"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." — Elie Wiesel

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Honey; we need new curtains!


Every now and then I run across something that belongs in the Nutty Nukes category. You know; makes you laugh and cry at the same time, because it's a little bizarre and we are still singing the same old (nuclear) tune.

An article on Air Force Link, the Official Web Site of the United States Air Force tells how engineers at Tinker Air Force Base "are designing a product to protect B-52 Stratofortress aircrews from a nuclear attack's blinding light." So, what have they been doing up till now? I suspect the flash goggles afforded decent eye protection, but that airborne tanning booth George Hamilton cocoa butter suntan just didn't cut it.

Pictured here, Mathew Yost (engineer) and Jennifer Hoffman (engineering intern) are discussing the prototype thermal curtain that can be installed just in time to protect the cockpit crew from the blinding flash even as the bomb incinerates a million people below. The curtains are ever so handy - "When the B-52 is not releasing a nuclear bomb or in close proximity to a detonating nuclear bomb, the curtains are not needed and each curtain can be removed and stored in its storage bag."

They are also a real bargain! "A set consists of seven shades and will cost about $2,500 per set." And as Mathew said, "The nuclear mission is becoming more and more important and this is one of the things that completes the mission, while keeping an aircrew safe should (an aircrew) have to do a mission with nuclear weapons." The Air Force is always focused on minimizing on-the-job injuries, and nuclear flash blindness is a biggie. Having a bunch of blind people trying to land a lumbering b-52 would be no picnic.

Of course, back in the Cold War days custom window curtains (or any curtains for that matter) weren't really all that important. After all, no matter how well aircrews were protected, there wouldn't have been any place to come back to. Nearly all of the United States, and particularly every military base, would have been smoldering ruins.

Read the full article at Air Force Link to get the whole picture of what these engineers are up to. It's gratifying to know that engineers like Yost are so clear on the "nuclear mission", and that they are mentoring young, impressionable engineers to keep the nuclear dream alive (until it becomes a bloody nightmare).

Perhaps engineers like Yost and Hoffman will wake up one day from a new dream, and choose to work on projects that will help build a peaceful world instead of helping with preparations to incinerate this one.