Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Risky Business


When people ask me whether I am willing to take a risk, I tell them that I am very risk averse. I am one of those annoying people who spend ages making decisions in order to minimise risk (that's according to Mrs PM anyway).

Recently, however, I read an article that may have changed my opinion of myself.

The article states that the average Briton takes ten risks a week. As I read the headline, I wondered who these amazing people were. Logically, because I am so risk averse and rarely take any risks at all, there must be thousands of my fellow countrymen who hurl themselves into risk filled situations every single day of the week.

I wanted to know what these people did. I imagined that some of them threw themselves out of aircraft, climbed mountains without the aid of a safety net or asked a policeman if his head was shaped like his helmet.

I wanted to know these people.

And then I read the article.

Foreigners may think that British people are boring stuffy people who keep a stiff upper lip and tut loudly when somebody pushes to the front of a queue. If this article is true then the boring description is also true.

Of the 40 typical “risks” that Britons take, I take 35 of them on a regular basis.

35!!

You may now consider me to be some kind of daredevil, a man who laughs in the face of fear, messes up the hair of terror and pulls down the trousers of danger.

You may think I am Superman on steroids!


You are wrong.

Here are just five of the so-called “risks” in the list.

Turning up at the cinema without a ticket.

Staying up until after 11pm on a work night.

Leaving the house without an umbrella or coat.

Leaving the house with wet hair.

Pressing the snooze button on the alarm.

Are these risks?

Really?

Now I think the opposite. If I am risk averse (and I am) then there must be people living in the United Kingdom who do absolutely nothing, people who always leave the house with a coat no matter how warm it is outside.

“I don’t care whether the weatherman said it will be hot and sunny all day; this is Britain – it’s bound to rain.”

I have to ask myself how these so-called experts came to this conclusion. I don’t recall being phoned up by a mad market researcher and asked a bunch of stupid questions to determine what kind of weirdo I am. I can only imagine the conversation:

PM: Hello.

Market Researcher: Do you go outside without a coat at least once a week?

PM: What?

Market Researcher: Do you go outside without a coat once a week? Or maybe you go out with wet hair?

PM: WHAT??

Market Researcher: I’m sorry. I just want to find out how risk averse you are.

PM: I’m very risk averse. Who are you again?

Market Researcher: A market research assistant. How do you feel about going to a restaurant without booking a table first? 

PM: I do all of those things.

Market Researcher: Wow! I’ve called Superman. And I’ll bet you drink coffee just before you go to bed.

PM: Sometimes, why?

Market Researcher: (muffled) This is GREAT! Hey chaps – I’ve got a great one here. What? No – I’ll bet he doesn’t do that.

PM: Do what? Who are you taking to? 

Market Researcher: Just my colleagues. Can I just ask (gulp) have you ever (I’m a bit scared to ask this) sat in reserved seat on a train to London?

PM: Yes.

Market Researcher: A seat that was reserved for somebody else? 

PM: Yes – I just move when they come.

Market Researcher: What a BADASS you are.

PM: This phone call is over.

Market Researcher: Such a BADASS! Nobody would dare slam the phone on me. We’re British – we are …

PM: (slams down the phone).

It makes me wonder whether all the junk cold calls we receive are just dumb market researchers ringing us to find out how boring we all are. And how risky is it to actually answer those calls? It must be because sometimes I do and I tell them to stop phoning me about an accident I never had, or mis-sold insurance for my mortgage.

Anyway, having read the article I now know that I am a risk seeker. It is official. I take more risks every week than your average Brit.

I am a TOTAL BADASS! I use American slang in my blog posts! I just don’t care!

I listen to heavy metal in my car and, sometimes, I sing out loud.

I sometimes decide, on the spur of the moment, to have a sandwich for lunch instead of a salad. Do you know anyone like that?

I even, sometimes, actually spend money on things I want rather than things I need. How risky is that?

To quote the late great Rik Mayall: “I am a rider at the Gates of Oblivion and I am on the last freedom moped out of Nowhere City!”

Are you impressed with the new me?

Monday, 4 June 2018

The Butterfly Effect


Welcome to the next post in the series about the end of the world – this time concentrating on another silly thing that people believe. This one involves time travel.

Time travel is a concept that fascinates me and has done ever since I was a young boy reading yet another H.G.Wells novel – “The Time Machine”.



I have read several novels and watched a lot of movies that involve time travel and, of course, my favourite science fiction series is Dr Who, where the main protagonist has a machine that can travel back and forth through the ages.

Sadly, as much as I love the concept, there are usually gaping holes in the stories and plot lines. I can forgive most of them but sometimes struggle. Even the simplest ideas can be burdened with anomaly, paradox and contradiction.

I have written down three ideas for time travel novels and each one would be difficult to write, If I were to suddenly become a brilliant novelist overnight I would still struggle with the convoluted plot in each one of the three and would be constantly on the lookout for the inevitable gaping plot holes that would almost certainly occur frequently throughout the storyline.

One day I will have a go but it will be a scary undertaking.

So what has time travel got to do with the end of the world?

If you have ever seen a movie called “The Butterfly Effect” you will know what I am talking about. There are people living on the same planet as you and I who actually believe that the world could end because of the Butterfly Effect.

If you don’t know what I am talking about, let me explain. The Butterfly Effect basically relies on the existence of time travel as a real technology and phenomenon.

Imagine if time travel were possible. If I were to travel back in time and I accidentally stepped on a butterfly, killing it instantly, the effects of that one careless act could theoretically cause a massive chain reaction building up over the intervening years that would ultimately cause a chaotic event that could wipe out humanity and/or the entire planet.

It’s difficult to imagine the death of a butterfly causing such a catastrophe but if you think about it in bigger terms the possibilities are endless, particularly if a human being’s life was accidentally taken instead.

The reason most people dismiss the Butterfly Effect is that it really does rely on the existence of time travel. As much as I love science and the concept of time travel I know that this is impossible. If time travel were possible, surely history would be full of time travelling tourists heading back in time to witness history as it happened. If I could get my hands on the means to travel through time I would almost certainly head forwards in time to see what was going on in the coming centuries rather than going over old ground.

And what would happen if, say, a time traveller with a conscience decided to go back and kill Hitler for example?


The chances are that the resulting turbulence on the time line could prove fatal for the traveller. If World War II never happened, his grand-parents may not have actually met and he would immediately cease to exist as he extinguished Hitler’s life. Or the death of Hitler may end up resulting in the death of a brilliant scientist who ultimately produces the cure for a terrible contagion that wipes out humanity before he has found  the cure.

Brain-bending stuff, eh?

And what if the time traveller had met a younger version of himself? Surely he would have remembered such a momentous occasion in his past life. And would meeting a past version of yourself cause the entire timeline to explode in a paradoxical explosion like the ending of the movie Timecop?

These days,  time travel paradoxes are explained by alternative realities, so that if you were to go back in time and change history, then history as we know it would be preserved while the alternative history caused by you stepping on a butterfly would in fact just be an alternative reality that we would never experience. This was explained in Back to the Future Part II and it blew a lot of people's minds.



Thinking about this makes my brain hurt!

Anyway, enough of this nonsense – and that is what the Butterfly Effect is. The world will not end because of time travel because time travel is impossible.

Even Stephen Hawking agreed with me. He famously held a cocktail party for time travellers from the future, the theory being that in future if time travel becomes possible then any future traveller would accept the invitation, step back in time and attend the party.


Nobody turned up.

If I am wrong and there is a budding Dr Who out there, please feel free to come and visit me any time – assuming this blog stands the test of time and future time travellers are able to read it.

It would make a great story if it happens.

I'll write a post about it.



Saturday, 2 June 2018

Aliens Are Coming


I’ve discussed a few realistic ways in which the world could end so I think now it is time to get a little silly and talk about some of the more crazy things that people believe about the end of humanity.

Let’s start with something that is close to my heart: alien invasion.

I love science fiction, particularly involving aliens (the stranger the better) and avidly watch TV programmes and movies featuring weird and wonderful creatures from another planet blowing Earth to smithereens with maximum prejudice.

My favourite book is “The War of the Worlds” by H.G.Wells, just to reiterate this.

What a total geek I am.

I don’t care.

The big question for people like me is: do such aliens actually exist?

In my opinion there are some people living on this planet that may actually be alien – they certainly resemble stereotypical extra-terrestrials. I don’t want to fuel any conspiracy theories but there are some odd people walking about. Could these people be the initial wave of invaders, sent here to prepare the way for the army of monsters to follow? Could they be sent to initiate control so that when the invaders arrive we are subjugated with minimum resistance?

It’s possible when you think about it. Shape-shifting aliens could already be here conquering us passively by making themselves celebrities and gathering vast armies of fans  having already hypnotised the most gullible amongst us so that only those immune to their charms will have to be conquered.

How else do you explain Oprah Winfrey and Lady Ga-Ga?

Such aliens would also want to know everything about us. Consider how people love to post every intimate detail about themselves on social media with no worries at all about the consequences of their actions. Imagine an alien (or aliens) possessing all of this information about us?

Step forward Mark Zuckerberg with Facebook.

Seriously, though, there are lots of famous people who believe in the existence of extra-terrestrials. The late great Professor Stephen Hawking, one of the most intelligent people ever to have lived often spoke about what would happen if human beings were to encounter aliens. He wasn’t very positive about the possibility. He said two things that interest me:

“Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they could reach. Who knows what the limits would be?” 

“Meeting an advanced civilization could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus. That didn’t turn out so well.”

That’s kind of scary, isn’t it?

If you think about it, there are countless trillions upon countless trillions of planets out there in our universe. How arrogant are non-believers in thinking that we are the only intelligent life form in the entire universe?

Yet at the same time there is the Fermi Paradox. Enrico Fermi, a famous physicist, stated that given the age and size of the universe and the trillions of planets out there, then it stands to reason that some form of intelligent life must have managed by now to use technology to create spaceships that can traverse vast distances and visit, and possibly conquer, most if not all of the known universe.

So where is everybody? Where are these aliens? Hence the paradox.


Of course, Fermi’s question might be answered by alien believers who, joking aside, are convinced that aliens really have landed on Earth and are walking amongst us. If you look on YouTube you will find thousands of videos ranging from aliens caught on camera to UFO’s whizzing about in our skies. Also, there are others who think that we have already been invaded and that the so-called ruling elite are in fact alien shape-shifters controlling us all.

I knew it! Donald Trump is an alien! That explains a lot.

Realistically though, if there are belligerent aliens out there, then surely it would have been easier to invade centuries ago before we developed the technology to fight back. An alien invasion fleet would have encountered little resistance from Neanderthals, ancient Greeks, Romans, medieval peasants and even early twentieth century people.

The “War of the Worlds” story illustrates just that – the army of Martians in H.G.Wells’ book wiped out a large percentage of nineteenth century England with little or no effort.

There is additional speculation that humanity is in fact an alien race and that we ourselves were planted here to populate the planet after the dinosaurs were wiped out. When you think about it, it is possible that we were deposited here as a primitive colony all those centuries ago.

I like the idea that perhaps you and I, are aliens who successfully conquered Earth.

It explains a lot.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Super Volcano


A few years ago I was sitting at a café in Sorrento overlooking the Gulf of Naples in Italy watching the sun set. As I watched the golden sky, my eyes drifted across the water to the city of Naples.

Towering over the city was one of our planet’s most impressive natural structures almost as if standing guard like a silent sentinel.

Vesuvius 

Vesuvius From The Air
Unfortunately Mount Vesuvius isn’t exactly a sentinel, more of a dormant threat. It’s easy to admire nature’s handiwork but when the people who live around the Gulf of Naples see the volcano, surely they must wonder whether the volcano will ultimately destroy them just as it did centuries ago in perhaps the most famous volcanic eruption man has ever witnessed.
On August 24th AD79, the area saw the power of the volcano when it erupted and hurled molten rock, ashes, stones and noxious volcanic ashes into the atmosphere, with the nearby cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum being totally destroyed by pyroclastic surges. 
I visited the remains of Pompeii and I can only imagine how terrifying this assault of nature was. You can still see the remains of bodies of people who  were killed in the disaster in positions that showed the agony the people must have suffered in their last moments.

Add caption
Mount Vesuvius is an impressive sight and you can only wonder what would happen if a similar eruption were to occur today. In fact, there have been eruptions in the 20th century, both causing significant damage and killing people.
What is even more frightening is that relatively speaking Mount Vesuvius is just a normal volcano. There is something on our planet that can wreak havoc on a global scale – a super volcano.
Super volcanoes are huge and while they erupt far less frequently than their smaller brothers, when they do erupt, chaos ensues. Typically super volcanoes only erupt every few hundred thousand years.
Thank goodness for that.
However, we are actually overdue such an eruption. And that is very bad news.
How does a super volcano compare to a normal volcano, I hear you cry?
In general, a normal volcano hurls about a cubic kilometre of matter. A super volcano erupts over anything from one thousand times that amount to five thousand times that amount (and I think that experts are only guessing because we haven’t experienced such an event as human beings).
How many of these enormous monsters are out there, I hear you scream?
I did some research and discovered that there are twelve of them!
TWELVE!
One of the most famous ones you might have heard of is the Yellowstone caldera in the United States. Here are some facts about it.
The Yellowstone caldera measures 35 by 45 miles.
It last erupted 630,000 years ago and experts say that we shouldn’t get another for at least 30,000 years. Let’s hope not.
The Yellowstone park contains 60% of the world’s geysers.
There are 1000 to 2000 earthquakes per year in and around Yellowstone.
So what would happen if a super volcano were to erupt? Taking Yellowstone as an example, an eruption would be a complete and utter disaster that would cause some serious damage, although scientists are convinced that such an event wouldn’t necessarily lead to life on Earth being wiped out. It is thought that the last eruption led directly to the Ice Age.
Here’s what would happen.
Anybody in the vicinity would be killed. 
Any surrounding cities would be destroyed. 
The resulting ash cloud would be huge and falling ash would choke people in a huge radius when it fell back to Earth. In the case of Yellowstone, all the US states surrounding Wyoming would be devastated.
The ash cloud would cause global temperatures to fall by at least 20 degrees, with the long term effect of slowly killing vegetation and plant life, something we as humans need for our own food and the food of the animals we breed to nourish us, leading to widespread famine on a global scale.


The good news is that scientists are constantly monitoring volcanic activity throughout the world, so the eruption of a super volcano would not come as a massive surprise. The question is, even if scientists were to predict that a super volcano would erupt in a year, what on Earth could we do about it? 
The short answer is nothing, but world governments might be able to take steps to mitigate the effects on humanity, though to me personally, I’m not altogether sure how we would prepare. 
Let’s just hope that we’re not around when it eventually happens – and believe me it will.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Getting Warmer ...


We live in an amazing period in human history, a time when huge leaps in technology and science have provided the human race with advances that could not even be imagined several hundred years ago. That’s if you don’t count reality TV of course!

We are able to drive around in vehicles that make our individual countries much smaller places. The world too is getting smaller as we fly from country to country, in achievable time frames. If I want to travel to America I can board an aircraft at Manchester airport in the morning and land in New York eight hours later and have dinner in a fancy restaurant in Manhatten with time to add some graffiti to Trump Tower should I feel the need to do so (and I do, dear reader, I really do).

I can even get to the other side of the world in a day or so to give me an opportunity to discuss ball tampering with Aussies and get some tips.

For people who don’t like travelling, communication with the rest of the world technology comes to their aid too. My eldest son has just come back from Sydney, Australia and I managed to exchange several messages with him via an application on my smartphone in real time almost instantaneously, offering translation services like use of the word “dunney” and the phrase “fair dinkum”. He has posted photographs to make me jealous and I can express my envy in seconds.

This very post will cast out into cyberspace and can be read instantly by anyone in the world with access to a computer, tablet, smartphone and a strange masochistic streak.

As a race we are so proud of our achievements but sadly there is a cost – and we need to do something about it.

Technology is driven by electricity and in order to generate the copious amounts we demand and require we need to burn fossil fuels, as we do if we want to travel a small distance in our cars or fly to any destination in the world.

Sadly, burning fossil fuels generates carbon dioxide, or CO2, and the consequences of this are affecting the planet we call home. Carbon dioxide and other pollutants collect in the atmosphere and are basically turning Earth into a giant greenhouse. Sunlight and solar radiation should reflect off the surface of the planet and escape into space but, just like a greenhouse, these gases absorb  the sunlight and radiation and trap the heat, thus making our planet warmer.



If you have ever been in a greenhouse on a sunny day you will know exactly what I mean.

In theory we could achieve balance with plants because they absorb the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and convert it into oxygen. Sadly, we are significantly reducing the number of plants in the world through farming and deforestation, in some cases burning them, which in turn generates even more carbon dioxide.

It is a battle that the earth is losing.

Global warming sceptics, amongst them President Donald Trump, dismiss the idea of climate change due to human intervention as a myth. However, there are mountains of proof out there.

For example, all but one of the 16 hottest years in recorded history have occurred since the year 2000.

Think about that for a second.

Given the demand for electricity, travel and fossil fuels generally is it any surprise, especially since the human population of the world is also increasing rapidly – currently a staggering 7.6 billion people?

So what are the effects of global warming? And could it cause the end of the world?

We will face several challenges. If we carry on down the road we have embarked upon.

The level of the seas will rise, leading to coastal flooding which will include some major cities around the world. We may even lose the ice at the North Pole during summer months in a hundred years or two.

The weather will also be adversely affected with more extremes, stronger and more powerful hurricanes, severe snowstorms and flooding, something which will potentially lead to plagues and disease (a bad thing for a hypochondriac like me).

Paradoxically, other places will suffer droughts leading to famine and starvation.

The oceanic ecosystem will suffer too. As the ocean absorbs more carbon dioxide, its pH will drop making it more acidic and harmful to marine life.

For those who doubt that global warming is an actual thing (I’m talking specifically to people like Donald Trump), here are some other proven and alarming facts.

As of 2017, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are at their highest for 650,000 years.

The average global temperature is up by almost one degree Centigrade since 1880.

Arctic summer sea ice has declined by 13% per decade since the 1980s.

The global sea level has risen 7 inches in the past century.

What can we do about it?

We can stop listening to the Oompah Loompah in the White House for a start.

Sadly, you and I, dear reader can only contribute in a tiny way by reducing our carbon footprints and, perhaps using our own footprints to get to our destinations instead of jumping into our cars. As a race we need a technology leap that sadly isn’t being achieved as fast as we actually need it.

Even with countries aiming to reduce their emissions with targets, the global temperature will still rise – only more slowly.

Our fate is in our own hands. At the moment we are turning our planet into a toilet in a greenhouse.

I have hope though. I think the world is slowly becoming aware of the problem – too slowly if you ask me – but then again people like Donald Trump won’t be in power for too much longer to bleat about global warming being a myth.

Mind you, he’s so orange that perhaps he think it’s his own natural skin colour.

We could all end up looking like him.

The future of mankind?
And that should give us all the kick up the arse we need.


Monday, 2 April 2018

Contagion


My name is Dave and I am a hypochondriac.

For that reason, and that reason alone, the end of the world scenario that terrifies me most is the threat that we as a race could all be wiped out by a supervirus.

Imagine, if you will, a TV news announcement that describes a potential nasty bug that is spreading from person to person in numerous countries with no hope of recovery. From that point on, I would be totally and utterly convinced that the virus was in my system even if it hadn’t reached the shores of the United Kingdom yet.

In the past, I have been slightly perturbed when newscasters have mentioned benign bugs that are nasty but not lethal, even when they are confined to the deepest parts of Africa, say.



A few years ago there had been an outbreak of the deadly respiratory disease called Sars and it had surfaced in Hong Kong. Thankfully, the authorities had it under control eventually and it was then that my project manager asked me to go on a business trip to the city.  I read that the authorities at the airport were screening people as they came and left using thermal cameras in an attempt to detect elevated temperatures in travellers. I wrestled with my inner hypochondriac who told me in no uncertain terms that I was going to catch the disease even though it was under control. Normally I would have been over the moon to visit my favourite city outside the United Kingdom – but not this time.

Deep down I knew that I would be safe but that didn’t stop the hypochondriac inside whispering to me constantly through the flight: “You will catch Sars – that’s if you don’t have it already.”

The temperature in Hong Kong in the summer is quite a lot higher than the UK and you feel it the moment that you leave the aircraft. Such was my paranoia that I thought the thermal cameras would identify an elevated temperature in me as I walked towards immigration.

Of course, I was being utterly stupid and I passed through without a problem. My trip lasted three weeks, during which time I became an expert in the symptoms of Sars. Every time I felt slightly below par I was convinced that I had succumbed to the disease – even a few weeks after my return to Manchester.

I know that I am an idiot for allowing myself to accede to such moronic paranoia but I can’t help it. I wish I could.

Thus, if I were to ever catch a news report telling me that a deadly disease was spreading across the world, wiping out everybody who came into contact with it, I would probably worry myself to death months before the infection claimed me.

I would be an expert and would probably use all of my money to travel to the remotest part of the world, avoiding all contact with civilisation on my way, so that I could sit there in splendid isolation away from any human beings who might pass on the deadly virus to me.

That’s how irrational my inner hypochondriac is.

The perfectionist in me wanted to do some research into the possibility of humanity being wiped out by such a virus so I have had to silence the hypochondriac.

And thank goodness for that because I have discovered that it is highly unlikely that a pandemic could cause the extinction of the human race. Over the centuries, there have been several nasty little blighters that have tried their level best to take us all out – things like The Black Death, Ebola, various flavours of flu, Sars and HIV.

The good news is that there are steps in place to contain such outbreaks and the organisations and institutions that are responsible for this are damned good at what they do.

Yet, as I watch programs like “The Walking Dead” where a virus has wiped out all but the hardiest of humanity and turned them into flesh eating Zombies, I can’t help but think that maybe such a thing could happen. In fact, in the show, every human being actually has the disease anyway so that when you eventually die, you come back to life as a cannibalistic corpse whose sole  raison d'ĂȘtre is to munch on the living.

How nice is that?

My deepest fear is that there is a malignant virus living dormant in every human being ust waiting to be activated and murder us in the most horrible way possible. If I shove this thought aside for a moment (very difficult now it is in my head) the truth is that humanity would find a way were such a supervirus to suddenly appear – even if it were man made. Some form of humanity would survive and find a way perhaps living in a remote part of the world, like the top of a mountain range, the deepest part of the Australian Outback or an African desert. It wouldn’t be pleasant but we might survive.

And if you do live in such an inhospitable yet safe part of the world, get ready to meet me. I’ll be there the moment the first cases of the outbreak are reported.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Nuclear Holocaust


Whenever I see Donald Trump, two thoughts come to mind. The first I have ranted about on this blog so many times that I am not going to elaborate – basically the man is not fit for the office of President of the United States.

The second is a corollary of that sentiment – this man has the power to launch nuclear weapons at anybody who pisses him off.

While this seems unlikely, I think his words might just spark other lunatics to do just that – Kim Jong Un for example, a man who lives in fear of being toppled either by his own people or external forces. The recent war of words with the USA made me consider what would happen if Kim Jong Un were to launch an attack. Trump said he would be met with fire and fury like the world had never seen before.

Happy days, eh?

Equally, we have Vladimir Putin, a so-called democratically elected leader of a huge country with a nuclear arsenal that could annihilate most of Europe and the USA. Recent events in my own country, the poisoning of one of his own former spies on British soil, lead to retaliatory measures from our own government which were made with the barely veiled warning – “Do not threaten a nuclear power”.


The UK is also a nuclear power, with a smaller nuclear arsenal so we could retaliate and trigger World War 3.

With all of these threats looming, and other slightly mad and dictatorial leaders trying to acquire nuclear weapons, the future isn’t looking too good.

Some people say that owning nuclear weapons makes it unlikely that a nuclear holocaust will ever happen for fear of the devastating reprisals. But I say that it only takes one nutter to do something stupid and there are a few of them knocking around.

If World War 3 were to kick off, the initial attack would result in the annihilation of many major cities, wiping out the residents of those cities immediately.

The population of the world would be severely reduced and if you think the survivors would be lucky to escape then think again. Any towns and cities in the vicinity of the numerous detonations would not escape unscathed, simply because the aftermath of being close to a nuclear explosion would almost certainly eventually prove to be fatal. The survivors would almost certainly envy those killed immediately.

Residual radioactive material would be thrust into the upper atmosphere with winds spreading this over a great distance as it gradually fell back to Earth upon unsuspecting people who think they are safe.

Some people would die quickly while others would live longer but eventually succumb to the devastating effects.

Any people still surviving the nuclear fallout will still have problems. When a bomb explodes in the city it will hurl tons of debris into the atmosphere, so much in fact that it will block sunlight. Imagine this happening for numerous cities bombed across the globe; the amount of crap blasted into the atmosphere will be immense and the winds will also scatter this over great distances causing what is known as a nuclear winter. The global climate would be severely affected for at least a decade with soot being distributed over great distances by our wonderful winds.

For those who survived that there is also the prospect of a nuclear famine. A nuclear winter would affect agriculture for any survivors ultimately causing massive food shortages amongst the few people remaining.

The bottom line is that if there were a full scale nuclear war then we as a species and our animal colleagues will almost certainly face the prospect of total extinction. Of course it depends on how many weapons are used and the number of places that are annihilated.

If Putin or Trump or any potential psychopath thinks that unleashing a nuclear holocaust to save his own country then he is severely mistaken.

If you are interested, and have a morbid curiosity, you can simulate the effects of a nuclear detonation on your city using something called NUKEMAP (you can find it here). This gruesome web site allows you to specify a city and the size of the bomb and find out the extent of the fireball radius, the air blast radius and the thermal radiation radius.

Living only 5 miles from the centre of Manchester, I would be killed almost immediately if any bombs were to drop – a blessing in disguise I guess because I wouldn’t know what hit me.

Equally disturbing is MISSLEMAP which allows you to check the range and accuracy of the weapons of mass destruction in the world (you can find it here).

Again the UK is fully in range of anything launched from Russian soil so again I am right in the firing line.


Basically, my opinion is that if one or more nutters start a nuclear war then we are fucked even if we are lucky enough to be on a remote island at the time.