Mundane life from rural Minnesota.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Why are we still here?

I am not a religious person. If pressed to provide my leanings in this area, I use the word agnostic. One of my great mysteries of life is, "Why are we still here?"

Somewhere around the middle of the 20th century we developed the ability to destroy ourselves. How many ways could we have unleashed the arsenal of nuclear weapons in the past decades? I know that one human is not supposed to be able to trigger this event and I know that there are many failsafe systems in place to keep it from happening. But I've been around technology too long to believe that any system is infallible.

Here is a somewhat sensationalized article from National Geographic that describes events during the Cuban missile crisis. The absolute truth of the facts is irrelevant; I'm sure that there were nuclear weapons in play and that there were humans who had control of them. We can speculate about what would have happened if the submarine had launched its nuclear weapon, but the worst-case scenario is that I would not be typing at this moment. Even the best-case scenario is awful.

Here's another account of a technical malfunction that could have triggered a nuclear holocaust. In this case the sun shining off of high clouds was interpreted as an ICBM launch.

There are many more. There's the crash of the B-52 with live nukes on board. There's the account of the failure of supposedly-failsafe systems. It goes on and on, but somehow the button has never been pushed.

And the button still exists. There's still plenty of weaponry out there to turn the planet into a lifeless hulk. Yet we're still here.

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