Changing things up this week, our lead story is a nuclear photo essay. We’ve also got Russian nuclear posturing and a bunch of other stories you may have missed.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there and enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Next Exit, Armageddon: Photos of America’s Nuclear Weapons Legacy
I love a good photo essay, especially those focused on abandoned places—so this is the perfect* combination of that and nuclear history. Many times on the blog I’ve made somewhat flippant comments about visiting nuclear sites on summer vacation. However, evidently there is great public interest in this. As such, the National Park Service and the Department of Energy will establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park that will include sites as Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Hanford.
VICE News—“Elsewhere in the US, the ruins of the Manhattan Project and the arms race that followed remain overlooked. In North Dakota, a pyramid-like anti-missile radar that was built to detect an incoming nuclear attack from the Soviet Union pokes through the prairie grass behind an open fence. In Arizona, a satellite calibration target that was used during the Cold War to help American satellites focus their lenses before spying on the Soviet Union sits covered in weeds near a Motel 6 parking lot. And in a suburban Chicago park, where visitors jog and bird watch, nuclear waste from the world’s first reactor — developed by Italian physicist Enrico Fermi for the Manhattan Project in 1942 — sits buried beneath a sign that reads ‘Caution — Do Not Dig.’”
*Check out the photos. They’re truly extraordinary.
Putin: Russia to Boost Nuclear Arsenal with 40 Missiles
Everything old is new again, it seems. This week Vladimir Putin announced that Russia will put more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles into service in 2015. It is said that the new missiles are part of a military modernization program. However, the announcement comes on the heels of a US proposal to increase its own military presence in NATO states in Eastern Europe.
BBC—“Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the statement from Mr. Putin was “confirming the pattern and behaviour of Russia over a period of time; we have seen Russia is investing more in defence in general and in its nuclear capability in particular”.
He said: “This nuclear sabre-rattling of Russia is unjustified, it’s destabilising and it’s dangerous.” He added that “what Nato now does in the eastern part of the alliance is something that is proportionate, that is defensive and that is fully in line with our international commitments.’”
Stories You May Have Missed
- Did you hear?! North Korea found the cure for AIDS, Ebola, cancer and bird flu. Because, obviously! (Or not.)
- As if things weren’t bad enough in Yemen already, a top health ministry official reports that at least 5,000 have been diagnosed with dengue fever. Reportedly, uncollected garbage, untreated sewage, and heat have contributed to the spread of the disease.
- The Pennsylvania man who laced a card with homemade ricin and delivered it to his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend in 2014 has been sentenced to 20 to 40 years in prison.
- In an incredibly quick turn around, the MERS outbreak in South Korea has leveled off. The most up to date count is 166 infected with 24 deaths.
- According to a new book by Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to Washington, Israel played a significant role in the American-Russian deal that pressured Syria to get rid of their chemical weapons stockpile.
- According to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) the current avian influenza outbreak cannot be associated with one factor or group of factors. APHIS indicates that there are several ways the virus could be transmitted, including lapses in biosecurity practices and other environmental factors.
- After a new case of the disease in Liberia, it has been discovered that pregnancy may conceal Ebola infection. The researchers suspect that the woman’s reduced immune response due to pregnancy could have allowed the virus to remain undetected.
- In other Ebola news, there were reports this week that the first Ebola outbreak could have occurred in ancient Greece more than 2,400 years ago. And the virus may be even older than that—some scientists speculate that it could be over 20 million years old.
- If you’re interested in transit systems, like I am, you may be interested in a new study recently published in PLOS Pathogens that looks at airline and commuter travel’s influence on flu distribution within the U.S.
Image Credit: Federal Government of the United States