# [ExI] Nuclear probabilities (Was:] Repudiating the national debt)

spike spike66 at att.net
Mon May 16 15:59:02 UTC 2016

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From: extropy-chat [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf
Of Anders Sandberg

>.While the average time to nuclear war is 97.5 years; this corresponds to a
yearly risk to 1.03% if you fit an exponential distribution to it (a fairly
decent fit except for the initial few years). --  Anders Sandberg

Anders, this is an interesting number because of a popular educational video
I saw in the late 1970s.  The fictional US president was being briefed on
the work of his military mathematicians who had determined that the
probability of a nuclear war that calendar year was about 1%, with the risk
of war in each subsequent year declining by a factor of about 0.9

So in a mere seven years, by the end of that president's term, the risk of
nuclear war would be about half a percent in that year.

The new president was delighted with that news (this was the 1970s when the
cold war was threatening to hot at any time.)  As the mathematicians were
packing up to leave, he asked: oh by the way professor, using your model,
what are the chances of nuclear war eventually?  Answer:  100%.

spike

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