Tags: coldwar

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sparkline

Monday, December 11th, 2017

Feet on the Ground, Eyes on the Stars: The True Story of a Real Rocket Man with G.A. “Jim” Ogle

I listen to a lot of podcast episodes. The latest episode of the User Defenders podcast (which is very different from the usual fare) is one of my favourites—the life and times of a NASA engineer working on everything from Apollo to the space shuttle.

You know how they say it doesn’t take a rocket scientist? Well, my Dad is one. On a recent vacation to Florida to celebrate his 80th birthday, he spent nearly three hours telling me his compelling story.

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

Акула

Myself and Jessica were on our way over to Ireland for a few days to visit my mother. It’s a straightforward combination of three modes of transport: a car to Brighton train station; a train to Gatwick airport; a plane to Cork.

We got in the taxi to start the transport relay. “Going anywhere nice?” asked the taxi driver. “Ireland”, I said. He mentioned that he had recently come back from a trip to Crete. “Lovely place”, he said. “Great food.” That led to a discussion of travel destinations, food, and exchange rates. The usual taxi banter. We mentioned that we were in Iceland recently, where the exchange rate was eye-watering. “Iceland?”, he said, “Did you see the Northern Lights?” We hadn’t, but we mentioned some friends of ours who travelled to Sweden recently just to see the Aurorae. That led to a discussion of the weirdness of the midnight sun. “Yeah”, he said, “I was in the Barents Sea once and it was like broad daylight in the middle of the night.” We mentioned being in Alaska in Summer, and how odd the daylight at night was, but now my mind was preoccupied. As soon as there was a lull in the conversation I asked “So …what brought you to the Barents Sea?”

He paused. Then said, “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

Then he told us.

“We were on a secret mission. It was the ’80s, the Cold War. The Russians had a new submarine, the Typhoon. Massive, it was. Bigger than anything the Americans had. We were there with the Americans. They had a new camera that could see through smoke and cloud. The Russians wouldn’t know we were filming them. I was on a support ship. But one time, at four in the morning, the Russians shot at us—warning shots across the bow. I remember waking up and it was still so light, and there were this explosions of water right by the ship.”

“Wow!” was all I could say.

“It was so secret, that mission”, he said, “that if you didn’t go on it, you’d have to spend the duration in prison.”

By this time we had reached the station. “Do you believe me?” he asked us. “Yes”, we said. We paid him, and thanked him. Then I added, “And thanks for the story.”

Saturday, October 31st, 2015

The Okinawa missiles of October | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Pssst! Wanna read something scary for Halloween? Well, this should make you shit your pants.

Seriously though, if the event described here turn out to be true, it is one of the most frightening moments in the history of our species.

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Restricted Data: The Nuclear Secrecy Blog

A fascinating blog documenting the secrecy around nuclear weaponry, past and present, by Alex Wellerstein of the American Institue of Physics.

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

greg.org: the making of: The Satelloons Of Project Echo: Must. Find. Satelloons.

Bomp. bomp. bomp. Satelloon of love. Bomp. bomp. bomp. Satelloon of love.

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Советские плакаты по гражданской обороне

This cold-war era soviet manual for post-nuclear life is as fascinating as it is horrifying.

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

A Tall Tail by Charles Stross | Tor.com

A terrific little conspiracy theory short story from Charles Stross set at last year’s (very real) 100 Year Starship gathering.

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

IBM Sage Computer Ad, 1960 - YouTube

A 1960 advertisement for IBM’s SAGE system …WOPR by another name.

To be ready for the worst so that the worst will never happen…

IBM Sage Computer Ad, 1960

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Innovation Starvation | World Policy Institute

A rallying cry from Neal Stephenson for Getting Big Stuff Done.

Inside the Russian Short Wave Radio Enigma | Magazine

There are echoes of “the footage” from Gibson’s Pattern Recognition in this strange tale of a cold war radio signal.

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Cosmonaut Crashed Into Earth ‘Crying In Rage’ : Krulwich Wonders… : NPR

An astonishing story from the Soviet side of the space race that is equal parts stupidity and sacrifice.

Saturday, February 19th, 2011

Wired 9.03: Founding Father

Here’s a gem from the past: a thoroughly fascinating and gripping interview with Paul Baran by Stewart Brand. It’s thrilling stuff—I got goosebumps.

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011