funranium: (Default)
Let me start with this, zeppelin hangars are very large. 

Hangars 2 & 3

Hangar 1 from the far end of the air field

Many Pictures and Much Blathering )

In summation, it is sad to see many Big Science facilities barely used due to lack of funding and interest.  Of everywhere I went, the Supergun sees the most business.  All the other facilities I visited seem to be used as storage for files and equipment from "When We Did Stuff".  Oh, I'm told the computational areas see a great deal of action but eventually you have to make a model into reality and we don't seem to be doing that much anymore.

As [livejournal.com profile] warren_ellis says, DO SOMETHING.
funranium: (Default)

I gotta write this down before I forget it again.

While vacationing in Ol' Blighty, I kept thinking of things or be reminded of truly horrible tasks in antiquity.  I believe it began with contemplating the gleaners that used to muck through the castle garderobe outfalls.

Then we went to Shropshire Castle (AKA the Shropshire Regimental Museum) and saw the reichsjagermeister (translation: the Reich's master of the hunt) baton of Hermann Goering.  This reminded me that there was once a valet who's primary task was to wrangle Goering's hemmoroids. 

Side story regarding the baton: Goering had been given the baton and title by Hitler to feed the only thing larger than the flying fat man of the Luftwaffe himself, his ego.  It is a beautiful piece and I wish I had a picture of it, but cameras are forbidden in the museum.  Surprisingly, the internets have no pictures of it (that I can find) either.  It seems that an enterprising member of the Shropshire Yeomanry managed to loot the baton from Goering's effects.  Lawsuits have since raged where Germany, the US, and England (in the form of the Imperial War Museum) have tried to lay claim to the baton.  They've all failed as the legal argument of spoils of war, with a side note of "you should know that better than anyone, Imperial War Museum *lingering glance over their collection*" has won every time.  If you want the hunt baton, you've got to invade England and do some looting of your own.  Fair's fair, after all.

Also, as a personal win, I got an member of the Yeomanry in his mid-50s to agree that Eddie Izzard's "Do You Have A Flag?" bit regarding British colonialism to be pretty much dead on.  As he did point out to us, they do indeed have a lot of flags.

When we to Ludlow Castle, I ascended to the tippiest of the tippy top towers, the one that is on the moat facing of the Norman keep with the flag on it.  It was a warm June day but standing by the flag it was diamond cutter nipples time.  I realized then that a sentry posted to the top of that tower to keep watch had very obviously pissed someone off to end up there.  There isn't even room for a brazier up there to keep you warm.

Lastly, while wandering around the Roman ruins of Exeter (or Isca Dumnoniorum if you prefer the traditional name) with British Nick and sharing the idea of horrible jobs of antiquity, we thought up the horror of the Roman orgy lubricator.  Imagine if you will two highly trained lube slaves standing at the ready and some fine snippets of conversation that might drift between them:

  • "Quick!  Get some oil on the pile of Julii over there before they sieze up."
  • "Boy, I've been doing this for 20 years.  It takes a dab hand to keep a senator from chafing."
  • "By the gods...Germans. *shudder of horror*"
Please supply your horrible job of antiquity below.
funranium: (Duck 'n' Cover)
Once upon a time in 1942, researchers in Rolla, MO isolated the first sample of plutonium.  Glenn T. Seaborg was asked to join the metallurgy group in Chicago to weigh the sample, determine the chemical characteristics of this new element, and start to figure out how to do chemical separation on a large scale.  In order to do that, the small sample was moved by train, in Seaborg's briefcase clutched in his lap, to what would become Fermilab, arriving on Seaborg's birthday an April 12.  He was more than a little intimidated to be holding the world's only known sample of plutonium and traveling alone (to the best of his knowledge).

And yesterday, I held it in my hands.  Presently, it lives in a bucket as hazardous waste in one of my buildings.  I will be heartbroken if I have to fill out the paperwork that sends this to a grave in Nevada.  This should be sitting side by side with the first lunar sample in the Smithsonian, dammit.

The container with the sample:


Here's the real deal, the speck visible through the maginifying glass in the side of the container.

December 2012

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