A Stanford researcher is pioneering a dramatic shift in how we treat depression — and Google Brain’s cofounder has joined the effort

alone sad depressed sea

  • Several tech startups have entered the mental health space in recent years, but few have made a real impact.
  • Woebot is an artificially intelligent chatbot designed by Stanford researchers. It uses one of the most heavily researched clinical approaches to treating depression.
  • This week, the company announced that a co-founder of the Google Brain project will serve as Woebot’s new chair.

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and it can kill. Yet scientists know surprisingly little about it.

They do know, however, that talking seems to help — especially under the guidance of a licensed mental health professional. But therapy is expensive, inconvenient, and often hard to approach. A recent estimate suggests that of the roughly one in five Americans who have a mental illness, close to two-thirds have gone at least a year without treatment.

Several Silicon Valley-style approaches to the problem have emerged: There are apps that replace the traditional psychiatry office with texting, and chat rooms where you can discuss your problems anonymously online.

The newest of these tech-based treatments is Woebot, an artificially intelligent chatbot designed using cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT — one of the most heavily researched clinical approaches to treating depression.

On Wednesday, the company announced that Andrew Ng, a co-founder of the Google Brain project, will serve as Woebot’s new chairman. The Google Brain research team focuses on artificial intelligence with an emphasis on a machine learning process known as deep learning. According to VentureBeat, Ng believes machine learning could greatly benefit the mental health space, which what led him to Woebot.

Woebot’s designer, Alison Darcy, is a clinical psychologist at Stanford. She tested a version of the technology on a small sample of real people with depression and anxiety long before launching it.

“The data blew us away,” Darcy told Business Insider. “We were like, this is it.”

The results of the trial were published recently in the journal JMIR Mental Health. For the test, Darcy recruited 70 students who said they experienced symptoms of depression and anxiety and split them into two groups. One group spent two weeks chatting with Woebot; the other was directed to a National Institute of Mental Health e-book about depression.

Over two weeks, people in the Woebot group reported that they chatted with the bot almost every day and saw a significant reduction in their depressive symptoms. That’s a promising result for a type of treatment whose results have so far been tough to quantify — there isn’t much research comparing bot therapy with traditional human therapy.

Several studies have suggested that the CBT approach lends itself to being administered online. A review of studies published recently in the journal World Psychiatry compared people who received CBT online with people who received it in person and found that the online setting was just as effective.

Dr. Ali Darcy Headshot 2One reason for this, according to Darcy, is that CBT focuses on discussing things that are happening in your life now as opposed to things that happened to you as a child. As a result, instead of talking to Woebot about your relationship with your mom, you might chat about a recent conflict at work or an argument you had with a friend.

“A premise of CBT is it’s not the things that happen to us — it’s how we react to them,” Darcy said.

Woebot uses that methodology to point out areas where a person might be engaging in what’s called negative self-talk, which can mean they see the environment around them in a distorted way and feel bad about it.

For example, if a friend forgot about your birthday, you might tell Woebot something like, “No one ever remembers me,” or “I don’t have any real friends.” Woebot might respond by saying you’re engaging in a type of negative self-talk called all-or-nothing thinking, which is a distortion of reality. In reality, you do have friends, and people do remember you. One of those friends simply forgot your birthday.

“Self-talk is a part of being human,” Darcy said. “But the kinds of thoughts that we have actually map onto the kinds of emotions we’re feeling.”

Darcy is quick to point out that Woebot is not a replacement for traditional therapy, but an addition to the toolkit of approaches to mental health.

“I tend to not think of this as a better way to do therapy. I think of this as an alternative option,” Darcy said. “What we haven’t done a good job of in the field is give people an array of options. What about the people who aren’t ready to talk to another person?”

DON’T MISS: I’ve been on antidepressants for a decade — here’s the biggest misconception about them

SEE ALSO: Psychedelic drugs could tackle depression in a way that antidepressants can’t

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: I went on Beyoncé’s 22-day diet — and I lost 15 pounds

Related Blogs

    Share this:
    Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

    Here’s why people on Twitter think Melania Trump was replaced by a body double — and why they’re wrong

    A crazy new conspiracy theory about the First Lady has recently gotten the attention of the Internet. Some Facebook and Twitter users seem to think that Melania Trump has been replaced by a body double after a recent TV appearance. The images have sparked a heated debate and, of course, plenty of memes and jokes.  Following is a transcript of the video.

    There’s a new conspiracy theory about Melania Trump.

    People on Twitter think she might have a body double.

    Donald Trump: “My wife, Melania, who happens to be right here.”

    A woman on Facebook started the debate.

    Then a man named Joe Vargas spread it further.

    Other people started to chime in on the conspiracy.

    Some pointed out a height difference in the photos.

    Others thought her face looked different, and the glasses were used as a disguise.

    There’s also a Secret Service agent that resembles her.

    People think the agent could be the body double.

    It quickly turned into a meme, with plenty of jokes.

    Ultimately, it’s not true.

    A side-by-side comparison shows this is Melania.

    Other photos from that day also show it was her.

    Here’s a look at Melania without her glasses.

    While the theory has been debunked, the meme lives on.


    Join the conversation about this story »

    Related Blogs

      Share this:
      Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

      The richest real estate developer in the US wrote a desperate letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos offering to pay for the insanely sought-after HQ2

      jeff bezos

      • Proposals are due on Thursday from all cities vying to become the future site of Amazon HQ2.
      • Donald Bren, the richest real estate developer in the US, wrote a letter on behalf of his company to Jeff Bezos, offering to finance the entire $5 billion project.
      • Irvine, California is already home to hundreds of other top tech companies, as well as a 1,200-person Amazon outpost.


      The fight for Amazon’s HQ2 has reached a fever pitch.

      Proposals are due on Thursday from cities across the US and Canada interested in becoming the future site of Amazon’s second headquarters, and one Southern California city is taking desperate measures to clinch Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ attention.

      Donald Bren, the multi-billionaire owner of the Irvine Company, wrote a letter to Bezos on behalf of his company and in companion with the city of Irvine.

      In it, he offers to finance the entirety of HQ2 — which Amazon projects will cost about $5 billion — if the e-commerce giant chooses Irvine. The offer is billed by Bren as “a one-click shopping opportunity” for Amazon.

      Bren writes:

      “With the Irvine Company proposal, Amazon will not be required to invest capital for land acquisition, buildings, or entitlements to build your new business campus. Our company has the long-term real estate assets, capital resources, and flexibility to deliver all your required workspace with lease durations of Amazon’s choosing.

      “In essence, you would have a one-click shopping opportunity and be able to capitalize on our inplace property development rights, thus avoiding potential delays, because Irvine Company has invested more than 60 years master planning 93,000 acres of land, and designing and overseeing the creation of the largest new city in America…Irvine, California.”

      Over 250,000 people live in Irvine and it’s often regarded as the epicenter of Orange County, an affluent coastal community sandwiched between San Diego to the South and Los Angeles to the North.

      Amazon says its new HQ2 will eventually house 50,000 mostly white-collar workers making an average of over $100,000 a year. That’s currently about the average income for workers in Irvine.

      Bren — who’s worth a cool $17 billion — is the chairman of the Irvine Co., which owns about one-fifth of the land in Orange County spread across office, retail, and apartment space, as well as golf courses and hotel resorts.

      In the letter, Bren positions Irvine as the ideal candidate for Amazon because “Irvine is ranked by various sources as America’s fastest growing, most desirable, best educated, safest, and healthiest large city,” he writes.

      More than 900 tech companies, such as Google, Broadcom, Blizzard Entertainment, UBS, and Verizon have offices in Irvine, and Amazon already has a 1,200-person outpost in the city.

      Southern California is home to the biggest pool of STEM workers in the US, according to the Irvine Company proposal. The University of California, Irvine, a top-ranked public university located in Orange County, awards 42% of its undergraduate students with STEM degrees annually.

      At the end of the letter, Bren makes one final plea to his fellow billionaire: “It’s 74 degrees on this beautiful October day, the sun is out and the surf’s up at our spectacular beaches. Please come join us! The water, like the place, is the perfect temperature.”

      Read Donald Bren’s letter to Jeff Bezos in full below:

      SEE ALSO: Donald Trump is not America’s richest real estate tycoon — it’s another Donald who’s worth almost $17 billion

      DON’T MISS: Amazon’s new HQ2 could come with a scary consequence for renters — here are the cities most at risk

      Join the conversation about this story »

      NOW WATCH: Amazon has an oddly efficient way of storing stuff in its warehouses

      Related Blogs

        Share this:
        Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

        MongoDB skyrockets 33% on its first day of trading (MDB)

        Dwight Merriman

        • Mongo DB jumped more than 30% on its first day of trading.
        • The company isn’t profitable but is working on improving that.


        MongoDB, a database provider, jumped on its first day of trading.

        Shares closed up more than 33% on the day of its initial public offering. The company priced its IPO at $24 a share, which was higher than the expected range of $20 to $22. It closed the day at $32.07.

        The company offered 8 million shares in its IPO and raised $192 million, valuing the company at $1.2 billion, according to CNBC. MongoDB started trading under the ticker ‘MDB.’

        The company offers free database software that is popular among tech startups. Its business model comes from the extra support and services it offers on top of the database software. The company hopes that as tech startups grow, they will upgrade to its premium services.

        MongoDB has not yet turned a profit. It reported a $45.76 million loss during the six months of the ending on July 31. It made $67.9 million in revenue in that same time frame. The company is working its way towards profitability though, as the loss per share of $1.71 is less than the $1.93 in the same period last year.

        The company is the freshest face on the public markets, but is going up against some of the largest and oldest players in tech, like Microsoft and Oracle.

        Read more about Mongo DB’s IPO here.

        SEE ALSO: A $1.6 billion rival to Oracle and Amazon just filed to go public

        Join the conversation about this story »

        NOW WATCH: The secret to Steve Jobs’ and Elon Musk’s success, according to a former Apple and Tesla executive

        Related Blogs

          Share this:
          Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

          Twitter will be tougher on ‘non-consensual’ nudity, hate symbols, and violent tweets after user backlash (TWTR)

          Jack Dorsey, 2015

          Twitter will take a tougher stance on moderating “non-consensual” nudity, hate symbols, and threats of violence, according to an internal email obtained by Wired that details the forthcoming changes.

          The changes to Twitter’s policy rules follow recent backlash the company received for temporarily banning the account of actress Rose McGowan after she accused Ben Affleck of lying about his knowledge of producer Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment.

          While Twitter later said that McGowan’s account was locked due to her posting a personal phone number, thousands of women tweeted the hashtag #WomenBoycottTwitter in protest of her account suspension. Twitter has faced sharp criticism in recent months for not doing enough to curb abuse and harassment on its platform.

          In a series of tweets late last Friday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that the company had decided to “take a more aggressive stance in our rules and how we enforce them.”

          In an email detailing some of the changes to the company’s Trust and Safety Council, Twitter said it would place stricter rules around so-called revenge porn, hate symbols, and tweets that “glorify” violence.

          “Although we planned on sharing these updates later this week, we hope our approach and upcoming changes, as well as our collaboration with the Trust and Safety Council, show how seriously we are rethinking our rules and how quickly we’re moving to update our policies and how we enforce them,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement.

          You can read the full email, which was first published by Wired and confirmed by Twitter to Business Insider, below:

          “Dear Trust & Safety Council members,

          I’d like to follow up on Jack’s Friday night Tweetstorm about upcoming policy and enforcement changes. Some of these have already been discussed with you via previous conversations about the Twitter Rules update. Others are the result of internal conversations that we had throughout last week.

          Here’s some more information about the policies Jack mentioned as well as a few other updates that we’ll be rolling out in the weeks ahead.

          Non-consensual nudity

          Current approach

          • We treat people who are the original, malicious posters of non-consensual nudity the same as we do people who may unknowingly Tweet the content. In both instances, people are required to delete the Tweet(s) in question and are temporarily locked out of their accounts. They are permanently suspended if they post non-consensual nudity again.

          Updated approach

          • We will immediately and permanently suspend any account we identify as the original poster/source of non-consensual nudity and/or if a user makes it clear they are intentionally posting said content to harass their target.
          • We will do a full account review whenever we receive a Tweet-level report about non-consensual nudity. If the account appears to be dedicated to posting non-consensual nudity then we will suspend the entire account immediately.
          • Our definition of “non-consensual nudity” is expanding to more broadly include content like upskirt imagery, “creep shots,” and hidden camera content. Given that people appearing in this content often do not know the material exists, we will not require a report from a target in order to remove it. While we recognize there’s an entire genre of pornography dedicated to this type of content, it’s nearly impossible for us to distinguish when this content may/may not have been produced and distributed consensually. We would rather error on the side of protecting victims and removing this type of content when we become aware of it.

          Unwanted sexual advances

          Current approach

          • Pornographic content is generally permitted on Twitter, and it’s challenging to know whether or not sexually charged conversations and/or the exchange of sexual media may be wanted. To help infer whether or not a conversation is consensual, we currently rely on and take enforcement action only if/when we receive a report from a participant in the conversation.

          Updated approach

          • We are going to update the Twitter Rules to make it clear that this type of behavior is unacceptable. We will continue taking enforcement action when we receive a report from someone directly involved in the conversation. Once our improvements to bystander reporting go live, we will also leverage past interaction signals (eg things like block, mute, etc) to help determine whether something may be unwanted and action the content accordingly.

          Hate symbols and imagery (new)

          • We are still defining the exact scope of what will be covered by this policy. At a high level, hateful imagery, hate symbols, etc will now be considered sensitive media (similar to how we handle and enforce adult content and graphic violence).
          • More details to come.

          Violent groups (new)

          • We are still defining the exact scope of what will be covered by this policy. At a high level, we will take enforcement action against organizations that use/have historically used violence as a means to advance their cause.
          • More details to come here as well (including insight into the factors we will consider to identify such groups).

          Tweets that glorify violence (new)

          • We already take enforcement action against direct violent threats (“I’m going to kill you”), vague violent threats (“Someone should kill you”) and wishes/hopes of serious physical harm, death, or disease (“I hope someone kills you”). Moving forward, we will also take action against content that glorifies (“Praise be to <terrorist name> for shooting up <event>. He’s a hero!”) and/or condones (“Murdering <x group of people> makes sense. That way they won’t be a drain on social services”).
          • More details to come.

          We realize that a more aggressive policy and enforcement approach will result in the removal of more content from our service. We are comfortable making this decision, assuming that we will only be removing abusive content that violates our Rules. To help ensure this is the case, our product and operational teams will be investing heavily in improving our appeals process and turnaround times for their reviews.

          In addition to launching new policies, updating enforcement processes and improving our appeals process, we have to do a better job explaining our policies and setting expectations for acceptable behavior on our service. In the coming weeks, we will be:

          • updating the Twitter Rules as we previously discussed (+ adding in these new policies)
          • updating the Twitter media policy to explain what we consider to be adult content, graphic violence, and hate symbols.
          • launching a standalone Help Center page to explain the factors we consider when making enforcement decisions and describe our range of enforcement options
          • launching new policy-specific Help Center pages to describe each policy in greater detail, provide examples of what crosses the line, and set expectations for enforcement consequences
          • Updating outbound language to people who violate our policies (what we say when accounts are locked, suspended, appealed, etc).

          We have a lot of work ahead of us and will definitely be turning to you all for guidance in the weeks ahead. We will do our best to keep you looped in on our progress.

          All the best, Head of Safety Policy”

          SEE ALSO: Disney confirms that it looked at buying Twitter last year but went with BAMTech instead

          Join the conversation about this story »

          NOW WATCH: Watch LeBron James defend calling Trump a bum on Twitter

          Related Blogs

            Share this:
            Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

            Netflix’s foray into merchandising could be a multi-billion dollar business

            During Tuesday’s third quarter earnings call, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and other executives donned “Stranger Things” Christmas sweaters with embroidered blinking lights in a stunt designed to promote the second season of the hit show and announce a new merchandising deal with Target. “We’re celebrating both the amazing content that’s coming in ten days or so and also Target’s great promotion strategy,” Hastings said on the call.

            As we can see in this chart from Statista, licensed merchandising has already proven to be a strong business model for media companies like Walt Disney and Nickelodeon. Netflix’s business is doing fine as it is — US and international subscriber rates both exceeded Wall Street’s expectations, and the company was able to grow its revenue at higher than expected rates as well. But if consumers snap up Netflix-inspired T-shirts, games and action figures, the company could be looking at a new, multi-billion dollar business opportunity. 



            SEE ALSO: Snapchat is American teens’ favorite social media app — and Facebook can’t be happy about that

            Join the conversation about this story »

            Related Blogs

              Share this:
              Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

              An AI startup founder is teaming up with a former hostage negotiator to help businesses boost their sales

              Chris Voss

              It sounds like the set up to a joke: a former FBI hostage negotiator and a founder of an artificial intelligence startup walk into a room …

              In this case, though, it’s no joke, but the basis for a lecture series. Sponsored by AI startup Node and targeted at sales and marketing executives and managers, the series is designed to help companies understand how they can boost their business by combining AI with the emotional intelligence possessed by their human workforce. 

              “We’re going to marry AI with emotional intelligence and we are going to smash through barriers really fast,” said Chris Voss, the CEO of Black Swan group, who is teaming up with Node founder Falon Fatemi to put on the lecture series, which kicked off with a half-day event Tuesday in San Francisco.   

              AI technologies such as Node’s have become so advanced that they can not only help managers find the right people to talk to for potential business deals, they can even suggest conversation openers. That’s potentially taken a lot of the tedious work out of sales jobs — and opened up new opportunities. 

              “Technologies like artificial intelligence are going to be so pervasive we’re going to be freed up to really be able to focus on interactions with one and other,” said Fatemi. 

              Falon Fatemi - NodeThat’s where Voss, the former hostage negotiator, comes in. As he explains it, AI and other technologies have created the Jetsons-like world that we now live in. But emotionally and psychologically, people are still in the Fred Flintstone era. Business leaders can use technology to get sales leads, but they still need to know how to relate to and interact with other human beings. 

              “My stuff helps you understand what’s going on in Fred Flintstone’s head so we can get to live in a Jetsons world.” he said. 

              The marriage of the two approaches could offer big benefits. Voss said he’s seen people who have combined AI with human-based emotional intelligence techniques quadruple their sales rates. 

              The initial event on Tuesday included sessions on advanced negotiating techniques, scenario planning, and examples of how to pair Voss’ human skills with AI to close sales deals. 

              Node plans to offer future events in the series in New York and Los Angeles, depending on demand.

              SEE ALSO: Once Google’s youngest employee, this woman just unveiled a new search company that might make Google worried

              Join the conversation about this story »

              NOW WATCH: HENRY BLODGET: Technology may destroy jobs, but it also creates them

              Related Blogs

                Share this:
                Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

                I tried Microsoft’s $1499 new MacBook Pro rival, and it was awesome (MSFT)

                microsoft surface book 2

                Microsoft just unveiled the Surface Book 2, a premium laptop that will go head-to-head with Apple’s MacBook Pro this holiday shopping season. 

                The Surface Book 2 comes with some big claims: Microsoft says it gets 17 hours battery life (at least, if you’re watching streaming video in the Microsoft Edge browser), and that it’s twice as powerful as the most recent model MacBook Pro. 

                I got to go hands-on with the Surface Book 2 at a preview event in San Francisco last week. And while it’s hard to assess the reality of those lofty claims in just a few minutes, I can say that the Surface Book 2 is an impressive machine. 

                Here’s the short version: The Surface Book 2 is evolution rather than revolution, bringing a few key tweaks to the original model, first released in 2015. That’s actually excellent news, considering that I thought the original Surface Book was just shy of perfect when I reviewed it last year. 

                Now, here’s the more detailed look at why it’s such a nice device:

                SEE ALSO: Microsoft’s hardware boss explains the master plan to make you want a Surface as much as a MacBook

                Meet the Microsoft Surface Book 2, the company’s most powerful laptop to date, in a premium shell. Microsoft says it gets 17 hours of battery life.

                The Surface Book 2 laptop comes in two different screen sizes: A 13.5-inch model, which starts at $1,499, and a 15-inch model, starting at $2,499.

                This new model also sports its predecessors’ most eye-catching feature: The screen actually detaches to become a standalone tablet!

                See the rest of the story at Business Insider

                Related Blogs

                  Share this:
                  Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

                  The 27 best scary movies on Netflix

                  The Bad Batch Netflix

                  It’s time to dive into the best horror movies currently on Netflix.

                  With Halloween around the corner, we’ve come up with the best on the streaming giant so you can enjoy the rest of the month scaring the heck out of yourself and your friends.

                  Check out the 27 scary movies below.

                  Note: Numerous Netflix titles drop off the streaming service monthly so the availability of titles below may change.

                  Brett Arnold contributed to an earlier version of this story.

                  SEE ALSO: 100 movies on Netflix that everyone needs to watch in their lifetime

                  1. “The ABCs of Death” (2012)

                  26 horror directors are each given a letter of the alphabet as a starting point to create a scary short.

                  2. “The Babadook” (2014)

                  A single mother struggling to keep up with her rambunctious son begins to lose it after a strange children’s book comes to her doorstep.

                  3. “The Bad Batch” (2016)

                  Set in a dystopian future where the bad are thrown into a cannibal-filled wasteland in Texas, a girl (Suki Waterhouse) tries to survive. Movie stars Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, and an unrecognizable Jim Carrey. 

                  See the rest of the story at Business Insider

                  Related Blogs

                    Share this:
                    Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

                    These maps show how much damage a North Korean thermonuclear weapon could do to major American cities

                    nuclear bomb explosion blast city shutterstock_639638614

                    Nuclear weapons may be humanity’s most terrifying creations, but most people would be hard-pressed to say what, exactly, such an explosion might do to their town or city.

                    To help the public get a handle on nuclear threats, Alex Wellerstein, a historian of science at Stevens Institute of Technology, created Nukemap: an interactive simulator that lets you set off a nuke anywhere on a world map.

                    A recent update even lets you predict where clouds of radioactive fallout might drift based on current weather.

                    “A realistic understanding of what nuclear weapons can and can’t do is necessary for any discussion that involves them,” Wellerstein previously told Business Insider. “People tend to have either wildly exaggerated views of the weapons, or wildly under-appreciate their power.”

                    Given rising public interest in North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear test programs, Wellerstein recently added the isolated nation’s Sept. 3 underground blast — its most powerful yet — to a list of preset options in Nukemap.

                    The device may have been a thermonuclear bomb since it yielded an explosion of roughly 150 kilotons’ worth of TNT. That’s about 10 times as strong as the Hiroshima bomb blast of 1945, which inflicted some 150,000 casualties.

                    Although a nuclear-tipped North Korean missile couldn’t reach most of the continental US (yet), and casualties are notoriously tough to estimate, the images below show what could happen if a 150-kiloton warhead hit major American cities.

                    We chose the 10 following US cities because they are the most densely populated, and ranked them based on estimated loss of life.

                    SEE ALSO: Why Trump’s call for a nuclear arms race is the most dangerous thing he’s ever said

                    DON’T MISS: The countries that have nuclear weapons and how many they possess

                    We used Google Earth Pro to 3D-illustrate each scenario from Nukemap (which now has a convenient export feature to the app). Here’s what the blast result colors mean:

                    Yellow: Fireball (0.56 miles wide, 1.03 miles high) — In the area closest to the bomb’s detonation site, flames would incinerate most buildings, objects, and people.

                    Green: Radiation (1.24 miles wide) — A nuclear bomb’s gamma and other radiation are so intense in this zone that 50% or more of people die within “several hours to several weeks,” according to Nukemap.

                    Blue-gray: Air blast (4.64 miles wide) — This shows a blast area with 5 pounds per square inch of pressure, which is powerful enough to collapse most residential buildings and rupture eardrums. “Injuries are universal, fatalities are widespread,” Nukemap says.

                    Orange: Thermal radiation (6.54 miles wide) — This region is flooded with skin-scorching ultraviolet light, burning anyone within view of the blast. “Third-degree burns extend throughout the layers of skin and are often painless because they destroy the pain nerves,” Nukemap says. “They can cause severe scarring or disablement, and can require amputation.”

                    Tampa, Florida: 67,000 dead, 161,000 injured

                    The blasts we use to estimate deaths and injuries are 150-kiloton airbursts detonated about 1 mile above the ground. Nuclear weapons inflict the most damage as airbursts — detonating the bombs hundreds or thousands of feet above a target spreads blast energy more efficiently. That makes a bomb more deadly than if it were detonated on the ground, since soil and structures can absorb or block some of that energy. 

                    This 150-kiloton blast over Tampa could destroy:

                    - 54 hospitals and medical facilities
                    - Two fire stations
                    - 46 schools and educational facilities
                    - 74 churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship

                    In the event of a 150-kiloton surface detonation in Tampa, the nearby city of St. Petersburg may get a deadly dose of fallout.

                    Airbursts create little radioactive fallout compared to surface blasts, which suck up debris, irradiate it, and spread it for hundreds of miles. An airburst strike isn’t guaranteed, however, so we’ve included predictions of fallout clouds from ground detonations to provide a sense of how far this threat can travel.

                    We used Nukemap’s estimation of where fallout would travel based on the prevailing winds on Thursday, October 12. We’ll note, however, that fallout clouds usually take on a more complex shape due to high-altitude winds.

                    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

                    Related Blogs

                      Share this:
                      Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter