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Thread: So there's a nuclear war...

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Langrenus's Avatar
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    Apr 2007

    Default So there's a nuclear war...

    This doesn't really fit here at all, but I didn't feel that the bonfire or fluff zone were really that appropriate. Given Russia's recent posturing (that might be unfair; NATO has continued with flights since the Russians suspended theirs in the 1990's) this is vaguely topical/political.

    I've just finished reading The Bomb: A Life (5 quid in hardback, a bargain) and have made my usual mistake of chasing up all of the references I can get hold of. Which is enormously time-consuming.

    Anyway, one chapter made reference to a BBC 'docudrama' called Threads. I don't really expect anyone to watch it in full (and if you get your kicks out of Matrix-esque special effects, don't even bother trying), but it was probably the single most depressing piece of film I've ever watched. A synopsis can be found at Wikipedia (shock horror). In short, there's a conflict over Iran (heh) which leads to a full nuclear conflict. Britain (and presumably the rest of the world) suffers horrendous casualties, the effects of fall-out, the breakdown of social order, etc, etc.

    "Great, but where's this going?" I hear you cry. Well, two hypothetical questions:

    1) News reports indicate growing tensions between the US and Russia; ships have been sunk, troops have been deployed somewhere (let's stick with Threads - the conflict is brewing in the Middle East). The press is full of stories of escalating tensions. You've got a pretty strong feeling that nuclear weapons will be exchanged within the next two weeks. What do you do?
    2) Ignoring (or perhaps taking into consideration, depending on your response) question (1) above, you've just received the 4-minute warning. What do you do?

    Options are obviously numerous - do you build a shelter? Stock up on basic foodstuffs? Run to the hills? Seek death over life in a post-apocalyptic (I'm sure that's a contradiction in terms) world? Spend time with loved ones?

    Obviously responses should consider the fact that (most) human beings are semi-rational actors and will pursue predictable paths; so if you plan to stock up on food, how do you plan to cope with millions of other people doing the same? If you plan to pursue a might-is-right approach, how would you go about it in light of the fact that there's always someone stronger?

    Answers on a postcard please...
    January has April's showers
    And 2 and 2 always makes a 5

  2. #2


    I'm not sure what I'd do, that requires a bit of thinking. But I just wanted to say that I saw "Threads" probably 10 years ago, and it has stuck with me. I agree that it was probably the most depressing and horrifying film I've ever seen. I think it's one of the very few works of art that could change people's minds about things.

  3. #3
    Junior Member Array GC Age's Avatar
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    Aug 2007



    Option A-Get in a car and go on a "vacation" up north somewhere....I was thinking Northern British Columbia or the Yukon...though the Hudson's bay region might be an euqally good idea.

    Complications with this: As already stated thousands might rush that way and thus it might be a bad idea since the roads would be crowded and since supples to those remote regions are very limited (very few roads) thus cutting off the supply line is very easy to do. Also shelter will be extremely hard to find in these remote regions if it is crowded....consider caves/vehicles the best possible fall out shelter if it comes to it, it is unlikely anything else even a house will be available)

    Option 2- Hold it out. Now if most people are evacuating and fleeing and it is almost certain an attack will come it might be better to stay where I am (a little known city in Canada). Now this also has complications, food/temporary supplies might be limited but they would be easy to replenish. If most of the population has gone of to the hills this might allow for excess stores of other materials. Build a shelter (or take over a preexisting building)

    complications: This assumes a large amount of the population has evacuated thus allowing for more supples (biggest advantage). It also assumes my little known city is not a likely target. Other problems would arise such as rioting and general lawlessness....and possible shut down of utilities (though this problem is more easily solved then of course if you where in the middle of no where.

    Option 3-Leave the city but head instead to out lying communities within maybe 50-150km. This choice would cut down on time of travel and allow more time to bunker down. Now choosing a direction of travel for this location will be difficult but biggest things to be considered would be distance from potential targets and away from the typical direction of prevailing winds. As well this route should be less crowded then the other escape if reach a community it doesn't be depleted of resources as would communities along the routes of escape. Build a shelter....

    Problems: Mix of problems from both yet this allows for quick travel to the city if in desperate need of supplies. It also protects you from the biggest damage of a nuclear strike in the near region....these smaller communities would have good transportation system due to their proximity to the city so supplies might arrive much easier then the remote regions...

    With option 1- not much to do(since you are far away)....consider wind directions possibly shield any electronics if an EMP is used....probably get "indoors" and pray?

    With option 2- use running....get into the make shift shelter that has been built(which will probably be useless but it is worth a try).

    With option 3- Get into the makeshift shelter that has been built, consider wind directions and shield electronics. pray?
    Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young.
    J. K. Rowling

  4. #4


    Assuming it's not in the fallout zone (check wind/weather patterns), and in forested area, the chances of survival are much greater in more remote areas for these reasons:

    1. Avoiding the initial blast (and fallout), which is likely to target a military base or large city.

    2. Avoiding the hordes of people who will form into gangs and raid others for supplies to survive. Even Rambo probably couldn't defend himself against this.

    3. Disease outbreaks in populated areas will be widespread due to poor health and sanitation.

    4. Availability of shelter, firewood, water, and food in wilderness areas. But, you have to know how to obtain these.

    5. Occupation or attacks by foreign armies will generally focus on military bases and large cities.

  5. #5
    Junior Member Array TheGreatMartini's Avatar
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    Sep 2007


    Hmm... On the premise that this is all hypothetical and anything goes (no matter how loopy or far-fetched): If you were really bright and had access to the right materials, you could just build your own bomb(s) and then preempt the whole thing.

  6. #6
    only bites when provoked Array
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    Too many unknown variables.

    Case 1:
    a) Are you one of a select few that "has a pretty strong feeling" this is coming, or is this a common feeling?
    b) Where were ships sunk?
    c) Where are troops being deployed?

    Case 2:
    Since I must ignore for this one, chances are I would die from fallout as the military bases in the area would likely be among the first targets. I would have effectively no chance of survival, though this rocky outcrop I live on might defend me from the initial blast. If anyone is able to provide assistance to survivors, though, I'm in an area that would almost certainly be among the earliest to be evacuated.
    I 100%, N 88%, T 88%, J 75%

    Disclaimer: The above is my opinion and mine alone, it does not mean I cannot change my mind, nor does it guarantee that my comments are related to any deep-seated convictions. Take everything I say with a whole snowplow worth of salt and call me in the morning, if you can.

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