The Fauld Explosion

11:11 am. 27 November 1944:

The depot at Fauld became the site of the largest explosion in the UK, when 3,670 tons of bombs stored underground exploded en masse. Two explosions occurred where bombs were stocked in bunkers covering 180,000 sq ft of concreted corridors. The passages were 12′ high x 20′ wide and had space for trucks. Inside the atmosphere was ‘clear air’ at 55 F.

After the explosion there was a mushroom cloud, about 50 yards wide and upwards out of sight. Mounds of earth weighing up to a ton in weight fell to the ground. Afterwards a fine dust up to 4 inches thick fell, and it was possible to walk without making any noise. A crater, half a mile across and 100 feet deep was left behind.

Firefighters from Burton, Stafford and Lichfield attended. At the depot, both R.A.F. personnel and Italian prisoners of war were employed. Both airmen and Italians were killed in the blast.

The entire mine was not destroyed, but the hills housing the mine completely disappeared. Virtually every house in Hanbury Village was severely damaged

Wikipedia’s entry on the Fauld Explosion.

Toru Iwatani and “Puck Man”

Morning Cynics. Everyone sleep well? Me neither. Let’s see what we can find on the web today. Let’s start with Toru Iwatani:

Tōru Iwatani (born January 25, 1955) was a video game designer in the 1980s, and created one of the most popular arcade games of all time, Puck-man, better known by its American title Pac-man.

Iwatani was born in the Meguro ward of Tokyo, Japan. He joined the computer software company Namco in 1977, where he started his career in the video game business. There, he came up with the idea for a game called “Puck-Man” and in 1980, he, along with programmer Hideyuki Mokajima and three other Namco employees, finished the game. It was released to the Japanese public on May 10 of that year, where it became a huge success. It caught the attention of arcade-game manufacturer Midway, who bought the United States rights for the game and released the game in the U.S. as “Pac-Man”, for fear that kids may deface a Puck Man cabinet by changing the ‘P’ to an ‘F’.

Drifting rubber duckies chart oceans of plastic

From the CS Monitor:

PARIS – Theirs is an epic tale of resilience and pluck, a seafarer’s yarn of high-seas adventure that has seen them brave some of the world’s wildest waters in their 11-year odyssey from the Pacific Ocean toward landfall in Europe.

They have bobbed through storms that would have wrecked larger vessels, to drift deliberately down the Bering Strait. They have patiently borne a four-year spell trapped in Arctic ice packs, to float freely into the Atlantic.

And now, buoyed perhaps by the prospect of an end to their pelagic paddling, a flotilla of yellow bathtub rubber ducks, lost at sea when they fell off a container ship in the North Pacific in 1992, is about to wash up on Europe’s western shores, according to an oceanographer who has been tracking them for years.

More of the much-traveled toys are thought to be heading down the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, where their arrival would offer new data on ocean currents and wind patterns. And the US company that made the ducks is offering $100 in savings bonds to anyone who finds one.

Nobody has actually seen one of these ducks in the Atlantic yet, says Curt Ebbesmeyer, a retired oceanographer and the international dean of beachcombers, who has put out a global call for sightings. But their presence there “is a prediction based on the drifts of thousands of other objects in my files,” he says.

The plastic ducks were part of a consignment of 29,000 bathtub toys, including beavers, turtles, and frogs, that ended up in the Pacific when a container ship en route from China to the United States lost some of its deck cargo in heavy seas.

(Thanks Michelle)