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Saturday, 20 July 2013

Nuclear Doomsday is Coming Today. You’ll Want to See This.

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By Elaine M. Grossman, Global Security Newswire
July 18, 2013 | 4:02 p.m.
Destruction in Hiroshima, Japan, after the world's first atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945. (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON -- It’s Thursday, July 18, and nuclear Armageddon is upon us. Or at least you might be excused for thinking so when you glimpse on your colleague’s computer monitor a compelling simulation of a mushroom cloud rising over your home town.
That’s the 2.0 version of NUKEMAP -- now in three dimensions! -- expected for launch by late Thursday, the brainchild of a guy named Alex Wellerstein.
A historian with the American Institute of Physics, Wellerstein has had 3 million visitors to the original two-dimensional edition of his website, who have virtually detonated a whopping 17.4 million nuclear warheads over their choice of locations virtually anywhere around the world.
Launched in February 2012, the initial or “classic” version of NUKEMAP featured your choice of 18 preselected cities -- from Beijing or Berlin to Tehran or Tokyo -- and 23 preset atomic-warhead explosive capacities, or “yields,” numbering in kilotons, or even more stratospheric megatons. A pick of North Korean, Indian, Pakistani, Russian and U.S. bombs was on offer, along with others.
You could have gone wild and plugged in any city across the planet along with a numerical yield for your notional attack, clicked the clearly marked “Detonate” button and wham: A multicolor bulls-eye appeared onscreen, overlaid on your designated city map -- described as a “mashup” of Google Maps and algorithms for nuclear blast effects.
The basic version included a red marker pin affixed with a tiny atomic symbol at your chosen epicenter, inside a golden fireball.
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Interesting and scary.

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