Intl. Notebook Jul 9 2024
The day the sky cracked in half.

There's been increased talk over the last few years about the weaponization of space, however that bridge was crossed a long, long time ago by the U.S. and Soviet Union, with the U.S. getting the ball rolling in 1958 with a series of tests secretly conducted over the South Atlantic Ocean. The above photos, which were made from Honolulu, Hawaii, and the one below made from a surveillance aircraft, and show the U.S. nuclear test known as Starfish Prime. It was one of five explosions comprising Operation Fishbowl, which itself was folded within the encompassing set of tests known as Operation Dominic. The detonation took place in space at an altitude of about 250 miles, and was launched from the North Pacific Ocean's Johnston Atoll atop a Thor ballistic missile. That was today in 1962.

Starfish Prime generated a huge electromagnetic pulse that caused electrical damage in Hawaii, 900 miles away. The pulse extinguished hundreds of streetlights, set off burglar alarms, damaged telephone company equipment so that calls could not be made between the Hawaiian Islands, and, as the charged particles dispersed along the Earth's magnetic belt, caused nine satellites to fail. Electrons released by the explosion were detected in the upper atmosphere five years later. The shot below gives a sense of that, showing the explosion illuminating the sky in the same way as the aurora borealis. A year after the test the U.S. and Soviet Union signed the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which banned all above-ground nuclear testing. The agreement was violated within three years.

History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
July 13
1933—Eugenics Becomes Official German Policy
Adolf Hitler signs the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring, and Germany begins sterilizing those they believe carry hereditary illnesses, and those they consider impure. By the end of WWII more than 400,000 are sterilized, including criminals, alcoholics, the mentally ill, Jews, and people of mixed German-African heritage.
1955—Ruth Ellis Executed
Former model Ruth Ellis is hanged at Holloway Prison in London for the murder of her lover, British race car driver David Blakely. She is the last woman executed in the United Kingdom.
1966—Richard Speck Rampage
Richard Speck breaks into a Chicago townhouse where he systematically rapes and kills eight student nurses. The only survivor hides under a bed the entire night.
July 12
1971—Corona Sent to Prison
Mexican-born serial killer Juan Vallejo Corona is convicted of the murders of 25 itinerant laborers. He had stabbed each of them, chopped a cross in the backs of their heads with a machete, and buried them in shallow graves in fruit orchards in Sutter County, California. At the time the crimes were the worst mass murders in U.S. history.
July 11
1960—To Kill a Mockingbird Appears
Harper Lee's racially charged novel To Kill a Mockingbird is published by J.B. Lippincott & Co. The book is hailed as a classic, becomes an international bestseller, and spawns a movie starring Gregory Peck, but is the only novel Lee would ever publish.
1962—Nuke Test on Xmas Island
As part of the nuclear tests codenamed Operation Dominic, the United States detonates a one megaton bomb on Australian controlled Christmas Island, in the Indian Ocean. The island was a location for a series of American and British nuclear tests, and years later lawsuits claiming radiation damage to military personnel were filed, but none were settled in favor in the soldiers.
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