Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster
Atlas Obscuria has published a fascinating story about this picture of an elephant foot of lava — radioactive corium — taken in 1996 at the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site. It takes awhile to get to the selfie explanation, but this is a terrific read. Here’s an excerpt:
“…It’s possible to put together clues embedded in the photos to explain the image. I looked through all the other captions of photos similar photos of the destroyed core, and they were all taken by Korneyev, so it’s likely this photo was an old-school timed selfie. The shutter speed was probably a little slower than for the other photos in order for him to get into position, which explains why he seems to be moving and why the glow from his flashlight looks like a lightning flash. The graininess of the photo, though, is likely due to the radiation.”
A library of images from which this picture came still exists on the Internet, although it’s from the stone age of web design (late 1990s) and the site is no longer maintained. I’ve taken the liberty of saving some of the thumbnails. They are low resolution, but they are part of the history of nuclear energy that has shaped Generation X and I wanted to save them. Here’s a screenshot and here’s a post I wrote in 2010 about the opening of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. It’s not exactly on my top 10 places to visit.
The Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster | April 1986
Generation X is the fifth generation shaped by nuclear issues. The first generation was the original Lost Generation and then the Greatest Generation followed by the Silent Generation (sometimes called the Lucky Few) and the Baby Boomers. Generation X was most impacted by the Cold War phase. We transitioned out of that era in 2001, with the current Nuclear Posture Review. Generation Y (Millennials) and Generation Z are shaped by this most recent phase.
What a mess humans have made of this world. Who could have guessed we were actually safer when we battled just one Superpower? Here’s a post I wrote a few years ago about the Rise of Soviet Nostalgia.
Seems like a good day for Nena’s 99 Luftballons. You might also like this post on 10 Protest Songs from the 80s, which I wrote back in 2011.