Thursday, August 18, 2005

war games

For family movie night this past weekend, we watched War Games.  I have always credited this movie with getting me interested in computers.  Now that I’ve seen the movie again, I’m not sure what my motivation was – learning how computers work or saving the world?

So yesterday, in some parking lot, my 7-year old starts this conversation:

my son – are nuclear warheads real?
me – yes
my son – have they ever been used?
me – yes
my son – when?
me – during world war II, the United States dropped 2 nuclear bombs on Japan
my son – what happened?
me – lots of people died and soon after the war ended
my son (pause) – so it’s good the war ended, right?
me (longer pause) – it was good the war ended, but I don’t think it was good nuclear bombs were created or used
my son – has anybody else used them
me – they have been tested, but not used against anybody
my son – who has nuclear weapons
me – mostly the United States and Russia, but some other countries do as well
my son – will anybody ever use them?
me (oh boy) – remember the point of the movie war games was that if nuclear bombs were used in war today, the outcome would be that nobody could win because the destruction would be too high, so most countries say they have nuclear weapons as a way to ensure they don’t get used against them (try explaining the concept of deterrence to a 7-year old, it doesn’t even make sense to me)
my son – are we making more?
me – no, I think we are trying to get rid of some because we finally figured out we had too many
my son – where are they aimed, Russia?
me – I guess most of them used to be because we thought Russia was our biggest enemy, but they probably aren’t anymore
my son – so where are they aimed?
me – I don’t know

So, it turns out ignorance is not bliss – maybe that’s why I didn’t sleep well last night.  Time to do some research – here I come wikipedia.

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