Thursday, July 29, 2010

Red hot movie alert!

Countdown to Zero is opening this weekend at theatres across the nation. It’s already playing in some cities, and we are mobilizing the masses to go out and see it!

The film is a smart, well-crafted look at the present state of global affairs: nine nations possess nuclear weapon capabilities, and other nations are racing to join them. An act of terrorism, failed diplomacy, or a mere accident could devastate the earth and its people. Now is the time for change.

Your attendance (and that of your friends, relatives, spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, teachers, hairdressers, mechanics…well, you get the picture) will make a difference. We want to rock the box office, so that this film is distributed outside the major cities and word spreads like wildfire across the United States. Let’s put nonproliferation at the top of the national agenda. Let’s leave the past behind, and work towards a brighter, more human future. Let’s do this.

As you know, NAPF’s vision is a world at peace, free of the threat of war and free of weapons of mass destruction. This is one way to help make that vision a reality. 

If you are in the Los Angeles area, you can come and say hi with the NAPF staff at a screening this weekend! We will be attending the following screenings at Landmark 12 in West Los Angeles:
  • The 5:30 pmshowing on Friday, July 30
  • The 7:40 pm showing on Friday, July 30
  • The 9:50 pm showing on Friday, July 30 
  • The 7:40 pm showing on Sunday, August 1
If you won't be in the LA area, fear not!  Countdown to Zero may be playing at a theater near you, click here to check!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

An Unflinching Look At Afghanistan: What Do the WikiLeaks Afghan War Diaries Really Reveal?

By Jasmine Heiss

On July 26, WikiLeaks released a huge cache of more than 75,000 secret US military reports covering the war in Afghanistan. The full compendium of over 91,000 reports, known as the Afghan War Diary, is being hailed as the most significant archive about the reality of a war to have ever been released during the course of a conflict.

Despite their significance, the reports aren’t exactly polished journalistic writing. They are generally written by field units who are answering critical questions: Who, When, Where, What, With Whom, by What Means, and Why. To help make sense of this raw intelligence, Reader Supported News has published a comprehensive everyman’s reading guide (beginning about halfway down the page). One of the most valuable insights that the Reader Supported News offers is the deeply rooted origin of cover-ups: “When reporting their own activities US Units are inclined to classify civilian kills as insurgent kills, downplay the number of people killed or otherwise make excuses for themselves,” they observe. “Conversely, when reporting on the actions of non-US ISAF forces the reports tend to be frank or critical and when reporting on the Taliban or other rebel groups, bad behavior is described in comprehensive detail.”

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dear Mitt Romney, Please Learn How to Properly Structure an Argument

Three weeks ago, Mitt Romney penned a Washington Post op-ed entitled "Obama's Worst Foreign-Policy Mistake," chock full of misleading information and outright lies about New START.  His op-ed prompted a flurry of repudiation from across both aisles (Sen. Lugar, Sen. Kerry, Steven Pifer); even staunch anti-STARTer Senator Jon Kyl's (R-AZ) letter of response wasn't that supportive.  Kyl's article was more of an angry rant against Obama than a well-articulated claim that Romney's assertions were correct.

Scores of experts were called before various Congressional committees, and they all refuted every one of Romney's arguments: missile defense, rail-mobile missiles, ICBM-silo conversion, data sharing, and verification.

Anyway, that brings us to today.  Romney has responded to Senators, officials, and experts with a brand new op-ed in the National Review, in which he attempts to save face by re-iterating "Eight Problems with New START."  I say that Romney attempted to save face, because, well...when it comes down to it, he pretty much fails at any real argumentation skills.  Let me lay it out for you, Mitty.

Most academics go by Toumlin's Model of Argumentation, which stipulates that there are six--count 'em six--components of an argument: Claim, Qualifier, Grounds, Warrant, Backing, Rebuttal.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Check Out Steven Crandell's Latest Article at the Huffington Post!

 The fate of the planet does not usually hang on how we spend our leisure time.  But it will for the next few weeks.  So heed my words. Go to the movies. Take a friend. Watch the new film Countdown to Zero. Then invite more friends to see the movie.  Countdown to Zero will open your eyes to a nemesis that pretends to be a guard dog.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

More Tickets Available for Additional CTZ Showings...Get Yours Now!

To those in the LA area: The NAPF has 114 tickets available for a free screening of COUNTDOWN TO ZERO on Sunday, August 1st at 7:40 PM. Please request your free ticket hereKeep checking back...we are working to get additional tickets for the 5:30pm and 9:40pm showings on Friday, July 30.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Come See "Countdown to Zero"

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation has some exciting news: Countdown to Zero is coming to a theater near you! This movie presents an unprecedented opportunity to raise awareness about the dangers of nuclear weapons and a vital step to initiate positive change. You can play an active role! We are calling on you to help us by coming to see the movie and bringing a friend. You can find information about screenings in your city here. We would also like to ask you to invite your friends through facebook and other social media networking!
Thanks for your support,
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

Friday, July 16, 2010

The 65th Anniversary of the Nuclear Age

July 16, 1945 marked the beginning of the Nuclear Age. On that day, the United States conducted the first explosive test of an atomic device. The test was code-named Trinity and took place at the Alamogordo Test Range in New Mexico’s Jornada del Muerto Desert. The bomb itself was code-named “The Gadget.”

The Trinity test used a plutonium implosion device, the same type of weapon that would be used on the city of Nagasaki just three and a half weeks later. It had the explosive force of 20 kilotons of TNT.

The names associated with the test deserve reflection. “The Gadget,” something so simple and innocuous, was exploded in a desert whose name in Spanish means “Journey of Death.” Plutonium, the explosive force in the bomb, was named for Pluto, the Roman god of the underworld. The isotope of plutonium that was used in the bomb, plutonium-239, is one of the most deadly radioactive materials on the planet. It existed only in minute quantities on Earth before the US began creating it for use in its bombs by the fissioning of uranium-238.

There is no definitive explanation for why the test was named Trinity, but it generally seems most associated with a religious concept of God. The thoughts of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientific director of the project to create the bomb and the person who named the test, provide insights into the name:

“Why I chose the name is not clear, but I know what thoughts were in my mind. There is a poem of John Donne, written just before his death, which I know and love. From it a quotation: ‘As West and East / In all flatt Maps—and I am one—are one, / So death doth touch the Resurrection.’ That still does not make a Trinity, but in another, better known devotional poem Donne opens, ‘Batter my heart, three person'd God.’”

Monday, July 12, 2010

Officials Bust South African Nuclear Smugglers

Last Friday, officials arrested four South African men in the capital city of Pretoria for trying to sell an industrial machine containing nuclear material that could have been used to create a "dirty bomb."  The origin of the machine is unknown, although South Africa manufactures large amounts of medical equipment for cancer treatment. 

The nuclear material in question was cesium-137, the same kind of radioactive material used by Chechen terrorists in 1995.  The rebels buried the material in Moscow's Ismailovsky Park and told officials they would only reveal the burial sites if Russia withdrew its troops from Chechnya.  Russian military officials ultimately found the nuclear material with Geiger counters. 

While still in the machine, the cesium-137 remains relatively harmless.  If extracted, however, it can be used in a "dirty bomb."  South African police are on the hunt for the device in which the nuclear material was to be used.

This incident highlights the willingness of individuals to smuggle radioactive material for profit, as well as the reality of nuclear terrorism.  Thankfully, officials caught the smugglers before they could hand off the radioactive material, but will we be so lucky next time?

Friday, July 9, 2010

New START Op-Ed Roundup!

This week saw a slew of op-eds about New START. It began when The Washington Post published former MA governor Mitt Romney’s op-ed on Tuesday, June 6th. Not only did Romney toe the conservative line regarding the ratification of New START, but he also concocted some new gems most Republicans don’t even use, such as the issue of placing ICBMs on bombers. On Wednesday, John Kerry wrote his own op-ed slamming Romney; Kerry even got in a personal dig, claiming Romney blatantly ignored the facts because he was in a “footrace to the right against Sarah Palin.” The same day, Steven Pifer and Strobe Talbott, analysts from the Brookings Institution, also wrote op-eds for The Washington Post debunking Romney’s claims. Yesterday, Jon Kyl’s piece appeared in The Wall Street Journal. To nobody’s surprise, Kyl did not support New START, but his piece was considerably tamer than Romney’s.

Many bloggers have already written extensively about these op-eds, but here's a conciser version of what you need to know...links and highlights after the jump:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Animated Map of the 2,053 Nuclear Explosions Between 1945-1998

Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto created an animated map which shows the 2,053 nuclear tests which occurred between 1945 and 1998.  The final count (which does not include the two North Korean tests after 1998) is: US (1032), Russia (715), China (45), Great Britain (45), France (210), India (4), and Pakistan (2).  

Each test is represented by a metronomic blip, which, in the end, creates an eerie rhythm reminiscent of the exchange between humans and the alien spaceship in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  The 14 minute long video begins slowly--illuminating the first test in New Mexico, followed by the devastating bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945.  The blips incrementally accelerate, and by the late 1950s the map lights up with numerous tests between the U.S. and Russia.

Friday, July 2, 2010

NPR Highlights 1962 Nuclear Explosion in Space

Check out NPR's Robert Krulwich piece about the U.S. nuclear tests in space.  In 1962, the U.S. launched a nuclear device, a bomb 1000 times larger than the one that destroyed Hiroshima, and detonated it 250 miles above the Earth over the Pacific Ocean.  (Krulwich erroneously reports that this is the only nuclear explosion in space.  Both the U.S. and Russia tested nuclear weapons above the earth's atmosphere, as he indeeds reports later in the article.)

Codenamed "Starfish Prime," the military formulated this operation just days after the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belts, which surround Earth.  The plan was to send up several missiles in order to glean whether "a) If a bomb's radiation would make it harder to see what was up there (like incoming Russian missiles!); b) If an explosion would do any damage to objects nearby; c) If the Van Allen belts would move a blast down the bands to an earthly target (Moscow! for example); and — most peculiar — d) if a man-made explosion might "alter" the natural shape of the belts."

One hopes that this kind of testing never occurs again.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...