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snopes
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Comment: This rumour has been doing the blogs lately: "One of the great
tales of World War II concerns an American fighter pilot named Marcus
McDilda who was shot down on August 8 and brutally interrogated about the
atomic bombs. He knew nothing, but under torture he "confessed" that the
US had 100 more nuclear weapons and planned to destroy Tokyo "in the next
few days". The war minister informed the cabinet of this grim news - but
still adamantly opposed surrender."

All of the blogs reproduce exactly the same quote, and I notice it has the
phrase 'great tales', but I can't find a primary source. IS THIS TRUE OR
NOT?!?!

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Ursa Major
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Code-Name Downfall: The Secret Plan to Invade Japan--and Why Truman Dropped the Bomb by Thomas B. Allen and Norman Polmar

Lt. McDilda was on a B-29 crew, not a fighter pilot.

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Finite Fourier Alchemy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Timeline:

Bombing of Hiroshima with "Little Boy" 6 Aug 1945

Bombing of Nagasaki with "Fat Man" 9 Aug 1945

Japanese surrender 14 Aug 1945

Formal signing of surrender 2 Sept 1945

I can't imagine there were many bombing runs over such a brief time. What mission and where was McDilda flying?

Alchemy

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Thinking about New England / missing old Japan

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Ursa Major
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Allen & Polmar say he was shot down over Osaka. LeMay's bombers owned the skies over Japan at the time. Aside from bombing, his planes were sent on aerial recon and meteorological missions.
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Jason Threadslayer
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Attempted coup: 15 August 1945
Last bombing mission (Boomerang): 15 August 1945
Surrender: 15 August 1945

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All posts foretold by Nostradamus.

Turing test failures: 6

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heavyhand
Deck the Malls


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in my former military job, i was an AF nuclear weapons tech. after all the schooling the AF sent me to, and research done by myself on my own time, i can honestly say ive never heard of this one before

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(enter witty tagline here)

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oh pleeze
It's So Cheesy (to Fall in Love)


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speaking of atomic bombs, here's a spooky fact:
[Eek!]
"Fluoride was the key chemical in atomic bomb production, according to the documents. Massive quantities of fluoride – millions of tons – were essential for the manufacture of bomb-grade uranium and plutonium for nuclear weapons throughout the Cold War. One of the most toxic chemicals known, fluoride rapidly emerged as the leading chemical health hazard of the U.S atomic bomb program." [Eek!]

see:
http://www.fluoridation.com/atomicbomb.htm

--------------------
op

i'm taking the afternoon off to stalk my previous boss who fired me for taking afternoons off.

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by oh pleeze:
[QB]. . . Fluoride was the key chemical in atomic bomb production . . .

Yes, because it's the only element that will form workable compounds with uranium and plutonium. (These metals will oxidize, but U-rust isn't workable!)

The site you pointed to is an illiterate anti-fluoridation screed.

Silas

--------------------
When on music's mighty pinion, souls of men to heaven rise,
Then both vanish earth's dominion, man is native to the skies.

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GameSix - The Headless Norseman
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
...fluoride rapidly emerged as the leading chemical health hazard of the U.S atomic bomb program.
Let me guess, the fluoride polluted the a-bomb scientists precious bodily fluids?

-Game "purity of essence" Six

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bufungla
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
quote:
Originally posted by oh pleeze:
[QB]. . . Fluoride was the key chemical in atomic bomb production . . .

Yes, because it's the only element that will form workable compounds with uranium and plutonium. (These metals will oxidize, but U-rust isn't workable!)

And just to clarify "workable", uranium hexafluoride was used in the uranium enrichment process at Oak Ridge because it's a gaseous form of uranium at relatively low temperatures, which lends itself for use in the separation of different isotopes (the lighter U235 diffuses slightly more quickly than the heavier U238). U235 is fissionable while U238 is not (or at least not enough to carry on a sustained chain reaction). AFAIK, it's not needed for plutonium processing, since the most common forms of plutonium are all fissionable.

buf 'sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong' ungla

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"Pardon him. Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature."

George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra

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Finite Fourier Alchemy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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Interesting annotated essay about the German and Japanese nuclear weapons programs, the proposed Allied Japanese invasion "Downfall" and the Japanese defense strategy "Ketsu-Go":

http://pricegraphicarts.tripod.com/WorldWideTerrorism/id45.htm

Alchemy

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Thinking about New England / missing old Japan

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Delta-V
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by oh pleeze:
speaking of atomic bombs, here's a spooky fact:
[Eek!]
"Fluoride was the key chemical in atomic bomb production, according to the documents.

They don't differentiate Between 'Fluorine', 'Fluoride' and 'Uranium Hexafluoride'. Chlorine is a deadly gas, but I routinely add Sodium Chloride to my food.

quote:
Originally posted by bufungla:
And just to clarify "workable", [URL=http://web.ead.anl.gov/uranium/guide/uf6/it's a gaseous form of uranium at relatively low temperatures, which lends itself for use in the separation of different isotopes (the lighter U235 diffuses slightly more quickly than the heavier U238). U235 is fissionable while U238 is not (or at least not enough to carry on a index.cfm]uranium hexafluoride[/URL] was used in the uranium enrichment process at Oak Ridge because sustained chain reaction). AFAIK, it's not needed for plutonium processing, since the most common forms of plutonium are all fissionable.

buf 'sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong' ungla [/QB]

Plutonium, being a 'manufactured' element, forms different isotopes by how long it's irradiated. Since you have some control over their formation, there is no real need to separate out the heavier isotopes, you just time it so most of the Plutonium formed is Pu-239. Pu-239 and Pu-241 are 'fissile', and can sustain a chain reaction, but Pu-241 has a very short halflife, so isn't as desirable. The other isotopes are not fissile (but they are 'fissionable' by high-speed neutrons). In addition, you can chemically seperate the Plutonium from the rest of the fuel rod.

Incidentally, Uranium Hexafluoride is used because naturally occuring Fluorine has only one isotope (F-19), so the UF6 molecule has predictable mass based solely on the Uranium isotope. UF6 Gas Diffusion is also used (or was used, anyway) at Paducah, KY and Portsmouth, OH, in addition to Oakridge, TN.

--------------------
"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

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ASL
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by GameSix - The Headless Norseman:
quote:
...fluoride rapidly emerged as the leading chemical health hazard of the U.S atomic bomb program.
Let me guess, the fluoride polluted the a-bomb scientists precious bodily fluids?

-Game "purity of essence" Six

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

--------------------
"Dear Lord, please protect this rockethouse and all who dwell within..."

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Johnny Slick
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Back to the OP: In addition to the problems with timing, consider also that Hiroshima and Nagazaki were virtually the only two Japanese cities to not be hit extremely hard by firebombing. Tokyo at this time was little more thana large pile of charred timber; dropping an A-bomb on this city would kill a lot of refugees, but probably wouldn't accomplish any military aim that hadn't already been accomplished. According to "Memoirs of a Geisha" Kyoto or at least ancient Kyoto was left largely untouched by bombing, so maybe that could have been a secondary target, but I seriously doubt the US planned to go that route unless it was absolutely necessary.

I'm guessing they assumed that the Japanese would surrender after Hiroshima - in fact, I believe that Nagasaki happened so soon after Hiroshima because the US wanted to test a different bomb in a less controlled environment (IIRC Hiroshima proper lies inside of a ridge which would tend to blow the blast back in on the city and maximze destruction). Maybe I'm being overly pessimistic here, but it was, after all, a war.

John Craven

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Give big space to the festive dog that makes sport in roadway. Avoid entanglement of dog with wheel spokes.

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Tootsie Plunkette
Buy a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella


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According to the 1930 census, there was an 8-year-old Marcus McDilda living with his family in Florida.

Although I'm not sure what that proves or disproves, if anything.

ETA: It's possible this genealogical query relates to the same Marcus McDilda.

M.E. McDilda 15 Dec 1921 - 16 Aug 1998, last residence Merritt Island, Brevard, FL (according to Social Security.

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--Tootsie

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The Rubber Chicken
The First USA Noel


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quote:
According to "Memoirs of a Geisha" Kyoto or at least ancient Kyoto was left largely untouched by bombing, so maybe that could have been a secondary target, but I seriously doubt the US planned to go that route unless it was absolutely necessary.

I'm guessing they assumed that the Japanese would surrender after Hiroshima - in fact, I believe that Nagasaki happened so soon after Hiroshima because the US wanted to test a different bomb in a less controlled environment

The primary targets were actually Hiroshima and Kokura. The weather over Kokura was cloudy, thus they moved to the secondary target, Nagasaki. Nagasaki was not an ideal place for the bomb because it is very hilly -- which is why the casualty count in Nagasaki was significantly lower than in Hiroshima (though still pretty damn high). Kyoto was initially on the list. Henry Stimson, the Secretary of War at the time and a huge critic of the firebombings and a person deeply skeptical of the atomic bombs, took Kyoto off of the list because of its cultural significance.

Obviously, the bombings themselves are very controversial. Nagasaki in particular is extremely controversial, for the reason you mentioned. Many people feel it was overkill. It's a tough call. I will say this though: Even after BOTH bombs were dropped, the Emperor's inner council voted NOT to surrender (they tied on the vote, and the Emperor eventually broke the tie in favor of surrendering). Yet, it probably wouldn't have changed it either way had only one bomb been dropped. The real story of the atomic bombings is far more complicated, and involved far more people than most people realize.

Anyway -- I did my thesis in college on Japanese remembernce of the atomic bomb. Interesting stuff. Never heard of the story about the captured pilot though. Sorry to get off topic ;-)

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Visit my blog, Websurdity... the Weird, the Bizarre, the Silly, the Absurd.

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Tootsie Plunkette
Buy a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella


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I think the Marcus E. McDilda from Florida in my post above may actually be the guy. One of the pages in this book refers to his "deep Southern Florida drawl." McDilda is also mentioned in this book, which seems to be the source for the OP.

Now, whether his story is true as related, I can't say.

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--Tootsie

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Phildonnia2
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Another chemical factoid: Uranium Hexafloride will eat through ordinary rubber, gaskets for the machinery were one of the first uses of Polytetrafluoroethylene, which we now find out will kill you instantly if it touches your food.

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/2020/Living/Teflon_investigation_031114-1.html

--Phil "Only if your food contains Dihydrogen Monoxide" donnia

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Candy Q. on Channel 2
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
...fluoride rapidly emerged as the leading chemical health hazard of the U.S atomic bomb program.
Discrediting, of course, nuclear waste and fallout from testing...

Whoever made the chlorine gas/sodium cholride analogy had a good one, kudos. Lovely dihyodrogen monoixde refrence as well at the bottom there, Phildonnia2! [Big Grin] Another good example. Hydrogen is an extrmely volitle(SP?) and flammable substance, and reacts spectacularly with oxygen under the right heat and pressure to form... plain ol' water.

Chemestry is a geeky hobby to be sure, but it's still a fun one. [Wink]

-Candy "And do YOU know how many atoms are in a mole?" Q.

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Crowley
The Red and the Green Stamps


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L

Crow "how many quarks in a groundhog?" ley

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Delta-V
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by Candy Q. on Channel 2:
-Candy "And do YOU know how many atoms are in a mole?" Q.

Depends...a mole of what?

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"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

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BoKu
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by Delta-V:
Depends...a mole of what?

Can you make guacamoles with Avagadros?

Bob "the pits" K.

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Butterpaul Turkey
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Oh, sure, but my Mole Day posts go virtually unnoticed.
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ASL
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Delta-V:
quote:
Originally posted by Candy Q. on Channel 2:
-Candy "And do YOU know how many atoms are in a mole?" Q.

Depends...a mole of what?
A fair question. If it were a mole of a certain molecule, then you wouldn't have 6.02x10^23 atoms, rather you would have 6.02x10^23 molecules. The number of atoms would depend on how many atoms make up the molecule.

--------------------
"Dear Lord, please protect this rockethouse and all who dwell within..."

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Delta-V
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by ASL:
quote:
Originally posted by Delta-V:
quote:
Originally posted by Candy Q. on Channel 2:
-Candy "And do YOU know how many atoms are in a mole?" Q.

Depends...a mole of what?
A fair question. If it were a mole of a certain molecule, then you wouldn't have 6.02x10^23 atoms, rather you would have 6.02x10^23 molecules. The number of atoms would depend on how many atoms make up the molecule.
Technically, a 'mole' is just a number, like a dozen or a gross. So a landfill could have a mole of AOL CD's...

--------------------
"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

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theloneabalone
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by Delta-V:
quote:
Originally posted by ASL:
quote:
Originally posted by Delta-V:
quote:
Originally posted by Candy Q. on Channel 2:
-Candy "And do YOU know how many atoms are in a mole?" Q.

Depends...a mole of what?
A fair question. If it were a mole of a certain molecule, then you wouldn't have 6.02x10^23 atoms, rather you would have 6.02x10^23 molecules. The number of atoms would depend on how many atoms make up the molecule.
Technically, a 'mole' is just a number, like a dozen or a gross. So a landfill could have a mole of AOL CD's...
not really, molarity is a measure of concentration of a compound as dissolved in a solvent (e.g., water) so unless you can really dissolved AOL cds, good luck...

thelone "try measuring micromoles...what a pain" abalone

--------------------
num, me vexo?

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ASL
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by theloneabalone:
not really, molarity is a measure of concentration of a compound as dissolved in a solvent (e.g., water) so unless you can really dissolved AOL cds, good luck...

thelone "try measuring micromoles...what a pain" abalone

I dont think so. That is in context of molarity. Moles per liter. Moles are no more relegated to measuring molarity of solutions than liters are. You can have a liter of CD's, why not a mole of CD's? I think you've confused moles and molarity.

--------------------
"Dear Lord, please protect this rockethouse and all who dwell within..."

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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I'm reminded of the anagram of the author's name in John Thomas Sladek's "The Reproductive System" was "DNA's mol hath jokes." The joke is that the DNA molecule is so big that a mol of it would weigh millions of tons.

Silas

--------------------
When on music's mighty pinion, souls of men to heaven rise,
Then both vanish earth's dominion, man is native to the skies.

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Delta-V
Xboxing Day


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quote:
Originally posted by theloneabalone:
not really,molarity is a measure of concentration of a compound as dissolved in a solvent (e.g., water) so unless you can really dissolved AOL cds, good luck...
[/QB]

No, that's molarity (molarity=moles/liter)

According to the National Institute of Standards:
quote:

1. The mole is the amount of substance of a system which contains as many elementary entities as there are atoms in 0.012 kilogram of carbon 12; its symbol is "mol."

2. When the mole is used, the elementary entities must be specified and may be atoms, molecules, ions, electrons, other particles, or specified groups of such particles.

Thus, if my system (landfill) consists of elementary entities (AOL CD's), you could speak of having a mole of AOL CD's. Admittedly, a mole of something is a useless measurement unless you're speaking of atoms, ions, molecules and the like.

--------------------
"My neighbor asked why anyone would need a car that can go 190 mph. If the answer isn't obvious, and explaination won't help." - Csabe Csere

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