As you may or may not know, two blockbuster movies are coming out on the same day – July 21, 2023:  Barbie and Oppenheimer. People have created a number of humorous memes by mashing up elements of both movies. I enjoy many of these memes. However, the meme shown above I find deeply disturbing. It is a visual which purports to show an atomic bomb detonating in Barbie’s Dreamhouse. It reveals complete ignorance of the scale of the atomic bomb, something that, as a public service, must be put to right.

Here you see the Dreamhouse to scale sitting on the Jornada del Muerto near Alamogordo, New Mexico in the early morning of July 16, 1945. The Bomb resides in the 100-foot shot tower above the pink abode. Please note that this does not represent the dollhouse version of the Dreamhouse which is several feet high, but the Barbie movie version which is based on a fullscale liveable Dreamhouse in Malibu, California. 

Here is a view at a safer distance.

At six thousandths of a second after detonation, the fireball completely engulfs said Dreamhouse. 

The melting point of a Barbie doll is approximately 100° C. The Barbie boiling point is approximately 240° C. In a tiny fraction of a second, the fireball reaches a temperature of approximately 8,000° C, vaporizing the Dreamhouse, its contents, and Barbie, along with her kith and kin (and Ken).

Here at 9 seconds after detonation, we see the mushroom cloud in its full magnitude. Some of the atoms swirling about were likely once part of the Dreamhouse, but the laws of entropy determine that they will never be so again.

Of course, the extent of destruction from the Trinity atomic bomb test was formidable, but was later dwarfed by the colossal power of the hydrogen bomb.

I hope you are satisfied with this illustration of the error of scale inherent in the Barbie/Bomb meme at the beginning of this series. Ideally, public underestimation of the scale of an atomic bomb blast will now cease to be so widespread, but one can only hope.

– Ben