Subscribers and bookmarkers — address change complete

Posted February 8, 2008 by surviveanukeattack
Categories: About

Tags: , ,

The change to my web address (URL) is complete. There’s no smoke emanating from my computer so I think it worked 😉  Again, to be safe, you may want to revise your subscription or bookmark.

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A note to my blog subscribers (and bookmarkers)

Posted February 4, 2008 by surviveanukeattack
Categories: About

Tags: , , ,

This is a new blog and I’m still working out the logistics. I’m going to make a change to my web address (URL) in the next week or so. I think it’ll still work with your news reader, but I’m not sure, so it’ll be best if you revise your subscription to my new URL (or if you’ve bookmarked the site, revise the bookmark). I’ll do another post when it’s complete.

In geek terms, I’m signing up for domain mapping with my blog host, WordPress. Domain mapping will drop the “wordpress” from my URL and officially change my URL to surviveanukeattack.com, from surviveanukeattack.wordpress.com. My blog has always been reachable by just navigating to surviveanukeattack.com because I use domain forwarding from my domain registrar (GoDaddy), which redirects traffic to surviveanukeattack.wordpress.com. But domain mapping makes it so the URL will never change again, which would happen every time I switched to a new blog host. Better to change it now than later.

Warren Buffet on Nuclear Bombs

Posted January 21, 2008 by surviveanukeattack
Categories: Probability

Tags: , , , ,

[Go to a 5/8/08 UPDATE on this post]

“It’s inevitable.” A quote by Warren Buffet.

This is old news but worth reviewing to get it in the record of this blog. It’s important because if I needed just one person to make the case that a nuclear attack on U.S. soil was a slam-dunk, it would be Warren Buffet. He thinks it’s inevitable.

Warren Buffet is the second richest person in the world and the most respected investor on Wall Street. He’s cautious and self-effacing; he’s the opposite of flamboyant and not prone to hyperbole. His company, Berkshire Hathaway, owns not just insurance companies (like GEICO), but it owns at least one reinsurance company, which means Warren Buffet insures other insurance companies. His business is to predict, plan and pay for the cleanup of disasters (in fact, he lost $2.4 billion from 9/11; see the last quote below for his take on covering nuclear disasters). He also serves as Advisor to the Board of Directors of The Nuclear Threat Initiative, a group working to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism.

From the lips of Warren Buffet regarding a nuclear bomb in the U.S.:

In a CNN interview with Lou Dobbs on 6/19/05, Warren Buffet said, “It’s the number one problem of our time.”

Both CNN and the BBC News on 5/6/02 quote Warren Buffet with this: “We’re going to have something in the way of a major nuclear event in this country… It will happen. Whether it will happen in 10 years or 10 minutes, or 50 years … it’s virtually a certainty.”

A Slate piece on 6/18/02 quotes Warren Buffet with this: “I don’t know anything [about potential threats to U.S. security] but I know basic probabilities. … I understand how things that seem very unlikely happen when time passes. … There’s just plenty of people out there who hate us … more psychotics, more megalomaniacs, more religious fanatics today than 50 years ago.”

A Fortune piece on 11/11/02 quotes Warren Buffet with this: “…the ultimate depressing thing. It will happen. It’s inevitable. I don’t see any way that it won’t happen. But we can reduce the probabilities. If there’s a 10% probability of something happening in a given year–and I don’t know if that’s the right probability; nobody knows–then the chances that it will happen in 50 years are 99.5%. If you get it down to 3%, there is about a 78% chance. If you get it down to 1% per year, there’s like a 40% chance, so reducing the probabilities per annum of anything happening obviously increases the chance significantly that your kids will get through their lifetimes without this happening. You can’t get rid of the knowledge [how to make a bomb]. You can try to control the materials [enriched uranium and loose nukes]. You’ll never get rid of the intent. It is the ultimate problem of mankind.”

Finally, the UK’s Guardian on 5/6/02 quotes the “Oracle of Omaha” on whether he’ll offer nuclear terrorism insurance. I’m confused by the last sentence in the quote below. Perhaps he believes financial institutions are willing to insure themselves for small disasters but not large disasters, even if the probability of a large disaster were the same or greater. Or perhaps he believes these companies are worried about terrorism but they’re not willing to pay the high premiums, especially for nuclear events. I give up, you decide:

“…It could make the World Trade Centre loss look like nothing. We are excluding nuclear, chemical and biological events in terrorism insurance. The twin towers came close to the limit of what we can do. We cannot do nuclear, chemical and biological. We will take an occasional nuclear risk if they’ll pay us enough. It’s strange that financial institutions want terrorism insurance but they’re not willing to buy what I’m worried about.”

Mr. Buffet, I’d like a clarification on that last sentence. Please call me.

What it means to survive a nuclear bomb

Posted January 2, 2008 by surviveanukeattack
Categories: Contamination, Survival

Tags: , , ,

I’ve been thinking about the word “survive.” For me, it means maintaining both my health and my quality of life.

If I’m close enough or downwind, physical health may be elusive. It’s one thing to cover my eyes (to avoid blindness) and hit the ground (to avoid the shock waves) and be able to wake up the next morning, but it’s another thing to avoid radiation poisoning.

Some unsettling words from the Centers for Disease Control website: “While severe burns would appear in minutes, other health effects might take days or weeks to appear. These effects range from mild, such as skin reddening, to severe effects such as cancer and death, depending on the amount of radiation absorbed by the body (the dose), the type of radiation, the route of exposure, and the length of time of the exposure.”

Hiroshima was a small bomb, a size that could be tactically detonated in the U.S. today. Estimates of 70,000 died the day of the blast and tens of thousands more died in the months that followed. The U.S. Dept. of Energy website states: “The five-year death total may have reached or even exceeded 200,000, as cancer and other long-term effects took hold.” The wikipedia notes that about nine percent of cancer and leukemia deaths from 1950 to 1990 have been attributed to the bomb.

While the biological effects of radiation are known, my actual exposure and the consequences are less clear. The two questions that will be on my mind the day after, which are bugging me today, are:

  1. Besides theoretical estimates based on bomb size and distance from ground zero, without a geiger counter around my neck is it possible to know the amount of radiation I was exposed to?
  2. Is it possible to know how sensitive my body is to radiation exposure (to determine my susceptibility to long term health problems)?

While radiation poisoning is a worst-case scenario, the other end of the spectrum—surviving in perfect health—is nagging me too.

Let’s say I’m in a city that gets nuked and I live. I not only live but I luck out with fallout and I get zero-exposure. And let’s say I followed most of my own advice and have survival gear and a month or more of food and water. What will life be like? What routine necessities and comforts will I still have to struggle for? Unlike Japan who was able to surrender, would we live in fear of future attacks?

How long will it be before life is normal again?

An editorial decision

Posted December 13, 2007 by surviveanukeattack
Categories: About

I received a comment to my post of 12/3/07 (“Bet on surviving a nuclear bomb and have a plan”), which I have pasted in below. This blog is set up with the option of approving or deleting comments. I don’t like to delete comments; it smacks of censorship. Yet online communities often need moderating for such things like keeping people on topic and weeding out malicious posts.

Even though it seems sincere, I’m deleting the comment because it’s off topic. I don’t want this blog to turn into a soapbox for people to voice religious beliefs. This blog is about how to survive the blast and radiation of a nuclear bomb, not biblical prophecies. That said, the writer makes a decent comment about the CBS show Jericho, a show about survival after a nuclear bomb, and I’ll talk about Jericho at some point.

My apologies to the comment-writer. Here’s his comment:

From a biblical perspective, the USA is not mentioned in the end times bible prophecy. When Israel’s enemies attack her as described in biblical prophecy, no-one comes to her aid, including the USA. Ever wonder why? Bin Laden is not supid. He knows that the USA protects Israel and a pre-requisite for destroying Israel is to disable or destroy her protector. If the USA was so focused on surviving and rebuilding from a nuclear attack, we may not be physically and militarily capable of coming to anyone’s aid. Public outcry would demand that we focus our resources to taking care of the USA before others.

The Jericho TV series on CBS provides an interesting scenario of what it may be like after an attack.

Remember the 3 B’s: Bibles, Bullets, & Batteries!

UPDATE:

The comment-writer responded to my decision with this comment, which I approved (he awkwardly posted it in the contact link to my email address, which I have no control of):

I understand your editorial decision to remove my post mentioning biblical prophecy. I can’t say that I blame you, based on the focus of your site that you wish to preserve. Religious wackos could definitely hijack this blog, and they unfortunately taint the opinions of the more level headed evangelical Christians. Some sites have such ridiculous religous perspectives posted, they are a waste of time to read.

I just started subscribing to “Survive a Nuke Attack” a few days ago and enjoy the discussion. Nice site.

Thanks,

Jim

Journalist Paul L. Williams talks about an ‘American Hiroshima’

Posted December 11, 2007 by surviveanukeattack
Categories: Probability

Tags: ,

My post of 10/25/07 (“How much is that nuclear bomb in the window?”) mentions award winning journalist Paul L Williams. He has a large body of work documenting attempts by terrorist groups to obtain enriched uranium and nuclear weapons and their conviction to use them. He was interviewed on 11/28/07 on a radio show called Third Rail Radio, which bills itself as “politically abrasive new media radio” talking about “the stuff that old media won’t touch.” He talks about nuclear terrorism and you can listen to the podcast here. It’s just audio and runs, I’m guessing, about 45 minutes.

Dr. Williams has an impressive bio. He was a consultant to the FBI. He has been a subject on PBS, History and Discovery channels and is a guest on Fox News, MSNBC and NPR. He won the National Book Award and has written numerous books on terrorism, the latest being, The Day of Islam: The Annihilation of America and the Western World.

‘…widespread panic, chaos and death is inevitable and will happen soon…’

Posted December 6, 2007 by surviveanukeattack
Categories: Probability

Tags:

When it comes to nuclear weapons, Iran still gets all the headlines. They cancelled their nuke program…blah blah…I get it. But google for the “International Conference on Illicit Nuclear Trafficking,” a meeting just two weeks ago, and there’s virtually no press.

If you follow the last link in my post of 11/30/07 (“Nuclear Terrorism News”) about a warning from a top UK official, you eventually get to a piece from Scotland’s Sunday Herald, “Top police officer warns that nuclear attack is inevitable.” The article is about the conference noted above, which took place in Edinburgh. It was hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency and was attended by 300 experts from 70 countries. I’m heartened to see the world taking action—wait, correction, I mean they’re talking about the problem.

Sorry to be cynical, I’m sure there’s action being taken. Wait, correction, I don’t know if there’s any action—I barely knew there was a meeting—but I hope there’s action. What I do know is that, from my perch, there’s a lack of information being published on nuclear terrorism.

Here are some excerpts from the Sunday Herald article that raised my eyebrows or dropped my jaw or made me spill my coffee:

A nuclear attack by terrorists causing widespread panic, chaos and death is inevitable and will happen soon, a senior Scottish police officer has warned.

Ian Dickinson, who leads the police response to chemical, biological and nuclear threats in Scotland, has painted the bleakest picture yet of the dangers the world now faces.

Efforts to prevent terrorist groups from obtaining materials that could be made into radioactive dirty bombs – or even crude nuclear explosives – are bound to fail, he said. And the result will be horror on an unprecedented scale.

“These materials are undoubtedly out there, and undoubtedly will end up in terrorists’ hands, and undoubtedly will be used by terrorists some time soon,’ he declared. ‘We must plan for failure and prepare for absolute terror…”

He said: “An incident will continue for days and all the public will see is people dying without reason. What will we do when our children come home from school with blisters on their skin and their parents don’t know what to do…”

Worldwide efforts to stem the spread of radioactive materials by the governments represented at the conference were vital, Dickinson concluded. “But the sad fact is that your work will fail.”

Dickinson’s nightmare analysis was backed up by Dr Frank Barnaby, a nuclear consultant who used to work at the Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment in Berkshire. “The amazing thing is that this hasn’t happened already,” he told the Sunday Herald.

“We should expect it any minute. It’s an obvious thing for a terrorist to do. A primitive nuclear explosion would simply eliminate the centre of a city like Glasgow or Edinburgh….”

Richard Hoskins, from the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Office of Nuclear Security in Vienna, revealed that there had been 1266 confirmed incidents in which radioactive materials had been stolen or lost around the world since 1993.