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Recreated horror: App to show consequences of Hiroshima bombing on your hometown

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

An app which allows one to envision and map out the scale of destruction of a nuclear bombing, similar to what happened in the Hiroshima blasts.

Photo credit: genius.com
Photo credit: genius.com

This app, Nukemap, developed by a historian of science, Alex Wellerstein, simulates the consequences of a nuclear bombing. It shows you the destruction which can happen if a bomb like the Little Boy bomb (codename of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima)—or more developed and more destructive bombs—were to be dropped in the fallout area or location mapped.

It shows you what will happen to your home if such a disastrous thing were to happen.

According to the app features, users can select from a range of locations, preset bombs (like Little Boy and Fat Man, which were dropped on Japan), choose exactly how the bomb is to be dropped and detonated—and you get to see the effects plotted on a map and the casualties counted up.

Public Radio International (PRI), a global non-profit media company, developed a similar application which shows the effects of the Hiroshima bombing on any other location.

According to a report prepared by the US Army one year after the Hiroshima attack, in the actual bombing about 66,000 people perished, 69,000 were injured and tens of thousands more were affected by radiation disease.

How hard is it to imagine this disaster and its destructive power once again?

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Japan commemorates 71st Anniversary of Hiroshima Nuclear Bombing on August 6

Washington argued the attacks were necessary to bring about a quicker end to the war and six days after the Nagasaki attack, Japan surrendered, ending the war

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center left, puts his arm around Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, center right, after they and fellow G7 foreign ministers laid wreaths at the cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan. Image source: VOA
  • The Hiroshima bombing killed around 140,000 people- either instantly or from radiation burns in the immediate aftermath
  • Another bomb was dropped on the port city of Nagasaki three days later, killing an estimated 70,000 residents
  • Obama was the first sitting U.S. president to visit the site, this year in 2016

About 50,000 people attended a ceremony on Saturday, August 6, 2016, at Hiroshima’s Peace Park near the bomb’s epicenter, marking the 71st anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima that led to the end of World War.

Mayor Kazumi Matsui called on world leaders to visit the site, like U.S. President Barack Obama did in May, 2016.

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Like Obama, Matsui said that such visits “will surely etch the reality of the atomic bombings in each heart.”

The Hiroshima bombing killed around 140,000 people either instantly or from radiation burns in the immediate aftermath.

Hiroshima after the bombing. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Hiroshima after the bombing. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Another bomb was dropped on the port city of Nagasaki three days later, killing an estimated 70,000 residents.

Washington argued the attacks were necessary to bring about a quicker end to the war.  Six days after the Nagasaki attack, Japan surrendered, ending the war.

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When he visited the site, Obama said, “We have a shared responsibility to look directly in the eye of history. We must ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again. We must re-imagine our connection to one another as members of the human race.”

Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to visit the bomb site.  He did not offer an apology for the bombing.  He had said he would not revisit then president Harry Truman’s decision.(VOA)

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Debate on morality regarding Barack Obama’s Historic Visit to Hiroshima

About 71 years ago, a mushroom shaped cloud lit up the sky over Hiroshima, and three days later over Nagasaki. Some 140,000 people in the two cities died within the year, and survivors and their children faced untold suffering due to radiation poisoning.

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, center left, puts his arm around Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida, center right, after they and fellow G7 foreign ministers laid wreaths at the cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan. Image source: VOA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTVH4JevrdI

During what may be his last tour of Asia, President Barack Obama will make history as the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, the site where the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb in wartime.

Even before the president sets foot on what many consider hallowed ground, the announcement has sparked new debate on the decision to drop the bomb, and whether the United States should apologize or if a U.S. president should even visit.  Obama is expected to make a statement from Hiroshima, and will likely have to navigate a symbolic minefield.

Nearly 71 years ago

It was a moment that literally changed the world nearly 71 years ago when a mushroom shaped cloud lit up the sky over Hiroshima, and three days later over Nagasaki.  Some 140,000 people in the two cities died within the year, and survivors and their children have faced untold suffering due to radiation poisoning.  The U.S. rationale for the decision was to bring years of Japanese aggression to a quick end, potentially saving many more lives than would have been lost in a U.S. invasion.  But many Japanese see it differently, saying innocent men, women and children were unnecessarily incinerated and poisoned.

Secretary of State John Kerry visited Hiroshima last month.  He said he was deeply moved and that “every human being” should visit the site.  Some experts think that should include the U.S. president, among them Chris Appy of the University of Massachusetts.  He told VOA: “I was very pleased that he decided to go.  I think just showing up is important symbolic act that many Japanese have wanted for a long time.”

But Appy says he thinks the United States should also apologize for the atomic bomb attacks, “I am disappointed that the president appears not willing to apologize.  After all I think in our personal lives, we consider it the height of maturity when an adult is willing to take responsibility and accountability for actions.  Particularly actions that lead to the suffering of the innocent victims.”

Others strongly disagree, including Brian Harding of the Center for American Progress, who told VOA, “The president will not be issuing an apology and the Japanese government is not asking for one either.”

Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims nuclear bombing. Image source: Wikipedia
Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims nuclear bombing. Image source: Wikipedia

‘Special Responsibility’ for atomic bomb use

White House officials have made clear that the president will not apologize.  White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “What I think the president does appreciate is that President [Harry] Truman made this decision for the right reason.”

But Earnest said the United States does have a “special responsibility” as the only country to have ever used an atomic bomb to work tirelessly for nuclear non-proliferation.

McCain opposes visit

Others, including many older Americans and war veterans oppose Obama’s visit.

Republican Senator John McCain is a decorated Vietnam War veteran who ran against Obama in 2008 for the presidency.  He told VOA he simply does not see the point of the trip, “I’m not in the business of telling the President of the United States where to go.  But where, what is the purpose of it?  In some ways, you dredge up very unpleasant memories, but if the President wants to go somewhere he can.”

It is not yet clear whether the president will meet with any of the few remaining survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The president will be accompanied in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  They will lay a wreath, and Obama will make a statement.

The White House says the leaders will highlight the horrors of war and the need to work towards a world without nuclear weapons. (VOA)

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US Army allows Sikh soldier to keep beard for now

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New York: In a rare religious accommodation to an active-duty combat soldier, the US Army has allowed a Sikh captain to grow his beard and wear a turban, a move that may have far-reaching implications for troops seeking to display their faith, a media report said.

Captain Simratpal Singh was forced to see his locks drop to the floor on his first day at the US Military Academy at West Point almost 10 years ago, as the army did not allow soldiers to have long hair or beard, the New York Times reported.

However, all this changed last week for Captain Singh, who believed his “self-image” was “cut away” after the army granted him a religious accommodation that will allow him to grow his beard and wrap his hair in a turban.

“It is wonderful. I had been living a double life, wearing a turban only at home,” said the Bronze Star awardee, who led a platoon of combat engineers who cleared roadside bombs in Afghanistan.

“My two worlds have finally come back together,” the NYT quoted him as saying.

The daily said it was the first time in decades that the military has granted a religious accommodation for a beard to an active-duty combat soldier — a move that observers say could open the door for Muslims and other troops seeking to display their faith.

But it is only temporary, lasting for a month while the army decides whether to give permanent status to Captain Singh’s exception.

However, the Sikh soldier told the NYT that he was prepared to sue if the accommodation is not made permanent.

“This is a precedent-setting case,” said Eric Baxter, senior counsel at the Becket Fund, a non-profit public interest law firm that specialises in religious liberty.

“A beard is a beard is a beard. If you let one religious individual grow it, you will need to do it for all religions.”

Army spokesperson Lt Col Jennifer R Johnson said the US Army does not comment on individual personnel decisions, but added that future requests for such accommodations would be evaluated “on a case-by-case basis, considering the impact on unit and individual readiness, unit cohesion, morale, discipline, and health and safety of the force”.

The US military has become increasingly inclusive, allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly, and women to serve in combat roles. But it has held a stiff line on uniforms and grooming standards.

Bearded Sikhs fought in the US Army in World War II and Vietnam. Today, Sikhs in full religious garb serve in militaries around the world.

For centuries, Sikh teachings have required adherents to leave their hair and beard unshorn, and to wear a turban.

“It was a way to identify the Sikhs, who became a sort of military order that stood up against oppression,” said Kamaljeet Singh Kalsi, a doctor who is a major in the Army Reserve.

Major Kalsi got permission to grow a beard in 2009. He was the first of only three Sikhs to receive permission before Captain Singh.(IANS),

(Picture courtesy: NYT)