A video showing what it would be like to stand near a nuclear bomb detonation has been widely shared on Twitter and Reddit, and it doesn't look too pretty.
The virtual reality (VR) simulation shows the point of view of someone on a beach when the bomb hits offshore, devastating the beach and surrounding vegetation from a distance.
The video shows a strategic nuclear bomb being detonated, similar in size to real American military tests. One commenter suggested that the person in the blast would not be safe as the blast was bigger than their thumb on the horizon. The idea – popularized by the post-apocalyptic videogame series Fallout and its mascot, giving a big thumbs up – is that if the nuclear blast is smaller than your thumb then you are far enough away to be safe. This, however, is not true, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration
While the theory may be worthless, physicists at the University of Leicester did look into it for a paper published in an undergraduate journal, and concluded that for smaller blasts the rule could work.
"This investigation showed that if a 15 kiloton nuclear bomb was to detonate, and your thumb extended at an arm’s length just covered the blast, you could survive most negative radiation effects by running laterally to the direction of the wind for a minimum of 1.65 kilometers [1 mile] in half an hour given that you are standing directly upwind to the blast," they wrote in the paper.
"Having the stem of the mushroom cloud smaller than your thumb may mean that you could be relatively safe, but it is still always a good idea to evacuate anyway," they added.
Or, if you're watching a VR simulation anyway, just enjoy the horrifying view.