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  #1  
Old 22 December 2013, 06:26 PM
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Glasses Vault Boy

Comment: The mascot in the Fallout games is Vault Boy, who is holding up
his thumb and winking, apparently giving a thumbs up. Reddit users are
saying that it's an old method for determining if you're in the radiation
zone of a nuclear blast. If the mushroom cloud is bigger than your thumb,
you're too close. I can only find references pointing back to Reddit. I
would like to know if this was just made up by fans of the game or if it
was an actual survival tip, and if it's real, how accurate it is.
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  #2  
Old 22 December 2013, 07:45 PM
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That's a bizarre idea, especially given just how variable the level of radiation given off by a nuclear warhead can be.

My personal guess about this rule of thumb is that trying to use your thumb to measure the size of a nuclear explosion rather than taking cover from the impending shockwave isn't going to improve you chances of survival all that much.
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  #3  
Old 22 December 2013, 07:56 PM
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Isn't the blast kind of like lightning, with the radiation passing before you can hear it and before the fireball forms?
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  #4  
Old 22 December 2013, 09:01 PM
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What are you supposed to do about it if the mushroom cloud is bigger than your thumb anyway? Run very fast in the other direction? And how likely is it that you'd have a clear line of sight to the cloud if it was smaller than your thumb on the horizon? And how long is the cloud meant to hang around to let you use this measure?

There isn't a "radiation zone" anyway, as others have said. If they mean the various blast zones and flash zones then the initial gamma / electromagnetic radiation would already have gone through you at the same time as the flash from the explosion. After that the fallout would depend on things like wind direction and so on.

Sounds like nonsense to me. Vault Boy is also smiling and winking - is that supposed to be part of the test?
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  #5  
Old 22 December 2013, 09:13 PM
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if i hold my thumb very close to my eye, it blocks out the whole mushroom cloud -- so i will be safe. thanks for the tip!
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  #6  
Old 23 December 2013, 02:44 AM
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Quote:
BARMAN:
Are you serious sir? I mean, do you really think the world's going to end this afternoon?

FORD PREFECT:
Yes. In just over one minute-and-thirty-five seconds.

BARMAN:
Well isn't there anything we can do?

FORD PREFECT:
No, nothing.

BARMAN:
Well I always thought we were meant to lie down and put a paper bag over our head or something.

FORD PREFECT:
If you'd like, yes.

BARMAN:
Well will that help?

FORD PREFECT:
No. Excuse me I've got to find my friend.

BARMAN:
Very well then. Last orders please!
(Original radio series version.)
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  #7  
Old 23 December 2013, 06:43 AM
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The sun is about the size of my thumb, so we are probably OK here but shouldn't get much closer.
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  #8  
Old 23 December 2013, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Der Induktionator View Post
The sun is about the size of my thumb [...]
Really?! You must either have very thin thumbs or very long arms. (Or maybe you haven't actually tried this experiment. Even with my arm held out all the way, a pencil eraser easily blocks the sun.)
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  #9  
Old 23 December 2013, 08:00 AM
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Let me revise that and negate my attempt at humor. The sun is a fraction of the width of my puny thumbnail even with my freakish long arms. We should be more than safe here. Sadly I am now blind, so now I need a new method, but at least I have learned to better protect what little remains of my eyesight, as I understand that nuclear explosions can also be quite bright.
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  #10  
Old 23 December 2013, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Not_Done_Living View Post
if i hold my thumb very close to my eye, it blocks out the whole mushroom cloud -- so i will be safe. thanks for the tip!
If I hold my thumbs to both eyelids, pushing them shut, it blocks out the whole mushroom cloud AND any radiation! I can't see anything! La la la la!!!!


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  #11  
Old 23 December 2013, 05:49 PM
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I just saw that UL on Reddit the other day. I must admit I wondered if there was any truth to it, but never bothered to look into it.

Even if it's not true, I wonder if the creators went with that pose based on this concept. Once you look at it with that UL in mind, it makes a ton of sense.
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  #12  
Old 23 December 2013, 07:57 PM
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My thumb is larger than Lizzy's. Does that mean I can safely stand closer to one than she can?
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  #13  
Old 15 July 2014, 05:36 AM
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Ponder Vault Boy and Nuclear Survival Tactics

Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
Comment: The mascot in the Fallout games is Vault Boy, who is holding up
his thumb and winking, apparently giving a thumbs up. Reddit users are
saying that it's an old method for determining if you're in the radiation
zone of a nuclear blast. If the mushroom cloud is bigger than your thumb,
you're too close. I can only find references pointing back to Reddit. I
would like to know if this was just made up by fans of the game or if it
was an actual survival tip, and if it's real, how accurate it is.
Well, let's see, will soda be irradiated after a nuclear blast? Not likely.

Some of the stuff in regards to nuclear war and the Fallout games are a bit out there. For instance I grew up in the 80's and we actually had occasional nuclear drills where you were supposed to duck and cover (or maybe they were earthquake drills, as I grew up in California either way, they did do duck and cover drills during the Cold War).

In the event of an actual nuclear war, would ducking, and covering, under a little plastic or wooden desk really save you from a nuclear blast?

It sounds about as logical as standing and looking at a mushroom cloud and gauge its size with your thumb! And yes, nuclear fallout would actually travel down wind so however close you are, if you survived the blast, you would want to get out of the area!
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  #14  
Old 15 July 2014, 05:43 AM
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Glasses

Quote:
Originally Posted by chillas View Post
My thumb is larger than Lizzy's. Does that mean I can safely stand closer to one than she can?
Do they have smaller arms?

Most girls have small hands, but also are shorter and have shorter arms, hence the geometry might equalize. The human body is interesting that way!
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  #15  
Old 01 December 2015, 03:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knightdwf View Post
Some of the stuff in regards to nuclear war and the Fallout games are a bit out there. For instance I grew up in the 80's and we actually had occasional nuclear drills where you were supposed to duck and cover (or maybe they were earthquake drills, as I grew up in California either way, they did do duck and cover drills during the Cold War).
Sorry for the thread resurrection (if it bugs anyone), but I grew up in California (Riverside...yuck!) during the same period, and while we had quake drills, we never had nuclear war drills.
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