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Although we locals somehow acclimate to our seasons we will most likely admit that January is usually the most miserable month that we have to endure. This statement is a personal opinion that is usually shared by anyone I encounter and reinforced by the fact that I’ve never heard anyone around here say good things about January other than we’re sure happy when it passes into February — and this note will be published on Feb. 1 so I’ll find something else to complain about here.

I read an article about Russia’s latest underwater nuclear drone that if set off would create a 1,600-foot-high tsunami. Like most folks around here I’ve only seen tsunamis on television and they don’t look like something you’d want to see firsthand. So I can’t even imagine what a 1,600-foot wall of water would look like. Lake Tschida occasionally gets some 6- to 7-foot waves, which are spooky enough for me.

A 1,600-foot wave is taller than New York’s 1,424-foot Empire State Building. North Dakota’s lowest elevation is 751 feet above sea level, thus a 1,600-foot wave would make Fargo a lake that is 849 feet deep. Those of us in Mandan would be OK though because at 1,647 feet we’d be 47 feet out of the water.

To look at it another way, our state Capitol is over 200 feet tall so this 1,600-foot tsunami would be eight times that height — something that goes beyond my ability to imagine. Since the wave is almost 200 feet taller than the Empire State Building I would imagine that our entire East Coast would be wiped off the map.

To add to this Russia only plans on making 32 to these Poseidon drones that would travel too fast and too deep to be intercepted. Such a weapon will make all of our defenses helpless. Although the Russians announced this development it’s not clear if they presently have the capacity to produce such drones.

For those of you who never had to duck and cover or wonder if your parents were going to construct a fallout shelter in your basement this nuclear weapon stuff may not seem like much to worry about. However, for those of us who had to practice ducking under our school desks as well as know where the nearest fallout shelter was, this type of stuff brings back nightmares entombed in nuclear clouds. Back then we kids drank radioactive milk and knew where our family Geiger counter was, so took all this talk rather seriously.

But the MAD (mutually assured destruction) days passed once we all realized that if we were lucky when we saw the flash we might have time to bend over and kiss our butts goodbye. So here we are once again worrying about the Russians becoming nuclear dictators and forcing the world to bend to their will— and the best I can say is argh! Once again we mere mortals seem to be heading down the road of self-destruction and of course many of our leaders will think that we will have to keep up with them or get destroyed by them. Speaking as someone who has been here before all I can say is let’s not go there again.

So here’s hoping you stay warm and that we once again survive mankind’s MAD desires.

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Dan Ulmer is a parent, grandparent, as well as a retired teacher, counselor, politician, lobbyist, public employee, nonprofit executive and opinionated citizen who believes that we need to do what we can to leave the world better off than we found it.

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