The destructive power of nuclear bombs has been seared into our collective memory, thanks to archival images of the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There’s the blast itself, and then all the radioactive fallout to contend with. A new interactive map shows what the damage from fallout would be if nuclear bombs…
Oxford’s Global Priorities Project has compiled a list of catastrophes—both natural and self-inflicted—that could kill off 10 percent or more of the human population. It’s a real buzzkill of a report and it says that any of these catastrophes could happen within the next five years.
Back in late 2014 the National Security Archive published a historical documentary produced in 2010 that went largely unnoticed. The film explores the history of nuclear weapons safety. And if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s pretty frightening.
Only 5 countries have been able to create strategic bomber aircraft with the capability of carrying nuclear weapons. That would be the US, Russia, the UK, France, and China. We’ve put together this video that details every single one of those bombers. It’s fascinating to see how each country develops its only style of…
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists announced today that the Doomsday Clock, which represents our proximity to an apocalyptic event, will remain at three minutes to midnight. But that’s still terrifying.
Hey look, it’s the scariest New York Times sentence you’ll read in 2016:
With the Cold War coming back, I figured this would be a good time to freshen up on some basic nuclear tips. Just helpful hints, like how to duck and cover, how to eat canned crackers, and, of course, how to build a goddamn hydrogen bomb yourself. Here’s that last one, in video form.
In 1961 an eight-year-old girl from Marine City, Michigan wrote to President Kennedy. She wanted to know if the Russians were going to bomb the North Pole. JFK responded with the letter below, assuring her that Santa would be just fine.
Sarah Zhang has a fascinating post over at Wired about the systematic study of Cold War-era nuclear test films that’s currently being undertaken by nuclear physicist Gregg Spriggs. One of the most interesting elements to the story is the fact that of the 7,000 films discovered so far, 4,000 are still classified.
This is the historical X-10 Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Weirdly enough, it now has a National Park Service sign—but why?
During a meeting of military officials in Sochi, Russian TV crews captured footage of a document not intended for public consumption. The supposedly “secret data,” which was subsequently shown on Russian television, revealed details of a “nuclear torpedo” designed to inflict “assured unacceptable damage” to enemy…
Metal Gear Solid is an obsession for millions of gamers, with its totally insane science-fiction storytelling. But at its heart, the series has always been about celebrating and questioning the power of technology. The story of Solid Snake, Raiden, and Snake’s evil dad Big Boss (it’s... a long story) isn’t just…
Seventy years ago, the United States dropped the first of two atomic bombs on Japan. At the time, the US was the only country with nuclear weapons. That wasn’t for a complete lack of effort on the part of other countries, however, and new documents found heap more evidence on Japan having a program of its own.
In the face of mounting criticism, the Air Force just completed the first test flight of the B61 Mod 12 mock up nuclear bomb in the Nevada desert. This marks the next step in updating a cold war-era weapon that many experts consider to be completely useless today. The military might as well drop a nuke on a pile of…
The physicists who invented the nuclear bomb worked out of Los Alamos in New Mexico, but the people who did the dirty work of making the bombs were in Hanford, Washington. Throughout the Cold War, Hanford churned out plutonium for our nuclear arsenal. It was also, conveniently, a place to experiment with radiation.
Back in the days of the Manhattan Project, the government set up a string of National Labs devoted to creating nuclear weapons. Now, those labs are playing a role in the opposite task: stopping them. A secret facility in Tennessee that replicates Iran’s nuclear capabilities was key to the recent negotiations.
Since 1987, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has been counting up each country's nuclear arsenal in its Nuclear Notebook, peeling back the veil of secrecy that often surrounds these numbers. The Bulletin has now gone and made its Nuclear Notebook into a neat interactive graphic.
No question, an 800-kiloton nuclear warhead detonated over midtown Manhattan would destroy the city. But the warhead's sheer power is hard to fully grasp: roads so hot it's impossible to drive for days, superheated hurricane-force winds, and 100 square miles of fire.