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This whole monstruousity was originally conveived February through March 2001 by the members of The Big Note - a Frank Zappa YahooGroup. After an arduous gestation period, this site was birthed on April 11 2001. True to the essence of collaborative effort, these people are held responsible.

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© TheBigNote 2001-2004
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Duck & Cover!

Compiled, edited, and submitted by SOFA

Note: the following "cut and paste" montage on nuclear attack was created thanks to text from the movie "The Atomic Café". I discovered a Web site run by Jayne Loader, one of the producers of this movie. For those that haven't seen this movie yet, it is available at this site - as is information on the making of the film.
The Atomic Cafe must be seen, not just read, to be truly appreciated. Released in 1982, its producers spent years toiling over Government A-bomb test and propaganda films, military training films, news reel footage, radio broadcasts, and other sources, to come up with one of the most chilling, and hilarious, movies ever made.
With absolutely no narration other than that provided by historical clips, this movie justly states how ludicrous the idea of nuclear war was, and is. The U.S. Government's spoon feeding of nuclear propaganda to the public from the 1940's and '50's (also well documented) is laid bare here. It seems laughable now, but people actually used to believe that atomic warfare was something that the earth could survive.
So laugh at the montage, but learn from its message.


Never before have so many known so little about a subject so important. The capabilities of most weapons are pretty much understood, but when it comes to atomic explosions, the guessing game starts. You are here to participate in an atomic maneuver. This is not a haphazard maneuver; careful planning for it started months back... Watched from a safe distance, this explosion is one of the most beautiful sights seen by man. You're probably saying, "So it's beautiful. What makes it so dangerous?"

Basically, there are only 3 things to think about: blast, heat and radiation. Radiation is the one new effect obtained by the use of atomic weapons. Truthfully, it's the least important of the 3 effects - as far as the people on the ground are concerned. You can't see radiation, feel it, smell it, or taste it. If you receive enough gamma radiation to cause sterility, or severe sickness, you'll be killed by the blast, flying debris, or heat, anyway. Well that's the story. Don't worry about yourselves; you'll be okay.

"I wouldn't worry nearly as much about the atom bomb if it would kill you right out. What scares me is that awful gas that deforms you."
"Yeah, that would be bad." This scenario is played out all around the country. If the truth were known, we face more danger from our panic than from the actual explosion. The blast shot passes in a matter of seconds, and the heat, and blast effects, you can see and feel. You cannot sense the presence of nuclear radiation - alpha and beta particles. Because of their low penetrating power, they are stopped by most surfaces (even a person's skin). They are a hazard only when materials emitting these particles get into the body thru breaks in the skin - or thru the nose or mouth. Bill Clinton would be safe because he doesn't inhale.

What's a blast like? First of all, one sees a very, very bright light, followed by a shock wave, and then you hear the sound of the blast. And then it seems as though there's a minor earthquake. Then you look up and you see the fireball as it ascends up into the heavens. It's a wonderful sight to behold. The July 24, 1995 issue of Newsweek writes: "A bright light filled the plane," wrote Col. Paul Tibbets, the pilot of the Enola Gay, the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb. "We turned back to look at Hiroshima. The city was hidden by that awful cloud...boiling up, mushrooming." For a moment, no one spoke. Then everyone was talking. "Look at that! Look at that! Look at that!" exclaimed the co-pilot, Robert Lewis, pounding on Tibbets' shoulder. Lewis said he could taste atomic fission; it tasted like lead. Then he turned away to write in his journal. "My God," he asked himself, "what have we done?" (Special report, "Hiroshima: August 6, 1945")
(SFX: a cheesy little jingle, popular amongst soft drink commercials and game shows. Follow the bouncing mushroom cloud.)

"There was a turtle by the name of Burt,
and Burt the Turtle was very alert.
When danger threatened him, he never got hurt;
he knew just what to do.
He'd duck and cover, duck and cover..."

Narrator: You and I don't have shells to crawl into, like Burt the Turtle, so we have to cover up in our own way. Paul and Patty know this. No matter where they go or what they do, they always remember what to do if the atom bomb explodes right then.
"It's a bomb! Duck and cover!"
Here's Tony going to his Cub Scout meeting. Tony knows that the bomb can explode any time of the year - day or night. "Duck and cover!"
Atta boy, Tony. That flash means "act fast!"

Duck and cover, duck and cover. He did what we all must learn to do; you and you and you and you. You and you and you and you - duck and cover! Remember what to do, friends... DUCK AND COVER!

Now that we've educated the kids, what other doubts might we have? Some of the falsehoods circulated about radiation effects are trivial - but upsetting. They're beamed right at one's self-esteem. Yes, enough exposure to radiation will cause loss of hair. The treatment - if you'd insist - would be symptomatic - a wig or toupee. But the condition would only be temporary. Your hair would come back - same color, same cowlick. This puts a finger on one of the main fallacies in the public attitude towards atomic weapons. It's the fallacy of devoting 85% of one's worrying capacity to an agent that constitutes only about 15% of an atomic bombs destroying potential. And that's unsound.
To assist us in "right thinking", many communities have adopted regulations pertaining to the preparation for a nuclear attack. An actual case in point:

"BE IT RESOLVED BY THE WOMEN'S ADVISORY COUNCIL FOR DEFENSE AND DISASTER RELIEF, while in meeting at San Antonio, Texas, June 29-30, 1961, that we recommend a re-wording in all pamphlets being distributed or to be distributed locally, State-wide, or Nationally, so that, HEADING THE LIST OF ESSENTIAL SUPPLIES to be taken into shelter with food as planned for evacuation survival, the following be printed:
"Each person will bring his or her Bible of whatever religion it may represent, and keep the Bible ever near as the staying power sure to be well tested in time of stress or pain."

Do you have your Bible handy? Good. Let's start the maneuver. "The United States is under nuclear attack. Repeat: the United States is under nuclear attack! Take cover immediately in your area fallout shelter!"
"Now children, I want you to sit down here against the wall. Crouch tight up against it. Now listen: if they're dropping an atomic bomb, it may go off any second now. Whatever happens, I'll give the signal for when it's all right to get up. If there's an explosion, we'll wait about a minute after it's over; then we'll go upstairs, take a look around, and see if it's all right for us to clean up."

SFX: a cheesy atom bomb explosion all the big groups use)

"Children, you better clear up all this broken glass and debris. All in all, I'd say we've been very lucky around here. Nothing to do know but wait for instructions from the authorities and relax."
You see? It wasn't so bad. Even the reports on the radio are reassuring. "Ladies and Gentlemen. Word has just been received from the Atomic Energy Commission that, due to a change in wind direction, the residue from this morning's atomic detonation is drifting in the direction of St, George. It is suggested that everyone remain indoors for one hour, or until further notice. There is no danger; this is simply routine Atomic Energy Commission safety procedure. Parents need not be alarmed about children at school. No recesses outdoors will be permitted."

As you can see, there is really no need for worry...


Epilogue: Little Boy
After being released, it took about a minute for Little Boy to reach the point of explosion. Little Boy exploded at approximately 8:15 a.m. (Japan Standard Time) when it reached an altitude of 2,000 ft above the building that is today called the "A-Bomb Dome."
Little Boy generated an enormous amount of energy in terms of air pressure and heat. In addition, it generated a significant amount of radiation (Gamma ray and neutrons) that subsequently caused devastating human injuries. The people who saw the Little Boy often say "We saw another sun in the sky when it exploded." The heat and the light generated by Little Boy were far stronger than bombs that they had seen before. When the heat wave reached ground level, it burnt all before it including people.
The strong wind generated by the bomb destroyed most of the houses and buildings within a 1.5 miles radius. When the wind reached the mountains, it was reflected and again hit the people in the city center. The wind generated by Little Boy caused the most serious damage to the city and people.
The radiation generated by the bomb caused long-term problems to those affected. Many people died within the first few months and many more in subsequent years because of radiation exposure. Some people had genetic problems that sometimes resulted in having malformed babies or being unable to have children.
It is believed that more than 140,000 people died by the end of the year. They were citizens including students, soldiers and Koreans who worked in factories within the city. The total number of people who have died due to the bomb is estimated to be 200,000.

For the Earth's sake, DON'T STOP WORRYING!

Frank Zappa

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