A case of nuclear hypnosis
How did Nevada ever come to host a legacy-defining era of nuclear bomb-testing? With its sprawling, barren desert? Its federally owned feudal-state status? One author suggests it happened through a process of brain-fizzling semantic and pop culture hypnosis. From NYT's Green blog:
Outsiders with a global or national agenda – like preparing for nuclear war with the Soviet Union or finding a disposal site for the civilian and military wastes piling up around the country – began by devaluing their chosen site, whether atolls in the South Pacific or the deserts of New Mexico or southern Nevada, she asserts in the book. And Nevada, she said, is barren and quirky; in the popular mind, why not throw the mushroom clouds and the million-year waste repository in with the state’s “casino culture,” she asked.