The Friday Post ~ 22nd September 2017

A hearty Good Friday to thee!  Ok … that’s more than enough of the Shakespearean talk.  After that, you see, it comes down to Shakespearean insults.  Not because I like to insult people … but because I find the Shakespearean insults so amazingly funny!

Get this one: Away you three-inch fool!”  That’s one I use on my friend from time to time.  Or there’s this one …  You scullion!  You rampallian!  You fustilarian!  I’ll tickle your catastrophe!”LOL…. you can see why I like Shakespearean insults.  They’re so juicy and such fun.

But Anyhoo …  you’re not here to listen to me twittering on about Shakespeare, you’re here for some Edumacation of the Cobweb variety.  So shall we get on with it?

On this Day in History.

1692 – Last people hanged for witchcraft in the United States.

1735 – Sir Robert Walpole became the first prime minister to occupy 10 Downing Street.

1888 – The first issue of National Geographic Magazine is published
1893 – The first American-built automobile, built by the Duryea Brothers, is displayed.
1896 – Queen Victoria surpasses her grandfather King George III as the longest reigning monarch in British history.

1910 – The Duke of York’s Cinema opened in Brighton. It is still operating today, making it the oldest continually operating cinema in Britain

1934 – The worst pit disaster in Britain for 21 years killed more than 260 miners in an explosion and fire at the Gresford Mine in Wales.

1951 – The first live sporting event seen coast-to-coast in the United States, a college football game between Duke and the University of Pittsburgh, is televised on NBC.
1955 – In Britain, the television channel ITV goes live for the first time. Only six minutes of advertisements were allowed each hour and there was no Sunday morning TV permitted. The first advertisement screened was for Gibbs SR toothpaste.

1967 – The liner Queen Mary began her 1000th and last Atlantic crossing. A New York docks strike meant that passengers had to carry their own luggage aboard.

1979 – The South Atlantic Flash or Vela Incident is observed near Bouvet Island, thought to be a nuclear weapons test.

The Vela Incident (sometimes known as the South Atlantic Flash) was an as-yet unidentified double flash of light detected by a United States Vela satellite on September 22, 1979. It has been speculated that the double flash, characteristic of a nuclear explosion, was the result of a nuclear weapons test; however, recently declassified information about the event concludes that it “was probably not from a nuclear explosion, although [it cannot be ruled] out that this signal was of nuclear origin.”

The flash was detected on 22 September 1979, at 00:53 GMT, by US Vela satellite 6911, which carried various sensors designed specifically to detect nuclear explosions. In addition to being able to detect gamma rays, x-rays and neutrons, the satellite also contained two bhangmeter sensors which were able to detect the dual light flashes associated with a nuclear explosion, specifically the initial brief, intense flash as well as the second longer flash that followed.

The satellite reported the characteristic double flash (a very fast and very bright flash, then a longer and less-bright one) of an atmospheric nuclear explosion of two to three kilotons, in the Indian Ocean between Bouvet Island (Norwegian dependency) and the Prince Edward Islands (South African dependencies). It should be noted that the explosion of some meteors as they are entering the atmosphere can produce energy measured from kilotons (Eastern Mediterranean Event) to megatons (Tunguska event). However, the mechanism is different, and meteors do not produce the double flash characteristic of a nuclear detonation.

United States Air Force WC-135B aircraft flew 25 sorties in the area soon after, but failed to detect any sign of radiation.

There is much doubt as to whether the satellite’s observations were accurate. Vela 6911 was one of a pair launched on 23 May 1969, more than ten years prior to the event, and the satellite was already two years past its design lifespan. It was known to have a failed electromagnetic pulse (EMP) sensor and had developed a fault (in July 1972) in its recording memory, but the fault had cleared itself by March 1978.

Initial assessment by the U.S. National Security Council in October 1979 was that the intelligence community had “high confidence” that the event was a low-yield nuclear explosion, although no radioactive debris was detected, and there was “no corroborating seismic or hydro-acoustic data.” A later NSC report revised this to “a position of agnosticism” about whether a test had occurred. They concluded that responsibility should be ascribed to South Africa.. Later, the Carter administration asked the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to convene a panel of instrumentation experts to examine the Vela 6911 data and determine whether the optical flash detected was from a nuclear test.

If a nuclear explosion did occur, it occurred within the 3,000 miles (4,800 km) wide circle covering the Indian Ocean, South Atlantic, southern tip of Africa, and a small part of Antarctica.

South Africa did have a nuclear weapons program at the time, and it falls within that geographic location. Nevertheless, since the fall of apartheid, South Africa has disclosed most of the information on its nuclear weapons program, and according to the subsequent International Atomic Energy Agency report, South Africa could not have constructed such a device until November 1979, two months after the incident.

U.S. analysts also considered the possibility that it could have been a covert test by a known nuclear state. They concluded that there would be little motivation for the USSR or China in particular to test a nuclear weapon in such a way, unless they were attempting to make it look like South Africa or Israel were covertly testing weapons. As the flash could have occurred in the vicinity of the Kerguelen Islands, it is possible that France was testing a neutron bomb.

It is unlikely any other declared nuclear powers would have conducted such a test. They had little reason to conduct an atmospheric test, and the small size of the blast might reflect a less advanced weapon – though there are many “advanced” reasons for small tests as well, including tactical nuclear weapons (such as neutron bombs) and testing the primary devices for thermonuclear weapons.

Today a mountain of Vela-incident intelligence remains classified, but a few heavily redacted reports have been released by the US government. Although these documents indicate considerable internal disagreement regarding the cause of the double-flash signal, they offer little new evidence. In his 2006 book On the Brink, retired CIA spy Tyler Drumheller wrote, “My sources collectively provided incontrovertible evidence that the apartheid government had in fact tested a nuclear bomb in the south Atlantic in 1979, and that they had developed a delivery system with assistance from the Israelis.” Unfortunately he does little to elaborate on the event or on his evidence, except to state that the South African bombs employed a “highly accurate delivery system using gliders.” One factor which casts doubt on the South African covert test theory is the conspicuous lack of South African scientists disclosing their participation, even after the fall of the apartheid.

Perhaps one day, when the redactions have receded and declassified documents are disseminated, further light will be shed on the Vela incident of 1979. If the distinct double-flash pattern was not a nuclear detonation, the Vela event would represent the only instance in history where a Vela satellite incorrectly identified an atomic blast– in which case the true cause may forever remain unknown and/or irrelevant. In any case, the flurry of falsifications and artificial investigations churned up in the wake of the incident clearly demonstrated governments’ unwavering willingness to renegotiate reality for political purposes, even in the shadow of a mushroom cloud.

1980 – Iraq invades Iran. The Iran–Iraq War, also known as the Imposed War and Holy Defense in Iran, and Saddâm’s Qâdisiyyah in Iraq, was a war between the armed forces of Iraq and Iran lasting from September 1980 to August 1988.

The war began when Iraq invaded Iran on 22 September 1980 following a long history of border disputes and fears of Shia insurgency among Iraq’s long suppressed Shia majority influenced by Iran’s Islamic revolution. Although Iraq hoped to take advantage of revolutionary chaos in Iran and attacked without formal warning, they made only limited progress into Iran and within several months were repelled by the Iranians who regained virtually all lost territory by June 1982. For the next six years Iran was on the offensive. Despite several calls for a ceasefire by the United Nations Security Council, hostilities continued until 20 August 1988. The last prisoners of war were exchanged in 2003.

The war is noted for several things. It was of great cost in lives and economic damage – a half a million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers as well as civilians are believed to have died in the war with many more injured and wounded – but brought neither reparations nor change in borders. It is also noted for its similarity to World War I. Tactics used included trench warfare, manned machine-gun posts, bayonet charges, use of barbed wire across trenches and on no-mans land, human wave attacks and Iraq’s extensive use of chemical weapons (such as mustard gas) against Iranian troops and civilians as well as Iraqi Kurds.

1986 – Surgeons at Harefield Hospital in London, Great Britain, performed a heart & lung transplant operation on the world’s youngest patient – a baby just 10 weeks old.
1989 – An IRA bomb attack on the Royal Marines School of Music killed 11 people, (10 of them young soldiers) and injured twelve of the bandsmen.

1991 – Bryan Adams made chart history when his song – Everything I Do, I Do It For You, had its twelfth consecutive week as the UK No.1, in Great Britain.

1999 – Singer Diana Ross was arrested on Concorde after an incident at Heathrow Airport. The singer claimed that a female security guard had touched her breasts when being frisked, and she retaliated by rubbing her hands down the security guard.

2003 – David Hempleman-Adams becomes the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an open-air, wicker-basket hot air balloon.

Born on this Day

1880 – Dame Christabel Pankhurst, English suffragist (d. 1958)

1915 – Arthur Lowe, British actor (d. 1982)

1931 – Fay Weldon, British novelist, short story writer, playwright, and essayist whose work has been associated with feminism

1940 – Anna Karina, Danish born actress

1948 – Denis Burke, Australian politician

1948 – Jim Byrnes, American actor and musician

1954 – Shari Belafonte, American singer, actor, model and daughter of singer Harry Belafonte, she is known for her role as Julie Gilette on the 1980s television series Hotel and as a spokesperson for the diet supplement Slim-Fast during the 1990s.

1956 – Debby Boone, American singer best known for her 1977 hit “You Light Up My Life”, which spent 10 weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and won her a Grammy award the following year for Best New Artist.

1958 – Andrea Bocelli, Italian tenor

1961 – Scott Baio, American actor, best known for his work on the sitcoms Happy Days and Charles in Charge

1961 – Catherine Oxenberg, British actress

1971 – Chesney Hawkes, English singer

1982 – Billie Piper, English singer and actress – began her career as a pop singer in her teens but is now best known for portraying Rose Tyler, companion to the Doctor in the television series Doctor Who from 2005 to 2006, a role she reprised in 2008.

Thought for the Day

I know that to say that all Scientists are non believers of anything regarding God, Religion or Spiritual, is a sweeping statement, for I am aware that there are scientists who are believers.  However, I’m also not foolish and know that a huge majority of scientists ‘pooh pooh’ the idea of a God or anything other than what we see here on Earth with our eyes, or that has been proven to ‘be’ or ‘exist’.

Likewise, non believers.  Non believers have their own belief that there is nothing other than this life as we see it here.  There is no God, no Heaven, no afterlife.

My own person view on these folks is that they (Scientists included) are very short-sighted.  It would seem a very closed mind attitude to think this way.

Have you ever watched an ant crawling along the ground near your house?  Do you think that the ant knows there’s a house a few inches away from it?

I mean …  the ant is sooo teeny tiny and in comparison, the house is ginormous!  Surely the ant can’t know that the house is there?

This leads me to thinking  ‘What do you suppose is right beside us that we are not yet able to recognise?”

I believe true integrity begins with the words:  “I don’t yet know”.

Our big idea that humans are ‘at the top of the existence heap’ could be the blindest assumption of all.
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School playtime this week is something a little different….

The World has its own ‘factbook’. I found this website a few years ago when looking for something entirely different.

The page you’ll land on when you click the link is up to date (2017) and tells you everything in facts and figures, about the world and it’s people.  Some of the things there surprised me and I thought some of you might like to have a peep at this one too.

This is the Home Page for the website:   CIA – The World Factbook –  and yes, it really is a website run by the CIA. (it will open in another window for you when you click).

So anyhoo…  you’re edumacated.  You’ve got something to play with at playtime and I guess that means that we’re done and dusted for another week.  All that’s left for me to say is …  Have a wonderful Friday, and a truly beautiful weekend.  I hope that everything you’re wishing for this weekend, comes true, providing that it’s good for you and yours.

The next post from The Cobweborium Emporium will be one about Tag Art … so if you don’t know what it is, get ready to find out.  If you do know what it is …  maybe get ready to be encouraged,  and if you don’t want to know what it is …  are you sure that you’re not walking along right next to a house?  lol.

Have a blessed rest of your day!

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