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And then there was that time we accidentally dropped a nuke on a playhouse in South Carolina

In 1958, America accidentally dropped a nuclear weapon on two little girls' playhouse
The task was doomed from the start; later testimony indicated Kulka had no idea where to find the locking pin in the large and complicated bomb-release mechanism. After a tense 12 minutes searching for the pin, the bombardier decided, correctly, that it must be high up in the bomb bay and invisible because of the curvature of the bomb. A short man, he jumped to pull himself up to get a look at where he thought the locking pin should be. Unfortunately, he evidently chose the emergency bomb-release mechanism for his handhold. The weapon dropped from its shackle and rested momentarily on the closed bomb-bay doors with Captain Kulka splayed across it in the manner of Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove. Kulka grabbed at a bag that had providentially been stored in the bomb bay, while the more-than-three-ton bomb broke open the bomb-bay doors and fell earthward. The bag Kulka was holding came loose, and he found himself sliding after the bomb without his parachute. He managed to grab something-he wasn't sure what-and haul himself to safety. Moments later the plane was rocked by the shock wave of the blast when the bomb hit the ground. . . . Fortunately, the bomb's nuclear core had been stored elsewhere on the aircraft. Unfortunately, the loose 7,600-pound bomb — which contained concussion-activated explosives — fell adjacent to 37-year-old Walter Gregg's home in Mars Bluff, South Carolina, promptly transforming his vegetable garden and his daughters' playhouse into a 70-foot-wide, 35-foot-deep crater. Nobody died from this explosion, but all five members of the Gregg family (and one visiting cousin) were injured in the ensuing blast. The Greggs would successfully sue the Air Force for $54,000. And the crew of the B-47E? They were initially detained — officials worried this bombing was an act of sabotage — but otherwise avoided reprimand. (The bomber crew at least had the decency to apologize to the Greggs.) Nowadays the crater sits on private property, but you can visit the spot on Google Maps. . . .

April 23, 2012

Marina partiers leave behind enormous mess on Earth Day

The Marina is easily my least favorite part of San Francisco. It's the uber-wealthy, super-white, privileged part of town. Lots of attitude. And apparently they like to really get trashy during Earth Day. Marina Partiers Leave Behind Massive Fort Mason Mess: SFist
Not to get all hippie-preachy or anything, but this is kind of an offensive amount of trash, right? Do normal and reasonable human beings not look at that mess and say, "...maybe we ought to like, I don't know? Take some of this trash with us? To a trash can?" or "Maybe we should bring that coffee table back home?" We've seen our share of litter-y days in Dolores Park and some embarrassing trash pileups in Golden Gate Park, but leaving actual pieces of living room furniture is a whole new level of prickish park use. "Those trash picker guys are going to be stoked about this!" was one justification we heard for the mess. We tried to get someone from the neighborhood recycling center on the phone to settle that bet, but they are unfortunately not open on Sundays, so we'll have to follow up on that later. Anyhow, much of the mess was still around this morning, even after the recyclers had picked it over. Which is disheartening in that "this is why we can't have nice things" sort of way. Enjoying scenic vistas around every corner is one of the nicest parts about living in San Francisco. And Fort Mason has one hell of a Bridge view, so why would you just throw a piece of garbage in front of that, you know?

Hunh . . . this sounds like a pretty good product, and it has 4.5 stars on Amazon

Amazon.co.uk: Customer Reviews: Veet for Men Hair Removal Gel Creme...

April 22, 2012

Ghost-busting con artists targeting Chinese grandmas in San Francisco

SFPD Releases More Sketches Of Suspects In Supernatural Scam: News: SFAppeal
In cases previously described by police, a Chinese woman walking alone was approached by another woman who asked her if she knew the location of an herbal doctor. A second suspect then appeared and said she knew of an herbal doctor, and convinced the victim to go there, according to police. Each victim then met with a third suspect who claimed to be the daughter or granddaughter of the herbal doctor and told the victim that she was cursed, had a ghost attached to her and needed to be "purified" along with her valuables, police said. At that point, each victim went home to collect her valuables and handed them to the third suspect, who put them in a bag and performed some sort of ritual, according to police. The suspect then gave the bag back to the victim but told her not to look into it or else the ritual would not work. The suspect also said not to tell anyone about the ritual or else the ghost would attach to the other person, police said. The victim in each case looked into the bag afterward and found that the valuables--large amounts of jewelry and cash--were gone, according to police.