Software Development

This scary simulator from Bluecadet nukes your hometown

What if “Little Boy” had fallen on your block? This Bluecadet–Outrider Foundation project makes the grim projection.

The Fishtown design firm partnered with Outrider Foundation to scare the bejeezus out of everyone.

(Video by Bluecadet)

What if it was your street where total annihilation had ensued? What if it was your block leveled by shockwave and destruction?

The grim premise yields just the empathy effect a recent Bluecadet project is going for. In partnership with Madison, Wis.-based Outrider Foundation — a think-thank focusing on nuclear disarmament and climate change — the Fishtown studio built a simulator that lets you see how different nuclear blasts would ravage your city. And just how far the cloud would reach.

See the simulator

Full disclosure: A similar tool existed already, said Bluecadet CEO Josh Goldblum over the phone as he hailed a cab in New York City, where his company has an 11-person office. But that tool, historian Alex Wellerstein’s Nukemap, was a more of an academic one. Bluecadet’s borrowed Nukempap’s API to create the scary wake-up call.

“He hadn’t really made it beautiful and accessible,” said Goldblum. “We wanted to put an experiential layer on top of it, using beauty to lure you in and then feed you all this information.”

So, what if the bomb went off in Philadelphia? Even the smallest option, Little Boy — the 15-kiloton device that ravaged Hiroshima in August 1945 — would create a heat wave that would engulf the heart of Center City, from 30th Street Station to Independence Hall. Radiation would spread for two square miles, and a 1.5-square-mile shockwave would hit everything in sight from Callowhill to South Street. Think about that for a minute.

The bomb-blast data viz was featured on Mashable, Fast Company and other outlets on Friday. Last week, the site raked in over 1 million pageviews, Goldblum said. The website is apparently also going viral in Russia, after being picked up by Moscow-based Sputnik News.


Bluecadet employs around 50 between its Philly and New York offices. In March, it was nominated for best Visual Media Experience at South by Southwest’s Interactive Innovation Awards for its work with NASA’s Goddard Visitor Center in Maryland.

Companies: Bluecadet
People: Josh Goldblum
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