Duck and Cover (with a mask)

Stories of our government yearning to show how great and helpful they are with their heads up their hind-sides, and you just wishing they would go away!
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#1 Duck and Cover (with a mask)

Post by bernomatic »

I was getting ready o go to a doctor's appointment this morning at a local hospital. Of course I was thinking about my mask and not forgetting it. Then I had a thought, isn't wearing a mask about as effective a solution as the old fifties doctrine of "duck and cover" for a nuclear bomb?
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#2 Re: Duck and Cover (with a mask)

Post by Commander »

Will our children/grandchildren, look back on the year 2020-21 with the Incredulity and irreverence that we look at the "duck and cover" time? I saw a meme on facebook with a picture of a true mask to protect against viruses, It's equivalent to what someone would wear post nuclear strike.

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#3 Re: Duck and Cover (with a mask)

Post by luke strawwalker »

Okay this is a pet peeve of mine, so here goes.

Duck and cover had a purpose, and it was good then and it's STILL good TODAY. It is equally effective for both nuclear and NON-nuclear large explosions, as well as most natural disasters like earthquakes, tornadoes or hurricanes or other destructive wind events (like derechos), asteroid/comet impacts, etc. Even accidental OR intentional explosions are included.

True enough, if you're "too close" to a large explosion, particularly a nuclear explosion, you will not survive and "duck and cover" won't save you. This is equally true of NON NUCLEAR explosions, be they from chemical plants, tanker trucks, natural gas leaks, train tank car explosions, ship fires leading to explosion, asteroid or comet impacts, volcanic explosions, etc. If the explosion is large enough and powerful enough to completely level the building your in, or you're close enough for secondary effects like heat, radiation, or subsequent fire to kill you anyway, then NO duck and cover won't save you. BUT...

The simple fact IS, that *MOST* people WILL be far enough away that basic "duck and cover" type precautions could save their lives and prevent serious even life threatening injuries! Look up "Nuke Map 3D by Alex Wellerstein" on your favorite search engine. Click the link it'll lead you to an interactive page where you can place a nuclear device anywhere in the world you want, choose from various preset types of historic (and current) nuclear weapons, even program your own variables in if you so choose (and have an inkling what you're doing) and then click "detonate" to set it off. It automatically calculates and overlays the "effects rings" you preselected from a menu of various effects levels (from total and complete blast damage down through various levels to the 2 PSI level which usually is enough to flatten houses, to broken windows and other minor effects, to various prompt radiation levels from instantly fatal to below threshold for radiation sickness, and heat rings from "exposed flammable material instantly ignites" to various "probability of first, second, or third degree burns to individuals standing in the open" for each type of burn. You can even move a "flag" around to "Sample" the conditions at that particular point on the map, to see what the effects of the explosion would have been at that particular area. It also will generate a summary table computing probable casualties and destruction, radiation, etc. It will even calculate possible fallout clouds and intensity of fallout and is adjustable for prevailing wind conditions (though ALL weather factors basically play into fallout patterns and thus vary continuously so should be taken with a grain of salt of course, but it's still an interesting and useful tool to get the basic ideas down.)

Simple geometry and the areas of circles will prove that the area and therefore number of people sufficiently distant from an explosion is FAR larger than those in the immediate vicinity who are killed outright. That is, if they're not IDIOTS and don't do things that place themselves in mortal danger, which will probably lead to life-ending or severe life-threatening injuries! Some people WILL simply be victims of bad luck, wrong place at the wrong time, and will sadly lose their lives as a consequence, BUT, for the MILLIONS who COULD have been spared permanent or life-threatening severe injuries by simple preventive measures, well, that is totally UNNECESSARY and unconscionable.

For instance, let's consider the Halifax explosion. There's a number of good Youtube videos for those not familiar with it, but basically it was a 3 kiloton explosion of a ship in the river through the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, during World War 1. Two ships collided, one carrying thousands of tons of amitol and picric acid, both high explosives. The ship caught fire and the crew tried to control it, realized it was futile, and evacuated. Hundreds to thousands of onlookers gathered on the shore to watch the events unfold, when suddenly the ship exploded with the largest (then) non-nuclear explosion in history. The resulting blast wave killed hundreds outright and hundreds more when the huge tsunami raised by the ship's sudden and complete obliteration blew a huge "hole" in the water, surging ashore and devastating areas of the city. The blast wave rolled across the city, killing and seriously injuring and permanently maiming thousands more as they STOOD AT THEIR WINDOWS GAWKING at the mushroom cloud and fireball rising in the sky. While they were watching this SILENT SPECTACLE (since the speed of light FAR exceeds the speed of sound, and thus the speed at which shock/blast waves travel through the atmosphere) the shock wave was moving outward at the speed of sound and arrived, depending on distance, from seconds to over a minute later... when it arrived, it was powerful enough to demolish or severely damage houses and buildings, and blow the GLASS WINDOWS in with terrifying force, and those standing in front of those windows were suddenly showered with a huge "shotgun blast" of shattered razor-sharp glass that literally cut them to ribbons. Many died outright of severed arteries or jugular veins or subsequently died of massive blood loss or puncture wounds to their body and organs, and THOUSANDS were permanently blinded as the glass simply put their eyes out or irretrievably damaged them beyond repair. Thousands of others got less severe but still substantial injuries from deep cuts and lacerations from flying glass, wood, and debris, or falling or thrown objects, etc.

*IF* they had sought shelter, even diving under a table or moving to an interior hallway or standing in a door jamb far away from windows, hiding in basements or even laying flat on the ground outside, they could have TOTALLY avoided these horrible traumatic and in many cases permanently debilitating or possibly life-ending injuries... All they had to do was "duck and cover" (which granted, that particular civil defense strategy and film didn't come out until the 1950's, 40 years later, but the principles were the same beforehand).

That's why I taught my daughter about "duck and cover" before she ever started school. Going to a suburban school outside Houston, an obvious nuclear target as well as ringed by most of the nation's petrochemical plants, as well as having the Houston Ship Channel with its myriad ships coming and going, and the constant possibility of a large explosion of WHATEVER type, in addition to the current crop of lunatics and terrorists running the world (this country included) it's just a simple, common sense thing that could have potentially saved her life if the *oops you said word #1 hit the fan...

When it does hit the fan, knowing people nowadays as I do, there will be countless thousands to millions who will needlessly be severely injured or killed, because they'll all be standing at the windows gawking with their cell phones out shooting tik-toks of the event, when the blast wave arrives suddenly and shreds them all to hamburger or collapses the building on them and crushes them with debris. While huddling under a desk won't save you if 50000 tons of concrete come down on you, it certainly will save you from a couple hundred pounds of debris or equipment jarred loose from the ceiling.

I read a study years ago that even in a full-out nuclear attack by the Soviet Union on the US, I mean them firing everything they had at us, and us retaliating in kind, that only about 10% of the population would be killed OUTRIGHT, INSTANTLY, as a result of the detonations. Those people will be those unfortunate enough to be within about five miles of ground zeros, or less depending on the yield of the warheads, sometimes substantially less. MOST people are simply OUTSIDE that immediate "death zone" because of sheer geometry of areas of a circle compared with radius (distance from the center). IOW, while a large nuclear weapon might totally vaporize an area of 10 square miles, there will be another 2000-3000 square miles SURROUNDING IT that will suffer various levels of severe damage, from near total destruction to nearly nothing occurring. MOST people will of course be in those SURROUNDING areas simply because of geometric reality. THOSE are the people whom "duck and cover" could potentially save from serious life-threatening or life ending injury... or at least lessen the severity of their injuries from "unsurvivable" to "survivable". Even the duck and cover exercises of covering oneself with a newspaper if caught outdoors in a nuclear explosion, could protect against third degree burns from instant heat pulse of the nuclear detonation-- better for the newspaper to "take the heat" and catch fire than your skin and clothing. You might still get burned, but it would be FAR less severely and thus more survivable.

BUT, people have CONVINCED themselves, completely ignorantly of the actual effects of nuclear weapons and distance and scaling laws and attenuation and all of that, the "if a nuke goes off I'll be instantly vaporized" and that is simply NOT TRUE for about 90% of the population... MOST of the deaths from a nuclear war would be from horribly injured and burned people that, IF THEY HAD ONLY TAKEN SOME MEASURES TO PROTECT THEMSELVES, *COULD* have avoided the worst of the injuries or been TOTALLY UNINJURED AT ALL... medical care in ANY sort of mass explosion, of whatever type or kind, will be totally overwhelmed in the immediate aftermath and, depending on the severity and widespread-ness of the event, may be hampered or critically short for some period of time if not more or less "permanently" in the event of a nuclear war or asteroid strike, in a regional or continental or worldwide disaster. Those who are uninjured will have a FAR FAR greater probability of surviving the disaster itself and surviving long-term, while those with severe injuries will have a near-virtual death sentence...

It's up to you. OL J R :)
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