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Thread: Likelihood of a Nuclear Catastrophe

  1. #1 Likelihood of a Nuclear Catastrophe 
    Time Lord
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    What do you think are the odds that humanity will manage not to have a major nuclear war over the next five centuries?


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  3. #2 Re: Likelihood of a Nuclear Catastrophe 
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    What do you think are the odds that humanity will manage not to have a major nuclear war over the next five centuries?
    Why so long? It's hard to predict what countries will even exist in 50 to 100 years, much less try to figure out what they'll be doing in 500.

    I'm surprised we haven't had another nuclear exchange already.


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  4. #3  
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    there has already been one nuclear war
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  5. #4 Re: Likelihood of a Nuclear Catastrophe 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    What do you think are the odds that humanity will manage not to have a major nuclear war over the next five centuries?
    Why so long? It's hard to predict what countries will even exist in 50 to 100 years, much less try to figure out what they'll be doing in 500.

    I'm surprised we haven't had another nuclear exchange already.
    That is not encouraging.
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  6. #5  
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    THE DRAGON’S TAIL

    Years passed. The Ninja Empire had come to operate covertly alongside some of the world’s governments, and, although the pursuit of terrorists seemed to be never ending, there were still many various and glorious triumphs.

    What was it that was the very root of all evil? It was hard to pin down, as evidenced by a forum thread on that question, yet, it existed and continued to sprout anew around the globe. Was it the doom of man that s/he could err so thoroughly and so intensely?

    Defenses and circumventions danced ‘round each other in a deathly tango. Just what was this inherent malevolence in so many? Emotions? Brain imbalances? Evolutionary relics? Greed? Disparity? Power? Earth could not answer; however, the angelic end of the spectrum was well peopled, too. And why was evil somewhat different on a natural or cultural level than on the personal?

    Evil was ultimately pointless, for it assured its own destruction. Alexander the Great, Mussolini, and so many others and their movements all came to untimely ends for their misdeeds.

    Yet, there could be no absolute defense, for that would require eternal and infinite vigilance. Still, no extremist group had so much as crossed over the porous Mexican border to strike at U.S. industry or a shopping mall. Was it luck or did they know the consequences that the diplomats had relayed to them, off the record?

    Rascal had risen to the rank of Field Commander, level 8, finding the missions a complimentary relief to the theoretical TOE analyses that had advanced greatly, lately—the secrets of the universal DNA beginning to reveal themselves, unveiling some very counterintuitive and astounding information.

    Rascal was riding in a sleek black jet on a somewhat minor mission, proofreading his sequel, ‘The New Gravity’, the pilots flying at ease and granting a wide berth to the protected airspace that had just been extended for the President’s State of the Union address, the War on Terror predicted to have prominent mention.

    The Coast Guard was already boarding a freighter that had been stationary a bit too long when when the ghastly glow of the arc of ascension lit the night. Then a second arc sprouted a few moments later and made for more frantic phone calls to the shore batteries, whose RADARs were already alight. Improved Patriot missiles were even on automatic and had deflected or hit the first missile at its zenith, but had missed the second. The rockets had come too fast from too close. There was no time.

    Rascal felt the plane performing a turnabout and went up to the cockpit to inquire.

    “The mission has been aborted,” declared the copilot.

    “By Field Command?”

    “No, by Number 1 West himself.”

    Rascal recalled the all-knowing visage of old Grand Master, whom he hadn’t seen for many seasons now, and of his training by him back then—as detailed in the “Butterflies At the Edge of Forever” report now buried in the closed but still readable ‘Theory of Nothing’ thread.

    What gives? he thought, as he looked out the window, seeing a sight that he never wished to see. It was the sickening arc of descension, like gravity’s rainbow, into the center of D.C.

    “Look away,” he cautioned the pilots as the chain reaction turned the placid night into a light such as inside the sun; it seemed to sear the cabin.

    “Fly higher,” he commanded. “The shock wave will be less. Then head west, for the winds will blow the radiation eastward.”

    Turbos lifted the aircraft ever higher and away, Rascal noting the flattening of the trees below. The craft was not responding well and was furthermore hampered by the thinning air as it struggled to gain altitude. The oxygen masks dropped after several minutes that seemed like centuries.

    “It’s gaining on us, Rascal, sir. We’re not going to make it. Both engines are now out. Radio gone.”

    “The electromagnetic pulse; secure for shock,” advised Rascal.

    The offending waves flipped the jet end over end and she whirled about for minutes before they hydraulically lowered the flaps to gain some measure of stability; however, she was now a deadweight stone gliding on into oblivion, but at least one that was plummeting from on high.

    “That’s the worst of it,” said Rascal, bruised and battered, noting the pages of his book lying everywhere in the back. “Get us on a glide path out of here.”

    Most of the electronics were out, but not all, and so they, after some ten minutes or so, got the left engine to restart manually, but it ran rough, for all of its checks and balances were off line.

    “The engine won’t last long,” advised the pilot, as they limped on. “Not enough oil pressure.”

    Some twenty more minutes passed. “God, that was some megatonage,” Rascal exclaimed.

    “Radio’s back,” reported the copilot.

    “What’s the Defense Condition status?”

    “DEFCON is normal—at 5.”

    “And the Terror Alert?”

    “Still green, as well as the REDCON.”

    “Something is terribly wrong,” stated Rascal. “Had the State of the Union address begun?”
    “Indeed.”

    “I suppose that The Vice-President, who customarily does not attend the address, was probably not far enough away. God help us all—the world will soon learn that America is defenseless.”

    “Uh-oh,” answered the pilot.

    “The other nations? Can you check?”

    Some moments passed.

    “Russia, France, Israel, India, Pakistan, and the U.K. are already at the highest alert.”

    “It is… the end of all hope… Only the President or the acting President can initiate a retaliatory strike or raise the defense condition for a sub-orbital attack, although I hear that launch is mandatory for an atomic explosion.”

    Meanwhile, on Niihau, the Grand Master had already entered the vault, having first picked up the red telephone that not only connected to the Oval Office, but to the secure cell phones of the President, Vice-President, and their aides.

    There had not only been no answer, but, alarmingly, a long-in-coming indication that the phones no longer existed.

    He carefully withdrew the secondary nuclear football from the vault and then from its case.

    “Rascal, we have a message to overfly Silo 19, and there is call for you. We are in fact near the silo, but how…”

    Rascal took the call from Number 1. “We’re coming up on the silo now.”

    “What do you see?”

    “It’s closed.”

    “And Washington?” inquired the Master.

    “This was no small dirty bomb—it was a big one—huge—a direct hit on the Capital Complex.”

    “That’s what I needed to hear—that I did not want to hear.”

    “Our engine is running very hot,” reported the copilot.

    “Maybe rough landing, Rascal,” noted the Grand Master. “Advise me on Silo 20 just outside Richmond if you get that far. God speed.” The call ended abruptly.

    The Master had a while ago picked up the blue phone to Number 1 East, half a world away—she had the launch codes, yet another fail-safe mechanism that had been insisted upon by the top generals who had opposed this whole arrangement in the first place, although they had to concede that such an event was possible and had given in. The blue phone was not connecting, the nonexistent secure hub of D.C. thwarting the signal’s approval. A cellphone call would not be considered authentic.

    In a few minutes she and her city might not even be there, he thought.

    Finally, after a required 5-minute wait, the call rerouted through secure CIA lines via some obscure points on the globe. Luckily, Number 1 East was there, although likely since these were her sleeping hours. Like twin-genii, they had split day and night, as well as the world; his day was her night and vice-versa. It was his watch. Halfway around the world, she jumped out of bed and raced for the control room.

    A brief conversation ensued in which neither gave any hidden meanings to convey that either were under duress. She looked up the day’s launch codes and relayed them promptly.

    Still, the secondary nuclear transponder could not activate until it had ascertained for itself that the primary could not operate. This was accomplished through slow but sure under-ocean, mountain-eating ELF waves to NORAD and back that seemed to take an eternity, due to their ultra low frequency.

    Moments crawled like death worms in the desert. Would the top generals go for it?

    The Master, not known to be a nervous man, or a smoker, picked up a cigar from his desk and lit it. He’d kept there as a constant reminder of the former and dwindling Conspiracy menace—and drew in several long puffs.

    A seismograph clattered away, indicating a 9.99 earthquake in the U.S. capital.

    Much time had passed, during which he had called Rascal to double verify the bad news.

    He thought of Einstein’s warning to President Roosevelt about the power of atomic reactions and that Germany could develop the bomb. The President had taken the warning to heart, although Einstein himself, the man who had discovered E=MCC, had been declared a security risk and was never even notified of the Manhattan project, although he did do some work on isotopes, not really knowing why.

    The Master knew the drill: 12 suspect cities in the middle-east and the Orient would soon be no more, among them Damascus, Beirut, Islamabad (now run by terrorists—and, yes, they had the bomb), Baghdad (now devoid of U.N. troops and long overrun by Shiite extremists)—not to mention the radioactive wasteland that would remain in the mountainous region between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Satellite data would be used to track the freighter’s origin and that loophole would be closed.

    It was not a black and white decision—the good would fall along with most of the bad.

    Furthermore, the US State Governors would constitute the new emergency executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the American government, their Lieutenant Governors taking over the states. Life would go on; no one would launch against the alerted U.S., although Israel would probably seize the opportunity to destroy Iran’s reactors—but, it would go no further.

    A report came in the Pakistan had gone on nuclear alert before Washington was hit. The transponder finally showed ready and the Master did what he had to do, sending the tickle that would awaken the sleeping dragon. Did it bear the pearl of wisdom or the cinders of a once promising world? He then cut the end of the cigar and put it back on his desk as the U.S. went to DEFCON 1. Rascal’s crippled, wobbling plane overflew Silo number 20; the jet’s lone working engine caught fire and had to be shut down; the silo was opening.

    Rascal ordered his team off the doomed jet, he to jump last, as leaders did. Each and all parachuted out the door as he took this last moment to radio his last report, that of noting the retaliatory nuclear launch from the silo and that Richmond was already evacuating. The pilots would eject soon after he left the sleek Ninja jet, which had now become the silent and black Angel of Death.

    Rascal next gathered up the strewn about proof pages of his book and stuffed them into his shirt, then leapt out the door into a slight free fall, one more heart wrenching than any roller coaster, to clear the jet and its draft, then pulled the rip cord.

    Many Homo Sapiens would die and die this day, all over the globe, from this pretty much prearranged plan that had been engaged when the U.S. Capitol Complex and much of D.C. had been vaporized by an attack by unknown terrorists. This was evolution of a different order, not an eye for an eye, but 12 eyes for an eye, for the world’s evils had reached unprecedented levels by the year 2012.

    Rascal floated down, steering toward a treeless area, a meadow perhaps, seconds away from landing. A few of his book pages floated free of his shirt, but he held tight to the rest, his tome almost literally becoming a Total Field Theory.

    Rascal landed; no one was about. He walked on in the dark, noting the old moon holding the new one in its arms.



    Fifty thousand years ago, Elder Sapiens, well nigh almost 30 years old, sat outside the shelter as twilight ended, noting that the moon was pale and sickly, dim and feeble, much as he felt himself. ‘Twas not the best night for the Hunter Sapiens to be out… but the ever-present worries bred by these ancient times had won over his weariness, halting, if only for a time, his vitality from slipping away any further.

    The crescent was brightening, as best it could, and he half-slept a while; then a dragging noise in the bush brought him to life. They were back, hauling a carcass. If there was danger about, he would’ve waved them off, but there was none, so he waved them on. No one had eaten much but leaves and berries for five days now, except for Infant Sapiens, who feasted on Mother’s milk.

    Elder pointed to the dying moon and then to himself, but the Younger Sapiens motioned that he was fine.

    Many tens of millennia ago, their communication had begun, faint and ethereal, only within themselves—symbols forming and connecting. This eventually led to gestures, preserved even to this day, as when people talk, along with their hands, even while on the phone! Grunts and simple references followed, then the basics of language.

    The moon set, and the Homo Sapiens gathered round, friend and family, the night enveloping them, as evolution continued to sift the best from the rest, as ever it had done through death, our ancestors waning and waxing in strength.



    About 50,000 years later, around 1100 A.D., Omar Khayyam, a rebel among the Islamics of his day, would write about the moon. About 750 years later, Edward FitzGerald translated it into English verse; however, it never appeared in his published Rubáiyát, but had remained in his notebook:


    Be of Good Cheer -- the sullen Month will die,
    And a young Moon requite us by and bye:
    Look how the Old one meagre, bent, and wan
    With Age and Fast, is fainting from the Sky!
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  7. #6  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    I think we have had around 4 occasions in about as many decades when the world came to a hair of ending.

    But I dont think we'll be rolling the dice every decade with the cold war over.

    What worries me more is an accidental fu with biological agents or nanotech, or that robotics allows wars to be fought with one side giving even less of a crap if the war goes on because theres no body bags on its side (its just drones and robots getting smashed while killing the other humans beings we dont care about because they are the enemy as the politicians have told us)
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  8. #7  
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    Indeed, robot wars are next, this now being advanced by the drone war stage. As for nuclear, I have a feeling that the capacities of two certain countries will be soon taken out.
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  9. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo

    What worries me more is an accidental flu with biological agents or nanotech
    The science of epidemics is pretty advanced nowadays. If a second bubonic plague struck today, data analysts would put the pieces together pretty quickly and a quarantine would be under way. It might wipe out a few communities, but it would never spread accross Europe. .....at least if it started in the developed world.

    , or that robotics allows wars to be fought with one side giving even less of a crap if the war goes on because theres no body bags on its side (its just drones and robots getting smashed while killing the other humans beings we dont care about because they are the enemy as the politicians have told us)
    That would be awesome, but as we saw in the first gulf war, people don't really get very excited about purely automated conflicts. They don't serve the right political goals.

    If you want to drag the war out to a final conclusion, and prevent the public from ending the war early out of sympathy for the poor enemy, you've got to take a few casualties on your own side, even if it requires tactical foolishness in order to incur them. (For example: disbanding the Iraqi national guard without offering them any new form of employment to replace their old job.)
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