The Man who Saved the World

There’s so many ‘interesting’ articles on the net, and rarely do I forward along articles that don’t have a lot of bearing on things I’m normally going on about. But over at the BKO Lounge, Brian posts a link to a Wikipedia article about Stanislav Petrov, a Russian Colonel who, in September 1983, was on missile duty in the Soviet Union when he received a series of alerts showing that US missiles had been launched against his country. All the available systems showed that indeed, multiple ICBM’s were en route, and his orders and procedure state uncategorically that the proper response is to launch the Soviet missiles in retaliation.
He didn’t. He reasoned there was no reason for this type of launch, and make the decision not to launch, reasoning this was a computer error in the notoriously unreliable Soviet monitoring system.
He was right. There was no missile launch from the US, and his single decision in that bunker in the middle of the night in September, 1983, most likely stopped a nuclear exchange that could have immediately resulted in World War III.
We were -that- close.


A wandering geek. Toys, shiny things, pursuits and distractions.

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