Video: There's a fascinating backstory about the building that is now the US National Audiovisual Conservation Center, which is where the Library of Congress stores all 6.3 million pieces of the library's movie, television and sound collection. It used to be a nuclear bunker that stored $US4 billion ($5.3 billion) during the Cold War. Now, it's a one-stop shop for all things regarding film preservation and restoration, with kilometres of shelves stacked with film reels to the ceilings; all sorts of machines that can repair film, process film and print film; and any sort of video player you can imagine to play any sort of format that ever existed.
Tagged With cold war
Guy Sims Fitch had a lot to say about the world economy in the 1950s and '60s. He wrote articles in newspapers around the globe as an authoritative voice on economic issues during the Cold War. Fitch was a big believer in private American investment and advocated for it as a liberating force internationally. But no matter what you thought of Guy Sims Fitch's ideas, he had one big problem. He didn't exist.
On 23 May 1967, the United States Air Force scrambled to ready nuclear missile-laden aircraft for deployment. Radar systems designed to detect incoming Soviet missiles had just been disrupted, in what the military perceived to be an act of war. But before any nukes were launched in retaliation, it seems Air Force command was told to stand down.
During the Cold War, the US Army studied the feasibility of launching ballistic missiles from within Greenland's ice sheet. When the project was done, engineers buried biological, chemical and radioactive waste in the ice thinking it would be preserved for eternity. Shame they didn't know about global warming.
Earlier this week, we heard alarming reports of a "significant" nuclear waste leak at Hanford, the largest radioactive waste dumpsite in the US. Should we be worried? Absolutely. But mainly because this is a symptom of a much bigger problem that's been festering for decades.
In 1961 an eight-year-old girl from Marine City, Michigan wrote to President Kennedy. She wanted to know if the Russians were going to bomb the North Pole. JFK responded with the letter below, assuring her that Santa would be just fine.
On 12 January 1958, an important weapon of the Cold War was introduced. It wasn't a missile or a spy satellite, but rather a colourful Sunday comic strip that showed Americans what the future was going to look like. It was called Closer Than We Think.
The physicists who invented the nuclear bomb worked out of Los Alamos in New Mexico, but the people who did the dirty work of making the bombs were in Hanford, Washington. Throughout the Cold War, Hanford churned out plutonium for our nuclear arsenal. It was also, conveniently, a place to experiment with radiation.
Ever contemplated going to war with America but been thwarted when the Great Satan switched off your access to its navigation satellites? That's potentially a real problem for China and Russia, but the real victor in this navigational arms race might be you; it's improving the quality of location data on your phone and in your car.
From a secret treasure trove below the memorial to Oliver Wendell Holmes in Washington DC to a retrofitted quarry in Wales, Europe — world governments have gone to great lengths to protect precious objects from ruin. A new trove of declassified documents shine light on a new, little-known project to do just that during the Cold War,