Eek, a Bomb!

Eek, a Bomb!
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"Millions upon millions of the world's population today are fearful of A-bomb attack. Hanging over our heads is the atomic sword of Damocles." So begins the 1950 publication of Atomic Bombing: How to Protect Yourself by the non-profit science news organization Science Service, known today largely for writing science news for school kids. The book, now hosted online in its entirety by Josh Karpf, describes in gripping detail what might happen in a nuclear attack. "At a point 2,000 feet above the ground, the first atomic rocket of World War III explodes over your city. In one vast flash of light, equal to 100 suns, the buildings are etched against a sky of fire.... There, in a millionth of a second, a lump of plutonium or uranium, perhaps the size of a basketball, disappears. As it vanishes, the temperature at that point jumps to 1,000,000 degrees Centigrade.... A thousandth of a second later, the ball of fire is 45 feet across. Its temperature has dropped to 300,000 degrees. After a full second, there is a globe of flaming air 450 feet wide, the size of a city block. The shadows cast by this ball of fire are etched permanently into concrete sidewalks and granite buildings. Directly beneath the burst, in the split second before the blast wave arrives, pedestrians simply vanish into smoke and ash. This is the point which atomic scientists call "ground zero." Here the sidewalk temperature is between 3,000 and 4,000 degrees." Written in a matter-of-fact, Father-Knows-Best tone, some passages are so scary, they're almost comical. "Each generation is born, lives and dies. The A-bomb, if it comes, like any disaster, will prune human lives. Finally each of us must die. It is a question of timing."
Submitted by elementlist on Dec 07, 2005
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