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Underwater sea turbines ‘could supply 10% of the UK’s energy’

Underwater sea turbines ‘could supply 10% of the UK’s energy’

Undersea turbines could generate a tenth of Britain’s power, according to a renewable energy expert.

Tidal stream energy uses turbines to extract energy from moving masses of water in the oceans and rivers.

The UK is in an excellent position to reap the benefits of the technology as UK waters hold about half of Europe’s tidal stream resource.

Stephen Wyatt, director of research and disruptive innovation for Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (ORE), a sustainable energy research company, said the 2020s could be a “golden decade” for the science.

He told The Independent: “Tidal stream technologies are proven and on the cusp of commercialisation, with the most advanced being home-grown in the UK.

“One of the appealing aspects of tidal is its predictability. We can forecast tides hundreds of years into the future, covering fluctuations from other power sources – you can’t predict when the sun is going to shine months in advance.

“Ten per cent is a significant number. In a world where we’re pushing for net-zero, it can really move the dial in terms of UK energy demand.”

Tidal stream is being touted as an important renewable energy source in the UK - ORE

 ORE: Tidal stream is being touted as an important renewable energy source in the UK

Dr Wyatt said the technology could become cost-effective if it receives significant investment and subsidies, and could create 26,600 jobs by 2040.

“Tidal energy is on track to be cheaper than both nuclear power and fossil fuels, providing clean and sustainable energy around the world,” he added.

“The UK has put significant funding into innovation and research and development, and a total of 80 per cent of components are made in the UK. There is huge potential to create a lot of jobs in this emerging sector.”

One example of the potential of the technology is the MeyGen project, the largest planned tidal stream project in the world, which is being constructed at between Scotland’s northernmost coast and the uninhabited island of Stroma.

The site covers some of the fastest flowing waters in the UK, and the island creates a natural channel with the mainland, accelerating the millions of tonnes of water flowing between the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean every day.

The first phase of the tidal array is expected to generate enough electricity to supply 2,600 homes. 

Reference: Independent: Samuel Webb 

Gary Waldhorn dies aged 78

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Gary Waldhorn dies aged 78

Gary Waldhorn has died aged 78.

The actor - who starred as Councillor David Horton in hit sitcom 'The Vicar of Dibley' alongside Dawn French - "peacefully passed away" on Monday (10.01.2022) according to his son Josh.

In a statement, Josh said: "My beloved father, Gary Waldhorn peacefully passed away at 6.45am on January 10 2022. Classically trained, it was the theatre where he truly flourished and he leaves a legacy of entertainment that saw him frequent the boards of Broadway, the West End and our living rooms on the telly! He leaves behind his two grandsons, Cooper and Bayley, and his son Josh. We will all miss him terribly.”

Over the course of his decades-long career, Gary starred in other television favourites such as 'Brush Strokes' and 'Lovejoy' and was an accomplished theatre star, with a long history working with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

His final appearance was as David in 'The Vicar of Dibley in Lockdown' when the ecclesiastical sitcom - which originally ran from 1994 until 2007 - returned for a series of short specials at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Gary Waldhorn has died aged 78

Bang Showbiz Gary Waldhorn has died aged 78

In a statement, BBC Comedy paid tribute to the "incredibly talented" actor who will be "fondly remembered" for his time on British television.

It said: "Gary was an incredibly talented actor who is fondly remembered by us for his numerous appearances on some of the nations most treasured BBC shows, and of course as Councillor David Horton in The Vicar Of Dibley. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time."

His passing follows the deaths of his 'Vicar of Dibley' co-stars Trevor Peacock - who played Jim Trott and died in March 2021 aged 89 - and Emma Chambers, who played verger Alice Tinker and suffered a fatal heart attack in 2018 at the age of 53.

Roger Lloyd Pack - who starred as farmer Owen Newitt throughout the series' run - lost a battle with cancer in 2014 and Gary's death leaves Dawn French and James Fleet as the only surviving main cast members.

Reference: Bang Shwbiz

Archaeology breakthrough: Ultra-rare bionic armour discovered in ancient China burial

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Archaeology breakthrough: Ultra-rare bionic armour discovered in ancient China burial

A new study has unearthed the remains of a man buried 2,500 years ago in northwest China along with an extremely rare armour. The armour was comprised of more than 5,000 leather scales and was so intricately crafted that its design looks like the overlapping scales of a fish.

The military garment resembled an apron-like waistcoat and could be worn quickly without the help of another person.

Study lead researcher Patrick Wertmann, from the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies of the University of Zurich, described it as "a light, highly efficient one-size-fits-all defensive garment for soldiers of a mass army."

The researchers have described it as one of the earliest examples of bionic technology- where the creators take inspiration from nature for human technology.

According to study co-researcher Mayke Wagner, the scientific director of the Eurasia Department of the German Archaeological Institute and head of its Beijing office, the fish like overlapping leather scales "strengthen the human skin for better defence against blow, stab and shot."

The armour was discovered in the Yanghai cemetery site, Turfan is likely from from between 786-543 cal BCE.

The study says that the garment was " originally made of about 5444 smaller scales and 140 larger scales, which, together with leather laces and lining, had a total weight of ca. 4-5 kg."

Speaking to Live Science, Wagner said that he was surprised to find the armour.

Archaeology breakthrough: Ultra-rare bionic armour discovered in ancient China burial

Patrick Wertmann Archaeology breakthrough: Ultra-rare bionic armour discovered in ancient China burial

He said:"At first glance, the dusty bundle of leather pieces [in the burial] ... did not arouse much attention among the archaeologists.

"After all, the finds of ancient leather objects are quite common in the extremely dry climate of the Tarim Basin."

The scales were likely made from cow rawhide, which were then arranged in horizontal rows and connected by leather laces passing through the incisions.

Images of the leather scale bionic armour

 Wertmann et al, 2021 Images of the leather scale bionic armour

The researchers compared the garment to a similar of unknown origin in the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York (MET), with finds and depictions from the Near East, the adjacent northern steppe areas and the territory of China.

According to the study: "The stylistic similarities but constructional differences suggest that the two armours were intended as outfits for distinct units of the same army, i.e. light cavalry and heavy infantry, respectively.

"As such a high level of standardization of military equipment during the 7th century BCE is only known for the Neo-Assyrian military forces, we suggest that the place of manufacture of both armours was the Neo-Assyrian Empire.

"If this supposition is correct, then the Yanghai armour is one of the rare actual proofs of West-East technology transfer across the Eurasian continent during the first half of the first millennium BCE, when social and economic transformation enhanced." 

Reference: Daily Express: Antony Ashkenaz

Ronnie Spector, pop singer who fronted the Ronettes, dies aged 78

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Ronnie Spector, pop singer who fronted the Ronettes, dies aged 78

Ronnie Spector, the singer who defined the sound of mid-century girl groups as the frontwoman of the Ronettes, has died aged 78.

A statement on her website states:

Our beloved earth angel, Ronnie, peacefully left this world today after a brief battle with cancer. She was with family and in the arms of her husband, Jonathan.

Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face. She was filled with love and gratitude.

Her joyful sound, playful nature and magical presence will live on in all who knew, heard or saw her.

 With her towering beehive hairdo and powerfully melancholic, melodramatic voice, Spector is among the most distinctive figures in American pop. Her hits with the Ronettes include the vastly influential Be My Baby – whose distinctive drum beat has been recreated countless times – as well as Baby I Love You, Walking in the Rain and a series of enduring Christmas cover songs. She also survived an abusive marriage to the group’s producer, Phil Spector, who was later imprisoned for murder. 

Spector was born in New York in 1943, her heritage spanning African American, Native American, and Irish American. “When you don’t look like everyone else, you automatically have a problem in school,” she told the Guardian in 2019, saying her peers “would beat me up because I was different-looking”. She formed the Ronettes in 1957 and the lineup quickly coalesced with her elder sister, Estelle Bennett, and cousin Nedra Talley. The trio earned a residency at a local club and a record deal, but early singles failed to chart. Estelle arranged an audition with Phil Spector, who signed the group, and whose co-written song Be My Baby became their first hit, reaching No 2 in the US in 1963, and No 4 in the UK.

The Ronettes with Phil Spector. Photograph: David Magnus/REX/Shutterstock

Provided by The Guardian The Ronettes with Phil Spector. Photograph: David Magnus/REX/Shutterstock

With striking style based on form-fitting dresses and heavy makeup – “We weren’t afraid to be hot. That was our gimmick”, Spector later wrote – the group had seven further US chart hits and contributed three songs to the 1963 compilation A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector. They toured the US in 1966 as a support act to the Beatles; the Rolling Stones supported them on a Ronettes tour of the UK. “They could sing all their way right through a wall of sound,” Keith Richards later said, as the Ronettes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007. “They didn’t need anything. They touched my heart right there and then and they touch it still.”

Related: Ronnie Spector: ‘I love #MeToo and Time’s Up – because men’s time is up’

The Ronettes split in 1967, and Ronnie started a solo career, beginning with the George Harrison-penned single Try Some, Buy Some. She didn’t reach the chart highs of her previous group but continued to release music throughout her life.

In 1976 she duetted with Southside Johnny on the Bruce Springsteen-penned duet You Mean So Much To Me, and she returned to the US Top Five in 1986 as a guest singer on Eddie Money’s Be My Baby-interpolating song Take Me Home Tonight. In 1999, she collaborated with Ramones frontman Joey Ramone, who produced her EP She Talks To Rainbows. Her most recent album was English Heart, in 2016.

Her romantic relationship with Phil Spector began in 1963 as an affair while Phil was married. He divorced his wife in 1965 and married Ronnie in 1968. Phil was controlling, paranoid and abusive during their relationship. Notorious behaviour included making Ronnie drive with a life-size dummy of Phil to deter advances from other men; he kept her imprisoned in their house and threatened her with murder. She eventually escaped in 1972, fleeing in bare feet as Phil refused to let her own shoes.

She spent 15 years battling Phil with her bandmates for royalties they were owed, eventually successfully – in 2000 a New York court ruled that Phil owed them $2.6m.

In 1982, she married her manager Jonathan Greenfield, with their marriage lasting until her death. She is survived by him and their two sons, Jason and Austin. 

Reference: The Guardian: Ben Beaumont-Thomas

Former Neighbours star who played Sky Mangel dies in her sleep aged 34

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Former Neighbours star who played Sky Mangel dies in her sleep aged 34

A former child actress who played Sky Mangel in Neighbours as a toddler has died in her sleep, according to reports in Australia.

Miranda Fryer was the first to appear as the on-screen daughter of Kerry Bishop and adopted father Joe Mangel (Linda Hartley-Clark and Mark Little), arriving on Ramsay Street with her mum in 1989, aged 18 months, and starring in the soap for three years.

Following the character's departure from Neighbours, the part was recast as a teenager, played by Stephanie McIntosh. 

Ms Fryer died in her sleep, aged 34, on 6 January, her family told TV Tonight in Australia.

According to their report, she was the first child actor ever contracted to the show, and was popular with cast and crew.

As an adult, she had completed a degree in nursing during the pandemic, and married her husband Arthur Pothitis in November 2020.

In a statement published by TV Tonight, her family said: "True soulmates, Miranda and Arthur were making plans to start their family, when one day last week she went to sleep and never woke up. We do not know why.

Miranda Fryer played Sky Mangel in Neighbours when she was a child. Pic: Facebook

 Other Miranda Fryer played Sky Mangel in Neighbours when she was a child. Pic: Facebook

"She had had some health issues with her heart, maybe her beautiful persona was just too good for this world of ours. We, who all loved her so much, shall treasure the memories she has left us with and mourn our loss forever.

"A beautiful child, stunning teenager, beautiful inside, and out... a woman, with so much love and happiness given and received. So many friends, so much still to offer this world, gone."

Casting director and assistant producer Jan Russ, who worked on Neighbours from its launch in 1985 until 2008, according to IMDB, told TV Tonight: "I feel so very sad to lose one of my cast and especially one so young as Miranda who spent her very young years on the show... I love them like my own and feel the loss when they pass."

Neighbours fan account Erinsborough News also paid tribute, writing on Instagram: "Our deepest sympathies are extended to her family during this time."

Ms Fryer's family are reportedly awaiting a coroner's report. 

Reference: Sky News: 

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