This is a kind of a follow-up to Japanese artist ↵Isao Hashimoto’s chilly time-lapse map depicting the 2053 nuclear explosions having taken place between 1945 and 1998. I again embedded it above because it’s quite a testament. When I watched these horrific quarter of an hour for the first time at a certain point I thought: They are speaking with each other. There are segments in the animation when suddenly the frequency of nuclear blasts e.g. in the USA speedens up. After a short pause the answer comes as a rapid succession of nuclear fireworks within the Soviet Union. And so on.
But is it really plausible that a lot of these sequences only served for a perverted political cold-war symbolic language? If not, what can you gain by that much nuclear detonations scientifically, technically, or even economically, or in terms of infrastructure? Well, over at Skulls in the Stars they have collected a list of ↑projects which tried to make use of nuclear weapons. Most of them never have seen the light of day—or, the light brighter than a thousand suns—but some have been tried out, like ↑Project Taiga, or soviet seismic sounding.
When I came to reading about ↑Project Orion, advocating ↑nuclear pulse propulsion, ↑Vernor Vinge‘s ‘↑Marooned in Realtime‘ (1986) immediately came to my mind. But Wikipedia since long has already beaten me to this association—they are maintaining a ↑list of stories featuring nuclear pulse propulsion.
VINGE, VERNOR STEFFEN. 1986. Marooned in realtime. New York: Bluejay Books, St. Martin’s Press.