Truck driver builds the "most detailed replica of an A-bomb ever made"

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72 Responses to “Truck driver builds the "most detailed replica of an A-bomb ever made"”

  1. angryearthling says:

    shouldn’t there be a sign ‘do not ride the bomb’?

  2. damaris says:

    kudos to jc-mullen who was determined to see his project or hobby, which donned on him while driving finished till the end. whether fascinating or disgusting..at least he accomplished it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The original Fat Man and Little Boy bombs were vaporized into sub-atomic particles (along with a large number of the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki) when these bombs were detonated in 1945. The Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio has the back-up “dummy” bomb casings which have been on display from time to time.

  4. iluvhatemail says:

    this book will sell out in iran ;)

  5. Anonymous says:

    Here in the UK it is April 1st

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ok, The fact that he could build the replica is very cool and able to figure out how it worked.

    It just scares me to death, that it only takes the 1940′s level of technology to build a real one. Hmm Maybe that is why we keep bombing places back to the stone age?
    (Yes its a bad Joke)

    • Mister44 says:

      Remember that the hard part is to get the weapons grade materials. So it would be like you can build a gun, but it’s useless because you can’t make bullets for it.

  7. stirboo says:

    I’m not too thrilled at the sight of an atomic bomb — replica or not — being loaded onto a yellow rental truck.

  8. pinehead says:

    That’s pretty amazing that he can claim to have the most detailed model ever built, what with all the history buffs in the country studying the engineering of the original bombs and their effects.

    I used to be a truck driver. Some of you would be surprised by how many of them are pretty bright people. Of course, most of the people who look down on truckers couldn’t be convinced to change their minds anyway. Some people need to feel superior to somebody or else their worldview crumbles. I just hate to see the derision towards truckers. As a group, they’re nearly all extremely honest, amicable and generally worthy people, and their choice of vocation means you get a reliable source of groceries, new clothes and building supplies anytime you need them. It seems a bit dim-witted to hate someone who fills that need in our society.

  9. Hell's Donut House says:

    Also covered in detail in the New Yorker in 2008:
    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/12/15/081215fa_fact_samuels

  10. sapere_aude says:

    I think the main reason they pointed out that this guy had “minimal college education” was to emphasize the fact that you don’t need a PhD in physics or engineering to understand how a gun-type uranium bomb works and to build one for yourself (minus the fissile material and explosives, of course). It took our most brilliant scientists several years to invent the thing; but once they had done the hard part of figuring out how to make it work, and the even harder part of producing a sufficient quantity of enriched uranium, putting the bomb together was relatively easy. I think it’s safe to say that most people don’t have a clue how an atomic bomb works, or how easy it is to build a gun-type bomb once you do know how it works. (The hard part is getting your hands on weapons-grade uranium.) But if people are told that a trucker with “minimal college education” can build one in his spare time, that lets them know that you don’t have to be an expert in nuclear physics, work in a high-tech laboratory with supercomputers and exotic equipment, or have access to top secret information in order to build an extremely accurate replica of an A-bomb like the one dropped on Hiroshima. (Building an accurate replica of the sort of A-bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, on the other hand, would be a much greater challenge.) So, I don’t think the intent here was to disparage – or to patronize – people who didn’t finish college. I think the intent was to dispel the notion that you have to be a professional nuclear engineer, or else some sort of evil genius mad scientist, in order to build one of these things.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Most of the secrets of the Universe are astonishingly simple; It’s human brain function that makes things difficult.

  12. awjtawjt says:

    How many smoke detectors did it take?

  13. Anonymous says:

    I think it’s funny that he’s driving a Toyota….LOL

  14. LakesideOrion says:

    If I had that, I’d regularly sit on it, wave my cowboy hat around, and carefully consider man’s folly. (http://goo.gl/4mINp)

  15. Anonymous says:

    Ice Road Truckers…
    Ice Road Truckers Himalayas…
    Ice Road Truckers A-B*mb Builders…

    If we plot this on a graph it’s safe to say they’ll be moving the moon’s orbit pretty soon.

    • millrick says:

      “If we plot this on a graph it’s safe to say they’ll be moving the moon’s orbit pretty soon.”

      that, sir or madam, is a truly frightening concept

      “Ice Road Truckers” + “Coal” miners digging for uranium + “Junkyard Wars” + a “Nova” rocket scientist or two = “Space: 1999″

      it could happen – it really could
      please pitch this concept to the cable networks ASAP

  16. Anonymous says:

    Wot no visits from Homeland Insecurity? Congratulations btw.

  17. Jerril says:

    “In a post-9/11 world” air travel is safer than it has ever been, except for that part where they insist on bunching everyone up on the way into the terminal so we can be easily bombed on the ground for maximum impact and minimum effort.

    Oh, and unnecessarily and pointlessly irradiate us, and abuse the most vulnerable among us.

    Things ARE different after 9/11 – we’ve apparently gotten stupider. :P

  18. Anonymous says:

    To answer some of you, yes of course the general operating principles surrounding both weapons have been well known and understood for many decades. What I did was go way beyond that by fleshing out all the details, many revealed in my book for the first time. This was a long, arduous task complicated by the fact this is all still considered highly classified even after 65 years. I have dotted all the “I’s” and crossed all the “T’s” to an unprecedented degree, by describing all of the internal components. I’ve described what they were made from along with their dimensions and placement. These are some quotes from an interview available on-line with Harold Agnew given in 2005 by the UNLV. Agnew is the oldest living director of Los Alamos and was on the Hiroshima mission. “Most amazing document…In all first rate…there are drawings in there that are absolutely correct…he’s got everything exactly: dimensions, materials, and things that have been really classified…He’s an amazing guy. I don’t know how he puts this all together…It’s mind boggling to me.” The hardest part of either weapon was the creation of fissile material and that should always remain tightly controlled by the proper international regulatory agencies such as the IAEA.

  19. Anonymous says:

    For the record, Japan was working on a nuclear bomb too. Don’t feel TOO sorry for them. How quickly people forget (or maybe we need more FPS games about it) that Japan killed 20 Million Chinese, were notoriously cruel and ruthless, and used chemical and bio weapons against them.

    The same Japanese women and children who were sitting at home in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or is it simply to hard to tell them apart? One of the main arguments against saying “unfortunate, but we had no choice” for these things is how quickly it becomes a delight in killing.

  20. MadRat says:

    I own his book and have read it. Building an atomic bomb isn’t as easy as you think. It’s not like someone can build an atomic bomb from plutonium and pinball machine parts. Except for this book, I’ve never seen or heard a description of how to build an atomic bomb that would actually work.

    If they had an atomic bomb like this, even a terrorist wouldn’t be idiotic enough use it. Why? Remember that the bombs used in World War 2 were the very first prototype bombs and horrifically inefficient. It would be like getting into a gun fight with a blunderbuss from the 1300s. If I remember right more than 90% of the energy was wasted because less than 10% was released as blast, heat or radiation. It makes more sense to sell the nuclear material for a few billion dollars and fund a terrorist movement for decades or to build a larger bomb or several more efficient bombs. Most of the damage you see in old films of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is from a small area, close to where the bomb detonated. Everyone seems to have a have a motivation in exaggerating the power of the World War 2 atomic bombs. The Japanese get sympathy, the US government scares its enemies and the peace activist motivate their followers, all by saying these bombs were far worse they they actually were.

    • Flying_Monkey says:

      I hardly think that you can claim there was exaggeration of the damage in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, both immediate and longer term, just because nuclear bombs today are more effective. Sure, the fire-bombing of other cities in both Germany and Japan caused more immediate damage, but you have got to remember that it was almost inconceivable to most people at the time that one bomb could do this. To most people, it still is and it is not actually that they factually ‘exaggerate’ the damage, it’s more important they really have no understanding of the real extent and impact and what one might learn from it. I don’t think humanity can afford to be so divorced from the experience of suffering in situations like this.

      BTW, I wouldn’t be too confident about the rationality of people involved in terrorist organisations. Aum Shinrikyo, for example, didn’t seem to care too much about the ‘efficiency’ of sarin or the distribution methods they chose. And they were involved in trying to construct nuclear weapons too…

      • MadRat says:

        I made some pretty extraordinary claims so I should have proof, right? Let’s take the example of Hiroshima. We’ve always been told that a city of 300,000 people was destroyed and 140,000 of them had died by the end of 1945. In 1995 the Japanese government concluded a four-year survey and found the actual number of causalities was 87,833, 40% lower then initially reported (The Japan Times, August 7-13, 1995, Vol. 35). If you look at Wikipedia’s map of damage done to Hiroshima (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/56/Hiroshima_Damage_Map.png) you’ll see that fire damage was almost entirely in an area 1 mile from ground zero and blast damage was mostly within a distance of two miles from ground zero. I live in Portland, Oregon so here’s a map showing what might happen if a Little Boy bomb were dropped on it. (http://i51.tinypic.com/r8zbbs.png) Not very impressive, is it? This map doesn’t show the entire metropolitan area, I had to crop it so it would fit on tinypic.

        • Flying_Monkey says:

          88,000 out of 300,000… so that’s more than 25% dead of the population from one single bomb. I think that’s rather extraordinary and chilling, don’t you?

          And then there are injuries – probably a similar number of people injured.

          And how it relates to Portland today is really rather irrelevant, it is firslty, the physical impact on Hiroshima that it made at the time that matters. Here’s the US Strategic Bombing Survey map of the damage: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/62/Hiroshima_Damage_Map.gif

          Secondly there’s the social-psychological impact it made, which was enormous, and so it should be. I can’t see the moral imperative in trying to play this down or the logic in comparing physical impact to metaphysical impact – do you have special scales for that? ;-)

          • MadRat says:

            A lot of the comments above are about how easily terrorists could get atomic bombs and what I’m talking about is how the Little Boy design relates to terrorism. My previous comments weren’t about whether it was right or wrong to use the Little Boy bomb on Hiroshima, but how we view its destructive power.

            Over the years the way we think of Little Boy has become confused with thermonuclear bombs that are ten thousand times more powerful and no one has corrected us. When we imagine what a nuclear weapon would do, we think of whole cities being incinerated. The Little Boy bomb was much, much weaker than a thermonuclear weapon. It was so primitive and inefficient that if terrorists were to explode a Little Boy bomb in any of America’s 50 largest cities, like Portland, it would destroy only one district.

            A terrorist organization smart enough to build an atomic bomb would know that the Little Boy design was abandoned immediately after (and almost before) it was used. The same amount of uranium could be made into several, physically smaller atomic bombs that could be used to attack several cities or it could be easily boosted to 10 times the destructive power.

    • bcsizemo says:

      And realistically the “arms race” heated up much more heavily as the weapons were scaled up.

      Going from something like Fat Man/Little Boy to Ivy Mike to The Czar Bomb you kind of see were it was going fast. (And the shear amount of destruction and power that was developed in a short time was frightening in and of itself.)

      And once it was realized that a single bomb could easily destroy a large city then all you needed was a delivery mechanism. Once you had that everything else began to fall into place.

      I find it more impressive that as countries/people we have learned how to move past the history of wars with each other and now we work together for the greater good. It’s just to bad that a lot of other countries can’t grow up a little.

      haters gonna hate.

  21. Flying_Monkey says:

    I’m sure it’s all very awesome on purely technical level. However it makes me uneasy on an ethical level, in the same way as those guys who collect Nazi memorabilia, spend all their time reading books about famous serial killers, or go off and shoot large weapons in the desert, also make me feel uneasy. I guess I just don’t entirely understand people who can find such weapons, or mass killing, so fascinating that they would want to recreate them or play at it. And I can’t help feeling that someone so clearly talented might be better off delpoying his undoubted skills towards something both technically awesome and also useful to humanity. As I said, it’s nowhere near a watertight argument, and I am not condemning it, I just have a slightly distubring feeling about it.

  22. joeygsb says:

    Come on people! The whole line of this story is absurd and drips with ignorance. “(H)ow easy they are to make”?! Guys, there is nothing easy about making an atomic bomb.

    The only way weapons grade uranium (U-235) can be made is through massive state-directed efforts. And in fact, THAT process is what “making” a nuclear weapon involves–Enriching uranium is how a fission device is “made.” Lucky for us, that.

    Further, it’s not a new story that the mechanical side of construction of a gun-type fission device is difficult. That story was told in 1974 in THE CURVE OF BINDING ENERGY by McPhee/Taylor. Great book. Taylor even told us where you could get the necessary U-235…

  23. angryearthling says:

    and if you want to see more samples and don’t mind travelling then you can pop along to the russian nuclear bomb museum!

    http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Russia/Sovwarhead.html

    i believe the head count on the way out can be complicated. :-)

  24. Anonymous says:

    A gun-type device (EG, Little Boy) also has the worst safety record. If the Enola Gay crashed on takeoff, the weapon would have fired and Tinian would have been erased off the map.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Not really surprising if he is willing to do some reading. A uranium bomb is really easy to build, in fact it is so easy that the first one ever to be detonated was detonated over Japan, the scientists were that certain it would work, the hard part is getting the enriched uranium which requires considerable engineering effort and finesse. Plutonium is easier to acquire but the explosive expertise to actually get the bomb to work is not likely to be replicated here, so yeah cool but it really does not do much to demonstrate that nukes are easy to build.

  26. phisrow says:

    Probably for the best that isotope separation, while not conceptually tricky, is a real pain in the ass once you get down to engineering and cost…

  27. Grey Devil says:

    This is a really interesting documentary of sorts. I found it interesting that other people are as fascinated by the a-bombs themselves like i am, i tried looking up a model replica to purchase online last year and could not find something that wasn’t over a few hundred bucks D: Damn my poorness.

  28. Allen Garvin says:

    Sure, Little Boy was pretty easy to make. It was a simple gun-type device that slammed two pieces of uranium together. A plutonium bomb like Fat Man that used precisely timed implosion is at least an order of magnitude, or maybe two, more difficult, if you’re using period materials and electronics for historical purposes.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just to point out that one certainly can build implosion devices with weapons grade uranium. In fact, after the successful Trinity test, several physicists as Los Alamos suggested doing just that, because several implosion devices could be made from the same uranium used to make one gun-type bomb. But Groves didn’t want to delay the second bomb any more than necessary.

      South Africa went with a gun-type design for their nuclear program.

  29. spincycle says:

    While certainly lacking details, I’ve always enjoyed John McPhee’s excellent “The Curve of Binding Energy” for discussions of atomic weapon design and theory.

  30. OoerictoO says:

    my eyes! interlaced!

  31. ackpht says:

    9/11 showed that chaos can be created quite effectively without the use of nuclear weapons. While the prospect of existing nukes falling into the hands of terrorists is a genuine concern, I think the possibility of a terrorist organization actually building a functioning nuclear weapon is next to zero- not because it’s difficult, but because they wouldn’t bother.

    Why even try to build a nuke when you can sow terror by simply perverting the weak minds of a few suicidal misfits?

  32. Anonymous says:

    this is absolutely perverted. Whats even more strange in a post 911 world how he had so much help from people making this thing. What a disgusting fascination… some people build model ships and some people dedicate models of death contractions that brought humanity to an all time low.

    • Jake0748 says:

      No, its not perverted. Its a fascination with physics and the forces of nature. I didn’t see anyone in the video saying anything positive about war or destruction or death.

      “In a post 911 world…” what the fuck does that even mean? I’m sick of hearing it.

      Personally, I don’t know anyone in my life who’s interested in physics, or science in general, for that matter that doesn’t wonder about the design and construction of nuclear weapons.
      As for me, I’m sorry they didn’t show any interior details of his model. Doesn’t mean I have any desire or intention to build or use one.

      Thanks anyway Anonymous. Have a nice day.

      • snuf42 says:

        “In a post 911 world…’ what the fuck does that even mean?”

        It means you don’t need an atomic weapon to cause mass destruction?

        I absolutely can’t stand the use of that term. There is plenty of reason to debate the use of the atomic bomb on Japan but it is in no way equatable to the Sept 11th 2001 terrorist attacks. The US vs Japan was a situation of two nations in a state of declared war.

        I can completely understand the fascination of the weapons. I have only basic layman’s understanding of how they work but irregardless of the destructive result, the physics are amazing. The same goes for nuclear reactors.

    • dbarak says:

      We all have disgusting fascinations. What’s yours?

      Too bad we’ll never know since you’re not likely to be back, Anon.

      • Anonymous says:

        In 2004 I was commissioned by the Historic Wendover Airfield Museum in Wendover, Utah to build this Little Boy where it is on permanent display. Based on my extensive study of the 1945 photos of the Little Boy L-11 unit (before it was dropped on Hiroshima) in both the Tinian loading pit and inside the Enola Gay bomb bay, I duplicated this L-11 unit in exacting detail down to every last nut, bolt, safety wires, arming plugs, and electrical connections. It is covered with over 60 signatures of the 509th vets and families. Its historic value alone now is priceless because of those signatures for many of those vets have now passed on.

    • Tzctboin says:

      “in a post 911 world”

      Just a reminder that 911 was perpetrated with a bunch of cutters (not even knives I believe) and exploiting massive amounts of jet fuel, using the airplane itself as a delivery mechanism.

      Nuclear devices were not involved at all (or did Bush say they were? So many lies that I can’t remember anymore …)

      • TEKNA2007 says:

        Nuclear devices were not involved at all (or did Bush say they were? So many lies that I can’t remember anymore …)

        IIRC, it was very strongly suggested but not actually stated through official administration communication channels.

        1) The Nigerian yellowcake letter
        2) Colin Powell’s Big WMD Show in front of the UN.
        3) Condoleeza Rice’s statement “But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

    • Mister44 says:

      Man up, Nancy. Yeesh. This is an awesome piece of Make.

      Is there a Godwin equivalent with 9/11? There should be.

      Also – he should blare this out of his truck as he drives down the road:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHMzCpy0fXc

      • stormy_cat says:

        Really? I wonder if survivors of Hiroshima who listened to their children burn to death under rubble, or watched them slowly die of radiation sickness would consider this “an awesome piece of make.”

        • Mister44 says:

          OMG, I can not possibly roll my eyes more. Given their fetish for weaponry, including the most detailed and accurate airsoft rifles, model kits of giant robots with a shit ton of weaponry, manga and anime featuring weaponry accurately, and the history and culture of getting all stabby, I doubt it would raise anyone’s ire to make a 1:1 model.

          For the record, Japan was working on a nuclear bomb too. Don’t feel TOO sorry for them. How quickly people forget (or maybe we need more FPS games about it) that Japan killed 20 Million Chinese, were notoriously cruel and ruthless, and used chemical and bio weapons against them. The 2 bombs dropped saved millions of Japanese and Allies from the deaths that would have occurred from a traditional invasion.

  33. sam1148 says:

    I guess unlike other truck drivers, this dude has lots of disposable income for projects.

  34. Awesomer says:

    That sure is a detailed replica. Out of curiosity, does anyone know where the original Fat Man and Little Boy are nowadays?

  35. brassandlace says:

    It irks me that the article feels the need to point out that the man didn’t go to college. So what? Just because you didn’t (or couldn’t) doesn’t mean you can’t do incredible things. Likewise, going to college doesn’t mean you’re smarter right out the door. Hell, I went to Cal and the most useful (education-related) things I learned were things I taught myself to do by reading a book.

    :/

    • silkox says:

      Isn’t that the point? The man didn’t go to college, and look at the remarkable thing he’s done (if you like this sort of thing). Just because one didn’t go to college doesn’t mean one can’t do incredible things.

      • retrojoe says:

        Gah! You make him sound like he’s handi-capable. Count me as also irked about the college comment (I have an MA). My father (whose math skills make me look like a kindergartener) has never set foot inside a college and despite this “handicap” is a senior engineer at an aerospace firm. Education does not equal intelligence. There are a lot of people with college educations who can barely function in society.

  36. Lucifer says:

    This guy is essentially a true “Hacker”. A hacker who demonstrates the need for tight regulatory controls over access to fissionable material given that the design and reverse-engineering (hacking) of a working atomic device can be achieved by a layperson. He points out where unsecured areas are and where to tighten up security.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I was told to my face on Tinian in 2005 by the third Los Alamos director that “If I still ran the shop, I’d have you back there in a heartbeat to tell everyone how you did this so if they had something they wanted to really keep secret they’d know where to plug the leaks.” He tried to convince the head of the LANL weapons program to do this but, although he was “horrified” he would not do so. Pity! I got all this from 18 years of mining open sources and that has them very rattled. A senior NNSA technical advisor told me a few months ago that he “found out about [my] book at a briefing I received at the Defense Nuclear Weapons School run by DTRA. You are well known to the feds!” He continued, “The powers that be are scared of you and what you did because you were able to collect from unclassified sources.” It’s all hiding in plain sight!

    • Mister44 says:

      I thought basic a-bomb design was pretty well known, especially after the fall of the iron curtain and the various secrets became more well known. (Hey, if the North Koreans can do it…)

      I do commend you on your work. I used to work at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson KS. I am sure those guys would really appreciate the work. The Cosmosphere had to take basically and empty shell of a mercury capsule, and put all of the wiring et al. back in. They were the ones who made the props for Apollo 13, to give you an idea on the detail.

    • Sork says:

      When I watched the beautiful movie Trinity and Beyond for the first time I also became very aware of the history and interested in the engineering works of the nuclear devices. I sat for hours with Google Earth and Wikipedia and located the craters of all the detonations that were in the movie as well as other, and the bomb loading pits which you’ve seen in real life.

      Will you continue and build other famous replicas like the Tsar Bomba or Minuteman MIRV warhead, or would you feel unsatisfied if you couldn’t make the insides work and they are just empty shells?

      I wonder if this replica of the Tsar Bomba is accurate in the weight distribution because it has such a strange center of gravity that to me should tip that wagon over.

      • Anonymous says:

        With the exception of a few museums, every atomic or hydrogen bomb on public display here, and in this museum, are actual nuclear weapons, not replicas. In order to “declassify” them, and depending on the weapon, most of the critical components on the insides have been removed. In some instances, what is on display is a “trainer” or “drop shape” and these never had any “weapon” components inside, just counterweights to simulate the proper CG for handling and training purposes. Almost of the Little Boy and Fat Man weapons on display are original postwar decommissioned weapons, not replicas. In the case of Little Boy, and especially after 9/11, the DOE ordered the removal of all the gun tubes and tungsten-carbide (WC) tamper/reflector material. The thinking here was that no matter how remote the possibility, “tiger teams” could somehow get into a museum complex, steal a Little Boy, and use what was still inside to turn it back into a nuclear weapon. They installed lengths of ordinary steel pipe to substitute for the gun tubes and the original forged steel target cases formerly containing the WC are still heavy enough for the weapon to be stable when placed on any display stand or weapon carrier.

      • Mister44 says:

        re: “I wonder if this replica of the Tsar Bomba is accurate in the weight distribution because it has such a strange center of gravity that to me should tip that wagon over.”

        No no – that’s right. The back was where the heavy nuclear material was. The front had a hammock with a guy and a hammer, ready to wack it at just the right time to set off the explosion.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Thank you all for commenting on my book, this article, and the VBS movie. I dropped out of the university in my junior year back in 1968. I have been a trucker for over 14 years and previously spent almost 30 years as a professional advertising and corporate photographer. This taught me how to analyze photos. What I was commissioned to build was a steel, fiberglass, and wood replica for public display. The hard part was taking the 18 years to figure out what’s inside both weapons. It is still top secret information and I have been told they will never fully declassify it. Every, and I mean every, previous book on this topic has errors of one kind or another. I started from scratch and took the time to read through thousands of pages of declassified Los Alamos reports along with analyzing 1945 photos of the bombs and their components some of which were kept as souvenirs and loaned to me by Manhattan Project scientists for periods of time. I was able to use those photos to derive specific and previously undiscovered dimensional information. I also physically inspected, measured, and photographed every Little Boy and Fat Man on public display anywhere in the world. I conducted hundreds of hours of interview with original participants. I have partially disassembled three of them with the full cooperation and assistance of the museum staff. I have been inside five B-29’s including spending several hours inside both the front cockpit and bomb bay of the Enola Gay recreating the exact movements of the people who armed those bombs in flight and assembled them on Tinian. I have been to Tinian twice exploring the bomb loading pits and assembly structures. And yes, I have been to Hiroshima. My book is in their Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum research library. It is also used as a textbook at the FBI Quantico Training Academy. Unless you have the fissile material, these things are just lawn ornaments. If you do have the fissile material, there are so many ways to make them using both materials and processes unavailable to the Manhattan Project engineers. The results of my research are the cross-section drawings in my book that are the most accurate ever and are so accurate, in fact, that at least one top Manhattan Project scientist thought they were they actual drawings.

    • Mister44 says:

      Well, I for one think that’s awesome. Good luck!

      PS – you said you were commissioned? By who?

    • MadRat says:

      To Mr. Coster-Mullen: Have you ever taken the tour of Hanford, Washington? If you’ve want to, do so as soon as you can, every year a little more of Hanford disappears.

      Thank you, for writing your book. If we ever meet, the Diet Coke’s on me!

  39. brassandlace says:

    I can see that side of it. I guess I view it more from a perspective that it shouldn’t be something of note to begin with, it should be the norm, so why point it out? But this is likely my being overly optimistic about what the world should be like…

    • Jack says:

      Well, I myself am autodidactic. And the thing I realize is I could not have—for example—done a career shift without an education in my current field if I didn’t figure out how to teach myself via the Internet. Basic coding, compiling and systems admin stuff that has always been a part of the Internet lexicon. But in another era I would have to spend so much time in books and libraries that I would not have gotten the information as quickly as I can now.

      He shows an amazing level of self-motvation, learning and growing. So I have no doubt he might have been able to do this without the Internet, but I think that the past 20 years has opened up a world of knowledge where people can truly learn and grow past their formal “education” to learn and master new skills.

      Right now my 15+ years experience as a coder washes away my piddly BA degree. And I think more and more people will find that practical experience counts as much—or more-so—than classroom learning nowadays.

      I understand where you are coming from, but I embrace the fact his lack of formal education in the topic has not stood in the way of his dreams. It’s really admirable and I think this guy’s story needs a wider audience.

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