Online reactions to the riots in the United Kingdom. A Swedish man has been arrested for trying to build a nuclear reactor in his kitchen. A video of a face shaped cloud is creating a buzz online.
Riots in the United Kingdom
Hundreds of youths have been involved in three consecutive nights of rioting in various parts of London. The violence erupted this weekend, and has now spread to other parts of Britain, and in particular Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol. There has been widespread reaction to the riots online.
A lot of amateur footage has been posted on sharing sites, showing the damage caused by the rioters. Burnt out shells of cars, shop windows smashed in and buildings destroyed by fire … these images show just how violent things became on the third day of the rioting which has rocked the United Kingdom.
Rioters reportedly used their mobile phones to coordinate their actions, and in particular the free messaging service on Blackberry which is very popular with young people in Britain. Web users have uploaded some of the messages sent by looting troublemakers to prove these incidents were premeditated and far from spontaneous.
The riots have left serious damage and residents are determined to clean up their cities as quickly as possible. A large part of the clean-up operation is being organized via the web and social media sites. The site “riot cleanup” is encouraging citizens to take part in this thankless task and there have been an increasing number of messages on Twitter urging Brits to volunteer their services.
A nuclear reactor in the kitchen
In May 31 year old Swedish man Richard Handl launched a blog called “Richard’s Reactor” to write about his project of building a nuclear reactor in his kitchen from items he could find in the stores or online and see if it was possible to split atoms at home. Sweden’s Radiation Safety Authority stepped in and he was arrested at the end of July on charges of unauthorized possession of nuclear material, bringing his experiment to an abrupt end.
Before he was arrested, the amateur scientist had been able to obtain some of the chemical elements necessary for nuclear fission, like radium, americium and even uranium from clock hands, batteries or smoke detectors he had bought on the Internet. He charted his progress in regular updates on his blog written in a pretty laid back style. He had written “it’s not so dangerous” after a failed experiment which involved a small meltdown on his stove followed by a small explosion.
He carried out this dangerous and illegal project using information he had found online. There are dozens of so called educational sites like this one which are veritable mines of information for anyone wanting to experiment with nuclear science. In just a few clicks you can find out everything you need to know about building a mini nuclear reactor, with drawings and handy hints to boot.
This case brings to mind the story of American teenager, David Hahn aka the “Radioactive Boy Scout” who attempted to build a nuclear reactor in a garden shed at his parents’ house in Detroit. The experiment ended badly because the reactor was emitting dangerous levels of radioactivity putting up to 40 000 people at risk.
Fake Twitter accounts to support pipeline project
The Canadian environmental group « Rainforest Action Network » is accusing former Nebraska senator Chris Abboud, who works for the American Petroleum Institute of setting up fake Twitter accounts. Abboud has been campaigning for the creation of a highly controversial 2 000 kilometer long pipeline which would double exports of crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to the US. A number of mysterious web users with similar sounding pseudonyms have been voicing their support for the scheme. The environmental group believes fake Twitter accounts are being used to promote the project.
The bipartisan compromise explained by the White House
The White House has posted this infographic online to explain the US Debt ceiling agreement reached between Democrats and Republicans. Entitled The Bipartisan Compromise it explains all the facts and figures in three steps. There had been a lot of talk about the deal on Twitter and the Internet remains an important communication tool for the Obama administration.
Video of the day
A face in the clouds … this amazing sight was caught on camera by Denis Farmer in the Canadian province of news Brunswick last week. The video has been viewed over 1 million 300 000 times since it was uploaded and has received a great deal of comments from web users, some believe it to be the face of Christ, whilst others think it looks more like the American actor Chuck Norris.