“In May 1974, the U.S. government received its first serious nuclear threat”,recalls author Jeffrey T. Richelson. A letter demanding that $200,00 be left at a particular location arrived at the FBI. Failure to comply, it claimed, would result in the [detonation] of a nuclear bomb somewhere in Boston.
The threat was soon exposed as a hoax, but it prompted the creation of a then-secret organization originally known as the Nuclear Emergency Search (later: Source) Team, or NEST, which would be responsible for the “search and identification of lost or stolen nuclear weapons and special nuclear materials, bomb threats, and radiation dispersal threats.
An old glass jar inside a beaten up old safe at the bottom of a waste pit may seem an unlikely place to find a pivotal piece of 20th century history. But that’s just where the first bulk batch of weapons-grade plutonium ever made has been found – abandoned at the world’s oldest nuclear processing site.
Update: Since publication, Jon Schwantes has discovered that a microgram sample of plutonium produced in 1942 by Glen Seaborg’s group at the University of California in Berkeley is also plutonium-239. The sample discovered at Hanford is technically the second oldest sample of plutonium-239, but remains the earliest produced during the Manhattan Project and the first bulk batch anywhere.
This reads like a Simpson’s episode. I can’t help but wonder what else we’ve waylaid, and where. The ocean? A watershed that supplies water to millions of people? The Arctic/Antarctic, where ice caps are receding? Some of the hair-brained schemes they hatched up in the 1950′s to dispose of nuclear waste, it just leaves me wondering where these nuclear easter eggs will pop up next. And what of the Russians? The French?
Other news source: Old plutonium found in dump
Weapons-grade material discovered at Hanford nuclear site.
Nature | Geoff Brumfiel
Published online 22 January 2009
Colorado City Leverages VMware Platform to Improve Timeliness and Reliability of Public Services, Achieves 100-percent ROI in 90 Days
“It was clear that our hardware-based approach to IT had to change,” said Steve Jenovai, senior systems administrator for the city of Aurora. “We simply can’t afford downtime in our infrastructure, and budgetary realities make it impossible to just throw money at the situation. Thanks to VMware, we’ve been able to consolidate 70 boxes down to five, with each box running close to 20 VMs. It has simplified system management dramatically while eliminating downtime and saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Jenovai noted that provisioning of new VMs could be done in minutes, compared to the two weeks that used to be required for ordering, installing and configuring a physical server. This has helped the city become much more responsive to changing demands from residents. Likewise, VMware VMotion technology has been extremely valuable in helping ensure application availability by allowing the IT staff to move VMs during routine maintenance of physical hosts or when problems arise. And, VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler (DRS) helps ensure outstanding performance by dynamically adding or reducing resources for specific applications as demand ebbs and flows.
“We took a long look at all virtual server offerings,” said Jenovai. “It quickly became a very easy decision. VMware provides a true virtualization solution, not just a hypervisor. VMware gives us a mature toolset, centralized manageability, DR capabilities and OS independence. We didn’t find any other virtualization offerings that could match it. And the fact that we could achieve 100-percent ROI in 90 days was phenomenal. And that’s just from hardware savings. We’ve also reduced power consumption and space requirements.”
Patrick McGoohan, a two-time Emmy award-winning actor who starred as a British spy in the 1960s TV series ‘Secret Agent’ and gained cult status later in the decade as the star of the enigmatic series ‘The Prisoner,’ has died.
There was always humor in his contrariness, and if Number 6 was fated corporeally to remain a prisoner — caught at the border by Rover, the bouncing ball from hell, or shown that his imagined escape was merely an illusion — he remained himself. As hard as they tried, they could not wash his brain.
Scientists have studied which leadership qualities could help employees return from sick leave early. Being considerate, understanding and able to maintain contact with the sick-listed are the most important leadership qualities, according to the study.
The indirect costs of untreated insomnia are significantly greater than the direct costs associated with its treatment. The study estimates that the total annual cost of insomnia in the province of Quebec is 6.5 billion Canadian dollars, representing about one percent of the province’s $228.5 billion in gross domestic product for 2002. The largest proportions of all insomnia-related expenses are attributed to lost job productivity, absences from work and alcohol used as a sleep aid.
“The analyst’s report proposes an overhaul of ED mitigation programs that would simplify them and redirect resources into those underlying reasons ED students do so poorly in school and concentrating them on the students truly at risk of failure.”
“For example,” the report says, “a school district might receive significantly less funding for a student who is an English learner from an educated two-parent household living in a relatively safe suburb than a school district would receive for an English learner student living in a dangerous neighborhood who has one parent absent and one parent with a low level of education.”
“It makes a lot of sense. Why aren’t we doing it?“
nandemoari writes “A six-year-old who recently stole his parents’ car and drove it into a utility pole has passed the buck onto a familiar scapegoat: the video game, Grand Theft Auto. Rockstar Games’ controversial Grand Theft Auto video game has been criticized by parent groups and crusaders (or in the eyes of gamers, nincompoops) like former lawyer Jack Thompson for years (Thompson once tried to link the Virginia Tech slayings to late-night Counterstrike sessions. He’s since been disbarred). However, not as of yet has anyone under the age of, oh, ten, blamed the game for a car theft.”
pln2bz writes “Astronomers looking for confirmation for emissions from early stellar formation in the cosmic microwave background radiation instead found a signal indicating large amounts of unaccounted-for spiraling magnetic fields in space, but without any accompanying infrared emissions. The discovery possibly dredges up the claims of plasma cosmologists like Eric Lerner, who claim that the intergalactic medium is a strong absorber of the CMB with the absorption occurring in a fog of narrow filaments. These filaments are the result of plasma’s natural tendency, as observed within the plasma laboratory and in novelty plasma globes, to form braided, ropelike structures which are collimated by coiled magnetic fields.”
rohitm918 writes “A study by Microsoft Research concludes that phishers make very little (PDF): ‘…low-skill jobs pay like low-skill jobs, whether the activity is legal or not.’ They also find that the Gartner numbers that everyone quotes ($3.2B/year etc) are rubbish, off by a factor of 50. ‘Even though it harvests “free money,” phishing generates total revenue equal to the total costs incurred by the actors. Each participant earns, on average, only as much as he would have made in the opportunities he gave up elsewhere. As the total phishing effort increases the total phishing revenue declines: the harder individual phishers try the worse their collective situation gets. As a consequence, increasing effort is a sign of failure rather than of success.’”
CRS on Climate Change
Secrecy News from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Federation of American Scientists
As a matter of policy, the Congressional Research Service does not make its products directly available to the public. Recent reports from CRS on climate change and related topics obtained by Secrecy News include these (all pdf).