Hiroshima: 70 years ago today

It’s now 70 years since America dropped the first atomic bomb in warfare. The target: Hiroshima. There’s plenty of information, images and debate about the bombing (and the subsequent one of Nagasaki) so I won’t cover that here.

I have, though, written already about my experience meeting a survivor. The suffering – mental and physical – that survivors carry around must be incredible. And in the name of freedom and democracy too.

Only a month after visiting Hiroshima with my friends Neil and Rami, I got to see the vehicle of Hiroshima’s destruction: the Enola Gay . It’s currently on display in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia. It is a really beautiful aircraft. Deceptively so. I suppose most warplanes are, to be honest. They are engineering marvels and triumphs of human imagination, ingenuity, endeavour, and purpose. But most are also anonymous. Most of us do not know, even roughly, how many people have died through the power of the aircraft in front of us at a museum, or an airshow. It could be thousands, dozens or none. In that way it’s easy to lose sight of their true purpose: killing.

Not so with the Enola Gay. We don’t know for certain how many people died when it dropped ‘Little Boy’, but estimates range from 90,000 to 160,000 (Source: Wikipedia). Think that over…one aircraft alone accounted for at least 90 thousand deaths.

I beautiful piece of engineering, no doubt. But standing next to it gave me the chills. It made me angry, sad, frightened. An odd sensation to have looking at an inanimate object. But it’s not to blame. We are. Humans. For all that we’re brilliant, we’re also terrible.

R.I.P. the victims of pointless wars.


Mining a rich seam for blog posts

I’ve just finished reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick. I should really say re-reading, as I first read the sci-fi classic (and basis for Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner) back in 1996/97 for my Higher English Review of Personal Reading.

As a rule I only read books once. I’ve broken that three times though with: The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?. It was a very odd experience going back to a book I’d first read as a teenager nearly 20 years ago. Firstly, the influence of the film weighed heavily on my impression of what the book was/was not about, and secondly having written about it for a school subject I was positive certain things happened in it which transpired not to be the case!

Which leads me to this rich seam of blog posts which I found on my computer: my English, History and Computing reports written c. 1995-97, and my UCAS personal statement c. 1997. They’re mostly about 1,000 – 1,800 words long, and a rather embarrassing window into the life of my precocious teenage years. Ideal blog fodder then!

At some point you’ll bear witness to my musings on CD-ROM technology, censorship of internet pornography, media attitudes to videogames, and various essays on 1984, Hamlet, etc. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this wee gem from my S4 Research Project titled: What are the effects of computer/video games on the general public?

It was claimed in the newspaper that [Endorfun] was a new form of taking drugs: instead of injecting drugs into your blood stream, you could just sit in front of your screen and you could get the same experience.  Now I can tell you that I have played this game and in no way did it make me feel good about myself at all.  In fact after a while I began to feel nauseous because of the colours, but that was as far as the game went to introduce a new experience.

Kit, age 15.