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Nuke-Proof Bunker Turns Out Not Waterproof 400

An anonymous reader writes "The AP reports on the opening of a vault in Tulsa, OK which was designed to withstand a nuclear attack by the Russians. 50 years ago they put a Plymouth Belvedere in the vault to preserve it so that we could get a good look at it in the (for that time) magical year of 2007. Unfortunately it turns out that the vault wasn't even waterproof. The once beautiful car is now a literal rust bucket."
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Nuke-Proof Bunker Turns Out Not Waterproof

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 17, 2007 @12:54PM (#19541755)
    Now gimme a break. That was not part of the requirement specifications!
  • by omeomi ( 675045 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @12:54PM (#19541765) Homepage
    Well, at least people can still duck and cover if there's a nuclear attack. Hooray for worthless advice...
    • Re:Duck and Cover (Score:5, Informative)

      by saibot834 ( 1061528 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @01:35PM (#19542095)
      Duck and Cover: Watch on youtube [] / Download at (avi/mpg/mp4) [] / Wikipedia article []
      Nowadays we can laugh about it but consider that people might laugh in 30 years about what we think now.
    • Re:Duck and Cover (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Workaphobia ( 931620 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @02:05PM (#19542347) Journal
      What's so worthless about duck and cover? In the event you're not close enough to be vaporized or significantly irradiated, why would you want to just stand up and die due to head injury if you have an opportunity to protect yourself? Plus it's useful for natural disasters.

      And most importantly of all, it helped traumatize the public, keeping them in the palms of exploitive politicians.
      • Re:Duck and Cover (Score:4, Insightful)

        by king-manic ( 409855 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @03:23PM (#19543025)
        Given how much radiation sickness sucks and the fatality rate, being close enough to die of a head trauma guarantees being close enough to die from radiation poisoning. OF the two I'd prefer head trauma.
      • Re:Duck and Cover (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TheBracket ( 307388 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @08:55PM (#19545535) Homepage
        What's interesting about 'duck and cover' (and other civil defense campaigns from the era) is that it's nowhere near as useless as it sounds. The primary kill mechanism of a nuclear bomb (not 'neutron bomb', which really should be called 'reduced blast nuclear weapon'), so being in cover can help a lot. The secondary kill mechanism is prompt radiation, manifesting as the flash - likewise, if that doesn't hit you, then you have a much greater chance of survival. The tertiary mechanism is fallout, and it's one that a lot of systems are designed to minimize (who wants to conquer a highly radioactive landscape?); most fallout comes from the actual explosion cloud touching down, sucking in dirt particles that are rendered highly radioactive. Because of this, a lot of work was done to minimize the fireball radius - and also most warheads were designed to airburst high enough to avoid the problem. You can read about this in The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, and also in a number of discussions of the issue in various defense studies/international studies journals.

        What's REALLY interesting is why we, in the West, abandoned civil defense. With the wholesale adoption of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) theory, it was considered a DOWNSIDE to be able to save one's population - so civil defense, missile defense, air defense, and shelters all vanished from the budget. The theory being that you want everyone to be as vulnerable as possible - because otherwise the cost of launching a nuclear strike may seem low enough to make a nuclear war palatable. It amazes me to this day that the US persuaded its allies to buy into that theory. Yes, nuclear war sucks - but it seems that maximizing the damage it would do to you in the name of avoiding one is rather shortsighted. That's especially true in the post-cold war multipolar world. It's hard to say 'MAD works' when suddenly you are trying to deter anyone capable of building a nuclear device - which overall, really isn't that hard to do.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dzfoo ( 772245 )

          Yes, nuclear war sucks - but it seems that maximizing the damage it would do to you in the name of avoiding one is rather shortsighted.

          Except for the simple fact that It Worked.

          • Re:Duck and Cover (Score:4, Interesting)

            by TheBracket ( 307388 ) on Monday June 18, 2007 @10:56AM (#19550785) Homepage
            That's the funny thing about deterrence in general. The only way to prove that it worked is to prove a negative - there wasn't a nuclear war. It's pretty much impossible to prove a negative, so we can't be sure that the cold war didn't turn nuclear-hot because we deterred the soviets (and were in turn deterred by them). Do we really want to rely on the same unprovable approach in the new, multi-polar world (especially when Chinese leaders have in the past commented that China shouldn't fear nuclear war, because a few million deaths would still leave them with many million more people - I believe that was Mao, but Deng Zhaou Ping [spelling?] supposedly repeated it)?

            There are broadly three ways to look at it (from a military/strategic point of view, since all this really does is support the political/diplomatic arena anyway); not mutually exclusive:
            - Rely on deterrence. It might be existential deterrence (that is, "we have nukes - they deter"), or it might include a genuine willingness to use the weapons if a certain line is crossed. If it isn't obvious that you will use them at a certain point, the deterrent loses credibility - and your influence is whittled down by a thousand papercuts (see below). Some deterrence theorists have stated that a nuclear-armed neighborhood is a polite neighborhood, although the jury is still out on that (certainly Israel, India and Pakistan have had no shortage of wars since becoming nuclear powers).

            - Rely on might. In this case, you want to have a really effective nuclear force, the strongest defenses you can afford, and a doctrine that makes it obvious that you will escalate to the nuclear option if you need to.

            - Rely on arms control. Basically attempt to keep the lid on the nuclear can of worms as much as possible, and try to agree upon arms levels with other countries. The only problem here is that it's really easy to agree arms control with countries you weren't really going to fight anyway, and rather hard to agree with countries with whom you are genuinely likely to have a shooting war.

            I remember talking to some of Bush Senior's administration while I was in college, talking about their discussions of the nuclear option in Gulf War 1. A large part of the government wanted to rule it out altogether, regardless of chemical-biological threats. A committee did actually draft a strategy for using tactical nukes in the initial attack, but it was ruled out very fast - not because of long-term problems (a small tac-nuke isn't much worse for the environment than an FAE), but because it would have taken far too many tactical nukes to really make much difference militarily! In the end, the decision was made to formally "not rule anything out" if Hussein used chemical/biological weapons; a decision to not have a policy. Discussions were ongoing, but an answer was never forthcoming to "will we even consider using nukes?" - let alone "how badly do they have to hit us before we'll consider it?" I'm told that similar discussions occurred for various other small-medium regional contingencies over the years.

            On the other hand, we've built up the word about deterrence so strongly (including the nuclear armed neighborhood statement!) that world leaders who might be invaded are all scrambling to get nuclear weapons. Even if they don't plan to use them (who knows?), it's a fair gamble that the big powers will be less willing to invade if it means a nuclear attack.

            One day, there will be a small nuclear war with modern weapons. When the dust settles, and we discover that it was nothing like Armageddon, the can will be off the nuclear can of worms forever - and we'll be stuck having to come up with policies that rely on capability and actions, rather than an abstract, unprovable and arguably purely philosophical notion of deterrence.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Well, at least people can still duck and cover if there's a nuclear attack. Hooray for worthless advice...
      No, not really "worthless." If you're far enough away to not be unavoidably killed (unless you're in a 30' lead bunker), but close enough that you are in danger, duck-and-cover does increase your chance of surviving the initial attack.

      And if you are too close--well, it makes finding your remains a bit easier.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      For me... I'll take one of those old school desks from 1955 to duck and cover. I belive they were designed to withstand the NukeBlows of little kids explosive farts after one of those chili school lunches. They should have put one of those desks in the vault.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Coyoteold1 ( 842233 )
      When I was a kid, they were still teaching us "nuclear preparedness drills."

      They included such gems as (I am not making these up):

      "If you hear the nuclear explosion, do not look toward the sound, because the flash of light will blind you." (Wow! I guess atomic sound travels faster than the speed of light!)


      "Hide under your desks until the teacher says it is okay."


      "If you see a bright flash of light, and there is a giant cloud shaped like a mushroom, tell your teacher immediately."
  • I read a story about this time capsule a few weeks ago, and I wanted to make sure I found out how it went. Thanks for posting this story. I love this part: "The contents of a "typical" woman's handbag, including 14 bobby pins, lipstick and a bottle of tranquilizers..." My how times have changed...And to think, some lucky person is gonna win that car and 1200 bucks. I tell you what...
  • It could have been worse - it could have been a 197o's Ford, in which case all that would have been left would have been the tires and a lump of iron oxide.

    • by hughk ( 248126 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @01:04PM (#19541859) Journal
      Not funny. I once owned a ford from that era. There would have much more left over - the windshield for example. Ford don't make it and it can't rust.
      • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
        You've mistaken your Chevy for a Ford. It's the Chevy that woulda been a lump of rust. :)

        [eyeing 1978 Ford truck in my driveway, which has never had a lick of polish or similar care, but is still completely rust-free]

      • by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara@hudson.barbara-hudson@com> on Sunday June 17, 2007 @03:03PM (#19542877) Journal

        They should have taken a clue from Planet of the Apes and used a Volkswagon Beetle.

        1976 Ford Granada. 4 years from show-room to scrap yard, at 60,000 miles. Front end literally fell apart after 2 years, and the power steering managed to disconnect from the steering wheel - fortunately while parking. Also developed the infamous "Ford transmission that wouldn't stay in Park" around the 50,000 mile mark, the undersized Uniroyal tires that wore out prematurely, etc.

        If any manufacturer today put out a POS like that, they'd be forced to make multiple recalls, and then they'd go belly-up. If it weren't for the current low interest rates and the home equity ATM buying spree, both Ford and GM would have gone bankrupt by now.

        As it is, Toyota has taken the #1 spot worldwide []

    • by ehrichweiss ( 706417 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @02:36PM (#19542615)
      Funny but it was Chevy that had the bad reputation for rusting back then. A former teacher once remarked that he knew someone who took extremely good care of their Vega, or the like, and in under a couple years it had a rust hole in the fender "so big you could throw a cat through it", referring to the way a cat would sprawl its legs. I see old Ford cars and trucks all the time but almost the only Chevy vehicles I see are the old collectibles, otherwise most don't seem to have survived.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @12:57PM (#19541793)
    It was built to shelter people against radiation, not water. And? How did it not work? Did anyone die from radiation in the area?

    See how good it works!
  • old cars (Score:2, Insightful)

    I can't be the only one that finds classic/vintage cars beautiful. And I can't be the only one who thinks recent car designs are insipid. Yes, they're more reliable, the interiors are nicer, but why does the outside look like automobile equivalent of hospital food? Aerodynamics be damned! Does anybody think a 2007 corvette looks nicer than a 1960s model? Or a 2007 mustang looks nicer than a 1960s model? (And just look at it before the last redesign).

    Agree? Disagree?

    • by jo7hs2 ( 884069 )
      Eh, the current 2005-2007 Mustangs look pretty darn close to the originals. Not sure if I like the current model more, but I do like it. And I do think that the 1989-1997 and 2002-2005 Thunderbirds (sans-hardtop) were nicer looking than the original, but only because I prefer a sleeker, cleaner rear end on a car. I know some people love them, but portholes and fins just don't do it for me. As for the Corvette, that is one that I will agree looked better initially than it ever has.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Dogtanian ( 588974 )

      I can't be the only one that finds classic/vintage cars beautiful. And I can't be the only one who thinks recent car designs are insipid.

      Call me sacrilegious, but I was never (and still amn't) a big fan of 50s "Americana" style cars. Tail fins- overdecorative and contrived space-age kitsch. Too much chrome. Too reliant on their association with "rock-n'-roll and diners" nostalgia for their appeal.

      Even though it was only 25 to 30 years old when I was growing up in the 80s, that whole 50s/early-60s style looked ancient and as cheesy as hell.

      You're free to disagree with that, but it kind of annoys me that everyone is assumed to love that s

      • I have a theory that your taste in automotive styling is set by what's around you when you're growing up.

        I, like the parent poster, grew up in the '80s. Like the parent poster, I think that the styling trends of the '50s are hideous, garish, and sometimes even spooky. I can appreciate them from a perspective of nostalgia, but I think it's just hideous out of that context. I'd much rather drive a '90s jellybean or an '80s box, if it came down to that.

        If I look back and draw the line, I think I'd draw it abou
        • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
          I used to think that... but the 1950s cars that I grew up with, and that as a kid I thought were *hideous*, I now find have a symmetry and panache that is just ...lacking... in more-modern designs.

          And I particularly dislike how the interiors have shrunk. The modern vehicle LOOKS like it should be, if anything, *bigger* on the inside than were the old styles, but in fact there's less legroom, less headroom, and no way to really stretch out the way we could in the old-style cars. It's pretty clear none of the
    • Please, please do not hold up US car design as being any good.

      I can think of two models that were world class '32 Ford and '57 Chevy. that's it. Both of these were understated and then in subsequent revisions ruined by the US attitude of more is better.

      Take a look at European design if you want some class, even the small cars of recent years have very good design.

    • Re:old cars (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dal20402 ( 895630 ) * <[dal20402] [at] []> on Sunday June 17, 2007 @01:51PM (#19542219) Journal

      I'll stick up for the recent cars.

      Especially in the '50s and '60s, design was only about form; huge sacrifices in function were made to have those pretty shapes. For me, a simple and functional design is much more honest and appealing. When I see '50s and '60s cars, I just see an enormous waste of space and weight, that doesn't contribute to performance, comfort, safety, economy, or any other part of the function of a car. I have the same reaction to those cars that I have to PC cases with fins and lights on them.

      For me, some of the best designs ever are on very ordinary cars; they are those that allowed unusual innovations in function. The '86-'89 Honda Accord; the original Chrysler minivans; the current Prius (not for anything having to do with its propulsion, but for its packaging); the Volvo 145 wagon and its numerous descendants (through to the 740 and 960/V90 wagons); the first Scion xB, and, for an example from the '50s, the Mini.

      And even from a purely aesthetic perspective, I find simpler better. Some of the prettiest cars for me are the '93 Mazda MX-6; the '92 Acura Legend; the current Audi A6 and A8 (especially the S8); both the original Infiniti G35 and new G37 coupes; and of course the 2000-era Volkswagens (the previous generation of Golfs, Jettas, and Passats). I'll be in the market for a new car in about a year and a half; if nothing changes, I'll probably buy a G37.

    • Re:old cars (Score:5, Insightful)

      by freeweed ( 309734 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @02:07PM (#19542365)
      Wait wait wait... a rant about liking older cars is now insightful?

      Dude - you're not the only one. In fact, there are millions like you around the world. There are car collector clubs, shows, magazines, books, damn near entire TOWNS dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of older cars. Some of these cars sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars (even millions) depending on rarity and condition. You can't seriously be unaware of this. It's one of the most common hobbies out there. Shit, in ANY North American city at this time of year, you're bound to see one drive by every few minutes if you open your eyes.

      Are we here at Slashdot actually this unaware of what goes on in the "real world", that not only can someone ask this with a straight face, but it's "Insightful"?

      • Nah, it's just that some people wanted to say the same stuff/ask the same question/see the answer to it.
    • I've never really cared for any general production cars prior to about to the mid 80's. I like some of the Ferraris and other exotics of previous eras. But even the Corvettes and muscle cars didn't impress me much.
      Not that there is much to choose from these days. I'm not really salivating over any production cars these days. Nothing is exciting to me. The last production car I liked was the Lexus SC400. The SC430 is just ugly in comparison, and the Lexus Sedans headlights are a total turnoff.
      I liked the T
    • It could be just because I'm "young" but I owned 2 previous model Mustangs and think they were the most beautiful out of all of them (leaving alone the fact that, ignoring that it made less HP than foreign V8's, it had much more power than the old 'classic' models). In fact, the model before that, the almost universally panned 'bubble' model, was my first car that I bought. In any case, I loved them all. I think they're great, simple cars. They're not supposed to the greatest thing ever, they're just suppos
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      Yes, they're more reliable,

      I know of several thousand Pontiac and GM owners that have a 3400 engine in their car that will argue with that comment.

      GM has a rash of 2001-2007 cars that are absolute crap in quality because the engines turn to garbage because of low grade China made parts, or gasket failures that allow water in the oil and cause major damage and failure.

      Maybe importa cars are more reliable, but a huge number of people consider a 1950-1970 GM or Ford to be far FAR more reliable than any GM or f
  • Similar screw-up... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Oswald ( 235719 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @01:01PM (#19541821)
    When the air traffic control centers in the U.S. were constructed (late '50s, early 60's), it was decided that the buildings needed to be able to resist the effects of nuclear fallout. They were equipped with giant vertical steel louvers all around the perimeter and a washdown feature for the roof. But the roofs never so much as held out the rain, let alone the radioactive soup that trying to wash away fallout would have created. I've worked at Atlanta Center for about 23 years, and I think they just re-roofed for the fourth time. Within two years, it will probably leak again.

    BTW, the Cold War systems were decommissioned about a decade ago. In the early 1990's the louvers needed painting, so they were removed from building, shipped to someplace (rumor said Texas), painted and then reinstalled. A couple of years later they were removed for good.

    • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
      That's why they all had those weird flaps that stuck out over the windows? I always thought it was to cut sun glare... but yeah, they would just about cover the windows, if lowered...

      When I was a kid in the midwest, Air Raid sirens were still tested at noon every Sunday. No one slept past noon, lemme tellya. :)

  • by Dogtanian ( 588974 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @01:11PM (#19541897) Homepage
    The British kids' TV show, Blue Peter [] had the same thing happen with one of the "time capsules" they buried on TV. When they dug it up again with great ceremony 16 years later, water had got in and it was a soggy mess [].

    Not sure what the point of it was anyway; 16 years isn't that long unless you're like 6 years old when it's being dug up- seems pretty contrived and pointless to me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mikael ( 484 )
      That really sucks - moisture is a real danger when trying to preserve anything. Wasn't the time capsule buried in the Blue Peter gardens or something similar?

      Our primary school were involved in a time-capsule project in the late 1970's. The capsule was built into the foundations of a brand new concrete council office block which was expected to last over 50 years. Thirty years later they are planning to demolish the "eyesore building" due to condensation problems with the concrete.
    • by Alioth ( 221270 )
      Unless you're like 6 years old when it's being dug up - it's BLUE PETER, a children's programme! For small kids! So it's likely the ones watching it being dug up weren't even born when it was put in.
  • by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @01:13PM (#19541915)
    Make us think they are going to nuke us and then launch a surprise attack with water pistols.
  • Gamma particles (Score:2, Insightful)

    by narced ( 1078877 )
    I'm waiting for a nuclear engineer to show up and tell us how water can get in, but gamma particles can not. This is not a jab at nuclear engineers, I'm truly interested.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Deadstick ( 535032 )
      Water is good at turning corners.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Nukee ( 1054960 )
      If concrete acts anything like rock, the movement most fission products or decay products will be greatly slowed down by the concrete, so it would be very possible to have water coming thorough but little radiation. Some elements aren't really affected though, iodine, for example, will move at the same speed as the ground water, not slowed at all. It depends a lot of the porosity of the rock however, and I'm not sure how concrete measures up.

      As for gamma rays, since they are simply high energy photons, a lo
  • Archiving is hard (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bender0x7D1 ( 536254 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @01:16PM (#19541949)

    I think the moral of this story is that archiving anything, even if it seems durable, is hard. Now, how confident do you feel about those backup tapes that are in the closet down the hall? How much moisture is getting to them just from the humidity in the air?

    • by RenderSeven ( 938535 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @02:18PM (#19542465)
      I think the *real* moral of this story is that no matter what you do, in 50 years you'll look like an idiot.
    • I think the moral of this story is that archiving anything, even if it seems durable, is hard.

      I think the moral of the story is that anything built by selecting contractors based on the lowest price meeting the minimum specifications, instead of on proven skills like master and journeyman papers and family businesses who care what their rep will be fifty years from now, will invariably prove to be of shitty quality.

      If properly designed and made, there's no reason why a shelter can't be made today that's as

    • 4.3 ml/yr.

      Sometimes I just like to answer rhetorical questions.
    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )
      think the moral of this story is that archiving anything, even if it seems durable, is hard. Now, how confident do you feel about those backup tapes that are in the closet down the hall? How much moisture is getting to them just from the humidity in the air?

      Never mind your old data... how confident are we that our canisters of radioactive waste are going to remain inviolate for <the remainder of humanity's time on Earth>?

    • by xtal ( 49134 )
      I always wondered why people just didn't immerse them in oil. Surely removing a light oil would be easier than dealing with all that rust (or destroyed magnetic media).
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Not really, all you need a hermetical seal. The time capsule that my high school class did was dug up after 25 years. Several of us ignored the idiot instructors and placed our items inside PVC pipe with glued ends on it. Everything else was pretty mildew covered except the items in the PVC pipe, all of that was clean and new.

      I know of several people that use PVC pipe with end caps as waterproof backyard buried safes. It works great and today you can throw desiccant pillows in there to keep things fresh
  • by e**(i pi)-1 ( 462311 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @01:21PM (#19541985) Homepage Journal
    the story should be looked at carefully by whoever designs nuclear or chemical wast storage areas. 50 years is nothing in comparison to the time frames deposits should last. In this case, there was the unexpected puncture of the hull, which was devastating. It shows how difficult it is to see all aspects of the problem.
  • The USA bluffed them into spending their way into bankruptcy and collapse with all these stories of super weapons and facilities that the USA was supposed to be developing and the Russians had to match dollar for ruble. Well it turns out most of these facilities were junk just like Star Wars and the manned space program. The Russians had the more reliable manned program (Soyuz) all along but got demoralized from all the talk about how capitalism can make everything cheaper and better and they just gave up.
    • Well it wasn't a complete bluff. Any followers of Mr "There are legions of terrorists out there waiting to kill us" Rumsfelds career will remember him back in the day when it was Russian nuclear bombers not terrorists lining up to kill us. As was shown later this "bomber gap" was completely fictitious but resulted in the US having a much larger bomber force than the Russians. As missile technology improved the bomber gap was replaced by the missile gap. Now this was actually a real gap, just not in the dire
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Well it turns out most of these facilities were junk just like Star Wars and the manned space program.

      If only the US had embraced the Soviet model and way of life, we'd all be in flying cars be now because of their clear technological superiority! (sheesh) All you've proven is that if you spend enough money on something, any political system can produce results. No one argues that the Russians did good work in space, just like no one argues they have a good chess culture, and a good arts culture. But ov

    • Winning is subjective since Russia hasn't really shrank it's sphere of influence and the people who ran it before (the KGB and central committee) still run it. They are still a force and they have quietly disappeared as "the enemy" but they haven't changed that much. The state runs economic black mail. The old KGB splintered into private enterprise and now run organized crime syndicates. They didn't "lose" they just adapted American tactics.
    • I guess we should thank Hollywood for our victory in the Cold War more than the Pentagon or the White House.
      No, we should thank the Soviets. Your whole theory assumes it was the US that did the Soviets in. It wasn't. Communism just doesn't work very well.
  • Waterproof? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @01:27PM (#19542043) Journal
    Even if the container were waterproof the car would still rust if the humidity wasn't controlled.

    Dan East
    • Man, how stupid were they... The smallest thing packed for a few days today contains a baggie of silicagel, couldn't they just have packed a few of those in the car? Ingenious!
  • by RealGrouchy ( 943109 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @01:29PM (#19542051)
    The stock market was abuzz last week, seeing lots of activity in the rust futures markets.

    - RG>
  • Wouldn't this thing have rusted regardless of if the bunker was water-tight, due to air moisture?

    This whole thing doesn't seem like it was well thought out 50 years ago.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Detritus ( 11846 )
      I read that it had been treated with cosmoline []. That's a rust preventative that's often used to preserve military firearms that are being kept in long-term storage.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 17, 2007 @01:53PM (#19542235)
      That's true but 50 years ago rust wasn't very well understood, in America. Most things were still being built from wood at the time. It wasn't until the American elite began to learn European languages and the Queens English sufficiently well to make themselves understood abroad that they were able to make the most of the cultural and scientific aid on offer from Europe and learn about things like rust.
    • Reports mention that is was partially underwater. It was literally in a tank of water for decades.
  • From the article:

    The concrete vault encasing the car may have been built to withstand a nuclear attack, but it couldn't keep away water.

    I've read numerous stories about the car in the news press and automotive press. CNN is the first agency to mention anything about it being a bomb shelter. There was no door. They had to rip up the sidewalk and dig down half a dozen feet to get to it.

    I think the "may" in the above sentence has been wildly mis-interpreted.

  • I live in Tulsa (Score:4, Interesting)

    by qwertyatwork ( 668720 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @02:03PM (#19542327)
    Ive remember hearing stories about this car growing up. It was really neat watching Ms. Belvedere (thats what we call her) finally come out of the ground. It was a little disappointing to see her rusted out, but it gives her character. They took guesses at what the population would be in 2007, and the very first guess was 388,000, and the population figure they are using is 380,000. That was one hell of a guess. Whoever guesses closest wins the car. I hope they give it to a museum. She belongs to all of Tulsa. Take that Oklahoma City!!!
    • by boaworm ( 180781 ) <> on Sunday June 17, 2007 @02:21PM (#19542485) Homepage Journal

      Take that Oklahoma City!!!

      Yea, you really got them this time!
    • by Coyote ( 9900 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @05:06PM (#19543965)
      I saw the car buried and now I've seen it dug back up. It was built to withstand a nuclear bomb because fear of nuclear war was on everyone's mind in 1957, but it was never intended to be anything other than a vault for the car. At the time Tulsa's largest employer was Douglas Aircraft, building Boeing B-47 bombers for the Strategic Air Command, so Tulsa folks considered the town a prime target for a nuke attack.

      The car was buried in a spirit of celebration of Oklahoma's 50th anniversary of statehood, but I think in many people's minds, they thought it might be the only thing that survived the unavoidable nuclear attack. (What a legacy, eh?)

      As far as the bunker not being very good protection against a nuke, we school kiddies of the time were being taught to duck under our desks and cover our necks when we saw the flash of a nuclear explosion. If THAT was good enough... just imagine how cool a concrete-covered bunker was.
  • not literal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Myopic ( 18616 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @02:10PM (#19542389)
    The story says it is a "literal rust bucket". No, it is not a literal rust bucket, it is a FIGURATIVE rust bucket. This is a literal rust bucket. [] Actually, no, that isn't a literal rust bucket either, that is a literal rusty bucket, a literal rust bucket would be a bucket which holds rust.
  • The once beautiful car is now a literal rust bucket.

    Please clarify. Since you use the term 'literal', do you mean that the car is not a bucket containing rust, or a metal bucket which has become rusty?

  • by night_flyer ( 453866 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @02:26PM (#19542535) Homepage
    in 1972 there was somne excavation work being done 30 ft away, they said back then that they thought they might have damaged it but the city did nothing to fix the problem.
  • by ToastyKen ( 10169 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @03:04PM (#19542893) Homepage Journal
    is that they put the gasoline in there because they thought the world would be so advanced in the 21st century that we would've moved way beyond that. :P
    • by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara@hudson.barbara-hudson@com> on Sunday June 17, 2007 @03:46PM (#19543279) Journal

      "is that they put the gasoline in there because they thought the world would be so advanced in the 21st century that we would've moved way beyond that. :P"

      We HAVE moved far away from 50's-grade gasoline. No lead, and no more needing to change your fuel filter every 6,000-10,000 miles because there are way fewer contaminants.

      You wouldn't want to stick that old gunk in todays cars, even if it did have a higher octane rating. You *might* go fast, but you won't go far.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by StarWreck ( 695075 )
      We have moved way beyond that. You can't buy leaded gasoline anymore and that car only runs on leaded gasoline.

      Although, you can buy artificial imitation lead additive.
  • In Cuba... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ratboot ( 721595 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @03:26PM (#19543069)
    I'm sure we could find the same car (same model, same year) that's been used every day since the 50s in better shape! No joke.
  • by pongo000 ( 97357 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @03:39PM (#19543201) a visit to the Minuteman Missle National Historic Site [] in South Dakota. They offer tours of an underground Minuteman Delta launch bunker on a appointment-only basis, 6-8 to a group. The bunker itself, built in the 60's, is actually an air-tight, climate-controlled concrete capsule suspended on giant shock absorbers about 150 feet below the surface. The only entrance into the capsule is via a 5-ton vault door that could be opened and shut in under a minute. It provides a fascinating insight into the Cold War and the level of redundancy that was in place to ensure that if a launch was ordered, it would happen (for instance, launch orders would be given to a number of different launch sites simultaneously, so no launch site personnel would be aware of who actually launched a missle).

    Interesting story: There was an "emergency egress" hatch in the capsule that led to the surface through a corrugated pipe. There were only a few problems: The hatch door weighed over 200 pounds and dropped down from the ceiling, ensuring the first one out would probably be the last one out. And the government was afraid the Russkies knew where the egress points were on the surface, so the government poured a parking lot over it. Only problem was they failed to tell the launch controllers that their "emergency egress" system led to the underside of a parking lot. This was all top-secret stuff, never came to light until after the sites were decommissioned and dismantled.
  • by ObiWonKanblomi ( 320618 ) on Sunday June 17, 2007 @05:12PM (#19544029) Journal
    I'm amazed not one slashdotter here realized the point I'm about to make.

    Most revisionist historians often reflect on the fear that Americans had of being obliterated in the 1950s from a nuclear catastrophe. For a midwestern American city in 1957 to have a contest to determine how many would be living there in 50 years and especially predict the winning guesser (or closest of kin) would be alive in 50 demonstrates there was hope for a future.

I've got a bad feeling about this.