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Cannon causes $3 mill. in damages at Los Alamos National Laboratories

Los Alamos National Laboratory Researchers Accidentally Blow up Building with a Cannon


Addendum to story:  False but funny.

     12/16/09 An unexpected blast caused $3 million in damages at the Los Alamos National Laboratories in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
      The damage was caused by the firing of a 4" x 2" "toy" cannon.  The cannon was being used as part of the Los Alamos workers Christmas party.  Intended as an homage to Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite, the toy cannon was set off and blew up building 562.  Minor injuries were reported.
       Ed Staefal, safety director at Los Alamos, has said " all precautions were taken, including the addition of Sgt. Timothy Jones, from the U.S. Army's 3rd Howitzer division, to set the cannon off."  Cited was Sgt. Jones' experience with 20, 50, and 100mm howitzers as well as his experience with mortars.          . 
       After the blast, Sgt. Jones was taken to Los Alamos's on-site medical clinic and treated for shock.
       Other injuries included Research analyst Ed James, and two first responders.  Mr. James was found outside the building sitting on the ground with his back against the building  and his head stuck in an upside down waste paper basket.  First responders removed the waste paper basket and asked if Mr. James was all right. Mr. James replied, "Where am I?"  The injured first responders were treated for smoke inhalation and one was treated for a runny nose, although he emphasized that he had the runny nose before the blast occurred.
         Damage from the blast at the Christmas party included the building, a spilt bucket of enriched uranium valued at $100,000, A bowl of fruit punch, value unspecified, and 14 of 25 cheeseburgers unaccounted for, value $334.90
          In the minutes and hours after the explosion, govt. and security officials began referring to the blast site as area 7,961. 
          Los Alamos public relations director Shaky Jones, when asked if the President had been informed,  replied "Hell no, it was a toy cannon!"
           Later it was learned the President did find out about the explosion and commented; "A toy cannon and $3 million in damages. . . I knew those guys at Los Alamos were good but this is ridiculous."
Some Quotes from Mark Twain
   I don't believe there has ever been a writer made more happy by words than Mark Twain.  He writes about a character, a landscape, a feeling, or whatever is before him with ease and honesty.  Not only could he write about these, he could write about these 3 or 4 different ways with each way as insightful and perceptive as the previous.

        Here are some quotes from Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

      "But that is the way we are made: we don't reason, where we feel;  we just feel."1 

         Here's one that is funny.  The narrator is dressed as a 6th century knight, wearing an armor suit, helmet included.

       "Well, you know, when you perspire that way, in rivers, there comes a time when you - when you - well, when you itch.  You are inside, your hands are outside; so there you are; nothing but iron between.  It is not a light thing, let it sound as it may.  First it is one place; then another; then some more; and it goes on spreading and spreading, and at last the territory is all occupied, and nobody can imagine what you feel like, nor how unpleasant it is.  And when it had got to be the worst, and it seemed to me that I could not stand anything more, a fly got in through the bars and settled on my nose, and the bars were stuck and wouldn't work, and I couldn't get the visor up; and I could only shake my head, which was baking hot by this time and the fly - well, you know how a fly acts when he has got a certainty - he only minded the shaking long enough to change from from nose to lip, and lip to ear, and buzz and buzz all around in there, and keep on lighting and biting, in a way that a person already so distressed as I was, simply could not s

"The bells were close at hand, now, and their solemn booming smote upon the ear  like a message of doom.  A superstitious despair possessed the heart of every monk and published itself on his ghastly face."3 

The narrator, after claiming he could prophesize 1300 years into the future:

"One never had any occasion to prove his facts, with these people; all he had to do was state them.  It never occurred to anybody to doubt the statement."4

Finally,  The narrator has started two baseball teams full of Kings and other nobility.  Of course, their station in life wasn't conducive to accepting being called out by umpires:

"The umpire's first decision was usually his last; they broke him in two with a bat, and his friends toted him home on a shutter.  When it was noticed that no umpire ever survived a game, umpiring got to be unpopular."5

 Mark Twain,  A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Copyright 2001 Dover Publications Inc.

1 pg 54 2pg 59,3 pg 117, 4 pg 162,5 pg 242

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