Tuesday, July 24, 2018

ATK and RDX both are acronyms with multiple meanings

A few days ago I received an email from America’s Test Kitchen titled Don’t miss the first ever ATK Seattle EATS festival! (I am on their mailing list because I bought my wife a copy of their TV Show Cookbook for her birthday). But when I think of the acronym ATK, it means the stock trading symbol for Alliant Techsystems – who in 2001 had acquired Thiokol and later became Orbital ATK. Thiokol is famous for having made the huge Space Shuttle solid rocket boosters, one of which is displayed horizontally in front their Utah facility west of Brigham City, as shown above. The top image had appeared in my May 26, 2008 blog post titled “Rocket science” for speech topics.

At a stop sign last week I noticed an Acura RDX. That luxury crossover sport utility vehicle (SUV) first appeared in 2007, as shown above. It was one of many vehicles (including my Honda Fit) which had defective Takata air bag inflators – that were recalled because some had exploded when activated. I had blogged about the recall on April 14, 2016 in a post titled How not to communicate – Honda told me my car is literally da bomb.

I don’t think those in marketing at Acura bothered to check what else the acronym RDX could mean. But from way back in the 1940s RDX also referred to the Research Department eXplosive more powerful than TNT - developed by the British. I had read about RDX in the 1968 M.I.T. Press paperback version of James Phinney Baxter 3 rd’s 1946 book about the World War II Office of Scientific Research and Development, Scientists Against Time. In his chapter on New Explosives and Propellants he described how 340 tons per day of RDX was produced by Tennessee Eastman in a huge plant near the town of Kingsport. A mixture called Torpex which contained 42% RDX, 40% TNT, and 18% powdered aluminum was used in the gigantic 12,000 lb. Tallboy bomb shown above.   

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