The Rise Of The Atom To Omnipotence In The Thin Skin Of Our Biosphere

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The Rise Of The Atom To Omnipotence In The Thin Skin Of Our Biosphere by King Anderson – Hornby Island

I’m here on the eastern edge of the outer island on the inland sea, next to the weird island which is next to the big island, which is nestled along the western edge of Turtle Island in the northern hemisphere of a very small blue planet called Urth (Earth) that is mostly covered in water.   Every 24 hours if I choose I can sit on the beach and watch the nearest star rise above the horizon to warm the day.  

Urth at its equator spins/rotates at about 1000 miles per hour.  It moves around the nearest star at 18.5 miles per second or 67,000 miles per hour and it takes about a year (our time) to go around the star once.  The nearest star and its planetary system is moving through the Via Lactea Galaxy at approximately 450,000 miles per hour.  So fasten your seat-belts kids, hang on to your hats and keep an eye on the space weather!   

At its equator Urth is 7926 miles in diameter and the one world ocean that surrounds the planet is almost 7 miles at its deepest.  The highest point of land in the ocean of air is Mount Everest, 5 miles high.  So the biosphere is about 12 miles thick and contains all the plant, animal, insect, reptiles, birds and ocean life AND over 8 billion human beings.   The biosphere contains all the needed air, water and soil to nourish all the life we know, from the giant whales to the microbes, bacteria and viruses.  The zone that sustains most of life on Urth is actually about 5 miles thick.   In scale, if Urth was reduced to the size of a high school classroom globe, our biosphere is thinner than a coat of paint on the globe. 

Here’s where it gets interesting, like not even a hundred years ago … since 1945 and the end of World War 2 a number of countries on Urth developed and produced atomic & nuclear bombs.   By 1986 there were 70,300 of them !!  Since then over 12,000 of them have been dismantled and are stored but not destroyed.   Now in 2024 Russia has 1674 nuclear missiles ready to launch and the USA has 1770 missiles ready to launch, all at a moments notice.   Available online statistics vary somewhat, but still, WTF ?!!  

Around the world in this thin skin of the biosphere there are 416 atomic power stations producing electricity.   They create 400,000 tons of radioactive waste every year, along with all the waste from the production, maintenance and decommissioning of all the nuclear submarines, nuclear aircraft carriers, plus all the nuclear weapons.  Most of this radioactive waste has to be isolated from the biosphere for 10,000 to 250,000 years.  For instance plutonium has a half life of 24,000 years.

For the past 20 years Finland has been digging deep storage tunnels into the bedrock to store their nuclear waste.   It is called Onkalo (cave or hiding place) and many documentaries can been seen online about this project.  In a few years Finland will start permanently storing their nuclear waste in these tunnels.   One documentary said that the Onkalo project will take 200 years, generations to complete.  How does the nuclear industry communicate to people 10,000 years or further into the future, to tell them to stay away from this poisonous radioactive shit?  Interesting language and semiotics problem.

In America there is a huge controversial nuclear waste storage cavern in New Mexico.  Over our southern border in Washington State by the Columbia River is the Hanford Nuclear Reservation set up in 1943 for the Manhattan Project which created the world’s first atomic bombs.   Many thanks, Oppenheimer.   Hanford is full of many temporary storage sites for America’s nuclear waste that hopefully is slated for permanent storage in Yucca Mountain in Nevada.  That project is also fraught with atomic problems to this day, see Wikipedia for details.  In August 2023 the Fukushima Nuclear Power plant in Japan dumped 13 million tons of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean … O Well.  The whales are going to love that.

New York journalist author, Annie Jacobsen has a new book, “Nuclear War” which spells out all the gory details of what will happen if nuclear war suddenly happens.  There are interviews with Annie Jacobsen on YouTube if you really want to scare the shit out of yourself.  Now Putin is rattling his atomic sabre and all of Europe is nervous.  

North Korea could launch a missile and 20 minutes later detonate a high altitude nuclear pulse bomb (HEMP) over the centre of North America.   That would black out all the electricity that runs the cities, no more smart phones, most cars won’t run, no refrigeration, nothing would work in your house … what would happen after that?  

In the US response to North Korea, Russia could think it was being attacked and launch 1000 nukes at all the major cities in North America, and all of the continent would be consumed by fire.   The US president would fly around & around in Air Force One until it ran out of fuel.   How would American nuclear submarines with their nuclear missiles in the oceans around the world respond?   In a significant exchange between North Korea, the USA and Russia of the nuclear missiles on high alert, our northern hemisphere would become uninhabitable.  The very few survivors would envy the dead.   A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.

Nuclear nations on Urth are aware of this horrific outcome, as a result there is a deterrent policy called, Mutually Assured Destruction … and it is truly MAD and F@&K#D UP !!   Will MAD stop the irradiation of the northern hemisphere and our thin skin life support system ? … I sure hope so.   By the way Nuclear Winter is not the answer to Global Warming. 

The Doomsday Clock at the University of Chicago creeps closer and closer to Midnight.  Doctor Strangelove is getting ready to leap out of his wheelchair and kiss his ass goodbye.  

Sometimes I wonder how many more times I can sit on the beach in this thin skin of air and water and watch the nearest star rise above the edge of the world, on this very small pale blue dot of a planet in this vast and infinite universe.  Think about what has to be done.   Take good care out there and enjoy the days.