Google Maps Mania recently pointed out an interesting applet built by Carlos Labs (see below) that gives an estimate of the amount of damage a variety of nuclear devices would cause if set off somewhere in the world.
The applet uses the Google Maps API and allows the user to take a look at the thermal, pressure and fallout damage (based on wind direction) from a variety of preset yields. At the low end is the 6 kiloton device recently exploded by the North Koreans. At the other end is the Soviet Union's 50 megaton Tsar Bomba which would burn or blow down everything from Washington to Baltimore. Fat Man, Little Boy, suitcase bombs and the dinosaur-exterminating asteroid impact are thrown in "for fun".
(Note: The app does not allow me to pre-set the starting point. It seems to randomly rotate to large cities. If your city pops up in the display, please do not assume that I hate you...)
For us cold warriors this is pretty old news. We were exposed to these kinds of graphics for most of our lives. For the younger generation, I suspect it is a little unnerving.
Anyone want to stay up and watch Special Bulletin tonight?