On this day in 1983, Stanislav Petrov decided that, when the USSR’s early warning system told him the US had launched five missiles at Russia, it was a lying liar that lies and therefore he reported it as a false alarm. As a result, the human race (as well as many cute animals) were not wiped out (a small tribute is paid to Petrov in “Vesta Variations: Two Poems,” a collaboration between Kendall Evans and me in the latest Astropoetica).

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