1955 ... lot's of B-47 crews!

... it is often overlooked just how many B-47 'Stratojets' were produced ... 2,032!
Almost 3 times the number of B-52's.


1950 ... those pesky "yellow-hordes" at it again!

... interesting map of Asia - viewed through the perspective of the beginning of the Korean War; a very hot chapter of the Cold War.

1951 ... you need Atomic Oil!

... from kid's candy to very small bathing suits; anything can benefit from advertising associating your product with nuclear destruction! 

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..."aircraft number one"

... the Russian equivalent of Air Force One is referred to as 'aircraft number one'. There are several models performing similar functions. The largest and newest is a Ilyushin 96-300 wide body. These images are screen-caps from a Russian TV documentary. LINK


... death wears bunny-slippers!

... interesting article written by a man who knows. LINK

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... under your local prairie!

... US Minuteman ICBM command center. On the first drawing 'not to scaqle' means the command capsule is 100 ft underground!


1953 ... make it small and fast!

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1954 ... me and my Sabre-Dog!

... the world below our feet!

... I live in a college town. The large university (25,000 students) is in the center of the town. The original ivy covered buildings were built in the early part of the 20th Century. The rest of the sprawling campus was added over the ensuing decades. Like most such large institutions it had it's own 'power plant' for heating and some of the electric demand. The old soot belching smokestacks and archaic machinery have long since been replaced by one of the most modern buildings on campus. But the basic infrastructure is still in use. This means that there is a myriad of tunnels running back and forth deep under the campus transporting hot and cold water and electricity.

Colloquially referred to as "the steam tunnels"  they are the stuff of legend. Lurking mass murders, English dept. orgies and marijuana farming are some of the tamer stories. One sure thing; they were at some time, a part of the universities cold-war fallout shelter plan.

To what extent they could still be utilized depends on a willingness to restock them with rations and other amenities. Meanwhile they sure would be a nice location for a cheap zombie movie! ( photo: Kate Medicus)

... keep a look-out!

... good thing I didn't see this as a kid! What fun it would have been to strap on my Mattel Dick Tracy .38 shoulder holster everytime Mom and I drove Dad to the airport. There I'd be tailing any guy in a raincoat with a heavy suitcase. Especially if he had a large white placard over his face!

... here's a related Link that makes for interesting reading

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... meanwhile; in picturesque Europe!

 ... Boris and Natasha left these at the drop - but aside from them being "G-Whiz Golly" pictures of NATO infantry punching it out with Soviet armor - I have no idea what's going on? Is it Soviet instructions on what not to do when visiting the scenic sights of the Fulda Gap or the mysteries of the Ardenn Forest?

1960 ... bunches of Nuclear Subs!

... many historians say the development of the nuclear powered submarine and the underwater launched ballistic missile was a salvation to humanity. At the time of it's introduction it was a invulnerable deterrent force. It was a guarantee of the doctrine of 'Mutual Assured Destruction'. A 'balance' of power which makes nuclear war unwinnable - and just not worth the trouble. "Oh bother - now I've done it and gone and wiped out the human race! ... me bad!"

The first US nuclear sub started construction in 1952 (just seven years after WWII) and was launched 2 years later. Six years later there were 33 'boats' in the water and nine of them missile carrying Polaris class.

It would be cool to call the "Shark" your home... not so sure about the "Snook"! 


... my illustration work: Victor bomber (UK)


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... my illustration work: F-106

1953 ... more of the big and strange!

"... sooo - we need to Zorch stuff with radiation from all directions and that sort of important national security sort of stuff!"

... built in 1953, the Tower Shielding Facility at the Oak Ridge Nuclear Reserve is one of those very big things built so that the mad-scientists could give young boys nightmares. A whole lot more info from this LINK

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1953 ... very big and round!

"West Milton, NY. October 1953. Huge steel shell built for the Atomic Energy Commission to house General Electric's nuclear engine for the atomic submarine Seawolf (SSN-575)"

... more of the strange landscapes of the Cold War! Boy, if you grew-up near that thing you might have had some strange nightmares!

... and - it seems to still be there! Great location for a sci-fi movie!

... Uranium in your own backyard!

"... the Government needs lots of Uranium from YOU! Buy a fancy machine. Point it at the ground- become a Millionaire! You can do it in Your Bathrobe!"


... romantic atomic interlude!

... amazing the number and extent of attempts to market and cash-in on Cold War fears. Perhaps these were re-purposed high fashion raincoats (they do have that Mary Quant feel). There's more than one old Civil Defense film that shoes manly-men utilizing the basic yellow 'slicker' rain-gear as protection against fallout dust. But that's only quicky, minimum, safety against getting the stuff on your skin or breathing it in. Leave your rain-gear outside the shelter and clean-up good after foraging for food and fighting Zombies. Hmmm - maybe that cardboard box was an emergency supply of toilet paper (wouldn't even fit a decent supply of Scotch!).

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... protection from Fallout

... here is a link to an excellent website with follow-up information to the post below...

... 'sheltering' from fallout!

Once again, some not so bright human being, pushed the wrong button and sent out a (mistaken) warning of nuclear attack. What's different this time is... where would all those people have scurried to when told to 'seek shelter'? Most of our Public Civil Defense shelter system is gone or is moldering away in lost and forgotten locations.

If a nuclear attack came - would everyone who was not in a 'fallout shelter' be doomed? No! Well- yes. If you are in the path of high levels of radioactive fallout you must protect yourself or you are going to have a bad day. But protecting yourself does not mean the only form of safety is hunkered down for two-weeks inside of a 50's era 'Bert the Turtle' underground bunker.

The danger is Fallout; very fine dust that comes from soil and debris sucked up into the air by the atomic explosion. (Right now, we are specifically talking about a radiation hazard downwind and outside of the initial blast effect zone - which is 99.9% of US real estate). The need is to stay away from this dust until it's radioactivity has 'decayed' or worn out ( sorta like a flashlight going dimmer as the batteries lose their charge).

During the Cold War everyone talked in terms of World War Three - a big shoot-em up with the Soviets involving hundreds or thousands of really big bombs. Obviously anything less than that is going to mean less danger- relatively. 

The three things that are your friend when it comes to sheltering against radioactive fallout are 1) mass: big heavy stuff that separates you from the dust. 2) distance: the farther away you are from the dust the more it's nasty little rays are diluted think of sitting close or far from a campfire. 3) time: the more time that passes, the more the radiation fades away remember the flashlight and batteries analogy.

To make it simple, and shorter, I will use my home as an example. I have a basement- so I am way ahead in this game. Part of my basement has small windows. If I have time, and fallout usually takes some time to drift to your area with high altitude winds and the fall back down, I can go outside and pile dirt over those windows with a shovel. I can also put wood, bricks, my outdoor grill, even park my car against that part of the house. Anything to get 1) mass and 2) distance between the dust and those glass openings. ( I said openings - but any solid material, even glass,  that keeps the dust away from me is a good thing!)

Let's backtrack for a moment. First and foremost you want to be inside! You want to keep the fallout dust outside of your inside; literally and figuratively. If you are away from the blast area and your roof,walls and windows are intact and not damaged that is a very good thing.

Back down to my basement. Most of this below ground space has no windows, so it's at the windowless end, in a corner, that I am most protected. In a corner I have the surrounding soil on 2 sides for protection. The lower to the floor level I am the more protection I have. Three feet or more of soil is pretty good mass to keep away Mr. Radiation. It may be that the best place for me is more to the center of the basement space. That location gives me the ground protection plus the distance of the entire volume of the sealed house. The wooden walls and floors of the house above aren't much in the way of shielding, but in the basement I am 10 to 30 feet away from the outside walls and roof and that distance can count for a lot. Remember too; smaller bombs and smaller wars may make my problems less than in the days of Curtis LeMay vs. Khrushchev.

If you have no basement and or live in an apartment building remember that distance from the outside will always help. Stay to the center of the structure. Create mass for shielding by bringing in garbage bags filled with soil, stacking furniture and boxes of books. If it is heavy it has mass and makes for good shielding.