Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Online Bomber What Bombs Online

Today's activity comes through Neatorama; it's something creator Alex Wellerstein calls 'Nukemap'. Or, to be caps-lock correct, 'NUKEMAP'.

What you have is a marker placed on Google Maps; you may place it wherever, or you may pick one of the presets- major world cities that conventional wisdom says would be the primary candidates to have a nuclear bomb dropped on them if things ever came to that, as well as historical nuclear sites such as Bikini Atoll, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and that Nevada test site.

Then after that, you select a yield- the strength of the bomb. Again, you're given a number of preset values- you can pick Fat Man, Little Boy, some of the warheads currently in the American arsenal, the smallest and largest warheads tested by North Korea, maxing out at 'Tsar Bomba', a warhead from the USSR that only saw one test in 1961 and was primarily created to make the biggest possible boom the Soviets could come up with.

Then click 'detonate' and see how much area gets devastated. In my case, the Tsar Bomba that was tested, centered over my house, would create a thermal radiation radius (which is third-degree burns for everyone inside of it with exposed skin) from the Madison isthmus to about West Allis/Wauwatosa/Mequon, not far outside downtown Milwaukee. Going south, it stops a bit short of Janesville and Elkhorn; going north, the blast eats the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge whole, reaches into Kettle Moraine State Forest and gets uncomfortably close to Fond du Lac. Watertown itself is inside the radiation radius, inside of which everybody's going to die and it's only a question of how long it takes for the radiation to kill you, and most of town would be within the actual fireball if I didn't live towards the edge of town.

If you're not one of my Wisconsin readers, plot that out over your house. Go ahead. Map's right there.

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