Thursday, 17 December 2015

Star Wars fan turns home into shrine to films and offers B&B

Dave Oldbury, a postman from Southampton, has turned his semi-detached house into a shrine to the Star Wars franchise, and is also offering a B&B service in the run up to the release of the new film.
Dave says he has spent around £150,000 on the transformation, which includes masses of memorabilia such as action figures, film posters, books, toy spaceships and even life-size Storm Troopers.
Other Star Wars fans are going to be allowed to stay the night at a guest room in the house, named the Solo Suite, for £35 per night.
Dave is 46 and has been collecting Star Wars items since he was 8 years old. He has around 3,000 items in total, which fill the house, and so around 500 pieces have had to take their place in the garage instead.
Dave said that he is looking forward to showcasing his collection to fellow Star Wars fans, but that they shouldn't use the side passage, as that path leads to the dark side...

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Thursday, 10 December 2015

Ultra-hard glass developed

Scientists in Japan have created a new type of ultra-hard glass, which is also thin, by using alumina which is an oxide of aluminium.
There could be many commercial applications once the glass can be made available, from very strong window panes for buildings to car windows and much stronger mobile phone screens.
The glass is a type of 'oxide glass' which is made mainly from silicon dioxide but with greater strength provided by the inclusion of alumina.
There have been problems creating glass with increased amounts of alumina in the past because the mixture would crystallise when meeting the sides of the container, stopping the development of useful glass.
However, scientists from the Institute of Industrial Science at the University of Tokyo have managed to use oxygen gas to raise the elements into the air before using a laser to melt them into glass.
The glass produced is colourless and transparent like normal glass, but extremely hard - when tested, the stiffness was greater than some metals, and not far off the performance of steel.
The team are looking to establish a method to mass-produce the glass as soon as possible, with the aim of making it commercially available within five years.

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Thursday, 3 December 2015

Site of 'Roman villa' saved from housing development

Land in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, where the remains of a Roman villa were discovered, has been bought by a mystery benefactor for a seven figure amount to save it from housing development.
Signs of the Roman villa had been discovered in the 1950s when intricate mosaic tiled pavements were discovered during excavations.
The site which has been bought is alongside where the earlier remains had been discovered, and has been given to new custodian Southwell Minster. The land can now be used only for educational, conservation and cultural purposes.
Acting dean, Canon Nigel Coates said: "It's a benefaction we never anticipated and he or she has been extraordinarily generous in giving us this site.
"It's their wish to remain anonymous but we do hope that in the future the connection with Southwell and the person's identity will be made known."
The site had previously received planning permission for nine houses from Sherwood District Council, although the plans were strongly opposed by the 'Save Roman Southwell' campaign.
Plans for the long-term future of the site are yet to be decided but the area will be cleared of rubble and grass laid initially, to improve the general appearance.
Dr Will Bowden, Associate Professor in Roman Archaeology at the University of Nottingham, said the villa would have been large and impressive, commenting: "Villas were massive farm complexes with agricultural and industrial functions that could extend over a wide area.
"It features extensive mosaic pavements and some very high quality wall painting, both located when parts of the villa were excavated in the 1950s."

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