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Quote (and links) of the day: The power of nukes - Baxil [bakh-HEEL'], n. My Sites [Tomorrowlands] [The TTU Wiki] [Photos]
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March 18th, 2007
10:16 pm
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Quote (and links) of the day: The power of nukes
The fireball ... was seen 1,000 km [620 miles] away. The heat could have caused third degree burns at a distance of 100 km [62 miles]. ... The explosion could be seen and felt in Finland, even breaking windows there. ... The seismic shock created by the detonation was measurable even on its third passage around the earth.

The average power produced during the entire fission-fusion process, lasting around 39 nanoseconds, was ... equivalent to approximately 1% of the power output of the Sun.


-- Wikipedia article on the Tsar Bomba 50-megaton nuclear test, the largest manmade explosion in history

--

Got sidetracked from a Google search on instestinal bleeding (sigh ... yes, still dealing with some symptoms; not sure what I'll do if it starts getting worse again) by running into a fascinating page on how real and science-fiction astronauts have to deal with radiation. A fascinating read, from radiation effects to shielding mechanics to ship design.

Also did a little surfing around from there to discover that, billions of years ago, conditions were right for at least one of Earth's underground uranium deposits to turn into a natural fission reactor. (Don't worry; it can't happen today because natural decay has reduced uranium deposits' potency.)

Plus the aforementioned article on Tsar Bomba. That one bomb, alone, was equivalent to about 3,000 Hiroshimas. And each of those Hiroshimas is itself equivalent to 10,000 of the truck bombs used in the Oklahoma City bombing.

That we survived the dawn of the nuclear age is a testament to ... something. Given the known incidents that almost sparked off an Earth-sterilizing missile exchange, probably just pure dumb luck.

Current Location: ~calorg
Current Music: Bruce Hornsby, "The Tide Will Rise"
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From:packbat
Date:March 19th, 2007 02:50 pm (UTC)
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I have long thought that the Cold War was the best refutation of the Fermi Paradox ever invented.
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From:kevynjacobs
Date:March 19th, 2007 03:14 pm (UTC)
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> That we survived the dawn of the nuclear age is a testament to ... something. Given the known incidents that almost sparked off an Earth-sterilizing missile exchange, probably just pure dumb luck.

The Vulcans in Star Trek have an axiom: "The life expectancy of a civilization once it has discovered nuclear weapons is 50 years, or indefinite."

We're barely beyond that period now... Here's hoping the Vulcans were wrong.

One of the biggest nightmares lurking in my brain is the fear that the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons in wartime -- the United States -- will do so again, this time in the Middle East.

That's just a nightmare, not really possible... right?
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From:paka
Date:March 19th, 2007 04:36 pm (UTC)
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Petrov is interesting. I first actually found out about him several years back through a game designer's blog; it may have only slightly impacted my worldview, but it definitely did have an impact, that this man who basically saved the world was one of the "bad guys." That he doesn't think of himself as heroic reminds me of the line in "The Russia House" about how we were approaching a time where a man would need to be a hero simply to be a decent human being.
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