The former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter are in a critical condition in a hospital in Salisbury, UK, following exposure to an unknown nerve agent. Several locations in the city have been cordoned off and decontaminated since the pair were found unconscious on a park bench on March 5. But what are nerve agents exactly and how do they affect the body?
The first nerve agents were invented by accident in the 1930s when researchers were trying to make cheaper and better alternatives to nicotine as insecticides. In their search, German scientists made two organic compounds containing phosphorus that were very effective at killing insect pests. However, they soon discovered that, even in minuscule amounts, the substances caused distressing symptoms in humans exposed to them.
The two substances – too toxic to be used as commercial insecticides in agriculture – became known as tabun and sarin. The research was handed over to the Wehrmacht (the Nazi armed forces), which evaluated them as weapons and began constructing plants to manufacture them. The sarin plant was not operational by the time the Third Reich collapsed, but fell in to the hands of Soviet forces that overran Poland and Germany.
Super Nintendo was my first ever console and there are games on that system that I still enjoy playing to this day. Unfortunately, my childhood console died over a decade ago and it's not always easy to find a Super Nintendo with all the right bits working. The easiest way to re-live my favourite childhood video games is through ROM (read-only memory) files and emulators. There is a swathe of video game ROMs and emulators floating around on the internet that can be readily downloaded. There are also people who convert their old games into ROM images so they can be backed up and conveniently accessed through emulators. So is any of this legal? Let's find out.
The company behind the National Broadband Network has updated its searchable rollout map to coincide with its revised three-year timetable. Want to know when the NBN is coming to your suburb? All you need to do is type your address into the website.