July 16, 1945: Dawn of the Nuclear Age

The GadgetJuly 16, 1945. 5:29 AM Mountain Time, near Alamogordo, New Mexico. (Shamelessly stolen from myself, from last year.) Click the image for a larger view of the Gadget.

The Gadget was detonated – the 1st nuclear explosion – by the Manhattan Project. It was a plutonium implosion device.

At 05:29:21 (July 16, 1945) local time, the device exploded. It left a crater of radioactive glass in the desert 10 feet (3.0 m) deep and 1,100 feet (340 m) wide. At the time of detonation, the surrounding mountains were illuminated brighter than daytime for one to two seconds, and the heat was reported as being as hot as an oven at the base camp. The observed colors of the illumination ranged from purple to green and eventually to white. The roar of the shock wave took 40 seconds to reach the observers. The shock wave was felt over 100 miles (160 km) away, and the mushroom cloud reached 7.5 miles (12.1 km) in height. After the initial euphoria of witnessing the explosion had passed, test director Kenneth Bainbridge commented to Los Alamos director J. Robert Oppenheimer, Now we are all sons of bitches. Oppenheimer later stated that, while watching the test, he was reminded of a line from the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu scripture: Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

(The Gadget was similar to Fat Man, which was dropped on Nagasaki on the 9th August that year. Little Boy, which was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th, was a uranium gun-trigger.)

Video of the blast is all over YouTube. Here is a short one.

The best documentary I have seen on The Manhattan Project is The Day After Trinity. It doesn’t seem to be anywhere for streaming.

It was later determined to be an 18-to-20 kiloton explosion. (The equivalent of 18,000 tons of TNT or more) Relatively small by modern standards. Thermonuclear – or hydrogen – bombs are measured in megatons. (The largest – Tsar Bomba of the USSR – measured 50 megatons)

There’s an Old Saying About Putting a Guard on the Picket Line After the Horses Have Been Stolen

The UK’s NHS knew that they had outdated hardware. They were warned. But they ignored the warning because those damn IT folks are always asking for something. Cyber threats could cost lives unless NHS improves security

Yesterday ministers pledged to spend an extra £21m on NHS cyber security, and to adopt a series of security measures which were recommended a year ago – before the worst attack in the history of the health service.

So they knew for at least a year that they were vulnerable and did nothing. And I would wager that they were warned about the phase out of XP support when Microsoft announced the schedule for discontinuing updates. But executives always view these kinds of warnings from IT as a smoke screen. Those damn IT folks just want new technology to play with. They can’t possibly understand what it means to the business to spend money on upgraded computers.

Even after WannaCry shut down the NHS for a couple of days, and was on every major newscast and in every paper, I bet there are still organizations who haven’t upgraded all of their XP boxes. I mean be fair, Microsoft fixed THAT problem, so the risk is gone, right? Not so much.

The moral of the story is – you can lead a horse to water, but executives are never going to spend money to mitigate risks that they don’t understand. And the one constant in the universe is that executives are mostly too arrogant to admit that there are risks they don’t understand. So the only thing the lowly schlubs in IT can do, is to document their recommendations and how they were turned down – otherwise it will be their fault for not keeping management apprised of risks. Either that or get out of IT all together.

So Why Is This Guy on the Street?

Convicted again and again. Then paroled and he commits another crime. Why is he not in prison? CWB Chicago: “Have You Ever Been Shot?”—Paroled Again And Again And Again, Man Now Charged With Blue Line Robbery

He received a 25-year-sentenced for trying to shoot a city worker in 1999, which should’ve been enough to keep him in prison until 2024.

Chicago – in the person of the Mayor – will tell you their problems are all the fault of not enough gun control. But if this guy’s story is common, they have an old-fashioned criminal control problem; they aren’t keeping the bad guys locked up.

This is the list of times he was convicted.

  • 6 years for manufacture-delivery of cocaine in 2013
  • 25 years for aggravated discharge of a firearm in 1999
  • 5 years for being a felon in possession of a firearm in 1999
  • 4 years for violating the controlled substances act in 1993
  • 10 years for attempted murder in 1993
  • 10 years for armed robbery in 1993

    I guess Illinois doesn’t have a “Three Strikes and You’re Out” type of law. And why didn’t the crime in 2013 get him sent back on the convictions in 1999?

    The Mess That is Illinois. SiGraybeard says it better than I could

    I have family in Illinois that are dependent on pensions, so I can’t even think rationally when it comes to the insanity. I’m just incensed. The Silicon Graybeard: The One Factoid About the Illinois Mess You Can’t Miss

    I will highlight one thing that he “isn’t saying” and say it plain. There is a LOT of corruption in Illinois politics.

    I’m not saying it’s related to the fact that as soon as I started to type “Illinois politicians pension promises” into my search bar, before I finished the second word it offered to autocomplete with “Illinois politicians in jail”. As the saying goes, I’m not not saying it either.

    4 of the last 7 Illinois governors did time in jail. Mostly for federal corruption, and some for stuff they did after they left public office. (You remember Rod Blagojevich, I’m sure.)

    Then there is Tony Rezko, who should have been a millstone around Obama’s neck, but the media wouldn’t report on it. Rezko – who did favors for Illinois politicians on both sides of the divide, helped Obama buy a house in Chicago. The deal was shady, and a lot of people thought it amounted to a “gift” of some size, but by the time anyone cared, Obama was in Washington, and Rezko was in prison.

    Rezko’s behind-the-scenes connection in the Obama house deal became public as Rezko revealed personal financial details as he sought to post bail.

    While Rezko’s wife paid the full asking price for the land, Obama paid $300,000 under the asking price for the house. The house sold for $1,650,000 and the price Rezko’s wife paid for the land was $625,000.

    That “piece of land” was adjacent to the Obama house, and Rezko later sold some of it to the Obama family. Water under the bridge at this point.

    For a rundown of the History of Illinois Political Shenanigans see the post I wrote in 2009. Pay particular attention to the part about Paul Powell. His story tells you everything you need to know about politics in The Land of Lincoln.

    “There’s only one thing worse than a defeated politician, and that’s a broke one.” – Paul Powell, one-time Illinois Secretary of State.

    When Powell died, in 1970, $800,000 in cash was found in his lodging. In suitcases, and shoe-boxes.

    The USS Fitzgerald Collision and the Maritime “Rules of the Road”

    I have been looking through the articles on the USS Fitzgerald collision. I can’t find anything about the conditions leading up to the collision.

    It may sound odd to you landlubbers, but there are “rules of the road” on the water. They are meant to avoid exactly this kind of thing. COLREGS – International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972

    Suffice it to say, that someone is responsible. It may be the case that both captains are responsible. (There isn’t always a vessel that has the “Right of way.”)

    Rule 2

    (a) Nothing in these Rules shall exonerate any vessel, or the owner, master or crew thereof, from the consequences of any neglect to comply with these Rules or of the neglect of any precaution which may be required by the ordinary practice of seamen, or by the special circumstances of the case.

    (b) In construing and complying with these Rules due regard shall be had to all dangers of navigation and collision and to any special circumstances, including the limitations of the vessels involved, which may make a departure from these Rules necessary to avoid immediate danger

    There is – especially among sailors (on sailboats) I’m sorry to say – the idea that some vessels have the “right of way.” While in some cases it may be that one boat is the “Stand on” vessel, and one the “Give way” vessel, in all situations, the skippers of both vessels have a duty to do everything to avoid a collision. The “limitations” of your average commercial container vessel, is that they don’t maneuver very well. It is best to stay the hell out of their way. Somebody failed to do something in this case. (See Rule 17 in the referenced document.)

    It is hard to tell exactly what happened because reporters apparently know less about boats than they do about guns. But the bulk of the damage on the Fitzgerald SEEMS to be on the starboard side of the vessel. Though there is also damage on the port bow. If the initial collision hit the Fitzgerald on its own starboard side, that would imply that the US naval vessel was the “give way” vessel.

    Rule 15
    Crossing situation

    When two power-driven vessels are crossing so as to involve risk of collision, the vessel which has the other on her own starboard side shall keep out of the way and shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid crossing ahead of the other vessel.

    Inquiries will go on for months, unless I miss my guess.

    He Beat Her So Bad, She Was in the Hospital, But He Wasn’t Arrested: He Killed 2 Kids.

    So much for women’s rights in Germany. German authorities left violent man alone with kids; he killed 2 | Fox News

    Authorities in Germany say they saw no reason to take a woman’s three children into care after her husband beat her so badly she needed hospital treatment.

    Two days later the woman came home to find he had stabbed their young sons, killing two and seriously injuring the third.

    So the real question is, “Why wasn’t this asshole in jail?” Oh, because the Europeans are so much more civilized than us, they don’t throw as many people in jail as we do. Look how that turned out.

    Prosecutor Anette Schmitt-ter Hell said police called to deal with the domestic violence incident Tuesday in the small town of Altenfeld decided not to remove the children, aged 1 to 4, “because the violence was only directed at the mother.”

    Well, that’s OK then.

    Grenfell Tower Fire in London

    A non-political tragedy? Of course not. The Left will forget the roll of government in this disaster, while they blame the eeeeeevil bankers. Or whoever. Grenfell Tower fire in London leaves 12 dead, dozens injured – The Washington Post

    LONDON — Through the night and deep into the day, the crackling fire raged, sweeping through apartments , destroying lives, and behaving like an out-of-control inferno from an earlier century, or perhaps from a less affluent part of the world in this one.

    But this was London. This was 2017. And this was a fire unlike any seen here in recent memory, a blaze that on Wednesday transformed a 24-story high-rise that was once home to some 500 men, women and children into a charred ruin on the city’s otherwise gleaming skyline.

    Allegations that renovations were not up to code, a lack of escape routes and the absence of an integrated alarm system. Add that to the fact that it is public housing and you have a story made explicitly for the 24 hour news vultures.

    And while they are bemoaning the eeeeevil bankers the people who died will be forgotten. Mostly. Except in the abstract.

    It was government that owned this building. Government that renovated it, and oversaw the maintenance. It was government that ignored the warnings of what was wrong. But you won’t find that in the WaPo article. (They are talking about the folks who live “a short amble” from this disaster, as if it were of their making, and government was innocent and not involved.)