Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

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Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by Meith.Killer » Fri Mar 04, 2011 7:47 pm

Found this on stumble, pretty crazy we are still alive.
If someone asked me how many nukes have been set off I would have guessed maybe a few hundred
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badas ... -thinking/
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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by ihackedthis1 » Fri Mar 04, 2011 7:57 pm

I would consider the scale of some of these tests before saying that we're all doomed because we've dropped thousands of nukes. I would guess that the majority of these tests are not nearly the size of the bombs that we expect when we assume "nuclear testing". I don't have any facts to back this up, but the sheer number of blips on that video leads me to believe that it isn't as bad as it looks. (I never lived during the Cold War, so I could be completely wrong). Just my opinion on the video. Still very interesting, though.
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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by Trippy » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:23 pm

The real scary thing is that the world currently has twice that many nukes on stand by, ready to be launched within a few minutes.
ihackedthis1 wrote:...
Most of those explosions took place deep underground, containing almost all of the fallout. If all of those test took place at ground level, we would have experienced full nuclear winter long ago.
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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by Guges Mk3 » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:23 pm

Many of the tests were just Kilo-tons versus Mega-tons.

A lot of them were underground also
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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by Trippy » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:27 pm

Guges is also right. Multi-megaton weapons were need to compensate for low accuracy delivery systems. With the development of more accurate targeting, multi-megaton weapons were less necessary and we switched over to small bombs.
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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by Meith.Killer » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:28 pm

Almost all the tests bombs were 15 kilotons and up. The total dropped from 1945-1996 is 510 megatons, with the biggest being the Tsar bomb of 50 megatons. I mostly just thought it was interesting the number of nuclear devices used on earth
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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by TheCalliton » Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:21 am

a nuclear war would not devastate the whole planet. Pockets of civilization would be unharmed initially, but the radiation would cause problems. Take a look at the Fallout series, they portray it pretty good, except with some technological and society differences. And the Fallout series focuses on the U.S.A. where a significant number of nukes would be launched. Other places like northern Canada, and maybe central Africa would most likely be unharmed, or harmed very little. Society would survive, and we would bear the shame of a HUGE screwup for the rest of humanity's life (wether that be short or long)
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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by Moose » Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:52 pm

We live in a world economy and a society that is technologically linked.
It's like the old saying about a butterfly's wings in China.

It would not require an all out nuclear retaliation to create diasatrous effects.
The stategic importance of the targets, whether the oil fields or banking centers would effect life as we know it.

Of course regardless of the fallout and hardened precautions the emp would have untold effects on any processor, which are part of all current devices from automobiles to appliances.

My grandparents always had a fully stocked pantry, provisons set aside with spares and the tools of self sufficiency whether for bank closures, tornadoes, blizzards etc...

Not necessarily enough for a Jericho or a nuclear winter but still not a bad idea.

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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by EMO » Mon Mar 07, 2011 1:10 am

I wouldn't expect an all out nuclear war in our life time. Not even in any of our grandchildren's. I could see it once the human race starts to be to dependent on technology and most countries armed forces are very small. What I mean is there is no way to fight a war because humans have adapted to sitting around. I don't see very much signs of this yet.
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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by Shock&Awe » Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:30 am

In my opinion, I don't even think Kim Jung Il is that stupid.

I really think we have a pretty good idea the consequences of what these things could do. It's a huge deterrent that the result would be mutual among several nations. Bottom line for nuclear-capable countries: If you launch one at us, we launch one at you. Game over for everybody.
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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by Erik » Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:42 am

Let's start with facts from real science, rather than video game science.

Radiation is a naturally occurring phenomenon where unstable atoms try to stabilize by throwing off excess particles or energy. Radiation in the environment is measured in Roentgens. A radiation dose to humans is measured in Roentgen Equivalent, Man (REM). For our purposes, both are essentially the same. In metrics, radiation is typically measured in Berequels (in the environment) and Grays (in the body). 100R = 1Gray.

In a normal environment, we get about 360mR/year from background sources (55% of which is Radon, the rest from naturally occurring and commercial sources).

The dose we are concerned with is anything exceeding 400R/hour (4Gray/hr). This is commonly referred to as LD(Lethal Dose) 50/60. This means that 50% of the people exposed to this dose will die within 60 days of radiation sickness.

Radiation sickness does occur at lower doses, but is survivable and treatable. Symptoms usually become apparent at 100R of exposure. 200R is going to be very medically significant.

A radiation dose can be localized (for example, to an exposed limb), or the whole body. Whole body dose is going to be more severe, although a large dose to an extremity could result in loss of the limb.

What we are concerned with is ionizing radiation, that is, radiation which can affect cell structure. When radiation passes thru the cell, it will either kill the cell, damage the cell (but the cell can repair itself) or damage the cell, but the cell does not repair and divides while damaged. Think of sunburn, which is a form of ionizing radiation exposure. Red skin is a damaged cell, but it repairs itself. Peeling skin is dead cells. Damaged cells replicating is skin cancer.

Cell division rates are key. Ionizing radiation affects the cells which replicate the most. Internal organs, bone marrow, anything with a lot of blood in it that divides rapidly. Slower replicating cells, like brain cells, are affected much less.

You also have to consider dose rate. Acute doses are a large amount of radiation in a short time (this is what causes “radiation poisoning” and is usually fatal). Chronic exposure is an exposure to a low dose over a long period of time. It can cause health problems, mainly cancers.

And, we need to define exposure vs. contamination. Exposure is when radioactive material is exposing you to direct radiation. Distance and shielding will reduce/eliminate the exposure. Limiting your time in a radiation area will also limit your exposure. For example, if you enter an environment where there is a 400R/hr dose rate (lethal) but you are only there for 3 minutes, your actual dose rate is only going to be 20R, which is not only survivable, but unlikely to have any medical effects.

Contamination is when you have radioactive material on you. This material needs to be removed or it will keep exposing you. Contamination can be external, on the body or clothing, or it can be internal, through inhalation or ingestion. Internal contamination is a larger concern, although natural body processes (think about it) will eliminate many isotopes from your system.

Having gotten all that out of the way, what then are the ionizing radiation hazards from a nuclear bomb?

1. Thermal Pulse. Thermal radiation is caused by the pulse of the blast itself, and is not typically survivable. When you look at video of nuclear tests, you will see the target objects catch fire just before the blast wave. That's the thermal pulse.

2. Local Contamination. After the blast occurs, the site of the blast crater will have lethal residual radiation. Initially at the site of the blast, there would indeed be lethal radiation doses, probably as high as 3000R.

3. Fallout. Irradiated debris, or "fallout" would also be present in the blast area and could be carried a considerable distance by the wind. Fallout would not likely present a lethal radiation dose, but could cause long-term exposure effects. Internal and external contaminations are serious considerations here.

Radiation in the blast area will decay to a manageable amount (safe entry with decon) within about 5-6 weeks. Today, we have people living comfortably right on top of two nuclear blast sites – Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Fallout will also dissipate as it is scattered. You might encounter some “hot spots” here and there but for the most part, the earth would remain inhabitable.
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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by frodo » Mon Mar 07, 2011 5:11 pm

those nukes are some scary stuff but if the world where going to end i hope it end by a zombie apocalypse

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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by cmezz331 » Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:42 pm

frodo wrote:those nukes are some scary stuff but if the world where going to end i hope it end by a zombie apocalypse

Derp......
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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by Moose » Mon Mar 07, 2011 7:14 pm

I would never bet against the people in charge not having common sense, especially politicians.

Could we survive? Without a doubt.

Will survival be dependent on luck, charity, governments, or personal preparedness? What do you think?

With respect,
moose

P.S. Erik, thank you for the real science, apparently some here still prefer Sci-Fi.
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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by TheCalliton » Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:09 pm

Moose wrote:I would never bet against the people in charge not having common sense, especially politicians.

Could we survive? Without a doubt.

Will survival be dependent on luck, charity, governments, or personal preparedness? What do you think?

With respect,
moose

P.S. Erik, thank you for the real science, apparently some here still prefer Sci-Fi.
i was NOT focusing on the science of radiation
i was focusing on the tenacity and adaptability of the human race and the likliness of people surviving!
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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by Moose » Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:30 am

My Sci-Fi remark was not diewcted at you brother.
It was an attempt at humor in regard to a zombie apocalypse.

My apologies,
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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by Bunny » Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:29 am

It depends on exactly what you mean by "destroy the world."

Do you mean literally blow Earth up in multiple chunks of rock and soil that will continue to orbit the Sun as a new asteroid belt? Do you mean completely obliterate the entire surface of the planet, so that nothing is even recognizable anymore? The complete extinction of all life? Or simply the destruction of the human race?

the first option, I'm pretty sure, is not possible at this time. The second option may be, if Russia or the US were to purposefully attempt such a thing ... but why would they? The second two options are the ones that are much more likely and I'm guessing are what you are talking about.

There have been many significant extinction events in Earth's history, looking at all of them we can make two simple generalizations: no single force alone was responsible for any of them; and none, no matter how horrible, succeeded in exterminating all life on Earth.

There are basically two main scenarios as far as I can figure: a limited and an all-out nuclear war. Today, a limited nuclear war is far more likely; this would include perhaps a few dozen detonations, and would almost certainly be contained to just a few nations. No matter what repercussions from this kind of war would be significant, especially if it involved an industrialized nation or two (say the US and China, or North Korea, South Korea, and Japan). The global marketplace would be significantly effected, economies would be destroyed, resources would become strained, and life in general would get harder. For people living in countries not directly involved though, it would likely not be a life-changing event. Life would go on. In an all-out war things would be very different. This would likely involve a significant number of major industrialized nations, hundreds if not thousands of nuclear detonations, and the complete destruction of many major populations centers. This is a Cold War type of scenario, where NATO and the Warsaw Pact nations completely obliterate one another. This would have major political and economic implications; the complete crash of global markets, destruction of farm land, eradication of financial records, insurmountable cost of cleanup and reconstruction, and the list goes on. Additionally, the amount of debris, fallout, and ash kicked up into the atmosphere would have significant climate effects - a "nuclear winter" scenario. This could cause mass crop failures in places not directly affected by blasts, adding to global famine, and possibly even surviving population centers becoming uninhabitable. A very significant portion of the human population would die. A very significant portion of all other life on Earth would die. Would humans, or all life, be completely exterminated? I don't think so.

That all said, there isn't really any kind of precedence for a global nuclear war - so this is all just guessing. I'm also by no means an expert.
Moose wrote: Of course regardless of the fallout and hardened precautions the emp would have untold effects on any processor, which are part of all current devices from automobiles to appliances.
EMP effects get way over-exaggerated in modern fiction. The EMP from a ground or near-ground level nuclear detonations is pretty meaningless (to anyone outside of a nuclear bunker anyway), as anything likely to be affected by it will be destroyed by the blast anyway. True EMP effects are only achieved by detonating a high-yield device in the ionosphere. With that kind of detonation, systems connected to extremely long wires are going to be the most heavily affected - so things like power transmission facilities, cable, telephone, and internet systems, and so forth which are all connected to hundreds of miles of conductive wires will be the worst hit. Small contained systems, such as cars and personal electronic devices are much more likely to survive. EMPs do not simply kill every electronic thing within the blast radius. EMPs are really not something that is very well understood though. No one has done any testing on a real EMP since the 1960s, so we don't really know what would happen in a modern world if a continent were to be hit by an EMP.

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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by Shock&Awe » Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:21 pm

Bunny wrote:EMP effects get way over-exaggerated in modern fiction. The EMP from a ground or near-ground level nuclear detonations is pretty meaningless (to anyone outside of a nuclear bunker anyway), as anything likely to be affected by it will be destroyed by the blast anyway. True EMP effects are only achieved by detonating a high-yield device in the ionosphere. With that kind of detonation, systems connected to extremely long wires are going to be the most heavily affected - so things like power transmission facilities, cable, telephone, and internet systems, and so forth which are all connected to hundreds of miles of conductive wires will be the worst hit. Small contained systems, such as cars and personal electronic devices are much more likely to survive. EMPs do not simply kill every electronic thing within the blast radius. EMPs are really not something that is very well understood though. No one has done any testing on a real EMP since the 1960s, so we don't really know what would happen in a modern world if a continent were to be hit by an EMP.
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Okay, I really hate to bring up another video game reference since I never compare them to real life, but I thought this was relevant to your comment.

Is that why in Modern Warfare 2, when the 1/75th Rangers are trying to secure the White House, there is still power there? When I played through it, I got to that part and was like WTF is the power still on in the White House for? Everything else in the game has been completely fried.
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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by Erik » Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:17 pm

Shock&Awe wrote:Is that why in Modern Warfare 2, when the 1/75th Rangers are trying to secure the White House, there is still power there? When I played through it, I got to that part and was like WTF is the power still on in the White House for? Everything else in the game has been completely fried.
I always assumed that the White House's backup power system was shielded from EMP.
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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by thetaco » Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:17 pm

Erik, I do not know for sure, but I believe it is.
Contrary to popular belief, EMPs are not some super special, ultra high penetrating force of destruction that MW2and other games make them out to be.
Certain materials can very effectivly shield electronic systems from EMPs, alot like lead and concrete can shield things from radiation.
Lead, Steel, thick layers of concrete, and the ground itself, if deep enough, can lessen the impact of an EMP hit.
Hypothetically, if the power source for the white house was buried twenty feet underground, in a concrete bunker with steel rebar reinforcing bars in the concrete, the White house would most likely still have SOME power.

I same some, because remember when you played through that level, some sections of the white house were dark? Thats because the EMP damaged those sections more than others. Like Bunny said, wiring will get hit the hardest. So, those sections of white house lighting probably were fired in the initial EMP, beforethe backup power kicked in.
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Re: Who thinks a nuke fight will destroy the world?

Post by Bunny » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:20 pm

thetaco wrote:Certain materials can very effectivly shield electronic systems from EMPs, alot like lead and concrete can shield things from radiation.
Lead, Steel, thick layers of concrete, and the ground itself, if deep enough, can lessen the impact of an EMP hit.
Well, since an EMP is a form of radiation, that's the reason steel, lead, and concrete are effective at protecting systems. You need to be careful with any conductive material like steel though.

If a mechanical power source, such as a generator, were physically disconnected from the power grid (isolating it from surges along long power lines) and the power grid were not too damaged, once it was turned on and connected you would immediately have power. So, a generator would not even need to be in a bunker to survive an EMP, if it were of simple and robust enough electrical design and stored out back in a shed you might be able to use it to power your house.

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