Bit by Bit.
Real Gun Control.


  • November 26, 2021 at 12:16 am

    60 years later and I finally twigged to what the Enterprise reminded me of!

    • November 26, 2021 at 11:23 am

      You win the internet today.

    • November 26, 2021 at 1:49 pm

      My brothers and I always did think that thing was a turkey. That and Seaview. Both forever broken when you needed them most. We spent most of the shows laughing. Best free entertainment.

  • November 26, 2021 at 12:36 am
    Too Tall

    Assuming there are any extraterrestrials out there, they will now go to even greater lengths to avoid our solar system. As Grebqlx said to Wobxqly: “Their culinary technology far exceeds our military technology!”

  • November 26, 2021 at 12:56 am

    Speaking of ‘out there’. Aoimsg means Project Blue Book in Swahili:

  • November 26, 2021 at 1:06 am

    I hope they attached a plaque to it … like on the Pioneer Space Probes.

    CM could do much better graphic illustrations on it than NASA …

    • November 26, 2021 at 1:19 am
      President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neanderthal B Woodman Domestic Violent Extremist SuperStraight

      “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet”…….and climbing.
      Where no man….or turkey…….has gone before.

    • November 26, 2021 at 9:28 am

      That’s right. Give the Kzinti, the Klingons, the Gamilons, and all the galactic nasties a road map to Earth! Of course it could also bring traders like the Outsiders, or the Puppeteers…

      Zar Belk!

      • November 26, 2021 at 10:36 am

        Heh … that map on the Pioneer probes might not work for any wannabe conquering alien races.

        That map clearly depicts our Sun with nine planets before the “experts” kicked Pluto out of the line-up.

        Conquering aliens will be looking for a solar system with nine planets, when in actuality our solar system only has eight planets … as per the “experts.”

      • November 27, 2021 at 12:32 am

        Trump won the election, Epstein didn’t kill himself, and Pluto is a damn planet.

      • November 26, 2021 at 1:59 pm

        or the Ferengi…
        but we can bribe them with root beer 😉

    • November 26, 2021 at 1:58 pm

      So in the outer darkness, as the wreckage of a small craft is examined, The Lead Inquisitor, Globex, observes this little plaque and declares a 20 Light Year
      quarantine around that little planet to prevent any infections of stupidity.

  • November 26, 2021 at 1:20 am
    Don D.

    Thanks for keeping “The Annual Sam Owen’s Turkey Launch” alive, Chris!

  • November 26, 2021 at 3:02 am

    It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without turkeys going ballistic.

    • November 26, 2021 at 4:07 am

      Wait a minute… I think I see what you did there 🙂

      • November 26, 2021 at 9:32 am

        That silhouette looks awfully familiar…

        Zar Belk!

    • November 26, 2021 at 5:31 am
      Punta Gorda

      Err… “ballistic” means it’s gonna come back down.

      • November 26, 2021 at 9:33 am

        If it’s passing the Heliopause, it’s gonna take it a LOOONNNGGG time to fall back.

        Zar Belk!

      • November 26, 2021 at 12:58 pm

        Well maybe it can do a course correction and the new drop zone could be in the water causing a surge to wipe out Nan’s new $25 million retirement home. What do you bet that will be Turn Florida Blue Central?

      • November 26, 2021 at 5:48 pm

        Florida is safe from Climate Change now. Dems never buy beach front where rising sea levels would be a concern. Hawaii relaxed when the Zucker invested there and O’s new habitat was a sure signal also. Explains why the ‘migrants’ fleeing Climate Change feel safe to come here.

      • November 26, 2021 at 9:28 pm

        Well then maybe all those snakes that were let loose will show up demanding their brothers and sisters skins back

    • November 26, 2021 at 5:34 am
      Punta Gorda

      And technically…the US beat Russia into space. We launched a manhole cover into space before Sputnik occurred.

      It was the cover of a shaft for an underground nuke test.

      • November 26, 2021 at 5:36 am
        Punta Gorda

        It went so fast that it didn’t have time to burn up from atmospheric heating.

      • November 26, 2021 at 5:38 am
        Punta Gorda
      • November 26, 2021 at 1:12 pm

        It shows yet again that scientists outside their area of expertise can’t be relied upon to know what they are talking about.
        125,000 mph is well beyond the sun’s escape velocity, which means it’s not coming back at all, and unless we build an even faster projectile that “manhole cover” (or what’s left of it) will be our harbinger.

      • November 26, 2021 at 9:31 am

        Secret test of the Orion nuclear pulse drive.

        Zar Belk!

      • November 26, 2021 at 2:26 pm

        Sadly, it looks like it couldn’t happen thay way, not with a yield of only 300 tons, but scientists sometimes get it wrong so there just might have been a steel plate ripping through the Oort Cloud, knocking icebergs from their orbit to become comets 50 years later…
        until it got hit by a passing turkey;)

        Test: Pascal-B
        Time: 22:35:00.00 27 August 1957 (GMT)
        Location: NTS, Area U3d
        Test Height and Type: -500 feet, open shaft
        Yield: Often listed as “slight”, actual yield 300 tons (predicted 1-2 lb)
        Device Description: 64.6 lb; 11.75×15 inches; plutonium pit; PBX 9401 and 9404 explosives

        Pascal-B is an interesting footnote to the history of nuclear testing, and surprisingly – spaceflight.

        The Pascal-B (originally named Galileo-B) was a near duplicate of the Pascal-A shot. It was another one-point criticality safety test, of the same basic primary stage design. Like Pascal-A it was fired in an open (unstemmed) shaft. One significant difference was that it had a concrete plug, similar to the concrete collimator used in Pacscal-A, but this time it was placed just above the device at the bottom of the shaft.

        The close proximity of this plug to the bomb had an unanticipated side effect.

        The Thunderwell Story

        The February/March 1992 issue of Air & Space magazine, published by the Smithsonian, contained an article about nuclear rocket propulsion:

        “Every kid who has put a firecracker under a tin can understands the principle of using high explosives to loft an object into space. What was novel to scientists at Los Alamos [the atomic laboratory in New Mexico] was the idea of using an atomic bomb as propellant. That strategy was the serendipitous result of an experiment that had gone somewhat awry.
        “Project Thunderwell was the inspiration of astrophysicist Bob Brownlee, who in the summer of 1957 was faced with the problem of containing underground an explosion, expected to be equivalent to a few hundred tons of dynamite. Brownlee put the bomb at the bottom of a 500-foot vertical tunnel in the Nevada desert, sealing the opening with a four-inch thick steel plate weighing several hundred pounds. He knew the lid would be blown off; he didn’t know exactly how fast. High-speed cameras caught the giant manhole cover as it began its unscheduled flight into history. Based upon his calculations and the evidence from the cameras, Brownlee estimated that the steel plate was traveling at a velocity six times that needed to escape Earth’s gravity when it soared into the flawless blue Nevada sky. ‘We never found it. It was gone,’ Brownlee says, a touch of awe in his voice almost 35 years later.
        “The following October the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, billed as the first man-made object in Earth orbit. Brownlee has never publicly challenged the Soviet’s claim. But he has his doubts.”

        Although the shaft test goes unnamed in the article, only two shaft shots were fired before Sputnik was launched on 4 October 1957 – Pascal-A and Pascal-B. The nighttime Pascal-A shot could not have been the shot involved, since notably absent from the accounts of Pascal-A are the dazzlingly brilliant fireball streaking into the heavens that such an object would produce. Also Pascal-B was the only one of the two that was fired in summer as the article describes. This conclusion was confirmed to this author by Dr. Robert Brownlee, who has written expressly for this website his own account of this event.

        Objects can only be propelled to very high velocities by a nuclear explosion if they are located close to the burst point. Once a nuclear fireball has grown to a radius that is similar in size to the radius of a quantity of high explosive of similar yield, its energy density is about the same and very high velocities would not be produced. This radius for a 300 ton explosion is 3.5 meters.

        The steel plate at the top of the shaft was over 150 m from the nuclear device, much too far for it to be propelled to extreme velocity directly by the explosion. The feature of Pascal-B that made this possible was the placement of the collimator close to the device. The mass of the collimator cylinder was at least 2 tonnes (if solid) and would have been vaporized by the explosion, turning it into a mass of superheated gas that expanded and accelerated up the shaft, turning it into a giant gun. It was the hypersonic expanding column of vaporized concrete striking the cover plate that propelled it off the shaft at high velocity.

        To illustrate the physics, and estimate how fast it might have been going, consider that if the collimator absorbed a substantial part of the explosion energy (say a third of it, or 100 tons) it would have been heated to temperatures far higher than any conventional explosive (by a factor of 50 with the previous assumption).

        The maximum velocity achieved by an expanding gas is determined by the equation:

        u = 2c/(gamma – 1)

        where u is the final velocity, c is the speed of sound in the gas, and gamma is the specific heat ratio of the gas. If we further assume that the thermodynamic properties of vaporized concrete are similar to the hot combustion gases of high explosives, then the speed of sound in the vaporized collimator would be about 7 km/sec (the square root of 50 times the value of c for an explosive combustion gases, which is 1 km/sec). For molecular gases gamma is usually in the range of 1.1 to 1.5, for explosives it is 1.25. Thus we get:

        u = 2*7 km/sec / (1.25 – 1) = 56 km/sec

        This is about five times Earth’s 11.2 km/sec escape velocity, quite close to the figure of six times arrived at by Dr. Brownlee in his detailed computations.

        But the assumption that it might have escaped from Earth is implausible (Dr. Brownlee’s discretion in making a priority claim is well advised). Leaving aside whether such an extremely hypersonic unaerodynamic object could even survive passage through the lower atmosphere, it appears impossible for it to retain much of its initial velocity while passing through the atmosphere. A ground launched hypersonic projectile has the same problem with maintaining its velocity that an incoming meteor has. According to the American Meteor Society Fireball and Meteor FAQ meteors weighing less than 8 tonnes retain none of their cosmic velocity when passing through the atmosphere, they simply end up as a falling rock. Only objects weighing many times this mass retain a significant fraction of their velocity.

        The fact that the projectile was not found of course is no proof of a successful space launch. The cylinder and cover plate of Pascal-A was also not found, even though no hypersonic projectile was involved. Even speeds typical of ordinary artillery shells can send an object many kilometers, beyond the area of any reasonable search effort.

        Also, apparently the project name “Thunderwell” refers to a proposed project that was never carried out. Carl Feynman, by email, related the following account:

        In the mid-80s I heard of a “Project Thunderwell” from someone who had been employed at Livermore. In about 1991, I asked Dr. Lowell Wood about it, who was (and presumably still is) a prominent weapon physicist at Livermore. He told me that it was a project, never actually constructed, to launch a spacecraft on a column of nuclear-heated steam. The idea was that a deep shaft would be dug in the earth and filled with water. A spacecraft would be placed atop this shaft, and a nuclear explosive would be detonated at the bottom.

  • November 26, 2021 at 10:27 am

    I’m sure I watched a fire safety video on this exact subject. It was a hoot.

    • November 27, 2021 at 12:43 am

      One of my best friends, a pro plumber (gone now), used to regularly bring an industry video to entertain members of our rocket club. It was called, “Explosion: Danger Lurks!” and was all about the wrong ways to hook up water heaters. It looked a lot like a NASA video, assuming NASA used suburban homes as launch pads and launched through the roofs.

      Oh, damn, it’s actually available on the web now! Good news for me, as I have no idea how I would play my VHS copy today.

      • November 27, 2021 at 12:51 am

        Saw that one when we were studying steam and other ‘mechanical’ explosions as part of an EOD course, very well done, should be required viewing for every homeowner.
        If my aging memory serves me adequately, there was a Mythbusters segment on it as well.

  • November 26, 2021 at 1:02 pm

    Ladies…get everyone safely fed.

  • November 26, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    Some perspective on predictions from the usual turkeys:

  • November 26, 2021 at 4:37 pm

    As God is my witness, I thought turkeys couldn’t fly!

  • November 26, 2021 at 11:20 pm

    It was more than a five-year mission for my sister to avoid the many well-cooked turkeys that would launch themselves at her on the aircraft. Shatner was one of the less obnoxious, but still insistent ones. She even refused Brando her number.
    Interstellar Turkey One may be on the way to a galaxy far far away” Or maybe just to knock a few asteroids out of their orbit possibly sending them towards Earth with civilization ending results. Let’s hope not.

  • November 26, 2021 at 11:28 pm
    John M.

    They can’t on their own, but just like the F-4, (and the articles up-column) if you put enough energy behind it, ANYthing can fly!

    • November 26, 2021 at 11:30 pm
      John M.

      This was supposed to be an answer to Martyn WW…

  • November 27, 2021 at 11:41 am

    The claim of 125,000 mph seems very dubious to me. To start with, this is 2/3 of the speed of light! How was it measured? The article says only that part of the “manhole cover” was captured by the camera in a single frame. That’s not enough to measure the speed. It might be possible to calculate the minimum speed from this, the frame rate, and the height of the frame – that is, it was going _at least_ fast enough to cross that height and be completely out of frame by the next shot. But these numbers aren’t given, and I don’t believe that a camera can run fast enough for the numbers to work out like that. Nor that an object only a few feet across flying by at relativistic speeds would leave even a blur on any photographic film.

    Second, if it was accelerated abruptly to such a speed, I think even a 4 inch thick steel disk would no longer exist as a solid object. The problem isn’t heat absorption, it’s compression heating _within_ the disk. Anything hitting the bottom of the disk hard enough to accelerate it to 250,000 mph within a few feet would compress the steel to a small fraction of the original thickness, and that would heat the steel to plasma temperature.

    Take away one zero, and I might believe it. Without looking it up, I think 25,000 mph is far more than Earth escape velocity and maybe enough to also escape the solar system, but I think it’s not too fast to capture on ultra-fast film, or so fast that the disk would have been compressed and vaporized by the initial push.

  • November 27, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    I thought turkeys of mass destruction are more of Vexxarr staple. :]



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