Palm trees swayed gently in the dappled sunlight as the languid surf inside the coral reef caressed a crescent of white sand. The timeless vision of an idyllic south sea paradise was marred by the fleet of ninety-five warships anchored in the lagoon.
The ghost fleet was completely devoid of human presence but not devoid of life.
As the ships swung gently on their anchor chains the only sound one could imagine would be the insistent bleating of the herds of goats and sheep that had replaced the sailors on deck and perhaps the excited cries of five thousand lab rats in their cages as they smelled the bags of corn seed that were stowed topside.
The humid atmospherics foreshadow a macabre sea story worthy of a Jack London or Joseph Conrad.
A lone high-altitude B-29 approached the Bikini atoll on July 1 of 1946 less than one year after the Japanese surrender in World War II.
The plane carried a plutonium “Fat Man” implosion weapon identical to the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. The small plutonium core of the Bikini weapon had previously killed two scientists in a Los Alamos Laboratory who both made careless repetitive mistakes in handling the material resulting in critical bursts of lethal radiation.
Descending deeper into the stranger-than-fiction genre we find that the bomb was named “Gilda” after the ultimate femme fatale character played by Rita Hayworth in the 1946 film noir of the same name.
Rita was the favorite pin-up girl of millions of G.I.s during WWII. Her picture was plastered on the side of the bomb alongside the stenciled name “Gilda”.
Ground zero for “Gilda” was the Battleship Nevada which sported a fresh coat of red-orange paint as a giant bulls-eye for the B-29 bombadier.
Even with the excellent Norden bombsight, “Gilda” had a mind of her own and missed the target by 847 yards. You might say that ½ mile was good enough for government work but the reason for the debacle eluded a congressional investigation which could not determine who to blame or what went wrong.
Even though the Navy’s careful plans to measure the nuclear weapon’s effect on the sacrificial fleet were somewhat scrambled there was still enough prompt radiation from the 520 foot airburst to zap the ships and their cargo. Plant scientists were exceedingly happy to retrieve their radiated corn seeds and fly them to a secret government facility near Washington, D.C. A portion of the spoils was sent to Cal Tech and immediately planted at the Arcata farm site in Southern California.
Plant geneticists had been bombarding seed with X-rays for decades trying to provoke unknown mutations to study. Now they had an opportunity for the real thing. A Cal-Tech document heralds the result:
The mutated crop was so stunted and bizarre that the Bikini seed was eventually relegated to the Maize Genetics Cooperation Stock Center where it languished until,
“One day in 1959, University of Illinois scientist John Laughnan absentmindedly popped dry corn kernels into his mouth while shelling mutant seeds off cobs. He was surprised by the sweetness of one of the kernels from a particular mutant obtained from the university's Maize Genetics Cooperation Stock Center in Urbana. That particular mutant was known as shrunken2. Its shriveled-up kernels became what the world now knows as super-sweet corn.”
Laughnan was a geneticist but his eyes were seeing dollar signs as he excitedly planted the mutant code name Shrunken 2 (sh2) seed which barely germinated because of the high sugar content. He eventually crossed the mutant corn with older traditional varieties to gain a better germination rate and rushed to market in 1961 with Illini Xtra-Sweet and an extra-sweet version of Golden Cross Bantam.
In the late 1960’s another University of Illinois scientist, Ashby Rhodes, discovered yet another extra-sweet mutant that was also extra tender. It was marketed as sugar enhanced (se) and soon had many followers. In the rush to stoke America’s sweet tooth and rake in hundreds of millions of dollars, our grandfather’s heirloom varieties lapsed into obscurity.
Major seed companies moved to capture world food production in the 1990’s as genetic engineering came on-line. As part of that coordinated effort, the mad scientists took the sh2 and se mutations and genetically stacked yet more mutations together to arrive at “augmented supersweet corn” which would exhibit any gastronomic trait that an obese and sweet-addicted public could possibly savor.
I call it true "Franken-corn," a worthy food for the good Doctor Frankenstein’s laboratory.
My friends, I share this story to provide some small understanding as to why I stopped growing sweet corn and started planting and developing our Alpine Varietal of Painted Mountain Corn. We grow protein, not sugar.
Jo Robinson broke the corn backstory in Eating on the Wild Side. She said that 95% of all sweet corn grown today has those Bikini mutations. I would add my suspicion that almost all corn has cross-pollination GMO contaminants. That’s why we grow our seed at remote locations in the mountains of Montana far from any other corn. Click here to learn more.
I also have a little skin in the game and some sins to atone for. Back in the late 1950’s, I was in a military unit that was scheduled to deploy to the Yucca Flats Nuclear test site in Nevada when they were still doing open-air detonations. We were going to be the human guinea pigs in trenches located in some proximity to ground zero. Fortunately, we stood down at the last minute for reasons I never knew. A few years Later I took a year off from University to work in a medical school radiochemistry lab. What I saw there was a real eye-opener.
Aside from medical students routinely selling their blood to pay the rent, indigent patients were recruited off the streets and rewarded with a small sum of money to spend a few days in the hospital and receive injections of radioactive isotopes for experiments in the name of science. We lowly technicians were encouraged to bring a brown bag lunch to the weekly faculty seminar. I stopped going because what I heard killed my appetite as the presenter got into the details of his research that required the patient to be restrained while a huge horse needle was inserted into the sternum to extract some interesting bone marrow. The presenter would drone on for a while and get my attention again when he would remark with true morbid detachment “unfortunately, the patient expired. Next slide please…”
After a year, I got out of that lab and never looked back.
Much later in another career phase I found myself designing and building blast and radiation shelters and had the opportunity to meet several of the physicists who designed the original nuclear weapons. Although rather aged at the time they still had formidable intellects and certainly knew how to defend against the weapons they developed.
Currently we are faced with dangers that are more acute than at the height of the cold war due to the events at Fukashima and the proliferation of nuclear weapons and fissile materials.
There is an increasing crescendo of nuclear memes that are purposely injected into the mass media to prepare us for something looming near, whether terrorist dirty bombs, false flag attacks or EMP events. In retrospect I can say that I don’t think we are wise enough yet as a people to use nuclear energy for any purpose but we can’t stuff the genie back in the bottle so we must pray up, prepare and beware of soul-less scientists who would destroy and enslave us.
I urge you to take all prudent measures to prepare your families for these possibilities. As I heard Jim Rawles recently remark, it’s time to
Address your nutrition and food needs, water purification at home and in the field, First Aid/ medical and self defense.
Going forward, stock up on our Alpine Varietal of Painted Mountain Corn seed. Quality seed may be more precious than bullets and become a currency in itself.
Now you know why we grow and sell our own seed directly to you. Buy it here.
Remember, all of our seed is field screened for radioactive alpha, beta and gamma particle emitters (and we do know how to use the meters).
Stay safe my brothers and sisters. Live long and may you avoid those “buckets of sunshine” and all their follow-on effects.
13 April 2016
These are the full reference documents used to write this article:
OPERATION CROSSROADS "Effects of an Atomic Bomb Explosion on Corn Seeds"
De-classified from the Department of Defense, Defense Technical Information Center
"ON THE FREQUENCY AND TRANSMITTED CHROMOSOME ALTERATIONS AND GENE MUTATIONS INDUCED BY ATOMIC BOMB RADIATIONS IN MAIZE"
California Institute of Technology