Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Going for the Bigger Boom

Because I'm a history buff, every day I check out various websites that offer lists of what happened on that day. It's important to know where we've been so that we can contemplate where we're going ... as George Santayana once memorably said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Less well-known is another of Mr Santayana's comments about history -

"The picture we frame of the past changes continually and grows every day less similar to the original experience which it purports to describe."

We can see this every day in the loudly-held opinions of those who absolutely know that: (a) the United States was founded as an explicitly Christian nation; and (b) the Founders absolutely believed that the most important right of every citizen was to be armed to the teeth.

But I digress. Here's something that actually, provably happened in the past ...

On November 1st, 1952, the United States tested the first large hydrogen bomb - a weapon with a yield of ten megatons (the equivalent of ten million tons of TNT). Not to be outdone, on October 30th, 1961, the Soviet Union tested the so-called Tsar Bomb, a nuclear weapon with a yield of 50 megatons ... the most powerful weapon ever developed. By way of comparison, the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki - the last nuclear weapon actually used in war - had a yield of 21 kilotons (21,000 tons of TNT) ... a pretty enormous explosion in its own right.

Think about this for a moment.

Other than the atomic age comparison of manly appendages, what is the military purpose of a bomb with a yield of ten million ... or fifty million ... tons of TNT?  Consider this map, which diagrams a theoretical explosion of the Tsar Bomb over the city of Paris -

The yellow circle in the center represents the size of the initial fireball of the explosion, while the larger red circle represents the "zone of total destruction."

I suppose that this represents the ultimate end of the argument that you'e got to have an AR-15 with a 100-round drum magazine for self-defense ... because you never know when some miscreant in the airport will have a gun with a 50-round magazine. 

Have a good day. Think about all the better things on which we could be spending our money and our scientific talent. More thoughts tomorrow.



eViL pOp TaRt said...

That is a chilling sight and thought.

Mike said...

I know the Russians test fired the 50 megaton bomb. I thought I had read that they had developed a 150 megaton bomb but were afraid to test it.

So I check the internet and found that Russia and India are looking into developing a 10 gigaton bomb. One bomb that could wipe Great Britain of the face of the earth. The bigger problem than the bomb itself would be how to get it there.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

There must be a better way.

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

I wouldn't be surprised if they were trying to develop a way to deliver it.

allenwoodhaven said...

Insane is as insane does....