Monday, 9 September 2013

Destruction, Disarmament & Data

Sourced from "GradSchoolHub"

During public engagement excursions, many nuclear researchers tend to get asked a myriad of questions on the nuclear bomb. It's rather a grim issue - which is enveloped in a torrent of moral arguments - but is one we shouldn't shy away from tackling. However, if you even attempt to delve into the facts & figures surrounding weapons stockpiles and their potential impact it can leave you feeling like you've entered the Aztec Zone of the Crystal Maze.

Well, if you've ever wanted to take that plunge the folks over at "GradSchoolHub" have formulated this quirky infographic on the atomic age to get you started. The graphic contains all sorts of statistics from the breadth of international stockpiles to the escalating scale of weapons design. 

Even though some of the sources are attributed to that dreaded site of questionable authenticity, Wikipedia, you can most certainly glean some basic info from this very neat diagram! For instance, the figures associated with Megaton yield and casualties are broadly correct. However, the analogies used, along with the slightly skewed physical processes, do not aid the image's veracity. This infographic definitely raises the issue of how we can use a set of discrete data to project any number of views on a certain issue. Debate in the comments below!!

If you're also curious as to how many "bombs have been dropped" as it were, I've linked a time-lapse video of every nuclear explosion since 1945... It's actually pretty eye-opening!

Let me know your thoughts on weapons, disarmament policy and lies, damn lies & statistics?!

The Grim Facts About Global Nuclear Stockpiles

Source: The Grim Facts About Global Nuclear Stockpiles


  1. The blast radii are in miles squared - it's not so clear I agree but they're not that far off. 5000 miles means around a 70 mile radius. That's believable

    1. Thanks for the heads-up Toby; edited the article accordingly. Didn't notice "the miles squared" note, bad eyesight on my part. What do you think of the infographic though?

    2. It seems a very naive way of looking at things. For example, I hate comments like "A one megaton bomb dropped on a several million person city would leave up to 50 times more victims then there are hospital beds in America. I mean, who thinks these things up? It really gives no idea of context, except making it look really bad which is obviously the aim. Of course, the world isn't ready to deal with a huge bomb being dropped, which is why the small quote at the top right of the infographic is so important...

      "the only use for an atomic bomb is to keep someone else from using one".

      With N. Korea, Pakistan, Israel etc. all being armed, I don't think there's any other option unless someone can magic up some way of making nuclear weapons disappear. They're all in favour of disarmament here, but no mention of how to go about it.. Fabricating incomprehensible, uncorrelated facts really isn't helping anyone, no? Nuclear weapons are bad, yes, we get it - the thing we're interested in is how could we get rid of them!!

    3. Couldn't agree more when it comes to substantiating data with half-baked analogies. That's why I mentioned the idea of moulding data to reinforce a certain point of view in the preamble. Strikes me that many people believe the clinical nature of statistics automatically qualifies them as being indiscriminate, when - by the very nature of the human condition - we can only understand them via inherent analytical bias.

      I agree with N. Korea, Pakistan as well... To use an aforementioned half-baked analogy; it's the same concept as the revolver or Gatling gun. Once they were invented and engineered, those weapons irrevocably changed the face of war forever... To the point no one was willing to give them up through fear of the enemy striking against them with the very same technology. Simply creates a vicious cycle. I believe and hope we'll reduce our stockpiles but can only see a World in which it will happen exponentially, never reaching zero.