When the US (almost) Nuked North Carolina
I read about nuclear war this week. If you’re ever curious about nuclear war, it might be better to get curious about something else. It’s pretty sobering to realize that your best-case-scenario is a quick death.
The bomb in the comic had six (I think – sources vary) safety mechanisms that were supposed to stop it from going off. Most of them failed. In the end, one low-voltage switch stood between North Carolina and a surprise deep-water port. I’m stuck somewhere between ‘oh god, it almost blew up’ and ‘hey, but it didn’t!’ Bomb-half-full, I guess?
There was another bomb on the plane, too, but it didn’t have a parachute, so it crashed more than landed. They found the back half 50 feet underground, but no one’s quite sure where the front half got to. Or the uranium. The Air Force got an easement on the land around the crash site, and has been testing the water ever since, but so far it’s been no less healthy than you’d expect from a North Carolina swamp.
There have been a number of nuclear accidents over the years that we know about, and probably a bunch we don’t – this one was only fully revealed decades later. Some are even funny, in an ironic, puns-about-nazis sort of way. At one point the US ended up having to clean up a bunch of irradiated snow in Greenland. But while it’s pretty cool that we haven’t exploded, it’s also more than a little freaky. Don’t get me wrong – in a world with nuclear weapons, I’d rather be on the team that has them. But it’d be really nice if they never got used.
Jeeze, what a downer of a blog post. Next week is Potato II, which will be more upbeat, I promise. After that, Hitler maybe? Or emus.
PS This was posted a few hours early because I don’t trust WordPress’s post scheduling and I have places to be, but next week it’ll be back to noon again.