Where’s My Steel Cap?

Back in the 1950’s, the US Government was heavy into nuclear testing, displacing thousands of tons of real estate and flooding our atmosphere and groundwater with all manner of radioactive buggies, all the while caring very little for the fallout or if we even wanted any of this shit in the first place.

One operation in particular – “Operation Plumbbob” – was a series of tests initiated on Frenchman Flats (Area 51) in Nevada, just a hoot and a holler northwest of Las Vegas.  Though some aspects of the mission is still classified, there are still some interesting facts about the tests, including the one code-named “Pascal B“.  Pascal B was an underground shot, actually one of the first, where a nuclear device was placed at the bottom of a 500 ft. open shaft, (dubbed a “thunder well”) capped by a 2000 lb. steel cap.  When the device was detonated, the cap was blown off at an estimated six times escape velocity from the earth and presumed to have left Earth’s atmosphere as it was never recovered.  The scientist in charge of the test speculates it most likely vaporized from atmospheric compression heat, travelling at Mach 200.

Whatever happened to it, it’s gone, but not the controversy.  The tinfoil hat that I wear is nowhere near the density of that which lifted off at Frenchman Flats, August 27, 1957.  This test followed a previous one where the expected yield was far greater – 10,000 times greater than anticipated, which sent scientists scurrying off in all directions in their cars from the test site, not knowing if the end of the world was imminent or not.  A huge blue flame erupted hundreds of feet into the night sky from the test cell, illuminating the desert for miles around!  All the while, 3000 servicemen were on hand to participate in the experiments, along with foreign troops and visiting dignitaries.  These, in later years, showed a higher rate of cancer than was normal for their particular demographic.

My point in all of this is to show the inherent irresponsibility in governments in the way they conduct their business.  It is a common thing for politicians and military leaders, these days, to hide what they do under cloaks of “national security” or “classified” or “it’s before the courts”.  There isn’t a lot of change in the nature and character of governments, supposedly accountable to their citizenry as supposedly guaranteed in their respective constitutions, these last five decades.  Yet, amazingly, people still follow along at the heels of their elected leaders like puppies, preferring to place their trust in organizations that haven’t done a lot over the years to garner that trust.

Places like Area 51 are still functioning today under high security, where many high-ranking politicians as well as the public in general are not allowed.  We have no way of knowing what is going on in these places or what the financial costs are, being “classified” in the “interests of national security”.  It’s not right in any shape or form for a democracy, but, we still allow it.  Hell, what else can we do, now, at this stage, where they have most of the technology and the muscle?  Those that still place their ardent faith in government policy had better be damned sure they are on the right course, because, if they’re wrong, (as I know they are) they are in for a big disappointment, having sold their sovereignty and authority down the road for the comforts and security the government offers.

Well, according to some, the steel plate is still going, out past Pluto’s orbit, by now.  Actually, there is now some controversy about what the first man-made object in space was/is.  Perhaps Sputnik was third, behind the plate and a V2 rocket shot high enough into the atmosphere as to qualify as having reached space!  It was an American project studying the sun, so they say, using German V2 rocket technology.  Anyway, nothing is as it seems in this funny little world.  If you think you know the score, think again… it’s a good habit to get into when you’re dealing with the government!

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