The Plutonium Files by Eileen Welsome garnered her a Pulitzer Prize for its writing. This is a part of our country's history that so many people knowThe Plutonium Files by Eileen Welsome garnered her a Pulitzer Prize for its writing. This is a part of our country's history that so many people know very little about - yet it continues to impact us today. This book should be required reading by any Civics or history class studying the second world war and the Cold War. The interestingly applied approach to ethics during this time in history, which resulted in thousands of unsuspecting American citizens being injected with Plutonium, Uranium, and radionuclides without their knowledge or consent, leaves room for one to speculate about transparency at every level within the nuclear complex, and various decisions that have been made throughout the decades to push reactors beyond their prescribed levels, and to dispose of waste with such reckless disregard for human exposure and/or safety for the short-and-long term. The Plutonium Files puts a face on every human radiation experiment - which was declassified by President Clinton in the mid-1990's as he formed the Radiation Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments. Despite the importance of this event, our country was too busy watching OJ Simpson's speeding bronco to pay attention and educate themselves about the decades of human experimentation on U.S. citizens. If that isn't a wake up call in and of itself as to what we consider news - and what we should be paying attention to verses what we ARE paying attention to, I don't know what is. This book is GREAT reading, very well written, and very educational....more
Atomic Harvest by Michael D'Antonio does a phenomenal job of synthesizing decades of bad decisions made by production minded government & corporatAtomic Harvest by Michael D'Antonio does a phenomenal job of synthesizing decades of bad decisions made by production minded government & corporate contractors and politicians- largely to blame for our current situation regarding the United States' nuclear complex and its condition. From the compartmentalization of the workers (so that no one knew too much about anything in particular), to the propaganda which took place following Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to the community's outlook on their economic boom as a result of wartime efforts and "ending the war" (although reportedly Japan gave every indication of their impending surrender prior to our dropping the bomb, which was according to some more to prove a point to Russia than it was to actually conquer Japan), to the eventual desensitized outlook and machismo of workers who thought they could "beat" radiation exposure, to lack of environmental education and the outlook of community members who - despite illnesses caused by exposure to Hanford - would rather harm their neighbors than have the reactors spoken badly about - THIS BOOK IS AMAZING, and does a wonderful job of bringing the entire situation down to size. I highly recommend it, and a dose of "open mindedness" to anyone and everyone. Atomic Harvest should be required reading, as it does a superb job of introducing new thoughts on this topic that transcend patriotism and simply communicate about Hanford's reality, from which we will continue to reel for decades to come....more
Great book on Marvel Whiteside Parsons - a.k.a. Jack Parsons - a.k.a. John Parsons - occultist, luminary, reckless rocketeer. A fascinating life of aGreat book on Marvel Whiteside Parsons - a.k.a. Jack Parsons - a.k.a. John Parsons - occultist, luminary, reckless rocketeer. A fascinating life of a man who was willing to dance on the edge of science fiction in the name of space exploration - and whose vision is largely responsible for space exploration's methods today at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California and the Aerojet Corporation. This is a mysterious book, exploring myth and cosmic connection, the occult, Parsons' involvement in some pretty far out concepts, and his dedication to rocketry. Great great great....more
I learned from this book that all is not as it seems within The Department of Energy (Atomic Energy Commission) and its atomic endeavors. I learned thI learned from this book that all is not as it seems within The Department of Energy (Atomic Energy Commission) and its atomic endeavors. I learned that safety practices are ignored, employee safety is last on the list of priority, and cover up in the name of big money bonuses was high on the agenda. I learned that with respect to DOE and the nuclear complex, it's a pretty "small town" - a lot of the same players within the corporations responsible for the contamination and pollution of nuclear sites across the country, whose positions shift from various jobs within polluting corporations to politics and back again. I learned that Santa Susana Field Laboratory wasn't alone; Rocky Flats has had its share of environmental crimes and FBI Investigations that implicated Rockwell International and the Department of Energy, and injured the nearby residents, workers and environment. I also learned that it's possible to put a gag order on a Grand Jury to keep them from testifying to Congress, and the only way to get their story heard was for the head grand juror, Wes McKinley, to actually RUN FOR CONGRESS himself so that he would not be in violation of the gag order when he told his story of their findings. This book blew the top of my head off ... and led to my reading many more....more
Alice Stewart is the reason that we no longer X-Ray pregnant women due to harm of the unborn child. She was a visionary, and a hero. Her studies of raAlice Stewart is the reason that we no longer X-Ray pregnant women due to harm of the unborn child. She was a visionary, and a hero. Her studies of radiation were ground breaking, and she is largely the reason we know what we know today about the dangers of radiation exposure....more
Difficult reading, but fascinating nonetheless. Interesting questions are posed. For instance, is it worth risking the entire schedule in order to replDifficult reading, but fascinating nonetheless. Interesting questions are posed. For instance, is it worth risking the entire schedule in order to replace a part that just MIGHT not compromise the mission - but if the part malfunctions, the mission and lives could be lost?
In an effort to understand the mindset behind the compromised promise to worker safety at Santa Susana Field Laboratory, along with the reckless disregard to environmental hazards and community safety for generations, I took this book on looking for answers. The Space Shuttle Man Engine was tested at SSFL, and I thought perhaps I could find some insight into their methods through its reading. I'm still not sure if I did or not - but I do see where they arrive at some of their questionable ethics....more