Fahrenheit 200,000,000
August 5, 2004 11:32 PM   Subscribe

Fahrenheit 200,000,000 [Flash.] Celebrating the 59th anniversary of Hiroshima by making fission fun again!
posted by homunculus (15 comments total)
Bleh. The flash thingie is underwhelming. From the "fission" link: "Nuclear weapons are capable of destroying the human species and our world" is simply false. I suppose the former is possible, but not very likely. The latter isn't even possible.

The Hiroshima bombing and its victims deserve attention and mourning. This post doesn't do them justice.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:55 PM on August 5, 2004

Good links there homunculus. I'll throw in The Atomic Archive, which is a more technical site about the bomb and a page on "Hiroshima" by John Hershey, a book that should ideally be in the pulic domain (my copy was given away free with the 50th Hiroshima bombing issue of New Statesman).
posted by thatwhichfalls at 12:00 AM on August 6, 2004

The Fiore cartoon isn't just underwhelming; it totally undermines the power of the rest of the links.
posted by interrobang at 12:18 AM on August 6, 2004

That flashtoon was remarkably stupid. If you haven't clicked on it, don't. Well damn, now you really want to. *sigh*

However, remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki is smart.

I offer up the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty timeline acccording to Greenpeace and the Peace Park in Hiroshima. Also: GIS for "Hiroshima Peace Park"

I was actually looking for another link - one that I haven't visited in a while - that had many videos, photos, and archival information from Trinity onward, but looked different then The Atomic Archive, and had a different URL for certain. It used to show up in the top half dozen results on google with the query "Nuclear Test Video". The site was enormous and I'm bummed I can't find it.

Did this place I speak of turn into The Atomic Archive?

Let there be peace.
posted by loquacious at 12:30 AM on August 6, 2004

I meant it the other way around. I thought the Fiore cartoon did a good job of mocking and undermining the uncarring attitude demonstrated by the defense industry proliferators towards the world, to then make way for the serious links. It was too flippant a choice, I guess, though I fear it really captures some of their toy mentality. The "59th anniversarry" and "again" links are the most important ones. We're still building these things and are considering first use with bunker busters. Thats insane.
posted by homunculus at 12:46 AM on August 6, 2004

homunculus: I fervently agree with the prognosis of insanity and thank you for the serious links.

It wasn't just the un-entertaining quality of the toon that bit me, but the near vacuum of facts that could have possibly been presented. This isn't a critique of you or your post at all. It's not the first time Mark Fiore has bored me dumbstruck. I just wish he put as much thought into his toons as he did his signature logo. :\
posted by loquacious at 1:05 AM on August 6, 2004

Might as well throw in the rest of my bomb links:

J. Robert Oppenheimer Centennial Exhibit.
"If atomic bombs are to be added to the arsenals of the a warring world, or to the arsenals of nations preparing for war, then the time will come when mankind will curse the name of Los Alamos and Hiroshima. The peoples of this world must unite, or they will perish. This war, that has ravaged so much of the earth, has written these words. The atomic bomb has spelled them out for all men to understand."

The Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues.
"Little Boy - Hiroshima - 0815, August 6th, 1945
Size: 10ft long
Weight: 8900 lbs (132 lbs >90% U235)
(about 2 lbs underwent fission)
Height of Blast: 1900 ft
Yield: 15-16 klbs TNT
Casualties: about 100,000 immediate deaths
about 200,000 total deaths

The Radiation Effects Research Foundation.
"The Radiation Effects Research Foundation is the scientific research institution focused on the study of health effects of radiation in the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Careful analysis of the accurately recorded cancer incidence and mortality data for the large study population is contributing fundamental risk information for radiation protection standards worldwide."
posted by thatwhichfalls at 1:15 AM on August 6, 2004

Thanks for the links homunculus.

The Hiroshima bombing and its victims deserve attention and mourning. This post doesn't do them justice.

- Perhaps the amount of attention you seem to crave.
posted by johnnyboy at 2:07 AM on August 6, 2004

Nuclear weapons are capable of destroying the human species and our world" is simply false.

What iis your 'proof' for claiming the statement is 'false'?
posted by rough ashlar at 9:21 AM on August 6, 2004

Actually, it is incumbent upon someone to PROVE that nuclear weapons are capable of destroying humanity and/or the earth...it is NOT incumbent upon the other side to prove the negative.

But beyond that -- this thread reminded me of a thread that I initiated several years ago about Paul Tibbets, the man who lead the team that dropped the bomb on that fateful day.
posted by davidmsc at 11:40 AM on August 6, 2004

What iis your 'proof' for claiming the statement is 'false'?

Simple matter of energy. To destroy the world, you'd need enough energy to break the Earth into small bits and accelerate all of them to orbital velocity. Even you used all of the nukes in the world, you probably couldn't even get one good-sized mountain into orbit, much less all of Earth into orbit around itself.*

For the life of me I can't see why people insist on hyperbolizing nuclear weapons. The unvarnished truth is bad enough.

*If you want to see this done, the place to go is The Forge of God by Greg Bear.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:45 PM on August 6, 2004

A good comparison is the amount of energy released in past cometary impacts. They've been orders of magnitude larger than the entire nuclear arsenal (at its largest), and while they've made things suck for a while, they've certainly not managed to destroy the earth. And a great many species have survived each time—without, you know, the big brains and adaptability we have.

ROU_Xenophobe's "mountain" example is probably very close to correct. Well, actually, I seriously doubt you could put a mountain into orbit with all the nukes. But you could probably obliterate one. With all the nukes.

By the way, probably 40% or more of the research at LANL is not nuclear weapons related. Also, the goal of eliminating nukes, though laudable in the abstract, is absurd in the context of a world in which there's no guarantee that others won't have them. The US for geopolitical/strategic reasons really has no choice but to maintain at least a minimal nuclear arsenal. This will require some continued research, perhaps some testing, and various maintainance and manufacture.

Small tactical weapons are, in the abstract, no more offensive than other comparable conventional weapons. However, I'm opposed to their development, deployment, and use because of the symbolism and psychology of normalizing the use of any nuclear weapons, which would be very bad.

I consider Hiroshima and Nagasaki to be (marginal) war crimes—but so do I consider the intentional firebombings of Germany and Japan.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:06 PM on August 6, 2004

ROU: The Forge of God has, of all the destruction-of-the-Earth descriptions I've ever read, easily my favorite and the most memorable. Breathtaking. I really like that book. That, and Eon are his two best books; and are two of the more enjoyable reads I've had in the last fifteen years.

For onlookers, and please pardon the thread derail, but the book is so good it's hard to resist, here's an excerpt:
A scant yard behind Minelli, the rock split. The terrace and all that was beneath leaned away, the gap widening with majestic slowness. Minelli scrambled frantically, his grin transformed into a rictus of terror.

To the east, like the great wise head of a dozing giant, Half Dome nodded a few degrees and tilted into a chasm opened in the floor of the valley. In arc–shaped wedges, it began to come apart. Liberty Cap and Mount Broderick, on the south side of the valley, leaned to the north, but stayed whole, rolling and sliding like giant pebbles into the mass of Half Dome's settling fragments, diverting, and then dinally shattering and sending fragments through miles of the valley. Somewhere in the obscurity of dust were the remnants of the Mist Trail, Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, and the Emerald Lake.

The silt of the valley floor liquiefied under the vibration, swallowing meadows and roads and absorbing the Merced along its entire length. The fresh slopes of talus dropped their leading edges into snakelike fractures and began to spread again; behind them, more leaves of granite plummented.

The air was stifling. The hymm singers, on their knees, weeping and singing at once, could not be heard, only seen. The death–sound of Yosemite was beyond comprehension, having crossed the border into pain, a wide–spectrum roaring howl.

Edward and Betsy could not keep balance even on their hands and knees; they rolled to the ground and held each other. Betsy had closed her eyes, lips working against his neck; she was praying. Edward, curously, did not feel like praying; he was exultant now. He looked to the east, away from the valley, beyond the tumbling trees, and saw something hard and massive on the horizon. Not clouds, not a front of storm, but—

He was past any expression of awe or wonder. What he was seeing could only be one thing: east of the Sierra Nevada, along the fault line drawn between the mountains formed by ages of wrinkling pressure and the desert beyond, the continent was splitting, raising its jagged edge dozens of miles into the atmosphere.

Edward did not need to do calculations to know this meant the end. Such energy—even if all other activity ceased—would be enough to smash all living things along the western edge of the continent, enough to change the entire face of North America.

Acceleration in the pit of his stomach. Going up. His skin seemed to be boiling. Going up. Winds blew that threatened to lift them away. With the last of his strength, he held on to Betsy. He could not see Minelli for a moment, and then he opened his tingling eyes and saw against a muddy blue sky filled with stars—the atmosphere racing away above them—saw Minelli standing, smiling beatifically, arms raised, near the new rim of the point. He receded through walls of dust on a fresh–hewn leaf of granite, mouth open, shouting unheard into the overwhelming din.

Yosemite is gone. The Earth might be gone. I'm still thinking. The only sensation Edward could feel, other than the endless acceleration, was Betsy's body against his own. He could hardly breathe.

They no longer lay on the ground, but fell. Edward say walls of rock, great fresh white revealed volumes on all sides—thousands of feet wide—and spinning trees and disintegrating clumps of dirt and even a small flying woman, yards away, face angelic, eyes closed, arms spread.

It seemed an enternity before the light vanished.

The granite volumes enclosed them all.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:33 PM on August 6, 2004

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