Film Theory: The Fallout Nukes are a LIE

The Film Theorists
28 Apr 202421:58

Summary

TLDRThis video delves into the 'Fallout' franchise, focusing on its depiction of a post-apocalyptic world following a nuclear war. The host analyzes the initial scenes of the Amazon Prime show where bombs devastate Los Angeles. Using real-world data and the Nukemap tool, the theory reveals that the actual impact of the bombs would be far more catastrophic than depicted in the show. The episode also discusses the broader implications of nuclear fallout and how, despite the grim portrayal in 'Fallout', the real-world consequences could be even more severe, potentially leading to a nuclear winter and massive starvation.

Takeaways

  • ๐ŸŽฎ The Fallout video game franchise is being adapted into a television show on Amazon Prime, which is considered a faithful adaptation with brutal comedy and social commentary.
  • ๐Ÿ“บ The Fallout TV show's opening scene depicts the day the bombs fell in Los Angeles, showing the city being destroyed and people desperately trying to survive.
  • ๐Ÿ” The script uses scientific analysis to question the plausibility of the characters' survival in the show's opening scene, given the proximity to nuclear explosions.
  • ๐Ÿ’ฅ The Fallout universe's depiction of nuclear explosions is scrutinized, with the conclusion that the actual fallout and devastation would likely be far worse than portrayed.
  • ๐ŸŒ The use of Nukemap, an online tool, helps to simulate the effects of nuclear bombs, suggesting that the bombs shown in the TV series are not as powerful as the games' lore suggests.
  • ๐Ÿšจ The initial explosions in the Fallout series, if based on real-world nuclear weapons, would still be devastating but might not be as instantaneously fatal to all characters close by.
  • โฑ๏ธ The radiation from nuclear explosions decreases rapidly over time, with most isotopes having short half-lives, suggesting that the world could become safe for humans to emerge from shelters within weeks.
  • ๐ŸŒก๏ธ A more significant long-term threat from nuclear war could be a 'nuclear winter', caused by the release of massive amounts of smoke and ash into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight and causing global cooling.
  • ๐ŸŒพ The long-term effects of nuclear war could lead to widespread crop failure and famine, with the potential to kill a large portion of the world's population due to starvation.
  • ๐ŸŒณ The real-world example of the year without a summer (1816) is cited as a historical precedent for how a large-scale release of particulates into the atmosphere can affect global temperatures and food production.
  • ๐ŸŽฎ The sponsorship message for War Thunder, a comprehensive vehicle combat game, is included in the script, highlighting its historical accuracy and attention to detail.

Q & A

  • What is the main theme of the Fallout game franchise?

    -The Fallout game franchise is set in a post-apocalyptic world where nuclear war has destroyed most of human civilization, featuring makeshift cities, raider gangs, and vaults designed to keep people safe, all wrapped in a retro-future aesthetic with dark humor and over-the-top violence.

  • How does the Fallout TV show adaptation compare to the game franchise?

    -The Fallout TV show is described as a faithful adaptation that retains the brutal comedy and social commentary of the game franchise. It uses art directly from the games and is considered a good TV show in its own right.

  • What is the significance of the opening scene in the Fallout TV show?

    -The opening scene in the Fallout TV show is significant because it starts on the day the bombs fell, showing the immediate aftermath of the nuclear explosions and the desperate struggle for survival, which is a departure from the usual setting of the games.

  • How does the script challenge the Fallout franchise's depiction of nuclear explosions?

    -The script challenges the Fallout franchise's depiction by analyzing the scale and effects of the nuclear explosions shown in the TV show's opening scene, suggesting that the real-world outcome would be much worse and that the characters shown would likely not have survived.

  • What is the role of the Griffith Observatory in identifying the location of the nuclear explosions in the script?

    -The Griffith Observatory, a famous landmark visible in the aerial shot of the nuclear explosions, is used as a reference point to pinpoint the epicenter of the explosions on a map, allowing for an estimation of their impact.

  • What is the concept of an 'air burst' in the context of nuclear explosions?

    -An air burst is a detonation method where an explosive device, such as a nuclear bomb, is set off in the air rather than on the ground. This method provides more destructive power as the explosion's effects are spread over a wider area.

  • How does the script use the Wilshire Grand Center to estimate the height of the nuclear explosions?

    -The script uses the Wilshire Grand Center, the tallest building in Los Angeles at the time of the script's writing, as a benchmark to estimate the height of the airburst of the nuclear explosions, assuming a height similar to that of the building.

  • What is the yield of the bombs in the Fallout universe according to the Vault Dweller's Survival Guide?

    -According to the Vault Dweller's Survival Guide, the yield of a modern strategic warhead in the Fallout universe is typically in the range of 200 to 750 kilotons of TNT.

  • How does the script suggest the Fallout TV show's depiction of the bombs' power is inaccurate?

    -The script suggests that the bombs shown in the Fallout TV show are not as powerful as the Fallout lore suggests. By using Nukemap to simulate the explosions based on the visible size of the mushroom clouds in the show, the script concludes that the bombs' yield is significantly lower than what the games and guidebooks indicate.

  • What are the potential long-term effects of nuclear explosions on the environment, as discussed in the script?

    -The script discusses that while the immediate destruction and radiation from nuclear explosions would be devastating, the long-term effects could be even more catastrophic. This includes the potential for a 'nuclear winter' caused by the release of massive amounts of soot and ash into the atmosphere, which could lead to global starvation due to failed crops.

  • How does the script use real-world examples to discuss the recovery from nuclear explosions?

    -The script uses the examples of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which were rebuilt just a few months after the bombings and now have radiation levels similar to the rest of the world, to illustrate that even in the event of nuclear explosions, recovery and rebuilding are possible.

Outlines

00:00

๐ŸŽฎ Fallout's Post-Apocalyptic World: A Theoretical Analysis

The video script begins by challenging the post-apocalyptic setting of the Fallout video game franchise, suggesting that the irradiated wasteland depicted is not an accurate representation of what would occur following a nuclear war. The narrator, a self-proclaimed lifelong gamer and RPG enthusiast, expresses excitement and trepidation over the adaptation of the Fallout series into a television show on Amazon Prime. The summary praises the show for its faithful adaptation, brutal comedy, and social commentary, comparing it favorably to 'The Last of Us' and contrasting it with 'Halo'. The script also humorously recounts the narrator's deep involvement with the Fallout series, including naming a cat after Todd Howard, the game director at Bethesda.

05:01

๐Ÿ“ Mapping the Fallout: Los Angeles and the Bombs

This paragraph delves into the geographical specifics of the Fallout universe's setting within Los Angeles, focusing on the location of nuclear explosions as depicted in the show's opening scene. Using the Griffith Observatory as a reference point, the video attempts to pinpoint the areas affected by the nuclear blasts. It also discusses the concept of an 'air burst', explaining its destructive power and relevance to the bombs' detonation in the series. The Wilshire Grand Center, the tallest building in LA, is used as a benchmark to estimate the height of the explosions. The paragraph concludes with an estimation of the bombs' power, referencing the Vault Dweller's Survival Guide and speculating on the size of the explosions based on the in-game lore.

10:01

๐Ÿ’ฅ Simulating the Fallout: The Devastation of Los Angeles

The script outlines the use of the Nukemap online tool to simulate the effects of the nuclear explosions over Los Angeles as shown in the Fallout series. It details the devastating consequences of the blasts, emphasizing that regardless of location within the city, the protagonist Cooper and others would not have survived the initial explosions. The summary explains the lethal effects of overpressure blast waves, radiant heat, and ionizing radiation, which would have instantly killed or severely injured individuals in the vicinity. The paragraph also addresses the discrepancy in the perceived size of the explosions compared to real-world nuclear detonations, suggesting that the explosions in the series may not be as powerful as previously thought.

15:03

๐ŸŒž The Aftermath: Survival and the Fallout from the Bombs

This section of the script explores the aftermath of the nuclear explosions, questioning the survivability of the character Cooper and the potential for a post-apocalyptic society to re-emerge. It discusses the relative weakness of the bombs in the series compared to real-world nuclear weapons and the implications for the Fallout universe. The video suggests that, contrary to the Fallout lore, the radiation levels might have dropped to safe levels within weeks, allowing survivors to leave their shelters. It also highlights the potential for a 'nuclear winter' resulting from the widespread fires caused by the explosions, which could lead to long-term climate change and widespread starvation.

20:05

๐ŸŒก๏ธ The Year Without a Summer: A Historical Perspective

The final paragraph draws a parallel between the potential global cooling effect of widespread nuclear explosions and the historical event known as the 'year without a summer' in 1816. It discusses the volcanic eruption of Mount Tambora and its impact on global temperatures and crop failures. The video uses this event to illustrate the possible long-term effects of nuclear war, including widespread starvation and the collapse of civilization. It concludes by reiterating the existential threat of nuclear conflict and the potentially optimistic view of the Fallout series' depiction of a post-apocalyptic world capable of sustaining cities and settlements.

Mindmap

Keywords

๐Ÿ’กFallout Franchise

The Fallout franchise is a series of post-apocalyptic role-playing video games known for their open world, retro-futuristic setting, and dark humor. In the video, the franchise serves as the central theme, exploring the realism of its nuclear war scenario and comparing it to the potential outcomes of a real-world nuclear conflict.

๐Ÿ’กPost-Apocalyptic World

A post-apocalyptic world is a setting characterized by the collapse of civilization due to a catastrophic event, often depicted in fiction. The video discusses the plausibility of the Fallout series' portrayal of such a world following a nuclear war, questioning whether the games' depiction aligns with scientific understanding.

๐Ÿ’กNuclear War

Nuclear war refers to a large-scale armed conflict involving the use of nuclear weapons. The video script explores the consequences of nuclear war within the context of the Fallout series, comparing the fictional depiction to the scientific and historical understanding of nuclear explosions and their aftermath.

๐Ÿ’กVault Dweller's Survival Guide

The Vault Dweller's Survival Guide is an in-universe manual provided with the original Fallout game, which offers lore and background information on the Fallout universe. It is referenced in the video for its description of nuclear weapon yields, which the author uses to compare the fictional bombs' power to real-world data.

๐Ÿ’กAir Burst

An air burst is the detonation of a nuclear weapon above the ground, which increases the explosive effect and lethality. The concept is mentioned in the video to explain the type of nuclear explosions depicted in the Fallout series and their potential impact on the characters and setting.

๐Ÿ’กNuclear Yield

Nuclear yield refers to the amount of energy released by a nuclear explosion, typically measured in terms of tons of TNT equivalent. The video discusses the yield of the fictional bombs in the Fallout series, comparing them to historical nuclear weapons to assess the plausibility of the game's scenario.

๐Ÿ’กNuclear Winter

Nuclear winter is a hypothetical climate effect resulting from large-scale nuclear war, causing severe and prolonged global cooling due to the้ฎ่”ฝ (blocking) of sunlight by soot and ash from fires. The video touches on this concept as a more likely outcome of nuclear war than the hot, irradiated desert wasteland depicted in the Fallout series.

๐Ÿ’กOverpressure

Overpressure is the pressure resulting from a shock wave caused by an explosion, which can cause physical harm and destruction. The video uses the term to describe the potential effects of a nuclear explosion on characters in the Fallout series, emphasizing the lethality of such an event.

๐Ÿ’กRadiation

Radiation refers to the emission of energy as electromagnetic waves or as moving particles, which can be hazardous in high doses. The video discusses the radiation effects of nuclear explosions in the Fallout series, comparing them to real-world scenarios and the potential for long-term survival post-bombing.

๐Ÿ’กRaider Gangs

Raider gangs are groups of survivors in the Fallout series that engage in violent and lawless behavior in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. The concept is used in the video to highlight the social breakdown and lawlessness that characterizes the Fallout universe.

๐Ÿ’กRetro-Future Aesthetic

Retro-futuristic is a term used to describe a design or aesthetic that combines elements of the future with a nostalgic or retro style, often seen in the Fallout series. The video mentions this aesthetic as part of the franchise's unique appeal and as a contrast to the grim reality of a post-nuclear world.

Highlights

The Fallout TV show is a faithful adaptation of the game franchise, featuring brutal comedy and social commentary.

The show's opening scene, depicting the nuclear bombs dropping on Los Angeles, raises scientific curiosity about the characters' survival.

Using the Griffith Observatory as a landmark, the video attempts to pinpoint the location of the nuclear explosions within the Fallout universe.

The Wilshire Grand Center is used as a benchmark to estimate the height of the airburst nuclear explosions.

The video discusses the yield of the bombs in the Fallout universe, referencing the Vault Dweller's Survival Guide.

Nukemap, an online tool, is used to simulate the devastation of the bombs across Los Angeles.

The video reveals that, based on the show's visuals, the bombs' destructive power is significantly less than what Fallout lore suggests.

The actual size of the mushroom clouds in the show indicates the bombs were much smaller than the 200 to 750 kilotons suggested by Fallout lore.

The video suggests that the Fallout world might not have been as devastated as depicted, even considering the smaller bombs.

The long-term effects of nuclear explosions, such as nuclear winter and widespread starvation, are discussed as potentially more devastating than the initial blasts.

The video references the historical 'year without a summer' in 1816 as an example of climate change due to atmospheric blockage.

The Fallout franchise's depiction of a post-apocalyptic world might be too optimistic, considering the long-term effects of nuclear war.

The video concludes that while the show and games might exaggerate the immediate destruction, the existential threat of nuclear war is very real.

The War Thunder game is advertised as a comprehensive vehicle combat game with a focus on historical accuracy.

The video provides a bonus for new and returning War Thunder players, including premium vehicles and other in-game benefits.

The video emphasizes the importance of understanding the real-world implications of nuclear warfare beyond the fiction of the Fallout series.

Transcripts

00:00

The world of Fallout is a lie.

00:02

The irradiated desert wasteland full of people struggling to survive isn't what would happen

00:07

if the bombs we see in the Fallout show dropped in the real world.

00:10

But the reality is so, so much worse.

00:14

Strap on your Pip-Boys, loyal theorists, as we explore the real Fallout of this great

00:18

war.

00:20

Hello internet, welcome to Film Theory, the show that doesn't want to set the world

00:24

on fire, it just wants to start a flame in your heart.

00:27

So believe it or not, but for as much as I love movies, I am also a lifelong gamer.

00:31

I did get my start editing for Game Theory, after all.

00:34

And the games I love the most?

00:36

RPGs like Fallout.

00:37

No joke, I had a cat named after the game director at Fallout's developer Bethesda.

00:41

RIP Todd Howard, you were a good cat.

00:44

If you don't know, Fallout takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where nuclear war

00:48

has destroyed most of human civilization.

00:50

The few survivors have banded together in makeshift cities and raider gangs pillaging

00:55

the wasteland, or inside vaults designed to keep their residents safe.

01:05

And all of that is wrapped in a pretty bow of a retro-future aesthetic, dark humor, and

01:10

over-the-top violence.

01:11

This is one franchise that does not pull its punches.

01:14

So why are we talking about this game franchise on Film Theory today?

01:18

Well, I was both excited and terrified to hear that they were adapting the series into

01:22

a television show over on Amazon Prime.

01:25

Would it live up to the franchise's highest heights, or be broken and janky?

01:29

Well, I'm happy to say that the Fallout show is more Last of Us than Halo, a faithful

01:33

adaptation that features all of the same brutal comedy and social commentary that makes Fallout

01:38

so special.

01:47

All while using art directly out of the games and being a pretty dang good TV show on top

01:52

of it.

01:53

I have to say, I did get some pretty good feelings on this one when they proudly proclaimed

01:56

me from the studio who brought us free two-day shipping.

01:59

It just feels so...Fallout.

02:00

Oh my gosh, Lee.

02:02

Lee!

02:03

Are you stealing another one of my franchises?

02:05

No.

02:06

No no no no!

02:07

Get out of here, Tom.

02:08

This one's mine.

02:09

I was there when Fisto told me to assume the position, when there were cars falling out

02:13

of the sky in Fallout 4.

02:14

I've spent more time modding these games than some people have spent playing them,

02:18

Tom.

02:19

Come back and get mad when I steal Minecraft or something, I don't know.

02:21

In Los Angeles, while most of the Fallout show takes place a full two centuries after

02:25

the end of the world, the opening scene decides to do something a little bit different, instead

02:29

starting the day the bombs fell.

02:31

Here, one of our protagonists, Cooper Howard, sees the blasts ignite all across the Los

02:36

Angeles skyline.

02:37

Desperate to get to safety, Cooper and his daughter head for the Hollywood Hills.

02:41

It's a chilling scene.

02:42

Los Angeles is more or less wiped off the face of the map.

02:46

Neighbors and friends turn on one another.

02:49

Everyone is running for their lives.

02:51

But of course, I wouldn't be a very good theorist if scenes like this didn't also

02:55

trigger my scientific curiosity.

02:57

After all, Cooper and his daughter are awfully close to some of these explosions, and it

03:01

made me think, could they even survive this?

03:04

Would Cooper have even had the opportunity to make it past this day and link up with

03:08

the other characters in the show?

03:09

I just had to dig into it, and after running the numbers, well, the answer shocked me,

03:14

and it's gonna blow this show wide open.

03:16

See loyal theorists, if you look at this scene, you'll find that the world of this show,

03:20

that the entire Fallout franchise sets up, is a lie.

03:24

More likely than not, none of these characters in the opening scene would have made it, Cooper

03:28

included, and few of the future characters would have even had the opportunity to be

03:32

born.

03:33

The Fallout of Fallout would have been much worse than even this series could have imagined.

03:37

So step into your power armor, friends, we're headed into the wasteland to find out why.

03:42

To start, let's all catch ourselves up on what we're talking about here.

03:45

First off, the show is actually set in the same canon as the games, which itself is a

03:50

challenge since most of the games all have multiple endings, but that's a headache

03:54

for another day.

03:55

Regardless, the show also has the distinction of being amongst some of the earliest and

03:59

the latest content we see in the Fallout timeline.

04:01

Yeah, though the main events of the show take place in 2296, around nine years after the

04:07

events of Fallout 4, there are numerous flashbacks that take place in or before 2077 and the

04:12

Great War that destroyed the world.

04:14

And though this isn't the first time we've seen the bombs drop in the franchise, it is

04:18

the best look at the devastating event that the series has offered to date.

04:22

Because of that, we can now do all sorts of cool stuff, like figure out exactly how bad

04:26

these bombs would have been for the world, and specifically for Cooper here.

04:30

Let's start out by figuring out exactly where the bombs dropped in this scene.

04:34

This part of the show takes place in Los Angeles, and we get a nice aerial shot as three nukes

04:39

are detonated over the city.

04:40

This right here gives us all of the info we need to pinpoint these explosions, all thanks

04:44

to this building.

04:46

That there in the corner of this shot is the Griffith Observatory, a famous landmark that

04:50

you may recognize from everything from Terminator, to La La Land, to Grand Theft Auto V.

05:00

Using this, we can hop on Google Earth and line it up with the show, letting us know

05:03

that we're here somewhere up in the mountains north of Hollywood.

05:07

You may also notice that unlike the show, there aren't any skyscrapers here in this

05:10

part of LA in the real world.

05:12

But this would still make sense given that this portion of the Fallout timeline takes

05:16

place a full 50 years after the present day, and that the world of Fallout diverged from

05:21

our own shortly after World War II, so we can forgive this little bit of artistic license

05:25

taken with the LA skyline.

05:27

Regardless, using this information, we can figure out roughly where the epicenter of

05:31

these three explosions are.

05:32

The one closest to Cooper is just southeast of the observatory, putting Ground Zero right

05:37

about here in Hollywood.

05:38

The second explosion is even further southeast, putting it smack dab in downtown LA.

05:43

And the third explosion off in the distance there is quite a bit further south.

05:47

I'd estimate that this bomb was dropped straight out of Compton.

05:50

Finally, the very first bomb that sends Cooper headed for the hills is a bit tougher to identify.

05:55

But because we can see the edge of it in this aerial shot over on the right, we can use

05:59

that to estimate that it would be roughly here, just south of Koreatown.

06:02

Admittedly, that is a bit of a guess based on our limited data, and it may be a few blocks

06:07

in either direction, but trust me, it won't actually end up mattering that much in the

06:11

end.

06:12

Okay, now that we've identified where the nukes went off, we need to figure out exactly

06:16

how high they were in the air when they exploded.

06:19

But wait, why would they be exploding in the air?

06:21

Well, we've gone into great detail about this in previous videos, but the long and

06:25

short of it?

06:26

Detonating an explosive device in the air actually provides far more destructive power

06:31

versus when it explodes on the ground.

06:33

This concept is known as an air burst, and it's actually how the atomic bombs deployed

06:37

in Hiroshima and Nagasaki were detonated in World War II, and this mostly tracks with

06:42

what we see here in Fallout.

06:44

If you go through this shot frame by frame, though it's a bit difficult to make out,

06:48

we can see that the center of the flash, and therefore the explosion, is just over the

06:52

top of the buildings here in Hollywood.

06:55

Unfortunately, like we just explained, these buildings aren't actually real, so we can't

06:59

use them to get an exact measurement of this height.

07:01

So what we're going to do instead is use the tallest building currently in Los Angeles,

07:05

the Wilshire Grand Center, as a benchmark.

07:08

This building stands at 1100 feet, or 335 meters tall, which sounds reasonable for an

07:13

airburst like this.

07:14

But again, as we will soon see, going a dozen meters up or down isn't going to change

07:18

the end result that much.

07:19

Finally, the last piece of the puzzle we need here is just how powerful these bombs are.

07:24

The yield, or power, of bombs this big is measured in terms of just how much TNT it

07:28

would take to get the same amount of power.

07:30

So, for context, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima had a yield of 15 kilotons, or 15,000 tons

07:36

of TNT.

07:37

But how big are these bombs in Fallout?

07:39

Thankfully, this is where the fact that the games in the show take place in the same universe

07:43

comes in clutch.

07:44

See, packaged with every copy of the original Fallout 1 was the Vault Dweller's Survival

07:49

Guide.

07:50

Basically, it was the player's manual, but written from the point of view of the in-universe

07:54

vault tech.

07:55

Man, I miss when games came with cool inserts like this in the box.

07:58

Regardless, the Survival Guide explains that, quote,

08:01

The yield of a modern strategic warhead is, with few exceptions, now typically in the

08:05

range of 200 to 750 kilotons.

08:08

That's actually quite a bit smaller than the biggest bombs the US has today, which

08:12

sit at around 1.2 megatons, or 1,200 kilotons of TNT.

08:17

But using the info from the Survival Guide, we're gonna say that the three smaller explosions

08:21

we see are towards the bottom of that range, around 200 kilotons in size, while the big

08:26

bomb that started the whole sequence is at the top of that scale, approximately 750 kilotons.

08:31

With bombs like that, you can see why they say that war, war never changes.

08:36

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Once again, thank you so much to War Thunder for sponsoring today's theory, and let's

09:53

hop back into the explosive results of Fallout.

09:56

And now, with all of that info, where the bombs fell, how high they were, and how big

10:01

they were, we can plug all of that into this online tool Nukemap to simulate exactly how

10:05

much devastation these bombs would wreak across the city of angels.

10:11

Andโ€ฆ everyone's dead.

10:13

See what I meant earlier when I said a few meters here or there wasn't ultimately gonna

10:17

matter?

10:18

Regardless of where Cooper was in these mountains, whether it was at the Griffith Observatory

10:22

or the Hollywood sign, or basically anywhere in the greater Los Angeles area, he'd be

10:26

dead long before he knew it hit him, and longer before he could mutate into the ghoulish desperado

10:31

we see later in the story.

10:33

Now, we could go into painful detail about exactly what from these explosions would be

10:37

killing Cooper and his daughter, but honestly?

10:40

We've talked about the effects of these sorts of nuclear explosions a lot in the past,

10:44

and just look at this map.

10:46

I think the broad strokes are gonna cover it just fine.

10:49

At this range from these explosions, Cooper would have been hit by an overpressure blast

10:53

wave of just around 4.81 PSI.

10:56

That's enough to break glass and just about enough to burst your eardrum, if he even survived

11:00

that long for the shockwave to hit.

11:02

See, the radiant heat from the explosions would have hit him first, traveling at the

11:06

speed of light, cooking every square inch of his body.

11:10

Thermal dosages are typically measured in calories per square centimeter, and just so

11:14

you have a frame of reference, third degree burns set in at around 8 calories per square

11:19

centimeter.

11:20

The first and largest bomb in Koreatown here in Fallout would have been hitting Cooper

11:23

and everyone else at that birthday party with 12.5 calories per square centimeter, which

11:29

would be almost certainly lethal, while the closest bomb in Hollywood would have followed

11:33

shortly with another 26.3 calories per square centimeter.

11:37

They'd basically be instantly cooked by these bombs, and even if Cooper and the rest

11:42

were somehow able to survive all of that, the ionizing radiation released by the blasts

11:47

would be getting to them in no time.

11:49

In just an hour in this post-nuclear LA, Cooper would have been exposed to 1,720 rems, or

11:55

rads, of radiation, enough to incapacitate you in five minutes and kill you within days.

12:01

Again, for a frame of reference, even in the games like Fallout 4, just a thousand rads

12:05

is enough to cause your player character to keel over and die on the spot.

12:10

Clearly, given what we know in Fallout lore and what we see here in the Fallout TV show,

12:14

Cooper and everyone else we see in this opening scene just being so close to these 200 or

12:19

750 kiloton bombs would kill them instantly, rupturing their organs, vaporizing their skin,

12:26

and irradiating their bodies.

12:29

And normally, I'd be content to leave things here.

12:31

That's a fun revelation about this show putting this really cool scene in a new light

12:35

using a combination of science and lore.

12:38

This main character is dead, and we can prove it.

12:41

Classic Theorist stuff.

12:42

But something about this whole thing was still bothering me.

12:45

As I was watching the show and seeing these explosions, I couldn't help but think that

12:49

they looked a little, well, small.

12:52

I've done a surprising amount of research about nuclear explosions during my time here

12:57

at Theorist, and though I'm no nuclear physicist, I do know that these bombs are supposed to

13:01

be massive.

13:02

Like, stretch up into the atmosphere massive.

13:05

But these explosions are just not that.

13:08

They're big, don't get me wrong, but they're not as large as they should be.

13:12

So I decided to dive a little deeper into the data, and found an interesting feature

13:16

over on Nukemap.

13:18

See, once you detonate the bombs in the tool, you can export that data to Google Earth and

13:22

see the scale of the mushroom clouds in all of their glory.

13:26

But when I did this for the 200 and 750 kiloton nukes, this is what I got.

13:31

If this looks like a confusing image to you, fair, it was to me too.

13:35

It wasn't until I zoomed out that I realized that what we're seeing here, all of that

13:39

black blob taking up so much of the image, that is the mushroom cloud we should be seeing

13:44

if these nukes had a yield as powerful as Fallout lore says.

13:47

Essentially, as he rides his horse on by the Griffith Observatory, Cooper would basically

13:52

be inside of the mushroom cloud of the bomb detonated in Hollywood, and the height of

13:57

these clouds should be as tall as 18 kilometers.

14:00

There is simply no way that these bombs we see here in the show are as powerful as the

14:04

Vault Dwellers survival guide told us, but we can figure out how strong they are based

14:09

on what we see.

14:10

Yeah, after playing around with Nukemap a little bit more, I was able to create this,

14:14

which is far more true to size of the clouds we see in the show.

14:17

You want to take a wild guess at how powerful these bombs are?

14:20

They're not 100 kilotons.

14:22

They're not even 10 kilotons.

14:24

In fact, the smaller bombs here have a yield of just 100 tons, 150th the power of the bomb

14:31

dropped on Hiroshima, and the bigger bomb detonated in the show here in Koreatown ended

14:35

up just a little bit bigger, but even still, it was just a single kiloton of TNT.

14:41

On the scale of nuclear explosions that we've seen in the media and in the real world, that

14:46

is insanely small.

14:47

Now, don't get me wrong, for the city of Los Angeles, these explosions are still going

14:51

to be devastating.

14:53

The city would be in rough shape, no two ways about it, but for the vast majority of Los

14:57

Angelinos, they'd have plenty of time to hop in their cars or on their horses to escape.

15:02

In fact, not only would Cooper totally survive this sort of blast up in the hills of Hollywood

15:07

at the Griffith Observatory, but he'd likely experience no negative side effects whatsoever

15:12

if he stayed clear of the fallout headed downwind.

15:15

And what's more, this isn't even a case of these explosions being significantly smaller

15:19

than the other ones we've seen throughout the Fallout franchise.

15:22

Both the bomb in Fallout 3's Megaton Quest and the explosion from Fallout 4's prologue

15:27

are in line with the ones we see here in the Fallout TV show, so does that mean that these

15:32

super powerful, civilization-ending nuclear explosions might not have been as world-shatteringly

15:39

powerful as we see from various bits of Fallout media?

15:42

That the world maybe shouldn't have been as devastated as we see in the games and in

15:46

the show?

15:47

Honestly, yeah.

15:48

Now, don't get me wrong, the creators of the Fallout franchise did consider this back

15:53

in the day.

15:54

According to the Vault Dwellers Survival Guide, though the yields of the nuclear bombs were

15:58

smaller than the biggest bombs we have today, they did release far more nuclear fallout

16:02

than expected.

16:03

And what we see here in the show are just four of potentially thousands, or tens of

16:08

thousands of bombs that hit the US during the Great War.

16:10

In fact, we know from dialogue in Fallout New Vegas that 77 nukes were launched at Vegas

16:16

and its surrounding area alone, aimed at just that one city.

16:20

So yeah, things would have been bad even with the smaller nukes.

16:24

But with all of that being said, ignoring the idea that the bombs in Fallout released

16:28

more radiation than expected, let me ask you this.

16:31

In the real world with real nukes, how long do you think society would need to remain

16:35

in their shelters and vaults before it was safe to come out again?

16:39

10 years?

16:40

100 years?

16:41

200?

16:42

Never?

16:43

Well what if I told you that it could actually be as little as just a few weeks?

16:47

Yeah, weeks.

16:48

See, when we think of nuclear disasters, the things that typically come to mind are Chernobyl

16:53

or Fukushima, where radiation levels can still be problematic decades after the initial incidents.

16:59

In meltdowns like those, radioactive uranium and plutonium are leaked into the local environment.

17:04

And unfortunately, those elements have high half-lives, the amount of time it takes for

17:09

just half of the radioactive atoms to dissipate.

17:12

It can take tens of thousands, or even hundreds of millions of years for those elements to

17:17

become inert.

17:18

So for us humans, that basically means that there will be dangerous amounts of radiation

17:22

at those disaster sites forever.

17:25

But things are different when it comes to a radioactive explosion.

17:28

When a nuclear bomb goes off, the uranium and plutonium powering the bomb is quickly

17:33

converted into energy and dozens of other radioactive isotopes.

17:37

And thankfully, most of these isotopes have relatively tiny half-lives, with radiation

17:42

levels falling off more than 50% after just one hour and 99% after just 48.

17:48

Basically, for every 7-fold increase in time, there's a 10-fold decrease in radioactivity.

17:53

After about a few weeks, radiation levels are likely as low as they're gonna be for

17:57

a long time, and should be safe enough for humanity to emerge from their vaults to either

18:01

flee or rebuild.

18:03

Don't believe me?

18:04

Well, we can look at real-world examples like Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

18:08

Those cities were being rebuilt just a few months after the bombs fell, and today, radiation

18:13

levels in both are basically no higher than they are anywhere else in the world.

18:17

And if you want an example that's a bit closer to home, you could spend an entire

18:21

year at the ground zero of Oppenheimer's Trinity Test and be exposed to entirely normal

18:26

and safe levels of radiation.

18:28

Now do not misunderstand me.

18:30

Any amount of nuclear conflict is not good.

18:33

These explosions suck for humanity, for civilization, for anyone and anything.

18:38

And even if the amount of radioactive fallout were a fraction of the devastation we see

18:43

in the games and the show, that would cause irreversible damage to the earth and our fellow

18:47

human beings.

18:48

And remember, according to Fallout lore, the bombs released more radiation than expected.

18:53

But still, the big takeaway here, if the bombs were as big as what we can see with our own

18:58

eyes here in this series, here in this scene from the show, it wouldn't be as bad as

19:03

the Fallout franchise wants us to believe.

19:06

But that's not to say that it wouldn't still be the end of civilization as we know

19:10

it, both in the real world and in Fallout.

19:14

Yeah, one last twist of the nuclear knife here, but even if the explosions and resulting

19:20

radiation wouldn't destroy the world, the long-term effects of the bombs still totally

19:24

could.

19:25

See along with the sheer destructive power of the nuclear explosions, the energy of the

19:30

bombs would likely cause many large fires.

19:33

This in turn would result in a lot of smoke, and with thousands of fires across the entire

19:38

United States, if not the entire world, billions of pounds of soot and ash are going to be

19:43

released into the atmosphere.

19:45

See, the sun would only need to be blocked just like a teeny tiny little bit to lower

19:50

the average temperature of the world by a few degrees Celsius, enough to have an irreversible

19:55

effect on our climate.

19:56

So unlike what we see here in Fallout with a hot, nuclear desert wasteland, it's far

20:01

more likely that the planet would enter a nuclear winter.

20:05

This in turn would devastate many of the crops that were able to grow, with some models of

20:10

nuclear war projecting that some 80% of the world population would die of starvation.

20:15

Something very similar actually happened in the real world in the year 1816, known as

20:20

the year without a summer.

20:22

See, in 1815, Mount Tambora in Indonesia erupted and released particulates into the atmosphere

20:27

that blocked enough sunlight from reaching Earth to temporarily lower the temperature

20:31

by a couple of degrees.

20:33

Because of this, for much of the world, summer did not come the next year.

20:37

Crops failed across Europe and the United States, with millions struggling to find food,

20:43

all from just one volcano.

20:45

Now multiply that by the atomic fire of thousands, or even tens of thousands of nuclear bombs.

20:51

This right here, that's a major part of why nuclear war is such an existential threat.

20:56

Yes, the initial explosions might kill unfathomable numbers of people, and the radiation would

21:01

have long-term dangerous side effects, but that's assuming we even get that far.

21:06

The Fallout series has never been one to sugarcoat how awful such an apocalypse would be.

21:11

Obviously, this is a world I would not want to live in.

21:14

But what we see in this show, and in the games, a world that has recovered enough to have

21:19

cities and settlements like Shady Sands in Philly, Diamond City in Megaton, even that

21:24

might be too optimistic an outlook.

21:26

But hey, that's just a theory, a FILM THEORY, and cut.

21:33

Once again, thanks to War Thunder for sponsoring this episode.

21:36

Remember, you can pick it up for free on consoles and PC.

21:39

And if you use the link in the description, for a limited time, new and returning players

21:43

who haven't played for six months will get that bonus pack with multiple premium vehicles,

21:47

the exclusive Eagle of Valor vehicle decorator, 100,000 silver lions, and seven days of a

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premium account.

21:54

One last thanks to War Thunder, and I'll see you all next week.

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