Short items

Cancer deaths in Rutherford lab

The University of Manchester is to investigate the safety of its Rutherford building, following the death from cancer of four staff who worked there. The inquiry will investigate whether Rutherford’s atom experiments may have left the building comtaminated by radioactive materials. 
The Guardian  , 21 October 2008

King Solomon’s mines? 

An archaeological investigation suggests that an ancient copper works in modern-day Jordan may have been the location of King Solomon’s fabled copper mines. New finds show the mine dates back to the 10th century BC, so was almost certainly active during the reigns of Jewish Kings David and Solomon. 
The Times  , 28 October 2008 

Litvinenko family allowed home 

Haringey council say that Alexander Litvinenko’s widow and son can return to their London home, after declaring it free of radiation. Litvinenko was poisoned by a cup of tea laced with polonium-210 in November 2006 - subsequently he inadvertently contaminated everything he touched. Most of the polonium-210 decayed naturally, with little clean-up needed. 
The Guardian  , 6 November 2008 

Freon kills Russian submariners 

A malfunctioning fire safety system in a new Russian submarine has left 20 dead and 21 injured. The extinguisher system released freon gas, which displaced the oxygen, suffocating the victims. The submarine was undamaged, and returned to its base under its own power. The cause of the accident is as yet unknown. 
Wall Street Journal  , 9 November 2008 

Mustard gas revelations 

Long before Germany’s first use of mustard gas on first world war battlefields, Britain’s military chemists warned generals about the threat, contemporary documents reveal. Thousands of soldiers killed by the gas could have survived if properly equipped with effective gas masks. 
The Daily Mail  , 4 November 2008