production of the Mini. The Mini shape had become so well known that by the 1990s, Rover Group – the heirs to BMC – were able to register its design as a trademark in its own right.
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‘White Lives Matter’ plane banner overshadows Premier League game between Burnley and Manchester City
As the players of Manchester City and Burnley took a knee inside an empty Etihad Stadium in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, the sound of an aircraft could be heard overhead.
It had a very different message.
Trading Standards squad targets anti-5G USB stick
Trading Standards officers are seeking to halt sales of a device that has been claimed to offer protection against the supposed dangers of 5G via use of quantum technology.
Cyber-security experts say the £339 5GBioShield appears to no more than a basic USB drive.
"We consider it to be a scam," Stephen Knight, operations director for London Trading Standards told the BBC.
His said his team is working with City of London Police's Action Fraud squad.
They are seeking a court order to take down the company's website.
"People who are vulnerable need protection from this kind of unscrupulous trading," he added.
The intervention follows an examination of the device, which was first reported by the BBC.
The vendor - BioShield Distribution - had previously said the device was backed by "research", but has not responded to the latest development.
'Holographic nano-layer catalyser'
The rollout of the new 5G mobile networks began in the UK only last summer and has not yet reached outside urban areas.
Yet across the country there is already a cottage industry offering protection against the supposed negative health effects, even though they have been dismissed by regulators and mainstream scientists.
The 5GBioShield was recommended by a member of Glastonbury Town Council's 5G Advisory Committee, which has called for an inquiry into 5G.
One of nine external members, Toby Hall, said: "We use this device and find it helpful," and provided a link to its website, which describes it as a USB key that "provides protection for your home and family, thanks to the wearable holographic nano-layer catalyser, which can be worn or placed near to a smartphone or any other electrical, radiation or EMF [electromagnetic field] emitting device".
"Through a process of quantum oscillation, the 5GBioShield USB key balances and re-harmonises the disturbing frequencies arising from the electric fog induced by devices, such as laptops, cordless phones, wi-fi, tablets, et cetera," it adds.
Each of these USB keys costs £339.60 including VAT, though there is a special offer of three for £958.80.
But, at first sight, it seems to be just that - a USB key, with just 128MB of storage.
"So what's different between it and a virtually identical 'crystal' USB key available from various suppliers in Shenzhen, China, for around £5 per key?" asks Ken Munro, whose company, Pen Test Partners, specialises in taking apart consumer electronic products to spot security vulnerabilities.
And the answer appears to be a circular sticker.
"Now, we're not 5G quantum experts but said sticker looks remarkably like one available in sheets from stationery suppliers for less than a penny each," he says.
Mr Munro and his colleague Phil Eveleigh proceeded to dismantle the USB key to find out if there were any whizz-bang electronics inside.
But all they found was an LED light on the circuit board, similar to those on any other USB key.
Their conclusion was that trading standards bodies should carry out their own investigations.
A search in Companies House shows the two directors of BioShield Distribution are Anna Grochowalska and Valerio Laghezza.
Both of them appear to have been involved previously in a business called Immortalis, which sells a dietary supplement called Klotho Formula.
Its website - rather similar in design to that of the BioShield - says Klotho Formula uses a "proprietary procedure that leads to relativistic time dilation and biological quantum entanglement at the DNA level".
Ms Grochowalska told BBC News her company was the sole global distributor of the 5GBioShield - but it did not manufacture or own the product.
"We are in possession of a great deal of technical information, with plenty of back-up historical research," she said.
"As you can understand, we are not authorised to fully disclose all this sensitive information to third parties, for obvious reasons."
And she rejected the suggestion selling a £5 product for more than £300 was unreasonable.
"In regard to the costs analysis your research has produced, I believe that the lack of in-depth information will not drive you to the exact computation of our expenses and production costs, including the cost of IP [intellectual property rights], and so on," she said.
"It is therefore hard to take your evaluation seriously, since you have evidently not researched the background facts in any meaningful way."
(...) When plugged in to our test machine we may have missed the bubble of “quantum holographic catalyzer technology” appearing.MORE:
The stick comes loaded with a 25 page PDF version of the material from 5GbioShield ‘s website. It included a Q&A of distances for the “bubble” and how to know if it is working. It’s an “always on” system apparently, is always working, powered or not, so no visual checks needed.
A review of the stick’s properties revealed nothing more that what you’d expect from a regular 128MB USB key. We weren’t even sure that 128s are still in production! (...)