Dismantling the world's 15,000 nuclear weapons is one the most important geopolitical challenges humanity faces. That number seems bleak, given the current state of affairs. But if you wanted to dismantle just one warhead, here is what it would take.
Tagged With nukes
You rarely — if ever — hear "South Africa" and "nuclear weapons" mentioned in the same breath. That's, of course, because South Africa doesn't have any nukes. But the history behind why it is the only country to have ever built its own nuclear weapons, and then voluntarily relinquished them, reveals what motivates a country to give up the world's most lethal deterrent.
Bomb threats have been a part of American life since at least the 19th century. But in the 1970s the types of threats shifted dramatically. The people making bomb threats in the US started to claim their bombs had nuclear materials. By 1975, the US started a new task force to deal with the threats, and we at Gizmodo got our hands on a film that explains what this secret group of nuke-hunting police did.
Hooray. If you live south of the Equator or in any of the countries that light up green in the map above, you're good. Keep on living there because you don't squat next to any nuclear weapons. But if you're in the countries painted red — like the United States, Germany, Russia, China, India and so on — you might live closer to a nuclear bomb than you think.
Russia is flexing its military muscle as tensions with the US simmer in the wake of a heated third presidential debate, where Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton called Republican candidate Donald Trump a "puppet" for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Now, Russia has declassified the first image of its new thermonuclear intercontinental ballistic missile.
Until the day he died, physicist Samuel Cohen declared that his invention, the neutron bomb, was a "moral" and "sane" weapon that would kill enemy combatants, while sparing civilians and cities. But, despite the support of fans like Ronald Reagan, this weapon of not-as-much mass destruction proved to be a hard sell.
Video: Here is how subsidence craters are formed: An underground nuclear explosion gets set off and creates a hole underneath the ground, the ground collapses because nothing is supporting it any more and then boom. Giant crater. It is so gnarly to see because the ground looks like its melting into the core of the Earth.
The nuclear bomb, that devastatingly powerful world killer of a weapon, has been around for 70 years. The first nuclear bomb — Trinity — was detonated in a test in New Mexico in 1945, a month later the US Army dropped nukes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the world was never the same. Here's an interesting visualisation that shows every nuclear bomb that's been detonated on our planet.
This video is more intense and more suspenseful and got me more scared than any movie I've watched this year. YouTuber Veritasium dug into the actual process involved in launching a nuclear missile from its silo and the retro-tech combined with its quaint fail safes and cute ignition all under the backdrop of the disastrous power of a nuke, makes for a truly captivating watch.
There have been over 2000 nuclear explosions in real life, but if we believe the movies, it seems like every other action movie drops one in for added colour. And I totally get it. I hope to never see a nuclear bomb go off in person but I wouldn't mind seeing more explosive mushroom cloud visuals in my movies. They look so cool.
There's a truly monstrous camera at the "Churchill's Scientists" exhibition at London's Science Museum right now. The C4 Rotating Mirror High Speed Camera was developed at the end of World War II to study explosive reactions.
Wiping out an American city, much less the largest ones, requires either blast yields well beyond the capability of any terrorist organisation, or numbers of nuclear weapons that would make the terrorist organisation one of the largest nuclear powers on the planet. This is particularly true of major cities such as Atlanta, Houston and LA, which are defined by their suburban sprawl.