So I've written before about the startling number of mishaps that might have led to a nuclear war and a bomb that nearly detonated over North Carolina in the 1960's. Here are even more tales of just how close we've come over the years to catastrophic nuclear accidents, including the case of a repairman who dropped a socket from his wrench, which almost caused a nuclear detonation in Arkansas. Perhaps the most alarming thing about all of these incidents is how little knowledge the public has about how often such mistakes really happen.
The earliest research into nuclear fission and fusion took place in the utmost secrecy of a nation at war. No one even knew that scientists were concerned that there was at least a slight chance that the first test of the atom bomb might have ignited the Earth's atmosphere (and of course, they went ahead with it anyway). The existence of nuclear weapons was only announced to the world when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. With so many other potentially catastrophic technologies on today's drawing boards -- including artificial intelligence, bio-engineering, and nanotechnology -- it's fair to ask what implications this kind of secrecy could have for the future of humanity and the planet.
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