Author Archives: Alan Bates

The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes

I just finished reading “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” by Richard Rhodes. It is certainly comprehensive. It starts at the start of the 20th century and ends of course with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is very comprehensive as it surveys the development of modern physics and then gets into the huge industrial complexes built within just a few years with just one goal, to get enough fissionable material to make a bomb before the Germans, Japanese and Russians.

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“Little Boy” Atomic Bomb like the one dropped on Hiroshima

There are many interesting items in the book, such as:

  • Albert Einstein was instrumental in getting the United States to think about an atomic bomb. He played no part in the development of the bomb because he was considered a security risk.
  • USA believed the Germans were ahead in development because Germany was the center of Physics research. It wasn’t until after the war that they found out how far behind Germany was. The scientists working for the US knew that the basic science was well known and it was inevitable that other countries were going to develop the bomb and there was really not much that could be done to prevent it.
  • When the Manhattan Project started, the basic science for the bomb was considered settled so the work was to develop the technology to apply the science and fabricate a bomb. The huge facilities at Oak Ridge, Tennessee and Hanford, Washington were there to get enough fissionable material to make the bomb. The basic plan was to make a bomb to test, and then after that drop bombs as fast as the fissionable material could be produced and fabricated into bombs.

So the physics is interesting and the technology challenging and so big parties when the test bomb at Trinity exploded. Rhodes does a great job sobering things up talking about the allied program of bombing residential areas in both Germany and Japan with mixtures of high explosives to break the houses and apartments and incendiary devices to make them burn. Rhodes also writes of the aftermath of the nuclear bombing including first person accounts of the horrific effects. Many people vaporized, others charred, others roasted alive. Many died of radiation sickness.

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Atomic Bomb Test, Bikini Island, 1946

There is a lot of second guessing going on now about if we should have dropped the bombs or not but the Americans were concerned about the casualties if the allies invaded the Japanese Homeland. They looked at the battle of Okinawa where the allies lost over 12,000 lives and the Japanese had 110,000 soldiers killed. In addition 40,000 to 150,000 Okinawan lives were lost. The allies estimated they would lose 400,000 to 800,000 lives invading the Empire. The estimated deaths after the bombing was 90,000 to 146,000 at Hiroshima and 39,000 to 80,000 at Nagasaki, many if not most innocent civilians including children, mothers, and elderly people.

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Model of Fat Man Atomic Bomb used on Nagasaki

I am very interested in Atomic Energy, the Manhattan Project, and all things Cold War. I spent a big part of my life in New Mexico, home of Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, Sandia Laboratories, and the Trinity Test site. My mother worked at the Hanford Site, source of our Plutonium in a clerical role after the war. I have other relatives who worked in military nuclear related industries. I think other boomers have ties to the Cold War era.

Anyway, the book is 838 pages and too me forever to read but there is a lot of information that is packed in there. I loved it. I got my Kindle version very inexpensively on during a promotion.

Shadow Shot Sunday – Shadow of Time by Anila Quayyum Agha

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Tulsa’s Philbrook Museum of Art had an exhibit called Shadow of Time by Anila Quayyum Agha late last year and early this year and it was all about shadows. It was amazing. For sense of the scale look to the benches to the left and right.

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And one of the cool things is that visitors could make their own shadows!

I am linking with Shadow Shot Sunday 2 hosted by the Magical Mystery Teacher.

Skywatch Friday – Colorful Skies

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We had some color in the sky the other day so I fired up the drone and sent it up from the back yard. The color was not to the west because there were no clouds. The above shot is to the north.

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This is to the east.

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And northeast across the greenbelt.

I am thinking about the victims of Hurricane Laura which made landfall early Thursday morning in southwest Louisiana and is still causing damage far inland as I write this.

Skywatch Friday

ABC Weekly – “A” for Abandoned

Cogar, Oklahoma Rainman

The Gas Station in Oklahoma from the movie Rainman, in beautiful downtown Cogar.

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Heller Theater, a community theater here in Tulsa , shut down and then later torn down.

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Arrowood Trading post on Route 66 near Tulsa has been abandoned for decades.

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A segment of US Highway 169 that was abandoned and has been incorporated into a Nature Park in Tulsa.

Our World – Hiking at Sequoyah State Park

Sunday afternoon I headed down to Sequoyah State Park about an hour southeast of Tulsa. Just for a little change of pace.

The park sits on Fort Gibson lake and the marinas were busy with people and their boats. I saw three other people on the trails the three hours I was there.

They keep the trails maintained very well.

I was mainly searching for geocaches like this one. In the city there is no way you could leave one of these so open.

There used to be several settlements on what is now the park. This is all that is left of Ray, Oklahoma. It was founded by members of the Osage Tribe and they got removed to Kansas in the 1800’s so that the Cherokees could come in after they were removed from the southeastern USA by the US Government. The Corps of Engineers bought everybody out when they put in Fort Gibson Lake in the 1940’s. They gave the land to the state who made a State Park out of land.

There are several cemeteries scattered here and there through the park.

This is a recreation of a Cherokee type grave. They often built little houses over the graves. I don’t really know why. I’ve searched the internet and there is a lot of what I call speculation or guesses. If you know, let me know!

There is at least one active church in the park. It looks very sharp with a fresh coat of paint and some flowers.

I had a great time wandering around the park. I’m linking with this post with Our World Tuesday.

Shadow Shot Sundays – Late Summer

It has been a long time to participate in Shadow Shot Sunday. Anytime is a good time to restart right?

I have been working a volunteer gig where I evaluate trail pavement conditions. I sure like the sections of the trail with big trees for shade.

I looked up the stairs one morning and saw this funky shadow. I used the Hipstamatic app to make it a little more arty. I am not sure I succeeded.

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Last week I attended a fly-in at the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch. The thing about fly-ins is that they are at airfields and they are not known for shade. Lots of the pilots with aircraft with overhead wings were sitting underneath the wing. I stood under a few wings myself.

So like I said, I am linking with Shadow Shot Sunday hosted by the Magical Mystery Teacher. Go check it out.

Skywatch Friday – Pavement and Totem Poles Edition

Miles and miles to go!!

The past week I’ve been walking the paved trails in Tulsa and suburbs checking out the condition of the pavement. INCOG (“Indian Nations Council of Governments”) asked trail users to participate so they can determine the condition of the various trails. INCOG is an agency that works with the various city and country governments on infrastructure planning and coordination.

This section has it all, transverse, longitudinal and alligator cracking.

They gave us a cool GIS (“Geographical Information System”) app on our phones to report what we find. Plus we got some materials on what to look for. So I have found out about longitrudinal, transverse, and net cracking along with skreveling and other technical terms.

Easy to find, hard to open. Bring Deet and don’t come if you allergic to poison ivy. Pro tip, if you don’t know if allergic to poison ivy, just assume that you are.

I’ve taken the opportunity to chase after a few geocaches in the adjacent woods. This one is a “gadget cache”. Easy to find but hard to get into. I pondered this one for a several minutes before I figured out what to do then about 20 minutes to open it up, sign the log, and put it back together.

Here is another one that I found. Unfortunately it has been vandalized by somebody so it didn’t work right. Gadget caches are all the rage now in geocaching.

I also found this deer feeder deep in the woods on public land.

And I did a daily good deed in helping this little old turtle across the road like a good former boy scout.

So far I have only done about 4 miles. That takes 8 miles of walking because I have to walk back to my car. Not too many loops of reasonable distance. There were about fifty volunteers I am guestimating but it doesn’t look like very many of them are actually doing anything. There is about 200 miles of trails all told, I think.

On another note, last week after I went to the Will Rogers Fly-In I drove over to Ed Galway’s Totem Pole Park near the small town of Foyil. I had been there before but this time I took my drone so I could take a better look.

It is right off US 66 and is a must see stop if you are touring the highway.

It was built by a guy, Ed Galway. The main totem pole was built by him between 1937 and 1948. The park has other totems but on this trip I was just interested in the main pole. I think this is my third trip to the park. Here are some links of previous posts.

Ed Galways’s Park is one of my favorite Route 66 Stops. It is so over the top and unique. And it is free!! I like free. They have a gift shop. Go get a cap or something.

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Ginger, RIP

And finally, our beloved Ginger went to the big puppy park in the sky yesterday. She was fourteen years old and had multiple issues. She is in a much better place now. Our critters just don’t live long enough.

I am linking with Skywatch Friday, come join the fun.

Goodbye Ginger

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We said goodbye to our sweet little dachsund mix Ginger today. She lived a long time and was well loved but she had multiple ailments.

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She was always all-in when it came to family activities.

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And she always had something to say about a lot of things.

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And she put up with a lot!!

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We miss you Ginger and will never forget you!!