Nuclear Friday: Think globally, Act Locally

Last week I said I would discuss anti-SALT II imagery in the US and show bit of Soviet propaganda from the 1980’s.  This project has been delayed. I really wanted to find an image of the actual SALT II posters I saw when I was a child in the seventies. Google has failed me, so I’m going to be hitting a couple of used book stores and maybe even a military antiques shop.

Instead I would like to introduce a couple of interactive websites that bring new meaning to the slogan “Think globally, Act locally”. These are tons of fun, though I admit that the second one is a bit horrifying if you think too much about it. No gore though, everything is clean and abstract. Maybe that’s a bad thing.

These Circles are Great:

If you want to understand strategic warfare on a global scale, you need to think globally. Unless you are a sailor or airline pilot, you probably don’t have that good a sense of what paths are shortest here on this curved Earth. I highly recommend Great Circle Mapper to help you get a sense of distance on a planetary scale. The shortest distance between two points on a sphere is an arc of a circle with the center of the earth as its center. This site will show you those arcs for any two airports in the world. It’s a bit hard to use because you have to generate your map by entering (airport code)-(airport code), but the site has a searchable database of airport codes. Here’s an example of a flight I might take. And here’s an example of a classic early 80’s ICBM flight path, a first strike on naval assets in Lithuania. Notice the beautiful polar projection on that map? Polar projection makes global range so much more understandable than conventional maps.

Nuke Yourself: It’s what I like to do: 

NUKEMAP is back! I thought it was gone forever. It’s back in its full glory and with new features. I like to “act locally” and set off the bombs near where I live to get an accurate picture of the destruction. The default setting is lower Manhattan, but if you scroll out enough you can go anywhere in the world. There’s a drop down menu with a list of current and historic warhead types. I recommend the W-88, highest yield on the Trident II missile. If you are concerned about harming innocent wildlife, as I am, go for airbursts with the larger bombs. That way you minimize fallout. Ground detonations are just plain nasty. I may have to write about groundburst v. airburst  and their relationship to fallout in a future post. In the meantime, have fun. Leave a comment telling me what you bombed.

I hope everyone has fun with these interactive sites. They’re educational too, and that’s why I wanted to share them here.




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