Nuclear Bombs

Immersing oneself in the world of the unidentified flying object can be exciting, illuminating, stimulating, and enlightening. That very same world, however, is filled to the brim with cold-hearted killers that will…

This photo-article in The Atlantic contains some rare and disturbingly beautiful photos from the era of reckless American nuclear testing.  It includes a few of the really interesting photos taken just a…

A fantastic find from the National Archives by Robert Krulwich for NPR:

They weren’t crazy. They weren’t being punished. All but one volunteered to do this (which makes it all the more astonishing.)

On July 19, 1957, five Air Force officers and one photographer stood together on a patch of ground about 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas. They’d marked the spot “Ground Zero. Population 5” on a hand-lettered sign hammered into the soft ground right next to them.

As we watch, directly overhead, two F-89 jets roar into view and one of them shoots off a nuclear missile carrying an atomic warhead.

They wait. There is a countdown. 18,500 feet above them, the missile is intercepted and blows up. Which means, these men intentionally stood directly underneath an exploding 2 kiloton nuclear bomb. One of them, at the key moment (he’s wearing sunglasses), looks up. You have to see this to believe it.

Via Media Roots:

If you think nuclear testing is now only done on computers, think again. Abby and Robbie Martin grew up in Pleasanton, CA, a city located ten miles from the Lawrence Livermore Lab (LLL), a secret nuclear weapons production facility. They initially set out to explore the psychological impacts of taking nuclear testing into virtual space. But as their investigation unfolded, they found that the LLL—in conjunction with Site 300—has built an impressive greenwashing PR campaign cloaking a dark reality.

The New York Times has a jaw-dropping slideshow of photographer George Yoshitake’s images of 1950s nuclear blasts conducted in the Nevada desert and South Pacific. Yoshitake was lucky, or perhaps cursed, to…

NuclearArtOver 2,000 detonations! Really informative. Duncan Geere writes on (UK):

A Japanese artist named Isao Hashimoto has created a series of works about nuclear weapons. One is titled “1945—1998” and shows a history of the world’s nuclear explosions.

Over the course of fourteen and a half minutes, every single one of the 2,053 nuclear tests and explosions that took place between 1945 and 1998 are is plotted on a map.

After a couple of minutes or so, however, once the USSR and Britain entered the nuclear club, the tests really start to build up, reaching a peak of nearly 140 in 1962, and remaining well over 40 each year until the mid-80s.

It’s a compelling insight into the history of humanity’s greatest destructive force, especially when you remember that only two nuclear explosions have ever been detonated offensively, both in 1945. Since then, despite more than 2,000 other tests and billions of dollars having been spent on their development, no nuclear warheads have been used in anger.

Daniel Foster writes in National Review:

It was September of 1966, and gas was gushing uncontrollably from the wells in the Bukhara province of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic. But the Reds, at the height of their industrial might, had a novel solution.

They drilled nearly four miles into the sand and rock of the Kyzyl Kum Desert, and lowered a 30-kiloton nuclear warhead — more than half-again as large as “Little Boy,” the crude uranium bomb dropped over Hiroshima — to the depths beneath the wellhead. With the pull of a lever, a fistful of plutonium was introduced to itself under enormous pressure, setting off the chain reaction that starts with E = MC2 and ends in Kaboom! The ensuing blast collapsed the drill channel in on itself, sealing off the well.

You have to feel sorry for the author I guess, but shouldn’t his publisher have checked the facts? From the New York Times:

A new book about the atomic destruction of Hiroshima has won critical acclaim with its heartbreaking portrayals of the bomb’s survivors and is set to be made into a movie by James Cameron.

The Last Train from Hiroshima,” published in January by Henry Holt, also claims to reveal a secret accident with the atom bomb that killed one American and irradiated others and greatly reduced the weapon’s destructive power.

There is just one problem. That section of the book and other technical details of the mission are based on the recollections of Joseph Fuoco, who is described as a last-minute substitute on one of the two observation planes that escorted the Enola Gay.

But Mr. Fuoco, who died in 2008 at age 84 and lived in Westbury, N.Y., never flew on the bombing run, and he never substituted for James R. Corliss, the plane’s regular flight engineer, Mr. Corliss’s family says. They, along with angry ranks of scientists, historians and veterans, are denouncing the book and calling Mr. Fuoco an impostor…