Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Friendly Shout-Out to the Neighbors

I don't often make posts that are just links to something else.   That's very deliberate, both because I want to maintain a high quality:quantity ratio, and because I think relatively few sites are really working in the same specific niche I'm trying to work in.   I'm going to make an exception today: check out Atomic Annihilation, "the internet's most complete guide to the end of the world".   I particularly recommend 1952...destruction and 1946...wacky!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Learning from the Storm

 On March 21st, 1952, a cluster of tornadoes struck the Mississippi valley. The damage stretched across nine states; 231 people died and 1,829 were injured. In White County, Arkansas, a pair of cyclones leveled the town of Judsonia, destroyed 650 buildings, and killed 46 people.[Qu5]

Thirteen days later, as the townsfolk were still picking through the wreckage, twenty-six scientists arrived in Judsonia from Chicago. Instead of first aid kits and blankets, they carried tape recorders and notebooks. They fanned out across White County, picked a representative cross-section of homes, and asked their inhabitants if they could interview them.

To their own surprise, most of the people they asked said yes.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Do You Want To Help Build the First Nuclear-Powered Airplane?

Then Pratt & Whitney wants you!   Or did, sixty years ago.

I ran across these while skimming old Newsweeks.   Unfortunately, doesn't look like they need mathematicians.   Also, I think the job might have been filled by now.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Toxic Stars

I'm not dead!   Really, I'm not.   Just busy.   Don't worry, I haven't abandoned the blog; I have a few things that should be going up here over the next few months.

One of the things that's been keeping me busy is Toxic Stars: The Future of Humankind in the Cthulhu Mythos, a Lovecraftian transhumanist space opera.   I've been posting it on a forum behind a registration barrier, but I've decided to put it up in public.   If you're interested, you can find it here.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Happy Moonwalk Day

At 9:56 PM today, Eastern Standard Time, forty-five years ago, Neil Armstrong first set foot on the lunar surface.

When times are hard, when the world seems filled with evil, hold that moment in your mind, when human feet first set foot on another world, and remember: together, there is nothing we cannot do.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Guest Post at ClarksonPunk

Hi!   Sorry for the slow posting.   Things, hopefully interesting things, are in progress here, but are not yet ready for the light of day.   Also, I'm writing my thesis, which obviously takes up a certain amount of time.   In the meantime, you can satisfy your craving for my writing with a guest post I wrote at the blog ClarksonPunk: An Atompunk Manifesto.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Gimme Shelter

It's a den of noise
Filled with fidgety boys
Our home beneath the firmament
And I'm glad it's a phase
Just lasting two days
Rather than something that's permanent.”
-”The Shelter”[SESP]

On July 31st, 1959, two young parents and their three children entered an 8-foot-by-9-foot soundproof room in the basement of a laboratory at Princeton University. They stayed inside for the next fourteen days.[Ve][MN]

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Philosopher's Bomb, Part 2

Those Magnificent Men and their Atomic Machines

The Philosopher's Bomb: Discovering New Elements with Nuclear Explosions

Part II

Back to Part I

With Special Thanks to Dr. Stephen A. Becker and Dr. David W. Dorn

For first time readers, part I should be read before reading part II.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sunday, April 6, 2014

"Hot Flight"

Someone called AVHistoryBuff posted a very interesting video on YouTube recently: Hot Flight: The Quest for Nuclear-Powered Flight.   I highly recommend it; it's an old Air Force propaganda film from the '50s discussing the Convair NB-36H flights.   For those not familiar with this, they installed a 1 MWth research reactor in the bomb bay of a B-36 and flew it around - it didn't propel the airplane, it was only used to gather data on radiation shielding.

Incidentally, there's no mention in the film of the cargo plane full of paratroopers that supposedly trailed the NB-36H in case it crashed.   I've been wondering for a while now if that may be just an urban legend.

(Hat tip sferrin of the Secret Projects forum.)

Friday, February 14, 2014


In 1962, the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway began planning a new railway between Needles and Barstow through the Bristol mountains in California. The straighter, more level route would be 15 miles shorter than the old line, shaving 50 minutes off the trip. But getting through the mountains would require either drilling a tunnel or excavating a new pass; the railway judged the cost of doing either with conventional means to be prohibitive.   So, in December of 1962, the Santa Fe Railway contacted the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), to ask if the job could instead be done with hydrogen bombs.

That inquiry was just what the AEC had been waiting for.[Ki]

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Atomic Machines

I have a guest post today at the excellent blog Alternate History Update.   Atomic Machines: an Atompunk Sampler briefly discusses some of my favorite products of Atomic Age imaginations.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Strike from Space

I recently had the pleasure of reading Strike from Space: A Megadeath Mystery, by Phyllis Schlafly and Rear Adm. Chester Ward, published in 1965 by Pere Marquette Press.   Despite the title, it is (the authors assert) non-fiction.