1984-02-07, English, Article, Journal or magazine article edition: The power of Sagan (7 February 1984)

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The power of Sagan (7 February 1984)
 
Bookmark: https://trove.nla.gov.au/version/263960026
Physical Description
  • 389 words
  • article
  • Journals
  • Magazines
Published
  • xna, John Haynes and J.F. Archibald, 1984-02-07
Language
  • English

Edition details

Title
  • The power of Sagan (7 February 1984)
Appears In
  • The bulletin., v.104, no.5402, 1984-02-07 (ISSN: 0007-4039)
Other Contributors
  • JOHN C. GROVER
Published
  • xna, John Haynes and J.F. Archibald, 1984-02-07
Physical Description
  • 389 words
  • article
  • Journals
  • Magazines
Series
Part Of
  • The bulletin.
  • Vol. 104 No. 5402 (7 Feb 1984)
  • John Ryan Comic Collection (Specific issues).
Subjects
Summary
  • The power of Sagan Phillip Adams admits to adoration of Carl Sagan (B, January 10). He has probably not read criticisms of his writings by those who know the subjects he writes about. Sagan’s “Nuclear Winter” ter” (in Parade, October 30, 1983) paints war consequences in lurid colors, taking advantage of a scientific background to twist facts and exploit the ignorance of his readers, probably for political reasons. Any energy that man can release is insignificant compared with energy unleashed leashed every day by nature, as anyone knows who has been through a magnitude tude 8 earthquake. In dealing with nuclear weapons, there is no need to use rule of thumb. The United States Department of Defence fence (1977) defines a kiloton of TNT equivalent as 10 12 calories or 1,160,000 kilowatt hours. Taking sunshine arriving ing on the Earth’s surface at the rate of 1 kilowatt a square metre, Earth’s radius as 6370 kilometres, the circular crosssection section of the beam and its energy (unfortunately fortunately very dilute) can be calculated culated by a child. The one-megaton bomb releases energy ergy equal to 33 milliseconds or 1/​30 second of sunlight reaching the Earth. The world’s combined nuclear arsenal is about 10,000 megatonnes, the energy of about five minutes’ sunshine. But Sagan waffles: “We also considered a war in which a mere 100 megatons were exploded ... and this scenario would be enough to generate an epoch of cold and darkness as severe as the 5000- megaton case. The threshold for the nuclear clear winter is very low.” It certainly is: 3.3 seconds of sunshine shine on the Earth. This is supposed to plunge the Northern Hemisphere into weeks of darkness and sub-zero temperatures, peratures, “killing all crops and farm animals,” according to Phillip Adams’ messiah. You may say that nobody has stopped the Sun for 3.3 seconds. Agreed. So, let us take some energies that HAVE been released. The Mount St Helens eruption in the USA on the first day alone May 18, 1980 was 2.4 times the Sagan threshold (Colombia University Seismology mology Department). The Krakatoa eruption of August 27, 1883, was about 24 Sagan thresholds and the Mt Tambora eruption of 1815 about 202 Sagan thresholds. None of these did what Sagan claims for one of his miserable able little nuclear thresholds. JOHN C. GROVER Seaforth NSW
Terms of Use
  • In Copyright
Language
  • English
Identifier
  • AP7 (LC)

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