Wednesday, August 10, 2011

In memoriam: Thousands from Hiroshima and Nagasaki

On the anniversary week of the first use of atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it is stunning to watch this video.  Within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects killed 90,000–166,000 people in Hiroshima and 60,000–80,000 in Nagasaki.  Let's hope we never see such devastation again.

Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto has created a beautiful, undeniably scary time-lapse map of the 2053 nuclear explosions which have taken place between 1945 and 1998, beginning with the Manhattan Project's "Trinity" test near Los Alamos and concluding with Pakistan's nuclear tests in May of 1998. This leaves out North Korea's two alleged nuclear tests in this past decade (the legitimacy of both of which is not 100% clear).

Each nation gets a blip and a flashing dot on the map whenever they detonate a nuclear weapon, with a running tally kept on the top and bottom bars of the screen. Hashimoto, who began the project in 2003, says that he created it with the goal of showing"the fear and folly of nuclear weapons." It starts really slow — if you want to see real action, skip ahead to 1962 or so — but the buildup becomes overwhelming.


Anonymous said...

Extremely powerful!!!

Anonymous said...

One of the most difficult issues in teaching these sorts of catastrophic events to following generations,of course, is that it becomes merely something out of a history book for those who didn't live through it. (As an aside, I vividly recall wondering why George Bush didn't have Vietnam in mind as he ordered troops into Iraq and Afghanistan.)
As a bored high school history student myself, I think we need to drastically overhaul our history teaching methods, and maybe this sort of engage-all-the-senses graphic presentation is a way to do it. In addition, as we are seeing in the patient advocate movement, the power of story is critically important and should not be neglected either.