And indeed it appears no-one started the Hemel Hempstead fire currently burning up all the oxygen in the world. Not only has the disaster/pretty sunset maker thrown up massive cultural differences in the use of the word casualties (see this ILE thread), but thrown up serious issues about the running of such a dangerous plant. It is great that there are no serious injuries, but it does suggest that security was a touch lax, since they weren’t there to be blown up. And watching the news last night I was somewhat startled to hear that the operation was ceased after a new explosion for them to find out exactly what was in silo five. That was 32 hours after the fire had started. First thing I would do as a safety chief was maybe get a list of what might be in each silo, just in case. (Unless the owners, believing five was safe, had lied and said it is full of seawater.) And why exactly on Sunday were the meteorologists hoping for rain? Have they never heard of a chip pan fire. If we’d had a shower Sunday night, St Albans would have been razed off the earth (not necessarily a bad thing).

That all said, there was something resolutely British in watching everyone walking past the Evening Standard billboards pronouncing “Poisonous Cloud Reaches London Tonight”. It is probably not just British stoicism that lead us to completely ignore such warnings, but also a level at which we trust the Evening Standard. (Space photo from Dundee University though is super great. I bet the BBC weathermen still wish they had the sticky black clouds.)