back to article Thar she blows: Strava heat map shows folk on shipwreck packed with 1,500 tonnes of bombs

People wearing Strava-enabled fitness trackers appear to have been poking around a Thames shipwreck containing nearly 1,500 tonnes of explosives from the Second World War. In addition, other fitness fanatics appear to have been wandering around military training sites – including danger areas used for live-fire tank and …

Re: Spectacular

Maybe not in reality but for fiction look for James Barrington. Timebomb.

Just re-reading them whilst having a short vacation at Hotel NHS..

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Hopefully a few of them have somehow floated towards westminster, that place needs a makeover

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Mushroom

Quote:

Hopefully a few of them have somehow floated towards westminster, that place needs a makeover

And congratulations on being Monday's winner to a visit from special branch

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hmv

They're not called special branch anymore; it's now counter-terrorism command. Of course the county police forces might still be catching up with the latest terminology.

I once came back from lunch to find someone from special branch waiting for a chance to have a word.

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'wrecked

Walking: 20 minutes

Rowing: 20 minutes

Flying: 1 minute

Dying: 2 seconds

Congratulations you exceeded your fitness objectives for the day!

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Either you're an optimist

or the last two entries are in the wrong order.

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Re: Either you're an optimist

To be fair, a doctor can't declare you dead until you land.

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Seen this all over the papers but...

... why are they blaming the app. Its not the apps fault its those users not turning the feature off.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Seen this all over the papers but...

It looks more and more people have been brainwashed into thinking that data slurping and their publication is good, and it's the user fault if they didn't hinder the app doing that explicitly... another example where the should victim feel guilty when abused... "privacy is theft".

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App users exonerated

in strap-on big bang threat.

(Just a quick map I made that shows that Strava users aren't, in fact, going into the exclusion zone.)

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Aircraft Carrier

You can spot the outline of an aircraft carrier if you look in Portsmouth harbour. Although to be honest I don't think it's a secret its there.

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Re: Aircraft Carrier

You've given me a great idea! The RN could PAINT aircraft on the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth. Admittedly they won't be able to take off, and they'll look pants from anything under 5,000 feet, but above that, it will look just like a proper aircraft carrier.

Of course, if Crapita get the contract to paint, it'll work out more expensive than buying real aircraft, and they'll paint the wrong type of aircraft as well.

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Re: Aircraft Carrier

Of course, if Crapita get the contract to paint, it'll work out more expensive than buying real aircraft, and they'll paint the wrong type of aircraft as well.

They'll paint F35s, you mean?

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I'll go with the experts here.

There is only a modest chance that any of the explosives are intact and viable. There is a only a slim chance that any of the detonators are viable.

Seawater immersion is a tough environment. It's difficult to intentionally design something that will last a few years in the environment. And this is wartime ordinance delivered on Liberty ships, which is built with the standard "if it even gets there, it will sit around for a few days before being used ...once". External drop tanks for fighters were made of paper and couldn't be filled with fuel more than a few minutes before departure because they would fall apart before they were emptied. Many types of shells had switched from bass casings to raw steel, with only a grease, oil or cosmoline spray. Aerial bombs and their fuses were built with similar standards.

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Anonymous Coward

More than a few WW2 bombs have been found to have viable explosives despite sitting below the water table for fifty years, and after being dropped from 12,000 feet.

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Anonymous Coward

Sorry, but heavy bombs have shells that must be able to penetrate concrete or hardened steel before detonating. They aren't built with thin, brittle metals - sure, used once, but they need to be effective, not going in pieces on the target surface before exploding.

Seawater may take many, many years to completely corrode a thick piece of steel (and some encrustations may even protect it). The question is how watertight they are, and if TNT as been neutralized or not. Just, you'd need to inspect each bomb to check it...

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"Sorry, but heavy bombs have shells that must be able to penetrate concrete or hardened steel before detonating."

Not so fast. Heavy bombs can be heavy because they're designed around a strong armour-piercing casing with relatively little explosive filling , but they can *also* be heavy because they're designed around a thin-wall casing to maximise the amount of explosive within and thus blast effect once dropped...

e.g. Tallboy, 12,000lb total mass, approx. 5000lb explosive content

Cookie, 12,000lb total mass (in its largest variant), approx. 9000lb explosive content

Two bombs with the same overall mass, but designed for two very different types of mission.

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Anonymous Coward

blow the bloody doors off

"Two bombs with the same overall mass, but designed for two very different types of mission."

And both probably capable of blowing the bloody Doors off, from a great distance.

Maybe they could get rid of bloody Windows too.

I'd get my coat, except it's blown off already.

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Re: blow the bloody doors off

Sad the actress to the bishop....

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Anonymous Coward

"Two bombs with the same overall mass"

Well, hope it's not 1500 tonnes of blast bombs, because otherwise the 1kt power is only very conservative... just look at the evacuation range when *one* of this bombs is found...

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Here in the East of Dundee we live within both walking and running distance of Barry Budden firing ranges. When the flags are not flying and the watch boxes aren't manned you are perfectly free to wander about.

There's a cycle path now between the rail line and the base (there are golf courses on the other side of the line so obviously the path couldn't got there. I have run along it whilst the sound of quite furious automatic fire came from the ranges to my right. I was not concerned as having wandered around and seen the high earth berms behind each range and none of the ranges face inland.

The people in the train passing at the time and the golfers on the range were not in danger either. When the wind is from the East we can hear them firing from here. Whilst coming back along the top road on long Sunday morning runs the soft crump of mortars is a common accompanying sound effect. We've got quite good at picking different sorts of arms.

We joke that if an army ever invaded Dundee from the East nobody would notice.

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How is this evidence people are messing with the wreck?

Couldn't they be rowers who rowed over it? The area may be posted for ship traffic, but unless it is physically roped off how would someone in a little human powered or wind powered craft know or care they are over that old wreck?

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Re: How is this evidence people are messing with the wreck?

Marker buoys. If you are navigating shallow waters in a yacht at least you have tide charts and you look out for markers just as a car looks out for road signs. This navigation stuff is covered by qualifications like RYA day and offshore skipper, which you need to rent a yacht, but not to own one. Yachts also care more about draft than other boats of similar size as they have keels (where keel means a fin over a metre long sticking straight down, not a strip along the bottom of the boat), getting stuck on a sandbank that motorboats can happily go over is not unheard of.

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How accurate are these things?

I just had a look at my local area and noticed two things:

1. I can find the entrance and exits to the track so I know where the owners live.

2. Either they generate a lot of spurious location data or some smart arse has strapped one to his cat - I see a track that runs across the roof of two houses, through the gardens of another three to the reserve bordering the main road...

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Re: How accurate are these things?

Good question.. would it be "all" or just a few that are off? I had a Garmon (I think it was) GPS unit early on and it was off about 500 yards. A friend who had the same model was spot on.

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Holmes

Re: How accurate are these things?

they do, think there might of been a story on here about it on here er or was that the GPS wifi wargaming.

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Holmes

Re: How accurate are these things?

> or some smart arse has strapped one to his cat

Why, have you never wanted to know where the cat goes when it leaves the house? I'd like to know, enough to consider buying such a gadget just to uncover the secret life of my cat...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "where the cat goes when it leaves its home(s)"

"have you never wanted to know where the cat goes when it leaves the house? I'd like to know, enough to consider buying such a gadget just to uncover the secret life of my cat..."

BBC TV, June 2013: Horizon: Secret life of the cat: the science of tracking our pets.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22821639

Highlights on iPlayer: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b02xcvhw

Modern versions of the tracking kit, with or without cameras, readily available from all the finest online tat shops.

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Re: How accurate are these things?

Fitness tracker stuff is very competitive in my friends circle - I find it easier to attach it to the dog's collar when someone else takes it for a walk.

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Re: How accurate are these things?

Fitness tracker stuff is very competitive in my friends circle

We'd rather not discuss your friend's circle if that's quite alright.

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Re: How accurate are these things?

"Why, have you never wanted to know where the cat goes when it leaves the house?"

The Girl Friend calls it Secret Cat Business. I have seen some of the things cats do and they can remain secret, thank you very much. Washing in your own spit is bad enough.

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Pint

Didn't anybody walk out the outline of a huge... ?

Now that we know these tracks are now online, and they probably can be generated without the actual walking around (gentle "hacking"), then let the mischief begin.

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Re: Didn't anybody walk out the outline of a huge... ?

That could be fun. Map out some obscene words. Once it gets attention, sell your efforts for advertising. Say something like "Buy IBM!".

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Boffin

Re: Didn't anybody walk out the outline of a huge... ?

Or discover that a local ferry company has "borrowed" a Twitter feed that you run... You then make it look like said ferry is in Milton Keynes and then make them buy IBM Middleware. Clicky

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Re: Didn't anybody walk out the outline of a huge... ?

That could be fun. Map out some obscene words.

Or draw in the Superbad style

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Did I see a comment somewhere that the RAF base on the Falklands is on the heat maps, from runners there? Described as a "secret" base. On the Falklands? Sure every sheep there must know about it.

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I remember this

When I was a lad in the 1960's in Gillingham, my dad told me about this shipwreck with thousands of tons of un-exploded bombs off Sheerness. The worry at the time was that it blew up it might take the oil refinery at the Isle of Grain with it.

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Mushroom

Big Bang Theory

When I worked for a large electrical engineering company, we were installing some contactors at a research installation in Hampshire. The foreman told us to "be very careful because there [was] a reactor on the other end of that cable". To us, as electrical engineers, a reactor was simply a large coil of copper wire with either an iron or an air core, which induces a lag in the phase rotation. No, this reactor was a Nuclear Reactor! One false electrical impulse and it would have been Goodbye Basingstoke.

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"If the Montgomery went up, it might destroy the Isle of Sheppey, and inundate Southend with a tsunami!"

"OK, but are there any potential problems?"

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are there any potential problems?

1) It doesn't go bang, Sheerness and Southend remain unimproved

2) All the munitions are viable, and there's a kiloton bang. Bad for anybody observing from a distance, as previous kiloton ship explosions have thrown big chunks like gun turrets and propellors up to five miles.

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Anonymous Coward

Thanks for that map, NOT!

I now know more about my neighbour than I wanted know. I guess the advantage of cities is increased anonymity as it takes more than a glance at such information to identify someone.

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Anonymous Coward

Accuracy

A few years ago, my employer was considering issuing smartphones (iPhones anyway) to people who actually do stuff. You know, they wear overalls and carry toolkits, spades, paintbrushes etc. I tried out one such device. I walked about half a mile through a building and then another half mile outdoors.

The tracking device Felt that, in my leisurely 10 minutes, I had been from southern England to the middle of the Bay of Biscay, back to the "Midlands", then to 0°N 0°E (somewhere south of Nigeria) and back to where I genuinely finished. They are not very accurate indoors! Do these secret bases not have a bit of shielding. If I was in the US military in Afghanistan, or the Russian one in Syria, I would be very keen that my facilities were proof against incoming mortars and snipers in the hills and trees outside.

If you are running round the perimeter track though, then you will draw a very neat line right round your base.

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FAIL

Sounds like a great supply depot...

for terrorists.

And you can bet they WON'T be wearing a FitBit...

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Anonymous Coward

Wet TNT is as as dangerous as your little sister.....NEXT@!

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The munitions are believed to be largely artillery shells.

Quite a bit was offloaded before the ship 'sank' (went from merely grounded to broken, probably splitting in half as Liberty ships tended to do), but the records aren't good enough to be certain how much. Presumably all of the easily reached cargo was salvaged.

The shells probably have (had) wartime thin steel casings, rather than brass. The projectile/shell has thicker steel/iron construction, but they aren't generally shipped with the fuse installed. It's really likely that seawater has degraded the propellant and explosives to the point where it's not viable.

But not completely certain. So I'm not volunteering to dredge the site. Let's just leave the bouys out and wait another few decades until it's Someone Else's Problem.

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Fisherman, Not Treasure Hunters ! Long line fisherman always fish near known shipwrecks because it's where fish congregate. On an otherwise barren and desolate sea floor, shipwrecks provide a hiding place for fish, therefore they attract larger fish species.. on and on... up the food chain.

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Alert

Even after a century

hundreds of tonnes of unexploded shells are recovered and disposed of year after year from the battlefields of WW I in France and Belgium.

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