In November of 1975, H.C. Dudley, a professor of radiation physics at the University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago, published an article in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists titled ‘The Ultimate Catastrophe.’  Dudley, though perhaps on the wrong side of governmental secrecy regarding nuclear weapons thought, was challenging core assumptions that pervaded decades of simulation, modelling, and war gaming of nuclear conflict.
From a weapons standpoint, the US military initially saw Fat Man and Little Boy as big bombs—the biggest ever, a way to fit one thousand planes worth of boom into a single B-29. Officials were at first reluctant to admit to lethal contingencies. In a letter to General Groves dated August 25, 1945, one US Lt. Col said of reports that people were “doomed to die of radioactivity burns”: “I think it’s good propaganda. The thing is these people got good and burned—good thermal burns.”[2-a] The discovery of radioactive tuna sourced from Japan in 1954 was hidden from Japanese diplomats. [2-b] Simulated damage in early explosion scenarios were sometimes limited to blast effects, ignoring the possibility of fallout, firestorms, etc. These refusals of admission culminated in the design of war plans that some thinkers would go on to call ‘overkill.’ [2-d]Continue reading →
I was fiddling around on my YouTube account today when I noticed that you can now see a navigable transcript of whatever video you happen to be watching. In other words, you can click on a given line in the transcript and skip ahead to that moment in the video.
Their transcription code needs a little work though; here’s YouTube’s take on a poem I recently performed at the Austin Poetry Slam. It’s got a real ring to it. I might even opt to perform this version the next time I get on stage.
this poem is called reduce reuse recycle
the weddings as i a grandmother underbelly behind k so never recommend
something up for those of us forty hot
but seriously injured
where did they considered
i never asked
they didn’t mind that when when twenty two-year-old didn’t read it
but this is able to …more →
I packed up my car, I call him Harvey the Honda, and headed to Austin after graduation.
On the outer banks of North Carolina I learned that wild horses weren’t just song lyrics. In New Orleans the crickets played jazz; my bread pudding was as pleasant as today’s sunshine when yesterday was cloudy and cold. The bats came out to welcome me in Austin but the grass, which waved to me along my entire journey, was still and said, please, I’m so thirsty.
The sky is bigger in Texas, too big and that’s why it hadn’t rained. You need to squeeze the clouds tighter to get the juice out of them.
With a few hundred dollars to spare, I flew to Montana for three days to see what it looked like. I camped at a lake beneath snowcapped mountains and read by the full moon’s light.
I think the expression typically cites a horse, but I don’t know anyone who actually eats horsemeat, so this version seems a little more reasonable.
Have you ever heard that expression and wondered, jeez, how many calories would that be? I have, and I’ll take it a step further, what could you do with all that energy?
You’ve probably heard the number 2000 kcal floated around as the minimum daily amount of energy a person needs to function properly. In reality, that number depends on a number of factors, and the average requirement for a full-grown adult is probably closer to 2500 kcal. The typical American consumes over 3700 (this “consumption” figure also includes food waste), and you can find the full breakdown of calorie consumption per capita by country here.
But what does that number mean? What do our bodies do with …more →
Admission to Harvard is need-blind, by which we mean that financial need is not an impediment to admission…
Financial aid at Harvard is entirely need–based and we are committed to meeting the demonstrated need of all students.
Other top US universities offer similar guarantees to prospective applicants. The full list can be viewed here.
On paper it’s a noble philosophy, a refreshing piece of evidence that success can be had without buying it. Looking down the road, policies like these at the gateways of our top universities shine light on the path toward class mobility and the un-disenfranchisement of our nation’s minority groups.
Sadly, according to the numbers it’s just false.
To show this, we first need to consider what makes a strong candidate for admission to a school like Harvard. If you ask anyone with professional experience in the college admission industry, you’ll likely hear him or …more →
The story is a familiar one. An aspiring writer loved to read as a child. The book store was her candy shop. She forwent television for the sake of devouring the classics, and she now has pristine prose to show for it.
My story is not quite that one, but is equally familiar. When I was a child, I loved video games. I loved them ever since my father introduced me to my first one: Super Mario World.
Yes, I loved books too. But you would not find the ‘classics’ in my second grade personal library. In their stead you found Michael Crichton, Anne McCaffrey and Terry Goodkind. While I remember their work very fondly, I do not place it on the same shelf as Mark Twain.
Like most parents would, my parents encouraged my reading habit and discouraged my (sometimes excessive) video game habit. You’re going to melt your brain, they said!
Anyone who has been a part of athletics or a fitness community has likely heard this question in regards to a particular exercise:
“Yea, but what muscle(s) does it work?”
I have been asked this question by my collegiate teammates, friends, family, and strangers at the gym. I am never offended by it, but the asker is often disappointed with my response.
“I don’t think you’re asking the right question.”
Granted, for some people it is the right question. If you’re a body builder and one of the judges in your last competition complained about how your forearms are wider than your calves, it’s the perfect question. But I am not a bodybuilder, most people are not bodybuilders, and I have never been asked this question by a bodybuilder. A bodybuilder would answer it much better than I could.
But as a collegiate-turned-recreational athlete, training your body by isolating and activating specific muscles is like …more →
For a proper introduction to this series, please see part I. Here goes part II:
Silence. Solitude. Thought. That magical moment just before you fall asleep during which the pressures of the day have vanished and those of the next are yet to take hold. All are an escape, a temporary relief from the never-ending pressures of reality. For a long time I have been able to retreat to my mind whenever I have been perturbed, tired or simply needed a few minutes alone. It has always been there asa back way out of any problem. I used it to solve problems in my life, to invent simple stories to entertain myself and relieve my mind from the stresses of these problems. Sometimes I would contemplate matters and concepts such as the vastness of the universe and its origins, in a vain attempt to understand that which I knew I …more →
My father recently visited me in Austin. He brought a few things from home in a goodie bag that says ‘happy birthday’ on it. Video games, a NYG scarf, and a little book of vignettes I wrote in the ninth grade.
It’s a pretty funny, and scary, thing to read things you wrote in the past. When you write (or do anything else) every day, you get this fantastic sense that you’re getting better at it. So to look at something you produced in the past is to look at something worse than you could produce now. I think that’s the reasoning behind my nervousness in opening old work.
But to sit as a 23 year old you and read something written by the thirteen year old you, that’s something else entirely. Something I do not have a word for. Sure, I remember my freshman year of high school. I remember …more →