Nadav Soroker/Technical Area 54
Los Alamos began as an “instant city,” springing from the Pajarito Plateau in 1943 at the dawn of the Atomic Age. More than 8,000 people flocked here to work for Los Alamos National Laboratory and related industries during the last years of World War II. Now the city may be on the brink of another boom as the federal government moves forward with what could be the most expensive warhead modernization program in U.S. history…
The cores — known as pits — haven’t been mass-produced since the end of the Cold War. But in 2018, under pressure from the Trump administration, the federal government called for at least 80 new pits to be manufactured each year, conservatively expected to cost $9 billion — the lion’s share of a $14.8 billion weapons program upgrade. After much infighting over the massive contract, plans call for Los Alamos to manufacture 30 pits annually and for the Savannah River Site in South Carolina to make the remaining 50…
The idea of implementing an immense nuclear program at Los Alamos has sparked outrage among citizens, nuclear watchdogs, scientists and arms control experts, who say the pit-production mission is neither safe nor necessary. Producing them at Los Alamos would force the lab into a role it isn’t equipped for — its plutonium facilities are too small, too old and lack important safety features, critics say.
The lab has a long history of nuclear accidents that have killed, injured and endangered dozens if not scores of people. As recently as January, the National Nuclear Security Administration, the federal agency in charge of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, launched an investigation into a Jan. 7 leak at the lab that released radioactive material and contaminated six workers.
Trump doesn’t care. The Republican Party doesn’t care. I’m not certain how much the Democrats care. Pouring billion$ down the rathole of increasing an already excessive quantity of nuclear weapons has never bothered our Congress a whole boatload.
Twenty-five years ago this week, the action movie Die Hard opened and Bruce Willis uttered that famous line.
But where does the yippee-ki-yay part come from?
The yip part of yippee is old. It originated in the 15th century and meant “to cheep, as a young bird,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED). The more well-known meaning, to emit a high-pitched bark, came about around 1907, as per the OED, and gained the figurative meaning “to shout; to complain…”
Now how about the whole phrase, yippee-ki-yay? It seems to be a play on “yippie yi yo kayah,” a refrain from a 1930s Bing Crosby song, “I’m An Old Cowhand.”
Do cowboys really say this? We’re guessing probably not, unless of course they’re single-handedly (and shoelessly) defeating a gang of bank robbers on Christmas Eve.
Have to realize, folks, just how popular Bruce Willis is in working class America. I know a few cowhands in my neck of the prairie and I’d bet they’re not alone in repeating BW’s badass bravado. In fact, I have no doubt there are beaucoup more non-cowboys than cowboys ready to play at being a Willis-style hard man. With or without a proper H&K MP5 Machine Gun.