Sixth Anniversary of RockyFlatsFacts

It’s been a bit over six years ago that we launched this site with the publication of the book “An Insider’s View of Rocky Flats: Urban Myths Debunked.” My personal opinion is that the Kindle version of the book is the best because it includes pictures of plutonium ingots and burning plutonium. It’s also cheaper and doesn’t require a shipping fee! There were 27 reviews of the book the last time I looked, and the reviews reflect the controversies that still surround Rocky Flats. The average is something near four stars, but there are several very negative reviews. A one star review says simply, “Poorly written.” Another says “Political parlance!” One says the book was “obviously written by a DOE shill.” That reviewer probably didn’t actually read the book, or at least failed to notice the book was not complimentary about DOE. My personal favorites are several of the five star reviews!

I’m obliged to discuss some statistics about the website. There have been 928 postings before I add this one. The counter, which was added a couple of years after we began, has now registered about 1,750,000. (For those who prefer precision, the last time I looked it registered 1,753,006.) The postings were about even split between expressions, book reviews, and commentaries until this year. There have been few book reviews in the past several months, mostly because I’ve begun to focus on writing a new book about Rocky Flats. That book will have “Nuclear Deterrence” somewhere in the title, because I believe Rocky Flats effectively performed its mission of helping provide a nuclear stockpile large enough that World War III was prevented.

The postings continue to be submitted by RF Alum and Ponderer, who often provides a different perspective. I think I can speak for both of us that the power of freedom of speech results in an open discussion, which hopefully results in consideration of different ideas. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our politicians used that approach? I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Ponderer has been a prolific writer and publisher outside this website. She has published several books, which includes an interesting series about Mars.

This website will continue to evolve. I’ve thought we probably would begin to run out of new expressions, but that has not yet happened. I won’t hesitate to stop posting commentaries if I think there is a shortage of decent material. That hasn’t happened yet.

I’ll try to remember to keep you informed about the new Rocky Flats book. I’m convinced that people will be interested in what it says regardless of whether they worked there, protested the place, or want to know more about the Cold War. I believe in the adage that people who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. That sentence made me remember writing that President Carter told some advisors he wanted to be remembered as “a Wilson.” One of the advisors replied that he should first want to be “a Truman.” (The decision to build Rocky Flats was made during the Truman administration.)

Fourth Anniversary of RockyFlatsFacts.com

It has been an interesting four years since we launched this site to provide the book titled, “An Insider’s View of Rocky Flats:  Urban Myths Debunked.” Several hundred people have elected to hold the actual book or to read the Kindle version, which has several interesting pictures. Some think the pictures of two types of plutonium ingots make the Kindle version worthwhile.

Getting some statistics out of the way, the counters have indicated there have been over 1.3 million visitors. There will have been 654 postings when this one is added. Those postings have been just about equally divided between commentaries, book reviews, and expressions. Frequent readers know that there is no way to predict the subjects since we write about whatever attracts our interest on a given day. There was a series of Rocky Flats-related commentaries in mid-year when a three day event was held at the Arvada Center on an anniversary of the government raid on the plant (see “An Insider’s View, etc., above). There was another Rocky Flat’s series when the Department of Energy announced through a subcontractor that health insurance provided to retirees was changing.

Book reviews continued to be mostly non-fiction, but we will post a review about any book we think is interesting. We are still finding new expressions despite posting descriptions of the origin and meaning of over 200. Perhaps the day will come when we run out of new material, but we aren’t there yet.

The two frequent contributors also have been busy writing and publishing books. Ponderer (Kate Rauner) published a sequel to her book “Glitch.” This one is titled “Venture,” and I recommend it to anyone who has interest in space exploration. A sequel to “Angry Pigs Organized Against Gerbils:  The Farmer Island War,” is titled “Farmer Island Magic,” and should be published soon. The four grandchildren who once again served as “Creative Staff and Illustrators” are hoping to have a copy before Christmas. I’m also in the early stages of writing another Rocky Flats book that I think will be interesting to people who worked there and/or protested the place.  More about that later.

Third Anniversary for Rocky Flats Facts Web Site

The most important news about the web site as we have passed the third anniversary of the launch is that there is now a partner writing commentaries, book reviews, and explanations of the origins of expressions. There were a few commentaries and reviews provided by guest writers in the first couple of years, but Kate Rauner, writing under the tag line “Ponderer,” has provided a significant portion of the content in the last year. Her posts have provided a nice expansion in subjects and opinions. I recommend Kate’s fun and interesting science fiction book, “Glitch.” You can see my review of that book on Amazon.

We launched this web site in November 2010 with the primary purpose of providing the free on line book “An Insider’s View of Rocky Flats, Urban Myths Debunked.” The book has had a few thousand people view it on line and several hundred copies have been sold on Amazon. There are eleven reviews on Amazon with an average rating of three and one half stars. Continue reading

The Lever of Riches

lever-of-richesThe subtitle of this book by Joel Mokyr is “Technological Creativity and Economic Progress.” I requested the book to be sent to my local library after reading a reference that sounded interesting in “A Case for Nuclear-Generated Electricity” (reviewed previously). The author of that book observed that Mokyr discussed how China transitioned from being a technological, military, and economic power to becoming a backward country pushed around by the world because, simplistically, it stopped embracing innovation. I wanted to learn more so I obtained Mokyr’s book. Continue reading

Actions on Parkway Next to Rocky Flats

I haven’t posted an article that directly relates to the former Rocky Flats plant for quite some time, but there is recent news about the area where the plant was located .There have been plans to transfer a parcel of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge for a right of way to construct part of the Jefferson County Parkway near where the plant operated.  The court recently threw out law suits to stop the transfer ownership of the strip of land. The suits were based in part on “…the lack of a comprehensive environmental assessment of its impacts.”

The parkway has been vigorously opposed by people who object to the development and resulting congestion that would result. A focus many who opposed the project was plutonium contamination in the area. One article explained, “Opponents say building the road along the route currently proposed, which skirts the eastern edge of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, could turn up soil laced with dangerous levels of plutonium in the area, which was the longtime site of the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant.

The $10 million dollar land swap for the right of way officially went through on New Year’s Eve Day. The court action to reverse a last-minute injunction was undoubtedly celebrated by the cities and governmental agencies that see the positives of completing a high-speed highway around the metropolitan area. A spokesperson for one of the environmental groups that had sued to block the transfer, “…called the closing a setback, but said his group will continue to look into ways to fight the building of the tollway.” Continue reading

Second Anniversary for Rocky Flats Facts Web Site

It has been two years since this web site was launched. Maintaining the site has required significant technology research and application, and I credit Keith Motyl for keeping the site up to date. My contribution has been generating the content, and all the reading and writing has been a good retirement project. I must think it is worthwhile, since I’ve added another web site.  FarmerIsland was launched to promote the book “Angry Pigs Organized Against Gerbils: The Farmer Island War.” The book was written based on the ideas of four grandchildren (listed as Creative Staff and Illustrators). Adults have been very complimentary and a third grade teacher who read the book to her class reports that the children enjoyed the “delightful book.”

There has been one major irritant. SiteBuilder has not provided us with a way to control comments that I call “graffiti.” The blog allows me to decide whether a comment is pertinent, and I can allow it to be posted or reject it as spam. The review and expression links on SiteBuilder do not give that option, and we have attracted hundreds or thousands of comments that seem to be directed at marketing luxury products and other items that have no connection with the content. We struggle with the daunting task of deleting all of this “graffiti” while leaving the legitimate comments that provide value. Continue reading

First Anniversary for RockyFlatsFacts.com

We launched  the web site in November 2010, so this posting is a bit late. The “About” link of the web site describes that we established this site to share a book about the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons production plant in Colorado titled “An Insider’s View of Rocky Flats, Urban Myths Debunked.”  We consider that to be a success. We didn’t add a counter to the link for the book until a couple of months after it posting it, but there had been over 2000 views of it by the end of November. Several of my colleagues at Rocky Flats told me they had been forwarded electronic versions of the book, which wouldn’t show up on the counter. There have also been a couple hundred paperbacks sold by Amazon to those who prefer to hold a real book. We’re quite proud that four people have chosen to review the book and gave it excellent ratings (one reviewer gave it four stars and three others gave it five stars). There is also a Kindle version of the book, which has numerous photos.

The only other link with a counter on the web site is the blog, and there were about fifteen thousand visits to that link between January and November. We did 64 postings the first year, and have approved 246 comments. We blog about just about anything that we think is interesting, and the history category wins the most postings with 20. That makes sense, since I often refer to myself as an “amateur historian.” There were 17 postings about the Rocky Flats Plant. Other popular posting subjects were historical figures, current events, and economics.

There is a link on the web site for book reviews. There were 52 postings (which is consistent with the goal of posting a review each Wednesday).  I think my favorite review is the first one posted about “Venona, Decoding Soviet Espionage in America, by John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr.

The greatest challenge in doing reviews is that I don’t want to do a book the disservice, and have often had to post reviews in multiple parts. I’ve convinced myself I really should work at restricting a review to no more than two typed pages. We’ll see whether I have the discipline to follow that guideline.

There have been 73 expressions posted, and several people helped me with ideas for that link. It is interesting to learn the origin of common expressions. An example is “making money hand over fist.” It turns out that one is literal, since it came from the process of making coins by pounding blanks of metal with a template.

Thanks to everyone who helped me get this going, the people who have provided me suggestions for improvement and content, and the people who take the time to read the posts.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  I intend to search for content that has interest and value and to work at writing and editing with care. My New Year resolution is to work at respecting your time if you choose to read what has been posted.