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In an article entitled, "Inside the Apocalyptic Soviet Doomsday Machine," (current issue of WIRED magazine), Nicholas Thompson describes a weapons system designed to destroy the world in the event that Russia is attacked. But there's a serious flaw in the system: It's a secret. Oh, and it's still-extant, armed, and continually updated.


Click the image to see the story.

Anyone remember "Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb"? Dr. Strangelove cries, "The whole point of the doomsday machine is lost if you keep it a secret!"

On the plus side, now maybe my students will get a taste of the joys of growing up in the 1980s. Oh, wait....

I've done a bit of internet research to see if there's anything behind this story, and it seems possible. In fact, stories about the "Perimeter System" (aka "Dead Hand") appeared a decade ago. Anyone have a lead on the reliability of this report?

Chris

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
tully01
Sep. 30th, 2009 09:28 pm (UTC)
The joys of growing up in the 1980s? Hey, I remember "duck and cover." :-D

No clue on how reliable the article is. The Russians are not known for being straight-up players, and layered disinformation is stock-in-trade with them.

"Gentlemen, you can't fight in here, this is the War Room!"
mckitterick
Oct. 1st, 2009 02:47 am (UTC)
Oh, yeah, I also did the "duck and cover" in elementary school. Right beside those huge school windows. Yeah.

I love that moment from the movie!
yanbaoqin
Sep. 30th, 2009 10:09 pm (UTC)
Apparently the reason it's a secret is to keep Soviet/Russian leaders themselves in check. The knowledge that no matter what, there will be revenge keeps the hotter heads satisfied.
mckitterick
Oct. 1st, 2009 02:51 am (UTC)
That was a fascinating aspect of the story. I wonder if we have something akin to that in the US to take care of our own hawks?
tully01
Oct. 1st, 2009 04:23 pm (UTC)
*I wonder if we have something akin to that in the US to take care of our own hawks?*

Nuclear sub fleet = guaranteed retaliation. We allow our nuke sub commanders a LOT more autonomy than the Russians do.
bammba_m
Sep. 30th, 2009 10:48 pm (UTC)
On the plus side, now maybe my students will get a taste of the joys of growing up in the 1980s.

This might have been possible if John Hughes hadn't passed away this year.
mckitterick
Oct. 1st, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
Considering that I meant that ironically, does this mean you hate John Hughes films? If so, I might not be able to talk with you any more ;-)
bammba_m
Oct. 1st, 2009 03:05 am (UTC)
I meant that John Hughes is no longer around to make those iconic movies that we grew up with. Personally, I haven't seen very many of them, but the ones I did see I enjoyed a great deal. :)
mckitterick
Oct. 1st, 2009 03:00 pm (UTC)
Recently, a Kansas City troupe did a musical version of The Breakfast Club. It's awesome!
emessar
Oct. 1st, 2009 07:08 am (UTC)
At least we still have Molly Ringwald.
tully01
Oct. 1st, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
Except in the alternate universe where she belongs to Peter Griffin!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )