Posts Tagged ‘Nuclear’

The Final Cut still stings

April 25th, 2009 Comments off

Today I went to visit an amazing place. Amazing not for it’s beauty or spiritual significance or for it’s healing powers or even for its wine. The thing that this place is dedicated to is nuclear destruction. Yeah that’s right, blowing our asses off the face of the planet. So why is this amazing and why was I there? Well, those who know me know that I have this weird fascination with nuclear history so learning that there was a fully functional Nike Hercules missile site just 10 miles from me piqued my interest!

This is a tease because I’m going to blog about the place and the visit in detail in an upcoming blog (trust me, you won’t have to wait long). What it did make me do is to sit down and listen to Pink Floyd’s album “The Final Cut”. The band made this just after the ill-advised Falklands’ war. Margaret Thatcher’s final act of madness. In true Bushian style, she put the whole country at risk for political gain. Many lost their lives, much damage was done, but we saved a few thousand sheep there from the hands of those evil Argentineans. I’m sure they were very relieved.

There’s something about Roger Waters’ lyrics on this album that draws on his personal history of losing his Father in WWII (which spawned Floyd’s opus “The Wall” ) that makes it all slam home with such vivid terror that you can’t help but stop and think about what we as a civilization do in the name of peace.

The USA suffers the most from this I believe. Being the only country on Earth to have ever used nuclear weapons in combat, I think, makes the US particularly sensitive to both the power to be gained and the price that has to be paid.

It was tangible today as I watched Nike Hercules missiles be raised from their bunker as they would have been when being readied to fire against the enemy. Just the sound of them being launched would kill you if you were any where near by. This is truly horrific power. Power that we need to put down and walk away from if we ever hope to lead normal lives.

To quote Waters

The rusty wire that holds the cork that keeps the anger in, gives way and suddenly it’s day again. The sun is in the East even though the day is done. Two suns in the sunset, could be the human race is run.


Retromodo: Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab Lets You Play Dr. Manhattan for Radioactive Funsies

March 25th, 2009 Comments off

This falls squarely in to the “what were they thinking” category.  Even for the early 50s it’s hard to believe that any manufacturer was given a green light to market a blatantly radioactive toy…..

The radioactive isotopes in this kit are unlikely to cause anyone a problem today.  The most worrisome being Zn-65 (an unstable form of Zinc) which has a have life of around 8 months. However the Alpha emitter found in the kit has a half life of around 22 years.  Harmless unless ingested but this was a science kit for children.. They never put things in their mouths now do they!  Even trace amounts of alpha emitters can be hazardous once inside the body.

Hit the link below for the full scoop.

Retromodo: Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab Lets You Play Dr. Manhattan for Radioactive Funsies.


50’s SF Nike Missile Defense Site

January 17th, 2009 Comments off

Nike-Hercules nuclear defense missile being raised from its bunker to be readied for launchUnbelievably the Nike Missile Defense site that once guarded San Francisco from airborne attack has been kept in pristine condition, with most of it’s original equipment still in working order.  Better yet, this facility actually holds guided tours (check the site below for more details).  This is a must see for any one with an interest in military or US nuclear history


via Hacker Tourism: Nike Missile Launching Area SF88L .