Best Of The Web
“If things had gone just slightly differently on a tense night in 1983, today would be the 35th anniversary of the start of of World War III, for whoever was left alive to observe such an occasion. 6:00 Eastern Time on September 25, 2018 marks the moment when one man’s decision saved the world from nuclear war.
At just after midnight in Moscow, on September 26, 1983, a siren’s wail split the air in the Serpukhov-5 nuclear early-warning facility, a secret bunker just south of Moscow. The red screen across the room from Lt. Colonel Stanislav Petrov’s glass-walled office, usually blank, flashed a single ominous word: START. The computer system responsible for processing data from the Soviet Union’s Oko launch-detection satellites warned that the United States had just launched a single intercontinental ballistic missile at the Soviet Union. It would strike in 12 minutes.
Petrov picked up the phone in one shaking hand and called his superiors in the Soviet Air Defense Forces. False alarm, he told them. It didn’t make sense for the U.S. to have launched a single missile; the reading had to be a bug in the new early warning computer system, which Petrov the software engineer didn’t yet completely trust. He had just set the phone back on its cradle when the system flashed a second warning, then three more. Five nuclear missiles were, according to the satellites and their computer system, flying on high ballistic arcs toward the Soviet Union. The computer system calculated the probability of attack at 100%.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"‘Great-power competition” is increasingly a central concern in Washington foreign-policy circles. The 2017 U.S. National Security Strategy warns that “China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode..."
"Just to be sure I heard it correctly, I replayed former vice president Joe Biden’s eye-popping gaffe from Thursday night’s debate instructing poor parents to put the record player on to help their children learn. “#Record player” was trending on..."
"For many people, getting away from it all means decamping to a cabin in the woods or a house by the beach. Soon there may be another option: lifting off to a hotel serenely orbiting high above the planet. Though space hotels have long belonged..."
"I didn’t lead a life of any particular hardship growing up, but as a kid in New York in the 1980s, I did have to do without certain things that many of today’s middle-class parents deem essential — a yard, for example — and my dad tells me..."
"Not too long ago, the “gig economy” looked as if it just might be the future of work in America.The rapid rise of digital platforms that let people earn money by driving passengers, delivering groceries, walking dogs or running errands for..."
""The Goldfinch" has a painting at its center, but despite a classy palette of ingredients conjures a lifeless, disjointed picture. Adapted from a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, the movie represents a transparent bid to bring the book's prestige..."
"To make sense of what's going on as Israelis head to the polls Tuesday, one would need to be part mathematician and part psychologist. Determining who will sit with who in a prospective coalition is like choosing sides at a schoolyard pick-up..."
"It’s humiliating to consider the things we know instead of the things we should know. I can’t tell you exactly how the Michigan Republicans are trying to illegally gerrymander their state, but I know why Lana Del Rey is angry on Twitter. So it..."