62 Never-Before-Seen Nuclear Test Videos Have Been Uploaded to YouTube

Keystone, Getty Images
Keystone, Getty Images

Nuclear testing is rare today, but at its peak it wasn’t unusual for 100 bombs to be detonated in a single year. Many of those explosions were captured on tape, and today the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is working to restore the rare footage and share it with the public. As Paleofuture reports, 62 newly declassified test films have just been released as part of the project.

The clips, once considered sensitive government material, are now available on YouTube for anyone to see. They date from the 1940s to the early 1960s and depict atmospheric explosions, a practice that ended in 1962. The U.S. signed a nuclear test ban treaty with the Soviet Union in 1963.

Many of the tapes have been rotting away in government storage facilities after years of neglect. Some films have degraded beyond repair, but most of the dirty, aged material can be salvaged.

"Back in the 1950s they were analyzing frame by frame manually, so the frames were marked with tape so they could keep track," Jim Moye, a rare film expert at the lab, tells Mental Floss. "The tape has to be removed and the adhesive cleaned off. The film is then run through an ultrasonic film cleaner. Then it’s ready for scanning." By cleaning and creating exact copies of the old film, the team is able to preserve that chapter in history for future generations.

Weapon physicist Greg Spriggs is leading the laboratory’s effort to preserve the tapes. The restored films are meant to be seen by the general public, but there’s another audience Spriggs and his team have in mind: other scientists. Today, any nuclear tests conducted by the government are generated by computers. By studying footage from actual explosions, scientists are able to program more accurate models. "Because the United States no longer tests nuclear weapons, it is absolutely essential that we preserve (and improve) these data so that we can continue to study nuclear weapons and their effects," Spriggs tells Mental Floss.

The lab released an initial batch of videos earlier this year, prior to the recent collection shared in December. With thousands of films still left to analyze and restore, viewers can expect a lot more nuclear test content in the coming years.

[h/t Paleofuture]

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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How Anoka, Minnesota Became the Halloween Capital of the World

A photo of Main Street in downtown Anoka, Minnesota.
A photo of Main Street in downtown Anoka, Minnesota.
123dieinafire, Public Domain // Wikimedia Commons

On November 1, 1919, the residents of Anoka, Minnesota, a suburb about 20 miles north of Minneapolis, woke up to what Smithsonian calls a “prank of epic proportions.” Outhouses were overturned, wagons were parked on roofs, and cows roamed through the streets.

The prank was part of an epidemic of Halloween-related hijinks that seemed to grow more extreme with each passing year. Civic leaders decided that the time had come for the city to do something to dissuade such mischief—or at least to keep would-be pranksters so busy that they couldn’t dream of causing trouble.

So in 1920 a Halloween committee, fronted by local businessman George Green, planned one of the first—and largest—community-wide Halloween celebrations in the United States. The 1920 celebration, featuring a parade, a bonfire, and free candy for children, and was so successful that the police received no reports of pranks.

The celebration only grew in subsequent years, and Anoka leaders wanted people to know it. In 1937, 12-year-old Anoka local Harold Blair was one of 200 Minneapolis Journal newspaper carriers to receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C. Members of the Anoka Commercial Club seized on the opportunity, sending Blair off with a request to Congress that Anoka be formally designated as the “Halloween Capital of the World.” A fire in Anoka destroyed many of the city’s earliest documents about the Halloween celebration, so it’s hard to know whether Congress approved the moniker back in the 1930s. But in 2003, Minnesota state representative Mark Kennedy restated the proclamation, officially cementing Anoka’s title.

“It’s like a pebble being dropped into a pond,” Karen George, a member of the board of directors of Halloween, Inc. (the nonprofit organization that plans Anoka’s yearly festivities), told Smithsonian in 2019. “It’s really the people of Anoka who want to enjoy this hometown festival, and then they bring along relatives and friends who tell others about it.”

Today, Anoka’s Halloween festivities have expanded to three parades instead of one, and includes other community activities such as a house decorating competition, bell ringing, and a group pumpkin smashing. In 2020, Anoka’s Halloween festival is celebrating its 100-year anniversary. By most accounts, the holiday has become a part of Anoka’s identity.

“I would say Halloween is in my bone marrow,” Anoka resident John Jost told CBS Minnesota. “Being an Anokoan, the Halloween experience is tied directly to that.”

This story has been updated for 2020.