What if a Radioactive Spider Bites You?


– We all know what
happened to Peter Parker but what would really happen to you if you were bitten by
a radioactive spider. Let’s get technical. (suspenseful instrumental music) The origin of Spider-Man starts all the way back in 1962 in the
panels of Amazing Fantasy 15 and in those panels
scientists are demonstrating to Peter Parker and his
class their amazing control over so called radioactive rays. The scientists throw the
switch on their machine but at the exact same
time, an unfortunate spider dangles down from the ceiling and absorbs a fantastic
amount of radiation. The spider then totally stressed out and in its death throes,
then Peter who then more or less immediately
gains superpowers. The origin story of spider
man has changed over the years but what would happen to you if you were in this same original situation? First, those 50 year old panels
got something exactly right. Spiders do not want to bite us. Whether it’s our evolution or our culture, we have a habit of blaming spiders, we think that they bite us all the time. Any unexplained bump or rash
has to be a spider’s fault. We just assume. But from spider statistics and behavior, we can say definitively, it’s
almost never a spider bite no matter what you think it is. For example, it’s always fun to joke that everything including
spiders in Australia want to kill you right? Oh g’day, got bit by a spider. But just guess how many people
have died from spider bites like that from the very
venomous funnel web spider in the last, let’s make
it interesting, 40 years, just guess for a second, I can tell you. It’s one. Contrast this tiny number with the number of people in the US alone each
year that are bitten by dogs, and suddenly spiders
don’t seem quite as nasty. Come here, come here you little spider. Come here, eh, get over here. Come here little spider. This isn’t to say that
spiders don’t bite people, they definitely do. It’s just that we seem to think
because of our spider bias that spider bites are much more common and much more dangerous
than they actually are. For example, most people are afraid of the brown recluse and Black Widow. No the more alive Black Widow. There we go. However, mostly thanks to
the development of antivenom, there have been almost
zero deaths combined between these two spiders
in the last few decades. In the United States,
there hasn’t been a death by Black Widow since 1983 if
you don’t include endgame. Not only are potentially
dangerous spiders rarely deadly, we are terrible and
identifying spider bites in the first place. For example, in a resent
study in Southern California which does have black widow spiders, out of 200 people who came in saying they definitely got bit by a spider, less than 4% of them
actually got bit by a spider. And this is consistent
across the literature. The vast majority of the time
we mistakenly blame spiders, it’s hard to even get statistics like this because of misreporting
and misremembering. Our inherent spider bias, it’s fine. It’s really fine. They’re they’re mostly fine. There you go. Adding to all of this, yes,
most spiders are venomous, but almost none of them can
physically bite into us, even if they wanted to. We have identified around 40,000 species of spider worldwide. Out of all these species how many of them do you think can both bite us, and have venom that is dangerous to us? Well, maybe you can sense a theme here, but it’s literally like 12. 12! Spider biters. The fact is most spiders on Earth do not have venom that is dangerous to us. And most spiders on Earth
do not have the chelicerae or pointing fangy mouth bits that are capable to deliver
that venom into our bodies. The Daddy Long Legs is
probably the biggest victim of this kind of misconception. They aren’t venomous in
the way they would harm us. They do not have fangs that
are big enough to make it into our skin and
they’re not even spiders, and yet we treat them like
they’re secretly super deadly. We need to get over our spider bias. Now go! Go hang on the bedroom
ceilings and wait to jump on their faces when they’re sleeping. It’s fine, they’re not even spiders. Spider-Man’s comic origins got it right. Spiders really do only bite
us in extreme situations. So let’s just say that against all odds a radioactive spider does bite you. What happens next? In the original comic
panels the infamous spider becomes radioactive when it accidentally finds itself in the firing
line of radioactive rays. Studies do show that
insects and arachnids can handle a lot more radiation than you or I could before dying. Somewhere between 30 and 1500 grays which is an increase of 10 to 500 times over what we can handle. So maybe a spider could absorb a fantastic amount of radiation. The question no one ever asked
of this scenario, though, is how does this spider
actually become radioactive? Now I know the scientist
in the original comic said radioactive rays. But what if I was just
fancy 60s comic speak for a beam of neutrons and I suggest this because neutron bombardment is the only common way
for otherwise normal stuff to become radioactive stuff. It’s called neutron activation. Very basically, neutron activation is the act of shoving neutrons into an otherwise stable atomic nucleus. This makes the nucleus
bigger and unstable. It wants to return to stability. So in order to do so
it throws off particles and radiation to get back
down to its unexcited state. It’s kind of like the
guy that you drive behind on the highway who tried
to stuff too much stuff in his trunk didn’t
secure all of it properly instead of just taking like two
seconds to secure all of it. Now he’s putting your
life in danger cause parts of it are falling down onto the highway and maybe breaking your windshield, and you don’t wanna stop
and pull over and call AAA, and you’re late to the dentist already. Sorry, all normal material can be neutron activated,
even spider material. You can in theory make
a spider radioactive through neutron activation. However, it’s not exposure
to the spider itself that changes Peter’s nerd bod. It is exposure to the spiders venom. And so the maximum dose of
radiation you could receive, or Peter, depends on
exactly how much venom a spider can inject into you. Take the Black Widow again,
it has dangerous venom, but not very much. The average bite from a Black Widow only imparts two hundreds
of a single milligram worth venom into its victim. Just a few sand grains worth of mass. So now let’s get technical. Let’s say our spider has a
black widow’s amount of venom and after it is irradiated,
that venom is somehow through maybe neutron activation, as radioactive is
something like plutonium, this is ridiculous as an assumption, but let’s say it happens anyway because this amount is so small, it has to be really radioactive or else nothing’s going to happen. Now the spider bites you
and you have 20 micrograms of radioactive venom coursing
through your bloodstream emitting alpha particles that is smashing into cellular structures
inside of your cells and punching holes in your DNA. If the venom stayed in your
bloodstream after a week you would have absorbed
the same full body dose that you’d want to absorb over
20 years in just one week. And after a month, you
start to notice some changes in your blood cell count
because now you have non-fatal but still totally really bad radiation sickness, yay. The reality is if a truly
radioactive spider bit you it either wouldn’t be radioactive enough to do anything to your body or it would be so radioactive
that just a tiny amount of its venom would start
taking a bone saw to your DNA. Oh yeah. And broken DNA doesn’t
give you superpowers. It gives you cancer. This is why later
interpretations of Spider-Man’s origin story leaned into a
genetically engineered spider with genetically engineering venom. And I know I may have just
not your hopes and dreams of being Spider-Man off of a tall bridge and you tried to save it
with a web but you couldn’t so maybe let’s take this question
in a different direction. What if you were bitten by the most radioactive spider in the world. If a radioactive spider had
the most radioactive venom it would become literally the
most toxic animal on Earth. When we say something is radioactive, like this ominous hunk of metal here, what do we actually mean? Well, you’ve probably
heard of half life, right? It’s the amount of time
it takes for half of a radioactive material to decay away. And if we know this amount of time and how many atoms are
in this hunk of metal, we can calculate how many
of those nuclear decay events happen every second, and the more that happened per second the more radioactive
something is, makes sense. For example, let’s say
that this hunk of metal is actually radium-226, an isotope radium. It would make this metal one of the most radioactive substances on Earth. If we had a kilogram of
radium-226 right here it would be throwing out
36 trillion particles every single second, and because these particles
carry ionizing energy, it is very dangerous to
stand right next to it. but it’s not the most dangerous. This is just a few
milligrams of polonium-210. It was discovered in
named after Poland in 1898 by Marie and Pierre Curie. It was the first element to be discovered by its extreme radioactivity alone. Here I have just a few milligrams of it, just a snowflake’s worth of mass and it still literally glows blue in air because the particles it’s
throwing off as a decays are ionizing the air around it. Polonium-210 isn’t the
most radioactive substance that we know of, but it
might be one of the scariest because the particles it’s throwing off carry very high energies. Those particles don’t travel
very far in air though, so you can stand about
this far away from it and you’d be fine. But if this got into your body, you’d now be in contact
with one of the most toxic substances on Earth. So let’s put it in our spider’s venom. The most radioactive spider on Earth is about to bite us during our field trip and inject us with a Black Widow’s worth of polonium-210 in liquid form. Wait for, math first, you know that. Spider-Man. We know the radioactivity of polonium-210. We know how much mass is going
to be in your bloodstream from the bite, and we know how much energy each one of those decaying particles will have and impart to your body. We are going to consider
what this does to you over the course of a day if
you have spider man’s mass. If you were bit by the
most radioactive spider after just a day you would absorb an entire body dose of three grays. You would feel nauseous, confused, you would start throwing up and, and then you, you lose all your hair. God. A week after being bitten by the spider you would have absorbed
a total of 23 grays, you’re going into shock, you’re
in and out of consciousness, your organs are failing. For context, the 100% lethal dose even with medical treatment
starts at eight grays. You are not waking up
with nerd abs after this. If our spider’s venom was as
radioactive as polonium-210, the amount of venom he would
need to inject into you to do something to your body in the form of definitely killing you would
be just a single microgram, less than a third the mass
of a single grain of sand. Polonium-210 is so
radioactive that it doesn’t really have any uses outside
of just being radioactive as a source of radiation
for heating up space probes in space with radioactivity
and being used as a, as a very potent poison. I guess though, it wouldn’t
put the venom in venom. So what would really happen to you if you were bitten by
a radioactive spider? Well, the comics got a lot right. You can in theory making
spider radioactive. Spiders only bite people
in extreme situations. And if a radioactive spider bit you, it could in theory do
something to your body, however, that something could
either be almost nothing, or so much that instead
of wall climbing powers and shooting webs out and stuff, you have the powers of
nausea and organ failure. Honestly, the most unbelievable part of Spider-Man’s origin story isn’t that radioactivity did
something to Peter Parker, it’s that a spider jumped to his hand and bit him in the first place. Because Science. To me, my spiders, all of you, yes. To their basements we go to
lie and wait in the dark. (upbeat electronic music) Neutron activation can
be a serious concern, especially if you’re working around things that emit radiation and emit neutrons, it can make things like
your workspace radioactive, I actually got this sticker which says caution radioactive material
potentially activated. I got this at a national laser lab, because what they do
there can actually emit neutrons into the surrounding environment and activate material so
they build most of the lab out of concrete and not steel, because steel can become
activated by these neutrons and then it can become radioactive and therefore workplace hazard and I have it on this mug because it’s probably not radioactive. Thank you so much for watching Dakota. If you want more of me
and Because Science, you can follow us on the
social media handles here and hey, you can suggest
ideas for future episodes. Sometimes I use them but often I do not and if you wanna check out
any of our other series that we’re doing, like the
Science of Mortal Combat, or Because Space, please go back to the
Because Science channel and check those out too. (upbeat jingle)

6 Weird Mushrooms (And Other Fungi)

6 Weird Mushrooms (And Other Fungi)


[♪ INTRO] There’s more to mushrooms than the cute
button varieties you find at your local grocery store. The word “fungus” describes a whole kingdom
of organisms that are neither plant nor animal. It includes chanterelles and shiitakes, but
also molds and yeasts. Mushrooms are the part of the fungus that
spreads its spores in order to reproduce. And there are some really strange examples
of fungi and their fruiting bodies out there. They’re not just interesting looking, either. Some have the power to trick animals into
caring for them, or even clean up radiation. So here are six weird mushrooms and other
fungi, and what sets them apart from regular garden
fare. The first fungus on our list has a pretty
clever survival technique. The genus Fibularhizoctonia, also known as
the cuckoo fungus, hides itself in piles of termite eggs by mimicking
their size and color. Its little round balls aren’t technically
mushrooms. They’re actually the fungus’s sclerotia
form. That’s a resting state that will eventually
sprout a new colony when conditions are right. By making itself look like termite eggs, the
fungus ensures it’s safe until it’s time to sprout. See, termites will pile all their eggs together
in one place and groom and lick them to protect them from dryness and infection. By hiding in the heap, the fungal termite
balls get the same protection. But it’s not just a matter of looking
like a termite egg. The cuckoo fungus smells like them too. To blend in, the fungi make an enzyme called
beta-glucosidase. This same enzyme is made by termite eggs to
help adults recognize them. And in an experiment from 2000, termites didn’t care for glass beads resembling
termite eggs unless they were coated in egg-recognition
chemicals. Researchers have found that multiple species
of fungus can all hide away in the same termite mound; all it takes is looking and smelling similar
enough. There’s just one catch to all this protection: the fungal balls can’t sprout with worker
termites around. Researchers think that maybe the termite’s
saliva keeps them from growing somehow. When the termites run out of food and relocate
to a new colony, they carry their own eggs,and the fungus,
with them. And then the fungus can sprout. It’s a handy way for the fungus to hitch
a ride and set up camp in a brand new location before
its competitors get there. This next fungus on the list sounds and looks
positively frightening. But it turns out, all its weirdness is just
a mushroom living its life. The bleeding tooth fungus gets its name in
part from the teeth-shaped structures on its underside. In fact, all members of the hydnoid family
of fungi have these structures, not just the bleeding tooth. Most mushrooms use gills or pores to release
their spores. You can easily spot the gills if you flip
over a portobello. But hydnoids use teeth instead.
And the bleeding part? That dark red liquid oozing from the mushroom’s
top is actually because of the fungus’s internal
transportation system. See, fungi transport nutrients and water up from
the soil through root-like structures called hyphae. Under the right conditions, pressure can build
up in the hyphae and push fluid up and out of the pores on
the mushroom’s surface. Although there haven’t been any studies
to figure out exactly why the fluid is red, one fungi expert we asked thinks the mushroom
might add red pigments to attract insects that help spread its spores; the same insects that are also attracted to
red flowers. Not creepy and bleeding at all! One of the other cool things about these fungi is how they get their nutrients in the first
place. Bleeding tooth fungi are mycorrhizal, meaning they form symbiotic relationships
with trees like pine or spruce. The fungi get carbohydrates from the trees
and, in return, they give the tree nitrogen and phosphorus. And you could say it’s quite an intimate
relationship. The fungus’s hyphae grow as a layer on the
outside of the tree’s root tips, actually growing in between the tree’s cells, so they can easily hand nutrients back and
forth with one another. I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with having
a gruesome-looking fungus latched on to me. But it seems to work out just fine for the
trees! When you think of a wild mushroom, chances
are you picture something like the Fly Agaric. And I know we’re supposed to be talking
about weird mushrooms, but stick with me. This iconic mushroom is depicted in everything
from Germanic Christmas decorations to Super Mario. But its recognizability has as much to do
with its chemistry as it does aesthetics. See, the Fly Agaric’s name may not actually
refer to insects. Instead, it may be related to an older usage
of the word ‘fly’, which could refer to madness or possession. That’s because the world’s prettiest, most stereotypical
mushroom has hallucinogenic properties. But they’re also kind of toxic, so just
in case we have to say it, don’t. There are accounts dating back to at least
the 18th century, and perhaps much earlier, of European and Asian peoples using the mushrooms
in religious rituals. If ingested, the mushrooms cause confusion,
dizziness, space distortion, unawareness of time and hallucinations, followed
by drowsiness and fatigue. The two main compounds responsible are muscimol
and ibotenic acid. They have a chemical structure that’s really
similar to the neurotransmitter GABA. And they act in kind of the same way to make neurons in the spinal cord and brain
less likely to fire. Which has kind of a calming effect. But they also explain the mushroom’s psychedelic
effects. Muscimol and ibotenic acid trigger the release
of additional neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, which give those happy
feelings. At least that’s what the mice studies have
shown. The funny thing is, these mushrooms are actually
trying not to be eaten. Their distinctive red and white color is a
warning to animals that, hey, I’m toxic! Seems one creature’s warning system is another’s
video game powerup. This next group of fungi have earned the nickname
‘Hulk bugs’. That’s because they seem to have the ability
to absorb radiation. These superhero fungi have been found in areas
with some seriously high levels of radiation, like inside the damaged nuclear reactor at
Chernobyl and even hanging out on the outsides of spacecraft. Some fungi on the outskirts of Chernobyl even
grow towards the source of radiation. Hence their name, radiotropic fungi; tropism being a term for when an organism
turns towards a particular stimulus. But radiation is nasty stuff for most living
things, given its ability to shred DNA. So how can these fungi tolerate it? Some fungi, like black yeast, can protect
themselves by using the radiation to activate particular genes related to DNA
repair and defense. These fungi seem to have a sensor for detecting
UV light, which can also cause DNA damage. And that sensor may be picking up radiation
and turning on DNA repair. And they don’t just absorb it and cope. The radiation actually helps some fungi grow
stronger. For example, when black yeast was exposed
to low doses of radiation over 24 hours in the lab, it grew 30 percent
more cells, and those cells were larger than the ones
that hadn’t been exposed to radiation. And the single-celled fungus Cryptococcus
neoformans grew faster when exposed to high levels of gamma radiation
in the lab. Scientists think this might have to do with
melanin in the fungi’s cell walls. Yes, the same pigment that gives our skin
its color. They think melanin might be acting in a similar
way to other biological pigments like chlorophyll to turn radiation into usable
energy. When researchers exposed fungi containing
melanin to gamma rays, they found an increase in cellular energy
production. But not all fungi found in radioactive areas
have melanin, so there may be something else going on that
we don’t understand yet. And it would be a good thing to investigate, since some radiotropic fungi may have the
ability to decompose and decontaminate radioactive material, meaning they could be used for environmental
cleanups. Two fungi are doing just that with the debris
at Chernobyl. But scientists don’t yet whether the fungi
retain the radioactive particles or spit them back out into the environment
somehow, which is to say, more research is needed to
see if they can truly decontaminate radiation. Still, maybe we should rename them Captain
Planet bugs? Speaking of names, you can learn a lot about
the fungi in this next group from both their scientific and common names. Their family name, Phallaceae, alludes to
these fungus’s distinctive shape. But that’s not the whole story. These mushrooms actually come in a wide variety
of forms, from geometric, to alien looking, to something
quite beautiful. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why these
fungi take so many different shapes, but some have speculated that it might increase
the mushrooms’ surface area to help spread their spores. That’s where this family’s other name
comes in: Stinkhorn fungi. They secrete a foul-smelling slime that reeks
of rotting flesh thanks to a chemical called dimethyl trisulfide. The same chemical is given off by necrotic
wounds. This attracts flies that gobble up the slime,
as well as a bunch of spores. The flies then spread those spores to another
location when they poop, helping the mushrooms reproduce. And it’s not just flies that are interested
in this mushroom as a snack. Despite its horrid odor, pickled stinkhorn
eggs are a delicacy in China and Europe. One species, the bridal veil stinkhorn, is
dried and eaten on special occasions in China. Once dried they apparently smell more earthy,
musty or almondy than putrid, and when cooked have a nice umami flavor. So, don’t judge a mushroom by its smell
I guess? Lion’s Mane sounds like something you might
add to a potion. And it kind of is. This fluffy, white mushroom is edible; it’s said to have a fleshy texture and seafood-like
taste. It’s been used in Chinese medicine for centuries
as an antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-aging supplement. Claims abound in support of the beneficial
properties of the various chemicals found within lion’s mane mushrooms. And there seems to be some evidence to support
these claims. One group of compounds, the hericerins, slows
the growth of cancer cells. Another, belonging to a class of chemicals
called polysaccharides, stimulates immune responses by activating
the body’s defensive cells. And in a double blind study from 2008, elderly people who took tablets containing
the dry mushroom powder scored better on a test of cognitive function after 16 weeks
than those who received a placebo. But before you start stockpiling Lion’s
Mane, you should know there are a few snags. For one, a lot of these studies were done
in vitro, that is, with a culture dish of cells rather
than an actual person. And others were done on rodents. There’s a big difference between rodents
and people, and between cells and full-blown human bodies, so the effects probably aren’t as staggering
as some people might have you believe. Still, if there’s a silver lining, it’s
that this mushroom still tastes pretty good. These magnificent mushrooms and fancy fungi
all stand out for different reasons, but it goes to show that there’s a lot more
going on than what’s in your backyard. Unless there’s stinkhorns in your backyard. Those things smell terrible. I’m so sorry. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow. If this list piqued your interest, there’s a whole episode of our spin-off podcast
SciShow Tangents about the fungus among us. And that’s just one of the lightly competitive,
science poem-filled topics on offer. It’s brought to you by the same super smart
people who make SciShow, as well as Complexly and WNYC Studios. Check it out wherever you find podcasts. [♪ OUTRO]

What if We Nuke a City?

What if We Nuke a City?


Playing around with nuclear weapons in videos is fun. There’s a visceral joy in blowing things up, and a horrifying fascination with things
like fireballs, shockwaves, and radiation. And while it does help put our destructive
power in perspective, it’s not the best way of understanding
the real impact of a nuclear explosion. This isn’t about city stacks of TNT, or about how bright an explosion is. Nuclear weapons are about you. So we’ve partnered with the Red Cross
and Red Crescent movement to explore what would really happen if a nuclear weapon were detonated in a major city today. Not nuclear war, just one explosion. *Intro* We begin our story in the middle of
downtown in a major city. People are going to work, studying for exams, are lost in their thoughts and daily lives. Right here a nuclear weapon is detonated
and time freezes. The first phase of the explosion happens
within less than a second. In a millisecond, a ball of plasma hotter than the Sun appears and grows in a fireball to more than 2 kilometres across. Within this ball, everyone is just gone. Think of water dripped on to a very hot pan. A sizzle, and then there’s nothing. Most buildings, cars, trees,
tacky sculptures and people… … all evaporated. First, the flash: an intense tsunami of light washes over the city in an instant. If you happen to have your head pointed in the direction of the explosion, it renders you blind for a few hours. The heat of this light produces a thermal pulse, so energetic and hot that it just burns everything as far as 13 kilometres from the detonation site. What this means is that everything in an area of 500 square kilometres that is able to burn, starts burning. Plastic, wood, fabric, hair, and skin. If you happen to be in reach of the thermal pulse, one moment, you’re on your way to work, the next moment, you’re on fire. Now the second phase begins. It happens in a few seconds. Most people will now first notice
that something is wrong, but it’s already too late for hundreds of thousands. The flash is followed by the shockwave. The heat and radiation of the fireball create a bubble of superheated and super-compressed air around it that’s now expanding explosively. Faster than the speed of sound, creating winds stronger than hurricanes and tornadoes. Human infrastructure is no match for its power. Most major buildings within a kilometre of the fireball are just ground up down to their base. Only steel reinforced concrete is able to
partially resist the pressure. In the surrounding parks where retirees feed the ducks, trees blackened and smoldering from the heat a second before snap like toothpicks. If you’re outside, you get tossed away
like a grain of dust in a tornado. The shockwave weakens as it travels outwards but still, about 175 square kilometres of houses collapse like they’re made of cards, trapping tens of thousands of people
who didn’t have any time to react. Gas stations explode and fire spread
throughout the rubble. A mushroom cloud made from the remains of the fireball, dust and ash rises kilometres into the sky in the next few minutes and casts a dark shadow over the ruined city. This violently pulls in fresh air surrounding the city, destroying more buildings and providing
an abundance of oxygen. It depends on the city what happens next. If there’s enough fuel, fires may turn into a firestorm that burns the rubble, everybody trapped in it and people trying to flee the devastation. Up to 21 kilometres from the explosion, people just like you rush to their windows to take pictures of the mushroom cloud, unaware that the shockwave is still coming at them, about to shatter their windows and create
a blizzard of sharp glass. The third phase begins in the coming hours and days. We’re used to the idea that help will come,
no matter the disaster. This time is different: a nuclear explosion is like every natural disaster at once. There are hundreds of thousands or millions of people with serious injuries: lacerations, broken bones, serious burns. In the next few minutes and hours, thousands more will die because of these injuries. Countless people are trapped in collapsed buildings like in earthquakes or blinded by the flash, deaf from the blast wave and unable to flee through streets impassable with rubble and debris. They’re terrified, confused, and don’t know what’s happened to them or why. Most likely, many hospitals have been leveled along with all the other buildings and most medical professionals are either dead or injured, along with everyone else. The survivors lucky enough to have been in metro tunnels or standing in the right place to be unburned and unhurt won’t have truly escaped harm yet. Depending on the type of weapon, where it explodes and even the weather, an awful black rain can begin, with radioactive ash and dust descending on the city, covering everything and everyone. The invisible, malicious, silent horror of
radiation takes its turn. Every breath carries poison to the lungs of the survivors. Over the coming days, the people who receive the highest doses of radiation exposure will die. There will be no help, not for hours or maybe even days. Civilisation doesn’t operate when
there is a total breakdown of infrastructure. Roads are blocked, train tracks warped, runways cluttered with rubble. No water, no electricity, no communication, no stores to replenish supplies from. Help from surrounding cities will have a hard time entering the disaster zone and even if they can, the radioactive contamination will make it risky to get too close. After a nuclear attack, you’re on your own. So, bit by bit, people emerge from the rubble on foot, contaminated with radioactive fallout, carrying what little they may have left. They are slow, in pain, traumatized, and they all need food, water and medical treatment fast. And the damage done by a nuclear weapon doesn’t end when the fires burn out and the smoke clears. The hospitals in the neighboring cities are under-equipped for a disaster of this scale and overwhelmed with tens or hundreds of thousands of patients with serious injuries. In the weeks, months and years to come, many of those who survived will succumb to cancers like leukemia. The reason no government wants you to think about all this is because there is no serious humanitarian response possible to a nuclear explosion. There’s no way to really help the immediate victims of a nuclear attack. This is not a hurricane, wildfire or earthquake or nuclear accident. It is all of these things at once, but worse. No nation on earth is prepared to deal with it. The world has changed in the past few years, with world leaders again explicitly and publicly threatening each other with nuclear weapons. Many experts think the danger of a nuclear strike is higher than it has been in decades. Governments tell their citizens that it’s good that we have nuclear weapons, but it’s bad when anyone else gets them. That it’s somehow necessary to threaten others with mass destruction to keep us safe. But does this make you feel safe? It only takes a small group of people with power to go crazy or rogue, a small misstep or a simple misunderstanding to unleash a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. Exploding stuff in videos is fun. Exploding things in real life, not so much. There is a solution though! Eliminating all nuclear weapons
and vowing never to build them again. In 2017, almost 2/3 of all the world’s countries, supported by hundreds of civil society organizations and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement agreed to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons. It’s not about who has nuclear weapons and who doesn’t. The weapons themselves are the problem. They are deeply immoral and an existential threat to all of us. No matter what country you come from, no matter what political side you find yourself on, we need to demand that they disappear forever. This will not happen without pressure. If you want to be part of this pressure, there are things you personally can do too: Visit notonukes.org to learn more about nuclear weapons and what you can do about them. *Outro Music* *QUACK* *Outro*