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This Happened

This Happened — July 16: First Atomic Bomb

The first atomic bomb explosion, code-named "Trinity," occurred on this day in 1945, near Alamogordo, New Mexico, in the United States.

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What was the purpose of the Trinity test?

The Trinity test was conducted as part of the Manhattan Project, a research and development program during World War II aimed at developing atomic weapons. Its purpose was to test the implosion-design plutonium bomb and evaluate its effectiveness before it was deployed in combat.

What were the immediate effects of the Trinity explosion?

The Trinity explosion generated a brilliant flash of light, followed by a massive fireball and a mushroom cloud that rose to a height of about 7.5 miles (12 km). The intense heat caused the sand in the desert to fuse into a greenish glass-like substance known as trinitite. The explosion also produced a shockwave that shattered windows and caused structural damage in buildings several miles away.

Did the Trinity test have any long-term effects?

The detonation released a significant amount of radioactive fallout, which contaminated the surrounding area. This led to concerns about the potential health risks to the nearby population and the environment. Studies conducted in the following years have examined the effects of radiation exposure on the people living near the test site.

How did the Trinity test influence the development of atomic weapons?

The success of the Trinity test provided the United States with confidence in the effectiveness of atomic weapons. It played a crucial role in the decision to use atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, leading to the end of World War II. The Trinity test also paved the way for further advancements in nuclear weapons technology and the subsequent arms race during the Cold War.

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food / travel

Pasta v. Fascists: How Italy's Staple Dish Became A Symbol Of Resistance

Pasta may not be considered controversial today, but it played an important role during Italy's fascist years, particularly in one family's celebration of community and liberation.

Photo of the Cervi family.

Photo of the Cervi family, whose seven children were shot by the Fascists on December 28, 1943, at the Reggio Emilia shooting range.

@comunisti_alla_ribalta via Instagram
Jacopo Fontaneto

ROME — Eighty years ago — on July 25, 1943 — the vote of no confidence by the Grand Council of Fascism, leading to Benito Mussolini's arrest, set off widespread celebrations. In Campegine, a small village in the Emilian province, the Cervi family celebrated in their own way: they brought 380 kilograms of pasta in milk cans to the town square and offered it to all the inhabitants of the village.

The pasta was strictly plain: macaroni dressed with butter and cheese, seen as more of a "festive dish" in that period of deprivation. As soon as the Cervi brothers learned about the arrest of Mussolini, they procured flour, borrowed butter and cheese from the dairy, and prepared kilos and kilos of pasta. They then loaded it onto a cart to distribute it to their fellow villagers. Pastasciutta (dry pasta) specifically regards dishes with noodles that are plated "dry", not in broth. That would disqualify soup, risotto, ravioli...

Even though pastasciutta is the most stereotypical type of pasta today, it had a complicated relationship with the government during Italy's fascist years.

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