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.
Earlier this month, it was revealed NBN Co had started initial talks with ISPs about how they could chuck an extra fee on video streaming, according to Commsday and iTNews. Naturally, all of Australia simultaneously freaked out because video streaming sites like Netflix, Stan and YouTube have become as much of a necessary part of daily life as food or maybe even oxygen.
So, while the conversation around net neutrality has been ongoing in the United States for years, it had finally arrived to Australian shores. But with the 5G rollout picking up speed, it's likely Australians would just move to this and other alternatives for their streaming needs.
Google recently removed several apps from the Google Play Store after discovering they violated the Play Store terms of service -- and, more importantly, could be used as stalkerware. That doesn’t mean they’re deleted from your Android device, though, so now’s a great time to remove them.