First a brief update: My article, Soaring, Cryptography and Nuclear Weapons, has been viewed more than 10,000 times and, equally important, the average time spent on the article was over six minutes — an eternity on the Web. The total time is equivalent to several thousand people reading the article all the way through.
On the other side of the ledger, my initial hope that the site would “go viral” has not materialized and I am consequently reemphasizing traditional media.
If you have connections with writers, editors or others who can help get the word out, I hope you will contact them, discuss the issue, and suggest they check out the web site’s Resource tab for more information. While probably only a few have access to national media, almost all of us can get through to our local paper or public service cable channel. Even if your effort doesn’t produce media coverage of the issue, it’s a great way to bring up the subject and get people thinking!
As an example of what can be done by the media, I’d like to recommend an amazing article that appeared recently in TIME Magazine. Eben Harrell’s “The Nuclear Risk: How Long Will Our Luck Hold?”, is the first major news story I’ve seen that gets this issue right. Speaking of the recent collision between two nuclear-armed submarines, Harrell says:
“The seemingly impossible collision of two subs in a large ocean should remind us of the fallacy by which we assume nuclear weapons will never be used. Because the threat of global nuclear war is not zero, even a small chance of war each year, multiplied over a number of years, adds up to the likelihood that the weapons will be used. Like those two subs stalking through the Atlantic, the odds will begin to align. Mathematically, they are destined to.”
I hope you’ll send Harrell’s story to others along with a link to our web site. That may not seem like it can accomplish much, but if enough of us do things like that, we can reach a tipping point where ideas that previously seemed impossible and fantastic suddenly become common knowledge.
Thanks for your participation.
Member, National Academy of Engineering
Professor Emeritus of Electrical Engineering
Archives of earlier emails and other resources are at http://nuclearrisk.org/resources.php.