Sunday, May 04, 2014

The Day After Trinity

This was released in 1980 and includes interviews with Rabi, Ulam, Bethe, Frank Oppenheimer, Robert Wilson, and Dyson.


James Hedman said...

80,000 deaths at Nagasaki is now considered to be too high an estimate. Certainly at least as many died in the great firebomb raids on Tokyo as died at Hiroshima not to mention Dresden, hamburg, Berlin et. al. I have no sympathy for poor old Robert Oppenheimer who gets all sorts of undeserving tears from physicists. He knew exactly what he was doing and he also knew his intimates were Communists and likely fellow travelers of largely Jewish Stalinist spies. The blame for Hiroshima can clearly be laid at the foot of Franklin Roosevelt and the Soviet henchmen who riddled his administration and whose blockades and economic sanctions against the Japanese were deliberate acts of war engineered to get us into a fight with Germany.

Every single horrid death contraption ever imagined in works of science fiction has been built as soon as the scientists and engineers have figured out how to do so. I have no doubt the near future holds biological and cybernetic horrors that will be unleashed upon us. The population explosion of the human race just begs for a massive die-off as would be expected of any other any other vertebrate that increases in numbers so unnaturally fast. Why should we be exempt? If not a genetically engineered pathogen, or armies of Kornbluth's Marching Morons then perhaps semi-intelligent nanobots will cover the entire planet with a seething mass of dust consisting of self-reproducing micro machines. Maybe oceanic bacteria will survive the onslaught.

PS - for a different take on Nagasaki and Hiroshima read Paul Fussell's essay Thank God for the Atom Bomb written from the perspective of someone who was at the time a war weary infantry officer in Germany contemplating his redeployment to the Pacific Theater of Operations in preparation for an armed assault on the Japanese home islands.

theobamadildo said...

the day after penicillin?

nope. physicists = idiots.

pat said...

James Hedman commenting above thinks we didn't kill 80,000 people at Nagasaki. Maybe he's right. There is still a debate over the A-Bombs. More recently the Clinton administration was criticized for not doing anything in Rwanda. The current estimate of the deaths in that conflict is over one million. That's more than Nagasaki, Hiroshima, Tokyo, and Dresden combined.
Unlike the Manhattan Project which only America had the resources to create, they killed most of the people in Rwanda with machetes. Had they not had machetes they might have just picked up rocks. So I don't think we need high tech for high causalities.

James Hedman said...

Indeed. I've seen fatality figures as high as 6 million in the 30 years war and it is estimated that 3 million ethnic Germans died of starvation and disease between 1945 and 1948. God only knows how many tens of millions died as a result of Mao Tse-tungs direct commands in the 1950's during the Five Year Plans and Great Leap Forwards.

My favorite anecdote of the Cultural Revolution is of the politically correct "barefoot doctor" who performed a vasectomy on his hapless patient by tieing off of his urethra rather than his vasa deferentia with predictably fatal results. At least Pol Pot's fanatics just bayoneted their victims straight away. Ain't Oriental Communism jus' wunnerful?

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