Homo Superior!
June 6, 2009 5:45 AM   Subscribe

How Nuclear Radiation Can Change Our Race. The excellent Modern Mechanix brings us Mechanix Illustrated's uninformed 1953 article on the effects of nuclear fallout.
But why, then, don't we have our superintelligent bobblehead beagles?
posted by dunkadunc (32 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fallout? Bobbleheads? Hmmmm......

(There goes my weekend.)
posted by rokusan at 5:48 AM on June 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


So... before you give beagles radiation posioning and watch how they die, asnwer me this: in what way are beagles and humans anatomically similar, as your scientific magazine alleges?

Also, Envy the savage - Yes!
posted by geos at 5:52 AM on June 6, 2009


I met the guy who ran the UC Davis beagle experiment where they exposed them to radioactive substances and timed their demise. Oddly enough, he converted to Christianity and opened a Bible store. I always wondered if there was some sublimated guilt there.

Then my Dad's company got hired to remove all the leftover radioactive debris buried in various fields and mass beagle graves.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:58 AM on June 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


My grandfather the scientist was doing various nasty experiments on beagles until the neighbors complained about all the yapping- at which point the beagles got replaced with Barkless Basenji dogs.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:16 AM on June 6, 2009


Wow -- the article about nuclear radiation was illustrated by Kurt Schaffenburger, perhaps better known as a DC Comics artist (Superman, Lois Lane, etc). Hmm... and written by O.O. Binder... who must be science fiction writer Otto Binder, who was with his brother Earl half of the team of Eando Binder. Otto also wrote comics, which probably explains the Schaffenburger tie-in. Very interesting!
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 6:34 AM on June 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well we've come a long way since 1953. Now we know that even with radiation helping it along evolution is a slug, and it will be a superintelligent machine of some sort that either enslaves, destroys, or cooperates with us. Why in 1953 they didn't even have the word "singularity" to describe the event, and D.F. Jones wouldn't write Colossus until 1966.
posted by localroger at 6:39 AM on June 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Worth it if just for this line:
Now hear this, Earth! I am Mutant Man, Homo Superior!
posted by Mcable at 6:55 AM on June 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


"What does this two plus two add up to? A frightening four."
posted by infinitewindow at 7:23 AM on June 6, 2009


Look! Geos’ enviable savage is Ronald Reagan when he was still a Democrat.
posted by BillyElmore at 7:28 AM on June 6, 2009


If I may paraphrase: "Mutation. It is the key to our evolution. It has enabled us to evolve from a single-celled organism into the dominant species on the planet. This process is slow, normally taking thousands and thousands of years. But every few hundred millenia, evolution leaps forward. And atom bombs are the way to do this."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:31 AM on June 6, 2009


Born in 1953, the thyroid cancer -among 3 separate cancers- I am trying to survive is a direct result of the atomic testing at that time.

Radiation Exposure Is Only Known Cause For Thyroid Cancer

Information and resources for Americans exposed to I-131 (a form of radioactive iodine) through fallout from above-ground nuclear testing in the 1950s and early 60s.

Estimating Your Exposure to I-131

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2008, 37,340 new cases of thyroid cancer will be diagnosed in the United States, most of them in women. That's up from 33,550 in 2007.

Babies born in 1954 have more Carbon-14 in their DNA ; trees have rings with a spike of C14 in that year, and even ringless equatorial trees will show an increase of radiocarbon if they were alive in 1954.

In the mid 1950s the United States , Britain, France and Russia tested not quite a million nuclear weapons. Maybe some part of them is still with you.


The mass irradiation of hundreds of thousands of young Israeli immigrants.
posted by nickyskye at 7:46 AM on June 6, 2009 [9 favorites]


Wow, nickyskye- thanks a lot for the comment.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:05 AM on June 6, 2009


Comicbook radiation is so much more fun than the regular kind.
posted by Artw at 8:24 AM on June 6, 2009


In all sincerity, thanks also for the link, but couldn't you have stopped quoting before you got to the laughably erroneous "million nuclear weapons" bit?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:34 AM on June 6, 2009


* oops, you're right ROU_Xenophobe, too quick on the copy and paste. Wish there were an edit function. drat.
posted by nickyskye at 9:05 AM on June 6, 2009


laughably erroneous "million nuclear weapons" bit

Are they counting every single depleted uranium round manufactured in that total?
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:13 AM on June 6, 2009


I am impressed that the phrase "fanciful Sunday supplement pseudo-science" was already in use in 1953.
posted by cgk at 9:34 AM on June 6, 2009


I am impressed that the phrase "fanciful Sunday supplement pseudo-science" was already in use in 1953.

My immediate response to that phrase was "yeah, whereas this has the vital distinction of not being in a Sunday supplement."
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:54 AM on June 6, 2009


Maybe thyroid cancer is a sign of our innate superiority. I can get behind that argument. ;)
posted by Hildegarde at 10:11 AM on June 6, 2009


Also: how does someone cause pain and suffering to these sweet critters?
posted by Hildegarde at 10:15 AM on June 6, 2009


>: Maybe thyroid cancer is a sign of our innate superiority. I can get behind that argument. ;)

My mom thinks the Windscale disaster had something to do with her thyroid disease.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:21 AM on June 6, 2009


Thyroid disease? Not cancer? I thought the radiation was only supposed to cause cancer, not other thyroid diseases. Is that so?
posted by Hildegarde at 10:24 AM on June 6, 2009


What strikes me as ... optimistic, I suppose, is that they talk about "the next 1000 years."

These days, I think we're hard-pressed to imagine our civilization lasting another 100 years.

Little wonder they didn't really think about the consequences of unlimited consumption.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:27 AM on June 6, 2009


>: Thyroid disease? Not cancer? I thought the radiation was only supposed to cause cancer, not other thyroid diseases. Is that so?

Wikipedia says exposure to Iodine-131 can cause hypothyroidism, for what it's worth- Cancer is one of the primary results, but as well there's thyroiditis, which is what my mom got.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:39 AM on June 6, 2009


> The mass irradiation of hundreds of thousands of young Israeli immigrants.

This is an amazing find-- thanks.
posted by darth_tedious at 2:14 PM on June 6, 2009


Science To Test Fantastic Four Theory
posted by homunculus at 2:15 PM on June 6, 2009


"Puny Banner to Test Hulk Theory"
posted by Artw at 2:18 PM on June 6, 2009


Sorry to hear about your mom dunkadunc. IPlease offer her my delicious links, with the thyroid tag, if there is anything that might be of use to her.

*waves to Hildegarde, fellow thyroid cancer surviving MeFite.

Yeah, Hildegarde, radiation can cause any number of thyroid issues, not just thyroid cancer. Prior to the cancer I had Hashimoto's thyroiditis symptoms all my adult life, I presume from the radiation exposure as a kid in the USA 1950's, even though that exposure was not a long time. An estimated 27 million Americans have thyroid disease, and about 13 million of them are undiagnosed. The risk of thyroid disease increases with age, and women are seven times more likely than men to develop thyroid problems.

I wonder about the effects of sitting in front of the radiation producing monitor for hours every day for years? Is that turning us into superintelligent bobblehead beagles?
posted by nickyskye at 2:23 PM on June 6, 2009


Between radiation poisoning from nuke tests, lead poisoning from leaded gas, and mercury poisoning from coal plants, it's a wonder we're not all sprouting a second and third head.

Anyone looking in from the outside would sure be convinced that we are trying to kill our species.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:52 PM on June 6, 2009


I just love the idea that people born with abnormalities as a result of the Atom War will automatically be viewed as non-human. Does the author's misconception that each mutant D. melanogaster strain produced by Muller et al. represents a different species lead to this conclusion, or does he misrepresent the science to justify the persecution of mutants?
posted by nowonmai at 4:29 PM on June 6, 2009


Are they counting every single depleted uranium round manufactured in that total?

Possibly. Though DU is dangerous mostly because it's a toxic heavy metal and is only slightly radioactive.
posted by atrazine at 1:01 AM on June 8, 2009


It sure seems to create a helluva lot of birth defects. I think DU is being used as scorched earth policy: make the mid-East uninhabitable.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:19 AM on June 8, 2009


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