Battleland

Nuclear Perspective: What’s the Fallout in Your Neighborhood?

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Nukemap

Sure, it’s morbid, but there’s a fascination associated with figuring out just how many of your neighbors – along with you – would perish if a nuclear bomb went off down the street.

That’s the ghoulish tug of Nukemap, which comes complete with odometer-like spinning numbers charting those killed and wounded by any size atomic weapon you chose (from puny terrorist atomic bombs to superpower supremos) to detonate pretty much anywhere in the world.

Nukemap’s latest version – in 3D and with the body counts – has just gone, ahem, “live” at the Nuclear Secrecy blog, run by Alex Wellerstein, a nuclear-weapons historian at the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics in College Park, Md. (The casualty counts have been balky; that’s part of the challenge of developing thermonuclear software on a black-powder budget.)

It features real-time animation of a nuclear blast’s fireball and rising mushroom cloud (based on actual nuclear-test data), wind-dependent fallout mapping, and casualty estimates based on population density for nearly every corner of the world. All these data dovetail into Google Earth, giving those who want it an accurate footprint of the ensuing death and destruction (including fire stations, hospitals, religious structures and schools).

Wellerstein posted a barebones Nukemap online 18 months ago, and says he was surprised to see some 3 million people “detonate” 17 million nuclear weapons on it. “It is clear that the users appreciated the ability to `nuke their neighbors,’” he wrote shortly after it went online. “Many described using it as `fun,’ which is not a term usually associated with targeting nuclear weapons and evaluating their effects. Still others, even when calling it `fun,’ referred to it as `scary.’ This fun/scary coupling is perhaps a novel way to approach the imparting of otherwise dry data about nuclear weapons.”

(MORE: Exploding Budgets)

Suddenly, data once reserved to nuclear targeteers – the wizards of Armageddon, in author Fred Kaplan’s chilling words – are now available to anyone with an Internet connection.

It’s equal parts Curtis LeMay and Austin Powers to visit the site and:

– Select your target.

– Chose the bomb’s size

– Pick a good viewing location (From the ground? A nearby airplane? Low Earth orbit?)

– Click “Detonate”.

– Chose to view the mushroom cloud slowly expand, concentric circles of deadly effects, the fallout’s path, among other options.

Wellerstein views his project as an “educational tool.” While he says he’d like to the world’s 17,000 nuclear weapons reduced, he doesn’t argue for their abolition.

Instead, he notes that in nearly all of the historical photos and films of nuclear blasts – usually in the middle of a desert or an ocean – there is nothing in the frame to give a sense of perspective over just how big these explosions are.

As might be expected for someone whose Harvard dissertation is Knowledge and the Bomb: Nuclear Secrecy in the United States, 1939-2008, Wellerstein believes ignorance about the effects of nuclear weapons helps keep the public in the dark when debating their value.

“Most people today have a poor understanding of what happens when a nuclear weapon explodes. As a result, they have a hard time taking it serious as something that could actually happen,” he tells Battleland. “I’m hoping to make the bomb a bit more personal, especially for those people born after the Cold War.”

So go ahead. Make your day. Plug your Zip Code into the Choose Ground Zero box here. Then click Detonate.

PHOTOS: A Timeline of Nuclear Disarmament

61 comments
Onlooker
Onlooker

@Sibir_Russia Изрядное количество почтения к международным институтам и закон, кажется, исходят из вашей речи, является Россия действительно занимает свое отражение на человечество, где она оставила его в 19-м веке? (жаль бедную письменной форме)

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

Former Russian permanent representative to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, on the night of 14 January, planted 2 Poplars near the headquarters of NATO,  in memory about the years of stay in Brussels.

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

Tsar Bomba - Paris

Earlier, NATO headquarters was in Paris.

Charles De Gaulle insisted that the move NATO headquarters outside France.

To increase piercing capacity bomb detonates at a given height. 

AndresCB
AndresCB

The website was shut down by Blue host

mslman71
mslman71

I'm so glad I didn't have this as a kid. Used to have nightmares about it back in the cold war days; obsessed over weapons, design, tactics, etc. as a means to cope I guess. 

cjh2nd
cjh2nd

i wish i was cool enough to post a bunch of pointless conspiracy theorist crap on here like @Sibir_Russia. i'm sure that would really make me feel good about how lame my life was too

commentzilla
commentzilla

"So go ahead. Make your day. Plug your Zip Code into the Choose Ground Zero box hereThen click Detonate."

The black helicopters are coming for you now Mr. Thompson... LOL JK

goodale.porter
goodale.porter

As a US Army chemical officer, I have been predicting the effects of nuclear weapons for the past 25 years.  First with maps and pencils and later with basic computer programs and now with sophisticated computer models.  If fact I use to do targeting before the Chemical Corps got out of that business.  

It is easy to get jaded about the cost of using nuclear weapons when the casualty figures are just a number on the screen. As they say, the death of one person is a tragedy, the death of 100,000 is a statistic.   It saddens me when nuclear weapons are used in fiction and the true effects are not portrayed.  

For example, as a training exercise, I calculated the effects of the device in The Dark Knight Rises.  I had to make a lot of assumptions like using New York City instead of the fictional Gotham and historical weather.  What I found was that the city would be spared with only moderate damage (lots of broken glass) but you would sacrifice the Jersey shore and the fallout plume would kill thousands on the southern shore of Long Island.  Not as rosy as the  film would have you believe.  Also, that kiss Batman gives Batwoman was worth about 800 fatalities and about 2,000 casualties (can't remember the exact numbers).  If he used the time increasing the distance of the city to ground zero, he could have saved those people.  Hope it was worth it Dark Knight!

The best thing you can put between yourself and a nuclear explosion is distance.  The force of a nuclear explosion decreases exponentially from the point of detonation.  That is why building big devices like the Tsar Bomba are an exercise in futility.  To get a modest increase in destruction, you would have to increase the power of the weapon dramatically.  It is easier and more efficient to use smaller, but more devices across your target.  In fact, most nuclear weapons  are in the Kiloton range.  Many are not even "thermonuclear."  Just fission or boosted fission weapons.

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

@mslman71 

Stop attempts to revise the results of World War II, observe the UN Charter and norms of international law. For defense of the USA do not need a huge military budget. You can save a lot for solving internal problems, and to curb the growth of government debt. From the point of view of international law between the U.S. and the rest of the countries of sovereign equality. No one is going to attack you, when you stand on the path of correction, we will not allow.
 

mslman71
mslman71

@goodale.porter Isn't thermonuclear just "boosted or enhanced fission?" The bang is in the yield increase, or at least yield increase per fissile material, is it not? 

FrankFMoore
FrankFMoore

@Sibir_Russia 
(Yawing)  There happened to be a little something called *WWII* going on at the time.

Onlooker
Onlooker

@Sibir_Russia @Onlooker Я не американец, и был больше заинтересован в вашей философской позиции. :)

goodale.porter
goodale.porter

@mslman71 @goodale.porter   We have a lot of confusing terms that are often misused, but the generally agreed upon scheme is:  

Thermonuclear = a device that ends up in a fusion reaction.  It takes a lot of heat to do that (the "thermo" part of the term).  In fact, you have to explode a fission bomb to make that much heat and x-rays.  The fusion part is considered the 2nd stage.

A boosted weapon is a normal fission weapon "boosted" with tritium gas.  This gas fuses, but does not really add to the destructive power of the device.  What it does add is neutrons which increases the efficiency of the fission reaction. 

There is also a "radiation enhanced" device or as it is popularly known the neutron bomb.  This is simply a fission device optimized to release neutron radiation instead of reflecting it back into the core of the device as any normal fission device would.  So it make a bomb that has little (comparatively) destructive potential, but has a lot of initial neutron radiation.

Some extra trivia; all radiation enhanced devices are named Olivia.  So the next time you hear someone talk of Olivia Neutron Bomb, you will know why.

rivival37
rivival37

@commentzilla @Sibir_Russia As long as nuclear arsenals are anywhere near their present size, the Cold War is not over.  While greatly reduced in scope, it's still there.

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

@commentzilla@Sibir_Russia 

Russia recognizes the Central role of the UN in solving complicated international issues.
We are committed to finding solutions to existing problems based on the rule of international law, balance of interests, and common sense. To this end, we actively participate in various collective mechanisms for managing international relations at the global and regional levels, including, first of all, the UN, but also G8, G20, CIS, SCO, BRICS and others. This network diplomacy reflects the emergence of a new polycentric world order which would be more equitable, democratic and sustainable.

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

Sergey LAVROV: "All of America's friends -- and we regard ourselves as ones -- should help the United States to make a "soft landing" in multipolar reality"

 «As regards the content of the new stage in humankind’s development, there are two basic approaches to it among countries.  The first one holds that the world must gradually become a Greater West through the adoption of Western values. It is a kind of “the end of history.” The other approach – advocated by Russia – holds that competition is becoming truly global and acquiring a civilizational dimension; that is, the subject of competition now includes values and development models.» 

 

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

@commentzilla@Sibir_Russia 

We not lost the cold war. The cold war ended, when it became apparent that the winner not will be. The principles of mutual annihilation between the two nuclear powers are not valid.

"Enshrined in the UN Charter the principle of unanimity among the five permanent members of the Security Council in fact meant capturing the concept of a multipolar world. The cold war brought it to bipolarity. Now everything is back in place."

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

@mslman71@Sibir_Russia

I think life will force USA to become kinder.
"When the power of Love will overcome the love of Power, the world will know Peace" - Jimi Hendrix
I like how this phrase sounds in the Russian language. 

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

stop cluttering the forum with stupid questions

mslman71
mslman71

@Sibir_Russia LOL at the attempt of having some type of altruistic interest in this game. 

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

The U.S. national debt is growing at 4.3 billion dollars each day.

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

@mash3d@Sibir_Russia@goodale.porter 

No, this is not so.

According to the former CIA Director James Woolsey 40% of the budget of the Ministry of defence of the USA goes to the content of the naval groups, to ensure the safety of routes of oil imports. Add here expenditures on the war in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and in each military base outside of your borders, including base on the territory of NATO countries. You can imagine how much you could save, if you do focus on diplomacy, which in the us is practically absent?  For this purpose it is enough to observe the norms of international law. 

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

@DeweySayenoff@Sibir_Russia@cjh2nd@commentzilla 

We have defended the right independently determine the destiny  already after the victory over fascism during the WWII. The aggressor was crushed. Then former allies the anti-Hitler coalition led by the United States and Britain, declared "cold war". Was planning attacks on the USSR. But In this time, the USA was too little atomic bombs, and they are relatively weak. The USSR had a lot of tanks, aircraft and other types of weapons, to throw americans from the continent in the case of the hot war. American strategists understand and Stalin knew, but time was against us, thus, the work on creation of the Soviet atomic bomb were carried out at an accelerated pace. The first atomic bomb was tested in the Soviet Union on August 29, 1949.  The arms race led to parity in this type of weapons. According to the results of the cold war the world has returned to the starting point of multipolarity, as after the Second World war. Theory of American exceptionalism has ended in a fiasco.

 

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@Sibir_Russia @cjh2nd @commentzilla On the contrary.  One can compare both. Both are socioeconomic structures.  Capitalism rewards individual effort.  Communism rewards group effort.  The failure in communism is that it doesn't take into account human nature.  The failure in capitalism is that it doesn't take into account human nature, either.

Communism fails because regardless of the amount of work that is put in by the individual, everyone is equally rewarded. This is a disincentive for anyone to work harder than anyone else, or indeed even work at all.  Altruism is not a universal human trait and with rewards being equal for doing a lot and doing nothing, most people will do nothing.  Indeed, from accounts of conditions inside the USSR before the collapse of communism, the quality of work being done was almost nil.  Giving out medals wasn't adequate compensation for most people since a medal didn't buy bread.

It works better in a society with a group, as opposed to an individual, mentality.  This is why China and other small or isolated countries maintain communist regimes.  Asian culture tends to focus on family and group.  Isolated countries can be fed propaganda to give them a group mentality.  But even with all that, China can't stay entirely communist (indeed, it has not) and is trying to create a communist/capitalist socioeconomic hybrid.  Whether it is successful or not remains to be seen.  I believe the systems are mutually incompatible.

Capitalism fails for the simple reason that people are greedy.  They will not only try to accumulate wealth, but will try to prevent others from accumulating wealth, or will accumulate their wealth to the detriment of others.  This has happened repeatedly in coutnries that base themselves on capitalist ideals or allow capitalism as part of their social structure.  The Wall Street market collapse was based entirely on greed facilitated by an "open market" capitalist mentality.  In China, whole industries are rife with corruption and scandal because greed makes them produce products that are dangerous or out and out toxic.

The exploitation of the workers in China (and elsewhere, historically) under capitalist ideals is the REASON communism (and socialism) were created - as a replacement.

Capitalism hasn't completely collapsed yet because the wealthiest are controlling the world, but it will within 10 years as the wealth gap widens enough to spark the inevitable revolutions.

In BOTH cases, the people have revolted against the socioeconomic systems which caused the collapse of their societies.  It happened in Russia TWICE (Once under the Tzars, and again under communism, though considering the last hundred years or more, it seems that love of dictatorships run deep in the psyche of the average Russian).  It's happened in other countries as well.

So yes, you can compare communism and capitalism - directly and specifically.  It would help if you knew what each were to begin with.

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

The phenomenon of the " cold war " ended when the USSR was achieved parity in nuclear race with the USA.


cjh2nd
cjh2nd

@Sibir_Russia@commentzilla

"We not lost the cold war. The cold war ended, when it became apparent that the winner not will be. The principles of mutual annihilation between the two nuclear powers are not valid."

the cold war ended when capitalism defeated communism. you lost. deal with it

Sibir_Russia
Sibir_Russia

Don't try to appear happy, bespectacled.
You still afraid of Iran, North Korea and some of the terrorists. You should be ashamed.

FrankFMoore
FrankFMoore

@Sibir_Russia 
LMAO!!!  Like I need some Ruskie Troll to tell me what's going in the US.  Russia's not saint either, Little Prince.

But, I've better things to do.  Have fun Trolling CNN, little russian bear.  I have to life to attend to. :-)

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