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Artw (2)

“Dangerous … an evil thing about an evil thing."

The Truths Behind 'Dr. Strangelove' Eric Schlosser, author of Command and Control (previously), celebrates the 50th anniversary of the release of Dr. Strangelove by looking into the plausibility of the movie's premise.
posted by COBRA! on Jan 23, 2014 - 53 comments

Music for millions to die by

"I note here that the first Australia would have known about all this would have been Soviet nuclear strikes on US facilities at Pine Gap (near Alice Springs), Nurrungar (Woomera) and North West Cape (near Exmouth). We know that this was likely because Western spies for the Soviet Union in the late 1970s had given Moscow some insights into the significance of these intelligence and communications facilities for what it saw as US nuclear war-fighting strategy." -- former Australian deputy secretary of defence Paul Dibb talks about Able Archer, the 1983 NATO nuclear warfare exercise that the Soviet Union almost mistook for the real thing. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Oct 19, 2013 - 41 comments

"It's... dumb luck that we haven't had an accidental nuclear detonation"

Command and Control is a new book by Eric Schlosser about nuclear weapons mishaps, with a focus on the Damascus Accident. You can read an excerpt at Mother Jones, an op-ed adapted from the text at Politico, or a different op-ed at The Guardian. The book has been positively reviewed by The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. Schlosser has been interviewed by Steve Roberts on The Diane Rehm Show, Amy Goodman, Michael Mechanic at Mother Jones, and Ryan Devereaux at Rolling Stone.
posted by Going To Maine on Sep 19, 2013 - 66 comments

Queen Elizabeth's nuclear war speech, and other undelivered speeches

"It would have been the Queen’s Speech to end them all. At midday on Friday 4 March 1983, the monarch was due to address the nation to announce that Britain was at war and – due to the “deadly power of abused technology” – a nuclear conflict was at hand." But it was only part of Wintex-Cimex 83, a large-scale annual NATO war game. This is just one example of speeches that were written in case of the worst, but never given. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 1, 2013 - 31 comments

How amazing is my thought!

Lewis Thomas (1913-1993) was a physician and essayist, writing gracefully on topics as varied as language, nuclear war, and our excellent health and deplorable health-care system (PDF). He believed that the existence of Bach vindicates humanity, that "ants are so much like human beings as to be an embarrassment", and that the Earth is perhaps best thought of as a cell. A three-time winner of the National Book Award, Thomas authored Lives of a Cell, which was voted the 11th-best nonfiction work of the 20th century by the Modern Library.
posted by seemoreglass on Apr 8, 2013 - 15 comments

North Korea Sets April 10th Deadline

North Korea has warned foreign embassies in Pyongyang that it cannot guarantee their safety from the threat of conflict after 10 April, and has advised them to consider pulling their staff out of the capital. This follows North Korea blocking South Korean Workers from the Kaesong industrial complex - a sign that this might be more material than the usual posturing, warning that a 'moment of explosion' is nearing and moving missiles with "considerable range" to its east coast. Though the US is playing down the threat and the UK and Russia have no plans of moving their diplomats the possibility of an accident or miscalculation leading to war looms. North Korea has earned the reprobation of Russia and Fidel Castro in recent days and even longtime supporter China is beginning to lose patience with it - something some say is not before time.
posted by Artw on Apr 5, 2013 - 239 comments

A bomb, H bomb, Minutemen, the names get more attractive

In 1961 US president John F Kennedy started the Community Fallout Shelter Program, advising the use of communal and home-based fallout shelters in case relations with the Soviet Union took a turn for the worse. One brave toy company took up the call and released a dolls' house with its own fallout shelter to keep dolly safe. [more inside]
posted by Mezentian on Jan 16, 2013 - 28 comments

Kubrick In The 60s

Stanley Kubrick didn’t like giving long interviews, but he loved playing chess. So when the physicist and writer Jeremy Bernstein paid him a visit to gather material for a piece for The New Yorker about a new film project he was writing with Arthur C. Clarke, Kubrick was intrigued to learn that Bernstein was a fairly serious chess player. The result was an unusually long and candid recorded interview for the New Yorker. (77 min)
posted by The Whelk on Jun 17, 2012 - 8 comments

The Only Winning Move is to Watch This

Most of us reading on the blue lived through at least a portion of it. Forty-plus years of tension between the world's two superpowers and their allies. That's right: The Cold War. Then, they made a documentary. Aired on CNN in 1998, and never released on DVD, the 24 episode, 20 hour series features tons of archival footage, along with many interviews with individuals directly involved at some of the highest levels. You might not be able to see it on DVD, but you can watch the full series on Youtube, starting with Part 1: Comrades (1917-1945).
posted by symbioid on Mar 27, 2012 - 78 comments

Iranian uranium

The International Atomic Energy Agency says that Iran has tripled its production of >20% enriched uranium in the past three months, while adding 2,600 new uranium centrifuges to its main enrichment facility in Natanz. The agency has not received a "satisfactory explanation" of how 20kg of uranium metal went missing from an Iranian research laboratory. Iran has been blocking IAEA inspections, and the agency "is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities". In recent years, Russia and China have chosen to limit UN sanctions against Iran, whose government denies it aims to make atomic weapons.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Feb 24, 2012 - 220 comments

A Short Vision

"Just last week you read about the H-bomb being dropped. Now two great English writers, two very imaginative writers — I’m gonna tell you if you have youngsters in the living room tell them not to be alarmed at this ‘cause it’s a fantasy, the whole thing is animated — but two English writers, Joan and Peter Foldes, wrote a thing which they called ‘A Short Vision’ in which they wondered what might happen to the animal population of the world if an H-bomb were dropped. It’s produced by George K. Arthur and I’d like you to see it. It is grim, but I think we can all stand it to realize that in war there is no winner." [via]
posted by brundlefly on Jun 27, 2011 - 13 comments

Delicious Doomsday

Romantically Apocalyptic is a morbidly funny webcomic from Russo-Canadian digital artist Vitaly Alexius (interview, gallery). Set in the starkly diaphanous wreckage of post-nuclear Manhattan, it follows an eccentric contingent of Soviet soldiers as they poke through the detritus of the past and contend with the mutants, cultists, aliens, and other horrors that inhabit the ruins. The comic's striking art style is the result of an arduous process, using "Photoshop, live actors, dead actors, sexy assistants, greenscreen, a camera, and a Wacom tablet" to composite "6 years worth of textures: 1 terabyte of stock footage, shot in real abandoned, forgotten places of our world." This multimedia ambition has burgeoned into plans for a community-powered animated/live-action web series (teaser video, animatic, fanart). While waiting for that to come together, be sure to spend some time on Kimmo Lemetti's excellent Gone With the Blastwave (previously), a very similar webcomic project with a more subdued palette that turned out nearly fifty pages of richly-illustrated post-apocalyptic humor before going on indefinite hiatus.
posted by Rhaomi on Mar 3, 2011 - 18 comments

The Key Word Is "Survival" On The New Frontier

The complete history of the Fallout Shelter sign.
posted by mattdidthat on May 6, 2010 - 36 comments

when two tribes go to war

By 17 October, the day of the Soviet Moon landing, tension had risen. Czechoslovakian and Hungarian troops were said to be massing on the border with Austria. Soviet fighters had been harassing civil aircraft in the Berlin corridors, causing an American airliner to crash.

What was once the most secret British government document is released to the public on Tuesday. The Government War Book, used during the Cold War, set out in great detail exactly what would happen in the days before nuclear weapons were fired.

Prof Peter Hennessy describes the War Book
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar on Jun 23, 2009 - 30 comments

Strings, not Threads, nor Duct Tape

Nuclear puppet shows: Atomic survival PSAs by the U.S. Civil Defense
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 5, 2009 - 14 comments

The secret in the safe deposit box

The Letter of Last Resort. At this very moment, miles beneath the surface of the ocean, there is a British nuclear submarine carrying powerful ICBMs ... there is a safe attached to a control room floor. Inside that, there is an inner safe. And inside that sits a letter. It is addressed to the submarine commander and it is from the Prime Minister. In that letter, Gordon Brown conveys the most awesome decision of his political career ... and none of us is ever likely to know what he decided.
posted by veedubya on Jan 22, 2009 - 65 comments

Be thankful these black swans didn't fly

Seven Close calls in the Nuclear Age Previously
posted by lalochezia on Oct 24, 2008 - 13 comments

When the Wind Blows

This is the Wartime Broadcasting Service. This country has been attacked with nuclear weapons. Communications have been severely disrupted, and the number of casualties and the extent of the damage are not yet known. We shall bring you further information as soon as possible. - The BBC releases its script for use in the event of nuclear war.
posted by Artw on Oct 2, 2008 - 37 comments

Alas! regardless of their doom, the little victims play!

Limited nuclear war would damage ozone layer. Apart from the human devastation, a small-scale nuclear war between India and Pakistan would destroy much of the ozone layer, leaving the DNA of humans and other organisms at risk of damage from the Sun's rays, say researchers at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. Michael Mills at the LASP and his colleagues used computer models to study how 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs would affect the atmosphere. They say that their scenario – in which each country launches 50 devices of 15 kilotons – is realistic, given the countries' nuclear arsenals. "The figure of 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs compares pretty accurately to the approximately 110 warheads that both states reportedly possess between them," agrees Wyn Bowen, professor of non-proliferation and international security in the War Studies Group at King's College, UK. Here is an earlier 2006 report by Michael Mills about the devastating effect even a limited nuclear war would have on the ozone layer.
posted by KokuRyu on Apr 9, 2008 - 55 comments

Apocalypse Now

Depending on who you believe, either Guy Pearce or Viggo Mortensen will be cast in the lead role of the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's utterly brilliant dystopia, The Road. To my mind, the adaptation marks Hollywood's rekindling of the almost forgotten genre of the post-apocalyptical movie. With Mad Max, The Postman, Threads and The Day After, nuclear annihilation loomed large in the imaginations of filmmakers in the 70s and 80s. Since then cinematic dystopia has been projected in the realm of the fantastic (think 12 Monkey's, The Matrix and 28 Days Later). If dystopia is really just a satire of the present, what does the film adaptation of The Road tell us about the our times?
posted by MrMerlot on Dec 5, 2007 - 75 comments

Strangelove's Doomsday: fiction meets facts

Dr. Strangelove's Doomsday device may be more fact than fiction. We've had doomsday stories here before, but what if dead hand control of nuclear devices is real? Perhaps live-hand control is better. You could always try your hand at a nuclear apocalypse.
posted by craven_morhead on Sep 3, 2007 - 25 comments

All aboard for thermonuclear war

Russian Missile Train !
posted by Burhanistan on Apr 18, 2007 - 22 comments

Photos from Hiroshima

Photos from Hiroshima in August of 1945. Long supressed by the occupying U.S. forces, a highly unsettling (and decidedly NSFW) collection of photos from the days immediately after August 6th. Via.
posted by jonson on Feb 6, 2007 - 199 comments

Samantha Smith

In 1982, ten-year old Samantha Smith from Maine wrote a letter to Yuri Andropov asking whether there was going to be a nuclear war. Andropov responded, and Samantha accepted his invitation to stay at a Russian pioneer camp with Soviet children. Tragically, within the following two years both the young Samantha and Secretary Andropov passed away. (wmv)
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Dec 23, 2006 - 23 comments

Threads

Threads (Google Video, 1hr 50min). Classic Reagan/Thatcher era nuclear war film that scared the bejeezus out of everyone in 1984 (including my 14-year-old self). [good background previously]
posted by schoolgirl report on Dec 21, 2006 - 93 comments

My Home in the Ground

1962 Fallout Shelter handbook. (more about nuclear survival and shelters, if that kind of thing worries you).
posted by IronLizard on Nov 22, 2006 - 18 comments

Protect and Survive

Twenty Years Ago, The BBC produced a topical drama called Threads - little did they know the furore it would go on to create. [more inside]
posted by metaxa on Sep 6, 2004 - 32 comments

One of the world's greatest unsung heroes?

You may owe your life to this man If it weren't for Stanislav Petrov, many or even most of us reading this might be dead now - or never born, for the teens among us. At least according to this article, and the other links above.
posted by ramakrishna on Sep 5, 2004 - 34 comments

Nuclear War Survival Skills

Nuclear War Survival Skills: Journey back sixteen years to a simpler time, when the impending apocalypse was a much less complicated affair. [more inside]
posted by Johnny Assay on Mar 31, 2003 - 9 comments

Nuclear war on film

Nuclear war on film The Los Angeles Times [registration required] reviews the potrayal of nuclear war in the movies.
posted by kirkaracha on Jun 23, 2002 - 9 comments

Nuclear War, India and Pakistan - a Tutorial.

Nuclear War, India and Pakistan - a Tutorial. Blogging at its best! Fallout patterns, strategy, and more. Additional bonus: 4GW (Fourth Generation Warfare).
posted by sheauga on Jun 10, 2002 - 4 comments

In 1999, India and Pakistan were closer to nuclear war

In 1999, India and Pakistan were closer to nuclear war than was commonly known, according to Clinton's former chief adviser on South Asia. On Monday, the Defense Department's policy chief said that "there is a risk of war" that is "very large." On Tuesday, militants attacked an army camp in Indian Kashmir and killed 30 people, including 11 women and 10 children. All this makes me very nervous. Is it just me? And adding a touch of the bizarre, India is officially researching arcane, 2300 year-old military technology that it believes will give its military a greater advantage.
posted by homunculus on May 15, 2002 - 30 comments

Bush prepares nuclear weapons for use. A classified Pentagon report directs the Defense Department to prepare "smaller nuclear weapons for use in certain battlefield situations," such as "targets able to withstand nonnuclear attack." Potential targets listed include China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria. Is the U.S. merely bluffing, or should we begin stocking our fallout shelters?
posted by johnnyace on Mar 9, 2002 - 9 comments

Students for Suicide Pills?

Students for Suicide Pills? On October 12th, 1984, 1900+ students turned out to vote on a referendum asking that their university's Health Services be allowed to offer cyanide pills in the event of nuclear war.

57% of students said they wanted it.
posted by Fat Elvis on Sep 4, 2001 - 11 comments

U.S. Gov't: IF communists attack THEN GOTO communism:

U.S. Gov't: IF communists attack THEN GOTO communism: The plans that the federal government had developed for salvaging the state in the event of a nuclear attack on the United States by the Soviet Union would have added mass starvation and social extinction to the mass devastation of nuclear war by imposing martial law and a federal dictatorship running the country from the top down.
posted by dagny on Jul 28, 2001 - 13 comments

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