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Barometer

Barometer

24 September 2011

12:00 AM

24 September 2011

12:00 AM

Objects in space

— The six tonne US Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite was due to fall to Earth, with Nasa calculating that it has a one in 3,200 risk of striking a human. It poses less of a risk, however, than the 75 tonne Skylab did when it re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere in 1979. In the event, it fell on an uninhabited region of Western Australia.
— There is plenty more potential danger from space junk, with an estimated 19,000 pieces of man-made material greater than 100mm across orbiting the Earth, including a glove and a camera dropped by astronauts. Most will burn up in space when they re-enter, but one which could cause problems is Vanguard 1, a satellite launched in 1958 which is expected to fall to Earth in 240 years’ time.

Major losers

Kweku Adoboli, a trader with Swiss bank UBS, racked up $2.3 billion of losses. At least six traders have lost more money than him in recent years. These are some of them, and other notable losers:
— Howie Hubler, Morgan Stanley on credit default swaps, 2008  $9bn
— Jerome Kerviel, Société Générale on index futures, 2008  $7.2bn
— Yasuo Hamanaka, Sumitomo Corp on copper futures, 1996  $2.6bn
— Nick Leeson, Barings on index futures, 1995  $1.3bn
— Terrance Watanabe (personal losses) at Las Vegas, 2007  $127m


The wrong pitch

Travellers at Crays Hill, Essex, won a reprieve against eviction for 51 illegally sited caravans. How many gipsy/traveller caravans are there in England, and how have the numbers changed in the past decade?
  

2000 year 2010
13,253 Total traveller caravans 18,355
 10,737 On authorised pitches 14,736
728 On unauthorised pitches 2,395

Source: Communities and Local Government

Drugs of choice

Jonathan Dimbleby admitted to snorting a line of cocaine when he was in his early twenties. Some others who have raised eyebrows by admitting drug use:
— Andre Agassi: used crystal meth when a top tennis player
— Helen Mirren: used cocaine in the 1980s, until she found out that a Nazi fugitive was earning a living by dealing it
— Frank Bough, admitted cocaine use in 1988
— Barack Obama, admitted to using cocaine soon after graduating from law school.


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