Random Stew It seemed like a good idea at the time.


Nuclear Peace

I'm an avid watcher of the History Channel. On a recent show about the Manhattan Project, the claim was made that theDeath rates from war world's death rate from war dropped dramatically with the creation of nuclear weapons. Before then, the rate had been on a continuous (and even exponential in the 20th century) rise throughout history. But that with the advent of nuclear weapons the war death rate dropped dramatically and has stayed at a (relatively) low level ever since. The unstated conclusion being that the threat of nuclear weapons has imposed some type of restraint on humankind's propensity for war making.

How interesting! As someone who grew up during the nuclear age with the Cold War doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction preventing the US and Russia from engaging in major military conflict, I had never thought of the Bomb as a lifesaving device. Nuclear arsenals as a boon to mankind. What a concept! Our doom as our salvation.

Legend has it that J. Robert Oppenheimer, director of the Manhattan Project, guessed this effect and named the first atomic test Trinity after being moved by the poetry of John Donne.

If you're interested, a quick trip to Google revealed this paper by Alex Roland, a professor at Duke University, in which he discusses the relationship between technology and war. His paper provides some of the statistics supporting the death rate argument.

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