I’d burn up into a million pieces

19 11 2012

I’ve mentioned my nuclear nightmares, haven’t I?

I had them fairly regularly as a teen and young adult, and they still pop up occasionally, but for the most part they’ve slipped out of my unconscious and lodge mainly in a side aisle on the fifth floor of memory.

Then Robert Farley at Lawyers, Guns & Money linked to the fascinating NUKEMAP by Alex Wellerstein, and that memory box popped open.

It’s so easy to use! Simply drag the target to your preferred neighborhood or type in a city, select a nuke from a dropdown list, and fire away!

I’m mostly not worried about nukes in New York, but since I do occasionally wonder what would happen if a terrorist exploded one in Manhattan, I decided to detonate a relatively small and crude device (10kt) in the Financial District.

The effects would be felt up to Little Italy and Chinatown and would reach Governor’s Island and Brooklyn Heights, but that’s it.

Not until the bomb reaches 300 kilotons would it hit my neighborhood, and then only with thermal radiation (which, it must be said, could set off a firestorm).

The biggest bomb? A hundred megaton “Tsar Bomba”, the largest Soviet bomb designed (although never tested). That would take out all five boroughs, over half of Long Island, large chunks of New Jersey, and even a bit of Connecticut.

Why mention this, and with such good cheer? Honestly, it’s cool, in a ghastly sort of way.

And it’s so remote. I remember when it wasn’t, when I had a real, hmm, if not fear, then a kind of resignation, that the world would end in a hail of missiles; now, I am no longer resigned to that end (tho’ don’t worry: there are many ways for the world to end!), and the fear is tamed. The nukes are, if not in cages, at least no longer MADly menacing the landscape.

Of course, then I watched the clip of The Day After Farley posted, and my cheer drained away. Guess I’ll have to nuke another city to get my mojo back.

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