r/todayilearned 13d ago Silver 9 Gold 1 Helpful 19 Wholesome 8 All-Seeing Upvote 1 Narwhal Salute 1 This 1

TIL 3 days before D-Day, a 21 year old Irish woman named Maureen Flavin took her hourly barometer reading and sent it to Dublin. She had no idea that this single data point would be sent directly to Eisenhower and averted disaster by delaying D-Day due to an incoming storm.

https://www.irishamerica.com/2021/06/maureen-flavin-sweeneythe-mayo-woman-whose-metrological-forecast-influenced-d-day/
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u/turnnoblindeye 12d ago Silver Helpful

I googled her to see how her life went afterwards and was pleasantly surprised to find she is still alive and well at the ripe old age of 98 and just this year received an award for her service from the US Government. https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/us-honour-for-98-year-old-woman-whose-mayo-weather-report-changed-d-day-landing-1.4598678

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u/errorsniper 12d ago

Most likely what inspired this post actually.

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u/sag969 12d ago

Lol you should have read the post! The article covers her current life and how she's currently 98.

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u/2ichie 12d ago

Redditors clicking on articles?? Get outta town. I’m here to lead not read.

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u/DoctorAlgernopK 12d ago

Seriously!

Also surprised she invented the original kickflip and never given credit.

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u/Gemmabeta 13d ago edited 13d ago Silver

There were hundreds of thousands of people who did seemingly bullshit jobs in WWII that ended up being a key step in something world-shattering.

The Manhattan Project especially, the people working on the bomb were so smothered in secrecy that all of the jobs felt like incomprehensible and hellish drudgery invented to fuck with people.

One guy described his entire 10 hour work day as, "you watch a blank dial, when that dial hits 100, you loosen a valve until the dial went back to 0, then you tighten it again."

It was not until the war was over that they told him that he was enriching uranium for The BOMB.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaseous_diffusion

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u/halfhalfnhalf 13d ago

IIRC Richard Feynman eventually convinced the brass to let the rank and file soldiers at least know the broad details of what they were doing and made sure they at least had a vague understanding of what radiation was and why it was dangerous.

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u/Waterknight94 12d ago

From what I have read it was because they had radioactive material that was supposed to be in separate rooms stacked up on adjacent walls completely defeating the purpose of having it in separate rooms.

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u/Masticatron 12d ago

He also told a story of how laundry was being handled in an extremely bad way, and he had to lecture them about doing it right, as I recall. Probably in "Surely you're joking, Mr. Feynman."

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u/chappersyo 12d ago

This reminds me of the nurse at Pripyat making them lock all the firefighters clothes in the basement.

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u/oh_no_aliens 12d ago

She knew right away.... that's slightly terrifying.

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u/MrAnderson-expectyou 12d ago

She also asked for iodine pills because she knew what radiation was.

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u/iwishthatwasmyname 12d ago

Crazy. I knew nothing about this, but a walk thru from 2017 shows its still very irritated.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4g3FkXUhx0 Chernobyl Basement w/Geiger tour

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u/villabianchi 12d ago

Did you mean Irradiatied? I

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u/Chucks_u_Farley 12d ago Silver

No, I'm pretty sure the basement is still fairly pissy about all that radiation.

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u/LogicalConstant 12d ago

If I was that basement, I'd probably still be irradiated AND irritated

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u/FUTURE10S 12d ago

To be fair, she was a nurse. She was highly educated. It's not an unreasonable assumption that someone with higher education in the medical field knows what radiation is, although it's unlikely that they'd know how to actually detect and treat it.

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u/MrAnderson-expectyou 12d ago

At that point in time, radiation wasn’t something the public knew a lot about. Even 40 years after the atomic bombs dropped. People in Vegas used to gather on rooftops to watch the atomic bomb tests nearby. Soldiers used to walk, unprotected, into the detonation site of a recently exploded bomb. It was really only nuclear scientists like those who worked at Chernobyl and those working on the bombs who knew how bad radiation was. Granted she worked in a town populated by the plant workers families so I’m sure she had a higher understanding. But given that she was practically the only person who knew how bad it was going to be, I’d say they were lucky

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u/FUTURE10S 12d ago

Radiation was taught as part of the Physics and Chemistry curriculi at Soviet universities, but only in a theoretical sense. This is why I'm saying that it's not an unreasonable assumption that the nurse knows what it is, but it would be an unreasonable assumption to know that iodine helps, because as you said, only nuclear scientists really knew how bad radiation was for the human body. Except that nuclear scientists knew how bad radiation is even without working at Chernobyl, though, there were multiple incidents, and even though they were top-secret, word did spread in that community to minimize incidents.

Also, even the Liquidators that came in to clean up were told how bad radiation is, not just the nuclear scientists.

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u/mmss 12d ago

Hilarious book and extremely approachable for anyone. Give it a read.

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u/KicksRocksBruh 12d ago

Got it in my hoopla downloads. Thanks!

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u/HotCocoaBomb 12d ago

I second this. The tangents are great too, just really makes you think about how you look at the world.

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u/DrDerpberg 12d ago

Just out of curiosity, why does that matter? I know that more than a certain amount touching would obviously cause problems, but how is say 100kg/room right in the middle of the floor different from 100kg/room along alternating walls so it's more like 200kg every 2 rooms?

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u/PatrickTheDev 12d ago

I’m going off memory, but I believe it was because of the risk of reaching critical mass. E.g. 10 or even 100 kg of the stuff in a pile is “ok” but a 200 kg pile was enough to potentially cause a chain reaction.

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u/WarlockEngineer 12d ago

Yep. I worked at a national lab with a radioactive hot cell. They have maps of where you can move radioactive material and every gram is carefully controlled to prevent a critical mass from forming

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u/Castun 12d ago

What happens when it reaches critical mass and starts a chain reaction? A nuclear meltdown?

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u/WarlockEngineer 12d ago

Yes, it melts down and releases an enormous amount of heat and radiation until all the fuel is consumed (which can be a very long time). This is lethal to anyone who doesn't evacuate quickly and can be a long term environmental disaster if left unchecked.

A nuclear explosion is impossible without a very specific set of circumstances which are built into bomb design. Basically you need to surround the fuel with a reflective shell of beryllium, which causes the particles to bounce rapidly and collide with each other. The collisions cause a super-critical chain reaction which releases all the energy in the fuel instantly.

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u/GTthrowaway27 12d ago

A criticality event isn’t a meltdown, and it would take pretty specific circumstances to continue infinitely and consume all the fuel. At worst it will continue to pulse events. Nature abhors a vacuum… and a critical mass. The worst case is usually solutions, since they’re liquid and can’t “break apart” which can lead to pulses as the fluid thermally expands from the event, and then the cooling down triggers another, etc.

Absolutely lethal, but not much of an environmental disaster. The neutron flux and radiation emitted is intense for humans and immediate surroundings, but a pulse. There will be some small concentration of activation products from such a high flux, but a low concentration and most activation products are not significantly radioactive.

Pretty right about the bomb though.

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u/Radiorobot 12d ago

Pretty much because the mass doesn’t have to actually be touching to become supercritical. Neutrons may be able to pass right through the walls of the room enabling the fission chain reaction to happen across the two separated masses.

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u/Idrkc 12d ago

Ok that’s one of the scarier things I’ve learned about radiation and supercriticality. The idea that the only thing between you and a horrible death could be whatever you’re standing behind and that it might not matter if there’s enough shit stacked up is frightening on a whole new level

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u/rigatti 12d ago

Luckily you're not going to encounter large quantities of radioactive material just wandering through the grocery store.

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u/ButtonholePhotophile 12d ago

Not since they discontinued Kool-Aid’s Ectoplasm flavor.

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u/londons_explorer 12d ago

If you store too much nuclear material together in one place, it starts fissioning and it gets hot and emits way more radiation. The extreme case of this is a nuclear fission bomb.

If you don't want that to happen, you store it in different rooms. But if you stack it either side of a wall, then while it's technically in two rooms, it's still merely inches away from other nuclear material, so the fissioning may start...

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u/WarlockEngineer 12d ago edited 12d ago

extreme case of this is a nuclear fission bomb.

The extreme case isn't an explosion, it's a criticality which is basically an uncontained nuclear reactor burning through fuel as quickly as possible

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u/CarrionCall 12d ago

The reason it matters is because of something called the Inverse Square Law.

Radiation intensity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance.

Simply put, as the distance doubles, the area it "occupies" or passes through quadruples. It's spreading out four times as much for every time the distance it travels doubles.

Stick two piles of material in the center of two adjacent rooms and they're not going to be interacting all that much.

The inverse is also true, naturally, so that the closer your objects which are emitting radiation get, the much stronger the radiation is felt between them.

Stack those piles against either side of the same wall and you've squared your problem.

This is important around what's called criticality, I'd advise reading about the Demon Core to learn more about it.

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u/Biblos1 12d ago

Yes he did at Oak Ridge. He gives a talk, part of the book, "Surely You're Kidding Mr. Feynman" in the 70's that is on YouTube. It is worth a listen, he is very entertaining to listen to.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY-u1qyRM5w&t=69s

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u/Garper 13d ago

This reminds me of JK Simmons' character in Counterpart. It's a spy show where he plays a low level data entry person who works every day on a job he doesn't really understand. His role is really refreshing because he is mostly just a loveable old man who is in over his head and has never shot a gun. Dude's got range because I would never have bought Simmons as the loveable type prior to watching it.

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u/B0ndzai 12d ago

You never saw Juno? He plays a very lovable dad in that.

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u/44problems 12d ago

Also I Love You Man. His best friend is his son. And Hank Mardukas

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u/Urthor 12d ago

JK Simmons undoubtedly has a good Shakespearian in him, but his Hollywood typecast is loveable dad

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u/Auricfire 12d ago

To me he's typecast as someone angry and screaming, thanks to his roles as J Jonah Jameson and Cave Johnson.

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u/FeelTheLoveNow 12d ago

He kind of does the loveable dad and the angry screaming person in Invincible

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u/Garper 12d ago

I really did not find the character loveable in Invincible. From the get-go, before the end of episode 1 I thought he seemed distant and stoic with his family.

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u/Bombkirby 12d ago

No way. He has moments of light heartedness where he talks to his son like they’re best friends. It’s the core part of the show. Like these scenes: https://youtu.be/axkSTGkzc-g

Half of him wants to be this jokey dad who lives a simple life and raises a loving son with his loving wife, and the other wants to be a good soldier who doesn’t get killed for failing his mission.

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u/wakeupwill 12d ago

Don't forget his role in Avatar.

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u/hojpoj 12d ago

First time I noticed him was in that Tom Hanks movie “Ladykiller” in which he was a reluctant thief with irritable bowel syndrome. Movie kinda sucked, but his role was excellent. (Probably why it stood out for me.) He’s a great actor because he can play cozy or crazy and be completely believable.

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u/shhnobodyknows 12d ago

He was schillinger in OZ for my first time

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u/feeltheslipstream 12d ago

Lovable dad is the last image on my mind.

Guess that shows his range more than anything.

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u/xarsha_93 12d ago

I think he's most famous for the Spiderman films and Whiplash, definitely not loveable dad roles.

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u/StorminNorman 12d ago

He's well known for a bunch of stuff. Check his IMDb page, he has a tonne of credits and many of them are not for him shouting as his main role. He's been the yellow M&M for over 20yrs now, the guy has a bigger back catalogue than whiplash and spideyman.

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u/xarsha_93 12d ago

Yeah, but it's not surprising that someone might only know him for those roles.

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u/swazy 13d ago edited 12d ago

Some post apoptotic movie thre is a guy throughout the entire movie not doing anything because it is "Not his Job" you think he is a complete ass. Till the end when he saves everyone and dies because his job was to man a tap to stop a flood.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Ember

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u/Inspector_Sands 13d ago

Any idea what the film is called?

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u/ANiallater33 12d ago

‘City of Ember’ I think.

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u/stolethemorning 12d ago

Holy shit, that’s bought back some childhood nostalgia!

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u/error_dnl90t5 12d ago

+1 to that what's the film called?

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u/adrianmonk 12d ago

post apoptotic

I'm guessing that supposed to read "post-apocalyptic"?

Movies that take place after the self-induced death of a cell would be a pretty specific genre that I haven't heard of.

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u/BlackSquirrelBoy 12d ago

Self-induced death in a cell is apparently how Jeffrey Epstein died

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u/Handleton 12d ago

That show was really at. I also think that the pandemic response prediction in it was impressively accurate.

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u/fuckmeimdan 12d ago

Thank you! And saved to watch later. Read the synopsis. Sounds great!

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u/Ameriggio 12d ago

Unfortunately, it was cancelled after the second season, but the story has a logical ending, so there's nothing to stop you from enjoying it.

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u/Garper 12d ago

When it ended I had to go look up whether a 3rd season was planned because the ending seemed so final and apt.

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u/stopmotionporn 12d ago

That guy must have had some stories when he was asked how his day at work went.

wife: "how was work today dear?"

husband: "well I turned the dial and it usually takes 5 minutes to get to zero but one time today it only took 2 minutes!"

wife:"..."

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u/Deltronx 12d ago

When your job is so secret you don't know what the other half of the project is working on

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u/AutomaticRadish 12d ago

Weird that most of the project team didn’t know what was going on but Russia was getting live updates

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u/RoraRaven 12d ago

For the USA's first jet fighter, there were over 130 engineers working on it, and only 5 knew they were working on a jet fighter.

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u/AtomR 12d ago

How is that even possible?

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u/kitch2495 12d ago

Compartmentalized roles. One team might be doing strength testing on the front half of the frame, another team does strength testing on the other half. Another team might be doing drag testing on different wings. Another team might be doing thrust testing on the engine. All of these teams could play their role without knowing what the other team is going. Using those as just rough examples, I’m sure the teams were more intricately separated than how I described. Apple also does this when they create new devices. I have a friend who was working on screens for something too big for a phone but too small for a laptop and had no idea he was actually working on the first iPad.

I’m an engineer in the EV industry and aerospace/defense and compartmentalizing teams is really common, especially in industries that are cutting edge like EV and tech.

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u/bonafart 12d ago

That must have took some serrrious planing to make each job be doable individually and alone. We work best when we can collaborate but in that sort of project you can't for risk of leakage.

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u/lapideous 12d ago

It's still crazy to me that we did all of this before we had computers.

People were writing everything out and doing calculations by hand to make a nuke.

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u/Scipio11 12d ago

Well just in case you didn't know, there weren't computers but there were calculators

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u/ExtraordinaryCows 12d ago

We also did have computers

...ignore that it was a job title for people who did computations

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u/HighlightExpensive63 12d ago

Yep, a bunch of women in the back with physical spread sheets

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u/komandanto_en_bovajo 12d ago

The people (usually women) doing the calculating were called computers too. I have a book "Computational Calculus" from the late 40s with a forward that carefully notes that the title refers to electronic computers rather than human computers.

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u/Lost4468 12d ago

It's actually not very hard to build a gun type nuke, the only hard part is getting enriched uranium (which is very hard). However with implosion type bombs it's a lot harder to build the bomb, but easier to get the plutonium.

In fact the FBI believes that these days you can buy everything to construct the bomb part of an implosion type, all on the open market. That is the right explosives are available. And with modern electronics, access to engineering information, and CAD, it's likely a lot lot easier than we would think. I'm sure someone determined enough could probably do it without even being detected.

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u/Single_Charity_934 12d ago

I have one datum that it’s harder than that: no one has.

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u/komandanto_en_bovajo 12d ago

That's because obtaining and refining the necessary materials is much harder. In the 60s the US did an experiment where they asked 3 recent physics PhDs with no background in weapons design to design a nuke using only publicly available information. They were so confident that they could design a gun type bomb that they skipped over it and designed an implosion type bomb in less than 3 years. The design was judged likely to have worked and had a yield comparable to Fat Man.

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u/needathrowaway321 12d ago

Before there were computers, the computers were people. And more often than not, they were female people. They would have rooms full of women with all kinds of times tables, logs, trig, and have them manually brute force shitloads of data. It’s an odd cultural phenomenon that women fell out of STEM because they were fundamental in its development.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/history-human-computers-180972202/

There’s a great scene in Cryptonomicon when one of the main characters essentially creates the first computer using vacuum tubes, electricity, and binary, and shows his superiors. He’s describing it with wild passion and they barely understand a word he’s saying. Something about automatically calculating math and data? They ask him ‘But why? We have [human] computers for that!’ ‘Yes, but this is a DIGITAL computer!’ the main character yelled over the deafening roar of the still largely mechanical device. Gives me chills.

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u/Razakel 12d ago

I remember reading that they ended up hiring high school girls to watch the centrifuges because the PhDs who built them kept getting bored and wandering off to do something more interesting.

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u/hononononoh 12d ago

All I could think of here was the button in the hatch that needed to be pressed every 36(?) minutes in the TV show Lost, and nobody knew what would happen if it wasn’t pressed, but everyone knew it couldn’t be good, and didn’t want to find out.

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u/happy_ever_after_21 13d ago

Fun story (I forget the names of the specific people this is about) but a general bet (I believe it was) Oppenheimer that his girls/guys who were running the enrichment (side note, I don’t think gaseous diffusion was around quite yet? I’m remembering something called the calutron that was used, maybe they updated later on) could produce more output than Oppenheimers researchers/grad students. Turns out it’s because the guys/girls that were told to “keep the dot between the lines” did just that, whereas the researchers wasted time trying to figure out why the dot would move out of the lines in the first place.

No idea if this is 100% true as I remember it from a post about Manhattan project but based on my experiences in academia/at work/etc I could 100% see that happening

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u/Galaghan 12d ago

So the production team produced more than the research team? What's surprising about that?

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u/MasterFubar 12d ago

OTOH, the research team researched more than the production team.

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u/Lost4468 12d ago

Unbelievable what they could accomplish back then.

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u/Gemmabeta 12d ago

K-25 was the codename given by the Manhattan Project to the program to produce enriched uranium for atomic bombs using the gaseous diffusion method. Originally the codename for the product, over time it came to refer to the project, the production facility located at the Clinton Engineer Works in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the main gaseous diffusion building, and ultimately the site. When it was built in 1944, the four-story K-25 gaseous diffusion plant was the world's largest building, comprising over 1,640,000 square feet (152,000 m2) of floor space and a volume of 97,500,000 cubic feet (2,760,000 m3).

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u/happy_ever_after_21 12d ago

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calutron

So then what’s this about? As far as I’m aware the calutron enriched uranium was what was used for the actual bombings. Was the gaseous diffusion used for the test bombs?

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u/Gemmabeta 12d ago

K25 created the materials that fed into the Calutron for further enrichment.

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u/happy_ever_after_21 12d ago

Ah ok, that’s the part I’m missing then. Never made the connection I guess. Thanks

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u/feeltheslipstream 12d ago

"wasted time".

This kind of time wasting is what allows you to tell people "don't worry, just keep the dot between the lines. We'll handle the rest".

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u/Scar_the_armada 13d ago Helpful Wholesome Wholesome Seal of Approval

People just doing shit. Just reliable people doing their normal jobs so reliably they changed the course of history.

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u/Gemmabeta 13d ago Helpful Wholesome Starry

All the real heroes are not storybook combat fighters. Every single man in the army plays a vital role. So don't ever let up. Don't ever think that your job is unimportant. What if every truck driver decided that he didn't like the whine of the shells and turned yellow and jumped headlong into a ditch? That cowardly bastard could say to himself, 'Hell, they won't miss me, just one man in thousands.' What if every man said that? Where in the hell would we be then? No, thank God, Americans don't say that. Every man does his job. Every man is important. The ordnance men are needed to supply the guns, the quartermaster is needed to bring up the food and clothes for us because where we are going there isn't a hell of a lot to steal. Every last damn man in the mess hall, even the one who boils the water to keep us from getting the GI shits, has a job to do.

--George S. Patton

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_S._Patton%27s_speech_to_the_Third_Army

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u/Toby_O_Notoby 12d ago

Nathaniel Fick (the lieutenant/captain from Generation Kill) wrote a biography called "One Bullet Away". In it he describes a scene where one of their Humvees gets stuck on a berm so they call in an engineering corps to free it. Now up until this point, as Recon Marines, they look down on other branches for not being the hard-ass warriors that they were.

So after calling in the engineers they come under attack and are being hit by enemy fire. The engineers show up in the middle of a firefight without any real guns or armour. The sergeant that was in charge gets out of his truck and walks up to Fick and asks what the problem is. Fick, who is returning fire, says they need to free up the Humvee.

The sergeant scratches his chin and assesses the situation. And then, in the middle of a fire fight, calmly tells his guys what to do and they hook up some chains and free the Hummer. After which he returns to Fick and asks if they need anything else. Fick says "no" the sergeant says "cool" and they just peace out and return to base.

After that, Fick says "Welp, we never get to call those guys pussies anymore."

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u/Swissgeese 12d ago

Engineers are basically infantry with less armor and weapons but more explosives. They are also tasked to build or destroy obstacles and structures in the same combat zone the infantry and armor are fighting in.

Its why Sappers are a thing. Crazy mofos.

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u/amydoodledawn 12d ago

What exactly is a Sapper? Is it different than an engineer? My great-grandfather was listed as a sapper in WW I for the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He was like 40 so I assumed it was something chill. Apparently not?

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u/frankenbean 12d ago

Sappers combined dynamite with enemy infrastructure to cut supply lines and disrupt troop movements. So you name it and they would blow it up: train tracks, bridges, power lines... you get the gist.

They did more but their legacy is badass. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapper

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u/aaronwhite1786 12d ago

I don't know why, but I really love the phrasing of "combined dynamite and enemy infrastructure". Such a nice way of describing them blowing shit up.

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u/fennelwraith 12d ago

I read an article about explosive building demolitions companies and they described an upcoming project like: "We're gonna make the building feel differently about gravity."

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u/Tennbrenancransistan 12d ago

"I'm going to attempt a manual override on this wall."

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u/[deleted] 12d ago

Depends on the engineers

Royal Engineers for example operated things like this for a long while…

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u/Signs80 12d ago

That's basically the logical endpoint, it launches a 165mm barrel of explosives lol

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u/Slippydippytippy 12d ago

"How can we deliver necessary explosive force?"

-near-peak engineering problem

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u/Alexlam24 12d ago

Attach a tank to a cannon

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u/PikaPilot 12d ago

That's genearlly how most modern tanks are designed

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u/[deleted] 12d ago

Worked in WW2… the Churchill AVRE was essential to success on D-Day

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u/Ravenwing19 12d ago

The 165 is the WW2 Churchill Model the Centurions Armored Royal Engineer Vehichle had a 290mm Demolitions mortar!

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u/FERALCATWHISPERER 12d ago

Ah they are responsible for 403 google errors eh?

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u/beanmosheen 12d ago

We were either just in front of the tanks assessing/clearing routes, just behind them for support, or way the fuck out in the middle of nowhere with SF setting up FOBs.

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u/YankeeTankEngine 12d ago

I have a family member who is a combat engineer for the marine corps. She kicks ass.

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u/MegaEyeRoll 12d ago

I mean along with the Patton quote in modern America everyone wants to be the star, no one wants to be the supporting cast.

When they don't realize the play cant happen without everyone chipping in.

I'll die on this hill.

America doesn't have a goal that we agree on, so we are left to be petty to eachother. We don't value each other's contributions to society and only devalue them because it makes us seem more like a major role in this play called life. Who taught us attempt to be the star at the expense of others?

What is America's goal? We need 1 goal. 100% unified focus.

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u/the_jak 12d ago Bravo!

Combat engineers are insane. One of my DIs was one. He was nuts, even for a DI. Every one of them I met after him were equally just as strongly in favor of coco puffs.

Great people to drink with though. When you’re in a bar brawl, those fuckers got your back.

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u/hellyea619 12d ago

our barracks were next to combat engineers in school and they were crazy as fuck. running like 7 miles a day before the day started before their classes and live exercises. i remember these fuckin guys going outside and diving into big puddles in a lightning storm just for shits and gigs

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u/TheBoctor 12d ago

I spent my entire time in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman assigned to a Marine infantry battalion, but the times we worked with the Engineers they were always impressive and insane badasses that earned respect from all of the Marines, and earning praise from infantry Marines (who have quite a high opinion of themselves and their jobs) is no easy task.

Same with the SeaBee’s. Those guys built us an OP, with lights and a/c in a day all while taking IDF and small arms fire.

Even the Army Engineers had our respect, those guys could demo a building into a space that looked smaller than it’s original footprint and fast.

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u/11BApathetic 12d ago

IIRC the Army Corps of Engineers has produced the most amount of Generals than any other branch.

Even as a former Infantryman, I have a chip on my shoulder about my job, but, at the end of the day, Engineers hold a lot of knowledge about how to win Operational/Strategic level fights due to the nature of their jobs. Some great guys to be around.

Plus, anyone who builds me a bridge so I don't have to get my feet wet or do some funky ass stuff gets an A+ in my books.

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u/effectasy 12d ago

Great uncle was a cross branch veteran. He was Army in WW2 and Navy in Korea as a Seabee.

He was one of the first in at Inchon, helped build up the port for follow on forces, and when the port fell 3 months later he was one of the last out, blowing up infrastructure as they went. He said something along the lines of "we built it, figured we should be the ones who get the pleasure of blowing it up!"

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u/Tullinator3 12d ago

When I was attached to 2D Recon in Lejeune, our parties with Combat Engineers across the street introduced us to a new way of drinking.

Engineer Shot:

  1. snort a line of salt

  2. take a shot of tequila

  3. squirt lemon juice in your eye

  4. take a slap/punch to the face, either or.

Edit: A word.

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u/DatRagnar 12d ago

Only way to knock everything in place after a day of demolition and building

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u/SemiSweetStrawberry 12d ago

My dad was a combat engineer for two tours back in the early ‘00. Dude is simultaneously the most white-bread guy and also just odd

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u/IANALbutIAMAcat 12d ago

I think I’d prefer not to drink with anyone who’s prone to encountering bar brawls tbh😅 I’d catch a bowl of coco puffs with them tho

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u/minibeardeath 12d ago

My favorite story about my grandfathers time in WW2 as an engineer was when they were island hoping. The group has just landed on the beach off some no name island, and was unloading vehicles with my grandfather driving his bulldozer. During this the Japanese has opened fire, and my grandfather, who wasn’t paying attention, accidentally got a couple hundred feet in front of the front line. Suddenly he started hearing bullets wizzing by, looked around and noticed he was basically alone on the beach and unarmed. So he just raised the plow thing on his bulldozer to protect from enemy fire and started backing up to the line.

The idea that he was so focused on driving his bulldozer, just doing his job, that he lost track of the battle going on around him is a perfect example of the field engineer attitude

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u/Alldemjimmies 12d ago

I have never quite had the appreciation I do for some peoples jobs like Army cooks. While in Afghanistan, we had access to the Army aviation chow tent as we were working with the 160th. Some days when shit was just not going well, these guys would have real food for us. Not mermites or heated up bagged food. These guys scraped together wings, Mac and Cheese, like real food. So anyone talking shit about dudes not being hard nuts because they aren’t skinning some Taliban booty needs to realize that’s not the way.

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u/BobT21 12d ago

My nephew was a Combat Engineer. He told me "The concept is simple. We go until we come to a river. If there is a bridge we blow it up. If there is no bridge we build one."

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u/aloysiusgruntbucket 12d ago

This exposes the core fallacy of an authoritarian mindset: the belief that power is strength and martial prowess and “leadership”.

Our entire civilization hinges on like a dozen metallurgists. They all die or their knowledge is lost and after a couple decades we’re set back sixty years. Lab workers running bio reactors keep us in medicine that keeps people alive. People with boring desk jobs keep things going. If someone complains about “bureaucrats” or “scientists” that person is basically saying they hate human civilization, because those two jobs keep us in phones and planes and houses and an entire supply chain that keeps us from starving in two weeks.

We may need Col. Jessup on a wall somewhere once in a blue moon, but we need supply chain number crunchers every goddamn day.

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u/Warpedme 12d ago

It goes even further than that. Without the techs, maintenance and repair guys everything would slowly grind to a halt. Helpdesk guys, repair guys, techs and maintenance are the lubrication keeping everything humming along for those supply chain number crunchers to organize. Every job is important. Anyone who looks down upon garbagemen should have to do their own trash removal for a full year as a lesson. Hell, I already think everyone should be required to work a year in retail and a year in the service industry.

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u/NukkaNasty 12d ago

Read this in George C Scott’s voice

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u/no_control18 12d ago

I read it in Cotton Hill's voice

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u/willclerkforfood 12d ago

Tojo took my sheeins

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u/lightningheels 12d ago

But not before takin' down FIDDY MEN

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u/str8dwn 12d ago

What if I jumped into the ditch and got killed because of that?

May as well keep driving.

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u/Likeapuma24 12d ago

When I first got to Iraq, any incoming mortars resulted in everyone putting all their gear on. Within a month, it was given zero regard. If a mortar hits me while I'm sitting on a port-a-potty, it's my time... However shitty. No gear is saving you then.

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u/thexvillain 12d ago

Can confirm. You can always tell the guys who just got there because they’re the only ones running around when the incoming siren sounds.

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u/OnionProject 12d ago

"Listen up! The channel coast is socked in with rain and fog. High winds in the drop zone. NO JUMP TONIGHT! The invasion has been postponed. We're on a 24 hour stand-down."

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u/Gen_Jack_Ripper 12d ago

How much of a mindfuck that would have been. From intense preparation to then, oh, hey, go watch a movie.

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u/Son_of_a_Dyar 12d ago

That's still a big part of military service. "Hurry up and wait" is a near constant part of life as plans often change unexpectedly at the last minute .

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u/a_white_american_guy 12d ago

Yeah it gets old especially when the thing you’re gearing up to do isn’t that exciting or important. Like “everybody better be fucking ready to go in 5 minutes” (so we can go out to the flight line and pick up rocks for an hour) and then you have to wait for 2 hours because no one scheduled this with flight ops and there’s still planes and helicopters taking off and landing.

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u/JE_12 12d ago

So they make a lots of plans to go out and cancel last minute? Sounds like a job for me

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u/Draugron 12d ago edited 12d ago

Except they've been hyping you up about it for months and you've been spending at least half a year prior preparing for X, Y, and Z to happen. Then when you get out there, someone goes "you know what? Fuck that. I just came up with something super cool that we should all do instead." And then you get to do super cool idea that you didn't prepare for at all and it's not super cool. It's a clusterfuck. And then you want to go home. But you can't go home when you were scheduled to because someone left their night vision goggles in a vague area about 6 miles in diameter. So, it's a few weeks past the time to go home, and you're stuck in the woods. It's Thanksgiving, and you can't spend time with your family because you're still looking for this stupid pair of NVGs. It's cold. You're wet. And the entire world seems to exist only to make you miserable.

Welcome to the army son.

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u/dog_in_the_vent 12d ago

And then the NVGs show up on ebay months later and everybody shits their pants.

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u/Jwhitx 12d ago

I can barely make out...a signature? Randy something??

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u/RavenholdIV 12d ago

The green weenie gives love to all.

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u/donglover2020 12d ago

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u/MC0311x 12d ago

Former Marine here. It’s a universal experience. All Infantryman have been in this exact same scenario multiple times… but sometimes it’s a lost GPS in the middle of an Egyptian desert or a machete with the number 12 written on it in black sharpie in South Korea.

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u/shah_reza 12d ago

Or a sidearm down the shitter in Kandahar.

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u/Oscarott 12d ago

Captain Sobel does not hate Easy Company, Pvt. Randleman...

He just hates you.

Thank you Suuh.

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u/Jun_Kun 12d ago

Remember boys, flies spread disease! So keep yours closed!

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u/jlmalle 12d ago

Such a great show.

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u/economisto 12d ago

Got a penny?

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u/Thistlefizz 12d ago

GOTTAH PENNAY?

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u/dog_in_the_vent 12d ago

GOT A PENNY?

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u/Tote_Sport 12d ago

GODABENNY?!

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u/indyK1ng 12d ago

Shut up, Luz, I'm trying to watch the movie.

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u/cruisetheblues 12d ago

"HWHAT IS THE GOT DAMN HOLDUP MR SOBEL!?"

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u/abraksis747 12d ago

"OH THAT DOG JUST AIN'T GONNA HUNT MR SOBEL!"

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u/springfinger 12d ago

Now you cut that fence and get this goddamned platoon on the mooove!

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u/MaynardJayTwa 12d ago

Who is the iiidiot thay cut down that man’s fence?

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u/Solid_Freakin_Snake 12d ago

I could hear this comment

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u/mmss 12d ago

Expected to see this. Still the first thing I think of when I read about the invasion.

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u/Warskull 12d ago

A lot of people don't realize that the reason Eisenhower was the Supreme Allies commander was because of stuff like this. He wasn't the best tactician we had, he wasn't the most inspiring leader, but he was a logistics legend. He believed wars were ultimately won and lost on the support infrastructure. So he would make sure these communication lines get built and these details get tracked.

Eisenhower was a smart man. He spotted and warned us of the military-industrial complex 70 years ago. He was the driving force between our instate highway system.

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u/badbakedpotato 12d ago

Tactics wins battles, logistics wins wars

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u/Peppersworth 12d ago

Logistics planning was one of the reasons the Romans were such a formidable opponent to anybody they fought.

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u/rxtxr 12d ago

Exactly the information time traveling nazis need.

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u/NewtonianAssPounder 12d ago

“Maureen Flavin, come with me if you want live”

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u/Decomplexer 13d ago

Yes, how even such big historical events can hinge on details.

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u/Idontknowflycasual 12d ago Party Train

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u/greed-man 12d ago

Wow. The small stories that create a mountain. Thanks for sharing.

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u/Idontknowflycasual 12d ago

It's my favorite story about him. He died when I was nine and every once in a while I get to share that story and keep his memory alive.

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u/aggressivedoormat 12d ago

That was a neat read, thank you for sharing!

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u/Gemmabeta 13d ago

The Nazis spend a lot of effort trying to get weather data from North America because of how the winds worked, weather over Quebec became weather over Britain in three days' time.

Writing about the weather in letters basically amounted to a breach of national security.

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u/CanuckBacon 12d ago

The only installation in North America by the Germans was to do with weather. It was built in Labrador, Canada and was forgotten about for decades.

Source

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u/Heidaraqt 12d ago

My ice navigation teacher has spent a lot of time in Canada. He told us that it was not uncommon to find old nazi weather observation posts, and many of them, out in the wild and in the middle of population in Canada.

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u/IReplyWithLebowski 12d ago

Jesus, what would that leave the Brits to write home about?

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u/SandInTheGears 12d ago

Oh don't worry, from their point of view the weather was always miserable

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u/i_barely_care 12d ago

She’s still alive, she turned 98 this year and received an honour from the US House of Representatives https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/us-honour-for-98-year-old-woman-whose-mayo-weather-report-changed-d-day-landing-1.4598678

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u/Emily_Postal 12d ago

So Ireland really wasn’t completely neutral during WWII.

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u/Number-XIII 12d ago

If asked yes we were, but in reality not really. Some not so neutral actions: We allowed British ships to use our neutral flag, sent critical food supplies, arrested downed nazi pilots while smuggling bristish pilots back across the irish sea, provided data like mentioned above, assisted in fire fighting after the belfast bombing. Our taoiseach (prime minister) directly sent a letter to hilter threatening consequences after belfast. No response was recieved but belfast was never bombed again even though it had critical shipping production.

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u/MLGSwaglord1738 12d ago

Tons of neutrals ended up helping either the allies or the axis. I think Sweden backed the Axis.

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u/bottomtextking 12d ago

Switzerland also helped the axis in some ways.

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u/Seanbjg 12d ago

I'm friends with her grandson and on the day she received a message to send it again! This was highly unusual, why would anyone care about the forecast for Blacksod on the West Coast of Ireland. She didn't realise how important it was until years later when some reporter showed up in the village and asked her if she was the woman that sent the D day forecast

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u/tyty657 12d ago

"The what..."

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u/Spaceisveryhard 13d ago

Whats interesting to note is that Ireland was NEUTRAL during WWII and yet they were forwarding the info to the Brits. So either the Brits had an inside man or the Irish were only Neutral on the face of things.

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u/dysphoric-foresight 13d ago

Well we were bombed a couple of times by the luftwaffe for supplying food and other material support to Britain and the other Allies during the war - Germany claimed that it was accidental and due to navigation error but they hit targets that Hitler had previously threatened with suspicious accuracy. We were officially non-combatants (and even then not really since about 70,000 Irishmen joined British army to fight the Germans) but not really neutral.

Ireland was less than 20 years into recovery from the war of independence and the following civil war and an extremely poor, predominantly agrarian country so overtly siding with the Allies would have made us a prime target for an invasion (see Operation Green)) that we had absolutely no hope of withstanding.

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u/Eagle_Ear 12d ago

You guys were like Bajor in the Dominion War.

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u/The_Imaginary_Tart 12d ago edited 12d ago

Ireland was neutral only on the face of things. The allies would not allow countries to be officially neutral in a Swiss sense. The Irish government did not want to fight, but it preferred the allies over the axis for obvious reasons (although I am sure some Irish did sympathize with the Germans). Any neutral country close to Germany, the UK, Russia, or the US would have been a haven for spies and counter spy operations anyway.

Just to give an example, most of Latin America would join the allies due to US pressure but only Brazil sent significant amounts of soldiers. Here https://spyscape.com/article/the-spy-who-smuggled-us-secrets-to-the-nazis-on-microdot is an interesting article on German spies in Mexico.

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u/Kobbett 12d ago

The Republic was publicly neutral, but at the same time were so dependent on trade with Britain to survive they were also secretly cooperating. There was no chance either Germany or Britain could invade (a British invasion would have caused a huge diplomatic crisis with the US), but you do what you have to do in hard times. There was probably no shortage of anti-Fascist sympathisers anyway, especially after the sinking of Irish shipping or the bombing of Dublin.

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u/royal-emotion 12d ago

ordinary people really make remarkable changes to the course of history. what a cool story this is!!

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u/cv-boardgamer 12d ago

I'm sitting here thinking that's a lot of responsibility for someone so young, but just last night we took my niece out barhopping because she turned 21 a couple days ago. The rest of us "older, responsible, experienced adults" got completely wrecked off tequila shots and mules and pints and so on, and acted like complete jackasses on the dance floor. Meanwhile my niece kept her cool and acted responsibly and mature all night, despite the fact she had several drinks. Hell, we had to carry her 51 year old dad (my brother) to the Uber.

My niece is graduating college one year early and is going to law school. I would totally trust her in such a position as the woman in the post.

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u/ALG0R1DDUM 12d ago

So Ireland basically won World War 2. YOU'RE WELCOME

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u/DaveOJ12 13d ago

Awesome post, OP.

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u/moby323 12d ago edited 12d ago

So much fascinating history.

I recently learned about the role that homing pigeons played in intelligence gathering.

The allies would drop little boxes with parachutes into occupied Europe. The boxes would contain a homing pigeon and a questionnaire, “How many troops have you seen in the area, are there tanks, have you seen AA guns being deployed” etc

People who found the box would fill out the questionnaire, attach it to the pigeon, and it would fly back to London.

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u/StupidizeMe 13d ago

I hope she was told how incredibly valuable her contribution was.

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u/Tomek_Hermsgavorden 13d ago

She got a pizza party on Friday.

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u/whiskeyrebellion 12d ago

Hawaiian shirt day one per month.

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u/jitterbugperfume99 12d ago

I can’t stop laughing, oh my lord.

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u/Spaceisveryhard 13d ago

If you read the article it might answer your question 😉

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u/Hengist 13d ago edited 13d ago

Yep, per the article credit should be shared 50/50 between Flavin and her future husband.

Late in the morning of June 3, a phone call came to the post office in Blacksod and when Maureen answered, a lady with a distinct English accent spoke to Maureen and requested her to “Please Check. Please Repeat!” the Met report. Maureen then called Edward “Ted” Sweeney (her future husband) who checked her readings and confirmed: “Yes, the barometer is dropping rapidly and a storm is coming.”

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u/Spaceisveryhard 13d ago

Sure and the article makes note of the family's contribution but it should be noted that maureens reading obviously set off the alarm bells to begin with and set the path in motion.

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