Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Drought Stricken Farm

Today's picture was taken in 1936 in Cimarron County, Oklahoma. During a drought, the livestock eat all the grass, and barren ground is left. This exposed dirt is then easily blown away, leading to large dust storms. If the situation gets bad enough, the dirt that is blown up into the atmosphere creates a situation that actually prevents it from raining. So, once things get so bad, it is very hard for the drought to actually be broken. It is believed that this is what happened in the 1930's dust bowl, and also in the 1950's drought.

DOMESTIC UPDATE: The Peacock has Landed, Version 2.0

OK, I had explained how Lovie had stolen Miss Kitty's eggs, and then how Miss Kitty started sitting on top of Lovie as Lovie sat on the eggs, and how they finally ended up both sitting on the nest of eggs. Well, with all the commotion, I was not sure whether these eggs were going to hatch. I am pleased to announce that the eggs hatched yesterday. The large nest had 11 eggs and 8 of them hatched.

This picture shows Lovie and Miss Kitty with 3 of the babies. The other 5 are under the girls. I am not sure how this is going to sort itself out as to which babies belong to which Mama.

So, here is the rundown on the flock population, which some of you had asked about. To begin with, year before last, we had Lovie and her four baby chicks. Then a few months later we got Handsome Jack, the adult male. This gave us a total of 6. Then last summer we had a total of 7 new babies hatch. This gave us 13. I mentioned that Miss Kitty was a terrible mother, and she lost her two babies. One got taken by an owl, and the other she took for a walk and lost. Don't know what happened to that one, but it never came home. So that put us at 11. Now, Elly May hatched 2 last week, and with the combo Lovie/Miss Kitty nest of 8, we have ten new ones, putting our flock population at a whopping 22 peacocks.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Drought Week

Welcome to Drought Week here at OPOD. I decided to make it drought week because here in West Texas we are in the worst drought of the last 130 years. I heard this weekend that it is worse than the drought of the Dust Bowl/Great Depression. The wheat farmers lost their winter wheat crop due to lack of rain. Worse yet, the lack of rain has dried up the grasslands, so ranchers have no grass to feed their cattle and other livestock. Initially they tried to weather the drought by feeding hay, but now hay is unfordable and unavailable. All the ranchers I know have sold off their herds. The sad thing about this is that they hang on as long as they can, and when they finally give up and sell, they are selling at the worst possible time, as everyone is selling off at the same time, and prices turn out to be the lowest ever.


I am happy to announce that Ms. Elly May has hatched her babies. If you have been keeping up with the Domestic Updates, you will know that Elly May is the one who laid her eggs out in the bush. She laid 5 eggs, and 2 hatched. We saw her march into Chickie Town with the two new little babies. I have noticed that peacocks only hatch about half their eggs. 

Lovie and Miss Kitty are still in the peacock palace sitting on the same nest of eggs. We would hope those eggs would hatch this week, but with all the turmoil over those eggs I don't know if they are going to work or not.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

Navy Pilots

We wrap up Navy Week with this photograph of Navy Pilots. The picture was taken aboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific in 1945.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

U.S.S. Maine

The Spanish American War is an interesting war because most of us don't know much about it. It is one of those in between wars. It was between the Civil War and World War I, and it occurred around 1900 in Cuba.

The picture above shows the U.S.S. Maine entering the Harbor of Havana. A short time later, the U.S.S. Maine blew up. It is not exactly clear what caused the explosion, but it was the trigger for the Spanish Americn War.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Union Monitor

Today's picture shows a Union Monitor in the Civil War. With the sailors on the deck, the ship looks a lot bigger than I had expected. I also notice that the ship appears to have lifts to carry the row boats along with it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Today's picture is from the James River, Virginia in 1864. It shows the Union ironclad ship, the Onondaga. A group of sailors are on their way out to board the ship. Looking at these old ironclads, and imagining them in the summer in the south, I would have to think that they were unbearably hot inside.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Aircraft Carrier

Today's picture is from World War II, and it shows a fighter about to take off from the flight deck. Notice that the flag in the foreground has 48 stars, as Alaska and Hawaii were not yet states.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Navy Week

Welcome to Navy Week at OPOD. We kick the week off with this picture of the Hartford. This was the flagship of Admiral David Farragut, and it was the ship he fought from at the Battle of Mobile Bay. Unfortunately, this ship was not preserved, and sank in its dock in the 1900's and was then dismantled.

Domestic Update:

OK, there has been lots going on here, so I thought I better fill you in on some of the latest developments. Probably the most important issue is that the peacocks all have nests, and are sitting on their eggs. Elly May has her nest out in the bush, but things are more interesting with Lovie and Miss Kitty. Lovie decided this year to not repeat the disaster of laying her eggs in the chickie coop. This year, Lovie laid her eggs in the Peacock Palace.

Now, that leaves Elly May. If you remember last year, Elly May was a terrible mother. When her babies were three days old she went for a walk in the bushes with the boys, and she lost her babies and left them out in the brush. I had to help her go find them. Then with two babies, she had one taken by an owl, and then the other one she took for a walk and lost and then we never found that one. 

Well, this year, Elly May decided to lay her eggs in the peacock palace. The funny thing is that we would see her lay her egg in there, and then the next day it would not be there, but there would be an extra egg in Lovies nest. Yes, Lovie was stealing Miss Kitties eggs, and probably for good reason. Well after a few days Lovie ends up with 13 eggs in her nest (twice the normal size nest) and Miss Kitty ends up with no eggs. Then Lovie decides to start sitting on her ENORMOUS nest. At this point Miss Kittie realizes that she has been duped, and all her eggs stolen. So she decided to sit on top of Lovie. I kid you not, out in the peacock palace there was a huge nest of eggs, Lovie is on top of the eggs, and Miss Kittie is on top of Lovie. This went on for a couple of days, and they finally reached a compromise where they would both sit on the large nest side-by-side. Watching this huge mess unfold, I will be surprised if any of these eggs hatch.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mannequin Family

I grew up in the 1960's and can remember the cold war very well. It was a scary time, where the threat of global thermonuclear Holocaust hung over our heads. This was a frightening time to grow up. I remember pictures like the one above. At the Nevada Test Sight the government built houses and even small communities. They would put mannequins in the houses, posed as everyday families. They would then set off a nuclear bomb, and then go in and study the damage to the house and family. I find the picture very creepy. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mushroom Cloud

Here is another photograph of an above-ground nuclear bomb test. I find there images to be eerie.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thermonuclear Blast

It is interesting that even in the early days of the Manhattan Project, Edward Teller suggested the possibility of a Fusion Bomb. It was decided that would be too complex, so the initial project went with Fission Bombs. The Gadget (Trinity Test), Little Boy (Hiroshima), and Fat Man (Nagasaki) were all Fission Bombs. In Fission Atomic Bombs, energy is released by splitting atoms. In Fusion Bombs even more energy is released by fusing two smaller atoms into one larger atom. Fission Bombs are typically measured in Kilotons. One Kiloton is equivalent to 1 thousand tons of TNT. Fusion Bombs are measured in Megatons or millions of tons of TNT.

With the successful completion of World War II, Los Alamos and the other National Laboratories quickly began working on Fusion Bombs. These bombs are also called H Bombs, or Thermonuclear Bombs. The efforts were quickly successful, but the initial Hydrogen Bombs were very large. Efforts then got underway to make smaller bombs, and they were able to make small tactical nuclear warheads that could be fired as an artillery shell. The picture above shows a thermonuclear bomb fired from a cannon.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Japanese Surrender

On August 6, 1945 the US dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Japan still did not surrender, so on August 9, 1945  second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. The Japanese did then surrender on August 15, 1945. The actual signing ceremony, pictured above, was taken on September 2, on board the USS Missouri. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Hiroshima Bombing

On July 26, 1945 the United States issued an ultimatum to Japan. The ultimatum demanded unconditional surrender, or Japan would face complete destruction. While there was no mention of a new Super Weapon, the ultimatum was very strongly worded. The Japanese did not surrender, and on August 6, 1945 the crew of the Enola Gay dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The blast is pictured above. The picture was taken from the tail of the B-29 Superfortress that dropped the bomb.

The decision to drop the bomb is debated to this very day.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Enola Gay Crew

Good Sunday Morning to you all. Atomic Week is being extended for another week. It is a topic I am really interested in, and one with a lot of good pictures. 

Last week we looked at pictures from the Manhattan project, and pictures through the explosion of the "Gadget" at the trinity site. With the successful test of the first atomic bomb, they were ready to use one for real, in an attempt to end the war in the pacific, and avoid an invasion of the Japanese Mainland.

A crew was chosen to drop the first bomb on Hiroshima. The crew is pictured above in front of the mission plane . . . the Enola Gay, which was named after the pilot's mom.

In the late 90's, I had a chance to meet Paul Tibbets and the other living members of the crew. It was a great experience. They appeared to have all come to grips with their unique role in history. In talking to them, none appeared to doubt the importance or necessity of the job they had done. They did not appear to be haunted by the lives lost in that expedition. At the same time, they did appear to be tired. I got the impression that they were tired of being known for that one event in their lives.


OK, I know I have been delinquent in posting Domestic Updates, and don't even know if Roger still reads the blog, out of frustration over lack of updates. The truth is that I have been really busy over the last three months. This will be the last full week of school, then finals, and then I will be out for the summer. I promise to do a better job keeping you informed on events in Chickie Town with school letting out.

For today, I have an update on the Lovely EAM.

I am pleased to announce that EAM has just completed her Nursing degree, and has been pinned as an RN. She was at the top of her class, and will make an excellent nurse. While most of her classmates are out landing lucrative jobs, EAM wants to work for a year or so on the Mission Field. Her primary interest right now is either Nepal or East Africa. 

I am learning that when you are a missionary you do not get paid, and at best get your nominal living expenses covered. I had sort of hoped that she would go out and get a high paying job, and perhaps purchase a fine Breitling Limited Edition SR71 Blackbird Chronograph Watch for her father as a token of her appreciation for the countless tuition checks, books, gas, food, insurance, and various other fees paid during her education.  I am watching my dreams of the Blackbird crumble, as she apparently places a higher priority on caring for dying orphans in Africa. So, my dreams of the Breitling Blackbird must be put on hold for now.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mystery Person Contest

Ready, Set, Go!

OK, you probably noticed that there was no post yesterday. The blog site was down for most of the day, so I could not post the picture. Things are back working today. I plan on continuing atomic week for another week.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Ground Zero

Good Thursday Morning to you all. Today's picture shows Robert Oppenheimer and Leslie Groves. Oppenheimer was one of the main physicists on the Manhattan Project, and Leslie Groves was the military man in charge. In the picture above, they have returned to ground zero after the successful test of the gadget. 

The location of the test was the Trinity Sight in southern New Mexico. After the blast, the sand in the area was turned to glass. The glass ground had a greenish hue, and the little pieces of green glass were given a new name . . . Trinitite. The glass is still slightly radioactive to this day. While the material can no longer be picked up at the Trinity sight, it is collected and traded by rock hounds and mineral collectors.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Trinity Site

I guess they had all the wires in the correct place yesterday on the "Gadget", and on July 16, 1945 the device was detonated. The picture above was taken 3 one-hundredths of a second after detonation. With this successful, and super secretive test, the world entered the Nuclear Age.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Gadget

The Manhattan Project quickly began to design and build a practical atom bomb. It is interesting that during the conceptual design stage, Edward Teller was already thinking of how to make the much more powerful Hydrogen bombs. His ideas were set aside for the time being, to pursue the conceptually much simpler fission bombs. The first bomb to be built was a plutonium implosion device, and was referred to as the "Gadget". The gadget is pictured above, prior to testing.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Los Alamos

Einstein's letter to Roosevelt featured yesterday did get people's attention, and the super-secret Manhattan Project was started almost immediately. Initially it was primarily a feasibility study to see if a bomb would really be possible, but in 1942 the project was put under General Leslie Groves, and was tasked with actually building an atom bomb. The work was done at dozen's of sites across the country, but the primary work in actually creating the bomb was done at Los Alamos. The picture above shows the entrance to the facility in the days of the Manhattan Project.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Atomic Week

Welcome to Atomic Week where we will investigate the intriguing case of the development of the atomic bomb. Naturally, we must start such a week with Albert Einstein. Einstein was not directly involved in the Manhattan Project, which developed the bomb, but his theoretical work helped to lay the groundwork for the development of the bomb. 

In Einstein's work on his theory of relativity, he came up with the famous relationship of:

E = mc²

E is energy, m is the mass, and c is the speed of light. The equation shows that the total energy in any given object is the mass of the object multiplied by the speed of light squared. Light is very fast, so the speed of light is a very large number. This means the total energy in even a relatively small object is very large. 

In fact, something as small as a grapefruit, if all the energy were released, would create an explosion that could level a city.

Enrico Fermi was one of the first to make this connection. He had successfully established sustained nuclear chain reactions, in which mass was being converted to energy. He speculated that such a reaction could be used to create incredible amounts of energy, or even bombs.

With World War II underway, Einstein realized that the technology existed to create a super weapon in which mass of radioactive material was converted to energy, creating an enormous explosion. He believed that Germany might be working on a super weapon, and that the US could be caught flat footed. Concerned about the matter, he wrote President Roosevelt the following letter. This letter then led to the development of the Manhattan Project to create the atom bomb.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Round Three

Ha! Thought I would quit that easy? WRONG! You must now identify this person.

Round Two

Thought I would go down without a fight? Now way. Welcome to Round Two!

Mystery Person Contest

It is Saturday, and that means Mystery Person Contest. I have a great one for you today. Are You Ready to Ruuuuumble!?!

Friday, May 6, 2011


This is another Edward Curtis photograph from the early 1900's. It shows a Native American placing a feather into a stream.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sioux Man

Today's picture is from 1900, and shows a Sioux Indian man. The picture was taken by Gertrude Kasebier, who took a number of portraits of Native Americans.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Winter Camp

Good Wednesday Morning to you all. I hope you are enjoying some nice springtime weather, and the longer days.

This morning we feature a picture of Indians in Winter Camp. The picture was taken in 1908, and shows some Apsaroke Indians.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


OK, it was pointed out that I had used yesterday's picture before, and in fact had used it fairly recently. I really try to not re-use pictures, and try to give you a fresh old picture each day. Some times I do lose track of what I have shown. Also, I had not realized that I had done a Native American week fairly recently. So, I apologize for that.

Now, today's picture was taken in 1907. The picture was made by the Detroit Publishing Company. It shows a Assinaboine Indian named "Rattlesnake". I like it because he is on horseback,and pictured with a rifle. By 1907, the Indian wars were pretty much over, but the man is of an age that he probably lived through them.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Indian Camp

Today's picture is from 1907, and shows an Indian man in War Bonnet, on horseback. The man is a Dakota. A tipi and other Indians can be seen in the background.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sioux Chiefs

It has been a while since we have looked at Native Americans, so it is time for another Indian Week at OPOD. We will kick things off with this photograph by Edward Curtis. The picture was taken in 1905, and shows Sioux Indian Chiefs on horseback.