PopSci is pleased to present videos created by Motherboard, Vice Media's guide to future culture. Motherboard's original videos that run the gamut from in-depth, investigative reports to profiles of the offbeat forward-thinking characters who are sculpting our bizarre present.
The atomic bomb changed everything. It just did. It's all but impossible to point to a suitable contemporary analogue to the events of August, 1945, when the United States military dropped two atom bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, killed tens of thousands of people, irradiated vast swaths of land, and reduced entire cities to rubble, all in about the time it takes to post a status update on Facebook.
Little else compares to that; an unprecedented scientific achievement harnessed to become what remains the most feared weapon in the world. And we all deal with the fact that those bombs went off (and that they might again, someday) in different ways. Some protest nuclear power. Some lobby for non-proliferation treaties. John Coster-Mullen reverse-engineered the bombs in his spare time and produced the most accurate replicas of Fat Man and Little Boy ever built.
A truck driver with scant college education, Coster-Mullen spent ten years studying schematics, interviewing scientists, and poring over every shred of available information on the bombs. Then, meticulously, he recreated the bomb.
After laying relatively dormant for a brief period, all things nuke are once again fully entrenched in the zeitgeist—Fukushima has reignited the debate about the merits and dangers of nuclear energy, and mounting tensions with Iran have brought back grim visions of the bomb. Coster-Mullen's story is more relevant than ever; it's both a reflection of our ongoing infatuation with the weapon, and a reminder that the technology is still very much alive, and open to tinkering, even hacking.
"The secret of the atomic bomb," he says, "is how easy they are to make."
Nuclear bombs are bad.
Big and devistating. But knowledge doesn't die unless everyone who has it does, and it's wiped out of every book. There is no getting rid of nukes so long as even the concept of them is erased from every mind and book.....that is unless something new comes around.
Sorry to be that guys, but Hiroshima was the 6th... Nagasaki the 9th.
Yet another bold face lie from POPSCI. The bomb he built was a REPLICA. It is truly sad that they have to stoop to such lows to generate interest in their articles. Pathetic.
@Robot. Nukes are Good. We haven't had a major war since they've been created and deployed. Nor will we have one.
Major wars are nasty and bad(See Japanese in WWII), not deterrents.
OK, the headline is much better. Thank you.
41 million people have perished as a result of acts of war since WWII. So, nuclear weapons haven't exactly ushered in an era of peace.
I do see your point though, Mutually Assured Destruction certainly kept the US and the Soviet Union (and others) from going toe-to-toe. However MAD doesn't work with a terrorist organization. They have no homeland to nuke in retaliation and are willing to die for and sacrifice innocents in the name of their cause.
If it ever becomes a reality that terrorist organizations can consistently create nuclear weapons or purchase them through state sponsors, we will look back to the days of WWII with reverence.
MAD Mutually Assured Destruction works with normal mind societies that have something to loose. It does not work with terrorist that rationalize it is ok for sucied and mass destruction GOD glory ideas. It a whole new ball game now.
But, I still stand on the idea Nuclear bombs are bad. We as a human society need to find to mature to a new level that MAD is a bad idea and stop the terrorist as much as possible too.
@democedes. 1st off I appreciate and respect your comments here on this site that many seem to think is laughably a 'science' site...
The pdf in your link doesn't seem summarized very well, so I'll take you at your word rather than do excessive reading and computation.
So, 41 million Since WWII is a sad commentary for our little rock flying through space. However, it does not argue against my point.
Consider the following 10,000 foot level comments about WWII
from wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II
Total Deaths (column 4) is reported as 62 to 79 million.
Balanced against 41 million in the almost 70 years since, my point is hardly diminished.
The timeline that wikipedia uses is from 1939 to 1945. That's only 6 years.
My point stands imo.
Because of Nukes, no Hitlers or Stalins or Tojo's have come along with aspirations of world domination. Yes, there will always be localized killing, but again, no one is going to come along from a militaristic angle to take over the world.
They'd have to deal with Russia, the USA and China, which pushed beyond or to a certain limit WILL use nukes. If someone actually had the credible threat of murder on a massive scale in one of the super power countries, they'd be nuked. Bet on it. And that's a good thing. Consider pissants like kadaffi in Liba, who, up until the Iraq operation in 2003 WAS working on a nuke program. N Korea is always threatening. If they or Iran, or Pakistan, or India or any of these minor entities actually used a nuclear weapon, they'd be wiped off the map. And hopefully they know it.
We're not going to have a Major war with nukes deployed, and again, that's a good thing. For anyone who disagrees, study the actions of the Japanese in WWII. Brutality beyond belief.
Adding to the above casualty count for WWII, you need to add in all the Chinese that were brutally murdered by the Japanese in the late 1930's - all part of WWII imo. Then consider all the non-lethal casualty. Add in the suffering of the families of the military people deployed in such a war.
That is all gone because we(mainly) and Russia have nuclear subs that cannot be neutralized by some pissant dictator that comes along seeking world domination. These people are in check.
@Robot. The threat from terrorist activity is extremely minimal. The threat from radical islam is in their strategy of infiltration into a society, demanding multi-culturalism and the 'breeding' out of native residents and political power. See England. See the USA and it's idiotic acceptance of multi-culturalism.
@Robot, if we get rid of all the nukes(Will everyone? please) , future hitlers will be empowered to think they can dominate the world with excessive conventional weapons. Man and Machine. They don't have to worry about instant destruction.
You seem to be making the argument of getting rid of guns.
Mass murder happens in gun free zones. Right?
They can't keep hard drugs away form 12 yr olds in any city in America, how can they keep guns away from criminals and lunatics. Your point is based in fantasy, not reality.
Can't we all just give a hug and give peace a chance!;)
Robot - Here's a hug ;-)
I feel much safer knowing that he provided this information to every malcontent around the world. I'll sleep much better now.
BTW, about 17 Japanese in the Hiroshima bombing escaped to Nagasaki, only to be bombed again. Most of them survived, as I recall. I don't know whether they had remarkably bad luck or remarkably good luck.
Hey Trucker Dude, guess what?! There is a bomb near your house. Now laugh at that!
................ just kidding.
Didn't tell us much, did it? They just did some background writing as filler.
Also, a terriorist nuke is not that big of a deal.
Lets say they nuke a high population, high density city. 100 million dead in a flash.
Earth just lost less than 1.5% of its population. That could happen EVERY OTHER YEAR and the world's population would still increase at it's current rate (@75 million increase per annum).
Global nuclear war is and would be a devestating blow to human progress (though unlikely to render the planet unliveable to all mankid, it would be a major extinction event for many species and areas).
A single nuke, however, has a very limited destructive ability that is feared greatly out of proportion for what it actually is and does. It is terrible for where it occurs, but globally is insignifigant.
Also, the effects might be measurable for eons, but are only felt for a generation or two (again, insignifigant against the entire human experience).
Go Googlemaps Hiroshima. You can street view the McDonalds across the street from ground zero.
I must mention no one knew that the nuke existed before we actually used it.
Perhaps we are so advanced we have defensive weapons that are actually more devasting than nukes. We are just waiting until we need to use them.
For example look up Harpp in Alaska. It is no conicidence we built this "research" facility in that location. That facillity has acres of satellites that operate on the same frequency of the human brain. What does that mean? Not many know. Many believe including Jesse Ventura they can also control the weather inducing devastating storms in any location in the world.
My point being as technology advances those weapons we once feared are actually primative to those we do not know exists