Archive for Nuclear war

Weird Video of the Week

Posted in Animals, Apocalypse, Dangerous Diseases, Death, History, Humor, Nuclear War, Science, Weird Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2014 by Stephanie Selby

Yay! 100 posts! Here’s to having 100 more!

First, I’d like to apologize for the recent lack of posts. My new job has kept me rather busy and it’s difficult to find the time to create new content. It’s something that I’ll be working on in the future.

In the meantime, here’s an introduction to a series that I’m quite fond of. The one posted here is the first of many episodes. Sadly, it’s no longer updated, but it’s still a great way to get some education about deadly substances along with a dose of entertainment. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

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Weird Video of the Week

Posted in Nuclear War, Science, War, Weird Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2014 by Stephanie Selby

If you’re still itching to hear some more tales of nuclear war, this week’s video is a mock broadcast from a Toronto radio station as they report humanity’s last moments. It’s quite a long video, but very rewarding! Enjoy your radiation-free weekend.

Weird Video of the Week

Posted in Animation, Apocalypse, Nuclear War, Uncategorized, Weird Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2014 by Stephanie Selby

Sorry for the lack of posts this week! I’ve had some computer trouble that got in the way of writing, but fortunately it’s all resolved now. We’ll get back to the storytelling next week.

In the meantime I thought I’d share a creepy video from my collection: an animated film about the bombing of Hiroshima. Enjoy!

Weird Video of the Week

Posted in Apocalypse, Family, Memes, Nuclear Power, Nuclear War, Uncategorized, Weird Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 4, 2013 by Stephanie Selby

Another creepy video to share. This one comes form my favorite creepypasta reader on YouTube. It’s such a strange, sad, short tale. I can’t help but think of Ray Bradbury’s ‘There Will Come Soft Rains,’ while listening to this. Enjoy!

If you’ve got a video that would be a good fit here, send it over!

Weird Video of the Week

Posted in Apocalypse, Creepy, Nuclear War, Travel, Weird Locations, Weird Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 6, 2013 by Stephanie Selby

Another strange location I’d love to see someday! I doubt it’s really haunted, but the fact that it’s such an intricate bunker is worth a visit in and of itself.

Do you know of any lesser known strange or spooky places in England? Let me know in the comments. If you have a video I could show that as well!

Travel Special: Hanford’s B Reactor Part 2

Posted in Locations, Nuclear Power, Pictures, Travel, Uncategorized, Weird Locations with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 14, 2013 by Stephanie Selby
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A memorial plaque by the entrance.

First, I’d like to apologize for the late post, I’ve been a little stressed out lately and I needed some rest. I can be pretty sensitive and let life get me down a bit too often, but I’m back on the mend. Let’s get back to our regularly scheduled program, shall we?

B Reactor: a nuclear theater.

B Reactor: a nuclear theater.

As our group entered the B Reactor building, we were treated with the most impressive sight on the tour: the reactor itself. I have to admit, my jaw literally hit the floor as I laid my eyes on that thing. It is that impressive! It’s strange to admit but as the tour guides when over the basic history in that room, I couldn’t stop thinking how it looked like a theater stage with all the mechanisms exposed. I like to think there’s something poetic about the comparison.

Many of the reactors at Hanford served dual purposes, including B reactor. They not only supplied enriched plutonium for scientists, but also produced enough electricity to power Seattle at the time.

Using this reactor had its fair share of difficulties as well. Our guide talked about SCRAM; the emergency reactor shutdown procedure. Scientists were so concerned with things going wrong at Hanford that even accidentally pushing a few wrong buttons could set off their alarms. Accidentally setting off a SCRAM could cause the loss of a day’s work, so it was important that workers remained attentive at all times.

Information given on the tour goes deep into the history of WW2 and worker culture at Hanford. While I would love to go further into those aspects, doing that would likely make this post into a novel, so for now at least I’m going to stick with the things on the tour that you wouldn’t be able to discover by simply researching the subject.

The cooling system drew from the Columbia River. It could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool  in five minutes.

The cooling system drew water from the Columbia River. It could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in five minutes.

Our tour guide also told us a funny occurrence that happens here annually. As part of peace agreements, Russian officials come to inspect the Hanford sight to ensure it is no longer being used for the production of nuclear materials. They must carefully document the placement and position of everything within the B reactor. He explained that it’s really a casual affair and the officials are just going through the motions at this point, although they do enjoy visiting our lovely state. Sounds like they see it as an opportunity to have a bit of a vacation. Might as well have a little fun while you’re here, right?

Like many people at the time, Hanford workers were highly encouraged to support the war effort in all possible ways.

Like many people at the time, Hanford workers were highly encouraged to support the war effort in all possible ways.

One room on the tour gave us a very interesting look into Hanford’s culture during WW2. Many employees were deeply dedicated to the war effort, so much so that not only were they willing to work on a top secret government project, but were encouraged to help in all sorts of ways. One example of this was how Hanford workers gave up a day’s wages to buy the U.S. Army a much needed B-17 bomber. The plane was called ‘Day’s Pay’ to honor the workers for their generosity.

Our tour fortuitously took place on July 23, the anniversary of the christening of 'Day's Pay.'

Our tour fortuitously took place on July 23, the 69th anniversary of the christening of ‘Day’s Pay.’

Throughout, we always had the opportunity to ask our guide questions. My sister and several others were asking all the more science-related questions, while I asked a couple oddball questions. Many people were asking about radiation exposure and if it was a concern for people who had to work at Hanford. At the time, people were often monitored with pencil dosimeters that they could carry on their person.

People on the tour were also concerned with present radiation exposure. While it is perfectly safe for people to visit B reactor, many of the other reactors on the Hanford site have been sealed up or ‘entombed.’ Many of the buildings that once stood here have also been taken down for safety reasons. Our guide assured us that I asked if he was still monitored today and he replied no, noting that he was 86 years old. I particularly found his laid-back ‘who cares, I’m old’ attitude funny.

The main office within the B reactor building. Great scientists like Enrico Fermi worked within this office.

The main office within the B reactor building. Great scientists like Enrico Fermi worked within this office.

While many of you out there are likely very concerned with the fact that Hanford is the most contaminated nuclear site in the country, the tour of the B reactor doesn’t focus on these issues. It is more concerned with the history of the Manhatten Project and WW2, but does acknowledge that progress is being made in the cleanup efforts. I’m sure that they address these issues more with the full-site tour. I’ll be sure to take that one in the future.

It's amazing to see how scientists managed to do such sophisticated work without the convenience of modern computer technology.

It’s amazing to see how scientists managed to do such sophisticated work without the convenience of modern computer technology.

As an interesting side-note, many historians and state officials are hoping to make the B reactor building a museum and tourist attraction. In 2008 the reactor was made into a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service, so this place can be enjoyed by future generations. I can certainly approve of having more people visit this amazing site!

Sis at the main controls.

Sis at the main controls.

So there you have it folks! An astounding look at where the nuclear age began. I hope you enjoyed reading about our experience. If you ever have the opportunity to pay a visit, I highly recommend taking it.

If anyone out there has also made this excursion, please feel free to share. I’d love to know what others have to say about Hanford!

Travel Special: Hanford’s B Reactor Part 1

Posted in History, Nuclear Power, Nuclear War, Travel, Uncategorized, Weird Locations with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2013 by Stephanie Selby
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Hanford’s B Reactor as it stands today.

So this was the ultimate destination of our little July road trip. For those of you that don’t know, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is open to free tours throughout most of the year-if the reservations don’t fill up first. We had the opportunity to see Hanford’s B Reactor, the very one that produced plutonium for the Fat Man bomb used in WW2. There are wider tours of the reservation, but they are much harder to get into. In any case, coming here has been on our bucket list ever since we were young teenagers, and we were happy to be there, even if we could only see a fraction of the place.

Being a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, I’ve always been interested in the ways our world could kick it’s own bucket, so to speak. My personal favorite apocalyptic method is nuclear war. Nuclear war would be an event that would completely destroy the face of the planet; taking all living things out along with humanity. There’s little else that could take out humanity and the environment in such short order. Most important is that it’s a dire fate entirely of our own making – not the on the whim of nature or heavenly objects falling to earth. The subject is engaging to explore within literature for me.

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A very amusing warning sign at the CREHST Museum.

That’s not to say that nuclear science is a bad thing. I’ve developed an interest in nuclear science because of my affinity for apocalyptic fiction. This form of study has a host of benefits that have improved our lives. I wholeheartedly respect those that study nuclear science. It’s just that I, like many people tend to be concerned with the dire consequences that nuclear armament may bring. I’m not out to condemn, I simply hope that the use of nuclear weapons in war begins with Little Boy and ends with Fat Man.

Before the tour, we first had a primer at the Columbia River Exibition of History, Science, and Technology, or CREHST for short. Digging around on the internet, I found that the museum sold ‘atomic marbles;’ glass marbles colored by exposing them to a radioactive source. Naturally, we both wanted some!

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A display with a striking visual!

Located in Richland, Washington, it didn’t look like much from the outside, but my sister and I were surprised to find they have a very impressive collection of information and displays. Naturally, their specialty is in the history  and science of Hanford.

Looking at many of the displays, you could tell that the people who designed them had a lot of pride for Hanford and it’s contribution to science. The site does have it’s fair share of controversy and the museum addresses these issues, but for the most part they remain reasonably positive. It made such an impression on my sister that she became concerned we might offend Richland residents unintentionally, and insisted that we should be extra-considerate of others feelings.

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Examples of products made with radioactive materials, like a radium watch and a radioactive glazed fiesta-ware cup. Lined with uranium, the cup was the most radioactive piece. I would not want to drink out of that thing!

I honestly wish we could have stayed longer to look at this place in more detail, but we had to get to the Hanford tour on time. Sadly, one of the workers told us that the museum was going to close within the next year. I suppose I won’t be able to see this place again, but if anyone of you want to, the time is now.

Our tour of the main attraction began with a long ride into the reservation. Those of you that may not know much about Washington State might think that it’s just all clouds and rain up here, but land east of the Cascades is pretty much desert. At the height of summer, all the grass and brush is an ugly yellow and boring to get through. I’ve been told it’s prettier in the early spring and late fall when more plants are in bloom, but I have yet to see that for myself. I hope to do so when I come to visit Hanford again someday.

But what was it like within the B Reactor building you ask? Well you’ll have to wait until next week to find out. Stay tuned!