PLANET MOURNS PASSING OF “MOLLY” a.k.a. NANCY PRENDERGAST …BOMBING OF HIROSHIMA 67 YEARS LATER STILL RAISES THE QUESTION: DID WE HAVE TO DO IT? … DOES MORALITY TRUMP POLITICS? … EINSTEIN’S DEATH EQUATION: GOOD OR EVIL? JOIN THE DISCUSSION ON THE PLANET
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THURSDAY, AUG. 9, 2012) —THE PLANET shares this note, so thoughtfully passed along to us by DIOGENES.
On a somber note, with unspeakable sadness and heartbreak, I must inform you of the passing away of one of your prolific posters, Molly / Nancy. A woman of prodigious intelligence and strength like I’ve rarely seen, the cancer finally beat her on Saturday morning, August 4, 2012. After 11 grueling years of almost superhuman bravery, she couldn’t fight back from the terrible thing that had been done to her, which had it been done correctly, could and should have given her years more of a good quality of life. She had a kind and generous heart and advocated for the protection of children and animals, both of which were very dear to her heart.
I post this here on The Planet because for many months she enjoyed doing research to back up her postings and voicing her opinions. She was outraged when Dan got sued and so pleased at the outcome of that debacle. posting was a great distraction from the pain she felt every day but wouldn’t give in to. Even her detractors on PV would get her charged up to fend them off. Nancy was a vibrant, unique, wonderful person who I will miss more and more each day and going on without her seems incomprehensible, I thought that Dan and some others, like Susan Moore, would want to know.
Rest in peace, little sister. you’ve certainly earned it.
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THE PLANET extends our deepest condolences to “Molly’s” family, friends, and loved ones. We take solace that this website was able to offer her some distraction from her daily grind. Molly never failed to inform, enlighten, educate, and entertain. Her posts were well written and researched, and on more than one occasion, she set THE PLANET right when we misspoke or got something wrong. We agreed with joy and disagreed with respect.
We commend her soul to God’s great mercy.
P.S. MOLLY — Please tell St. Pete to leave the back door to heaven unlocked when it comes time for me to sneak in! We love you.
HIROSHIMA WAS BAD ENOUGH … NAGASAKI WAS INEXCUSABLE
Monday marked the anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, by the United States. To this day, the United States remains the only country to employ nuclear weapons on innocent civilians, at Hiroshima and three days later at Nagasaki, Japan.
THE PLANET understands the arguments for dropping the bomb, including the lives that were saved from the called-off invasion of the Japanese mainland. The bombs’ destructive power clearly won out over the Nipponese hardliners who argued for fighting to the last man. Our problem is this: The same thing would have been achieved by inviting Japan to witness the effects of the bomb in person in a non-fatal application, say, bombing a deserted island. President Harry Truman could have given the Japanese government five days to respond. If they did not surrender, then we would use the bomb against one of their cities.
Hiroshima Can be Debated, but with Nagasaki, We Have an Un-Prosecuted War Crime on Our Hands.
We did not do that. The U.S. bombed first and didn’t bother to ask questions later. We gave Japan, with its emeshed emperor-military tangle of government the U.S. apparently did not understand, less than two days from Hiroshima before deciding to use the bomb again. That was not enough time to allow the Japanese government to reach a decision regarding the continuance of the war.
As bad as the first blast was (“Little Boy”), the second (“Fat Man”) on Nagasaki goes down in history as an un-prosecuted war crime, far exceeding as a single action anything Adolph Hitler ever did. The best, most objective read of history tells us that following the Hiroshima blast, if the United States had given Japan a little more time — five days or a week — the country would have surrendered without the loss of life in Nagasaki.
History will furnish different answers to the morality of the action, but morality itself is clear: Killing of innocent people is a heinous moral usurpation, an evil unmitigated by politics, military strategy, or any application of “lesser of two evils” logic. In remembrance of the horrible day, Aug. 6, 1945, THE PLANET shares two of the best articles we came across on the anniversary of Hiroshima. Each address the moral imperative, but the first gets a bit more into the science of the process. The second labels the decision to use the nukes a “crime.”
The first is contributed by THE SOLIPCIST:
EINSTEIN’S DEATH EQUATION
By THE SOLIPCIST
Special to PLANET VALENTI Science
Albert Einstein once jokingly said “It is stupid to fear death. After ones death one has to fear no accidents nor pain.” He even denied surgery on his deathbed citing, “I will go elegantly. It’s time to go. I have done my bit. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially.”
That brilliant thinker, who did not fear even death, succumbed to fear, the fear of Herr Hitler being in the possession of an atomic bomb. When fear gets the best of you, even the greatest thinkers make mistakes. This is the story of one such calculative mistake that Einstein made out of fear. It made him write a letter to the U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The letter would eventually result in The Manhattan Project and build the atomic bombs that would one day destroy the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. it would also change humanity’s perception of war forever.
The atomic bomb was ironically the world’s first ever visual demonstration of the peace loving scientist’s death equation, E = MC2 .
Everybody has heard of E = MC2 . Every has heard of Einstein. But what about the equation made it so special? Of course Einstein was the Rajinikant of the scientific community, and anything he said was (a) widely popular and (b) taken seriously by the scientific community. The equation was also popular because it literally meant energy and matter are one and the same, and one can be converted into the other.
At first it was just theory. Of course, at the time of the equation’s discovery, converting any amount of mass into its potential energy or condensing energy back into matter was a practical impossibility. Nevertheless, the practical implications were mind boggling. His equation meant that even a freckle of matter with the mass of an atom has super kilotons of energy stored in it.
After all the ‘C’ stands for the speed of light, which is a huge number in itself. At first, even Einstein dismissed the prospect of the possibility of conversion of mass into energy. After his work with the energy-mass equivalence, Einstein set to live in the suburbs of New Jersey to fulfil his life dream of pursuing his work in peace.
The war was looming, and while Einstein was preaching against war and working on his “Understanding of God’s ways” through science and mathematics, his German brothers were seriously using the laboratory to win the war using his own equation under Hitler’s rule. They were looking for real life examples of the energy-mass equivalence. This led to the answering of a question that has puzzled humanity for thousands of years: “How does the sun power itself for so many billion years without running out of fuel?”
The answer was in Einstein’s equation. Every second on the sun, trillions of hydrogen atoms bombard with each. The resulting loss of mass is converted into an equivalent energy, which is huge. This releases mass in the form of light and heat, which enables us to survive here back in earth. Rather than admiring the beauty of how the equations function in the sun that makes life thrive here, the German scientists were asking, “Could we simulate the sun’s wrath here on earth to kill thousands of people?”
It wasn’t as easy as it sounded. The sun has such energy and heat, the hydrogen atoms easily break each other. Back in stable earthly conditions, however, it would require much more than brute force to break an atom apart releasing energy. Enter the brilliant mind of Szilard. Szialrd suggested that if we make the then-discovered particle called a neutrino stick to an atom, it would unstabilize it and therefore break it releasing mass and energy into more neutrinos. This would eventually hit more atoms, breaking them and thereby causing a chain reaction.
At the same time, the Germans had taken the first step in discovering how a neutrino could be bombarded into an atom using uranium supplies. The process is called nuclear fission. Technicalities aside, the thought of the possibility of an atomic bomb scared the bejeezus out of Szilard. He ran into Einstein’s apartment, explained what was going on in Germany, and discussed the possibility of Hitler dropping an atomic bomb on New York City.
Einstein still wouldn’t budge into helping anyone build an atomic bomb, including the U.S. Szilard could have done it alone, but he wanted the famous voice of Einstein to convince the American govt to fund the project. Einstein eventually gave into fear of Nazis building an atomic bomb and wrote a letter along with Szilard warning the President Roosevelt of the possibilities.
Roosevelt was smart enough to know anything Einstein said had to be taken seriously and begun the Manhattan Project. Germany eventually couldn’t solve the technical problems with fission and gave up, rendering the project moot.
Meanwhile, the war with Japan was looming. The U.S. decided to use the bomb. It was a cruel act, even if it ended the war early, especially given it was dropped without warning. Szilard was seriously hurt by the news that the bomb was going to dropped without warning. He tried obtaining petitions from the scientific community to urge Roosevelt to warn the Japanese before dropping it, but ego was at stake. The bomb was dropped.
Einstein listened to the next morning news shattered in his chair: “90% of the buildings are in rubble and the death count is too massive to be listed.” His life’s most important work had been applied to kill hundreds of thousands of lives.
Einstein said before his death that “Writing the letter was the biggest blunder” he made in this entire life. He spent the last decade of his life trying to convince world leaders to stop building nuclear weapons. They ignored his entreaties.
Today China and India have tested nuclear weapons that can wipe out half of the North American continent. If Einstein’s words of peace had no impact on the society, I don’t think I can provide any moral that would be effective.
The story of the mistake was over. But the story of the equation was not. Unfortunately, Einstein did not live long enough to realise his death equation was also the equation of life. Mass could be converted into energy and was demonstrated cruelly at Hiroshima. But scientists would later discover that the reason Big Bang created so matter and eventually — because the huge amounts of pure energy released during the Big Bang condensed into the first matter, stars and then eventually into metals and life and everything we know in this universe. In a way, Einstein’s equation explains everything there is. Let’s embrace it rather than use it to end everything there ever is.
The U.S. must call for total and complete nuclear disarmament by all parties. We must lead the way by unilaterally rendering obsolete our nuclear arsenal. We must beat swords into ploughshares and take our chances.
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THE PLANET thanks THE SOLIPCIST and James Carroll for these articles. We invite your thoughts on the question: Were the bombing at Hiroshima and Nagasaki justified?
WANDERING HEEDLESSLY, THE ENOLA GAY DROPPED PALE PAIN OVER THE CITY’S SHADOW, AND IT SHALL LEAVE US NOT AGAIN. THEY ERRED, AND THERE WAS NO JOY IN THEIR ERROR — ONLY PAIN, INSULT, UNREST, AND TERROR. MAKE PEACE, NOT WAR.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LVOE TO ALL.