Ancient Computers Control Nuclear Missiles has a fascinating article about old computers still in use today. The most amazing part is that the Minuteman ICBM system still uses DEC VAX computers that are probably around 25 years old. Many other weapons systems also use the VAX, which was the first system capable of operating in rugged conditions.

Of course, these weapons systems are very complex. You can just yank out the VAX and pop in a Mac. Also, since we don’t do nuclear testing anymore, how could you test a new ICBM system anyway? You could test the whole system right up to the nuclear explosion part, and simulate the blast. But you wouldn’t know for sure that the bomb would explode.

Is it possible that our doomsday machines will just crumble into duds?