1960 ... B-58 "Hustler"

... 216 aircraft were built and remained in service until 1970 [link]
Here, let's have General Jimmy Stewart tell you all about it!

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1958 ... "Facts About Fallout Protection"

... I think that the green color scheme gives it a nice airy feel!

1949 ... "First Lightning" (Первая молния)

... oooo- until recently, all of this was very, very secret stuff!!  Historical photos of the early Soviet atomic bomb project. The color photo at the top is from 1999 and shows some of the great-brave-patriotic comrades who thought up and put together Russia's atomic bombs. The old photos are supposed to be the test stand for the first detonation and a 'weaponized' version that could be air-dropped. 

I'm not sure what to make of the older photos!? The idea of billions of rubles being poured into an ultimate scientific achievement that winds up sitting on a crude wooden stand in the middle of the woods...? Stern worker-peasant standing next to oil-stained 'bombski' ...? Is this a joke? An attempt at dis-information? Or, is reality stranger than fiction and the CIA guys were rolling in the aisles?  

The basics are correct. Hmmm... Well, many of the photos of America's first test in 1945 in New Mexico look like a bunch of scrawny college kids lost on a dude-ranch.

The 1999 photo? Heck- it's a bunch of kindly old Grand-pa's!  

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... if I don't believe- it isn't true!

... a well known fact about human psychology is the phenomenon of 'denial'. When confronted with possibilities of Nuclear war a surprising number of people simply refused to consider Civil Defense as possible. This is not surprising. The term 'the unthinkable' was often used in reference to World War III. Rationalization of this denial came in various forms. Finger in the ears ignorance. Depression masked as cavalier fatalism. Or even substitution of fear of a government conspiracy to cover up the grim truth or make thermonuclear battle 'winnable'. 

The historical fact is, that no-matter how quaint or un-hip Cold War efforts for Civil Defense may seem, it was all out of a sincere concern to save lives and suffering. Dull, boring government civil servants looked at the scientific information available and concluded "gee- there were some basic things that could be done to save the lives of millions of people - if the unthinkable actually did happen."

Ironically; a truly robust and efficient Civil Defense effort was seen by Cold War think-tankers as 'provocative'. Large levels of Soviet spending on Civil Defense worried the Pentagon that the Russian leadership was more practical and therefore more capable of fighting WW3.

...OK- if you scroll down to the cartoon of the guy digging holes in the backyard while his wife shivers in her underwear- you can take some of this stern lecture with a grain of salt!

1962 ... hallucinations of doomsday!

... another look at the Twilight Zone episode "One More Pallbearer"

link to episode

1962 ... Cuban Missile Crisis!

... another view of President Kennedy addressing the nation about the Soviet missiles in Cuba.

... dispose of contaminated clothing!

... sorry about the poor quality; but I just love the built in absurdity of this illustration. If you clothing has been contaminated it most assuredly happened outside- so don't stand around outside digging up more settled fallout to bury it!

Besides- any moment Atomic Zombies are going to come by and nab your hot wife!

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1965 ... off to drop the nukes!

"... don't wait up Honey!"

So long mom, I'm off to drop the bomb,
So don't wait up for me,
But while you swelter down there in your shelter
You can see me. . .On your TV.
While we're attacking frontally, watch Brinkley and Huntley
Describing contrapuntally the cities we have lost.
No need for you to miss a minute of the agonizing holocaust.
Little Johnnie Jones was a US pilot, no shrinking violet was he.
He was mighty proud when world war three was declared
He wasn't scared, no siree.
And this is what he said on his way to Armageddon:
So long, mom, I'm off to drop the bomb, so don't wait up for me,
But though I may roam, I'll come back to my home,
Although it may be a pile of debris.
Remember Mommy, I'm off to get a Commie,
So send me a salami, and try to smile somehow.
I'll look for you when the war is over,
An hour and a half from now.

Tom Lehrer 

... 1965: satirist Tom Lehrer sings his composition "So Long Mom I'm Off to Drop the Bomb"

1959 ... 'Atomic Comics'

... ah yes- "where's my jet-pack" has become a modern meme!

1950 ... protect yourself!

... more helpful information to help us survive an early Cold-War Soviet attack with 20 kiloton fission bombs. 

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1962 ... no,no- not the end End!

... end-plate from the 1962 Rock Hudson movie "A Gathering of Eagles". The movie is about SAC's B-52's and the melodrama of constant training and readiness etc. Last shot is of the ICBM's that were moving into to dominate strategic brinksmanship.

... mutated B-58!

... Convair B-58 'Hustler' as a testing platform for an advanced jet engine [ where the weapons pod is normally slung.]

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... not as bad as you think!

... alright, it's bad. Worldwide Thermo-Nuclear War of the Cold War variety is very, very bad. It will ruin your day; no doubt about it! But would it have really meant the "end of all life on Earth"?    No.  It would not even have come close to killing all the silly little human beings that invented it and waged it.

... the key point here is the common misconceptions and fictitious falsifications about radioactive fallout. I am not a physicist; but I have read a lot that is written by those guys.
The vast majority of Fallout, from the atomic weapons of the Cold War era, would have become virtually harmless after two weeks.

... this invalidates much of the folklore and fiction which has as it's foundation lethal contamination lasting years or even centuries. What fun is a doomsday novel without a doomsday? (Now- it takes too much time to keep going over the same scientific facts again and again. A surprising number of people are really dedicated to the misconception of a radioactive 'doomsday'. Explaining the realities will not unsettle this grim superstition. So - if you read this blog, and you think it is fairly accurate and factual... then please just accept my words as truth. Why would I lie?)

... Fallout comes from the huge amounts of soil, rock, water and debris sucked up in the huge blast and fireball of nuclear detonation. It becomes a whole lot of dust that is pushed very high into the atmosphere. It can be spread, and dissipated, thousands of miles. This Fallout Dust picks up radiation from the nuclear reaction of the bomb detonation and from the radioactive isotopes that power the bomb. This radiation is a lot like heat. The 'hot' dust particles begin to cool, or 'decay', losing their gained radioactivity over a rapidly declining curve. Fallout dust that would kill you in the first day after a H-bomb explosion will have 'cooled down' after a couple of weeks to being normal again.

... there is radiation products that are harmful for much longer. Radioactive isotopes of the type used to fuel a bomb, or a nuclear power-plant, are very different from the dust and debris that picks up radiation temporarily in big explosion. These are man-made products that are extremely radioactive for very long periods of time. In some cases thousands of years. Small amounts of these elements make up the 'fission' reaction of nuclear weapons.
In the old style A-bombs they are the main energy source. In the much more powerful Hydrogen or Thermonuclear Bomb, they are the trigger which ignites the hydrogen fusion process. These parts of the weapon, although only measured in pounds, are spread out by the detonation and remain very radioative and dangerous for a long time. The same applies for atomic 'fuel' used as a heat source in atomic power-plants. A nuclear site, like Three-Mile Island or Chernobyl uses tons of these man-made super radioactive elements. This is why 'clean-up' after an atomic power plant accident is such a long and involved process. It's that super-duper radioactive fuel that gets burned, blown-up and washed all over the place by emergency water hoses, not 'fallout' that is a long-lived nasty problem.

... whew- I'm tired of writing 'scientific stuff'.

1967 ... a little musical humor!

... Tom Lehrer was a comedian who specialized in writing and performing satirical songs about current events.