Starfish Prime

July 9, 1962 – 250 miles above uninhabited Johnston Island – a Pacific atoll between Hawaii and the Marshall Islands –  America detonated a nuclear warhead. As part of “Operation Fishbowl”, this wasn’t their first high altitude nuclear rodeo. High altitude nuclear testing began in 1958.  six detonations that year raised more questions than answers.  Hardly surprising poor instrumentation and inconclusive data, frustrated scientists on the forefront of nuclear exploration.

“Previous high-altitude nuclear tests: YUCCA, TEAK, and ORANGE, plus the three ARGUS shots were poorly instrumented and hastily executed. Despite thorough studies of the meager data, present models of these bursts are sketchy and tentative. These models are too uncertain to permit extrapolation to other altitudes and yields with any confidence. Thus there is a strong need, not only for better instrumentation, but for further tests covering a range of altitudes and yields.” – Defense Atomic Support Agency interim report on Starfish Prime, August 1962

Just after 11 PM Honolulu time July 9, 1962, Thor (the first USAF ballistic missile) unleashed Starfish Prime – Thor traveled almost 700 miles straight up before puttering out, as it fell towards Earth – at precisely 13 minutes 41 seconds after launch –  a programmed detonation took place around the 250 mile mark.

The question of how Earth’s magnetosphere reacts to thermonuclear assault became clear. The EMP (electromagnetic pulse) sent instruments off the scale, 900 miles away in Hawaii streetlights blew, burglar alarms sounded and a damaged telephone microwave link knocked out phone service between Kauai and other Hawaiian Islands. Auroras illuminated thousands of miles over the Pacific – according to a U.S. Defense Report, the New Zealand Navy on anti-submarine maneuvers, took advantage of light from the blast. Starfish created a “radiation belt”  – initially 3 “low earth orbiting” satellites went dark, ultimately a third of all “low earth” satellites clocked out. It would be 5 years before Starfish electrons completely left our atmosphere.

Starfish Prime was the last high altitude nuclear event – science wasn’t prepared for such a powerful EMP, further detonations would have been folly. A clever decision to place tracer isotopes in the package, allowed science to  map polar and tropical air masses.



Ferguson, Missouri

I made  a conscious decision not to write about the quagmire developing in Ferguson, Missouri. If doubting my capacity to add fresh insight wasn’t enough,  fearing a distinct possibility of outrage becoming rant sealed the deal. At that moment a ponder formed.

Abolition of slavery was an inconvenience to Southern plantation owners, share cropping was the answer. Slice plantations into tiny pieces, assign plots with wooden shacks, provide each “farmer” with seed and tools, have them work your land, take half the profits, then deduct the cost of housing, seed and tools. Pass laws requiring poll taxes and literacy tests to qualify as voters – voila, it was all a bad dream – business as usual. The south depended on two things – labor and levees.

April of 1926, the Army Corps of Engineers announced levees from Illinois to New Orleans were unbreachable. – that fall it started to rain. By January of 1927 water has topped “flood stage” at Cairo, Illinois – undaunted the Mississippi River Commission sides with the Corps. In March relentless storm water arrives at the Mississippi Delta , a delta inundated and overwhelmed by unimaginable rainstorms. Fearing a breach, residents of Greenville South Carolina start to evacuate. Skittish land owners , terrified share crop labor forces might follow – round up African Americans at gunpoint, forcing them into work camps along the levee. On April 15 Greenville receives over 8 inches of rain.

The next day, south of Cairo Illinois a section of levee fails – 175,000 acres are flooded. At Greenville 30,000 African American “prisoners’ fill sand bags around the clock – guards have orders to shoot anyone attempting escape. April 21 the levee breaks. Within hours the river is almost 100 miles wide, those not swept away cling to rooftops. Greenville is under 10 feet of water. Prominent land owner LeRoy Percy appoints his son Will to head the Flood Relief Committee.

Will orchestrates a relief effort – plucking thousands from trees and roof-tops, taking them to a “crown” of levee still intact.  April 25 finds 13,000 blacks stranded on a strip of land – no food, water or shelter. Will organizes another rescue – boats charged with taking survivors to safety arrive at Greenville. He didn’t realize plantation owners – including his father – couldn’t risk losing their labor. Only 33 white women and children were allowed to leave.

Will convinces the Red Cross to set up a relief center in Greenville.  When provisions arrive they go to white residents first, anything left went to blacks provided they had a tag around their neck marked “laborer”.  Stories of horrific abuse by National Guard troops – theft, rape, beating and murders of African Americans start finding their way to northern news desks. Enter Herbert Hoover.

President Calvin Coolidge appoints presidential wannabe Hoover to investigate allegations of abuse. Hoover forms the Colored Advisory Committee, comprised of African Americans, led by Robert Moton.  Seizing an opportunity, Hoover convinces Moton to silence Committee findings verifying atrocities against blacks on the levees. In exchange Hoover assures Moton that if he is elected his priority will be advancement of African Americans and agricultural land reform. African American votes help elect Hoover –  Hoover had no intention of helping African Americans.

I wonder how many Americans learned this history at school, my guess is very few. Click on the link for a detailed timeline from American Experience. Finally, ponder why this is my response to Ferguson Missouri.

37 and Counting

In the last 3 hours I’ve killed 37 mosquitoes in my bedroom – this isn’t an exaggeration or rough guess, I’m a bit obsessive when it comes to counting (so suspend guffaws or disbelief). It rained today – the first rainfall in ages (perhaps explaining the mosquito bloom). Under siege, compulsively swatting – I need help!

If I had scorpions, Lavender on the windowsill would keep them at bay. Sliced cucumber keep wasps at a polite distance -mosquitoes lack any hint of propriety, they just keep coming, and coming, and coming…..


Bountiful Charges

As long as I can remember, the name “Bountiful” whispered from back lots of Canadian consciousnesses. Situated in South-eastern British Columbia, Bountiful holds its breath with eyes closed, praying no-one notices. Keep on driving – nothing to see here folks. Not really a town or village – Bountiful is referred to as a “settlement”. Since first settler Harold Blackmore arrived with his family in 1946, roughly 1000 people (descended from 6-8 men) call this Polygamist community home.

Bishop Winston Blackmore took the name “Bountiful” from The Book of Mormon in 1980 – despite dissension in the ranks, and a community now split into FLDS (Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Inc. (a splinter group led by Winston Blackmore, who took offense when FLDS president and recent convicted felon Warren Jeffs got to big for his britches) – Bountiful remains unfazed by legal technicalities which frown upon incest, rape, underage/forced marriages, and illegal smuggling of child brides between Canada and Polygamist enclaves in America.

Until his 2006 arrest in Las Vegas, FLDS leader Warren Jeffs (a prominent member of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list – now serving time for Accomplice to Rape for forcing a 14 year old girl into marriage with her first cousin) visited Bountiful numerous times. A 2007 Provincial Court investigation concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to charge sect members with abuse or rape, based on the impossible task of finding victims willing to testify. Frustrated by defendants claims of “religious freedom”, special prosecutor William Peck took Section 293 of the Canadian Criminal Code regarding constitutional rights to practice Polygamy to the Supreme Court. In 2011, the Supreme Court of British Columbia upheld Canada’s Polygamy laws.

Today the British Columbia Criminal Justice Branch approved charges of Polygamy and “child related offenses” against 4 members of the Bountiful sect. Winston Blackmore and brother-in-law James Oler face Polygamy charges. (Blackmore is alleged to have 24 wives, Oler, 4) Blackmore’s son Brandon and wife Emily are charged with unlawfully removing a child under 16 from Canada “with the intention that an act be committed outside Canada that would be an offense against Section 151 (sexual interference) or 152 (invitation to sexual touching),” Newly appointed prosecutor Peter Wilson, “declined to approve” further charges of sexual exploitation – stating the standard of approving charges was not met in relation to the offenses.

Winston Blackmore
Kudos Province of B.C. for finally standing up to these criminals. Religious freedom with everyone on board – knock yourselves out. Systematic abuse, exploitation, and degradation of women and children under the guise of religious freedom – I hope you rot in jail. Grooming little girls with your insidious message “keep sweet” (as in control your emotions, and don’t complain when we rape or trade you ), allowing yourselves to smoke and drink alcohol (a direct no-no for mainstream Mormons), forbidding women to cut their hair so they can use it to wash not just Christ’s but your feet in heaven – give me a break, I can’t take much more!
A few FLDS “facts”…
Freedom of religion isn’t the freedom to do anything you damn well please. Nothing would make me happier than watching that moment of realization – the look on your smug faces as you shuffle off to prison.
In conclusion, a snippet of history on Joseph Smith – in my opinion, the womanizing  “snake oil” salesman responsible for all this nonsense…..


Extreme Climates

Mention global warming or climate change –  most people think of temperatures increasing world-wide. According to researchers at Northwestern University in Boston, Mass. 97% of the scientific community agrees – the planet is heating up due to burning fossil fuels and deforestation. The tricky part is predicting “variability”, the difference between hottest and coldest temperatures from year to year.

Evan Kodra and Auroop Ganguly of Northwestern, published a paper July 30 in Scientific Reports, it outlined research data from Ganguly”s Sustainability and Data Sciences Laboratory. Research pointing to wider swings in hot and cold temperatures. In a nutshell – global temperatures are rising, at the same time, we can expect far greater swings between hot/cold in any given place.

For the first time, research looked at science behind a particularly hot summer with accelerated ice cap melt, and how that translates to extreme cold snaps in winter. Phenomenon like the Polar Vortex of last winter – all symptoms of global warming.

“Just because you have a year that’s colder than the usual over the last decade isn’t a rejec­tion of the global warming hypoth­esis.” – Evan Kodra

Climate is changing – anyone who pictures balmy winters fading gently into early springs or glorious extended summers keeping first frosts at bay ought to think again. Climate change will be defined by extremes – storms of the Century or “100 year floods”, replaced with “events” of the decade, and soon storm of the year or month.

Ponder what you know about global warming – next, ask yourself where the majority of information comes from. Consider Donars Trust aka Donors Capital Fund – between 2000 and 2010 collecting over $120 million in private donations – money used to fund over 100 “think tanks” and conservative right wing action groups – their sole purpose to deny climate change, create enough confusion and polarization to “create a wedge”, prevent legislated reduction of greenhouse gasses and above all – prevent the Obama administration from initiating climate change legislation.

“We exist to help donors promote liberty which we understand to be limited government, personal responsibility, and free enterprise,” – Whitney Ball CEO of Donars Trust

I could list dozens of anti-climate propaganda mongers – dangerously elevated blood pressure isn’t worth hammering down the point. Suffice to say, misguided bat shit libertarians have us by the balls – if society is too lazy to figure it out, we deserve what’s coming.

In 1804, Thomas Jefferson publicly announced seeing a UFO

In honor of my 650th post – a look back at my first tentative wordpress contribution….



Transactions of the American Philosophical Society vol. 6 Part 1 (Philadelphia, 1804), p. 25:

“No. III. Description of a singular Phenomenon seen at Baton Rouge, by William Dunbar, Esq. communicated by Thomas Jefferson, President A. P. S.

Natchez, June 30th, 1800.
Read 16th January 1801.

A PHENOMENON was seen to pass Baton Rouge on the night of the 5th April 1800, of which the following is the best description I have been able to obtain.

It was first seen in the South West, and moved so rapidly, passing over the heads of the spectators, as to disappear in the North East in about a quarter of a minute. It appeared to be of the size of a large house, 70 or 80 feet long and of a form nearly resembling Fig. 5. in Plate, iv.

It appeared to be about 200 yards above the surface…

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