Mysterious fire in Primark

first_img(Based on an actual incident last week in the Westgate centre)   It appeared to be an ordinary afternoon in the Westgate centre: everything in Sports World had 70% off, the Next Clearance Sale once again did a roaring trade in bop costumes and the corridor was full of kids truanting.  But something was amiss.  Without warning, the lives of all those innocent shoppers were suddenly put in grave danger.  A white shirt on sale in Primark had caught fire.  Whilst those around him lost their heads, a brave security guard raced over to save the day, throwing the shirt to the ground and stamping out the ferocious blaze.  However, the question on everyone’s lips was, who did it? And why?  The more gullible among you may assume that this incident ha a simple scientific explanation.  We asked an expert chemist to give his thoughts:   “Well, as we all know, the shirts in Primark are made from excellent quality polyester. Polyester is a long chain synthetic fibre comprising of monomer units. This polymeric hydrocarbon chain is a fantastically efficient way of storing energy. All that would be needed to release this energy is the smallest of sparks, say, from a cigarette. If such a spark came in contact with the shirt, the polyester would become a fantastic source of heat and light. It would be in flames in seconds.”  Very reassuring. But was it possible that the shirts caught fire without the need for such a spark?  “Ah. Here you are talking about spontaneous combustion.  It is theoretically possible.     If the polyester were to gain enough energy from its surroundings it could reach the required activation energy for ignition and simply burst into flames.  But I would say that this is not very likely.  The thermal energy is much too low to meet the required activation barrier so there is an incredibly low probability of spontaneous combustion.  It was probably a careless cigarette.”  A whodunit by Jamie Wolstenhulme and Charlotte King Spontaneous Combustion? A careless cigarette? Or something more sinister……center_img However, Cherwell24 believes that something more sinister was afoot.  Smoking isn’t even allowed in the Westgate centre.  The idea that it was a careless cigarette is just what the crooks want you to think. So we have compiled a list of alternative explanations.  We leave it to you, dear reader, to decide the truth for yourself.  1. In the highly charged atmosphere surrounding the controversial invitations to the union debate this week, it is possible that the fire was in fact a pre-meditated political protest.  Early reports that a brown shirt might have been the real target of the conflagration cannot be confirmed or denied.  2. Another possibility is that an over-zealous fire safety officer might have been assessing the possible risks to public safety in Primark.  In his conscientious attempts to protect the public, he may have unwittingly endangered them.  We can only presume that, whilst the speed that the garment caught fire must have caused him some alarm, the quick thinking of the heroic security guard must surely have reassured him.  With such courageous men on hand we think that Primark is, on balance, a safe place to shop.  3. Of course, commercial sabotage cannot be ruled out either.  To the delight of students across Oxford, Primark stocks notoriously cheap goods, often undercutting its rivals.  By demonstrating the remarkable capacity of Primark’s shirts to ignite, perhaps another shop was attempting to make us think twice about the quality of its merchandise.  But who would attempt such underhand tactics? Surely not Sports World, purveyor of equally low-priced goods, but operating at a disadvantage being a good 10 yards further into the Westgate Centre.  4. Reliable sources have also alerted us to another possibility.  On your trips to the shopping Mecca that is the Westgate Centre, you may have noticed a suspicious character lurking around the entrance to Primark.  Barred from actually entering the premises, Curley waits near the entrance, beside the aforementioned shirts, strategically placed to monitor the activities of his shop-assistant girlfriend.  Perhaps, unaware of this observation, Curley’s girlfriend got a little to close to another retail assistant and Curley, in a fit of rage delved into his pocket for his walther PPK replica cigarette lighter.  Blinded by passion Curley may have attempted to sabotage this rendezvous by hurling his cigarette lighter at the oblivious couple.  Being something of a dud shot, this could easily have caught a shirt instead.  5. But are we all missing something here? Has our attention been unduly captivated by the mystery of the shirt? Perhaps the real cunning lies in the fact that the shirt was nothing more than a distraction.  As it merrily went up in flames, it took the attention of all nearby shoppers and has continued to be the focus of this investigation here. But maybe it was merely a decoy? After all, Thornton’s is directly opposite Primark.  Selling delicious yet extortionately priced chocolates, wouldn’t they be the more likely target of light-fingered dealings?  So, while we’ve been mulling over the different scenarios that may have caused the conflagration, perhaps the real crooks have been tucking in to their particularly fine selection of Thorntons Continental chocolates.  Or maybe…. it has been us doing both…..last_img read more

Utility officials see path to 80% carbon emissions reduction, worry about last 20%

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Thirteen states have set targets for a carbon-free grid by midcentury, if not earlier, to help the world avoid the worst impacts of climate change. But is that possible?With today’s technology, utilities can readily reach 80% reductions in carbon emissions in the next decade, according to an Oct. 14 panel discussion at the Energy Bar Association’s fall conference, held virtually. It’s the remaining 20% that will be hard.Xcel Energy Inc. was one of the first entrants into the carbon-free race. In March 2021, it will file a resource plan with regulators in Colorado — a state enacting sweeping energy reforms to move to carbon-free generation — that will show how it can achieve an 80% carbon reduction by 2030.Xcel executives have said in earnings calls that natural gas must play a role in helping the utility reach carbon-reduction targets in the near-term as it awaits advancements in battery storage, pumped hydropower, advanced nuclear, hydrogen and molten salt technologies that will provide and store carbon-free power. “But really where we sit as a company is, ‘Look, bring it all,’” Alice Jackson, president of Xcel in Colorado, said during the panel discussion. “Because we don’t know which one of these is going to see the cost reductions that we’ve all enjoyed as utilities and our customers have enjoyed,” such as the dramatic fall in the price of solar and wind power.Jason Burwen, vice president of policy for the Energy Storage Association, said, “Project sizes are going higher and higher, and that’s because of the rapidly reducing costs of batteries.” Utilities have so far proposed 18 GW of storage in resource plans, according to the association, as batteries increasingly look like a feasible, cost-effective option for replacing natural gas peaker plants. New York recently announced plans to explore replacing natural gas peaker plants with battery storage systems.George Wayne Jr., vice president for market services for Kinder Morgan Inc., said natural gas has been the “primary source of reductions of greenhouse gas emissions, and that can’t be lost.” But he acknowledged that the industry is seeing unprecedented opposition. Natural gas pipeline infrastructure, though, can be repurposed to deliver hydrogen and renewable fuels, he said. The industry is studying hydrogen’s degrading effect on pipelines. Technologies allow the insertion of plastic into pipelines to prevent them from becoming brittle, but they are currently expensive, he said. Subsidies would help such technologies advance.“Is net zero achievable? I believe it is,” Wayne said. “I mean, it’ll be bumpy, with twists and turns along the way. But I do ultimately believe it is achievable.”[Justin Horwath]More ($): Utilities can reach 80% CO2 reductions, but net-zero will be hard, say officials Utility officials see path to 80% carbon emissions reduction, worry about last 20%last_img read more

RIMPAC 2018 Ends on a High Note

first_imgBy Felipe Lagos/Diálogo August 28, 2018 The world’s largest multinational maritime exercise, held June 27th-August 2nd, concluded after a month of rigorous training within the Hawaiian Islands and its waters. Hosted by the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet, Rim of the Pacific 2018 (RIMPAC) gathered more than 25,000 service members, 45 surface ships, five submarines, and more than 200 aircraft from 25 countries. Under the slogan Capable, Adaptive, Partners, RIMPAC 2018 focused on natural disaster, maritime security and control operations, as well as complex warfare exercises. International military forces demonstrated their skills through artillery, missiles, antisubmarine and air defense exercises, counter-piracy missions, mine clearance, explosive ordnance disposal, and amphibious operations, among others. Service members from Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States, among others, combined efforts for RIMPAC 2018. Israel, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam participated for the first time. Another first for the exercise was the nomination of the Chilean Navy as the Combined Force Maritime Component Commander (CFMCC), under the command of Chilean Navy Rear Admiral Pablo Niemann Figari. For the first time in RIMPAC’s 40-plus years, a non-English speaking navy spearheaded CFMCC. “Nearly all goals of each participating nation were met,” Rear Adm. Niemann said. “Likewise, instructions or requirements of the command [U.S. Navy Vice Admiral John Alexander, Combined Task Force commander for RIMPAC 2018] were also fulfilled.” Disaster response and naval warfare Participants of RIMPAC 2018 responded to a simulated natural disaster at Pearl Harbor-Hickam Joint Base, on Oahu island, Hawaii. According to the scenario, a large-scale earthquake and tsunami hit the island, causing structural damage to infrastructure, death, and many injuries. The natural disaster prompted the U.S. government to request international military help. Services members from 10 countries took part in the humanitarian assistance simulation to rescue hundreds of patients—300 civilian volunteers—provide first aid, and transport victims by helicopter and ambulance to hospitals in Hawaii. Organizations such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the U.S. Agency for International Development, among others, took part in the civil-military exercise. Five submarines—the U.S. Navy’s USS Hawaii, USS Illinois, and USS Olympia; the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Rankin; and the South Korean Navy’s ROKS Park Wi—also carried out various operations The submarines performed three missions: amphibious, antisubmarine warfare, and support for special operations forces. Submarines supported a multinational special operations force—with units from seven countries—as it conducted an amphibious landing on the coast of Oahu. Submarine crew members also participated in detection and evasion exercises with surface ships and various aircraft. Another event that stood out: the live shot from USS Olympia of a Harpoon anti-ship cruise missile. The missile successfully hit its target, a retired ship sunk for that purpose. Through the exercises, participants demonstrated tactical maneuvering capabilities and interoperability among participating nations. “Multinational operations are complicated,” Vice Adm. Alexander said. “It takes skill to assemble an international team and have it be successful […]. This team proved they work great together and can adapt quickly to a dynamic environment.” Enduring partnerships The U.S Navy’s Third Fleet (C3F) debuted the Innovation Fair, held June 29th-30th. Twenty-two countries took part in the exhibition that featured sonar equipment, unmanned submarine vehicles, virtual reality technology, and advances in the medical and space fields. The fair served as a forum for technology exchange among partner nations. C3F expects to increase the reach of the fair for RIMPAC 2020. The Chilean Marine Corps’ participation was also unprecedented, with 25 service members joining landing forces at RIMPAC 2018. Chilean marines trained with their international counterparts and performed tasks successfully. “It’s a great honor to represent our Marine Corps in marking its 200 years of history,” Chilean Marine Corps Second Lieutenant Ernesto Iribarne said. “Some of our personnel expected to meet highly superior units in terms of equipment and capabilities, and actually I feel we brought about the surprise. Many marines from different countries were surprised with our equipment and readiness.” Held since 1971, the biannual exercise seeks to strengthen interoperability among the armed forces of the Pacific basin—as well as other countries—to promote stability and ensure the safety of maritime routes in the region. The exercise helps strengthen bonds of friendship among partner nations. “I couldn’t be more proud of our international teams’ ability to successfully complete an exercise of this nature,” Vice Adm. Alexander said. “We were able to conclude the exercise safely and to reach the national training goals. This is a true testament to the talent and lasting partnerships we built through RIMPAC.”last_img read more