Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bravo Castle Bravo

This afternoon during my prep as I searched Youtube for a video to show my students some archival footage of nuclear tests to impress upon them the true scale of nuclear weapons as we begin our Cold War unit, something my oral checks for prior knowledge from them earlier today have revealed most of them know dangerously little, brought me to this gem of an excerpt from the award-winning documentary "Trinity & Beyond" which I now share with you here replete with accompanying creepy-ominous sound score. The Castle Bravo above-ground nuclear weapon test on March 1, 1954, went terribly wrong as scientists miscalculated that Lithium-7 would be inert in the reaction when in fact it along with Lithium-6 were both quite reactive. The explosion was supposed to be 6 megatons strong, but actually turned out to be 15 megatons, 250% more powerful than expected. There was unexpected damage as well as unintentional injuries to local islanders and itinerant Japanese fishermen. The fireball started out at 4.2 miles in diameter and maxed out at 7 miles in diameter.

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