The Tsar Bomba, officially known as RDS-220 or Big Ivan to its Soviet creators, is the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated by man. The first and only one of its kind was tested on October 30, 1961 at 11:32am.

It was a 100 megaton bomb design but the uranium fusion stage tamper of the tertiary and secondary stages was replaced with lead, thus reducing the yield by 50% by disposing with the fast fissioning of the uranium tamper by the fusion neutrons. What that means is, the change in materials led to a much smaller explosion than originally planned but also had the added bonus of reducing the expected fallout by 97%.

The effect of this bomb at full power would have been catastrophic on the Earth, increasing the world’s total fission fallout since the invention of the atom bomb by 25%. Do you understand? The fallout from one detonation of the Tsar Bomba would have been equivelant to 1/4 of all fallout from hundreds of atomic detonations up until that time.

The bomb was tested at Novaya Zemlya Island in the Russian Arctic Circle. It was airdropped and detonated at around 4,000 meters, being visible from1,000 kilometers away despite overcast weather. Even at the great height at which it exploded, the fireball reached down to the Earth and rose almost to the height at which is was deployed at 10,500 meters. The blast pressure below the burst point was 6 times greater than the Hiroshima bomb at 300 PSI.

Shock waves were felt over 700 kilometers away, windows were broken at distances in excess of 900 kilometers, All buildings within 55 kilometers were destroyed and all wooden buildings within hundreds of kilometers were wiped out while stone or concrete buildings sustained massive damage.

Radio communications were disrupted for almost an hour and atmospheric disturbance created by the blast orbited the planet an estimated three times.

The mushroom cloud rose 64 kilometers into the atmosphere. The explosion shook the entire planet with seismic equipment on the other side of the Earth registering a seismic magnitude of 5.0 to 5.25.

Ground zero had been glassed at the center of impact and eye-witnesses described the entire area as looking like a “skating rink” because the ground was swept clean and flat due to the blast wave and ultra high heat.

All planes involved in the operation had been coated with a special reflective paint due to the calculation that the 50 megaton blast would be capable of causing 3rd degree burns at distances of 100+ kilometers.

The effective damage radius of the weapon extended out to a 1,000 kilometer radius.

The Soviet Union was quickly condemned in the United Nations and the Western allies jumped back into the nuclear arms race. Thankfully, this monster never made it into the production line. The device’s size, weight, as well as it’s frightening destructive capabilities were deemed too extreme for use in a real conflict.

Flying Humanoids


Monsters and unusual creatures of almost every description have been reported over the centuries. The Jersey Devil, there seems to no limit to the variety of unexplained creatures people claim to have seen with their own eyes. One of the most curious types of sightings - and quite rare - are those of human-like beings that fly. “Human-like” because in most respects they look like us, except that they have wings. In most cases, these odd creatures are not assumed to be either angels or devils (as traditional depictions have them as human-like beings with wings), but as something else. Something quite unusual, as seen in this video of one of the flying creatures in mexico. 

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Pocket Watch of Lt George Dixon From The Sunk Sub The Hunley

The pocket watch that belonged to the commanding officer of the Civil War-era submarine “H.L. Hunley,” Lt. George Dixon. The watch was retrieved from the Hunley and  archaeologists hope to use it to determine the time the sub sank on February 17, 1864. U.S. Navy photo. (RELEASED)

For 131 years the submarine remained undetected, entombed in sand and sediment 6.4 km off the coast of South Carolina’s Sullivan Island. Then, in 1995, author and adventurer Clive Cussler, with a team from his National Underwater and Marine Agency, was rewarded for persistence after a 15-year search. That search was conducted in partnership with the South Carolina Institute of Anthropology and Archaeology. Dragging a magnetometer through the water, the explorers located the sub preserved under one meter of silt, in water 8.5 m deep. The vessel, covered in concretions from 6.4 mm to 19 mm thick, was found intact, lying on its starboard side at a 45-degree angle.

More on the Hunley Here:

A Veteran Poses With His Accoutrements by Ron Coddington on Flickr.

A Veteran Poses With His Accoutrements

Carte de visite of Edward Colton Clark by Frank Rowell of Providence, R.I. Known as “Ned” to friends and comrades, Clark served as a private in the First Rhode Island National Guard. He and his regiment were activated for federal service in 1862 after Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s raid in the Shenandoah Valley prompted federal authorities to call for more troops.

The guardsmen mustered in as the Tenth Rhode Island Infantry. They made it as far as Washington, D.C., before the threat by Jackson subsided. Clark and his comrades spent the remainder of their three-month term of enlistment in the defenses of the Union capital. Clark’s Company D occupied Fort DeRussy, which guarded the western approach to the city.

Clark did not reenlist after the expiration of his term, and returned to his home in Providence. He sat on a wooden box surrounded by his accoutrements after his return home.

He died in 1874.

His full story appears in my book Faces of the Civil War: An Album of Union Soldiers and Their Stories, published in 2004 by The Johns Hopkins University Press.

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Union J M&G Winners meet the boys on Josh’s Birthday.

George F. Rysdyk- I Died At Seven Pines

Twenty-one year old George Rysdyk enlisted as 1st Sergeant of Co. K, 67th New York, 1st Long Island Volunteers on September 27, 1861 at Brooklyn. He made 2nd Lieutenant on May 1, 1862.

Lieutenant Rysdyk was killed in action on May 31, 1862 at the Battle of Seven Pines.

(Photo courtesy of the Division of Military & Naval Affairs – NYS Adjt. Gen Office, Albany NY)

Information provided by American Civil War Research Database and the publication New York in the War of the Rebellion 1861-1865 by Frederick Phisterer (1912)