Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Determining Direction: Watch Method "

A watch can be used to determine the approximate true north and true south.

(1) In the north temperate zone only, the hour hand is pointed toward the sun. A south line can be found midway between the hour hand and 1200 hours, standard time. If on daylight savings time, the north-south line is found between the hour hand and 1300 hours. If there is any doubt as to which end of the line is north, remember that the sun is in the east before noon and in the west after noon.

(2) The watch may also be used to determine direction in the south temperate zone; however, the method is different. The 1200-hour dial is pointed toward the sun, and halfway between 1200 hours and the hour hand will be a north line. If on daylight savings time, the north line lies midway between the hour hand and 1300 hours

(3) The watch method can be in error, especially in the lower latitudes, and may cause circling. To avoid this, make a shadow clock and set your watch to the time indicated. After traveling for an hour, take another shadow-clock reading. Reset your watch if necessary.

Monday, October 29, 2012

"Determining Directions and Time:Shadow Method"

When you are out in the Field their are tried and true methods for determining your direction when a compass is not available. Any of these techniques may be used to determine the four cardinal directions.
Determining Directions and Time by shadow

Step 1. Place a stick or branch into the ground at a level spot where a distinctive shadow will be cast. Mark the shadow tip with a stone, twig, or other means. This first shadow mark is always the west direction.

Step 2. Wait 10 to 15 minutes until the shadow tip moves a few inches. Mark the new position of the shadow tip in the same way as the first.

Step 3. Draw a straight line through the two marks to obtain an approximate eastwest line.

Step 4. Standing with the first mark (west) to your left, the other directions are simple; north is to the front, east is to the right, and south is behind you.

(1) A line drawn perpendicular to the east-west line at any point is the approximate north-south line. If you are uncertain which direction is east and which is west, observe this simple rule—the first shadow-tip mark is always in the west direction, everywhere on earth.

(2) The shadow-tip method can also be used as a shadow clock to find the approximate time of day.

(a) To find the time of day, move the stick to the intersection of the east-west line and the north-south line, and set it vertically in the ground. The west part of the east-west line indicates 0600 hours, and the east part is 1800 hours, anywhere on earth, because the basic rule always applies.

(b) The north-south line now becomes the noon line. The shadow of the stick is an hour hand in the shadow clock, and with it you can estimate the time using the noon line and the 6 o’clock line as your guides. Depending on your location and the season, the shadow may move either clockwise or counterclockwise, but this does not alter your manner of reading the shadow clock.

(c) The shadow clock is not a timepiece in the ordinary sense. It makes every day 12 unequal hours long, and always reads 0600 hours at sunrise and 1800 hours at sunset. The shadow clock time is closest to conventional clock time at midday, but the spacing of the other hours compared to conventional time varies somewhat with the locality and the date. However, it does provide a satisfactory means of telling time in the absence of properly set watches.

(d) The shadow-tip system is not intended for use in polar regions, which the Department of Defense defines as being above 60 degrees latitude in either hemisphere. Distressed persons in these areas are advised to stay in one place so that search/rescue teams can easily find them. The presence and location of all aircraft and ground parties in polar regions are reported to and checked regularly by governmental or other agencies, and any need for help becomes quickly known.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"Histroy of Navigation & Navigation Method"

Navigation is the art of getting from one place to another, safely and efficiently. Whenever you find a store in a mall or walk home from school, you are using the tools of the early navigators. But what if you found yourself in a place you didn’t recognize such as out in the middle of the ocean?

The first record of boats large enough to carry goods for trade is around 3500 B.C. and this would mark the birth of the art of navigation.These first navigators stayed close to shore and navigated by sight of landmarks or land characteristics that they could see. Usually they traveled by day and sought a calm harbor or anchorage at night. They did not have charts but lists of directions, similar to today’s cruising guides. When they did venture out of sight of land, the navigator was able to determine his latitude (north/south direction) by observing the height of the sun during the day and the North Star at night.

Experienced mariners were said to plot their course by major constellations, though this was not an exact science. Vessels followed the east/west movement of the sun or the track of the stars. However, the navigator had no way to accurately determine longitudeand therefore, once out of sight of land, had no idea how far east or west he was. Estimates were made based upon the time it took to get there, a simple form of dead-reckoning still used by navigators today.

Using this system, the navigator can determine the distance traveled from one point to another by multiplying the time underway by the speed of the vessel. Since time was measured with a sandglass and speed was estimated by watching pieces of seaweed pass by the hull, these early calculations were often way off.

Coastal navigators relied upon the sounding reed (c. Egypt 1500 BC) to measure shallow water depths and the wind rose which described the eight major winds attributed to their originating countries. Using a combination of depth soundings, the sun or stars and the wind rose, these early navigators had to guess where they were when land could not be seen.

The first ocean voyages were probably big mistakes – a vessel blown off course by a sudden storm or error by the helmsman. The Vikings regularly sailed to Iceland and Greenland between 900 and 1000AD, apparently using only the sun, stars and wind as their guide.

As brave as these early navigators must have been, they were also creative in compensating for their lack of technology. Floki Vilgjerdarsson, a great Viking explorer credited with the discovery of Iceland, carried aboard a cage of ravens. When he thought land should be near, he would release one of the birds. If it circled the boat without purpose, land was not near, but if it took off in a certain direction, the boat followed, knowing the bird was headed toward land. Of course, this only worked if the navigator could get close to land. (And not too close!)

One of the earliest man-made navigation tools was the mariner’s compass, an early form of the magnetic compass (c.13th Century). Initially used only when the weather obscured the sun or the North Star, these first compasses were very crude. The navigator would rub an iron needle against a lodestone, stick it in a piece of straw and float it in a bowl of water. The needle would point in a northerly direction. Early mariners found the compass inconsistent – most likely because they did not understand that it pointed to the magnetic north pole, not true north (This is called variation). At the time, they could not explain these variations and could not put much trust in the readings when navigating an unknown area.

The most practical use of the compass at this time was to identify the direction of the wind to help the navigator determine which of the eight winds on the wind rose they were experiencing. Even after the development of more modern compasses with pivoting needles, until variation was understood and documented, the compass was not as valuable to navigators as it is today.

Much more valuable, at the time, was the invention of the lead line (c.13th Century)., which was a tool for measuring the depth of water and the nature of the bottom. This line was weighted with lead and had graduated markings to determine sea depth. The lead was coated with wax to bring up samples of the bottom. A method of navigating from one depth to another based upon the condition of the bottom developed, with sailing directions from the 14th Century reading "Ye shall go north until ye sound in 72 fathoms in fair grey sand. Then go north until ye come into soundings of ooze, and then go your course east-north-east." (72 fathoms is 432 feet! – that’s a long line.)

The development of better navigational tools was motivated first by commerce and trade, then by the riches of discovery. The Phoenicians and Greeks were the first of the Mediterranean navigators to sail from land to land and to sail at night. Often they navigated by bonfires set on mountaintops (the earliest known system of Aids to Navigation).

At this time, mariners began to realize that maps would be helpful and began keeping detailed records of their voyages that land-based mapmakers used to create the first nautical charts called Portolan Charts (c. 13th Century). The charts, created on sheepskin or goatskin, were rare and very expensive, often kept secret so that competing mariners would not have access to this knowledge. What they lacked in accuracy they made up for in beauty. Lands and ports on the chart were highly decorated with depictions of buildings and flags.

The size of the lands on the chart was more a reflection of their importance to trade routes than their actual geographical size. The charts did not have latitude or longitude lines but did have compass roses indicating bearings between major ports. They were, of course, not very accurate because the ability to measure distances at sea had not yet developed, nor was there an accurate method to portray the spherical surface of the earth on a flat piece of material.

Mariners at this time also used the cross-staff and the astrolabe (c.1484 Martin Behaim) to measure the angle above the horizon of the sun and stars to determine latitude. The forerunner of the much more portable (and accurate) sextant, the astrolabe was used to measure the altitude of a sun or star. Heavy and clumsy, it was very difficult to use aboard a rolling ship, however, when new land was discovered and the astrolabe taken ashore, it was valuable in fixing the approximate latitude of the new discovery.

The hazards of sea travel during this time are clearly illustrated by Columbus' experience. His journal reveals that he did not even know how to calculate latitude properly, his determinations being far too high. And like all sailors at the time, he was unable to calculate longitude. When he encountered the Americas he actually thought he had reached India which explains why the names Indies and Indians are still attached to the lands he found.

After a few weeks at sea the inaccuracies in the clocks could produce an error in longitude of thousands of nautical miles. It is likely that the best clocks at the time lost 10 minutes a day which translates into an error of 175 miles. This daily loss was not consistent, so it could not be compensated for.

A major advance that made dead-reckoning much more accurate was the invention of the chip log (c.1500-1600). Essentially a crude speedometer, a light line was knotted at regular intervals and weighted to drag in the water. It was tossed overboard over the stern as the pilot counted the knots that were let out during a specific period of time. From this he could determine the speed the vessel was moving.

Interestingly, the chip log has long been replaced by equipment that is more advanced but we still refer to miles per hour on the water as knots. Using the sun and the stars, the navigator knew his beginning and ending latitude – now he could determine the distance he had traveled to estimate his east/west position.

The first accurate representation of the spherical earth surface was the Mercator Projection (Gerardus Mercator 1569). Of great value to navigators because a compass bearing could be shown as a straight line (and they could, therefore, sail the shortest distance between two points), but the problem of determining longitude delayed the use of these charts for some seventy years after they were introduced. In 1701, charts of magnetic variation in different parts of the world were available, making the magnetic compass a valuable (and consistent) navigational tool.

But the key to determining longitude (how far east or west they were located) lay in the invention of an accurate time-keeping device. It had long been known that the earth was a globe and rotated one complete revolution in relation to the sun every 24 hours. Navigators knew that the sun reached its maximum altitude at noon, no matter where on earth they were. If they could determine what that exact time was on the longitude of 0° they could easily calculate the longitude of their present position by the difference in the two times (one hour equaling 15° of longitude).

This was considered so important that countries offered prizes for the invention of an accurate chronometer. The British prize was won by John Harrison in 1764 for his seagoing chronometer accurate to one-tenth of a second per day. James Cook used Harrison’s chronometer to circumvent the globe and when he returned in 1779 his calculations of longitude based upon the chronometer proved correct to within 8 miles. A scientist and accomplished surveyor, Cook completed such accurate and detailed charts during his voyage that he changed the nature of navigation forever and charts were rapidly developed around the world.

In 1884, by international agreement, the meridian of Greenwich, England was adopted as the Prime Meridian (0° ). Prior to that, all of the seafaring nations had their own prime meridians, causing longitude to be different on charts created in different countries.The ship’s chronometer remained an expensive but necessary navigation tool until radio signals became universal, then a plain old wrist watch was all that was needed to calculate longitude with accuracy. The radio receiver provided a continuously updated time signal from the Prime Meridian in Greenwich, England.

The 20th century has seen advances in navigation tools beyond anything Columbus might have imagined. The impetus for these developments was no longer trade and exploration, but for use in war. However, many of these instruments and technologies have been adapted for peacetime use. We have become so dependent on these electronic instruments that most recreational boaters today don’t know how to plot a dead-reckoning course. In 1907 Elmer Sperry introduced the gyroscopic compass which is unaffected by variation or deviation as it points to true north, not magnetic north.

British physicist Robert Watson-Watt produced the first practical radar (radio detection and ranging) system in 1935. It is used to locate objects beyond the range of vision by projecting radio waves against them. Radar can determine the presence and range of an object, its position in space, its size and shape, and its velocity and direction of motion. In addition to its marine uses, it is also used for controlling air traffic, detecting weather patterns and tracking spacecraft.

The hyperbolic navigation system known as Loran (Long Range Navigation) was developed in the U.S. between 1940 and 1943. It uses pulsed radio transmissions from master and slave stations that are received onboard and recorded as small waves on the screen of a cathode-ray tube. The distance between the waves corresponds to the difference in time between the arrival of the signals from the two stations. This difference is represented by a curve (hyperbola). Another set of loran transmitters repeats this process and position is determined by the intersection of the two curves called loran lines of position. Accuracy ranges between a few hundred meters and a few kilometers. Used mainly by US ships it is an expensive system with a limited coverage area and will ultimately be phased out in favor of a newer, more accurate navigation system called GPS.

GPS (Global Positioning System), initiated in 1973, is operated and maintained by the U.S. Department of Defense. This space-based radio-navigation system consists of 24 satellites and provides accurate positioning to within about 30 feet as well as velocity and time worldwide in any weather conditions. GPS works the same way as Loran (time difference between separate signals) but the signals come from satellites. Because you can receive GPS signals using small, inexpensive equipment it is being used in many new applications.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Astrology,Zodiac & Jyotihsastra: A Reality Science & Failure Concept!

Astrology have deep and long history associated with rise of humanity. The appearance of stars and alignment of planets were key area of research during ancient period. Today's Astronomy science developed to greater extent that Ancient Astrology belief and concepts were broken. 3000 years before understanding of Universe are different compared today's scientific discovery. Even after lots of development of Astronomic science many believe in ancient astrology.There are lots of superstitious belief based on the ancient astrological beliefs.

Astrology and Jyothisastra Myth Buster: 

  • Ancient Astrologers & people believed that every planet revolved around earth (Incl. Sun, Moon (as planet)). They were based on Geocentric Theory (Every space objects revolve with earth as center). The advancement of Science proved that Heliocentric theory was correct (Every space object revolve with sun as center).
  • According to Ancient belief that Sun and Moon were considered planet, but science disprove that they are planet.
  • As for as Zodiac concern it as 12 constellation (Rashi) but IAU upto present they had discovered around 88 Constellation. 
  • Many Astronomy scientist disbelieve concept of constellation (a alignment of stars) that what we see as a alignment of star was a like 2D image but actually distance between various stars are several million light years.
  • Ancient Zodiac, transition of planet, Full & Half moon etc were considered sacred in those day but today science proved Equinox, Solicits, eclipse, rotation & revolution etc.
  • Naksatra in Zodiac and Jyothisastra were based on the brightest star in Sky. Science has found that there infinity number of stars and some star alignment comes in different period based on Universal activity.
  • Zodiac has 8 planets( Karagam) within zodiac band but 8 planet as per as science. Only 5 planet in the Zodiac remaining three were wrong planet (Sun, Moon, Ragu, Ketu).
  • Astrology were followed in various ancient civilization, all Zodiac practice have similarity and most extracted from Greek zodiac.
  • There is no planetary object has Ragu and Ketu but Joythisastra believs in it.
  • Indian Astrology & Zodiac is a extraction of Western Greek Zodiac and astrology analysis. 
  • During ancient period every universal transition were considered sacred and so many believed there transition will have impact on earth & humanity but science proves that there would be force of attraction between heavy objects.
  • There is believe that a child born on particular Zodiac sign will have influence of it but impossible for such radiation since its filtered by earth magnetic flux.
  • Even after development of science, many people still believe in falsehood of ancient astrology & zodiac. Try to change ignorance and bring enlightened knowledge.         

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Even Death Bring's money for Some!: Say No to It

Today, Business has became more selling of unwanted product for huge ransom of money. Anything or everything can be sold in world on corporate world. We don't have clear view what we want? and how it going to help us? This situation prevails both in family & nation. Today more than necessity and need it has become luxury & style. The extent up to it reached was today developed nation sells unwanted product to large amount to developing nation. some of such product destroys humanity to large extent. We see some in that list of product exported from developed countries on commercial aspect. Its just awareness if you have solution for it share your views with us. Spread it with u friends.

Fertilizer: After end of World War II developed nation don't know what to do with excess of explosives produced during course of war. Science found efficient way to resolve these problem with pouring back all explosive back to earth for doing farming. These was real history of Fertilizers which we use today. The crops gave high yield after pouring explosive for farming. This triggered to become a huge business in agro industry more than farming product. Fertilizer companies gets turn over around Rs.1000 crs on every Financial quarter but billion of farmers across the world starve. Fertilizer gave maximum yield for sometime but later on it poisoned soils immunity. All fertilizer companies produces tons of chemical everyday and sell it to innocent farmers. In the list of fertilizers some life danger chemicals include they are DDT, Orange agent etc. Impact of such chemical can be seen Vietnam, where America poured it over field. Million's died due to impact of such chemical and many still die due to indirect impact of chemical. Developed countries Multi-National Fertilizer companies in order to earn profit they make developing countries victim of such of chemicals.

Nuclear: Nuclear technology power was known after first nuclear bomb test in early 30's by America. World saw that power in naked eye after 2 Nuclear bomb drop on Japan by American. Nuclear arm race raised between super power nations and developed nation. After signing Non-Proliferation treaty many developed nation has no place to sell there nuclear bomb, nuclear technology and Nuclear fuel to other countries. To compensate such lose developed countries found huge innovation know has nuclear power. Now again radio active minerals got huge commercial value. Developed countries shared nuclear technology with developing countries with huge ransom of money. Nuclear fuel rich nation used it opportunity to earn from signing agreement with developing nation. No developed nation has ever excepted liability for any untoward incidents. Enriched nuclear fuel takes millions of years to decay and it destroy ecosystem ever. Million died due to nuclear impact and million's were affected by its impact. This deadly technology was sold without much care about humanity and environment.

Arms: Once it was found to protect people from dangerous and untoward incidents but today purpose & need has changed. In order to earn profit arm companies produces enormous weapon and dump in to undeveloped countries. To continuously does it many MNC's, Corporates and developed motivate civil war and armed struggle in many undeveloped countries. They dump weapon into such countries earn billions of money as profit. In the time of Crises within Arm Industries, Developed countries, Nato etc launches massive war against any independent country. Million had died for profit of these MNC arms corporates. No one looks for world peace but everyone wants wealth even if it comes at death of others-It's ok.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Say 'NO' to Nuke: If Your Human?

Nuke bomb if you want complete details about visit Japan (Hiroshima and Nagasaki.). American Barbarian's most massive human right's violation in the history of man kind. To take away name of Stalin and Soviet Union in victory of World War II, bloody American dropped two anti-humanity bomb over Japan. Even today we pose around 20,000 nuclear arsenal enough to destroy entire human race from earth. We wan't that bloody think to happen in world, if not then say NO to Nuke to your countries which pose such bomb. I am rising this voice as one of the nation posing nuke.     

The first Nuclear weapon

In the 1930s there was enormous progress in nuclear research, and when scientists solved the mystery of uranium fission, concern grew in the United States that Hitler’s Germany would create the first nuclear weapon. In US laboratories, scientists worked around the clock to be the first to finish a fissile weapon.

After Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the US Congress poured money into military research, and above all research on fissile materials. On July 16, 1945, the so-called Manhattan project had managed to produce enough plutonium to perform a first nuclear test, code-named “Trinity”. The detonation was equivalent to the explosion of around 20 kilotons of TNT and is usually considered as the beginning of the Atomic Age.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

World War II continued to rage. US President Harry Truman wanted a quick end to the war and a Japanese capitulation. He ordered a nuclear attack on Japan. At the same time, he wished to show Soviet leader Joseph Stalin what capacity the US arsenal held — despite the fact that the Soviet Union was an ally at the time.

On August 6, 1945, a specially constructed bomber was loaded with an atomic bomb to be dropped over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The attack with the so far almost untried weapon was as much a test as an attack. But it did not fail. Two-thirds of Hiroshima was destroyed and more than 140 000 people killed. Three days later another atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki, killing more than 80 000.        

The number of deaths in the bombings of Hiroshima varies depending on the source. An estimated 70 000 people were killed immediately. Within minutes nine out of 10 people half a mile or less from ground zero were dead. By the end of 1945, the death toll was estimated at 140 000 as a result of bad burns and radiation related injuries, which grew worse due to the lack of health care.

Proliferation of nuclear weapons

The Soviet Union had already started its nuclear research program in the 1930s, but it would take until 1949 before the first Soviet atomic bomb was tested. It sparked a heated debate in the United States: if the Soviet Union, the home of communism and the foremost opponent to the United States, had nuclear weapons, did it mean the United States had to get larger nuclear weapons?

The 1950s was a decade of aggressive nuclear weapons investments. The United States fired its first hydrogen bomb in 1951. In 1953 the Soviet Union fired its first hydrogen bomb. The United Kingdom declared itself a nuclear-weapon state in 1952 and fired its first hydrogen bomb five years later. In 1958, the United States and Soviet Union agreed on a temporary moratorium on nuclear testing. It seemed like a possibility to negotiate a treaty banning nuclear testing.

Political and military developments, however, made the moratorium a short one. In 1960, France declared itself the fourth nuclear power and in 1961 the Soviet Union broke the moratorium and detonated 30 bombs within a short period, including one bomb of 58 megatons (that is, 58 000 kilotons, compared to the Hiroshima bomb of 20 kilotons). The United States resumed its nuclear testing in the Pacific.

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev and US President John F. Kennedy brought the world closer than ever to a nuclear war through the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Two years later, the People’s Republic of China detonated its first atomic bomb. Nuclear testing by these five original nuclear-weapon states would continue into the 1960s, 70s, 80s and 90s.

In 1998, India and Pakistan joined the nuclear club by developing and testing their own nuclear weapons. India had actually conducted a so-called “peaceful” nuclear test as early as 1974. North Korea conducted a nuclear test in 2006 and again in 2009. Israel, known to possess nuclear weapons, has never conducted a nuclear test.

The Cold War arms race

Between the 1960s and 1980s, an intensive arms race took place between the United States and Soviet Union. In 1986 the arms race reached its peak. At that time the two superpowers together had 70 500 nuclear weapons in their arsenals. The total explosive power of these weapons would have been enough to annihilate the world and all its living creatures approximately 25 times.

The United States and Soviet Union kept a close eye on each other’s nuclear arsenals. Each time one was suspected of having increased its arsenal or acquiring a new kind of nuclear weapon, the other state would soon follow. This led to a mad arms race that neither the United States nor the Soviet Union could stop. There would always be the risk that the enemy would have a larger, stronger and more advanced nuclear arsenal.

Both states had their nuclear weapons targeted directly at each other’s territories, ready to be launched within minutes. The nuclear-weapon states applied a military doctrine called “mutually assured destruction”, or “MAD”. The doctrine assumed that both sides had enough nuclear weapons in their arsenals to annihilate the other in the event of a hostile nuclear attack.

The expected scenario was, for example, that the United States would attack the Soviet Union with a relatively small nuclear weapon. The Soviet Union would immediately respond with a larger attack, which would result in an even larger counterattack by the United States. The result would be mutually assured destruction. In fact, a large-scale nuclear war between the United States and Soviet Union would not have been limited to assured destruction of the two superpowers, but of the entire world.

Initiatives for disarmament

At the same time as the arms race between the United States and Soviet Union reached perilous heights, the states were challenged and questioned — both nationally and internationally. Already in the 1970s the first treaties were signed between the two states to limit their strategic nuclear arsenals: SALT I and II (Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty). The United States and Soviet Union — later replaced with Russia — entered negotiations on which weapons could be eliminated.

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was achieved in 1987 and seeks to eliminate the US and Russian land-based intermediate- and shorter-range missiles. The first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the United States and Soviet Union, signed in 1991, limits the number of heavy bombers, inter-continental ballistic missiles and submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and also limits launchers and warheads. It prohibits both states from deploying more than 6000 nuclear warheads on a total of 1600 delivery systems.

The second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the United States and Russia, signed in 1995, limits their strategic arsenals to between 3000 and 3500 warheads on delivery systems (tactical weapons and spares are not included in the counts). It also prohibits multiple re-entry vehicles on inter-continental ballistic missiles, and limits the number of warheads deployable on submarine-launched ballistic missiles to between 1700 and 1750.

This treaty, however, has not entered into force: when the United States withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002, Russia declared START null and void the following day. It was replaced by the Strategy Offensive Reductions Treaty in 2002. Also known as the Moscow Treaty, SORT limits the nuclear arsenal of both the United States and Russia to between 1700 and 2200 warheads each. It does not specify which warheads are to be reduced or how reductions should be made, nor does it include any verification provisions. It came into force on June 1, 2003, and is set to expire on December 31, 2012.

Demands for nuclear disarmament and a world free of nuclear weapons are constantly heard from certain organizations, states and individuals. In 1995 Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons demanded immediate and firm measures to abolish nuclear weapons and proposed measures for a gradual elimination of nuclear arsenals. In 1996 some 50 military officers from nuclear-weapon states presented an appeal, pointing to the fact that nuclear weapons can never create security — nationally or internationally.

The 1998 New Agenda Coalition (NAC) was an initiative where seven states agreed on a declaration demanding prompt and complete elimination of nuclear weapons. In 2003 Sweden appointed an independent Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, whose report in 2006 presented 60 substantial recommendations on how to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction. In January 2007 former US foreign and defence secretaries George Schultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn published two surprising articles on a world free from nuclear weapons.

There are also examples of states that have had nuclear-weapon programs but eliminated them. South Africa is the only state to possess nuclear weapons and then voluntarily give up the nuclear weapons option to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear-weapon state. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, nuclear weapons were deployed in four new independent states — Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and Kazhakstan. All former Soviet nuclear weapons were transported to Russia, while Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan chose to join the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states.
Since the development of nuclear weapons in the 1940s, there has been strong opposition throughout the world to these weapons which can annihilate the entire world and its living creatures. States have made demands in negotiations. Organizations and engaged activists everywhere have marched, rallied, protested and demanded the right to live in a world free from nuclear weapons.

Nuclear arsenals today

The precise number of nuclear weapons in the world’s arsenals is not known. More than 128 000 nuclear warheads have been produced since 1945. Of these, the United States has produced roughly 55 percent and the Soviet Union/Russia roughly 43 percent. In 1986, towards the end of the Cold War, there were an estimated 70 500 nuclear warheads in the world’s arsenals.

The five official nuclear-weapon states — the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China — appear to have no plans for ridding themselves of their nuclear weapons in the near future. They still consider it necessary to maintain a nuclear deterrent. Today close to 97 per cent of all nuclear weapons are found in the United States and Russia. Approximately 12 500 of the nuclear weapons in the US and Russia are operational, while the rest are placed in reserves or awaiting dismantlement.

The total world arsenals — including deployed weapons and reserves — was estimated by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in 2009 at 23 300. That equals about 2000 times the total firepower used during World War II — hence a capacity to destroy the world and all its living creatures many times over, despite the reductions already made.

The continued development and upgrading of nuclear weapons by nuclear-weapon states sends a
dangerous signal to non-nuclear-weapon states. The solution is for the nuclear-weapon states, in particular the United States and Russia with the largest arsenals, to admit that nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are two sides of the same coin. The existence of nuclear weapons fuels proliferation. Complete nuclear disarmament would show that nuclear weapons are not an attractive option.
United States — 9400
Russia — 13,000
United Kingdom — 160
France — 300
China — 186
India — 60–70
Pakistan — 60
Israel — 80
North Korea — 1–10
Total — 23,330

NATO nuclear weapons

Under the NATO nuclear-sharing programme, the United States today has about 350 nuclear weapons deployed in six European NATO member states. One of them, the United Kingdom, is itself a nuclear-weapon state, while the other five — Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and Turkey — are non-nuclear-weapon states. The NATO nuclear doctrine has hardly changed, despite the shift in the security–political situation since the end of the Cold War. NATO recently conducted a review of its nuclear policy and concluded that the deployed nuclear weapons in Europe still are absolutely necessary to protect Europe.

NATO’s non-nuclear members are to differing extents involved in the nuclear policy of the military alliance. Some states do not allow the placement of nuclear weapons on their territory in time of peace, while others have US nuclear weapons deployed on their territory to be used if needed by the United States and/or its own air force. All NATO member states participate in the NATO Nuclear Planning Group, where the implementation of the nuclear policy and organization of exercises are discussed. France is an exception, after pulling out of the NATO military structure in 1966.

NATO’s nuclear cooperation has been criticized for violating the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or at least being against the spirit of the treaty. Article I of the NPT prohibits the five official nuclear-weapon states — the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China — are not allowed to transfer nuclear weapons to “any recipient whatsoever”. According to Article II of the treaty, non-nuclear-weapon states are not allowed to produce or in any other way acquire nuclear weapons.

Nuclear terrorism

In recent years, the issue of nuclear terrorism has gained a lot of attention in the international nuclear weapons and disarmament debate, especially after the September 11 attacks. The risk of terrorist groups acquiring a large enough amount of fissile material to produce a smaller nuclear weapon cannot be ruled out. After the fall of the Soviet Union, fissile material may have disappeared, and still today complete control over the world’s stockpiles of uranium, plutonium and dismantled nuclear weapons is lacking. Efforts are made, particularly with the help of the United States, to gain total control over these stockpiles.

Terrorists wishing to produce a nuclear weapon need to get hold of highly enriched uranium (HEU). Approximately 20kg of HEU would be enough to produce a weapon. The easiest way to acquire it involves stealing HEU from a stockpile of excess material or from a research reactor. There are at least a hundred such reactors in the world, often with a serious lack of security arrangements. On the other hand, it would be difficult for terrorists to produce a plutonium bomb, as this requires more advanced technology and competence. There is also the possibility of a nuclear-weapon state transferring a functioning nuclear device to a terrorist group.

Nuclear terrorism could also mean terrorist acts aimed at a nuclear power plant. If the terrorists manoeuvring the planes to hit the World Trade Center on September 11 had instead hit the nearby nuclear power plants on Three Mile Island or a nuclear fuel waste storage facility, large quantities of radioactive particles would have been released, and with the explosion radioactive fallout would have been transported far from the epicentre. The consequences would have been both deaths and acute radiation sickness, and large areas contaminated with radioactive fallout for a long time.

New nuclear doctrines

Partly as a consequence of a changing political and social climate in the world over the last decade, a number of nuclear-weapon states have renewed their nuclear doctrines. For years, it has been considered imperative to keep the threshold for nuclear weapons use very high. In principle, use of nuclear weapons was, during the Cold War, not considered in any other case than retaliating against a nuclear attack. Many nuclear-weapon states issued so-called “no first use” policies, meaning the state would never be the first to use its nuclear weapons against any other actor.

Today this is no longer the case. In March 2005, the US Department of Defense posted and then cancelled a controversial draft revision of its doctrine for nuclear weapons operations on its website. The draft used unusually clear language regarding policies on the use of nuclear weapons in a wide variety of circumstances other than retaliation for nuclear weapons use by another state. In 2006 France launched a new nuclear doctrine, announcing that French nuclear weapons could be used against power centres in states that in any way sponsor terrorist acts aimed at French interests.
Russia, too, has revised its nuclear doctrine to lower the threshold for nuclear weapons use. In January 2008, a radical manifesto was presented by five senior military officials about a new NATO. The suggested manifesto underlines preventive nuclear attack as a necessary alternative for the Western world to stop proliferation of nuclear weapons. The changing attitude to nuclear weapons use can also be seen in the development of smaller, tactical nuclear weapons for battlefield use.

Blix Commission report

The threat of continued proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, or the use of existing weapons by states and non-state actors, is today highly topical. At the same time, the development in recent years indicates a renewed rearmament, rather than steps to terminate states’ possession of weapons of mass destruction. To this background, on the initiative of the United Nations and the Foreign Minister of Sweden Anna Lind, an independent international commission was appointed: the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission.

Hans Blix was asked by the Swedish government to chair the commission and to appoint other commissioners. On October 16, 2003, he presented a group of 14 commissioners from all over the world, with a thorough political, military and diplomatic experience of peace and disarmament work. The commission began its task in January 2004.

It launched its final report Weapons of Terror: Freeing the World of Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Arms on June 1, 2006. The report describes the international system of non-proliferation, disarmament and arms control and includes 60 recommendations as to what the international community — governments, civil society and the business world — can and should do to meet the global challenge posed by weapons of mass destruction. The report and its recommendations have called for great attention all over the world.

Radiation and human health

We exist in a naturally radioactive environment: the sun, the rocks and mountains produce a “background” level of radioactivity.
Average exposure to background ionizing radiation worldwide is measured at approximately 2.4 millisievert (mSv) a year, but this varies from place to place. About half of this is from radon gas and its decay products.

However, human activities from 1945 onwards have increased our exposure to ionizing radiation, through atomic weapons development, testing and use, and through nuclear power generation, including uranium mining. It is estimated that the atmospheric fallout alone that was taken up by humanity until the year 2000 from the nuclear weapons testing in the 50's and 60's will cause 430,000 fatal cancers worldwide.

There is no level of radiation exposure below which we are at zero risk: even very low-level medical exposures such as chest X-rays (0.04mSv per test) carry a quantifiable risk of harm, such as cancer promotion.

Ionizing radiation also causes damage to DNA: the genetic material in living cells. A cell can repair certain levels of damage in its chromosomal DNA, especially at low levels of damage. However, faulty repairs can occur and may lead to proliferation of abnormal cells, which then form a cancer. Such cancers will generally take many cell generations to develop, and it may be several decades before the cancer is detected.

At higher levels of radiation exposure, cell death results. In parts of the body where cell turnover is normally high, such as the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow, cells may not be replaced quickly enough, and tissues fail to function. This can be fatal. Because rapidly proliferating and differentiating tissues are very sensitive to radiation damage, the foetus is particularly vulnerable.
Exposure of the foetus to radiation has been shown to increase the risk of childhood cancer. In addition, rates of microcephaly (inadequate brain development) were increased in individuals who were exposed in the womb to the radiation of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings. Long-term genetic effects are also possible if the damage to the DNA occurs in a reproductive cell (egg or sperm), whereby the error may be passed on to future generations.

Estimating the risk

Radiation health authorities use scientific modelling to calculate and set “permissible limits” for ionizing radiation exposure. As our understanding has increased, the recommended exposures for both the public and for workers in the nuclear industry the workforce have steadily been reduced. Levels once regarded as “safe” are now known to be associated with health risks.

The most widely use recommended dose limits for radiation exposure are those set by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). Current recommended exposure limits are 20 mSv / year for workers in the nuclear industry, and 1 mSv / year for the general public. These recommendations were set in 1991, and are significantly lower than levels previously thought “safe”.

In June 2005, the US National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR VII) affirmed the “linear no threshold” model of estimating risk from radiation exposure, that is, the risk of cancer proceeds in a linear pattern at low doses and even the smallest dose has the potential to cause a small increase in risk to humans. The BEIR report estimated that a cumulative dose of 100mSv over a lifetime would cause 1 in 100 people to develop cancer.

It should be noted that these are risks averaged over the whole population, and the risks in vulnerable groups is higher. Women have a higher risk of solid cancer induction than men, and children (especially girls) are particularly vulnerable.

Health effects of a nuclear attack

In Hiroshima approximately 80,000 of its one quarter of a million population died immediately from the atomic bombing on August 6, 1945.
By the end of 1945 the death toll was an estimated 140,000 people.
In Nagasaki, the immediate death toll was approximately 40,000 people, and the toll by the end of the year was 70,000.

Stills from footage of a US nuclear bomb test
The effects of these two bombs are continuing. They have led to significantly increased rates of cancer among the bomb survivors and, because of the delay between radiation damage and onset of its effects, the numbers of cancers have not yet reached their peak. According to Mayor Tadatoshi Akiba, Mayor of Hiroshima, the total death toll from the Hiroshima bomb alone, as at August 6, 2004, was 237,062.

There are about 270,000 Hibakusha, "bomb affected people," still living in Japan.
At the hypocentre of a nuclear bomb explosion, everything is immediately vaporised by the high temperatures. At Hiroshima ground temperatures reached 11,000 degrees F. and ceramic tiles within 600 metres of ground zero melted.

Outward from the hypocentre deaths and injuries include burns, multiple fractures and other injuries from flying debris from collapsed buildings, other blast and shock wave effects, blindness and radiation sickness due to acute exposure to high radiation.

Radiation sickness symptoms include haemorrhaging, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, mouth and other gastrointestinal ulceration, bleeding gums and bruising, fatigue, and loss of hair. Loss of white blood cells leads to the onset of fever and life-threatening infections. These effects will develop within hours, days or weeks, depending on the size of the dose.

In the longer-term, radiation in the form of “fallout” occurs downwind of a nuclear explosion. The fallout may then be inhaled by people and animals or ingested through contaminated food and water. In Hiroshima, a mild westerly wind was blowing at the time of the explosion, and a “black rain” (rain with fallout) fell from the north to the east of ground zero. The black rain was sticky, and people at that time thought that oil had been dropped.

The long-term effects of radiation include a large number of malignancies: both solid cancers (such as breast, thyroid and lung cancers) and leukemia.
Leukemia risk is greatest for those exposed at a young age and the peak of leukemia onset is about 7 to 8 years after exposure.

For solid cancers the latent period (time to develop) is generally much longer – often many decades after the exposure. In addition, children exposed as foetuses to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs had a significantly increased rate of microcephaly and intellectual disability.

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