Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Archive for April 16, 2014

Krupp K5, a WWII German rail gun; ca. 1944.

This is a Krupp K5. It fired 283mm, 255kg shells at 1120 m/s out of its 21m barrel to a range of up to 64 km.

This is a Krupp K5. It fired 283mm, 255kg shells at 1120 m/s out of its 21m barrel to a range of up to 64 km.

The Krupp K5 was a rail gun, in that it was transported by rail and was mounted on a carriage that rode on several sets of parallel, curved track in order to train the gun. It did not use an electromagnetically-powered carriage riding between two rails to launch its projectile.

Several other proposals were made to modify or create new models of the K5 which never saw production. In particular, there were plans for a model which could leave the railway by use of specially modified Tiger II tank chassis which would support the mounting box in much the same manner as the railway weapon’s two bogies. This project was ended by the defeat of Germany. (Source)

Take a very close look at this picture of the K5. at the end of the barrel you can see groves on the inside of the barrel. These grooves are 8cm deep and go all the way down the length of the barrel in a helical pattern like this. This is called rifling.


When the gun fires, the ‘bullet’ is put under tremendous forces, and as a result is compressed lengthwise. The compression also pushes parts of the bullet into the groves, and as the bullet travels down the barrel, it locks onto the groves, causing it to spin. This spinning is important as it keeps the bullet stable and pointing forward for the entire duration of it’s flight, taking advantage of gyroscopic stability.



A Sami child riding on a reindeer in Norway; ca. 1900.


Russian tanker M. Smirnov; ca. 1943.

This man before the war, worked as a teacher of drawing and singing in the village. He and other members of the crew died inside tank burned by germans

This man before the war, worked as an art teacher in his village. 

He and other members of the crew died inside their tank when it was burned by German soldiers on January 21, 1943.

According to the recommendation in a fight on 21-01-1943 the crew fearlessly annihilated manpower and machines of the enemy. In total 5 bunkers with officers and up to 120 soldiers, 5 enemy tanks, 24 (armored) vehicles, 19 artillery pieces and mortars and 15 machine gun positions in a 5-hours constant battle until it was hit by a shell and lost it’s maneuvering ability. Even after it was stranded, the tank fired all the ammunition it had. The Germans surrounded the tank and poured gasoline over the tank, demanding the crew to surrender. The crew refused and were burned alive. (Source)

Nikola Tesla in his laboratory; ca.1899.

Publicity photo created by double exposure.

Publicity photo created by using double exposure.

Publicity photo of Nikola Tesla sitting in his laboratory in Colorado Springs in December 1899. Photo was taken by Dickenson V. Alley, photographer at the Century Magazines. The laboratory was built in 1899. Tesla sent a copy of this photograph to Sir William Crookes in England in 1901. This image was created using “trick photography” via a double exposure. The electrical bolts were photographed in a darkened room. The photographic plate was exposed a second time with the equipment off and Tesla sitting in the chair. Tesla’s Colorado Springs notes identify the photo as a double exposure. (Source)

To give an idea of the magnitude of the discharge the experimenter is sitting slightly behind the “extra coil”. I did not like this idea but some people find such photographs interesting. Of course, the discharge was not playing when the experimenter was photographed, as might be imagined!



Gas Mask Girls: Dancers at the Windmill Theatre in London, practice a routine wearing gas masks and hard-hats with their costumes; Jan 1940.


A whaling ship surrounded by several dead whales lying in the sea at Spitsbergen, Norway; ca. 1905.

This picture makes me sad but it’s fascinating nonetheless to see such a grand, morbid sight.

 Prior to the invention of the modern petrochemical industry, whale oil was prized for illumination since it burned very cleanly in oil lamps. It was also used for lots of specialized lubrication applications such as clockworks and transmission gearboxes. In the US, whale oil was used until the signing of the 1972 Endangered Species Act.

Harold Agnew carrying the plutonium core of the Nagasaki Fat Man bomb; ca. 1945.


Smile on his face, holding a little box. If you didn’t know what the subject was, you’d think he was heading out with his lunchbox…


An East German guard passes a flower through a gap in the Berlin wall on the morning it was torn down; November 10th 1989.



One “Rosie the Riveter” at Douglas Aircraft plant in Long Beach, CA; Oct 1942.


Richard Nixon stands on a car during his 1968 presidential campaign.

For some reason I kind of think he looks like Bugs Bunny

For some reason I kind of think he looks like Bugs Bunny.