Howlraiser drops 80-year-old atomic bombs on the Sun Belt

If there is one thing Howlraiser is dedicated to 100%, it’s science – and the horrors associated with said science. Trust me, in high school I wrote a science paper that won an honor from Henderson State (which only recently carved the majority of its science curriculum thanks to budget cuts). Science, bitch!

Recently, a guy named Alex Wellerstein, an associate professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology and a historian of nuclear weapons, developed the world’s most horrifying simulator: NukeMap!

The NUKEMAP is designed to show the effect of a nuclear detonation in any given location across the globe. It consists of a map in which users can select a location and model the local impacts of a blast, while accounting for various factors, such as the power of the weapon and whether or not it detonates on (or near) the surface or up in the air.


So yeah, you can select any city in the world, choose from a menu of atomic devices (from the “Davy Crocket” the smallest nuclear device in the U.S. arsenal to “Tsar Bomba” the largest nuke ever developed), and witness all the theoretical destruction, including deaths, injuries and radioactive fallout.

Is toying with NukeMap a healthy expenditure of one’s time? Absolutely not. Is it appropriate for May content on Howlraiser? Again, absolutely not. But considering that a majority of Arkansas State sports have cratered as of late, the content does seem to hold some poetry here.

Like any scholarly paper, this one starts with a question: “What Happens If We Nuke The Sun Belt with Little Boy [the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima and set in motion what will someday be the Apocalypse?)” Listen, science doesn’t recognize poor taste. However, science is a big man of The Road Warrior: Thunderdome, so we’re just going to move forward with collecting the data.

A Closer Look at Little Boy

First chunk of data: just how big was Little Boy? The bomb that devastated Hiroshima is pretty tiny by today’s standards of nuclear bomb. The plutonium powered Little Boy delivered 15 kilotons of explosive power. Consider that against the largest nuclear bomb ever designed, the Soviet “Tsar Bomba.” It delivers a payload of 100 MEGAtons. Check out the side-by-side comparison of the blast radiuses of Little Boy and Tsar Bomba on Jonesboro.

Should the Russians choose to unleash mighty Tsar Bomba on a peaceful Jonesboro, Memphians are feeling it in the Bluff City. Meanwhile, drop Little Boy in the center of Jonesboro, and Arkansas State University likely remains untouched (at least untouched by the heat and shockwave; fallout, not so much).

Devastation Tiers in the Sun Belt

Who would attack the Sun Belt using antique atomic bombs? I’m thinking the MAC, maybe. What confounds me is that Boone, NC, which boasts a population of 19,466 souls and would see 48.4% of it populace wiped out. According to NukeMap, in any given 24-hour period, there are on average 26,647 people in the light (1 psi) blast range of the simulated detonation in the center of Boone. This might be because Appalachian State University falls within the moderate blast radius. Who am I to argue with NukeMap?

Sun Belt CityDeathsInjuries
San Marcos13,70010,710

Naturally, the most densely populated Sun Belt city absorbs 42% of the Sun Belt casualties. Conway and Troy may not even notice if an ancient atomic bomb was dropped on them.

Just Look At Them Blast Radiuses

NIL and the Transfer Portal may someday destroy the Sun Belt, but perhaps not as thoroughly as a metal tube containing 77-year old technology. Then again, the Sun Belt has proven to be a resilient conference, constantly adapting to whatever the NCAA Nuclear Super Powers tosses its way.

Lafayette survives thanks to high Tobasco content in the blood.

The Sun Belt is comprised of survivors. We will mutate our cells until we thrive. As other conferences succumb to Ape rule, the Sun Belt will eventually find a way to use their irradiated farmland to grow monster soy beans and live. That’s not me talking. That’s science.

GRAPHIC CREDITS: Big shout out to NukeMap.