2.17.2008

The Black Hole

Yesterday, took a trip up to The Black Hole of Los Alamos.

I first heard about it over a year ago from my co-worker, a native of Los Alamos. It all had to do with her new car getting scraped while parked out on the road and involved a neighbor having stolen some sort of shell casing from The Black Hole, which he accidentally smashed into her car. Mentions of it popped up again and again and then, a couple weeks back, we heard stories from Jamie and Betsy about heading up there. Decided to check it out for ourselves.

It's kind of on the other side of Los Alamos in a space formerly occupied by a supermarket. Now, it's just taken over — inside and out — by salvage, mostly from the Lab.



You can get an idea of the scope from this satellite image from Google Maps.



Part of what got Jamie up there was this piece, which was under consideration for inclusion in Flower Power. Unfortunately, it wasn't feasible to transport the piece.



We were greeting by the guy minding the store and headed in.





And it really is just packed with stuff. Lab equipment. Office supplies. Old VCRs. Helmets. Keyboards. Cables. Fans. Film. 8mm cameras. Scientific…things. It was a lot of fun prowling around and just checking things out. Though cold. No heat in the building and though it was sunny, probably at least 10° colder inside. (Click for larger).

 
 
 
 

We kicked around outside for a bit (and warmed up), then headed on our way.

Though it was a recent find for us, we didn't uncover some real unknown. There's been plenty written and filmed about The Black Hole (including this account from a former summer employee) and its founder Ed Grothus and his activism. Following the links in this post and Googling some will give you a more comprehensive overview; Ed was there, but is not well, so he wasn't able to give us the multi-hour talk and tour that most first-timers get.

We didn't leave empty handed. Monica and I had split up to wander inside. Turns out that, independently, we had zeroed in on the same thing: a beautiful, well-constructed and maintained crash numbering stamp. Crash numbering is numbering printed material in sequence; the stamp has settings for consecutive, duplicate, and triplicate and advances the numbers after 1, 2, or 3 impressions. It's a solid, smooth little piece of machinery.



Also picked up another stamp, presumably for photos produced at LASL (the old name for the labs).

1 comment:

paulbob said...

Bram and Mon,

You should hook up with the Mads to get more LANL stories. They are loads of fun, what with their Minnesota roots and Los Alamos radiation-induced charm...