Critical Mass

This youtube claims to have collected all the nuclear test footage available on the net. I have to admit, it goes from Atomic Annie to the Zulu test: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72ToROmnUJE

This is a collection of primary source material on the atomic weapons used in World War 2: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB162/index.htm

“Fat Man” Explosion, Nagasaki: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxCMz1VYksM

Hiroshima Documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEokbsYvfFE&mode=related&search=

Nuclear weapons are a mystery to me, a paradox with no resolution. As Dr. Oppenheimer said, the idea is technically sweet. That mouse in your hand has enough energy trapped in it to destroy your house. Energy equals Mass multiplied by the Square of the speed of light. It doesn’t say what type of matter is used. It just happens that Uranium works better than plastic.

The conversion of matter to energy and back is the foundation of our Universe. The fact that we’re capable of energy releases on this scale really floors me. Troubles me, too. That’s the paradox. How can any of us deny the power of a nuclear weapon? It’s an intellectual theory with visceral repercussions. Something in me craves that vision of power.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki are different, though. Watching those explosions makes a knot tie itself in my throat. That fury is being directed at other humans. How do I make a value judgment about nuclear weapons? What insight could I offer that would have any meaning beside power like that? When I look at it from the other side, however, I find that I do have some thoughts. From the human perspective, these weapons are a power that we are barely able to control. We should tread lightly on the paths that lead to such things.

Posted in Science. 1 Comment »

One Response to “Critical Mass”

  1. Valkyrie Says:

    Or not tread on that path at all. Just because we can do something both dreadful and amazing, doesn’t mean we should.


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