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THIS week, I propose to discuss nuclear obliteration. Fear not, my assessment will be upbeat and practical, though not in the dictionary definition of either term.

We witter in the wake of a study, by the University of Nicosia in yonder Cyprus, about where to position yourself should a nuclear bomb go off inconveniently. Bear in mind you must move swiftly and cannot finish ironing your trousers or doing the crossword.

Also, the advice only holds if you’re in a concrete building far from the blast. Any closer, and you’ll be vaporised, which sounds a bit burnie. Also, it helps if your concrete building is still standing.

Here’s the plan in full: take shelter under a table or chair. Yes, that should do it. Alternatively, if in a corridor, hide in the corner rather than the middle. Remember: corner not middle.


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This revives memories of Protect and Survive, the 1970s British Government public information campaign advising decent ratepayers how to survive nuclear attack. The campaign’s films were produced by Richard Taylor Cartoons, which had previously made the children’s animation Crystal Tipps and Alistair.

The narration gave advice, not just on building shelters and avoiding radioactive fallout, but on burying loved ones, whose cadavers should be wrapped in polythene and properly tagged.

Lewdly gyrating pop group Frankie Goes To Hollywood parodied the presentation in their song Two Tribes, with the narrator declaring calmly: “Mine is the last voice you will ever hear. Do not be alarmed.”

Prior to this, in the 1950s, America had created a campaign called Duck and Cover, which sage words were sung as a jolly chorus with the helpful addendum: “Doo-doo-doody-doody-do.”

A picnicking family was shown putting a tablecloth over their heads: “Duck and cover!” School pupils pulled their blazers over their nappers: “It’s a bomb! Duck and cover!”

A tree-hanging, cartoon monkey exploded a stick of dynamite over a turtle called Bert, who retreated swiftly into his shell: “Duck and cover!”

The narrator explained: “The atomic bomb is very dangerous.” Well, glad we cleared that one up. Indeed, punters were warned that it is more dangerous than a car accident. It can “break windows all over town”. The bomb’s flash could “burn you worse than a terrible sunburn” – if you didn’t Duck and Cover.

This week, Kremlin insiders claimed Vlad Putin could loose off nukes because he wasn’t feeling well. Worse still, he was “trying to take as many people as possible with him to a mythical ‘paradise’”. Well, that’s considerate of him.

One of his close allies, Viktor Medvedchuk, a pro-Kremlin Ukrainian oligarch, warned that Europe could be nuked for supporting Ukraine, a country full of “hatred and intransigence” . I see. “Play honestly,” he added from deep down the rabbit hole, “do not deceive anyone”.

This is insane hypocrisy on steroids. Speaking of which, another nuclear nutter, Kim Yong-un, popular leader of North Korea, is said to be drinking heavily as he undergoes a midlife crisis, feeling lonely and periodically bursting into tears.

Well, we’ve all been there. But where we eventually man up and make the best of it, he’s likely to take it out on the rest of the world.


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How to deal with such madness? We can’t rely on hiding under a chair with a cardigan over our head. We must act pre-emptively, with the Sane World setting up an Anti-Nutter League.

First, we deploy the latest 21st century technology to produce excellent cartoons to animate our citizens for the struggle ahead. Second, er, we make sure our own nukes are working.

Driven daft

THE road is a club full of people with whom we’d never normally associate. The classic British driving experience, longer distance, is an arrogant slowcoach in front and an arrogant tailgater behind. We’re the cheese in the nutter sandwich.

That’s one reason I look forward to driverless cars. On one level, it’s a scary thought, because we’ve no control. But look what happened when we did have control: we mucked it up.

Or the nutters did. And they’d be the key consideration for driverless cars: the change would have to be universal. Otherwise, those self-mythologising (widespread problem among Earthlings) mavericks sticking to manual, going all “lone cowboy”, would weave in and out of the normies’ traffic, and still drive up our butts. However, at least the slowcoach saps would probably go driverless.

Driverless would be a boon for the elderly and disabled, those despised by proponents of the devil’s transport: cycling. However, a Government report this week says the elderly and disabled scooting aboot at will could make traffic 85 per cent worse.

But surely we could build roads in the air, as in sci-fi comics? And, on the groond, if the macho mavericks still insisted on keeping control, they could have lanes of their own, where they’d be free to tailgate each other.


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The future is automated, folks. Robots, driverless cars, I embrace it all. And, while we’re at it, bung my heid in a virtual reality headset, providing a believable fantasy where everyone else is as decent and upstanding as I am, skipping through imaginary woodlands in pointy hats like elves. All right: I’ve taken that too far.

A question of quibbling

True story: Russian nutter Putin had nine rings made. Eight he gave to leaders of post-Soviet states; one he kept to himself. Tolkienists will recognise this as the one ring to rule them all, though Sauron in Lord of the Rings dished out nine and kept one. Even so, the association is spooky.

Gyration nation

The fall of Sweden continues apace with news that a law requiring licences for dancing will be revoked. The 1965 law aimed to stop lewd and libidinous behaviour in clubs. Justice minister Gunnar Strommer said it was “not reasonable that the state should regulate people’s dancing”. Reasonable? It’s a sine qua non of civilisation.

Metal detected

The rise of Sweden continues apace with news of a huge rare earth metals discovery in the country’s Arctic region. Such metals are used in mobiles, hard drives, trains, wind turbines, electric vehicles. The find could lessen reliance on – all together now – China. But some fear Sweden might sell only to countries with no dancing restrictions.

Space oddity

X-Files types have packed out a course in UFO-watching. Run by the British UFO Research Association, the 10-month course is “totally full” for the foreseeable. It includes dealing with the authorities, keeping detailed notes, and ensuring your photos of a passing pigeon are blurry enough to suggest it might be an alien spacecraft.

Any witch way

Self-styled “witches” on yonder internet are fleecing punters with “spells” for problems like impotence, obesity and even cancer. For £147.65 (bargain compared to £147.64), one Brazilian woman promises “fast and long-lasting erections”. Talk about a hard sell. Other spivs offer “reiki” by sending healing energy through yon ether. Wonder if they’ve a spell for curing gullibility.




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#Robert #McNeil #Remember #Duck #Cover #nukes #dangerous

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