Spoiler alert: adulthood is 96% of you going “well, I hope this is how it works and I’ll keep doing it till someone yells at me”
This town in Russia is called Zheleznogorsk.
Their flag and coat of arms is a bear splitting the atom.
That is all.
*kicks down door, knocks over end table, vase crashes to the floor*
No that is NOT all, because Zheleznogorsk is really interesting.
It was a secret city, established in 1950 in the middle of Nowhere, Siberia for the purpose of researching nuclear weaponry and producing massive quantities of plutonium, the facilities for which were hidden inside a hollowed-out mountain. It appeared on no maps, and had no census data. Although more than 100,000 people lived there at one point, satellite imagery would have shown only a fairly small mining town. The mountain complex contained 3,500 rooms and three plutonium reactors, which were kept cool by one of the mightiest river in Siberia. The space had been excavated by tens of thousands of gulag slave laborers, who removed more rock from inside the mountain than was used to build the Great Pyramids. Protected under the granite peak of the mountain, these facilities would survive a direct nuclear attack.
No one called it “Zheleznogorsk.” Officially, it was “Krasnoyarsk-26,” which is something like naming a city ‘Arizona-17.’ Residents traveling outside the city called it Iron Town, if they had to refer to it at all. They were under strict instructions never to reveal to anyone the actual business of Krasnoyarsk-26.
And life there was fantastic. People living and working in the secret city received some of the best wages in the Soviet Union. There were sports stadiums, public gardens, a movie theater, and the shortages notorious in the rest of the USSR were unknown. The best nuclear scientists in Russia lived in a sealed-off utopia.
A third of all the nuclear weapons produced in Russia during the Cold War were powered by fuel from Zheleznogorsk. At the time, the image of the great Russian bear ripping an atom apart wouldn’t have seemed very funny at all.
I love the history side of Tumblr
UM, SO. MY GRANDFATHER ACTUALLY BUILT THIS TOWN, AND HELPED RUN IT FOR MANY YEARS.
He was a (Jewish) university student with a degree in electrical engineering (he volunteered for military service after his dad was killed in WWII and served during wartime even though he was underage and medically prohibited from serving in the military. He faked his papers and went to “avenge his dad” at 17.)
Anyway, after the war he started uni and graduated with a Master’s in engineering 5 years later, in the early 50s. He was then due to receive his mandatory 3 year assignment (as all Soviet uni students did - higher education was free, but you spent your first three years working wherever they sent you), except instead he was tapped by the KGB, for reasons he wasn’t clear on until his death (he has several relatives declared Enemies of the State during Stalin’s purges, and he was Jewish, so not exactly a prime candidate for top secret work.)
Anyway, they sent him to the middle of nowhere, Siberia, where he lived in a tent in the wilderness with a few other guys, and was in charge of building a city. It took over a year before any of his immediate superiors even moved out there, because it was literally in the middle of a snowy forest. My grandfather was in charge of making a city plan, laying roads, building houses, building the nuclear facilities, all of it. Eventually he and tent-mates moved into temporary houses, and then eventually real houses.
He wasn’t a nuclear scientist, he worked on the logistical side of the city, but he continued to run it until he left. They were in charge of all the infrastructure, including work inside the nuclear reactors. He was involved in an accident once, where a “minor” bomb exploded and knocked down a bunch of protective walls and he was in the hospital for a while, with radiation poisoning among other things.
Some of the most gruesome stories my grandfather used to tell were about supervising the prisoners who were extracting rock from the mountain. It was not only slave labor, it was also a death sentence. They were not given safety equipment and the rock dust would quickly settle in their lungs. Since they had nothing to lose the prisoners did everything to prolong or fuck up the process of carving the mountain. They’d set clever traps that would only be discovered months later and delayed construction. To be clear, tampering with this system, or with the fates of the prisoners, was considered treason, punishable by death. Similarly, any serious fuck up in constructing the town and facilities my grandfather was in charge of, would have similarly meant a conviction for treason and a potential execution for my grandfather.
Eventually on one of his vacations back home my grandfather met my grandma, they wanted to get married but she had to get security clearance before they let her move to a secure zone. This was actually a huge problem, and my grandparents lived apart for months when my grandpa had to go back to work and my grandma wasn’t allowed to join him. You see, my grandmother, who was 11 when WWII broke out, had to account for every single day during the war to prove she had actually been in a concentration camp the whole time and hadn’t been aiding the Germans and their allies (my grandmother was Jewish). If even one day was unaccounted for she’d be considered too risky to let into a place like Krasnoyarsk-26. She had to produce documents, witnesses, etc.
Eventually my grandparents were reunited, and life in Krasnoyarsk-26 was indeed pretty awesome. They had everything, no expense was spared. My grandmother, who had a teaching degree, became the teacher of the small school they eventually established for the children of the residents.
Probably my favorite story is how my uncle was born. My grandmother’s relatives obviously didn’t know anything about where she was, but she did write letters and tell them she was pregnant with her first child (she was also the firstborn, so it was the first grandchild for the family). Her mother, my great-grandmother, insisted on coming over to help her during and after the birth, as otherwise it was just my grandparents living on their own in their little apartment, and my grandfather would obviously not get any paternity leave.
This was strictly forbidden, no unathorized people were allowed into the town, and my grandfather wrote to his mother-in-law telling her as such. This did not even slightly deter my great-grandmother, who, among other things, managed to pull 5 little girls through Nazi concentration camps all on her own. She completely ignored my grandfather, packed her bags, went to Krasnoyarsk (the actual, non-secret city) and started asking questions about this mysterious Krasnoyarsk-26 and where she might find it. Eventually she actually managed to figure it out and showed up at the gates of Krasnoyarsk-26 asking for my grandfather. Since he was well known and well liked my grandfather was alerted to deal with the problem, and my great-grandmother made it clear to him that she wasn’t leaving. He had to sneak her in through a secret passage, basically making a long journey in the snow, and eventually illegally brought her into the city. This is probably my favorite story about my great-grandmother.
Eventually my mom was born, and as a child started having health issues. She got sick a LOT and the doctors told my grandparents that she wouldn’t survive another Siberian winter. My grandmother took her back to the south of Ukraine, to live with family, and my grandfather had to find a way to quit his job and join them. You have to understand you didn’t just quita top secret nuclear facility in the Soviet Union. No rules applied here, there were no workers’ unions. You worked there until your services were no longer needed.
My grandfather explained the situation to his superior, and his superior literally pulled out a map of the Soviet Union and said “point to any place on this map and I will find a sanatorium for your wife and children where they can live as long as they like, at the state’s expense, and enjoy every comfort and top notch medical treatment. We can do that for you, but you have to stay here.”
My grandfather refused and said he wouldn’t stay without his family, and his family couldn’t live here anymore, so. They actually eventually did let him go! He counted himself exceptionally lucky.
And then of course when he came home to Ukraine and was reunited with my grandmother he found that because the work had been top secret, it was like his record didn’t exist, and antisemitism in the real world was so severe that no one would give him a job as even a lowest level engineer. He spent months going to interviews, sending his paperwork everywhere and trying to cash in every favor he could just to get any kind of work. Eventually a friend from uni set him up somewhere, with a lower wage and a lower level position than he deserved going purely by his years of experience, nevermind the kind of work he actually did.
I only found out about all this in bits and pieces, and the majority of it started making sense in my head when my grandfather started sharing more, closer to when he died. I actually had no idea about any of this until I joined the military and became an intelligence officer. My family always used to laugh or not get why I couldn’t tell them things, but my grandfather suddenly started displaying a lot of sympathy and understanding for my position.
"There are secrets I signed my name to that I’ll never tell anyone," he used to say. And i’d say "but grandpa, it’s been 60 years! It’s all been declassified, besides!" And he’d say "that doesn’t matter. I signed my name and I gave my word. I can talk about what daily life was like, but I’ll never talk about happened in the classified facilities. Not even when they make shows about it on television. I’ll never betray the promises I made."
One part that was super fun/surreal though was comparing classification and information security protocols with my grandpa. “Oh did you do that as well? How interesting!”
i just like the idea of Groot bursting into flowers when he sees Rocket sometimes -u-(\
My name is Wesley James Lock I’m an artist and an aspiring biologist living on the west coast of Florida. For as long as I can remember I have loved two things, art, and animals. I started studying both from a very young age and my dream has always been to make a career out of it. Unfortunately I dropped out of school for personal and health reasons and recently had to quit my job as well. I had been working construction for the last couple years but kept getting injured and just can’t do it anymore.
I can still make art, and want to bring back to life my dream of making it as a wildlife illustrator. I’d love to start selling prints and doing commissions again to bring myself back into it.
If you like my work and are interested in buying or commissioning a piece please send me a message, or if you would be kind enough to share this I’d greatly appreciate it.
I work in a wide range of budgets and always enjoy a challenge. Thank you for taking the time to read this, be well <3
Alright guys I give up. I’m gonna go crawl into a hole and cease to exist, Wes is better than me at all things. Seriously, he’s basically the new Steven Irwin and at the same time a stupendous artist. If you are following me and you aren’t following him, your priorities are in the wrong place.
tell me a secret
One time during class my drama/english teacher, who’s a devout vegan and all about not killing animals, accidentally stepped on a ladybug. He froze up and slowly cradles it in his hand and he was so heartbroken and started quoting Hamlet.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him that it was a red m&m.
I can’t breathe
HeyO! This was a bit of something I’ve wanted to do for awhile. Had it in my mind to do an Irish/Celtic/Gaelic/Welsh/Scottishwhathaveyou guide for awhile. Finally got around to it, at the very tail end of summer. So here goes.
Aos Sí: Irish term meaning “people of the mound”, they’re comparatively your faeries and elves of Irish mythology. Some believe they are the living survivors of the Tuatha Dé Danann. They’re fiercely territorial of their little mound homes and can either be really, really pretty or really, really ugly. They’re often referred to not by name, but as “Fair Folk” or “Good Neighbors”. Never, ever piss them off.
Cat Sidhe: Cat Sidhe are faerie cats, often black with white spots on their chests. They haunted Scotland, but a few Irish tales tell of witches who could turn into these cats a total of nine times (nine lives?). The Cat Sidhe were large as dogs and were believed to be able to steal souls by passing over a dead body before burial. Irusan was a cat sidhe the size of an ox, and once took a satirical poet for a wild ride before Saint Ciaran killed it with a hot poker.
Badb: Part of the trio of war goddesses called Morrígna with sisters Macha and Morrígan, Badb, meaning “crow”, was responsible for cleaning bodies up after battle. Her appearance meant imminent bloodshed, death of an important person, and/or mass confusion in soldiers that she would use to turn victories in her favor. She and her sisters fought the Battles of Mag Tuired, driving away the Fir Bolg army and the Formorians. In short: total badass.
Merrow: The Irish mermaid. They were said to be very benevolent, charming, modest and affectionate, capable of attachment and companionship with humans. It is believed that they wore caps or capes that would allow them to live underwater, and taking a cap/cape of a merrow would render them unable to return to the sea. Merrow, unlike regular mermaids, were also capable of “shedding” their skin to become more beautiful beings. They also like to sing.
Púca: Also called a phooka, these are the chaotic neutral creatures of the Irish mythos world. They were known to rot fruit and also offer great advice. They are primarily shapeshifters, taking a variety of forms both scary as heck and really really pretty. The forms they took are always said to be dark in color. Púcas are partial to equine forms and have known to entice riders onto its back for a wild but friendly romp, unlike the Kelpie, which just eats its riders after drowning them.
Faoladh: My all-time favorite Irish creature. Faoladh are Irish werewolves. Unlike their english neighbors, Faoladh weren’t seen as cursed and could change into wolves at will. Faoladh of Ossory (Kilkenny) were known to operate in male/female pairs and would spend several years in wolf form before returning to human life together, replaced in work by a younger couple. They are the guardians and protectors of children, wounded men, and lost people. They weren’t above killing sheep or cattle while in wolf form for a meal, and the evidence remained quite plainly on them in human form. Later on, the story of an Irish King being cursed by God made the Faoladh a little less reputable.
Dullahan: Dullahan are headless riders, often carrying their decapitated cranium beneath one arm. They are said to have wild eyes and a grin that goes from ear to ear, and they use the spine of a human skeleton as a whip (What the WHAT). Their carriages were made of dismembered body parts and general darkness. Where they stop riding is where a person is doomed to die, and when they say the human’s name, that person dies instantly.
Gancanagh: An Irish male faerie known as the “Love-Talker”. He’s a dirty little devil related to the Leprechaun that likes seducing human women. Apparently the sex was great, but ultimately the woman would fall into some sort of ruin, whether it be financial or scandal or generally having their lives turn out awful. He was always carrying a dudeen—Irish pipe—and was a pretty chill guy personality-wise. You just don’t ever want to meet him—it’s really bad luck.
HEY MINIONS so at the risk of you unfollowing/me sounding like a crazy person I’m going to ask you to do something very unusual today. I am going to ask you to watch a Barbie movie. (That’s it, up there. The whole thing. No really it’s like official no need to pirate it or anything how easy is that.)
WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU DO THAT? Well okay so for one I am one of the two storyboard artists that worked on this (yes, two board artists, for a whole film, get that into your head I can hardly believe we managed it myself), but I am about to blow your mind with the more important detail that the other storyboarder was also the director and also the first female director that a Barbie film has had. Ever. Wow. I know. I knooooow.
So, tumblr, this is why Barbie and the Secret Door is important; this is the first Barbie film directed by a woman. Watch it. There is a super great villain, super cute giant blue furry minions with English accents and very bright super colourful colours all over the place just wait until you get to the magical place I stg you need sunglasses. There are also a lot of songs which will get stuck in your head and aggressive jive dancing.
I am not saying it is the best film, I am not saying that there aren’t other films that deserve your attention more, but there was a whole team of people behind this one gem of a lady trying our very best to make this film good, and you know what? I like it. There are many things that could be improved, yes, and there were decisions made by Mattel that we simply could not change whether we agreed with them or not, but that’s the case with every film, and this film saw a huge shift in the effort and direction of Barbie films. Tell Mattel what you want to see fixed, yes, but tell them that you want to see more of this; more women in control of pictures that are aimed towards young girls (because, let’s face it, these are). These films get translated into every language, they access a lot of people, these films can have influence. We need to be able to use this medium in a positive way, and we tried to, we really did try with this film. Barbie should be a positive icon for feminism; she has been before!
So, yes, please check this out if you have the time, and give Mattel and Rainmaker the feedback that they need!
Wil Wheaton, mensch.
why dont you get a notification like “this user answered your ask”
I am at college orientation doing neat things and meeting neat people*, which is why you might notice a… slowing of posts on my part.
Forecast: high chance of sobbing over classes starting Wednesday
*not that y’all aren’t neat too :D
but have you considered:
- strong females who don’t denounce femininity or being girly
- strong females who are “like every other girl” bc why the hell not girls are rad
- strong females who tear down the culture of girls hating on other girls
- strong females who are proud to be feminists
- strong females who support and acknowledge trans women
- strong females who understand that being strong isn’t synonymous with manly or with “acting like a man”
But have you considered calling them “women” instead of “females”?