The Palace has made the following announcement:
"In honor of the impending birth of his first grandchild, The Emperor has requested that the Imperial Government immediately suspend all developmental work on any sort of nuclear weapons."
In his message, His Imperial Majesty stated that "We, along with, we are sure, most of our people, wish to bequeath to our children and grandchildren a better and brighter future. Therefore, while not discouraging the development of all the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, we do not wish to assist in the development of any of their destructive powers."
There has been no word from the Government as of this time, but a response is expected from all sides of the political spectrum.
Imperial Broadcasting System (IBS)
IAF Tests Smart 'Oracle' Munition on F-135 Fighters
The Imperial Air Force (IAF) has begun the process of testing the newly developed Oracle smart weapon on its F-135 fighters by conducting what was called "a drop test", according to a press release by the makers of the weapon, Lovering Defense Systems (LDS).
Oracle, known through its development as the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) II, is an air launched glide bomb. Bad weather, smoke and dust are still obstacles to accurate weapons deliver, even in the high tech 21st Century. The Imperial Defense Forces (IDF) were therefore keen on a weapons that would work under all types of adverse conditions.
LDS's offering for such a weapon was a small bomb not more than 7 inches (18cm) wide, 69 inches (176 cm) long, and weighing just over 200 lbs (93 kg). Due to the relatively small size of the weapon, the IAF can pack up to 20 Oracles on a single F-115 Strike Eagle.
Adding to the firepower of the Oracle system are the different capabilities of its warheads. According to IDS, the Oracle is equipped with "shaped charge jets, fragmentation, and blast charge effects." What this essentially means is that the bomb can be used against a wide range of targets ranging from infantry to structures, light armored vehicles and even boats. LDS also says it has a smart delayed fuse that is powerful enough to destroy a tank.
It is the tri-mode seeker, however, that makes the SDB II live up to its nickname of Oracle. Equipped with an infrared imager and multimeter wave radar, the weapon can seek its targets in fog, smoke and even heavy rains. It can then use data from semi-active laser or GPS-based guidance systems to identify its target. There is also a semi-autonomous mode, where the weapon can use the data to classify and prioritize potential targets before hitting them.
With a range of 45 miles (72 km) for stationary as well as moving targets, aircraft can engage their targets from safe distances without entering high risk areas. Thanks to its networking capabilities, LDS claims that the weapon can be fired by one platform, and its control can then be handed over to another platform to complete the mission.
Last year, the IAF cleared the Oracle for use on the F-115 and F-122, and, along with the Imperial Navy (IN) and the Imperial Marine Corps (IMC) is adapting the weapon for use on the F/A-118. According to IDS, the "drop test" on the F-135 was to check the communications link between the weapon and a secondary aircraft.
As the work horses for the IDF in the near future, the F-135s definitely need such a versatile weapon.
Pravda us reporting that, after seemingly endless delays, the first Russian naval ship has arrived at the Port Arthur (Dalian) Concession.
The nuclear submarine Iskra (Spark) docked in Dalian early this morning after an uneventful trip. This arrival was supposed to happen 6 months ago, but in another example of the corruption and inefficiency of the Ministry of Defense, red tape and bureaucratic sloth delayed the trip. The submarine tender Neva and another submarine are also in route and should arrive within a week.
This provides more fuel for those critics both in and out of the government of Defense Minister Pavel Zotov who are demanding his removal. So far the Premier has resisted the pressure, but this latest fiasco may be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
The Imperial Family of Britannia wish to extend their sincere congratulations to both the Crown Prince and his wife on their first child. His Imperial Majesty, Charles Vi Britannia (Charles V) had this to say
"The addition to a royal bloodline is one that is most welcome by any family. Children are the future of both their family and their nation. My own children strive better themselves in all forms while also striving to better the lives of the people. It is my hope that the child of the Crown Prince and Princess will do the same for their own homeland and as a result of their first child, I have directed my aides to donate 1 Million Britannia Dollars to a children's charity of their choice on behalf of the newest addition to the German Imperial Family."
I just "revisited" my factbooks, with a newer look, what do you think?
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Royal Navy fighter crashes off Florida coast, pilot recovered and under elevation
One of the Royal Navy's newest fighters, a F-335-C, suffered severe engine failure during training drills near Miami yesterday and crashed into the sea just off shore. Eye witness reports confirm the pilot guided the plane away from shore until ejecting from the stricken jet and was rescued by a civilian boat that was nearby. The pilot, Flight Lt. Richard Stirling, is reported to only have suffered a sprained wrist and is currently recovering back at base while also under observation in the event there are other issues that may not have been detected at this time. The fighter is currently being searched for so a recovery operation can be mounted to uncover what caused the engine failure and put Flight Lt. Stirling in danger and the civilian population as well.
South China Morning Post
China wants to turn Macau from a casino den into a tech base for the Greater Bay Area
- - The tech-themed Beyond Expo saw hundreds of mainland tech investors and executives cross the border to discuss their visions for Macau
- Gambling contributed over half of the city’s US$54 billion GDP and generated 80 per cent of government tax revenue
China is forging a new identity for Macau, the world’s largest casino den, as a regional technology hub, according to Chinese technology industry executives and officials.
This week the Venetian Macao Convention and Exhibition Centre hosted a big technology-themed trade fair, with hundreds of mainland tech investors and executives crossing the border to discuss their visions for the city.
The event comes at a time of uncertainty about its pillar industry of gambling, as the Central Government is not hiding its displeasure at the role of Macau’s casinos as illicit capital drainage channels that undermine China’s financial stability and capital account controls.
After Chinese police in Wenzhou issued a rare wanted notice for Alvin Chau Cheok-wa, the head of Macau’s biggest casino junket operator, over his suspected involvement in running illegal cross-border gambling activities, Macau police arrested him last week.
The casinos remain the fundamental pillar of the socio-economic fabric of the city-state, but for attendees of Beyond Expo, the future of Macau lies with research labs and venture capital firms, not gambling tables.
“The Guangdong-Macau in-depth cooperation zone in Hengqin has created a new opportunity for technology innovation and industry transformation of Macau,” Zhang Yuzhuo, vice-chairman of the China Association for Science and Technology, said in a keynote speech. Zhang was referring to an island between Macau and Zhuhai that Beijing has designated as a special area to be jointly administered by Macau and Guangdong authorities.
“It will supercharge the diversification of Macau’s economy and continuous prosperity,” Zhang said at the event, which was supported by the trade development bureau of the Nanjing Ministry of economic affairs.
On the event’s website, Macau’s fresh identity was portrayed as “the new centre of international technologies” to connect the Asia Pacific tech ecosystem with the rest of the world.
“Macau may have always been known for gambling and tourism, but Macau has to diversify his economy” said the director of the Macao Technology General Association, main host of the tech conference. “Although it’s small in size, Macau is an international platform connecting the mainland to the world and can help Chinese companies venture abroad.”
A long list of Chinese tech firms, including Tencent Holdings and South China Morning Post owner Alibaba Group Holding, took part in the event, showing their support for the city to become a technology base in the Greater Bay Area.
Conference discussions covered a wide range of topics from the metaverse to life science.
The gambling industry contributed over half of the city’s US$54 billion GDP and generated 80 per cent of the local government’s tax revenue. An 80 per cent drop in gambling revenue last year led to a 50 per cent decline in GDP.
With the support of Nanjing, Macau is being encouraged to develop integrated circuits, new energy projects, and artificial intelligence (AI), among other tech sectors, and to establish a supply chain for chips, from design to testing.
Apart from enhancing the research abilities of Macau universities to drive innovation and technology, Beijing’s road map lists various industries, ranging from Chinese medicine and gems to tourism and financial services, that Macau needs to collaborate with mainland cities on.
For China’s tech firms, the city is also proving a testing ground for new products and solutions.
In one case, Tencent helped the Macau Water Supply Company digitise its operations using WeCom, Tencent’s communications platform for enterprise users, which enabled the water authority to respond faster to consumer requests and streamline the company’s workflow.
Besides the cooperation with Tencent, the water authority deployed an online platform to conduct real-time monitoring of water flow rate and quality as part of the company’s digitisation efforts.
It also installed more than 1,000 smart water meters for residential users, which can automatically detect unusual water consumption and alert the company.
In another development, Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co and Macau’s major telecoms operator CTM announced a deal to work together on Macau’s smart city initiative, powered by Huawei’s 5G, cloud and big data technologies.
Separately, SenseTime said it opened a Macau office to showcase the company’s commitment to the city. The AI company has inked new local partnerships with Kiang Wu Hospital and local conglomerate Nam Kwong Group, both involving smart city projects.
Achieving Agricultural Security with Nanotechnology
Due to low agricultural production, deterioration of environmental assets, substantial post-farm losses, little or no quality enhancement, and fast population increase, ensuring food security in underdeveloped nations is extremely difficult. Researchers are attempting to incorporate modern technology to increase supply and close the gap between supply and demand for food.
Developing new technologies is critical to enhancing agricultural output while reducing food waste to preserve new sustainability standards and improve food and nutrition security. Nanotechnology has the potential to provide foods of exceptional quality in a highly practical form while also increasing nutritional bioavailability.
Agriculture is regarded by most developing countries as the backbone of their economies, and it plays a critical part in their advancement and prosperity. As populations continue to grow, meeting higher supply demands is a key focus of innovative agricultural technologies.
There are several uses of nanotechnology in agribusiness, including wastewater treatment, improving the quality of contaminated soil, and increasing agricultural output via security in the form of disease detection sensors.
Nanobiosensors, for example, are a wide range of nanotools that support the development of high-tech agricultural farms while also demonstrating the practical and planned uses of nanotools in case of crop control input and management accuracy.
Nano-forms of silica, carbon, silver, and alumino-silicates are among the nanoparticles used to detect plant diseases. It is recommended that the use of nanomaterials in agriculture decrease spraying pesticides by ensuring a steady supply of energetic molecules. It can reduce nutrient waste during fertilizer application and increase harvests by improving water and ingredient administration.
Nanotechnology also enabled gene sequencing, which increased the identification and application of plant characteristics, adjusting their ability to adapt to environmental stresses and illnesses.
Nanoemulsions reduce the need for stabilizers by protecting food from breaking and splitting, resulting in a significant reduction in the quantity of fat required. Several nanoemulsions appear to be optically transparent and have a number of technical benefits when it comes to mixing liquids. Nanoemulsions' end products are highly creamy, just like regular food items, with no alterations in mouthfeel or flavor.
As previously mentioned, nanotechnology is widely employed for food and agricultural purposes. Nanomaterials, on the other hand, are linked to a slew of safety concerns, owing to the possibility of their risk values infiltrating cells due to their small sizes and lingering in the system.
Because of many antagonistic effects of distinct nanoparticles, the increased use of nanotechnology in agricultural operations and food products is of great concern to a large portion of society. Environmental circumstances can cause nanocomposites to degrade, resulting in the release of incorporated nanoparticles from polymeric textures into the environment.
Herbicides and nano fertilizers are employed in agriculture and are distributed into the water, soil, and environment, posing a serious health risk to farmers. Plant development is likely to be hampered by the buildup of nanoparticles in the soil, eventually concentrating in edible tissues.
The remarkable phenomenon of nanoparticles and nanostructures improving different attributes due to their tiny size, higher surface area, and highly catalytic nature has been noticed via multiple study discoveries.
Nanotechnology plays a critical role in ensuring food security, particularly in agriculture. It has the potential to boost crop yield by providing effective microbial, insect, and weed management that is high in economic value, protection, and safety. It also helps with food processing, food customization, stability, detecting, shelf life extension, food loss reduction, and food safety. With improved stability, safety, and packing material, nanotechnology can also reduce post-harvest losses.
In a speech to the Miat (Senate), President Demeter Malaphorus has just announced that the Armed Forces of the Christian Republic have captured the city of Cartagena.
"Our Armed Forces have accomplished one of the main goals of our military actions in Spain" said the president. "I was informed just before entering this chamber, and I now officially announce this to the Miat, and to the nation, that the Spanish forces in Cartagena have surrendered to our forces. We mourn the lives lost to accomplish this task, and honor those who accomplished this. They are truly the finest citizens of the Christian Republic, and their sacrifices will never be forgotten."
"New Carthage, as the city will be known, its port and naval base, are now part of the Christian Republic. All of its citizens are welcome to stay and become citizens of the Christian Republic. If they do not wish to, they are free to leave."
The president continued:
"New Carthage will become the capital of the new province of Tartessus, which include the Balearic Islands. As for any further expansion in Spain, the government is assessing the situation and will listen to the recommendations of the military and intelligence. Ultimately, the decision lies with myself, as President, with the advise and consent of the Miat and the Legislature."
This announcement was greeted with thunderous applause, except for those on the far Left, whose opposition to the Spanish operations is well known.
Ministry of National Defense
Philippine Sea naval exercises
The Navy High Command has officially announced that 25 units have left their bases this morning to head to the Philippine Sea to hold large-scale simulation exercises of offensive and defensive operations.
The task force will be composed of:
• 1st Carrier Strike Group (1 aircraft carrier, 1 missile cruiser, 2 destroyers, 2 frigates)
• task force Alfa (2 frigates, 1 destroyer)
• task force Bravo(2 frigates, 1 destroyer)
• Support fleet (2 supply ships, 3 corvettes,
• 1st provisional Submarine Brigade (4 submarines)
• 2nd provisional Submarine Brigade (4 submarines)
the exercises will last 3-4 days, the fleet will officially set sail after a stop in Keelung, one of the Major naval base on the island of Taiwan.
This will be the first of several small and large-scale exercises that the Chinese Navy will undertake over the next few years to enhance the offensive, defensive, rescue and power projection capabilities of China's amphibious and naval forces.
New Fighting in Italy!
After many months of relative inactivity, the Kommerian-PRI front in Northern Tuscany exploded with renewed violence.
Early Monday morning, the Kommerian airforce began conducting airstrikes in Emilia-Romagna, apparently bombing targets in and around Bologna and San Marino.
There has also been reports of massive exchanges of artillery and rocket fire between PRI forces and the Kommerian Army. As of Monday afternoon, we don't have reports of casualties.
This news comes as thousands of Kommerian Troops continue to pour into the region, reigniting rumors of an advance on Bologna. Field Marshal Hererra will make a press release from Florence by Wednesday, says the Kommerian Army
Suboperación: Pelotón de Fusilamiento:
Destroy or hamper PRI logistics and maneuver capabilities in Emilia-Romagna.
1st Tactical Wing
11th Tactical Wing
Bermuda Battery, 1st Caribbean Legion
363rd Battery, 28th Airborne Brigade
180th Battery, 1st Mechanized Brigade
101st Battery, 4th Havana Rifle Brigade
F-18 Avispón multirole fighter
F-5 Tigre light fighter
Short-range ballistic missile
PRI positions in and around San Marino and Rimini
PRI positions in and around Bologna
Bridges and tunnels on the E35 and E45 highways
Train depots and railways in Emilia-Romagna
New mini drones able to detect gas leaks
When there is a gas leak in a large building or at an industrial site, human firefighters currently need to go in with gas sensing instruments. Finding the gas leak may take considerable time, while they are risking their lives. Researchers from MIT , University of Mexico City, and Harvard University have now developed the first swarm of tiny -- and hence very safe -- drones that can autonomously detect and localize gas sources in cluttered indoor environments.
The main challenge the researchers needed to solve was to design the Artificial Intelligence for this complex task that would fit in the tight computational and memory constraints of the tiny drones. They solved this challenge by means of bio-inspired navigation and search strategies. The scientific article has now been made public on the ArXiv article server, and it will be presented at the IROS robotics conference later this year. The work forms an important step in the intelligence of small robots and will allow finding gas leaks more efficiently and without the risk of human lives in real-world environments.
Autonomous gas source localization is a complex task. For one, artificial gas sensors are currently less capable than animal noses in detecting small amounts of gas and staying sensitive to quick changes in gas concentration. Moreover, the environment in which the gas spreads can be complex. Consequently, much of the research in this area has focused on single robots that search for a gas source in rather small, obstacle-free environments in which the source is easier to find.
"We are convinced that swarms of tiny drones are a promising avenue for autonomous gas source localization," says Guido de Croon, Full Professor at the Micro Air Vehicle laboratory of MIT. "The drones' tiny size makes them very safe to any humans and property still in the building, while their flying capability will allow them to eventually search for the source in three dimensions. Moreover, their small size allows them to fly in narrow indoor areas. Finally, having a swarm of these drones allows them to localize a gas source quicker, while escaping local maxima of gas concentration in order to find the true source."
However, these properties also make it very hard to instill the drones with the necessary artificial intelligence for autonomous gas source localization. The onboard sensing and processing is extremely limited, excluding the type of AI algorithms that make self-driving cars autonomous. Moreover, operating in a swarm brings its own challenges, since the drones need to be aware of each other for collision avoidance and collaboration.
"Actually, in nature there are ample examples of successful navigation and odor source localization within strict resource constraints.," says Bart Duisterhof, who performed the research for obtaining his MSc thesis at MIT. "Just think of how fruitflies with their tiny brains of ~100,000 neurons infallibly locate the bananas in your kitchen in the summer. They do this by elegantly combining simple behaviors such as flying upwind or orthogonally to the wind depending on whether they sense the odor. Although we could not directly copy these behaviors due to the absence of airflow sensors on our robots, we have instilled our robots with similarly simple behaviors to tackle the task."
In particular, the tiny drones implement a new "bug" algorithm for their navigation, termed "Sniffy Bug." As long as no drone has sensed any gas, the drones spread out as much as possible over the environment, while avoiding obstacles and each other. If one of the drones senses gas at its location, it communicates this to the others. From that point on, the drones will collaborate with each other to find the gas source as soon as possible. Specifically, the swarm then performs a search for maximal gas concentration with an algorithm termed "particle swarm optimization" (PSO), with each drone being a "particle." This algorithm was originally modelled after the social behavior and motion of bird flocks. It has each drone moving based on its own perceived highest gas concentration location, the swarm's highest location, and an inertia in its current moving direction. As a search strategy, PSO has the advantage that it only requires measuring the gas concentration, and not the gas concentration gradient or wind direction. Furthermore, it allows the swarm to ignore local maxima that may occur in complex environments.
"This research shows that swarms of tiny drones can perform very complex tasks.," adds Guido, "We hope that this work forms an inspiration for other robotics researchers to rethink the type of AI that is necessary for autonomous flight."
The development of this type of technology to a fully functioning product still requires further work. For instance, the current work does not yet tackle moving in three dimensions to locate gas sources at a height. Furthermore, the robustness of navigation should also be improved before deploying the drones in a real emergency scenario.
However, the current work is very promising. The developed algorithms are not only useful for detecting gas leaks in buildings, but also for scientific missions such as detecting methane on Mars or economical use such as the early detection of diseases or pests in greenhouses.
Reader discretion is advised
Blood of Patriots: Episode IV- Peace
Lluidas Vale, Territory of Jamaica
Theodore Johnson, Jamaican Republican Front
Teddy Johnson and two dozen of his men stood in a rough half-circle with Colonel Eithan Williams and a handful of Royal Jamaican Territorial Guard sergeants around three Colombian Army Special Forces soldiers. The Southerner operators wore civilian clothes and carried Kommerian weapons, with one exception.
“This is a SA-24 Grinch shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile,” the oldest Colombian, called Torre, said, "it's a heat-seeking missile that can carry a warhead up to six kilometers and is enough to bring down anything the Royalists can bring."
As he spoke, another Colombian scanned the Western sky with a pair of binoculars, sweeping slowly back and forth.
"We got one," he said, pointing, "just over that village 3 kilometers West-Southwest. General Aviation Cessna 172, coming East at approximately... 80 knots."
Teddy squinted to where the Colombian with the binoculars was pointing and sure enough, a small white shape flew slowly toward them.
"When you want to use one of these to shoot down a Kommie gunship," Torre said bring the group's attention back to him, "you press this button here, aim at your target and wait for the tone."
He lifted the SA-24's launcher onto his shoulder and centered the complicated-looking sights on the little civilian plane. A few beats later, a sharp tone sounded from the weapon's grip. Torre lowered the launcher without firing, and the tone ended.
"Pull the trigger, and it's goodnight, Kommie," he said, detaching the controller from the launch tube, "now let's get these things out of our truck, and we'll be on our way."
As the Jamaican republican insurgents moved the crated launchers from the Colombian’s pickup truck to their panel van, Teddy joined Williams and Torre by the hood of the Colonel’s car.
“How many people do you have?” Torre asked, “excuse my curiosity.”
“I have just short of a whole regiment,” Williams said, “organized into battalions and dispersed through the RJTG. I expect to have another regiment’s worth of Guards join us within the first week or so. After that we can start recruiting from the civilian populace.”
Torre nodded in approval, “Good, very good. That’s almost three-to-one over the Kommies in Kingston on day one.”
“As long as we can stop that shipment of Marines,” Teddy interjected with a smile, “Which your shipment of Grinches will certainly help with.”
“It’s not a gift,” Torre said, “it’s an advance payment of future trade between Gran Colombia and the Republic of Jamaica. We’ll get our money’s worth, I’m sure.”
Pisa International Airport, Italy
Captain Hernán Orrantia, Kommerian Airlines
Monday, 1730 hours
The rear landing gear of the Boeing 747-400 heavy airliner touched down with an ease that belied the aircraft's massive weight. It's rear landing gear, a battery of sixteen gigantic tires and hefty suspension, touched down with barely a sound; followed by the twin tires of the front gear.
The engines idled as the landing gear's brakes squealed, stopping the aircraft with just under a half kilometer to spare.
The passengers, six hundred men of the Caribbean Legion's Trinidad Regiment, cheered and clapped like holiday tourists. Captain Orrantia detected just a hint of sarcasm in their cheers.
Orrantia stood by the exit to bid his passengers farewell. The soldiers filed off the plane with their uniforms an a carry-on bag of personal effects, their gear being shipped in by the Air Force.
"Thanks for the ride, Captain," the Trinidadian Colonel said with a mighty handshake.
"My pleasure, Colonel," Orrantia replied with a grin, "Good luck out there."
"We don't need luck," the Colonel said in English, loud enough for many of his men to hear him, "we don't need luck, Captain, we have 2nd Battalion!"
"Hurrah!" Two hundred or so of his men within earshot barked in reply.
The Colonel flashed Orrantia a wide smile and followed his men out the hatch. On his way down the staircar’s ramp The Trinidadian passed a younger man in a Kommerian Naval Marine Corps battle dress uniform. They exchanged salutes as they passed, the marine climbing the stairs to the 747.
“Hernán!” the Marine, a Lieutenant Colonel called, throwing his arms wide.
“Juan!” Captain Orrantia replied, embracing his little brother in a great, back-slapping hug, “it’s good to see you!”
“I heard that you’d be the one flying my boys and me back to base,” Juan said with a wide grin, “I had to stop by and say hello before the flight, though!”
"Congratulations on your promotion," the elder Orrantia said, flicking the Marine's rank tabs with a finger, "when did that happen?"
"I just got the tabs yesterday! I got the rank over the weekend."
"Have you told father yet?"
"Not yet," Juan said, "I was going to tell him when I get home. I'll have leave starting Christmas Eve."
"I can keep a secret until then," Hernán said with a wink.
Kommerian waters, 1nmi off St. George's, Territory of Grenada
Monday, 5:30 PM
For probably the seventh time tonight, Jazmín found herself admiring the new ring that glittered on her left hand. Light from the setting sun shot through the large emerald, casting a green glow on the surrounding diamonds. They were polished to such a sheen, she could almost see herself in the gems reflecting surfaces, broken up by perfect cuts.
She'd kind of known it was coming, they'd been talking about marriage and their future for a while now, but when he proposed yesterday, it still caught her off guard. Evening sunlight streaming the superyacht's portholes to bathe the ballroom with warm light. A slow dance to her favorite song.
Less than thirty people knew about their engagement so far; a dozen of their closest friends and the crew of the ship, who were her fiancée's people and not his father's. They'd tell their families at Christmas dinner.
Now, they would enjoy their last day of vacation in their own way; snuggled into a couch and binge watching The Witcher on Netflix.
They'd both have to get back to work when they returned to Kommeria. She'd need to return to the studio and work on the last two songs on her upcoming album, not to mention interviews across Kommeria and Britannia. He'd have to return to the duties that one would expect of the Count of Escuintla and Sanata Rosa, the Royal Master of Energy and the youngest son of King Carlos III.
But that could wait for at least three more episodes.
Severe storms spawn tornadoes in Midwest
Scores of people in the South and Midwest are believed dead after severe weather that caused multiple tornadoes struck late Friday night and early Saturday morning, tearing through Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee and Arkansas.
At least 70 people are likely to have died in Kentucky alone, the governor said, and the death toll may rise to more than 100. Prime Minister Taylor, recently taking over for the former PM Johnston following his resignation due to health issues, approved the state's emergency declaration in order to provide federal funds for relief efforts. He called the damage "devastating."
Officials in Illinois confirmed six fatalities at an Amazon warehouse near St. Louis. At least four people were killed in Tennessee, two in Arkansas and two in Missouri.
Dozens of tornadoes were counted, the worst of which hit western Kentucky. Tornado warnings from the National Weather Service continued in the region Saturday morning.
"This event is the worst, most devastating, most deadly tornado event in Kentucky's history," Kentucky Gov. Andrew Yates said Saturday afternoon.
"The devastation is unlike anything I have seen in my life and I have trouble putting it into words," he said after viewing damage in multiple areas.
Yates spoke with the prime minister over the phone Saturday afternoon and said the parliamentarian emergency declaration will bring in more resources to respond to the disaster.
PM Taylor said on Saturday that he also spoke with governors from Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Illinois, states that also saw damage from the tornadoes.
The imperial government will do everything, everything it can possibly do to help," Taylor said. The Imperial Emergency Management Agency has deployed search and rescue teams and water and supplies, he said, and would help with finding people temporary housing. Taylor aid he is ready to declare emergencies for other affected states if the governors request it. He said he plans to visit Kentucky when his presence won't take away from emergency response efforts.
In Mayfield, Ky., 110 people were working at a candle factory when it was hit, Yates said. "They rescued 40. There's at least 15 feet of metal with cars on top of it. Barrels of corrosive chemicals that are there. It'll be a miracle if anybody else is found alive in it."
"This is one of the toughest nights in Kentucky history," Yates said earlier Saturday. "We will make it through this. We will rebuild."
The devastation in the Mayfield area goes beyond the factory, and several surrounding counties are pitching in with EMS help as the main emergency services hub in the town itself was in the direct line of the storm, local officials said Saturday. The water tower was hit too, leaving the town without water.
Kyanna Parsons-Perez, a worker at the factory, told NBC News Saturday morning that she was stuck in the rubble for two hours before being rescued.
"It was extremely scary," she said. "It was absolutely the most terrifying thing I've experienced in my entire life. ... I did not think I was going to make it at all."
Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett said Friday night's tornado event may surpass the 1974 Super Outbreak as the deadliest in the state's history.
Reports on social media show severe damage from Friday night's storm. A train derailed from the winds, damaging multiple homes. Two children in Hopkins County, Ky. were found alive in a bathtub that had been blown away from their house.
Ronnie Noel, Hopkins County's magistrate, told NPR he traveled to nearby Dawson Springs to survey the damage from the storms.
"Total devastation there. Lots of power lines, trees everywhere. Homes demolished," he said. "There's loss of life in Dawson [Springs] and it's just totally devastating for the whole county."
In Edwardsville, Ill., just east of St. Louis, severe weather struck an Amazon warehouse, causing "catastrophic damage," the Edwardsville Police Department said in a statement on Facebook.
On Saturday evening, Edwardsville Fire Chief James Whiteford said responders saw that 150 yards of the building had collapsed.
They found that 45 people had escaped the building safety, one person had to be airlifted to a hospital and six people were killed.
"We're continuing to search the site for evidence of life and will continue recovery operations until all personnel are accounted for," the fire chief said. He said he did not have an exact count of how many people are still missing.
Whiteford said recovery would likely take three more days.
"This is a tragic day in Illinois history," Illinois Gov. John Miller said Saturday evening. Miller said there were no additional injuries or deaths reported in Illinois aside from the Amazon facility.
Amazon said it was providing support to employees in the area. We're deeply saddened by the news that members of our Amazon family passed away as a result of the storm in Edwardsville, IL," Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, said in a statement to NPR.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their loved ones, and everyone impacted by the storm," Nantel said. "We also want to thank all the first responders for their ongoing efforts on scene."
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said on Twitter Saturday night, "We're heartbroken over the loss of our teammates."
"All of Edwardsville should know that the Amazon team is committed to supporting them and will be by their side through this crisis," Bezos said.
To the west of St. Louis, in St. Charles County, a woman was killed at her home and two others were hospitalized, according to Missouri Gov. Mike Parson. Further south, in Pemiscot County, a young child died and nine other people were taken to hospitals. Two others died on roads in Pemiscot County, which the Missouri State Highway Patrol is still investigating.
The extreme weather conditions also hit parts of Arkansas, where a nursing home was struck.
Judge Marvin Day from Craighead County, Ark., where the nursing home is located, told NPR that as of around midnight, one resident from the facility died and five were seriously injured.
"We're very thankful that there were not more people hurt and killed at the nursing home and the surrounding area. It was a pretty strong storm that hit us, but everybody's doing what they can do," Day said.
He added that the biggest issue as of Saturday morning was getting power back to many residents in the area.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said two people were killed in the state and there was "widespread property loss."
In Tennessee, Gov. Bill Lee said there was "tremendous devastation in multiple locations."
Four people were confirmed killed across Tennessee, and one is still missing, according to Alex Pellom, chief of staff at the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.
Three people were killed in western Tennessee, two of them in Lake County and one in Obion County, according to the TEMA. Ten people were taken to hospitals and 64 had more minor injuries, Pellom said on Saturday evening.
Numerous trees and power lines are down and damage was reported across several counties in middle Tennessee.
In the parts of Tennessee that were hit by the storm, about 63,000 customers were without power on Saturday evening, Pellom said.
Huh. Just another non player taking up space and not posting.
No great loss.
Merry Christmas everyone!
I was intending on posting the fifth episode of Blood of Patriots Thursday, but I managed to get a nasty case of food poisoning that laid me up for almost two days.
I'll post it tomorrow, with a reminder that it takes place on last Thursday.
In the meantime, Merry Christmas, guys! And if you don't celebrate Christmas, happy Saturday!
New clues to why there's so little antimatter in the universe
Imagine a dust particle in a storm cloud, and you can get an idea of a neutron's insignificance compared to the magnitude of the molecule it inhabits.
But just as a dust mote might affect a cloud's track, a neutron can influence the energy of its molecule despite being less than one-millionth its size. And now physicists at MIT and elsewhere have successfully measured a neutron's tiny effect in a radioactive molecule.
The team has developed a new technique to produce and study short-lived radioactive molecules with neutron numbers they can precisely control. They hand-picked several isotopes of the same molecule, each with one more neutron than the next. When they measured each molecule's energy, they were able to detect small, nearly imperceptible changes of the nuclear size, due to the effect of a single neutron.
The fact that they were able to see such small nuclear effects suggests that scientists now have a chance to search such radioactive molecules for even subtler effects, caused by dark matter, for example, or by the effects of new sources of symmetry violations related to some of the current mysteries of the universe.
"If the laws of physics are symmetrical as we think they are, then the Big Bang should have created matter and antimatter in the same amount. The fact that most of what we see is matter, and there is only about one part per billon of antimatter, means there is a violation of the most fundamental symmetries of physics, in a way that we can't explain with all that we know," says Ronald Fernando Garcia Ruiz, assistant professor of physics at MIT.
"Now we have a chance to measure these symmetry violations, using these heavy radioactive molecules, which have extreme sensitivity to nuclear phenomena that we cannot see in other molecules in nature," he says. "That could provide answers to one of the main mysteries of how the universe was created."
Ruiz and his colleagues have published their results today in Physical Review Letters.
A special asymmetry
Most atoms in nature host a symmetrical, spherical nucleus, with neutrons and protons evenly distributed throughout. But in certain radioactive elements like radium, atomic nuclei are weirdly pear-shaped, with an uneven distribution of neutrons and protons within. Physicists hypothesize that this shape distortion can enhance the violation of symmetries that gave origin to the matter in the universe.
"Radioactive nuclei could allow us to easily see these symmetry-violating effects," says study lead author Silviu-Marian Udrescu, a graduate student in MIT's Department of Physics. "The disadvantage is, they're very unstable and live for a very short amount of time, so we need sensitive methods to produce and detect them, fast."
Rather than attempt to pin down radioactive nuclei on their own, the team placed them in a molecule that further amplifies the sensitivity to symmetry violations. Radioactive molecules consist of at least one radioactive atom, bound to one or more other atoms. Each atom is surrounded by a cloud of electrons that together generate an extremely high electric field in the molecule that physicists believe could amplify subtle nuclear effects, such as effects of symmetry violation.
However, aside from certain astrophysical processes, such as merging neutron stars, and stellar explosions, the radioactive molecules of interest do not exist in nature and therefore must be created artificially. Garcia Ruiz and his colleagues have been refining techniques to create radioactive molecules in the lab and precisely study their properties. Last year, they reported on a method to produce molecules of radium monofluoride, or RaF, a radioactive molecule that contains one unstable radium atom and a fluoride atom.
In their new study, the team used similar techniques to produce RaF isotopes, or versions of the radioactive molecule with varying numbers of neutrons. As they did in their previous experiment, the researchers utilized the Isotope mass Separator On-Line, or ISOLDE, facility at CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland, to produce small quantities of RaF isotopes.
The facility houses a low-energy proton beam, which the team directed toward a target -- a half-dollar-sized disc of uranium-carbide, onto which they also injected a carbon fluoride gas. The ensuing chemical reactions produced a zoo of molecules, including RaF, which the team separated using a precise system of lasers, electromagnetic fields, and ion traps.
The researchers measured each molecule's mass to estimate of the number of neutrons in a molecule's radium nucleus. They then sorted the molecules by isotopes, according to their neutron numbers.
In the end, they sorted out bunches of five different isotopes of RaF, each bearing more neutrons than the next. With a separate system of lasers, the team measured the quantum levels of each molecule.
"Imagine a molecule vibrating like two balls on a spring, with a certain amount of energy," explains Udrescu, who is a graduate student of MIT's Laboratory for Nuclear Science. "If you change the number of neutrons in one of these balls, the amount of energy could change. But one neutron is 10 million times smaller than a molecule, and with our current precision we didn't expect that changing one would create an energy difference, but it did. And we were able to clearly see this effect."
Udrescu compares the sensitivity of the measurements to being able to see how Mount Everest, placed on the surface of the sun, could, however minutely, change the sun's radius. By comparison, seeing certain effects of symmetry violation would be like seeing how the width of a single human hair would alter the sun's radius.
The results demonstrate that radioactive molecules such as RaF are ultrasensitive to nuclear effects and that their sensitivity may likely reveal more subtle, never-before-seen effects, such as tiny symmetry-violating nuclear properties, that could help to explain the universe's matter-antimmater asymmetry.
"These very heavy radioactive molecules are special and have sensitivity to nuclear phenomena that we cannot see in other molecules in nature," Udrescu says. "This shows that, when we start to search for symmetry-violating effects, we have a high chance of seeing them in these molecules."