Friday… fun?

Via Joe.My.God., here’s a… um… fun browser-based mapping application you can use to simulate the detonation of a nuclear warhead over the city of you choice.  By selecting from a drop-down menu, you can drop anything from “Davy Crockett,” the smallest nuclear warhead ever produced by the United States, to the potential* nuclear blast yield of “Tsar Bomba,” the largest hydrogen warhead ever produced by humankind.

Aside from being a morbid distraction, I’m trying to decide if this would be an appropriate teaching tool to help students visualize a) the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II or b) the damage that could have been caused by a nuclear attack during the Cold War, such that they better understand the nuclear paranoia of mid-century.  One thing that struck me when I “detonated” Little Boy and Fat Man over my house in South Philadelphia was that the destruction didn’t reach out nearly as far as I expected, so I’m concerned that students would be… underwhelmed?  And although the program will show you how large an area would be immediately consumed by a fireball versus merely leveled by the resulting shock wave, the map is a little clinical for my taste.  When I’m teaching this kind of material, I really try to get students to empathize with the bombing victims, so for teaching Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I’ll probably stick to something like this:

Or this excerpt from one of my favorite documentaries:

No joke, Fog of War makes me cry pretty much every time I watch it.  Stupid Philip Glass score.

And as long as I’m basically free-associating YouTube clips here, this whole thing reminds me of Isao Hashimoto’s wonderful piece of video art, “1945-1998”:

When I watched this for the first time, I didn’t know about the history of French nuclear weapons testing in North Africa–I’m sure there’s an interesting study to be done there, if one hasn’t been done already.

Have fun bombing the crap out of your respective neighborhoods, y’all!


*When the Soviets tested it in 1961, they did so at only half yield–a measly 50 megatons.  Here’s more video!


Saturday Fun-Time Round-Up

1. My friend Ben’s December mix, You + Me, over at weiwabo, my friend Mon’s super-hip craft blog.  One of the tracks is a chillgaze* cover of The Hives’ “Hate to Say I Told You So,” and the whole thing makes for great writing music.  By the by, Mon is totally awesome and donated to Bike & Build to support my ride from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale over the Christmas/New Year interlude!  So go check her out, and listen to the mix!

She's crafty!

2. New video from Yelle for “Comme un enfant”:

Here’s the breakdown:



photo credit:


photo credit:

3. The Ronna & Beverly podcast, one of the few that I listen to religiously, and quite possibly the most consistently funny podcasts out there.  Jessica Chaffin and Jaime Denbo play middle-aged Jewish BFFs Ronna Glickman and Beverly Ginsburg, who host a podcast from Ronna’s immaculate living room in the Boston suburbs.  Although Chaffin and Denbo have been doing these characters at Upright Citizens Brigade for a few years and filmed a pilot for Showtime that was aired but never picked up, I first encountered them as guests on episode four of Julie Klausner’s also-hilarious How Was Your Week?, where the ladies discussed their favorite Holocaust films of all time.  Among the entries on Beverly’s list: Kramer vs. Kramer.

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4. Speaking of Julie Klausner, I missed the live version of How Was Your Week? because I was at a conference in St. Louis, but a recording of that performance (including the aforementioned Jessica Chaffin as Lorraine Bracco) aired a few weeks ago as episode 36 of the podcast.  I listened to it in and around New York City on the day that I went to do research at the Schomburg Center only to find it closed because of Veteran’s Day.  (that was fun) Julie and Billy Eichner discuss casting for the upcoming all-black remake of Steel Magnolias brightened my mood, to the point that I had to listen in installments, because my frantic giggling was distracting to the other patrons at whatever coffee shop in Brooklyn I decided to make into my office for the afternoon.  So that was fun.

Julie and Billy, who may or may not be my pretend husband. photo credit:

Bonus: The trailer for Billy Eichner’s show, Billy on the Street, which is set to premiere December 22 on Fuse, the network that brought you the professional career of William Hung…

…and the show Pants Off Dance Off, which inspired numerous house parties and a whole lot of pictures that are inappropriate to post here.

And that’s it.  Have a good weekend, people!

*I just made that up.  You’re welcome.

UPDATE: Never mind, “chillgaze” is actually a thing, which is just silly.