A “mushroom cloud” is already visible in this painting from 1782. No nuclear bomb needed to be detonated

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Sometimes the impact that the arrival of mass audiovisual culture has had on contemporary society is underestimated. Cinema, television, multicopied images in general have an incredible ability to associate specific images with specific phenomena. One of the most iconic examples of a mushroom cloud. To talk about mushroom explosions is to talk about nuclear bombs, isn’t it??

And yet, there you can see it: it is a painting of the Rock of Gibraltar in which a fungus appears and which is dated 150 years before the first nuclear bomb exploded. How is it possible?

‘Vue Du Siege De Gibraltar Et Explosion Des Batteries Flottantes’: Although it is not very clear who was its author, the specialists do agree that it was painted during the ‘Siege of Gibraltar’. That is to say, between April 24, 1779 and February 7, 1783. But as in it you can see the very new “floating batteries” (a series of huge boats that let water circulate through them to prevent English attacks from burning them), the painting must be from the final part of the site.

just a sample. However, the picture is only a sample (a very striking one, it is true) of this type of explosions. Although in the photos we have it is not appreciated with quality, the testimonies make it clear that the enormous hallifax explosion, when an explosives-laden ship en route to World War I Europe collided with a steamship, it caused one. And explosions like the Redoubt volcano in 1990 or the terrifying Beirut explosion a few years agoas well.

mountredoubteruption

Mount Redoubt – R. Clucas

The Physics of Huge Explosions. And it is that the fundamental key to understanding the “mushroom clouds” is the size of the explosions: any explosion on the ground that is large enough produces such a cloud. This is because the hot gas (along with weapons residue, debris, dust, and other blast products) gains altitude very quickly until it “hits” the cooler air above, which not only condenses the water vapor, but also it becomes a roof that prevents ascension and flattens the cloud: it gives it the shape of a mushroom.

The day Stephen Hawking threw the party of the century and no one was

In search of the time traveler. There is a whole genre of more or less amusing conspiracies that find things of the present in images of past centuries. A few years ago, painting became popular ‘Die Erwartete’ (The Expected) by Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller because, supposedly, it had a cell phone in it. Some series have used this as a plot (although, in the case of ‘Sherlock’, for example, was proof of a forgery). But it is that in the bottom of our hearts we are all Stephen Hawking waiting for someone to come to his party for travelers from the future.

Sometimes the impact that the arrival of mass audiovisual culture has had on contemporary society is underestimated. Cinema, television, multicopied…

Sometimes the impact that the arrival of mass audiovisual culture has had on contemporary society is underestimated. Cinema, television, multicopied…

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