Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Nuclear near-misses

Some scary stuff from the New Yorker, including this: "In 1960, the computer at the North American Air Defense Command (norad) in Colorado Springs warned, with 99.9-per-cent certainty, that the Soviets had just launched a full-scale missile attack against North America. The warheads would land within minutes. When it was learned that Khrushchev was in New York City, at the United Nations, and when no missiles landed, officials concluded that the warning was a false alarm. They later discovered that the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System at Thule Airbase, in Greenland, had interpreted the moon rising over Norway as a missile attack from Siberia." A reminder that human judgment is not always worse than computer analysis.

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