Thursday Highlights

Good, well, whatever.

  1. Mr Stewart notes the filibuster.
  2. So does Mr Barnett, in the context of Lochner.
  3. A question not answered … but what we got
  4. took a month and a half and a root canal.”
  5. Somebody doesn’t understand the phrase “no relation.” You could make a game of that. What relationships can you find. For starters, both are speeches, made of words, both in English, both by people in the Western hemisphere, … apparently “no” has no meaning anymore.
  6. So, where would you pick?
  7. Freshwater zooloogy.
  8. Don’t worry your President has a non-disclosed fantasy (?) of a path to a non-nuclear world. If you believe that is real you believe in the tooth fairy … and are a Democrat. Funny how those go together, no?
  9. Government sponsored trafficking. But hey, it’s all illegal, so why talk about it.
  10. Little aloof, kinda like when she got a little pregnant.
  11. Three books.
  12. Poetry by google.
  13. Hmm. Adoption by another name … perhaps because adoption and the regulatory burdens round that have priced stranger methods onto the landscape.
  14. Of bugs and features.
  15. Links abound, 2nd one of particular interest.

22 responses to “Thursday Highlights

  1. 8.Don’t worry your President has a non-disclosed fantasy (?) of a path to a non-nuclear world. If you believe that is real you believe in the tooth fairy … and are a Democrat. Funny how those go together, no?

    I don’t think you ever disclosed where exactly you got this idea. I think at best you took some speech or something with an aspirational goal (a nuclear free world) and spun it into either a secret plan or religious vision to ditch all nuclear weapons.

    But as for Iran, it seems strange that everyone is assuming military means are a valid method for stopping Iran from going nuclear. This seems pegged to the hope that Iran will keep their nulcear materials and weapons in someplace that is very easy to know and strike. Why would they? Under Bush both India and Pakistan went nuclear and neither of them are known to keep their weapons in places where the US could easily take them out with a precision strike. It seems to me absent some exceptionally good intelligence or exceptionally bad decision making by Iran’s military, the military option is the least likely to prevent a nuclear Iran.

  2. Boonton,

    I don’t think you ever disclosed where exactly you got this idea. I think at best you took some speech or something with an aspirational goal (a nuclear free world) and spun it into either a secret plan or religious vision to ditch all nuclear weapons.

    Try google. Lots of examples.

    “an aspirational goal (a nuclear free world” … needs to be realistic. Or perhaps or you Dems it doesn’t.

  3. Boonton,
    I should add, discussions of moving to a nuclear free world is not uncommon in academic circles, which in this instance earns the sobriquet ivory tower.

  4. Boonton,

    Under Bush both India and Pakistan went nuclear and neither of them are known to keep their weapons in places where the US could easily take them out with a precision strike.

    Stop making crap up. India first tested nukes in 1974. Pakistan in 1998.

  5. Boonton
    Heh. Maybe by Bush you mean Carter and Clinton?

  6. Indeed, date wise you are correct. Bush decided it was OK that Pakistan have nukes but yes they first got them under Clinton. However the fact probably remains that it’s not easy to stop nations that really want what is essentially 1940’s technology from getting it.

  7. Boonton,
    By “Bush” you mean Bush 41 not 43, which was entirely not clear by your prior remarks.

    It’s very very hard and expensive to create weapons grade fissile materials. The rest of the tech is not impossible. Testing is required however, … so you cannot do that part secretly.

    Have you read “Snow Crash”. There is a guy with a suitcase nuke … who has to be treated legally as a “nation” because he is, by that possession, a nuclear power.

  8. By “Bush” you mean Bush 41 not 43, which was entirely not clear by your prior remarks.

    Bush 43, decided to end the sanctions/criticism of Pakistan and accept them as a nuclear power. But as you noted I was incorrect about Pakistan and India. Pakistan went nuclear under Clinton, India much earlier.

    It’s very very hard and expensive to create weapons grade fissile materials. The rest of the tech is not impossible. Testing is required however, … so you cannot do that part secretly.

    From what I understand testing is not required if you’re going for your 1940’s era ‘atomic bomb’, which you recall worked perfectly at Trinity. That type of bomb is big and heavy, though, so unless you have very large rockets or heavy bombers you’d want something smaller*…which would require testing. From the POV of how nuclear arms have worked since 1945, it’s not clear to me that failing to achieve a more sophisticated nuke is such a bad thing.

    * Note if your plan is to sneak your atomic bomb into a target country, say in a truck or ship, this might be a positive. Getting a working bomb without alerting the world you have one by testing it would advance your goal.

    Have you read “Snow Crash”. There is a guy with a suitcase nuke … who has to be treated legally as a “nation” because he is, by that possession, a nuclear power.

    Long time ago, don’t remember him in it. If I recall the idea of nations as geographical entities in that book had more or less disappeared.

  9. Boonton,

    Long time ago, don’t remember him in it

    He was the primary villain. If you don’t remember him, what do you remember? I’d forgotten some (his name). Raven according to the wiki entry.

    From what I understand testing is not required if you’re going for your 1940′s era ‘atomic bomb’, which you recall worked perfectly at Trinity

    Depends on how much you trust your techs. If you run a totalitarian state, trust is not a common commodity.

    That being said, the begs the question. Why would you want a nuke and not let the world know. Seems to me that’s like the “doomsday device” in the USSR in Dr. Strangelove.

  10. Boonton
    You didn’t contest that it’s very hard and very expensive to do the isotopic separation. Is that because you found the point irrelevant or that you don’t have a counterpoint, i.e., you agree.

  11. The two types of 1940’s weapon were a gun type uranium bomb (used in Little Boy). The Nagasaki bomb was plutonium based. The plutonium bomb required shaped explossives to compress a sphere perfectly, if there was any unevenness the plutonium would ‘squirt’ out before achiving full fission. The Hiroshima bomb was essentially a gun that fired uranium-235 into a uranium-235 target creating a super-critical mass. The gun device isn’t really all that difficult to make if you got the U-235 and if you got plenty of U-235 you got plenty of techs to help you already. The plutonium bomb is more efficient and scales better to more potent fusion weapons.

    . Why would you want a nuke and not let the world know

    Well there’s always bluffing. Let the world think you have ten weapons when you only have 1 for real. Since no developing country will outnuke the main nuclear powers, it doesn’t make sense to try it. Instead it makes sense to have nuclear weapons to deter.

    You didn’t contest that it’s very hard and very expensive to do the isotopic separation.

    Yea it’s hard and expensive, but the world economy has grown a lot since 1940 and as you no doube will point out industrial machines have gotten even better. Even a low rate country can afford to make nukes these days. I think the only thing that’s stopping them is a determined effort to keep nukes from spreading. Those who make the equipment for isotopic separation are a close knit group. Iran has gone to great extent and been thwarted many times in obtaining the equipment necessary to do so. If it wasn’t for that they would have had nukes long ago. China acquired its nukes on its own before its economy took off and at a time when the USSR was feeding them nuclear misinformation because they didn’t trust Mao with nukes.

  12. Boonton,

    Yea it’s hard and expensive, but the world economy has grown a lot since 1940 and as you no doube will point out industrial machines have gotten even better. Even a low rate country can afford to make nukes these days.

    I think in the Manhattan project the separation took a substantial (5% 10%? fraction of US electrical output … tons of gold were borrowed from Knox to act as bus bars to conduct electricity for the project. This may be small potatoes in your vision, it still would be very hard for a 3rd world economy. Now, you can either wipe out, completely command the economy (NK … which may have gotten its weapons U from China, who knows) but it’s still a big thing and impossible to keep secret if anyone is paying attention.

    Well there’s always bluffing.

    So, I’m still missing why not test. Seems to me you’ve made an argument for the necessity of a test to “join the club”.

    The Hiroshima bomb was essentially a gun that fired uranium-235 into a uranium-235 target creating a super-critical mass. The gun device isn’t really all that difficult to make if you got the U-235 and if you got plenty of U-235 you got plenty of techs to help you already.

    It’s not as easy as you pretend. It’s a cylinder that has to fit to shoot (at the right velocity) precisely into a close fitting tube. If you miss or if you get the wrong velocity you get a hot melt, but no big bang. The point is the cylinder is not as much simpler as you suspect. Again, as I pointed out, you have to trust your techs. And … if you are totalitarian fear driven state, trust is a hard thing. Another argument why a test is going to be needed.

    So. Getting back to the point, where is the plan for a nuclear weapon free world, you know, the plan in the head of our quixotic President. How do you think it works? After all you voted for him, you must have more (positive) insights into his notions than me.

  13. I think in the Manhattan project the separation took a substantial (5% 10%? fraction of US electrical output

    Really? What was 10% of US 1943ish electrical output? Certainly it was a lot less than 10% of today’s US electrical output. Keep in mind there were many households without electricity in the 1940s and those that had it weren’t using many electrical appliances to begin with.

    tons of gold were borrowed from Knox to act as bus bars to conduct electricity for the project..

    North Korea has tons of gold? Or some foolish nation loaned tons of gold to it?!

    This ignores the flip side of the equation. A lot of trial and error that was done in the Manhattan project would not be required today. For example, it wasn’t realized until later on that a plutonium gun type gun wouldn’t be feasible. Likewise a lot of tools that were unavailable to the Manhattan scientists are available today. Side rules and tables of logs and human calculators could be all replaced today by a modest investment in laptops by the developing nation aspiring towards nukes.

    So, I’m still missing why not test. Seems to me you’ve made an argument for the necessity of a test to “join the club”.

    Suppose you have a Hiroshima type bomb but some good rockets that would be fine to deliever a higher quality bomb, but not what you actually have. Testing your one or two bombs might simply reveal that you’re not a serious nuclear threat.

    On the other hand if you want to actually use your nuke on the sneak, not testing it would allow you to feign innocence. “We have no idea who set off a 15 kiloton bomb inside a shipping port in LA! It wasn’t us we have never even tested one!”

    So. Getting back to the point, where is the plan for a nuclear weapon free world, you know, the plan in the head of our quixotic President. How do you think it works?

    I’ve yet to hear you cite any serious claim that the President has such a plan aside from a simple aspirational goal (like a crime plan would aspire to ‘eliminate crime’ even though no one would seriously believe that is going to happen any time soon). As you’ve been asked to support this statement and declined to do so I think it’s fair to just charge it against the dwindling bank account of credibility you have. Overdraft fees are close to being incurred!

  14. Boonton,

    What was 10% of US 1943ish electrical output?

    Googling I see a paper that indicates perhaps the figure (not 10, but 14) is wrong.

    On the other hand if you want to actually use your nuke on the sneak, not testing it would allow you to feign innocence. “We have no idea who set off a 15 kiloton bomb inside a shipping port in LA! It wasn’t us we have never even tested one!”

    Wouldn’t work. Analysis would reveal too much of the origins of the bomb. They’d have where geological orgins of all the fragments from isotopic analysis of particles.

    A lot of trial and error that was done in the Manhattan project would not be required today.

    On the other hand the quality of the team at the Manhattan project has never been touched. And no pocket dictator is going to have anything close to them.

    I’ve yet to hear you cite any serious claim that the President has such a plan aside from a simple aspirational goal

    Look. If Sarah Palin announced in a speech that the McCain admin had a goal of eliminating all global hunger, you’d be mocking her, asking what her sooper sekret plan was to do a thing. If she had claimed she was going to “eliminate US crime” you’d be guffawing and reminding everyone of her stupidity. Yet, your sooper smart (TM) President makes similar remarks … this is just “aspirational”. Aspirational, my ass. I suppose we could chalk it along side his buddy Rahm’s campaign claims of reducing gang violence, which has risen quite nicely under the Rahmfather.

  15. Boonton,
    Homework for you, read Three Conjectures a short essay collection by Mr Fernandez. You can get it for your kindle commute at Amazon. Acquiring and using (for example at LA) a nuclear device would devastate Islam globally.

  16. Boonton,
    Oh, and the gold. That was because wartime US had made copper a scarce commodity, it was being used for wartime stuff as fast as we could mine it. Copper was needed for the M. project as a conductor.

  17. Boonton,

    On the other hand if you want to actually use your nuke on the sneak, not testing it would allow you to feign innocence. “We have no idea who set off a 15 kiloton bomb inside a shipping port in LA! It wasn’t us we have never even tested one!”

    Look on the down side, you haven’t tested it. This is a complex apparatus. You have a better than even chance that instead of a 15kKT bomb you’ll have a firecracker that spews fissile products less than a Fukashima amount of radiation and forensics points right to you. How long does your regime last? How does your future look now? Biiig down side.

  18. Boonton,
    On the other hand, if you do it right now, maybe it wouldn’t seem so bad. After all the top guy in the White House couldn’t care less about you and what you did. All he’s interested in is how to turn this into his own political advantage to install regrettable domestic policy changes.

  19. They’d have where geological orgins of all the fragments from isotopic analysis of particles.

    You mean where the uranium was originally mined? Sounds like if deception was the goal you could cover your tracks by mixing u-235 from multiple geological sources.

    On the other hand the quality of the team at the Manhattan project has never been touched. And no pocket dictator is going to have anything close to them.

    MAo and North Korea seemed to not only have techs quite close to them, but ‘grew them’ domestically. Probably the only reason Pakistan and Iran took long to get a bomb is because their efforts were frustrated by international anti-profiliation efforts making it necessary to do things like disguise purchases of industrial equipment etc.

    Look. If Sarah Palin announced in a speech that the McCain admin had a goal of eliminating all global hunger, you’d be mocking her,

    If McCain gave a speech saying we should end global hunger, I wouldn’t read that as a ‘secret plan to eliminate hunger’ but an aspirational statement. But ‘ifs’ are only ‘ifs’. I still haven’t seen this speech where you claim Obama harbors a secret plan to rid the world of all nuclear weapons.

    If she had claimed she was going to “eliminate US crime” you’d be guffawing

    Sounds like a lot hingest on the exact context and wording of the statement in question.

    Oh, and the gold. That was because wartime US had made copper a scarce commodity, it was being used for wartime stuff as fast as we could mine it.

    Well that’s one problem a developing nation wouldn’t have to worry about today.

    You have a better than even chance that instead of a 15kKT bomb you’ll have a firecracker that spews fissile products less than a Fukashima amount of radiation and forensics points right to you.

    Better than even? One test in the desert and two bombings over Japan no nuclear weapon ended up a ‘dud’. In the history of nuclear weapons testing has there ever been a test that failed to ignite a nuclear explosion? Seems to me testing’s purpose was to improve the design and efficiency of nuclear weapons, not ensure they detonate.

  20. Boonton,

    MAo and North Korea seemed to not only have techs quite close to them, but ‘grew them’ domestically.

    And, lo’ and behold, they tested their weapons.

    If McCain gave a speech saying we should end global hunger

    “should” … missing from Obama’s claim. If Ms Palin said she has “a goal of ending world hunger” you’d skoff.

    Sounds like a lot hingest on the exact context and wording of the statement in question.

    And I think a lot more hinges on your opinion of the speaker.

    In the history of nuclear weapons testing has there ever been a test that failed to ignite a nuclear explosion?

    I’d say, yah, lots. Those are just the ones in the public domain, i.e., that we hear about. South Korea’s first tested yielded less than 1kT.

  21. Boonton,

    OK. You’ve just successfully detonated a 15kT device in the LA harbor. Forensics identify you. Now what. How’d that work out for you? Try a “best case”, let’s say you’re Iran.

  22. I’d say, yah, lots. Those are just the ones in the public domain, i.e., that we hear about. South Korea’s first tested yielded less than 1kT.

    That’s hardly ‘lots’, 4 out of hundreds of nuclear tests and of them many of them achieved a nuclear explosion (‘only’ detonating with 1/4 of a full megaton is still a pretty serious bomb if you’re goal is a Hiroshima type explosion). I suspect these failures were less about inability to produce a nuclear explosion but about trying to achieve specialized types of explosions or utilize novel designs. If you can get to a ‘Fat Man’ or ‘Little Boy’ bomb I bet you can be pretty confident it will explode.

    And I think a lot more hinges on your opinion of the speaker.

    Your inability to provide the context or words says a lot more about your charge. I notice you engage the ‘hypthetical universe’ style argument in asserting bias where you address not what people have really said and done in the actual universe we live in but what you think someone might say in an imaginary universe if Sarah Palin or McCain gave an imaginary speech.

    OK. You’ve just successfully detonated a 15kT device in the LA harbor. Forensics identify you. Now what. How’d that work out for you? Try a “best case”, let’s say you’re Iran.

    1. How reliable would forensics really be? The US says Iran did it, Iran says it didn’t. Can we make a case?

    2. Let’s say the bomb’s intended use isn’t in a conflict with the US but between two developing countries. If a bomb goes off in India and they accuse Pakistan, what would we say? Or if one goes off in China and China accuses India?

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