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dropzone
08-06-2011, 12:37 AM
I try to explain to young'uns that the human race survived past October, 1962 because Nikita Khrushchev was less of a psycho than Castro. We all, theoretically, died 49 years ago.

The rest have been gravy.

I'm probably wrong.

GIGObuster
08-06-2011, 12:41 AM
We all died? Not me.



I would never had been born. Seems my parents were visiting Miami when the crisis took place.

dropzone
08-06-2011, 12:57 AM
Yeah, your parents were at Ground Zero. You never were.

FinnAgain
08-06-2011, 12:59 AM
I, too, enjoy alcohol.

zoid
08-06-2011, 01:04 AM
No way the human race gets wiped out in 1962.
Worst case scenario LOTS of people die but the majority of Africa, South America, and heck even the more rural parts of even the US, USSR and China survive (not that they'd necessarily be happy about it).

dropzone
08-06-2011, 01:20 AM
I, too, enjoy alcohol.Explain? Bro, I envy you. I was recalling when, in second grade, we realized we weren't likely to make it to third. When you are eight and you understand your mortality, and that of everybody you could ever know, it colors your life. We stopped caring and started enjoying what we had. I envy those who did not picture their survivors when they were in second fucking grade. Especially when they realized they'd have none.

Zoid, I was 50 miles from DC. On the wrong side of the Blue Ridge. I was toast. Then we moved eight miles from Secondary Target, O'Hare Field. I really never expected to live this long.

Koxinga
08-06-2011, 01:38 AM
I read a pretty plausible-seeming alternative history story called "The Cuban Missile Crisis: Second Holocaust (http://www.enotes.com/topic/The_Cuban_Missile_Crisis:_Second_Holocaust)" that depicted almost all Soviets and Cubans as indeed being killed, while quite a few Europeans starved and of course Washington DC obliterated. But beyond that, the US was depicted as having survived handily, albeit as an international pariah. Yay, us.

But by the time of the Able Archer 83 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Able_Archer_83#False_alarm_from_the_Soviet_early_missile_warning_system) exercises 20 years later, and the Soviet false alarm that could have led to nuclear war, I believe the USSR had as many or more warheads as the US and could have killed us as effectively as we killed them. So we all died when *I* was in middle school, you silly billy.

Blake
08-06-2011, 03:06 AM
To the extent that it can be simplified in such a manner, the human race survived because Nikita Khrushchev was less of a psycho than Kennedy. Kennedy was prepared to push the potential threat from potential missiles into the realm of direct confrontation and probable war. Kruschev, thankfully, wasn't that crazy.

Czarcasm
08-06-2011, 04:01 AM
Our ability to shoot down enemy missiles has increased incredibly since the 60's. Does this mean that many more missiles would have hit in the 60's then would now if they were launched?

Koxinga
08-06-2011, 04:05 AM
I wasn't aware it was possible to shoot down a ballistic missile even now.

(ICBM, I mean.)

Sage Rat
08-06-2011, 08:19 AM
I wasn't aware it was possible to shoot down a ballistic missile even now.

(ICBM, I mean.)

As the ability to shoot down missiles has improved, the ability for missiles to not be shot down has improved as well. (As I understand it, possibly wrongly.) There are some older style missiles that can be shot down, if you are at the ready and within range. I have no idea whether 60s era ICBMs fall under this banner, but do think it likely that we don't have our anti-missile technology deployed to save the whole nation, nor any significant percentage of it, if any at all.

Rhythmdvl
08-06-2011, 08:39 AM
Bah, the human race will always survive.

The music, on the other hand, died many, many years ago. February. Made me shiver.


Now I've got Don McLean singing in my head.

Der Trihs
08-06-2011, 08:57 AM
As the ability to shoot down missiles has improved, the ability for missiles to not be shot down has improved as well. (As I understand it, possibly wrongly.) There are some older style missiles that can be shot down, if you are at the ready and within range. I have no idea whether 60s era ICBMs fall under this banner, but do think it likely that we don't have our anti-missile technology deployed to save the whole nation, nor any significant percentage of it, if any at all.IIRC ICBMs are also extra-hard targets because they are moving so fast; fast enough to outrun the wavefront of an exploding antimissile warhead unless it is directly ahead.

Fear Itself
08-06-2011, 09:34 AM
The Nike Hercules missile system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIM-14_Nike-Hercules)(circa 1959) utilized a nuclear warhead to destroy incoming ballistic missiles.

Czarcasm
08-06-2011, 09:45 AM
The Nike Hercules missile system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIM-14_Nike-Hercules)(circa 1959) utilized a nuclear warhead to destroy incoming ballistic missiles.I do believe the Nike-Hercules was designed to stop bombers containing nuclear armaments. When they realized that missiles were becoming the vessel of choice, they dismantled the program.

John Mace
08-06-2011, 12:00 PM
I, too, enjoy alcohol.

That was my first reaction when I read the OP.

Lemur866
08-06-2011, 12:47 PM
There weren't that many ICBMs back in the early 60s. The Russkies would have mostly relied on long-range nuclear bombers, Slim Pickens style.

Yeah, if you lived in Washington DC you'd be in big trouble. Most of our other big cities would have been hit by city-busters too. But there were plenty of people who lived in Bumfuck Iowa who wouldn't have been anywhere near a nuclear target. The real problem is that the transportation hubs are wrecked, so how do the Bumfuckian farmers get their wheat to the starving people in the ruined cities?

The model to picture is Japan after being flattened by years of American bombing, not the stereotypical radioactive sheet of glass. We'd be facing cities ruined, social networks torn apart, transport impossible, goods that aren't produced locally become impossible to get. Oh yeah, and lots of people dead or dying and without safe housing or food. The number of people dying from exposure and disease would outnumber the people who died in the bombings.

John Mace
08-06-2011, 01:58 PM
There weren't that many ICBMs back in the early 60s. The Russkies would have mostly relied on long-range nuclear bombers, Slim Pickens style.

Yeah, if you lived in Washington DC you'd be in big trouble. Most of our other big cities would have been hit by city-busters too. But there were plenty of people who lived in Bumfuck Iowa who wouldn't have been anywhere near a nuclear target. The real problem is that the transportation hubs are wrecked, so how do the Bumfuckian farmers get their wheat to the starving people in the ruined cities?

The model to picture is Japan after being flattened by years of American bombing, not the stereotypical radioactive sheet of glass. We'd be facing cities ruined, social networks torn apart, transport impossible, goods that aren't produced locally become impossible to get. Oh yeah, and lots of people dead or dying and without safe housing or food. The number of people dying from exposure and disease would outnumber the people who died in the bombings.

Didn't you grow up in Alaska? Is it true that you could see Russia from your front porch?

Triskadecamus
08-06-2011, 03:27 PM
I do believe the Nike-Hercules was designed to stop bombers containing nuclear armaments. When they realized that missiles were becoming the vessel of choice, they dismantled the program.Not quite.

The Herk was a high explosive missile first. Pretty much accurate enough against anything with a man on board (making 7 G turns agile enough to spin like a huge as Katherine's Wheel) even today.

Against the massed bomber squadron attack small nukes were mounted on them, and it was considered likely that three to one odds were easily within their tactical, and certainly strategic deterrance capability. (That's three bombers per missile, even with best reasonable evasion success.)

But, the pre-emptive mass missile attack required a change. Larger nuke tips, and larger in place batteries of missiles with a very scary plan of battle. As soon as launches are confirmed you begin firing nukes into the upper stratosphere, and maintain a continuous nuclear explosion which will disrupt avionics, and flight worthyness of even hard target missiles.

AS PSYCHOTIC AS THIS SOUNDS, IT WAS OUR STRATEGY.

How effective it would have been is more a matter of how you define success.

Tris

Bryan Ekers
08-06-2011, 05:48 PM
27 million days and counting... (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toba_catastrophe_theory)

Eve
08-06-2011, 05:52 PM
I am just old enough to remember this. When I heard the Russians had missiles pointed at us, I thought by "us" they meant my house on Greentree Lane, so I hid under the coffee table. I remember my mother standing there saying, "that's not going to do any good, you know, dear."

I still have that coffee table, though, it's good strong rosewood!

GIGObuster
08-06-2011, 06:28 PM
Eve!!!

Nice to see you!!

(I just noticed you came back, I have been traveling and I have more time now to check what I missed.)

gonzomax
08-06-2011, 06:37 PM
I was a senior in high school when the crisis occurred. We knew something potentially ugly was happening but not how bad it was. We did not know there were Russians leading Cuban troops ,who has control of small nukes. We did not know our military, like always, were spoiling for a fight and kept advising strong military action.
Kennedy was in a tough spot. We always pretend the military has understandings that we don't. We give them way too much respect in a crisis. Yet in just about every case, they are for aggressive and dangerous action. That is why civilians should have the last word.

brocks
08-06-2011, 07:45 PM
I was recalling when, in second grade, we realized we weren't likely to make it to third.

And here I thought that the only 8-year olds who got depressed about world politics were characters in sitcoms.

dropzone
08-06-2011, 10:13 PM
Nope. It was all over the news. We were likely to die.

Did you know anybody with a fallout shelter? They later made nice wine cellars.

Duck and Cover: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0K_LZDXp0I

AKA, the put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye method.

gonzomax
08-06-2011, 10:45 PM
Nope. It was all over the news. We were likely to die.

Did you know anybody with a fallout shelter? They later made nice wine cellars.

Duck and Cover: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0K_LZDXp0I

AKA, the put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye method.

That was probably before duct tape was available. Bush came up with that powerful idea.

Czarcasm
08-06-2011, 11:32 PM
I always thought that one of the reasons the kids of the sixties rebelled was because they told all of us the lie even a child couldn't believe-Stop Drop And Cover. As kids we watched horror films about nuclear explosions, and we watched nightly news reports about possible nuclear war, and then our government, our school teachers and our parents tell us that all we have to do in case of a nuclear explosion was jump under our desk and put our jackets over our heads and everything would be a.o.k. It's no wonder kids grew up not trusting the establishment.

Blake
08-07-2011, 08:12 AM
I always thought that one of the reasons the kids of the sixties rebelled was because they told all of us the lie even a child couldn't believe-Stop Drop And Cover. As kids we watched horror films about nuclear explosions, and we watched nightly news reports about possible nuclear war, and then our government, our school teachers and our parents tell us that all we have to do in case of a nuclear explosion was jump under our desk and put our jackets over our heads and everything would be a.o.k. It's no wonder kids grew up not trusting the establishment.

Can you provide a reference for anyone actually saying "all we have to do in case of a nuclear explosion was jump under our desk and put our jackets over our heads and everything would be a.o.k."

Stop, drop and cover is extremely sound advice. It;s still given to military trainees to this day. Of course it isn't going to stop anybody being vapourised. What it is going to do is prevent literally tens of millions of injuries from flash burns, flying debris and flash blindness caused by people standing their looking at the fucking explosion and then being hit by first the flash then the shockwave.

Duck and cover is excellent advice to give young children, The best advice possible. I doubt very much that anybody ever said that if you practiced duck and cover everything would be a-ok.

Lumpy
08-07-2011, 08:37 AM
I was too young to notice at the time, but my mother related the story to me. We lived in Savannah GA, home of the Hunter Army Air Base, and theoretically within range of both the Cuban missiles and Cuban-based MIGs on a one-way suicide mission. Mom said that for a week B-52s were constantly taking off and landing so as to keep as many planes in the air as possible against being caught on the ground by a surprise attack. So yeah, we lived on a huge effin' bulls-eye.

Re. Kennedy being a psycho: what you have to realize was that basing missiles in Cuba looked (without benefit of 20/20 hindsight) as if the whole Cuban revolution had been a Soviet plan to get a decapitation force within 15 minutes of the US southeast coast. Soviet bombers took hours to reach us, Soviet ICBMs still took 40-90 minutes. Fifteen minutes meant nukes would be going off before we could even confirm that an attack wasn't a false alarm.

SenorBeef
08-07-2011, 08:41 AM
"Duck and cover" was solid advice. Pretty much all of that civil defense stuff was. It gets made fun of now because people have a vastly inflated sense of the destructive power of nuclear weapons, but following that advice would've saved many lives.

Yeah, if a 125kt nuke goes off in your back yard, ducking and covering isn't going to do anything. But explosive power decreases with the cube of the distance - the areas that would receive a blast, but not a ground zero everything dies level blast, was far bigger than the area where everything would die.

For the people in those vast areas that weren't in the annihilation zones, big dangers are stuff like flying glass from windows shattered by the blast wave and fires. You know a good way to avoid a big shard of flying glass? Duck and cover.

If you ducked and covered right on top of a bomb, it wouldn't matter. If you ducked and covered 5 miles away from a 125kt bomb, it could've saved your life.

brocks
08-07-2011, 09:19 AM
Nope. It was all over the news. We were likely to die.


Just my opinion, but I'd have to say that any 8-year old who felt the way you did had misguided parents. 8 is way too young to be told about such stuff, or to be allowed to watch news shows about it. I'm picturing Butters' parents on South Park right now.

To be fair, I'm not unbiased on the issue, since I was nine at the time, and neither I nor any of my friends were bothered by international politics. Plenty of time for that when you're 11 or 12.

gonzomax
08-07-2011, 11:15 AM
Can you provide a reference for anyone actually saying "all we have to do in case of a nuclear explosion was jump under our desk and put our jackets over our heads and everything would be a.o.k."

Stop, drop and cover is extremely sound advice. It;s still given to military trainees to this day. Of course it isn't going to stop anybody being vapourised. What it is going to do is prevent literally tens of millions of injuries from flash burns, flying debris and flash blindness caused by people standing their looking at the fucking explosion and then being hit by first the flash then the shockwave.

Duck and cover is excellent advice to give young children, The best advice possible. I doubt very much that anybody ever said that if you practiced duck and cover everything would be a-ok.

We were taught that as a way to survive a nuclear explosion. We had 2 kinds of air raid drills. One was a surprise attack, in which you would dive under your desk, turn away from the window, and cover your neck and eyes.
The other was one that we would all go to the shelter under the school. We had huge bunkers in the basements. Then we would wait , listening for an explosion.
It was probably a way to make kids feel a little safer. It did not work. We were wondering why the hell someone far away wanted to blow us up.

Triskadecamus
08-07-2011, 05:42 PM
Can you provide a reference for anyone actually saying "all we have to do in case of a nuclear explosion was jump under our desk and put our jackets over our heads and everything would be a.o.k."

Stop, drop and cover is extremely sound advice. It;s still given to military trainees to this day. Of course it isn't going to stop anybody being vapourised. What it is going to do is prevent literally tens of millions of injuries from flash burns, flying debris and flash blindness caused by people standing their looking at the fucking explosion and then being hit by first the flash then the shockwave.

Duck and cover is excellent advice to give young children, The best advice possible. I doubt very much that anybody ever said that if you practiced duck and cover everything would be a-ok.The flash travels at the speed of light. The trick is you have to duck really quick.

Tris

LouisB
08-07-2011, 06:00 PM
I spent the Cuban Missile Crises working in the main switching building of Southwestern Bell in Dallas; we were told we were a primary target and that we would be responsible for maintaining emergency military communications. We weren't allowed to leave the building; we caught naps on cots in the basement and the Salvation Army brought in meals. None of us expected to leave the place alive.

Martin Hyde
08-07-2011, 07:53 PM
The flash travels at the speed of light. The trick is you have to duck really quick.

Tris

I don't think anyone then or now was implying you ducked after the detonation, the idea was you duck and cover when the warning sirens went off--which if things were going properly they could have had running at least 15 minutes prior to detonation.

gonzomax
08-07-2011, 08:23 PM
I don't think anyone then or now was implying you ducked after the detonation, the idea was you duck and cover when the warning sirens went off--which if things were going properly they could have had running at least 15 minutes prior to detonation.

They used to publish pictures in the paper showing the most likely spots to drop a bomb for maximum effect. I was not going to get a lot of warning from the time it went off. One spot was about 1/2 a mile from my house. In the park within walking distance, there was an underground Nike missile base. It was always in the back of your mind.

SenorBeef
08-07-2011, 08:48 PM
I don't think anyone then or now was implying you ducked after the detonation, the idea was you duck and cover when the warning sirens went off--which if things were going properly they could have had running at least 15 minutes prior to detonation.

Well, the blast wave travels at the speed of sound, so if you're a few miles away from the blast, you'll have a few seconds to react to the flash which arrives practically instantly. It's like lightning and thunder.

Blake
08-07-2011, 09:07 PM
We were taught that as a way to survive a nuclear explosion.

Of course you were. US Military personal right now are being taught it as a way to survive a nuclear explosion. This is the best possible advice to adhere to as a way to survive a nuclear explosion.

We've already established all that.

The question was whether anybody was told that "all we have to do in case of a nuclear explosion was jump under our desk and put our jackets over our heads and everything would be a.o.k."

Those are two completely different subjects.

For example, do you understand why children are taught "Don't smoke if you don't want to get cancer?" Do you agree that this is sound advice to give to children?

Do you see why it would be astonishing if a child were to claim that they were taught ""all we have to do to never get cancer cancer is not to smoke"?

I don't think anyone then or now was implying you ducked after the detonation, the idea was you duck and cover when the warning sirens went off--which if things were going properly they could have had running at least 15 minutes prior to detonation.

Oh no, hundreds of million of people are taught that you ducked after the detonation. Military personnel are still being taught this. It's excellent advice.

What people like Triskadecamus apparently don't understand is that a nuclear "explosion" doesn't occur instantaneously. There is the initial detonation which releases a bright flash of light that is visible even indoors on a bright sunny day. If you are close enough to be killed during that initial flash, then you have been literally vapourised.

However the radiation released then continues to heat the atmosphere for 2 minutes after that initial detonation. For a ground burst the firebal may not even reach it's maximum extent at ground level for over 8 seconds after the initial flash. This isn't the pressure wave blast, it's the fireball, the actual physical explosion. So it's perfectly possible to be close enough to see the flash, telephone someone to say that you have seen it, and still be completely vapourised by the explosion several seconds later.

More importantly, EM radiation capable of causing third degree burns will be emitted for a full two minutes after the initial flash is seen. The idea behind duck-and-cover is in large part to avoid exposure to the ongoing radiation emission. If you are several kilometres from the detonation point, the radiation emissions will cause second-degree. and may even cause third degree, burns if you are unfortunate enough to expose it to your bare skin for the full 2 minutes. Basically ultra-severe sunburn. However, as with sunburn, the effects can be stopped entirely by thin cloth. The simple technique of pulling a jacket over one's face will mean the difference between death or permanent scarring and walking away no injury whatsoever.

The other issue is gazing at the fireball. The fireball produces large amounts of UV radiation as well as visible light, and it is an impressive sight, which causes people to stare at it. Unfortunately looking directly at the fireball for more than a fraction of a second, especially during the first 10 seconds after detonation, can cause flash blindness as the retinas get burned. This can be either temporary or permanent, but in the aftermath of a nuclear exchange, even temporary blindness is to be avoided. Even at distances so far removed from the detonation that a person standing in an exposed field will suffer little more than sunburn and a few scratches from flying debris, the same person can be permanently blinded if they watched the explosion for the first 10 seconds.

Then there is of course the issue of flying debris that SenorBeef has already addressed.

So yes, if you see a nuclear detonation, that is the time to duck and cover as much of your exposed skin as you can. While the flash itself travels at the speed of light, the radiation continues to be emitted for two minutes after the flash. The blast likewise will take several seconds to arrive. During those first two minutes, it is critical to stay down and stay covered up.

What is kind of sad is that after 50 years, it is still seen as trendy to laugh at this advice, invariably by people who don't actually understand the facts behind it.

Koxinga
08-07-2011, 09:39 PM
What is kind of sad is that after 50 years, it is still seen as trendy to laugh at this advice, invariably by people who don't actually understand the facts behind it.

I remember in the mid-80s there was severe media criticism of any official planning for a post-nuclear exchange or any suggestion that it could be survivable in any way as a society. The thinking seemed to be that if officials made such plans, then they were considering nuclear war as a viable option. I imagine that's another reason why it became trendy to laugh at "duck and cover": if you believed it might be effective, you were either a warmonger or a stooge lapping up the warmongers' propaganda line.

gonzomax
08-07-2011, 10:07 PM
Yep, in a nuclear explosion, we will hide under kindling, a wooden desk. That was good advice?

SenorBeef
08-07-2011, 10:08 PM
Yes. If the desk catches fire it's not going to instantly burn you alive, but it can shield from the immediate flash and from debris. There's essentially no downside to it.

Blake
08-07-2011, 10:23 PM
Yep, in a nuclear explosion, we will hide under kindling, a wooden desk. That was good advice?

Sigh, so much willful ignorance. So little time.

And this after a lengthy post outlining exactly why hiding under a desk isn't just good advice in the event of a nuclear explosion, it is excellent advice.

Ridiculing such advice and comparing a desk to kindling betrays a gross ignorance of how nuclear explosion work in the real world, as opposed to in science fiction movies.

. I imagine that's another reason why it became trendy to laugh at "duck and cover": if you believed it might be effective, you were either a warmonger or a stooge lapping up the warmongers' propaganda line.

There is no doubt some of this. But as events in this thread have demonstrated, a lot of it is willful ignorance. Some people just want to belive that nuclear wepons are the ultimate evil. If they can take steps so their children can survive a nuclear attack and not die of horrifically painful burns, that means they have to admit weapons are just weapons with limited effects and not tools of the Devil himself.

mac_bolan00
08-07-2011, 10:25 PM
in 1962, the US had an overwhelming advantage in nuclear weaponry. it took the soviets up to the late 70s to catch up (mainly because of the missile crisis.)

Blake
08-07-2011, 10:39 PM
in 1962, the US had an overwhelming advantage in nuclear weaponry. it took the soviets up to the late 70s to catch up (mainly because of the missile crisis.)

Well, no.

The US had a massive advantage because of faulty intelligence. US military observers had seen vast number of Soviet nuclear bombers at an airshow. They therefore assumed the Soviets had vastly more nukes than the US, and the US military set out to close the gap.

As it transpired, the whole thing was a ruse, with the Soviets flying the same squadron round in circles, so the same planes were counted 5 or more times, combined with a freakish intelligence photo from an airfield that happened to be hosting an exercise with the entire soviet bomber fleet when the plane flew over.

The reality was that the bomber gap never existed, yet the US still tried to close it. The result was that in the 60s the US had vastly more nukes and bombers, yet believed that they were lagging behind.

The Russians took until the 70s to catch up because they had been behind since the 50s. Absolutely nothing to do with the missile crisis.

mac_bolan00
08-07-2011, 10:51 PM
it was a cause for international embarassment and even the soviets are sensitive to that.

and bombers are only one leg of the nuclear triad. they, along with ballistic missile submaries are easy to verify. land-based ICBMs are a bit more difficult.

Steve MB
08-07-2011, 10:53 PM
More importantly, EM radiation capable of causing third degree burns will be emitted for a full two minutes after the initial flash is seen. The idea behind duck-and-cover is in large part to avoid exposure to the ongoing radiation emission.

If your goal is to fight ignorance, I suggest terminology that does not misleadingly conflate thermal radiation with ionizing radiation.

Blake
08-07-2011, 11:08 PM
If your goal is to fight ignorance, I suggest terminology that does not misleadingly conflate thermal radiation with ionizing radiation.

My terminology doesn't do any such thing. I suggest however that you do not give the misleading impression that ionising radiation is not thermal radiation.

mac_bolan00
08-07-2011, 11:19 PM
doesn't ionizing radiation also sometimes emit light? light emission due to heat is basically what thermal radiation is (mainly, not all.)

Blake
08-07-2011, 11:47 PM
doesn't ionizing radiation also sometimes emit light?

Not directly, however it can stimulate the emission of light if it is absorbed by an atom.

A simple example of this is UV fluorescence. Shine a UV light (ionising radiation) onto something like a scorpion or semen, and the ionising radiation is absorbed and re-emitted as visible light

Virtually all the light emitted by a nuclear explosion is also of this type. The initial explosion releases large amounts of x-rays which are absorbed by the atmosphere within a few metres. The heated atmospheric gases then re-emit the radiation as light in all parts of the spectrum, from x-rays down to radio waves.

So the actual light that you see in a nuclear explosion is produced by ionising radiation that has been converted to visible wavelength thermal radiation. That same thermal radiation also takes the form of ionising radiation such as x-ray and UV radiation.

Which is why I am somewhat puzzled by Steve MB's comment. Nobody is conflating thermal radiation with ionizing radiation. The ionising radiation from a nuclear explosion is almost entirely thermal radiation. The two terms are not mutually exclusive, as he seems to think.

The emission of ionising thermal radiation from a nuclear explosion is ongoing. It lasts for a couple of minutes until the fireball is so large that the gas becomes too cool to produce thermal radiation in the ionising part of the spectrum.

light emission due to heat is basically what thermal radiation is (mainly, not all.)

Not really. Thermal radiation is mainly outside the visible part of the spectrum.

But the reverse is true: light emission is basically thermal radiation due to heat (mainly, not all).

gonzomax
08-08-2011, 11:43 AM
I don't know about hiding under a desk. In a one megaton explosion, every body within a couple miles will be vaporized by gamma radiation. About 10 miles away ,the pressure wave and heat will sweep you away. I suppose if it happened far far away, you could hide under your desk and be safe.

SenorBeef
08-08-2011, 11:45 AM
Well, that's the point - if a bomb goes off 10 feet from you, and you're under a desk, it doesn't matter, you're dead either way. If it goes off 5 miles from you, it very well could matter - it could shield you from the heat flash, flying debris, etc. So why not duck and cover? If you were going to be dead, then you're dead anyway. But if you're in the 50% kill zone, then it very well could change you from the dying 50% to the surviving 50%.

Czarcasm
08-08-2011, 12:05 PM
This page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_nuclear_explosions) has a chart that shows the effects of different-sized nuclear events(go down to the "Summary of the effects" section.)

edited to add-the whole "Duck And Cover" 10 minute video can be seen here. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck_and_Cover_%28film%29)(it is in the public domain)

billfish678
08-08-2011, 12:17 PM
Duck and cover had one fatal flaw when it came to ducking under your school desk.

With all that damn gum under there it doesnt do much good to survive the blast only to then have a flaming wooden desk stuck to your back...then again maybe thats when stop drop and roll comes into play to save the day.

Czarcasm
08-08-2011, 12:21 PM
What children should do "when you see the flash" of the explosion? How does one hide under a desk when your eyes have melted and you can't seem to find it in the dark?

SenorBeef
08-08-2011, 12:25 PM
You'd get air raid warnings first generally. But even besides that, again - whatever the lethal or blinding range of a nuke, the range at which it's potentially damaging but survivable is even larger. A quick look directly at a nuclear flash at several miles typically won't permanently blind you, and even if you were caught by surprise, you'd probably see the room light up extremely brightly rather than be looking directly at it.

What's the downside to taking reasonable precautions anyway? What's the argument against it?

Koxinga
08-08-2011, 01:21 PM
As Blake said, then you're treating them as something survivable instead of mystically eeeeevil.

carnivorousplant
08-08-2011, 03:08 PM
In the park within walking distance, there was an underground Nike missile base.

What state were you living in, Gonzo?

humanafterall
08-08-2011, 04:38 PM
As Blake said, then you're treating them as something survivable instead of mystically eeeeevil.

You know, you'd be surprised at what we could live through. There is an infinite number of ways to die on this planet, and somehow, we manage to survive all of them. We're fragile, yet durable all at the same time. True, a nuke will turn you to vapor if you are within a mile of the detonation. However, there is no way to calculate how many people there will be within a mile of said detonation. Even if you gathered the whole of the human race in one spot on the planet, then dropped a nuke in the middle of that impossibly large crowd, not all of them would be destroyed. In fact, since there are currently over 6 billion people on Earth, the chances of all of them being destroyed in a nuclear explosion are at best remote. Of course, you would have to be either insane or a rouge AI to wish to destroy the human race, in which case you would have to have a bomb capable of destroying an entire planet, and if you happen to have one, then you need to be stopped.

PS to any AI's out there reading this: This sentence is false.

Dissonance
08-08-2011, 05:04 PM
The Nike Hercules missile system (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIM-14_Nike-Hercules)(circa 1959) utilized a nuclear warhead to destroy incoming ballistic missiles.You might be thinking of the Spartan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LIM-49_Spartan) and Sprint (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprint_(missile)) programs. I have an uncle who worked on something related to the Sprint program or saw footage of test firing somehow and was flabbergasted at the acceleration and rapid change in direction.The Sprint accelerated at 100 g, reaching a speed of Mach 10 in 5 seconds.

The Sprint was stored in and launched from a silo. To make the launch as quick as possible, the cover was blown off the silo by explosive charges, then the missile was ejected by an explosive-driven piston. As the missile cleared the silo, the first stage fired and the missile was tilted toward its target. The first stage was exhausted after only 1.2 seconds, but produced 2,900 kN (650,000 lbf) of thrust.

humanafterall
08-08-2011, 05:11 PM
Basically, a nuke is like a gun, in that if I were to lay a gun on a table, the gun would be harmless. The same principle applies to a nuke. I could stand right next to a nuke and touch it, and it could not hurt me unless it were either sentient or if someone armed it.

brocks
08-08-2011, 05:53 PM
Basically, a nuke is like a gun, in that if I were to lay a gun on a table, the gun would be harmless. The same principle applies to a nuke. I could stand right next to a nuke and touch it, and it could not hurt me unless it were either sentient or if someone armed it.

So you're saying we should all be allowed to have nukes if we pass an NRA course?

carnivorousplant
08-08-2011, 06:42 PM
So you're saying we should all be allowed to have nukes if we pass an NRA course?

Cool!


Conceal and carry is gonna be a bitch, though.

Blake
08-08-2011, 08:02 PM
I don't know about hiding under a desk. In a one megaton explosion, every body within a couple miles will be vaporized by gamma radiation. About 10 miles away ,the pressure wave and heat will sweep you away. I suppose if it happened far far away, you could hide under your desk and be safe.

I an only assume that Gonzomax has me on ignore, since he clearly isn't reading anything I post.

humanafterall
08-08-2011, 08:21 PM
A nuke is a tool. A tool of death and war, yes, but a tool nonetheless. The only time tools of war become harmful is when they are placed in the hands of madmen or Skynet.

Lumpy
08-08-2011, 08:44 PM
There is no doubt some of this. But as events in this thread have demonstrated, a lot of it is willful ignorance. Some people just want to belive that nuclear wepons are the ultimate evil. If they can take steps so their children can survive a nuclear attack and not die of horrifically painful burns, that means they have to admit weapons are just weapons with limited effects and not tools of the Devil himself.I believe the consensus today is that short-term survival wouldn't mean much if almost all of the initial survivors starved or froze to death within a year because of the destruction of the production and distribution systems.

carnivorousplant
08-08-2011, 08:56 PM
Are we taking about global thermonuclear war, or nuking a single city? Hiroshima came back surprisingly quickly, admittedly from a small weapon.

gonzomax
08-08-2011, 09:02 PM
What state were you living in, Gonzo?

Michigan . it was in Rouge Park. we saw it come in and watched them drop the missiles into the ground. there was a huge metal plate on the ground. As a kid it was fascinating to think about.

carnivorousplant
08-08-2011, 09:18 PM
Michigan . it was in Rouge Park. we saw it come in and watched them drop the missiles into the ground. there was a huge metal plate on the ground. As a kid it was fascinating to think about.

I'd swear my Father showed me minuteman silos in Arkansas, but Wiki doesn't show any. Most of these went in less populated areas under represented in the House of Representatives. :)

MEBuckner
08-08-2011, 09:25 PM
I'd swear my Father showed me minuteman silos in Arkansas, but Wiki doesn't show any. Most of these went in less populated areas under represented in the House of Representatives. :)
There used to be some Titan II (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGM-25C_Titan_II) sites in Arkansas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:308th_SMW_Titan_II_Missile_Sites.png). Perhaps it was one of those.

Blake
08-08-2011, 09:50 PM
I believe the consensus today is that short-term survival wouldn't mean much if almost all of the initial survivors starved or froze to death within a year because of the destruction of the production and distribution systems.

The same banal tautology is equally true of earthquake, epidemic of conventional war.

Do you also think that it's pointless telling your child how to avoid disease on the basis of a worst-case scenario?

carnivorousplant
08-08-2011, 10:11 PM
There used to be some Titan II (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGM-25C_Titan_II) sites in Arkansas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:308th_SMW_Titan_II_Missile_Sites.png). Perhaps it was one of those.

Thanks, Buckner. I remember domes covering them that he showed me from the car.

gonzomax
08-08-2011, 10:17 PM
There was no dome. After awhile they put a crappy chain link fence around them. But since we saw the missiles, We knew they were there.\
They did not even treat it like a military site. No guards, no towers, nothing.

carnivorousplant
08-08-2011, 10:32 PM
There was no dome. After awhile they put a crappy chain link fence around them. But since we saw the missiles, We knew they were there.\
They did not even treat it like a military site. No guards, no towers, nothing.

I recall the fence and no towers or guards, anyway. Were the missiles underground? What covered the pit?

Google is my friend. That's it. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/whatdafa/2783383402/)

user_hostile
08-08-2011, 10:33 PM
You might be thinking of the Spartan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LIM-49_Spartan) and Sprint (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprint_(missile)) programs. I have an uncle who worked on something related to the Sprint program or saw footage of test firing somehow and was flabbergasted at the acceleration and rapid change in direction.

A video shows the launch and interception of a re-entry vehicle. The kill was achieved by a nuclear warhead, not a kinetic impact. Note that this is in real time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YZZV464z9g8&feature=related

You note that the Sprint becomes white-hot from air friction at the end of the second stage burn. From 0 to Mach 10 in five seconds in the early 1970s.

I ran into the Sprint program director in North Carolina about 12 years ago. After finishing up on the program, he took a pottery class for two weeks and decided to switch careers. Somehow, I mentioned the word "ablative" at his shop and we had an interesting conversation for about 20 minutes.

gonzomax
08-08-2011, 10:39 PM
I recall the fence and no towers or guards, anyway. Were the missiles underground? What covered the pit?

Google is my friend. That's it. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/whatdafa/2783383402/)

Nope. It had no presence that could be seen from a hundred yards.
http://wikimapia.org/8090298/D-69-Nike-Missile-Launcher-Site-Rouge-Park Here is a picture. Note it is a Nike base.

gonzomax
08-08-2011, 10:44 PM
http://www.techbastard.com/missile/nike/locationsmi.php I may be old but my memory is fine.

carnivorousplant
08-08-2011, 10:53 PM
Nope. It had no presence that could be seen from a hundred yards.
http://wikimapia.org/8090298/D-69-Nike-Missile-Launcher-Site-Rouge-Park Here is a picture. Note it is a Nike base.

That's a lot of help seeing it from the roadside, dude. :rolleyes:

carnivorousplant
08-08-2011, 10:57 PM
Ah"The silo became operational in 1963 and was deactivated in 1982 as part of President Reagan's policy (announced in 1981) of decommissioning the Titan II missiles. It is a common misconception that this was the result of a weapons reduction treaty, but was in fact simply part of a weapon systems modernization program. All operational Titan II silos throughout the country were demolished, including 18 sites around McConnell AFB in Wichita, Kansas, 17 sites around Little Rock AFB, Arkansas (one additional site previously damaged beyond repair in a mishap/non-nuclear explosion)" .

Here we go (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan_Missile_Museum)

gonzomax
08-10-2011, 12:39 PM
That's a lot of help seeing it from the roadside, dude. :rolleyes:

The red rectangle shows where the site was. I suppose even with rolling your eyes, you can see there was no tip off. You are looking at the school. We knew where the site was and used to dare each other to run across the launch site. We thought they had some secret way of getting us if we did.