Sunday, July 16, 2006
Happy Birthday, Trinity!
Trinity is an odd child born 61 years ago, July 16, 1945 in the Alamogordo dessert of New Mexico at a place called in Spanish, “Jornada del Muerto”, which means, “Journey of Death”.
A device called the “Gadget” had been hoisted 20 meters up to hang in a metal tower. The “Gadget” was roughly spherical in shape and consisted of about five thousand pounds of shaped charges of high explosives encasing a small sphere of plutonium, a name which means, “metal of death”.
At 5:30 AM the count down ended, a switch was thrown. The high explosives detonated in the way they were designed – that is, simultaneously, and the plutonium in the core was compressed. In the instant the plutonium was compressed, it exceeded its critical mass and the chain reaction the scientists from Los Alamos had calculated would happen in fact took place.
Here is the first known picture of the new-born, already several times bigger than a football field, Trinity is only twenty-five milliseconds old.
The explosion was later determined to have been the equivalent of more than 20 thousand tons of TNT.
That the code name for the test was “Trinity”, always struck me as something of an odd blasphemy even when I was a child.
Just why the name was chosen is unclear. Apparently Robert Oppenheimer picked the name because of some of the poetry of John Donne who is best known for the line, “…any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
With the birth of Trinity, another countdown began and bells began to ring in the metapsychical interstices. The countdown will end with either the extinction of our species or the general realization of the significance of our common humanity.
Whether the bells toll a dirge for our Mother Earth’s death in labor or the birth of her child still hangs in the balance
Every one of us in our daily lives are determining which way it will go.
The only thing I know for sure is that Alien Veggies will not suddenly appear in the skies kiss our thumb and wipe our bum and make it all better.
Either we learn to solve our little disputes without constantly resorting to violence or eventually our violence will resolve all our problems.
The question is not non-violence as opposed to violence, the question is non-violence as opposed to non-existence. That’s what Martin Luther King, Jr. ways saying the days before he was silenced.
More information about Trinity, a lot actually, can be found here.