Topic: California/Southern California
The Santa Susana Field Laboratory is a complex of industrial research and development facilities located on a 2,668-acre (1,080 ha) portion of the Southern California Simi Hills in Simi Valley, California. It was used mainly for the development and testing of liquid-propellant rocket engines for the United States space program from 1949 to 2006, nuclear reactors from 1953 to 1980 and the operation of a U.S. government-sponsored liquid metals research center from 1966 to 1998. The site is located approximately 7 miles (11 km) northwest from the community of Canoga Park and approximately 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Downtown Los Angeles. Sage Ranch Park is adjacent on part of the northern boundary and the community of Bell Canyon along the entire southern boundary.
Throughout the years, about ten low-power nuclear reactors operated at SSFL, in addition to several "critical facilities" that helped develop nuclear science and applications. At least four of the ten nuclear reactors had accidents during their operation. The reactors located on the grounds of SSFL were considered experimental, and therefore, had no containment structures.
The site ceased research and development operations in 2006. The years of rocket testing, nuclear reactor testing, and liquid metal research have left the site "significantly contaminated". Environmental cleanup is ongoing.
The public who live near the site have over the years strongly urged a thorough cleanup of the site, citing cases of long term illnesses, including cancer cases at rates they claim are higher than normal. On March 30, 2018, a 7-year-old girl living in Simi Valley died of neuroblastoma, prompting public urging to thoroughly clean up the site; despite the fact that there is insufficient evidence to identify an explicit link between cancer rates and radioactive contamination in the area.
- "Santa Susana Field Laboratory" | 2018-11-16 | 13 Upvotes 3 Comments
The Battle of Los Angeles, also known as the Great Los Angeles Air Raid, is the name given by contemporary sources to a rumored attack on the mainland United States by Imperial Japan and the subsequent anti-aircraft artillery barrage which took place from late 24 February to early 25 February 1942, over Los Angeles, California. The incident occurred less than three months after the U.S. entered World War II in response to the Imperial Japanese Navy's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and one day after the bombardment of Ellwood near Santa Barbara on 23 February. Initially, the target of the aerial barrage was thought to be an attacking force from Japan, but speaking at a press conference shortly afterward, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox called the purported attack a "false alarm". Newspapers of the time published a number of reports and speculations of a cover-up.
When documenting the incident in 1949, the United States Coast Artillery Association identified a meteorological balloon sent aloft at 1:00 am as having "started all the shooting" and concluded that "once the firing started, imagination created all kinds of targets in the sky and everyone joined in". In 1983, the U.S. Office of Air Force History attributed the event to a case of "war nerves" triggered by a lost weather balloon and exacerbated by stray flares and shell bursts from adjoining batteries.
- "Battle of Los Angeles" | 2021-03-05 | 18 Upvotes 5 Comments
John Whiteside Parsons (born Marvel Whiteside Parsons; October 2, 1914 – June 17, 1952) was an American rocket engineer, chemist, and Thelemite occultist. Associated with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Parsons was one of the principal founders of both the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and the Aerojet Engineering Corporation. He invented the first rocket engine to use a castable, composite rocket propellant, and pioneered the advancement of both liquid-fuel and solid-fuel rockets.
Born in Los Angeles, Parsons was raised by a wealthy family on Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena. Inspired by science fiction literature, he developed an interest in rocketry in his childhood and in 1928 began amateur rocket experiments with school friend Edward S. Forman. He dropped out of Pasadena Junior College and Stanford University due to financial difficulties during the Great Depression, and in 1934 he united with Forman and graduate Frank Malina to form the Caltech-affiliated Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory (GALCIT) Rocket Research Group, supported by GALCIT chairman Theodore von Kármán. In 1939 the GALCIT Group gained funding from the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to work on Jet-Assisted Take Off (JATO) for the U.S. military. After the U.S. entered World War II, they founded Aerojet in 1942 to develop and sell JATO technology; the GALCIT Group became JPL in 1943.
Following some brief involvement with Marxism in 1939, Parsons converted to Thelema, the new religious movement founded by the English occultist Aleister Crowley. Together with his first wife, Helen Northrup, Parsons joined the Agape Lodge, the Californian branch of the Thelemite Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) in 1941. At Crowley's bidding, Parsons replaced Wilfred Talbot Smith as its leader in 1942 and ran the Lodge from his mansion on Orange Grove Boulevard. Parsons was expelled from JPL and Aerojet in 1944 owing to the Lodge's infamous reputation and to his hazardous workplace conduct.
In 1945, Parsons separated from Helen, after having an affair with her sister Sara; when Sara left him for L. Ron Hubbard, Parsons conducted the Babalon Working, a series of rituals intended to invoke the Thelemic goddess Babalon on Earth. He and Hubbard continued the working with Marjorie Cameron, whom Parsons married in 1946. After Hubbard and Sara defrauded him of his life savings, Parsons resigned from the O.T.O., then held various jobs while acting as a consultant for Israel's rocket program. Amid McCarthyism, Parsons was accused of espionage and left unable to work in rocketry. In 1952 Parsons died at the age of 37 in a home laboratory explosion that attracted national media attention; the police ruled it an accident, but many associates suspected suicide or murder.
Parsons's libertarian and occult writings were published posthumously. Historians of Western esoteric tradition cite him as one of the more prominent figures in propagating Thelema across North America. Although academic interest in his scientific career was negligible, historians have come to recognize Parsons's contributions to rocket engineering. For these innovations, his advocacy of space exploration and human spaceflight, and his role in founding JPL and Aerojet, Parsons is regarded as among the most important figures in the history of the U.S. space program. He has been the subject of several biographies and fictionalized portrayals.
- "“Jack” Parsons was an American rocket engineer, chemist, & Thelemite occultist" | 2021-09-19 | 61 Upvotes 30 Comments