Time-lapse of All Nuclear Explosions (1945 thru 1998)

This is awful – in all meanings of that word. Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created something both beautiful and terrifying.

Starting with the Trinity Test of the Gadget, near Los Alamos, New Mexico, and ending with Pakistan’s tests in 1998. It leaves out the few tests by North Korea.

If you take a guess at the number of atomic and thermonuclear bombs that were exploded during that period, I can almost guarantee that you will be wrong, by guessing low. The video is 14 minutes and change, so grab a coffee. If you are really impatient, jump ahead to 1960, (4:20) or the late 50s. But watching it build is really the point. Watch the beginning even if you are impatient.

Worldwide total is in the bottom right corner.

Oh sure, there are shorter videos out there, but this one is mesmerizing.


Self-defense in California: 1884 Edition

Fascinating bit of history. Back in the Day: How a fatal shooting led to a post office’s backwards name – Press Enterprise

A guy shot his uncle in 1884 in what would later be called Radec, California. (That’s “cedar” spelled backwards.) The coroner ruled it was likely self-defense, but a grand jury called for a trial.

On July 24, after deliberations lasting about 20 minutes and with only one ballot, William Fain was acquitted of the murder charge.

Self-defense is a human-right. Time does not change what is and what is not a human right. (Note: of what was once the town of Radec, only the cemetery in that area retains the name today.)

The Most Chicago Story Ever – The 1992 Chicago Flood

WXRT (Chicago’s Finest Rock!) is doing a review of 1992 this morning. So of course this came up. Why The 1992 Loop Flood Is The Most Chicago Story Ever | WBEZ

The Great Chicago Flood is the Most Chicago Story Ever. It’s a nearly perfect convergence of neglect, corruption, incompetence, and scapegoating. And because nobody got hurt (except the scapegoats) we can laugh at it now, marveling at how many classically Chicago-y elements combined to bring about this one event.

For those of you who don’t know, a contractor driving pilings in the Chicago River drove one of those pilings through the roof of an old and abandoned railroad tunnel that went under the river. Water eventually flooded the basements of a lot of buildings in the Loop. It destroyed records in City Hall, it damaged buildings, and generally wrecked stuff.

The tunnels that brought about the 1992 Flood were never supposed to be there. In 1899, the company that built them, Illinois Telegraph & Telephone, had a franchise (or permission) to build a telephone system in the Loop, which included laying underground cables. Conduit is normally an inch or two wide, but the company sneakily built 7-foot-wide underground “conduit” for those cables.

Those 7 foot tunnels were to bring coal and other stuff into the Loop. After the railroad went bankrupt, The tunnels were just ignored. (Real neglect started in about 1959.)

The leak and the piling didn’t happen overnight. The city found out about the leak and got a bid to fix it for $10,000. But they considered that “too high.” Instead the cost was measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars. At least no one was hurt.

Людмила Павличенко (Lyudmila Pavlichenko) – The most successful female sniper in history

Lyudmila PavlichenkoBorn: July 12, 1916. Died October 10, 1974.

She was one of the most dangerous snipers of any sex, and she remains the record-holding female sniper. She had killed 257 Germans by May 1942 when she was promoted to Lieutenant. Her total credited kills were 309, including 36 snipers. (It apparently doesn’t include 2 Romanian invaders she shot in order to prove she could be useful to the Soviet Army.)

Just to prove that reporters were just as crazy in 1941, when she visited the US, as they are today:

While meeting with reporters in Washington, D.C., she was dumbfounded about the kind of questions put to her. “One reporter even criticized the length of the skirt of my uniform, saying that in America women wear shorter skirts and besides my uniform made me look fat.”

Remember, in 1942, we were friends with the Soviet Union, and the Soviets desperately needed us to open a serious 2nd front against Germany to relieve pressure on them in the east.

The New York Times dubbed her the “Girl Sniper,” and other newspapers observed that she “wore no lip rouge, or makeup of any kind,” and that “there isn’t much style to her olive-green uniform.”

It took her a while to find her voice, but when she did, she let the idiots in the press have it.

Soon, the Soviet sniper had had enough of the press’s sniping. “I wear my uniform with honor,” she told Time magazine. “It has the Order of Lenin on it. It has been covered with blood in battle. It is plain to see that with American women what is important is whether they wear silk underwear under their uniforms. What the uniform stands for, they have yet to learn.”

She was eventually promoted to the rank of major, and after her tour of the US and Great Britain, she became a sniper instructor.

The more things change… If you look around it isn’t hard to find the insanity – which in the 1940s was in the press – still in “Girls with Guns” posts and tweets. This Comrade Pavlichenko actually knew what to do with a weapon, and cared less about looking sexy holding one.

A Monument to Mikhail Kalashnikov

Mikhail KalashnikovHe certainly had an impact on the entire world. Russia Unveils Monument to Mikhail Kalashnikov, Designer of Iconic AK-47 Rifle – NBC News

The Автомат Калашникова (Avtomat Kalashnikova) or Automatic Kalashnikov was designed for a 1946 competition, and was first produced in 1947, hence AK-47.

Every fifth firearm in the world is a Kalashnikov and more than 70 million of the assault rifles have been produced over the past 60 years, the Kalashnikov concern said on its website. Kalashnikovs are in service in 50 foreign armies, it said.

Military experts say the AK-47 has killed more people than all other types of modern weapons taken together.

Kalashnikov, who died aged 94, had repeatedly said that pride in his invention was mixed with the pain of seeing it used by criminals and child soldiers.

So is there a memorial to John Moses Browning?

The Bombing of Nagasaki, August 9, 1945

Three days after “Little Boy” was dropped on Hiroshima, a bomb, code-named “Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Manhattan Project: The Atomic Bombing of Nagasaki, August 9, 1945

After problems with weather, a uranium implosion bomb (similar to the first atomic bomb, The Gadget, detonated on July 15th of that year) was dropped on the industrial city of Nagasaki. It was later determined that it was 21 kiloton equivalent explosion.

A small conventional raid on Nagasaki on August 1st had resulted in a partial evacuation of the city, especially of school children. There were still almost 200,000 people in the city below the bomb when it exploded. The hurriedly-targeted weapon ended up detonating almost exactly between two of the principal targets in the city, the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works to the south, and the Mitsubishi-Urakami Torpedo Works to the north.

Water line breaks hampered firefighting efforts, and the damage done to the two Mitsubishi plants was described as “spectacular.” Though the bomb was 40 percent larger than the Hiroshima bomb, it did less destruction. But the destruction it caused was still extreme.

The best estimate is 40,000 people died initially, with 60,000 more injured. By January 1946, the number of deaths probably approached 70,000, with perhaps ultimately twice that number dead total within five years. For those areas of Nagasaki affected by the explosion, the death rate was comparable to that at Hiroshima.

The day after Nagasaki was bombed, Japan surrendered – almost unconditionally.

The Bombing of Hiroshima, August 6, 1945

Just a few weeks after the first atomic bomb was detonated by the Manhattan Project in the desert Southwest (on July 16, 1945) the US Air dropped an atomic bomb, code named “Little Boy” on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Manhattan Project: The Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima, August 6, 1945

At 8:15 in the morning local time, a 15 kiloton uranium gun-trigger bomb was dropped on a city of 300,000 people.

The blast wave filled the air with broken glass. The flash from the detonation burned the shadows of people onto the walls left standing. 9 out of 10 people within half a mile of ground zero were dead.

The photo above is of the city center some weeks after the bombing. Click for a larger image.

In those areas most seriously affected virtually no one escaped serious injury. The numerous small fires that erupted simultaneously all around the city soon merged into one large firestorm, creating extremely strong winds that blew towards the center of the fire. The firestorm eventually engulfed 4.4 square miles of the city, killing anyone who had not escaped in the first minutes after the attack.

Those farther away had other problems as they thought their buildings had been bombed. Make-shift rescue parties started working shortly after the blast. Outside relief was slow to arrive, because the Japanese high command didn’t understand what happened. They couldn’t imagine destruction on that scale. It wasn’t until the US announcement 16 hours later that the true nature of what happened came to light.

While some things started to get back to normal in a few days, the effects of radiation sickness started to show itself.

Power in undamaged areas of the city was even restored on August 7th, with limited rail service resuming the following day. Several days after the blast, however, medical staff began to recognize the first symptoms of radiation sickness among the survivors. Soon the death rate actually began to climb again as patients who had appeared to be recovering began suffering from this strange new illness. Deaths from radiation sickness did not peak until three to four weeks after the attacks and did not taper off until seven to eight weeks after the attack.

The effects of radiation poisoning are truly hideous. A high enough exposure and you are dead – you are just waiting for the mechanics of dying to be complete. You can find descriptions of the gruesome details elsewhere. All I will say here is that I would not want to wait around for that end.