Friday is Going to Die in a Nuclear Fireball

I happened across that fascinating little video this week sometime, and it’s a really odd mixture of hypnotic, fascinating and really quite unsettling.

The video is simply a plot of nuclear explosions over time, and despite being ten minutes in length, is nevertheless really difficult to turn away from.  What’s particularly disturbing is watching how a flurry of test detonations in any one country seems to trigger a retaliatory fit of posturing in another.

It’s also kind of chilling to watch the increases in activity triggered by events like the Cuban Missile Crisis.  It’s easy to think now that they’d never have really done it, but human beings are not particularly good at measuring self-interest when they decide that someone needs to be taught a lesson.  In fact being willing to inflict harm on yourself just to punish someone else with sufficient force is a notable quirk of how collective morality is maintained by social animals. So umm… yes, it was probably closer than we allow ourselves to think from the safe distance of 2011.

Human beings seem to have particularly laughable memories when it comes to this sort of thing actually.  I was spectacularly annoyed by all the financial analysts proclaiming the worst recession since the Great Depression, when the housing and credit markets collapsed a few years back.  Fuck, were none of these cunts alive during the eighties?

I know we remember the eighties as being full of comical haircuts, synth pop and twats from ‘The City’* making shitloads of money, but it was also the decade which spawned the Miners’ Strikes, the Poll Tax Riots (just) and Boys From the Black Stuff.

And even as a kid I remember the threat of nuclear annihilation feeling very, very real.  All this chat about the world not being a safe place now because of the ever-present terrorist threat is total bollocks.  The IRA were extremely active during the eighties, and they’ve killed more people than fucking Al Qaeda (thanks America, sucks when people harbour terrorists, doesn’t it), but beyond that we all lived with that constant feeling of low-level dread that at some point the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. might actual just melt humanity clean off the face of the fucking planet.

So umm, how about some fun, after that little rant then.

1. Can you think of a decent song about nuclear armageddon?
2. Name someone nowadays you would least trust with the Big Red Button.
3. Was there anything good about the Cold War?
4. Where were you when the Wall came down?
5. Who seems most likely to go fucking mental and nuke someone in the current political landscape?

M.J. Hibbett and the Validators – The Fight for History

Phil Ochs – Talking Cuban Crisis

Tom Lehrer – We Will All Go Together When We Go

Billy Bragg – Think Again (Dick Gaughan Cover)

The Piranhas – Tom Hark

*The City?  That’s lovely, which one?

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