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Atomic Tourists

Deep in the Internet, remnants of Cold War culture still glow


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CONELRAD, as certain ancient Americans will surely recall, was the precursor to our Emergency Broadcasting System from 1951 to 1963, at the height of the nasty old Cold War. The idea was, if America was attacked by Russian planes, all radio stations would cease broadcasting so they couldn't be used as navigational aids by the enemy, and we were all to tune into 640 or 1240 on the AM dial to await further instructions.

These days, CONELRAD is the supremely appropriate name for the Internet's top site devoted to atomic culture and all things nuclear. The brainchild of three writer/atom junkies who grew up in the era when school kids underwent routine duck-and-cover practice instead of Code Red "armed shooter" drills, www.conelrad.com is filled with articles on weird atom-era subjects.

Take a virtual tour through the now-decommissioned Congressional Nuclear Fallout Bunker--now the "Graceland of Atomic Tourism." Read interviews with survivors of U.S. nuclear test programs. Discover the Top 10 best nuclear-themed movies ever made, from On the Beach and Fail Safe to Panic in Year Zero and Them. Whether you still live with the emotional fallout of those scary/wacky days, or just want to bask in the kitschy glow of atomic culture, this site is a blast.

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From the February 21-28, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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