528 - Donald Rumsfeld
Sunday, May 31, 2009

GQ <------
posted by High Power Rocketry @ Sunday, May 31, 2009   4 comments
527 - The Hanford Site
Friday, May 29, 2009

During the production of the first nuclear bombs, in the now famous Manhattan Project, several bomb designs were considered, and two were used. In addition to this, two different types of fissile nuclear "fuel" were used as well. Even today, the production and purification of the fissile material is one of the greatest challenges in making a working fission bomb. The two materials, very rare isotopes of Uranium and Plutonium, must be distilled, centrifuged, made with a particle accelerator, separated with powerful electro-magnets, or created with powerful nuclear reactors.

Plutonium 239 was made with the last option. The Hanford Site produced most of the plutonium used in American nuclear bombs. To do this, some of the first nuclear reactors ever (created after the first generation of research "pile" reactors) built, and particularly large reactors were used. Rods of Uranium were pushed through long bricks of ultra-pure graphite which was the moderator for most early research reactors. As they made their way through the powerful reactors, small amounts of plutonium would be formed within. These rods (often described as a roll of quarters) would be pushed through the system, into "cooling" pools to decay out the worst of the radioactivity (more than enough to give a lethal dose to workers). After a resting period, the plutonium would be chemically removed and collected.

For more information about this, please read The Making of the Atomic Bomb. This is not only a good history of the bomb, for those of us like me who are fascinated by nuclear power, but also a good history of science read. Any history of science class should include portions of this book in the curriculum.

In any event, there is much to say about the Hanford Site but I will leave that for others. Here are some cool facts from the Wiki:

"The Hanford Engineer Works (HEW) broke ground in March 1943 and immediately launched a massive and technically challenging construction project.[24] Nearly 50,000 workers lived in a construction camp near the old Hanford townsite, while administrators and engineers lived in the government town established at Richland Village.[25] Construction of the nuclear facilities proceeded rapidly. Before the end of the war in August 1945, the HEW built 554 buildings at Hanford, including three nuclear reactors (105-B, 105-D, and 105-F) and three plutonium processing canyons (221-T, 221-B, and 221-U), each 250 meters (820 ft) long.

To receive the radioactive wastes from the chemical separations process, the HEW built "tank farms" consisting of 64 single-shell underground waste tanks (241-B, 241-C, 241-T, and 241-U).[26] The project required 386 miles (621 km) of roads, 158 miles (254 km) of railway, and four electrical substations. The HEW used 780,000 cubic yards (600,000 m³) of concrete and 40,000 short tons (36,000 t) of structural steel and consumed $230 million between 1943 and 1946.[27]"

"The B-Reactor (105-B) at Hanford was the first large-scale plutonium production reactor in the world. It was designed and built by DuPont based on an experimental design by Enrico Fermi, and originally operated at 250 megawatts. The reactor was graphite moderated and water cooled. It consisted of a 28-by-36-foot (8.5 m × 11 m), 1,200-short-ton (1,100 t) graphite cylinder lying on its side, penetrated through its entire length horizontally by 2,004 aluminum tubes.[28] Two hundred short tons (180 t) of uranium slugs the size of rolls of quarters and sealed in aluminum cans went into the tubes. Cooling water was pumped through the aluminum tubes around the uranium slugs at the rate of 30,000 US gallons per minute (130 L/s).[28]"

The ideal site was described by these criteria:[21]

* A large and remote tract of land
* A "hazardous manufacturing area" of at least 12 by 16 miles (19 km × 26 km)
* Space for laboratory facilities at least 8 miles (13 km) from the nearest reactor or separations plant
* No towns of more than 1,000 people closer than 20 miles (32 km) from the hazardous rectangle
* No main highway, railway, or employee village closer than 10 miles (16 km) from the hazardous rectangle
* A clean and abundant water supply
* A large electric power supply
* Ground that could bear heavy loads.

The operation of this site has caused, by all accounts, some of the most severe radiation contamination in history, and huge amounts of radioactive waste materials remain. Cleanup is currently underway, and will continue for several decades at the least. Seen above are the containment tanks for some of the waste products. The scale of this site is hard to imagine.

DOE site
Hanford watch

* General R2K blog update*

I will be slowly switching each post over to a better font, the old one is driving me crazy. Feedback would be nice on any template issues that bother you, because I do not have a normal computer like you noobs so I cant tell when things look odd.
posted by High Power Rocketry @ Friday, May 29, 2009   6 comments
526 - School lunch from around the world
Thursday, May 28, 2009

You may remember a previous R2K post about horrible menu items from one particular American school. Well here are some normal meals from around the world:

posted by High Power Rocketry @ Thursday, May 28, 2009   2 comments
525 - A good Russian family
Wednesday, May 27, 2009

From English Russia
posted by High Power Rocketry @ Wednesday, May 27, 2009   3 comments
524 - Plastic products that should be illegal
Tuesday, May 26, 2009

As the 300,000th page view approaches (a number that is impressive for me, but more like a good week at popular blogs, or less than a day at the DailyKos), I am reminded that this is a good place for me to, from time to time, bring attention to issues that I consider important.

As a big fan of the oceans, and of aquatic sports of all kinds (SCUBA, Kayak, etc...), I am stuck with a very strong hatred for improper use of plastics. They are some of the most useful and important materials, but for the most part we use too much. And worse still, we don't dispose of plastics properly. Most plastic products don't need to be made from plastic at all. Not only does this material not break down quickly enough in the environment, but it also uses oil to produce, and we can hardly spare that much oil these days. There are many areas where plastic should no longer be used, but here are a few products that are so utterly bad for the environment, or so frequently abused, that they should simply be banned outright.

1.) Microbead facial scrub:

There is nothing wrong with proper hygiene and exfoliating (defoliating?) ones skin. But sadly there are some products that use tiny plastic beads to do the job. This has to be the single worst offender by design, if not by volume. These are tiny pieces of plastic, the most dangerous size, that are designed specifically to be used once then thrown down the drain. If one is lucky, they will be captured in a waste water treatment plant as sludge and then shipped off and used as soil. This is the best possible outcome, and it is already pretty sad. Or worse, and probably more likely, the plastic beads will wind up in the Ocean where they will adsorb toxins in huge concentrations (something that plastics happen to be good at) and then be eaten by animals. Eventually, you may meet up with your discarded plastic in some choice cut of sushi. This is the product that motivated me into making this particular post. The idea that a company would have the gall to make such a product is mind boggling. How is it even legal to do such a thing? And where is the EPA when it comes to something like this? At what point does the design of a product get some basic review to be sure that it does not cause excessive amounts of pollution? Well several corporations are guilty of making these products, here are some of the brand names:

* Dove Gentle Exfoliating Foaming Facial Cleanser
* Nivea face scrub
* Aveeno daily scrub
* Clean & Clear Oil-Free Daily Pore Cleanser
* Phisoderm Nurturing Facial Polish
* Garnier Nutritioniste Nuti-Pure Microbead Cream Scrub
* Neutrogena Body Clear body scrub
* L’Oreal Pure Zone Pore Unclogging Scrub Cleanser
* Ambi Even & Clear Skincare, Exfoliating Wash


Use a scrubbing sponge or brush
Use baking soda
Use a scrubbing wash that has a natural abrasive like coconut or almond shell
Use clean sand (!)

2.) Packaging peanuts:

These were invented in the 1960s, and are obviously perfect at protecting fragile objects during shipping. They are light and rather strong. But being so light can also pose a major problem; when introduced into the environment, these quickly blow away. And for the most part, blowing away means into water somewhere, mostly oceans. This type of foam probably does degrade rather quickly, at least into very small pieces. Because they float, they continue to get exposed to UV light which helps break plastics down quickly. But that hardly fixes the problem.


Boxes designed to hold objects securely
Biodegradable peanuts made from starch (I ate a few of these... horrible tasting but not toxic. Compare to the plastic counterpart that tastes fine, or at least neutral, but will probably clog up your gut.)

3.) Mylar Balloons:

These are among the most common forms of large plastic trash found on the Ocean or beach. The plastic material from these does not break down quickly, unlike the other most common type of balloon which is made from rubber. The shiny coating does break into small particles which probably also cause serious harm to the environment. Once the coating falls away, the balloon is translucent like so many other plastic bags and looks like food to many aquatic predators. Combined with the plastic string that is often colorful and curled, these balloons represent the best possible simulation of a Portuguese Man o' War siphonophore. Ready to choke a turtle.

The worst part about these is the fact that they are not particularly practical; no one ever needs a balloon. I would also consider outlawing helium in balloons, because this is how most of them enter the environment when people let them float away.

4.) Plastic fishing line:

Fishing is one of the most popular American hobbies. Many buy fishing equipment and use it from time to time, even if they do not take the hobby seriously. There is so much money in this hobby (and the impulse buys of so many who plan to fish but never really do) that my favorite kayak magazine recently switched their adds and theme from strictly touring and kayak vendors, to fishing from kayaks and fish related products.

Sadly, this popularity doesnt only hurt the fish that get hooked. Every year millions of hooks and lines are lost and tangled along the coastlines of this country. If you kayak, snorkel, SCUBA, or don't want your kids to get hooked by an over-sized three-barbed three-hooked lure that some macho man had to use in your swimming area (see my previous post if you can find it via google search on clay pigeons and lures in swimming areas), well you are out of luck.

By using plastic line and plastic lures, the fishing industry ensures that their products contaminate the environment for centuries. Obviously other materials wont work as well as mono-filament for many reasons; too expensive, not as strong, visible to fish... but that doesn't change the fact that this product ruins the beach for everyone else.


Biodegradable fishing line.

Other plastics that I might add to the list (including the more famous products that are already under attack by the environmental movement):

Plastic bags
Packing foams in general, the brittle white stuff in particular
Disposable plastic containers (water bottles, milk bottles, candy containers, etc...)
Disposable lighters
Tampon applicators

Are there any materials that you would also consider adding to a ban list?

posted by High Power Rocketry @ Tuesday, May 26, 2009   6 comments
523 - Rocket Man System
Monday, May 25, 2009

Yes this is a repost, probably the first around here. But since there are so many new readers, I figured it was appropriate.

Rocket Man
posted by High Power Rocketry @ Monday, May 25, 2009   3 comments
522 - Cosplay in Russia
Friday, May 22, 2009

Most of the pics were actually hot cosplay women... but that isnt what we are about here.

From the final word on all cosplay issues in Russia

No new posts until Sunday; vacation!
posted by High Power Rocketry @ Friday, May 22, 2009   1 comments
521 - Crazy Goose
Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Your eyes do not deceive you - this puzzling bird really is flying upside down but with its neck and head twisted the right way up.

The incredible display of mid-flight acrobatics is also a remarkable feat of wildlife photography and stunned the man behind the lens when he looked back at his images."

EDP 24
posted by High Power Rocketry @ Thursday, May 21, 2009   1 comments
520 - The Duck Man
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
posted by High Power Rocketry @ Wednesday, May 20, 2009   3 comments
519 - Good thing anyone can get a gun.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
posted by High Power Rocketry @ Tuesday, May 19, 2009   5 comments
518 - Teach both sides...
Monday, May 18, 2009

posted by High Power Rocketry @ Monday, May 18, 2009   6 comments
517 - Sham Ow... (Adult content)
Sunday, May 17, 2009

"APRIL 8--In what we promise will be the final installment of the ShamWow Chronicles, on the following pages you will find a selection of police evidence photos memorializing the recent bloody battle between TV pitchman Vince Shlomi and a Miami hooker. As you've likely heard, the ShamWow chieftain, 44, paid Sasha Harris $1000 for "straight sex," which was to occur in Shlomi's $750-a-night room at the lavish Setai hotel. But things went sideways when, according to an account Shlomi gave cops, he kissed the 26-year-old Harris, who responded by biting his tongue and not letting go. Shlomi then punched Harris several times until she released his tongue. He then went to the hotel's lobby, where security called cops. A Miami Beach Police Department Crime Scene unit also arrived at the Setai to photograph the aftermath of the February 7 brawl, which left blood on the hotel room's walls, floor, door, phone, bed, and towels. Cops were also dispatched to the Mount Sinai Medical Center to photograph Shlomi and Harris, who were being treated for their injuries (both were handcuffed to hospital beds since they had been arrested for felony battery). Prosecutors subsequently decided not to pursue charges against either combatant."

- From the Smoking Gun

One quick question: Why would you buy any product with "Sham" in the name?
posted by High Power Rocketry @ Sunday, May 17, 2009   2 comments
516 - "Ninja Nerd"
Saturday, May 16, 2009
posted by High Power Rocketry @ Saturday, May 16, 2009   3 comments
515 - Fluorescent Protein artificially inserted into animals
Friday, May 15, 2009

posted by High Power Rocketry @ Friday, May 15, 2009   1 comments
514 - Sea Surface Temp.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
I have been keeping track of the SST changes for the Outerlands and adjacent canyons and ranges:

If these trends continue...

posted by High Power Rocketry @ Thursday, May 14, 2009   2 comments
513 - How to redirect from one blogger page to any other page
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I do not know much about HTML, but blogger does not let you post this in your template without closing the meta, as if I knew what that means. But it didn't like it so I closed it the way I normally close things in templates, and it seems to work. This must be how sloppy code is born...

The web page is the target. The Content=X is the time delay in sec. I have changed all of my parked pages (rocketry pages that are still up for grabs by the owner of the associated pages for now, but eventually I will release them to the public) to eventually send visitors here, because those pages don't really have anything on them at this point!

What is the HTML code that lets you post HTML code in an HTML code window?
Well I have it, but now the question is how can I post it into the window without it becoming the window?
posted by High Power Rocketry @ Wednesday, May 13, 2009   2 comments
512 - "Novosibirsk Toy City"
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"Those photos are made using tilt-shift technology. They always look fascinating making the normal objects look toyish. This time is Novosibirsk, Russia in toy-mode."

- From English Russia

"Tilt-shift photography refers to the use of camera movements on small- and medium format cameras; it usually requires the use of special lenses. "Tilt-shift" actually encompasses two different types of movements: rotation of the lens relative to the image plane, called tilt, and movement of the lens parallel to the image plane, called shift. Tilt is used to control the orientation of the plane of focus (PoF), and hence the part of an image that appears sharp; it makes use of the Scheimpflug principle. Shift is used to change the line of sight while avoiding the convergence of parallel lines, as when photographing tall buildings. In many cases, "tilt-shift photography" refers to the use of tilt and a large aperture to achieve a very shallow depth of field."

posted by High Power Rocketry @ Tuesday, May 12, 2009   3 comments
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