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[P]
Nuclear Test in North Korea?

By bjlhct in News
Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 05:36:59 AM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

On September 11, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported a huge blast and a 2.5 mile diameter mushroom cloud in North Korea 6 miles southwest of Yongjori Missile Base...on Thursday.


Just recently, there have been reports that the Bush administration had received intelligence indicating preparations for a nuclear test, in accordance with the traditional extravagant military demonstrations on the 56th anniversary of North Korea's founding.

Nuclear tests leave many telltale signs. The explosion can be seen on seismographs around the world. Fallout can be detected with geiger counters hundreds of miles away from the test. For a few thousand dollars, one can order a 1-meter resolution satellite image of a resultant cloud, and the military can do much better. Indeed the US military has been able to detect nuclear tests in real time since early in the Cold War, and it has only gotten better at it since then.

In light of this, the reports that we have gotten seem very suspicious. Very suspicious indeed. Condoleeza Rice has said that "further analysis" is being done and suggested that the mushroom cloud was created by a forest fire. Forest fires can create mushroom clouds, but the Bush administration should have noticed the event without being told about it and should know - no, does know - with certainty whether or not this blast was nuclear.

North Korea and China have no comment.

The lack of positive or negative reports on seismic data and radiation readings is suspicious indeed. Some college seismographs show an anomaly at the time in question. The USGS seismic survey site is now back up.

Between the timing and the evidence, it seems clear that there was a nuclear test. Yet the Bush administration is reporting that though they do not know what it was, they think it was not a nuclear test. Rice's suggestion of a forest fire, however, is improbable enough to dismiss. Something fishy is going on.

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Poll
Nuclear Test?
o Yes, and there is a cover-up. 44%
o Yes, and the governments are telling the truth. 2%
o No, it was a forest fire. 2%
o No, it was conventional explosives. 35%
o No, it was something else. 16%

Votes: 99
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o reported
o intelligen ce
o demonstrat ions
o better
o reports
o mushroom clouds
o seismograp hs
o USGS seismic survey
o Also by bjlhct


Display: Sort:
Nuclear Test in North Korea? | 192 comments (167 topical, 25 editorial, 4 hidden)
Easy (2.85 / 7) (#8)
by trhurler on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 06:58:52 PM EST

A 3-4km diamater mushroom cloud AND a crater(there are satellite photos of this, supposedly,) combined and occuring during major military demonstrations and celebrations have only a few possible meanings. One of them is a nuclear test. Yes, it is POSSIBLE that this is something else. Not likely though. For instance, a huge explosion caused by improper materials and/or munition storage.

The most likely explanation is nuclear testing. Why would the US cover this up? Simple: as bad as it may sound, the best thing to do if it WAS a nuclear test is NOT the thing that will be done if it is publicly announced as such.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

Wouldn't they want to brag? -nt (none / 0) (#9)
by MrLarch on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 07:08:35 PM EST



[ Parent ]
If it was a nuclear test (none / 0) (#69)
by Craevenwulfe on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 08:45:59 AM EST

Then they chose to do it in a -really- stupid place.

[ Parent ]
Same thing evryone thought this morning. (none / 1) (#12)
by hubrix on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 07:18:00 PM EST

Mention that now we will attack "terrorist" Korea
I signed.
Pointless (2.75 / 4) (#13)
by Peahippo on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 07:20:12 PM EST

This article is academic. Clearly the US Government is dragging its feet with recognizing what's happened (today is Sep 12, and this explosion took place Sep 9th). What is really required is atmospheric sampling done in Northern Japan by a variety of scientists, professional and amateur. Assuming those aren't corrupted by the Jap government in whatever game America is trying to play now, we'll have unavoidable results in a week or so. If it was a nuke, then not only will radioactive fallout be detected in N. Japan, but they will also be able to classify the material source (if in the catalog).


Not necessarily (none / 0) (#57)
by trhurler on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:39:20 AM EST

First of all, DPRK has its own enrichment facilities, and it is doubtful the US has samples from them.

Second, there might or might NOT be fallout over Japan at any point, depending on weather, details of the weapon itself, the position in which it was fired, and so on. Most likely yes, but an absence of fallout does not mean there was no test.

Third, it seems highly unlikely that if this HAD been a nuclear test, it could have been kept from universal public knowledge. There are several countries with the equipment to detect a nuclear test, atmospheric or otherwise, and not all of them are with the US agenda in any way, so conspiracy theorists will be hard up to explain present events, if they take in ALL the evidence(and lack thereof.)

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Minor Details (none / 0) (#92)
by Peahippo on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 03:22:16 PM EST

Me: "If it was a nuke, then not only will radioactive fallout be detected in N. Japan, but they will also be able to classify the material source (if in the catalog)." You: "First of all, DPRK has its own enrichment facilities, and it is doubtful the US has samples from them."

A lot of possibilities have been encapsulated in our statements. Who's to say the US Gov (more specfically, the Jap Gov) doesn't have data categories of NK fissile materials? Spies could obtain these, one way (direct theft of material) or another (theft of sample data).

Your weather comment is applicable, but I'm counting on general air sampling to produce something. This sampling could well discover other particulate (primarily, soot), if the explosion was non-nuclear.

The next few weeks should prove interesting.


[ Parent ]
gamma-ray burst not detected (3.00 / 8) (#15)
by Lode Runner on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 07:43:07 PM EST

That's why the government's so confident it wasn't a nuke. Satellites and other devices capable of detecting these bursts have been in place for decades in order to enforce test-ban treaties. Numerous astronomical observatories are also capable of detecting terrestial activity in the far-UV part of the spectrum (x-ray to gamma-ray).

As for the mushroom cloud, they can be created by large conventional explosions. Mushroom cloud but no GRB = not a nuke.

Eh? (none / 1) (#17)
by bjlhct on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 08:15:45 PM EST

How do you know they didn't? There is no positive or negative fallout report, and it seems to be the same with ionizing electromagnetic radiation.

The timing, intelligence, and location still all point to a nuke.

*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

give it 48 hours (none / 0) (#19)
by Lode Runner on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 08:27:19 PM EST

At least some of the observatories studying GRBs would be able to detect some kind of anomaly at the time of the explosion. Perhaps the US gov't and its allies can silence them all, but that's unlikely.

[ Parent ]
Remember (none / 0) (#39)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 12:43:49 AM EST

"Unlikely" means "most probable" when you're dealing with conspiracy theory nonsense such as this article.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Give it up... (none / 0) (#52)
by Gooba42 on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 03:54:29 AM EST

Citizens of democratic nations are allowed and should be encouraged to pick at their government and look for weak spots.

If this means unlikely theories get proposed then so be it. It's always better than blind faith.

[ Parent ]

I'm certain (3.00 / 5) (#31)
by mcc on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 10:55:52 PM EST

So why haven't they just released this data? If they'd just come out and said "we've got radiation data recorded and satelllites that can test for gamma rays, and they didn't show any sign of a nuclear explosion at that time, here's the data in question" everyone would have been satisfied. Instead they just told the press "we're pretty sure it's not nuclear" while offering no concrete reason why they believe this. This is probably more alarming than if they just hadn't said anything at all.

---
Aside from that, the absurd meta-wankery of k5er-quoting sigs probably takes the cake. Especially when the quote itself is about k5. -- tsubame
[ Parent ]
Wrong (none / 1) (#106)
by Polverone on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 06:58:56 PM EST

Gamma rays are absorbed by the atmosphere. The gamma ray detectors on satellites were there to check for any "sneaky" nuclear tests conducted in space. They are not useful for detecting terrestrial weapons tests. "Far UV" ends at the fuzzy line where x-rays begin, and there are no terrestrial x-ray or gamma ray observatories because of atmospheric absorption.

If an atmospheric nuclear weapons test was conducted, it would have yielded a characteristic double flash and should have been detected by monitoring satellites.
--
It's not a just, good idea; it's the law.
[ Parent ]

oops, forgot an and (none / 0) (#117)
by Lode Runner on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 09:47:41 PM EST

I think it's obvious where it goes. The next time your professor tells you that gamma-rays can't be observed from the ground, impress him by bringing up Milagro. Just because you can't directly observe forms of light with wavelengths under an Angstrom doesn't mean you can't see their effects. I think we can all assume that satellites capable of monitoring gamma-rays are a tad more sensitive than they were when they were designed to detect just high-atmosphere tests.

[ Parent ]
Really? (none / 0) (#112)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 07:57:16 PM EST

Can you please provide a link to where the US government says its confident it wasn't a nuke?  It didn't say that.  If you read the article carefully, you'd understand that that's the point.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
yep (none / 0) (#115)
by Lode Runner on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 09:29:35 PM EST

here. This is why you shouldn't get your news from K5, no matter closely you scrutinize the article.

[ Parent ]
Where? (none / 0) (#124)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 11:30:59 PM EST

Where does it say that the U.S. is confident it wasn't a nuke?  Powell expresses nothing but uncertainty.  It seems he is carefully avoiding an explict denial that it was.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
And I quote.... (none / 0) (#132)
by RadiantMatrix on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 10:08:51 AM EST

"There was no indication that was a nuclear event of any kind. Exactly what it was, we're not sure," US Secretary of State Colin Powell told ABC television on Sunday.

Translation: "It's not a nuke, but we don't know what it is".

In other words, while the Pentagon has ruled out a nuclear test, they don't know the actual cause of the explosion.  I heard on NPR news that N. Korea is claiming it was demolition of a mountain, and that a British envoy has visited the site and confirmed this.

Of course, there could be a massive cover-up, but while cynicism of government is good, so is cynicism of conspiracy theories.

"In any sufficiently large group of people, most are idiots" - Kaa's Law

[ Parent ]

No (none / 0) (#146)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 01:47:05 PM EST

The correct translation would be, "We can't prove that this is a nuke, nor can we prove it isn't, in fact we don't know what it is."

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
No indication, when indications are easily seen (none / 0) (#154)
by cburke on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 03:49:37 PM EST

means that it's probably not a nuke.  Above-ground nuke tests are easy to see and identify as nuclear.  Even below ground tests are easily detected.  It wasn't any secret at all when Pakistan went nuclear.  These days a test is both a test and an advertisement to the world that you have nuclear capability.

It's like you're staring at a big pile of loose kindling.  There's no smoke.  No light.  No heat.  Is it on fire?

It's fairly easy to rule out nukes.  Once you've done that, the range of possible explanations is rather large, and that is the cause of indicision.

So, you got it wrong.

[ Parent ]

No (none / 0) (#168)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 08:05:19 PM EST

They are very careful not to rule it out.  While it is easily known if a nuke went off, this is not common knowledge.  So if Colon Powell says, "We have no evidence it's a nuke," then he's lied, but he'll get away with the lie.  It would more advantagous for him to say, "We know this is not a nuke," but that's a lie they could get caught on.

He's made more than one statement on this matter and has not explicitly denied it being nuke on any occasion.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]

Unfortunately for that theory (none / 0) (#170)
by cburke on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 08:41:12 PM EST

Colin Powell isn't the only one on the planet with the necessary equipment to detect a nuclear explosion.  Like I said, it's not hard.  Common knowledge doesn't enter into it.  The number of people who are capable of detecting a nuclear event does.

As you can see here, others have no problems ruling out the nuclear explosion.

I repeat:  A nuclear test is not something you can hide, whether "you" are Kim Jong or Colin Powell.  You broadcast it through the air, through the earth, for anyone with a seismograph and a geiger counter to see.  If and when North Korea goes nuclear -- and we all know they want to, and are probably planning to -- we're all going to know about it.


[ Parent ]

So in your mind (none / 0) (#182)
by physicsgod on Wed Sep 15, 2004 at 09:17:37 PM EST

The statement "It's not a duck but I don't know what kind of bird it is." could be translated "It could be a duck."

--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]
Closer... (none / 0) (#184)
by RadiantMatrix on Thu Sep 16, 2004 at 02:38:02 AM EST

Actually, to be pedantic, it's more: "We don't think it is a nuke, it's probably something else, but we won't make a guarantee about it not being a nuke.:

No smart politician (and Colin Powell is) will say anything definitive.  That's because (a)keeping you guessing about it helps instill the fear that keeps defense spending going (remember who Colin Powell is and was), and (b)in the extremely unlikely event that N. Korea has tested a nuke, no one can say that he lied.

Still "no indication that it was a nuke" is essentially "it was not a nuke".  If there were really doubt, it would be something along the lines of "we can neither confirm nor deny it was a nuke".
"In any sufficiently large group of people, most are idiots" - Kaa's Law

[ Parent ]

I'd like to propose an alternative (2.57 / 7) (#16)
by Kasreyn on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 07:45:59 PM EST

but I don't know enough about the science of it... remember the Tunguska explosion in Russia close to a century ago?

Can someone who knows more about this than me, tell us whether the information could fit with a meteor impact in N. Korea? It's possible N. Korea would cover that up, out of a sense of pride and not wanting to accept or even be offered aid by other countries.

If it IS a nuke, I think the Bush Administration is doing the only smart thing I have ever, ever seen them do. They know that given their former tough-guy stance on N. Korea, to maintain an illusion of consistency they would have to get embroiled in this nuke thing, which of course N. Korea would stonewall. More inspectors and deadlines? Right now Americans are VERY sensitive to ideas like that. We're already in one war we're sick to death of.

My guess is that it was a nuke, and the Bush Administration is hoping as hard as they can that it will just all go away until after the elections.

Of course, I could be wrong, and things could move swiftly to a war footing. In which case, the same pussy greybeards in the Democratic party who got Al to back down, will push Kerry to "support the president" and throw the election. After all, what do they care? There are always the mine shafts with ten nubile child-bearing women apiece for them. :P


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
err, forget the meteor thing (none / 1) (#18)
by Kasreyn on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 08:22:29 PM EST

having read a bit more news about the incident, I find it too much of a coincidence that a meteor would strike N. Korea on its anniversary.

I mean, that would mean there was a god. :P


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
[ot] Tunguska and Tesla (2.66 / 3) (#22)
by Fuzzwah on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 08:42:18 PM EST

It may or may not be true, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the connection between Tesla and the Tunguska event. There's a bunch of great sites out there to check out: http://www.google.com/search?q=Tunguska+Tesla

--
The best a human can do is to pick a delusion that helps him get through the day. - God's Debris
[ Parent ]

Maybe this time... (none / 0) (#33)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 10:59:31 PM EST

But several of the largest meteor strikes have been initially mistaken for nuclear launches/blasts. Lord help us should one hit a city in India or Pakistan, things could heat up before people would realize that it was natural...

In other places, like Iran or Saudia Arabia, they might even ignore evidence that it wasn't Israel nuking them.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

And in _other_ places... (3.00 / 2) (#34)
by S_hane on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 11:29:24 PM EST

Like Israel, they might even ignore evidence that it wasn't Iran or Saudi Arabia nuking them.

    -Shane

[ Parent ]

I'm all for... (none / 1) (#71)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 09:01:20 AM EST

The illogical, pro-palestinian "Israel is satan" crap. It's some of the best comedy in the world.

For instance, you've set it up so thay any mention of the wars that Egypt and Syria tried to fight can be turned right back around at me. The Syrians, or course, being the good muslims they are, thought there was a natural disaster in Israel and were rushing in to give humanitarian aid when the zionist jewdogs backstabbed them.

Even if you hate them, you ijit, you must realize they have fairly accurate intelligence on their neighbors. I don't think they'd believe the saudis just nuked them. The Saudis on the other hand, idiots or not, at least have an excuse... the Israelis do have nukes *and* the missles to launch them. See a difference here?

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

Yeah, (none / 0) (#167)
by JahToasted on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 07:52:10 PM EST

Exactly how the US had accurate intelligence that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

Come on, it doesn't matter about what your intelligence tells you, its all about what you can fool the citizens of your country into thinking.
______
"I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames" -- Jim Morrison
[ Parent ]

Not really. (none / 0) (#171)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 09:09:26 PM EST

The people smart enough to wonder whether Iraq had them or not are in the minority enough that there's no real reason to go to the effort of fooling them.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]
Vickers? (none / 0) (#110)
by khallow on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 07:31:36 PM EST

There are always the mine shafts with ten nubile child-bearing women apiece for them. :P

Trying to place your source of inspiration. There's probably a zillion sci fi novels beating this idea to death.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Dr. Stangelove (nt) (none / 0) (#116)
by NoBeardPete on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 09:38:58 PM EST


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]
Thanks (NT) (none / 0) (#190)
by khallow on Tue Sep 21, 2004 at 10:59:40 AM EST


Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

What I think it might have been (3.00 / 13) (#21)
by MichaelCrawford on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 08:36:46 PM EST

Just before the first atomic test at Alamagordo, New Mexico, in 1945, an enormous pile of conventional explosives was set off right next to where the first a-bomb would explode a few days later.

I think the purpose of that was to calibrate the yield of the a-bomb. It was, if I recall correctly, fifteen kilotons (the explosive energy of fifteen thousand tons of TNT).

What better way to measure a-bomb yield than by comparing it to the actual power of a few kilotons of explosive. Sit some ways away with a seismograph and compare the needle wiggles.

Also, more recently, the US has used large quantities of explosives to simulate the blast from nuclear weapons, without having to violate the atmospheric test ban treaty. For example I read an article in which they tested the survivability of some mobile ICBM launchers by setting of an enormous hemispherical pile of ammonium nitrate right next to a prototype launcher.

If I'm right, then expect to see an actual nuke test soon.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


But why would they need to calibrate it? (none / 0) (#38)
by Kasreyn on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 12:34:25 AM EST

Wasn't that a step that was only needed when nuclear weapons were a new invention, and there was needed some way of measuring their yield? Now that nuclear weapons technology is fairly mature, why would North Korea need to "calibrate" their weapons?


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Technology (3.00 / 3) (#56)
by Graymalkin on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:36:57 AM EST

The DPRK doesn't exactly have a few spare super computers to run simulations on, they'd be lucky to have a couple PlayStations they could link together. Nuclear weapons technology is mature in G5 nations but not nearly as advanced in countries like Pakistan and North Korea. Much the the DPRK is running off of cast-off Chinese and Soviet technology, including their weapons programs.

I could understand calibration being necessary for them as I don't imagine China is exactly letting nuclear weapons engineers vacation south of the Yalu Jiang.

[ Parent ]

While I agree with you, (none / 0) (#67)
by wobblywizard on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 07:39:16 AM EST

I had to read the following thrice:
Much the the DPRK is running off of cast-off Chinese and Soviet technology, including their weapons programs.

[ Parent ]
Arigatou gozaimasu, sensei. -nt (none / 0) (#126)
by Kasreyn on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 12:27:08 AM EST

nt
"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
Hmmph! (none / 0) (#135)
by Eccles on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 11:15:27 AM EST

Nuclear weapons technology is mature in G5 nations

Sheesh, those Mac fanatics even think they can make nukes better! Talk about your reality distortion field...

[ Parent ]
Don't you remember the commercials? (none / 0) (#153)
by cburke on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 03:37:13 PM EST

The Mac is a dangerous weapon!  We must protect ourselves lest other nations become equipped with these translucent plastic menaces!

[ Parent ]
Trinity Test (none / 1) (#47)
by Xptic on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 02:41:59 AM EST

You are right about the conventional test.  They detonated 1000 tons of TNT in order to calibrate their insturments for the upcoming test.  The first nuke was somewhere around 15k tons.  The Hiroshima bomb was about the same yeild.

Those bombs were of the 'uranium gun' type.  Basicly, two sub-critical masses are slammed together by conventional explosives.

The Nagasaki bomb was of the 'plutonium sphere' design.  A sphere of plutonium is compressed from all sides till it becomes dense enough to go critical.

It's been a while since I watched Trinity and Beyond, but I'd reccomend it to anyone.  I usually play it during parties.

[ Parent ]

I thought Trinity was plutonium? (none / 0) (#97)
by Xeriar on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:28:21 PM EST

n/t

----
When I'm feeling blue, I start breathing again.
[ Parent ]
I think it was plutonium in fact (none / 0) (#100)
by MichaelCrawford on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:46:38 PM EST

The reason they did that test is that they weren't real sure the imploding plutonium design would work. They had more confidence in the uranium gun, and didn't test that.

I think Hiroshima was the uranium gun, and Nagasaki was the imploding plutonium.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


[ Parent ]

Thanks, that makes sense /nt (none / 0) (#64)
by i on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 06:16:49 AM EST



and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
Nuclear proliferation double standards (2.40 / 5) (#24)
by marinel on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 09:01:33 PM EST

What baffles me is how everyone is talking (or not) about whether Israel or Pakistan (or North Korea or Iran or even Iraq once upon a time) are building nukes and whether they should be ignored, frowned upon, pressured, sanctioned or plainly bombed into submission. My question is why is it not OK anymore to test nukes? Is it because the big boys don't want just any chump in their elite club, they are hypocrites when they demand of others not to even try it and they will administer some alley justice whenever it suits them? Or is it because the UN had written so on a piece of gold-leafed FrancoAngloRussoSinoAmerican TP and the UN word is the new gospel when you look at it from the right angle? Which is it?

Oh yeah, I also find it highly ironic that Germany and Japan claim they will not build nukes, although it is known by their pardners, that nothing could really stop them if they wanted to, since both countries have the tech expertise, the right parts and the nasty goo that makes it go boom.
--
Proud supporter of Students for an Orwellian Society

Not that this is an official reason. (3.00 / 3) (#25)
by D Jade on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 09:05:30 PM EST

But the main reason I can see to ban the testing of nuclear weapons is the harm it causes to the environment.

Of course, the environment is not something I think the powers that be place much priority on.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

Done correctly... (2.25 / 4) (#29)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 10:54:45 PM EST

Underground nuclear tests should have almost zero ecological impact. Think not much worse than you using a gasoline powered lawnmower for a year.

Above ground tests are slightly dirtier to be sure, but anything less than a dozen going off isn't catastrophic. The first ever was in New Mexico, and that's not a wasteland (well, anymore than it was previously). Two went off in Japan, it's pretty livable. Only the most irresponsible, careless above ground tests would be something you should be terrified of (unless you are some pussy that worries your kid will get leukemia from Trinity, even though it was 60 years ago and you live in Scotland). Not that these are good things that I want to see happen, but some perspective is needed.

Any country testing nukes, doesn't want to perform 10,000 such tests. Either you learn what you need to know, in the first few *very* careful tests, or you just give up and buy them from Israel. The reason testing is discouraged can't be chalked up to ecological concerns. Hell, the USSR dabbled in nuclear explosives for mining and dam construction.

The only reason that makes sense, is that they want to keep it an exclusive club. Is it due to any real or percieved threats? Well, with a few notable exceptions, there is no reason to believe that "mutually assured destruction" no longer works. A North Korea that wants to survive, a Kim Il-whatever that wants to survive, you just don't nuke the US. Our policy was never reciprocal nuking, mind you. Had the soviets used a tactical nuke or two, our policy was to make the earth uninhabitable. North Korea won't nuke us, any more than the USSR did. So it's not pure logic that drives this, really. Bragging rights, intimidation, something else is going on here.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

No ecological impact? (1.40 / 5) (#41)
by D Jade on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 01:05:10 AM EST

Two went off in Japan and now the areas where they were dropped are no longer inhabitable! It is dangerous to enter that area due to the radiation!!! Hiroshima is a very humbling sight to behold; standing on the edge of a real wasteland where 80,000 people died when a real nuclear bomb was and where the land is now toxic is more evidence than facts and figures derived from a controlled experiment.

There are generations of people who have been affected in Japan by the bomb. These are people who lived hundreds of miles away who were directly affected by the radiation showers which ocurred after the blasts and those who were and could still be affected by contaminated water supplies and soil et cetera.

I think you will find these are ecological effects.

Hiroshima was and is the only accurate experiment to test the effects of the Atomic bomb.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

huh? (none / 1) (#45)
by bobsquatch on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 02:00:38 AM EST

Hiroshima is "no longer inhabitable?" WTF are you talking about?

[ Parent ]
No... (3.00 / 2) (#59)
by trhurler on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:48:05 AM EST

Actually, the 1945 explosion sites are now reasonably safe. You have to get within about 100 meters of ground zero at any of them(Trinity, Hiroshima, Nagasaki,) before the radiation level rises much above what you'd expect from a cluster of natural brick buildings. Even at ground zero, the most trivial radiation suit will protect you for extended periods of time, and for short jaunts, you'd be safe enough just walking up in your street clothes. In fact, at all three sites I believe there are markers/plaques/etc at ground zero, and people do actually go there sometimes. No, they're not generally open to casual tourists, but would you WANT them to be?

Most of Hiroshima and Nagasaki both were rebuilt. People do in fact live there. Sorry to burst your bubble, but contrary to what you heard from Greenpeace, a fission nuclear detonation here or another there is not really that big a deal fifty years down the line. Fusion is another story, but the interesting bit here is that fusion weapons tend to be cleaner per unit area covered than fission devices, so although the immediate impact is much larger, the long term consequences, though spread over a larger area, are not really worse at any given point in space.

Even deliberately dirty neutron weapons can't render any given area uninhabitable for more than a few decades at most. Yes, you could seed such weapons with isotopes chosen specifically to do that, but nobody does, because it would be insane and pointless; if you can already destroy all life forms bigger than a single cell, what more do you need?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Er... (none / 0) (#80)
by BJH on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 12:34:34 PM EST

Ground Zero (the hypocenter) at Hiroshima was a hospital (the actual explosion occurred about 600 meters above that point, for maximal blast effect). I don't remember there being much at that point.

Perhaps you're talking about the so-called "Atom Dome", which used to be a local government building and is the only building left in the area from the original city.  It was a couple of hundred meters from the hypocenter.
There were a few other concrete/stone structures still (partially) standing after the explosion, but they were torn down.

There's some residual radiation within the Atom Dome, but you're not allowed inside so that's not relevant.

Here's a map of the layout of the city center, showing the Atom Dome, the hypocenter, etc.

Here's what the city center looked like a few days after the blast.

--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]

Just to clarify... (none / 0) (#82)
by BJH on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 12:48:11 PM EST

I'm not contradicting you regarding the present state of Hiroshima, just correcting what you said about the area near the blast. When I mentioned "I don't remember there being much at that point" (i..e the hypocenter), I meant that I don't remember there being anything there to commemorate the bombing. That's all over on the area between the two branches of the river.
--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]
I was there last week... (none / 0) (#150)
by Alannon on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 02:50:53 PM EST

There's some sort of nondescript building right over the center of the explosion. Some local pointed vaguely over in the direction of it. It supposedly was no longer significantly radioactive within a very short time after the explosion.

[ Parent ]
"insane and pointless" (none / 0) (#177)
by Wise Cracker on Wed Sep 15, 2004 at 03:32:59 AM EST

So "nobody does" this?
--
Caesars come, and Caesars go, but Newton lives forever
[ Parent ]
If... (none / 1) (#180)
by SvnLyrBrto on Wed Sep 15, 2004 at 01:09:39 PM EST

> Two went off in Japan and now the areas where they were
> dropped are no longer inhabitable!

If, by "no longer inhabitable", you really mean "ground zero is now occupied by a public park, memorial, and museum; which you're, obviously, not allowed to tear down so you can build and inhabit a house", then yes, Hiroshima is "no longer inhabitable"..

If you meant that there is dangerous radiation and a Mad Max style wasteland there, then no... as others have pointed out, you've not a clue.

cya,
john


Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Heh... (none / 1) (#53)
by ShadowNode on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 03:57:30 AM EST

I don't think anyone is sunbathing on Bikini Atol anytime soon.

[ Parent ]
Bikini (none / 1) (#65)
by Xptic on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 06:49:42 AM EST

That's because we repeatedly nuked the same area several times.  Can't remember exactly, but I think we did 100 or so Pacific Island tests.  Not all at Bikini.

The type of detonation also plays into it.  A ground burst will irradiate a lot of topsoil whereas an air burst is relatively 'clean.'  I remember hearing that most of the US warheads were airburst and USSR had mostly ground burst.  We could depend on our accuracy to hit a targer whereas they needed to really focus on killing via radiation.


[ Parent ]

Explanation. (none / 0) (#79)
by jmzero on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 12:02:36 PM EST

Israel is treated differently, as is South Africa.  This may not seem fair - but it is when considered in the context of aligning hegemonies.

Regions are stable when each country's rank in terms of economic, conventional, and nuclear power is aligned (and this model could be expanded).  

For example, assume that the US has a tremendous beef with Canada.  Are they going to nuke them?  Of course not, they will first apply economic pressures - (and can do so with impunity as they can fall back on conventional military pressure).  The situation is stable, because the ranking is aligned in each sphere.

Now imagine a situation in which the US and Canada are at odds again, and in which Canada has the only nuclear weapons.  Suddenly, there is reason to use nukes - as a counterbalance to US military advantages.  This is the kind of situation anti-proliferation actions are most eager to avoid.

North Korea with nukes is scary, because it will be tempted to leverage those nukes in exchange for economic or political power (of which it has very little).  The USs, Frances, and South Africas of the world have much less motivation to use their nuclear arsenals in such a way.  Proliferation bans aren't about keeping NK down, they're about making sure they don't attempt to get a leg up in a shortcut, dangerous way.  Looking at NK's economic and political situation, they are a perfect example of the dangers here.

PS: India and Pakistan are a special case - but again they demonstrate the point.  It is better that they both have nukes (and thus that their nuclear situation parallels their military situation) than that one does - and I think the world recognizes we can't keep them both out of the business.  As such, the world would prefer they didn't have nukes - but probably most realize  it's inevitable.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

You're speculating vigurously... (none / 0) (#89)
by marinel on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 03:03:00 PM EST

I don't buy your argument. Leveraging nukes for political or economic power can be beneficial when used defensively (in all cases that I know of), so I fail to see on what you base your speculation that some "rogue" country would actually use them to attack arch-enemies (save for the mighty ol' US of A, ex-villain transformed into preacher).

In the worst case scenario, a mad man like Saddam (or Ossama bin Laden) is the weakest link, but no amount of carpet-bombing third-world countries will stop one from acquiring some trophy ICBM with nuclear focus or some dirty bomb. Interestingly enough, both Saddam and Ossama are genuine CIA Frankensteins.
--
Proud supporter of Students for an Orwellian Society
[ Parent ]

Hmmm (none / 0) (#90)
by jmzero on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 03:16:34 PM EST

My main intent was to explain the theory of one reason why anti-proliferation should focus on specific countries more than others - and I think that explanation makes sense.

Certainly there are other factors - for example the "leader's sanity" is an important consideration.

Leveraging nukes for political or economic power can be beneficial when used defensively (in all cases that I know of)

Leveraging nukes in any way increases the likelihood that they'll be employed (which is the main thing we're trying to avoid).  If you're using nuclear superiority as a buffer against a neighbor's superior conventional military, that significantly increases the chance that you'll respond to invasion with a nuclear striker rather than with conventional defenses.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

You got it upside down (none / 0) (#99)
by marinel on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:45:12 PM EST

If you're using nuclear superiority as a buffer against a neighbor's superior conventional military, that significantly increases the chance that you'll respond to invasion with a nuclear striker rather than with conventional defenses.

If you have nukes, and your neighbor has only conventional weapons, it's very likely that your neighbor won't even try something funny knowing the consequences. As screwed up as this may sound, the presence (or lack) of nukes is one of the reasons the US/UK gang bombed Iraq into submission continuously for the past 13 years, but won't touch North Korea with a ten foot pole. Oh yeah, and the abundance (or lack) of that black slick thingy might have something to do with it also.
--
Proud supporter of Students for an Orwellian Society
[ Parent ]

Indeed (none / 0) (#105)
by jmzero on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 05:47:36 PM EST

If you have nukes, and your neighbor has only conventional weapons, it's very likely that your neighbor won't even try something funny knowing the consequences.

What is much more likely is that they'll simply develop their own nuclear weapons, returning them to a position of power (due to their superiority in conventional weapons and or economic power).  This is worst-case proliferation, and is what everyone is trying to avoid.  

A less powerful state developing nuclear weapons upsets the balance - and the balance will tend to be restored (either by employing those weapons, or by counterbalancing developments by surrounding states).

A more powerful (or equal powered) state developing weapons does not upset the balance in nearly the same way.  
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Say with me: nuclear proliferation is not that bad (none / 0) (#138)
by marinel on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 12:55:43 PM EST

A less powerful state developing nuclear weapons upsets the balance - and the balance will tend to be restored (either by employing those weapons, or by counterbalancing developments by surrounding states).
If by 'less powerful states developing nukes upsets the balance' you mean that it is an undesirable situation for the more-powerful states because it precludes them from invading the newly nuclear-armed-but-less-powerful states, you're right.

I believe that nuclear proliferation is not that bad since it puts everyone on equal footing making conventional weaponry more or less irrelevant. If anything, if every nation had nukes, there would be less wars due to nuclear determent (barring some accidental misfires).

As far as I know, no nation has invaded another nation that had nuclear weapons, regardless of their nuclear capability. And I do not consider the Indian-Pakistani border skirmishes anywhere close to the definition of war.

Oh, yeah, and I consider anti-nuclear defense programs more or less inadequate for the simple reason that you can't be 100% sure they'll work, thus all nuclear nations are virtually equal from a military POV. That is the really scary part for the likes of the US, UK, Russia, France, or China.
--
Proud supporter of Students for an Orwellian Society
[ Parent ]

Hmm (none / 1) (#141)
by jmzero on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 01:28:00 PM EST

Perhaps the world would be more stable if everyone had nukes.  I find it unlikely.  

Rather, I think the general moral restraint that has thusfar prevented nukes from being used would break down - with nukes eventually becoming standard battlefield fare.  Even the US now has hinted towards such.

The war in Vietnam still occurred, and was fought by conventional means - even though the powers involved had nuclear weapons available.  The world survived the Cuban missile crisis, and decades on the brink during the Cold War.  The threat of mutually assured destruction proved enough then - but it need not always be so.  A two-way balance between similarly powered nations somehow stayed alive.  How about a 130 way balance between nations of wildly varying economic, political, and military power?

As to history, look at the Iran/Iraq war.  This was total war.  They threw literally everything they could at each other - including weapons other nations would not have used at the time.  I don't think either would have hesitated to use nuclear weapons if they had been available - and that is the fail state we are trying to avoid.  There has been few "total wars" since WWII, and luckily none have involved major world powers.  This is luck, and why we haven't seen nukes employed.  Restricting nukes to nations that won't be in this kind of total war (because they won't need to) makes sense in avoiding this scenario in the future.

In short, I think it's more complicated than you're getting at.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

US hints, the Iran-Iraq war and 130-way balance (none / 0) (#147)
by marinel on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 02:01:01 PM EST

I find it very unlikely that the US will reopen that Pandora's box, but anything is possible, especially with the neocons in charge. Let me ask you this: what sizable target warrants the US to direct their nukes at, that could not be done with conventional weaponry?

As to the Iran-Iraq war, I'm not sure that if both had nukes they would or would not have used them. But if we're playing what ifs, neither Iraq nor Iran would have been were they were in the eraly 80s, were it not for CIA meddling in both countries.

I could also say that a perfect counter example to the Iran-Iraq war is the Pakistani-Indian conflict which hasn't degenerated into nuclear war even though both countries have nukes.

As to the 130-way balance between nations, it's a false conundrum, since there isn't any need for a 130-way balance once all of them are equal from a military POV. I don't see how their economic and political power has anything bearing on their military standing (once they've gone nuclear).
--
Proud supporter of Students for an Orwellian Society
[ Parent ]

Hmmm (none / 0) (#151)
by jmzero on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 03:07:18 PM EST

what sizable target warrants the US to direct their nukes at, that could not be done with conventional weaponry?

I believe the focus is mostly on using nukes to reach hardened underground structures.  I'm not up on how seriously this is being considered, and I don't think it's a good idea because it would affect the general worldwide moral restraint on these weapons.

were it not for CIA meddling in both countries.

I'm not here to defend the US.  

I could also say that a perfect counter example to the Iran-Iraq war is the Pakistani-Indian conflict which hasn't degenerated into nuclear war even though both countries have nukes.

I didn't say it would.  The countries are reasonably even in terms of power, and both having nuclear weapons need not affect that.  I think it has become a matter mostly of pride - and far from a total war scenario (before or after the advent of nuclear weapons).  

since there isn't any need for a 130-way balance once all of them are equal from a military POV.

Well, they'll never really be balanced.  The Cold War involved constant adjustment in arsenals - even well past "multiple mutual assured destructions".  This buildup also occurred in their conventional weapons stocks.  In the case of a smaller country, one nuclear site isn't enough for MAD, as it can be taken out by an opposing nuclear or conventional strike (see current back and forth between Israel and Iran).  

The fact that nobody uses nuclear weapons now is not because they wouldn't be handy - it's BECAUSE of the anti-proliferation efforts in effect have kept nukes (for the most part) out of the hands of those who would have reason to use them (to compensate for lack of conventional power).  

Two nuclear countries can both still be radically unequal.  

As to the Iran-Iraq war, I'm not sure that if both had nukes they would or would not have used them.

Why not?  Functionally, nukes outperform conventional, chemical, or biological strikes by orders of magnitude.  Moral restraint?  Lol.  Fear of retaliation?  

Fear of MAD is fine, but breaks down quickly when actually at war - when losing is not just losing face.  The bigger fear becomes: what if it's one-way destruction?  Nuke or be nuked.  Again, remember the Cuban missile crisis?  It was a delicate balance that wasn't as iron-clad as you seem to think.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Balance and the Cuban missile crisis (none / 0) (#156)
by marinel on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 04:02:43 PM EST

The Cold War involved constant adjustment in arsenals - even well past "multiple mutual assured destructions". This buildup also occurred in their conventional weapons stocks.
AFAIK, the Cold war buildup was nothing more than a d!ck measuring contest since both nations realised more recently that it was all a futile exercise after all.
In the case of a smaller country, one nuclear site isn't enough for MAD, as it can be taken out by an opposing nuclear or conventional strike (see current back and forth between Israel and Iran).
The problem is that no country can be sure that another has only one site, or that it knows of all the sites, so they can't really risk attacking (unless the nuclear program is still in its infancy, as was the case in 1981 with Israel's paranoic bombing of Saddam's Osirak reactor).

As to the Cuban missile crisis, if I recall correctly, it was all dreamed up by the US. If problems would have gotten out of hand, it would have been because of the US paranoia not because of the Cubans, so the root of the problem can't be treated AFAIC.
--
Proud supporter of Students for an Orwellian Society
[ Parent ]

Hmmm (none / 1) (#160)
by jmzero on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 05:46:20 PM EST

Well, I think we've narrowed down where we differ in terms of analysis - largely it's about how we interpret the Cold War.  

To some extent at least, you're probably right.  

The real situation in Russia was much different than we were all led to believe in 1982.  I just watched "Firefox" - a long boring movie about Clint Eastwood stealing a super-advanced Russian plane.  Back in reality, Russia had much more serious economic problems than we realized - and was lagging the US by pretty much any measure.  We didn't really realize this until the late 80's.

I talked to a Russian immigrant cabbie about this once.  He was shocked by our prosperity when he got to the US.  He had assumed that Americans were simply pushing the same propoganda the Russians were.  Instead, we really did have all the things the Russians pretended they did.  

It's difficult to evaluate something like the Cuban missile crisis from this perspective.  My memory is faded, and we may never know what was really going on on the other side.  That said, there are certain things that are fairly undeniable, and that did constitute a crisis.

Anywho, have a good day.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Bleh (none / 0) (#136)
by kurioszyn on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 11:55:46 AM EST

"Saddam and Ossama are genuine CIA Frankensteins."

Nonsense.
The mere fact that CIA at some point supported one of them and considered temporarily useful another hardly makes them  Frankenstein.


[ Parent ]

Your analogy if profoundly flawed... (none / 1) (#181)
by SvnLyrBrto on Wed Sep 15, 2004 at 01:19:27 PM EST

> both Saddam and Ossama are genuine CIA Frankensteins.

Do you actually read the books you cite?

If we follow with your analogy, than the CIA, and NEITHER Saddam NOR Ossama, is Frankenstein.

cya,
john

Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Minimization (none / 0) (#104)
by NoBeardPete on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 05:32:42 PM EST

I think most reasonable people agree that it'd be nice to minimize how widespread nukes are. From a purely practical standpoint, convincing existing nuclear powers to give up their nukes is much tougher than convincing other countries not to make them in the first place. Also consider that only a few countries going nuclear could trigger the kind of arms race that results in almost everyone else following suit. A world with scores of nuclear powers is a much more dangerous world than the one we live in now. We're all much better off because non-nuclear powers are discouraged from trying to become nuclear powers.


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

The meaning of the word 'discouraged' (none / 0) (#140)
by marinel on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 01:20:19 PM EST

If by 'discouraged' you mean that some are sanctioned economically so their populace is nearly starving (ie. N Korea, Cuba), some are bombed occasionally and sometimes less occasionally (ie. Iraq, and soon Iran), and some are showered with multi-millions or billions of dollars of aid every year (ie. Pakistan, Israel :-@), I understand what you're saying.
--
Proud supporter of Students for an Orwellian Society
[ Parent ]
yes, duh! (none / 0) (#139)
by Cazzi Salati on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 01:18:18 PM EST

"My question is why is it not OK anymore to test nukes?"

Is this a joke?  It never was considered OK.  The U.S. has tried to slow or stop all nuke development throughout the world starting from the day they laughed in the U.N's face when it requested the US hand over its nuke tech after WWII.  That would have been the stupidest thing ever done by any nation in the history of the earth.

The U.S. and its allies with nukes have ALWAYS worked to deter nuke development by other nations.   And that is a perfectly reasonable policy which any rational person should support wholeheartedly.  

Just as society has no greater danger than the individual with nothing left to lose, the world has not greated danger than a desparate nation with nothing left to lose.  It's far more dangerous for a desparate, poverty-stricken nation to get a few nukes than it is for the U.S. to have thousands of them.    

If Iran and N. Korea start building nukes, you'll probably end up wishing the US and Britian had done everything to stop them.  

In fact, you'll probably come here and post about how irresponsible these world powers were to let such a thing happen, whining and blaming them for failing to follow through on a policy you now condemn.

Cazzi Salati

-- My cat's breath smells like cat food - ralph wiggum
[ Parent ]

Come again? (none / 0) (#145)
by marinel on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 01:40:33 PM EST

If Iran and N. Korea start building nukes, you'll probably end up wishing the US and Britian had done everything to stop them.
AFAIK, Pakistan (or even Russia for that matter) is no better than the two countries you mentioned, yet I don't see everyone fretting about it. Take a deep breath, and say it with me: "nuclear proliferation is not that bad". See my other comments on this thread for clarification.
--
Proud supporter of Students for an Orwellian Society
[ Parent ]
Russia (none / 0) (#148)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 02:17:01 PM EST

had nukes for decades without using them. Wanna bet on NK or Iran doing likewise? The jury's out on Pakistan; one assasination could put a madman in charge of their nukes.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
You don't understand (none / 0) (#149)
by Cazzi Salati on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 02:43:00 PM EST

If COURSE leaders are fretting about Russia and Pakistan.  Those countries are very likely the reason that Iran and NK have them/almost have them.

'Take a deep breath, and say it with me: "nuclear proliferation is not that bad". '

Are you mad?  

All you can reasonably postulate is that nuclear build-up between two superpowers is not that bad, WE THINK, because they never went to war.  Even then, we got VERY close and I wouldn't want to repeat that experiment.

But nuclear proliferation amongst backwards theocracies and poverty-wracked communists led by delusional madmen is another thing entirely.  If you're not in favor of deterring NK and Iran, and you're not concerned about the ramifications, you are either ignorant of human nature or quite possibly mad.  

Cazzi Salati

-- My cat's breath smells like cat food - ralph wiggum
[ Parent ]

NK and Iran going nuclear (none / 1) (#157)
by marinel on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 04:28:37 PM EST

If you're not in favor of deterring NK and Iran, and you're not concerned about the ramifications, you are either ignorant of human nature or quite possibly mad.
What do you think NK or Iran will do with their nukes? Lob them at SK or Israel without fearing retaliation? Who's really mad here?

If the US was so concerned about oil-poor NK going nuclear, why is it looking the other way in that respect and wasting its time and military resources in a oil-rich country that had no nuclear program beyond a few bad sketches of ICBMs? The US administration must be mad, right?

And how can you equate the danger of Iran going nuclear (and MAYBE doing something nasty with it) with the current US solution of bombing a nation into submission (if they have oil that is)? Who has their priorities all upside down?
--
Proud supporter of Students for an Orwellian Society
[ Parent ]

could it have been a fuel-air explosive? (nt) (none / 1) (#27)
by pyramid termite on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 10:04:07 PM EST


On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
Not likely (none / 1) (#60)
by trhurler on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:52:31 AM EST

As the scale of a fuel air weapon increases linearly, the difficulty in effectively and evenly vaporizing the fuel over the detonation area increases exponentially. I doubt the US and Europe combined could produce one several miles across that was reliable, and certainly it wouldn't be a portable, practical weapon of any kind.

On the other hand, it could much more easily than people seem to understand have been a large demolition project.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
er, could be but I'm not taking bets (none / 0) (#109)
by khallow on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 07:23:56 PM EST

On the other hand, it could much more easily than people seem to understand have been a large demolition project.

Word now is that it's not a nuclear weapon for sure. Maybe an underground ammunition depot.

As far as being a large construction project, the apparent large size and uncontrolled nature seems to rule it out. Smaller controlled explosions and earth moving equipment would be more effective even if it did take longer, IMHO. OTOH, maybe it was a NK military project a la Operation Plowshare.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Ooo, I know! (2.33 / 3) (#28)
by thepictsie on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 10:40:14 PM EST

A really, really big grain silo exploded! Cuz, y'know, those cause mushroom clouds, too!

Look, a distraction!

Could be a munitions dump (3.00 / 6) (#30)
by wiredog on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 10:55:22 PM EST

In the 70's a Soviet Munitions facitily at Severomorsk blew up and the explosion was powerful enough to be picked up on early warning satellites and seismic monitors.

If it was a nuke, expect the Pacific Rim to go to hell in a handbasket (in terms of diplomacy and politics) in a hurry.

If North Korea has nukes, then Japan will quickly realize that the best option they have is a reliable deterrent. So Japan will develop its own nuclear weapons. They already have ICBMs (if a rocket can put a satellite in orbit, it can send a warhead on a sub-orbital flight).

Japan is not popular amongst its neighbors. Long memories over there, and things that are difficult to forget. A nuclear armed Japan means a nuclear armed Taiwan, and South Korea also (even more than North Korea having nukes). The PRC already has nukes and ICBMs.

It could get very interesting over there.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

No. (none / 0) (#36)
by BJH on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 12:29:17 AM EST

NK likely already has nuclear weapons.
Japan knows this. It hasn't tried developing nuclear weapons itself (for various reasons, one of which is the massive internal backlash that would result from such an action by the government).

Even if Japan did get nuclear weapons, South Korea and Taiwan wouldn't necessarily react that badly - although there's considerable bad feeling among the people (especially older people) towards Japan, diplomatically speaking they get on quite well. China would most definitely object, though.
--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]

Actually, (none / 0) (#55)
by trhurler on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:23:48 AM EST

Very boring. Nuclear weapons tend to actually DO what they're (these days) made for: make war unthinkable. So, you get a bunch of big talk and not much else. The real reason the existing nuclear powers don't want more nuclear powers is that you can't push around people who can vaporize you with the push of a button.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
which is about why Iran want some (nt) (3.00 / 2) (#63)
by vivelame on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 06:10:06 AM EST



--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
Nothing to do with pushing people around. (none / 0) (#70)
by Craevenwulfe on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 08:52:29 AM EST

Russia and USA understood that carrying a shed load of nukes was really not a clever idea and attempt to disarm themselves. Lots of people having nukes means lots of people who can create unbelievable levels of havoc with little effort. Pandoras box has already been opened, it makes no sense to go building extensions to it. The status quo is nice for everyone, that's why missile defence is a contestible issue. If you're immune to everyone elses missles then only your missles have value.

[ Parent ]
Heh (none / 0) (#98)
by trhurler on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:35:16 PM EST

First you deny the very principle of MAD, then you rely on it as an argument against missile defense. Which is it?

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Russia/U.S. understand MAD in way you do not. (none / 0) (#152)
by cburke on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 03:19:24 PM EST

The reason the U.S. and Russia have been slowly disarming is because they realize that the principle of MAD doesn't require you to have lots of nukes.  Being able to turn all of earth into a glass parking lot is pretty meaningless, when being able to vaporize Moscow/New York and a dozen other major cities is more than enough.

And it absolutely is about pushing people around.  That's why everyone wants nukes, because MAD means you won't get pushed around anymore.  That's why we want a missle shield, so we can push around even the ones in the nuclear club.

[ Parent ]

You don't NEED lots of nukes (none / 0) (#183)
by physicsgod on Wed Sep 15, 2004 at 10:00:52 PM EST

But they're one way to achieve the "A" in MAD. MAD only works if your opponent knows that even if he launches first you'll be able to destroy him.

You could do that by having sufficient detection capability to enable you to launch your arsenal before his warheads arrive.

You could do it by having a launch mechaninism that was much harder to destroy (i.e. SLBM's and airborne bombers).

Or you could do it by having so many nukes that even if 90% were destroyed the remaining 10% would do the job.



--- "Those not wearing body armor are hereby advised to keep their arguments on-topic" Schlock Mercenary
[ Parent ]

That's not the point (none / 1) (#159)
by cicho5 on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 04:33:57 PM EST

Yes, it could be a munitions dump, could be one of several things capable of producing the mushrrom cloud. The Koreans said they <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3653990.stm>demolished a mountain</a>, okay. That's beside the point.

The point of the article, and mine, is that the military (not just in the US) knows the cause of the explosion without any uncertainty, because they have very specialized equipment to detect nuclear blasts, well-honed over the years of the cold war. So if they know the explosion was NOT nuclear, why won't they say so? They don't, and this by itself is giving me pause.

[ Parent ]

Pop Rocks. (2.85 / 7) (#32)
by Russell Dovey on Sun Sep 12, 2004 at 10:56:16 PM EST

The Koreans are planning to subvert the world through a new and deadly form of Pop Rocks that, when used by American children, explode massively in the way we've seen.

I only hope that Willy Wonka and his cybrog Oompa-Loompas can prevail against this threat.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan

Hey (2.00 / 3) (#35)
by The Amazing Idiot on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 12:17:58 AM EST

He TOLD the kids to not touch em, didnt he???

And did they listen? nooooOOOOOOOOOOooooooo!!!

[ Parent ]

+1 FP (1.90 / 11) (#40)
by fleece on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 12:58:49 AM EST

A poorly researched conspiracy theory that offers no insight whatsoever. The very cornerstone of K5



I feel like some drunken crazed lunatic trying to outguess a cat ~ Louis Winthorpe III
Answer to sig: (3.00 / 4) (#49)
by bjlhct on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 02:56:42 AM EST

It belongs to the hidden comment section.

*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
Seismograph Link (3.00 / 2) (#46)
by bjlhct on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 02:40:05 AM EST

The chart I linked to is the 3 day old graph. As a new day came, that graph became the 4 day old graph. These graphs are the Benioff Short Period E-W Component graphs on http://photon.physics.hmc.edu/research/geo/seismo.html.

*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
N. Korea's story (2.75 / 12) (#50)
by bobsquatch on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 03:05:51 AM EST

The country's foreign minister, Paek Nam-sun, said the blast was in fact the deliberate demolition of a mountain as part of a huge, hydro-electric project.

(Not that I'm saying we should take N. Korea's statements at face value, heavens, no. I'm just sayin' what they're a-sayin', tha's all.)

Further update (3.00 / 7) (#72)
by mcc on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 09:06:49 AM EST

North Korea has invited foreign diplomats, including some from the U.K., to inspect the blast site for themselves. This sort of implies they probably don't have anything to hide.

[ Parent ]
assuming they carry through (none / 0) (#111)
by khallow on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 07:34:09 PM EST

That's a throw away comment. I doubt they'll bother to escort anyone around there unless they wish to score political points. The action certainly doesn't follow from the words.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

if true, I find this amusing... (3.00 / 2) (#75)
by pb on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 09:55:51 AM EST

One major reason why North Korea was pursuing nuclear capabilities in the first place was to provide more electricity to the country. They've been trying for over a decade to build a nuclear power plant of some sort or another, first with the Soviets, then with us, etc., etc. And atomic regulations have stopped them at every step of the way.

So now, they try to expand their hydroelectric program some more, to get the power they need, and what happens... the world thinks they might be testing nukes or something! You just can't please some people. :)
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

It's infowar! (3.00 / 5) (#51)
by R Mutt on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 03:53:59 AM EST

No flash. No gamma rays. No seismograph readings (for that place and time, see the debunking in other comments).

Conclusion: it's info-war! A cunning North Korean plot to paralyse the internet with hysterical conspiracy theories.
----
Coward... Asshole... from the start you kept up the appearance of objectively posting interesting links.

If it were possible (none / 0) (#73)
by killmepleez on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 09:37:27 AM EST

to paralyze the internet with hysterical conspiracy theories, you would not be reading this comment.

__
"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "J
[ Parent ]
omg... I'm not reading it! -nt (none / 1) (#96)
by MrLarch on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:15:14 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Paralyzing (none / 0) (#83)
by Ward57 on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 01:05:16 PM EST

the internet with an excess of conspiricy theories is like paralyzing America with an excess of dollars.

[ Parent ]
Business (1.00 / 4) (#54)
by SanSeveroPrince on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 03:59:17 AM EST

His own. US. Should mind.

After reading your article, I have decided to conduct nuclear tests in my backyard, for the sole purpose of telling the CIA to mind their own fucking business when they come knocking at my door asking what that was.

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


Two things (2.00 / 4) (#61)
by trhurler on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:56:13 AM EST

First of all, the CIA doesn't come knocking to ask questions in a case like this. If you set off a nuke, the US will know within minutes, and they'll have GPS coords for you within at most hours. EMP events on the scale of a nuclear detonation simply cannot be hidden within our atmosphere, whether you're above or underground.

Second, I don't think you understand the consequences here. This is the sort of thing people go to war over, with no concern whatsoever for anyone's rights. You can assert your soveriegnty all you want, but soveriegnty is like being a boxing champ: it is only as good as your ability to defend it.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Like India and Pakistan? (none / 0) (#87)
by Skywise on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 02:15:06 PM EST

They both set off nukes and they haven't gone to war with each other... nor has anybody bombed them...yet...

[ Parent ]
Heh (none / 0) (#103)
by trhurler on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 05:09:14 PM EST

India and Pakistan are different in one crucial way: the US, rightly or otherwise, more or less trusts them not to do anything REALLY REALLY stupid. The same cannot be said of North Korea. Besides, as any good would-be world dictator for life knows, the key to gaining acceptance of overseas military adventures is to make them ubiquitous.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
One's an ally on the War on Terror (TM). (none / 1) (#122)
by acceleriter on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 10:39:44 PM EST

The other is a source of cheap labor for American outsourcers. No way will they be allowed to go to war, causing thousands of American corporate websites to return "403 - Website eliminated in a limited nuclear exchange."

[ Parent ]
That has nothing to do with it. (none / 0) (#123)
by cburke on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 10:57:01 PM EST

India and Pakistan are just realizing (though they probably already knew, thus the rush) what the U.S. and U.S.S.R. learned a long time ago -- MAD works like gangbusters.

[ Parent ]
North Korea has no oil (2.00 / 2) (#88)
by lukme on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 02:49:13 PM EST

North Korea can't even feed its own people - who would want to invade, oh excuse me, liberate that country.

This example of a really bad man running a country into the ground is an excellent counter example as to why we didn't go to war because saddam is a really bad man.




-----------------------------------
It's awfully hard to fly with eagles when you're a turkey.
[ Parent ]
Fuck yes it's about the oil (none / 0) (#91)
by NaCh0 on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 03:22:04 PM EST

My 4x4 pickup truck is a thirsty beast!

--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.
[ Parent ]
My take on that (none / 1) (#107)
by khallow on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 07:15:40 PM EST

Second, I don't think you understand the consequences here. This is the sort of thing people go to war over, with no concern whatsoever for anyone's rights. You can assert your soveriegnty all you want, but soveriegnty is like being a boxing champ: it is only as good as your ability to defend it.

Usuable nukes provide some ability to defend soveriegnty.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Huh, that's interesting. (none / 0) (#130)
by cburke on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 09:25:06 AM EST

I can't offhand think of a single country that has been invaded after demonstrating nuclear capability.  Am I forgetting something, or is my gut instinct -- that once you join the "nuclear club" nobody is stupid enough to fuck with you -- consistent with history?

[ Parent ]
I bet... (none / 1) (#58)
by dimaq on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:47:40 AM EST

...the yanks noticed something suspicious (or cool or nuclear or the dearest leader's fav. car or something) and dropped a large (conventional) bomb on it. thus the location (some missile site you say?), thus the uneasiness in reports...

the only question is why there is no violent protest against the incident from noth korea :))

Probably because that didn't happen (none / 0) (#137)
by typedef on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 12:31:08 PM EST

First off, what could possibly be "cool" enough in North Korea to risk the destruction of Seoul and war with a regional Nuclear power? Pulling a stunt like that would have a profound economic impact on all of Asia, which would certianly be felt in the U.S. as well. Second, why would we need to use a large conventional weapon to destroy whatever this cool thing was in the DPRK? We have precision guided munitions for a reason - so we don't need to use large bombs like that. Weapons like Daisy Cutters and FAEs are mainly intended for anhialating large columns of troops, and for their psycological effect on enemy forces, not for destroying hardend targets. That said, North Korea's nuclear weapons program *has* made China just as uneasy as the U.S. China's major trading partner in the region isn't North Korea any more, its South Korea and Japan. If either of those countries were to suffer a nuclear attack, it would be a catastrophe for China's emerging market economy. While I still think its rather unlikely that North Korea was attacked, if they were, I would point to China as a more likely suspect than the U.S.

[ Parent ]
indeed china is as good a candidate (none / 0) (#179)
by dimaq on Wed Sep 15, 2004 at 06:52:12 AM EST

I would disagree with your assertion that us cares greately for economic prosperity in asia - they're competition after all :)

[ Parent ]
China and Korea (none / 0) (#187)
by cdguru on Thu Sep 16, 2004 at 03:06:28 PM EST

I believe they have an agreement that China will defend North Korea. At least from any American or other Western-based attack.

[ Parent ]
didn't you get the memo? (2.77 / 9) (#62)
by vivelame on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 06:07:04 AM EST

it can't be a nuclear test, since North Korea isn't slated for invasion.

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
Are we sheep? (2.25 / 4) (#66)
by danharan on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 06:56:53 AM EST

Colin Powell has been making comments about the draft, and now questions about whether this explosion is nuclear.

Both are complete BS, but serve effectively to whip us into a panic - dare I say terrify us?

Scared people are herded with ease. Serious discussion about the evidence for obviously far-fetched theories (WMDs? ICBM attacks?) only serve to reinforce that fear, since the threats appear plausible.

Baaa! Baaa! nucular tests! Baaa! Baaa!

We should be telling the paranoid war-mongers to fuck off with their scare tactics already. We need to ridicule them every chance we get.

Powell said ,"No, it wasn't nuclear" (none / 0) (#86)
by Skywise on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 02:13:21 PM EST

He said that on all the talking heads Sunday news shows he was on yesterday.

Bush is trying to get troops OUT of South Korea (to put them towards Iraq no doubt)

So the only thing this sheep paranoia serves is... Kerry...

[ Parent ]

So (none / 0) (#95)
by MrLarch on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 04:13:52 PM EST

if Powell says it's not nuclear, it's to "whip us into a panic - dare I say terrify us"? I'd hate to see what you'd think of him even remotely suggesting he thought it really was.

[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 1) (#68)
by BJH on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 08:17:24 AM EST

...news reports in Japan right now are talking about a possible military coup (although the NK foreign minister is saying that the explosion was "blasting for a new power plant", something I find a little hard to believe...).
--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

If... (none / 0) (#174)
by bjlhct on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 10:40:11 PM EST

we could get a link and they're still running that and it's a respectable publication, that would change everything.

*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
Bullshit (2.00 / 2) (#113)
by jope on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 08:11:32 PM EST

Why would anyone want to conduct such a test on or over the ground when this will mean lots of radiation and other problems in a large area and when it could also be done underground? The mere presence of the "mushroom cloud" is strong evidence that it must have been some conventional explosion IMO. Whatever the outcome, that article will be completely outdated and wrong in a few days.

Maybe it was an accident, not a test. (none / 0) (#119)
by acceleriter on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 10:33:17 PM EST

nt

[ Parent ]
Mike's Paranoia & Recommended Reading (3.00 / 11) (#114)
by MichaelCrawford on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 08:19:52 PM EST

I have a bachelor's degree in physics. A popular game among undergraduate physics majors is to try and figure out how to design a nuclear bomb.

Something that has kept me up all night worrying on more than one occassion is the realization that, in some respects, building a nuclear bomb is not really all that hard. It takes a lot of effort and investment, but it's not really rocket science. Not anymore.

Think of it this way: the two A-bombs that killed almost 200,000 people in Japan and forced a sudden end to World War II were built with the technology of the early 1940's.

Do you know what it was they called a "computer" at Los Alamos? It was a guy sitting at a desk with a table of logarithms and a mechanical adding machine. They'd have a whole big room full of these guys to calculate numerical solutions to differential equations.

It wasn't until after World War II that the first electronic computers were built. From the very start these were brought to bear on the problem of designing more powerful weapons, but even these were orders of magnitude slower, and had orders of magnitudes less memory than today's desktop computers.

You want to design a nuke? Get someone with a PhD in physics and give him a Linux box with Mathematica and MATLAB. You'll have your design in no time.

Today's modern nuclear weapons factories enrich uranium through diffusion of a gaseous uranium compound. It's a very difficult, tricky process, and has to be done on an enormous scale to produce significant quantities. But that's not how they did it back during the Los Alamos days. They used large mass spectrometers, devices they called calutrons.

They're hard to get working right too, but in principle they are very simple - you send a beam of electrically charged uranium atoms through a magnetic field, created by a large electromagnet. The charged particles travel a curved path, bent by the magnetic field, with the more massive isotopes traveling a somewhat less curved trajectory. At the end of the path you collect the material on a metal plate. One side of the blob produced will be somewhat enriched. Scrape it off and run it through again.

Fissile uranium occurs plentifully in nature. You just have to dig it up out of the ground. It's not concentrated enough to explode, but all you need to enrich it to bomb grade is a large industrial plant and lots of electricity.

The industrial facilities and electic capacity of the 1940's United States are within reach of many third world countries of the early 21st century.

Scientific American published an article a while back about what the UN inspectors found in Iraq after the first war. Underground facilities full of calutrons, powered by underground cables that were laid over a hundred miles from the power plants that fed them - see, so know one would suspect.

Manhattan project scientists filed a number of top-secret patents that described ways to make the calutrons work better. But with the invention of gas diffusion, these patents were declassified because the technique was thought to be obsolete. Copies of these now-publicly-available patents were also found in Iraq.

Fissile plutonium does not occur in nature. You have to make it in a reactor, and it is produced only in tiny quantities so it takes a long time. The bombs are hard to make, with explosive lenses and a delicately balanced initiator that starts off the reaction.

But to make a uranium bomb, you just shoot a chunk of uranium out a cannon into another chunk of uranium so the two of them form a critical mass. Simple as pie.

These kinds of bombs are often referred to in the press as "crude" and "primitive" compared to the modern, more compact and much more powerful weaponry possessed by Russia and the US. But it was two such crude and primitive bombs that rained Hellfire over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Now for the reading I promised:

I decided to finally finish my degree, and enter graduate school, as a result of reading The Making of the Atomic Bomb. As I finished the book, I said to myself, "Hey, I could do that", and went back to school.

I haven't read the hydrogen bomb book yet, but I looked through all the pictures while browsing in a bookstore. Especially disturbing are two pictures of the New York City skyline. On one is superimposed the mushroom cloud of a Hiroshima sized A-bomb, of such a size it could destroy the center of the city. On the other is placed the blast of a hydrogen bomb, so much bigger that it would vaporize New York in its entirety.

It really makes you stop to think: the bombs dropped on Japan were fifteen kiloton devices, equivalent to the explosive power of fifteen thousand tons of TNT. But hydrogen bombs are measured in MEGATONS. The first H-bomb test in the Pacific blew an island clean off the map and almost killed the observers who thought they were at a safe distance. I understand the most powerful bomb ever, tested by the Soviets, had a yield of I think 56 megatons.

There's a little joke I used to tell people, back in 1994, when the North Koreans were up to no good. I wasn't doing so well mentally, and was deeply worried, not just about the Koreans, but about every country that might have reason to want to become a nuclear power. I used to laugh in a manic sort of way when I would tell people. I felt it was my personal responsibility to warn the public so we wouldn't all get blown up.

Q: What did they call the first hydrogen bomb?

A: Mike.

Thank you for your attention.

-- Mike


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


Hey, I'd like to do that! (none / 0) (#125)
by For Whom The Bells Troll on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 12:00:57 AM EST

(Being serious here) Planning to buy a comp soon and install Linux on it; how do I get about simulating a megaton blast?

---
The Big F Word.
[ Parent ]
Radiative Transfer (none / 1) (#142)
by MichaelCrawford on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 01:29:52 PM EST

There are Linux programs, free software, to do symbolic math and numerical calculations. I don't recall what they're called, but I've seen them mentioned on the debian-user mailing list several times, so an archive search should find them.

To understand the basics of how bombs work, read the two books I mentioned. There was also an article in The Progressive back in the 70's that detailed how an H-bomb worked.

According to Rhodes, the key insight that enabled them to get h-bombs to actually work (there were several failed designs) was to understand how a process called radiative transfer works.

You need to find some books on numerical analysis, and also see if you can find a physics text that discusses radiative transfer.

If you don't know physics yet, it would be pretty hard to come to understand all the physical laws and equations you're going to have to work with. If that's the case, you might try to find a friend who's a physics student to help, while you write the software.

I think that the stuff that's taught to someone with a graduate degree in physics is enough to enable them to design a bomb, if they have access to a good university library, and as I said good math tools on a computer.

Nuclear physics is considered a "mature science" these days. What that means is that all, or most anyway, of the important problems have solved, and can be found in many textbooks or journal articles, most of which aren't classified.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


[ Parent ]

Quick question (none / 0) (#143)
by GhostfacedFiddlah on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 01:31:36 PM EST

Not sure if you know this, but your "Mike" link refers to "Class B damage over an area of 300 square miles".  Do you know what the various classes of damage mean?

[ Parent ]
No, sorry, but shouldn't be hard to find (none / 0) (#144)
by MichaelCrawford on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 01:36:50 PM EST

If it's not in Rhodes' h-bomb book, maybe some googling would turn up the answer.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


[ Parent ]

Class B Damage (none / 1) (#161)
by Run4YourLives on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 05:50:55 PM EST

Is damage that results in stuctures being "beyond repair".

Basically, it's in this zone that everything - buildings, cars, trains, boats, etc is a complete write of from the blast alone.

I Shudder to think how humans fare in that area.

I'll let you take a guess at what Class A damage is.

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

bah "write off" NT (none / 0) (#162)
by Run4YourLives on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 05:51:22 PM EST



It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Your experiment was actually done by the US gov (none / 0) (#169)
by wji on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 08:08:48 PM EST

I'm too lazy to look up the citation, but the DoD actually ran a "Country X" simulation in the 1970s with a couple of (under?)graduate students, who they hired to design a nuclear bomb given the resources of a mid-size developing country. As I recall, it took only a matter of months for them to come up with a fully workable plan to enrich and mill uranium, build precision explosive lenses & detonators, etc etc.

Kudos to North Korea for the bomb test. Even George Bush will think twice about invading now, and he doesn't normally think once about things.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

You make it sound hard. (none / 0) (#172)
by bjlhct on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 10:34:20 PM EST

The bigger advantage for nuke-builders now is the availability of material to steal - not to mention complete Russian nukes that have been "lost."

Sure, you could use a computer to simulate, but your standard desktop is no better than just me visualizing the implosion. You just need a calculator to figure out how big things are afterward.

Figuring out a workable nuke design is easy. I did you one better by designing one without explosive lenses.


*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]

I don't get the joke (none / 0) (#175)
by brettd on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 11:11:04 PM EST

There's a little joke I used to tell people, back in 1994, when the North Koreans were up to no good.

Okay. I don't get it. I read the link. I still don't get it. Please explain for us non-geniuses.

[ Parent ]

He is Mike, the H-bomb... NT (none / 0) (#178)
by Filip on Wed Sep 15, 2004 at 04:59:05 AM EST


-- I'm just a figment of your imagination.
[ Parent ]
Proves the old adage: (3.00 / 3) (#118)
by acceleriter on Mon Sep 13, 2004 at 10:31:59 PM EST

Don't fear him who wants an arsenal of nukes. Fear him who wants only one.

enough (none / 0) (#131)
by shokk on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 09:44:19 AM EST

Actually, there are enough of them as it is.  You might have to take off one shoe to count them.
"Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart, he dreams himself your master."
[ Parent ]
What exactly is being implied here? (none / 1) (#127)
by Rot 26 on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 12:33:52 AM EST

So what exactly does this article propose is going on? That it wasn't a nuclear explosion but they are reluctant to confirm this because they want to instill some fear and uncertainty? Or is this article implying that maybe there was a nuclear explosion but they are not confirming it because they want to downplay it?

Really, I think that it's unlikely that either of those is true though, because it seems like despite what our government's administration might not want us to know, it seems like if there was conclusive evidence as to whether it was or wasn't a nuclear explosion, other countries would be able to figure it out. I mean, it's not like we're the only country with seismographs.
1: OPERATION: HAMMERTIME!
2: A website affiliate program that doesn't suck!
Of course it wasn't a nuke (1.00 / 3) (#133)
by Imma Troll on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 10:14:31 AM EST

If it was, that paragon of truth & accuracy, Dan Rather, would have told us!
Will somebody light my sig?
So let me get this straight (2.66 / 3) (#134)
by Mr.Surly on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 10:55:44 AM EST

Just recently, there have been reports that the Bush administration had received intelligence indicating preparations for a nuclear test...

So, the Bush Administration has intelligence indicating that a small dictatorship has weapons of mass destruction?

...fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again.

Nothing to see here (just a crater). Move on. (none / 0) (#163)
by darkonc on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 06:13:26 PM EST

So, the Bush Administration has intelligence indicating that a small dictatorship has weapons of mass destruction?

Yeah, but this would be a small dictatorship that:

  • Actually has nukes,
  • Has an army that could put a respectable resistance.
  • Doesn't have any oil reserves to speak of.
Given that the US military is already overtaxed, I wouldn't expect to see bush going into N-Korea. It was clear, before he went into Iraq, that North Korea was far more of a threat, but he ignored it then. I don't see any reason why he shouldn't ignore it now.

Just having a repressive regime with WMD is not a reasonable reason to invade a country. The Bush administration has made it very clear that that was not the reason why the US, Britain, etc. went into Iraq.

Things might change once Bush has set up the draft, but the draft board won't be ready to be ordered to start up the draft until mid-12005, and it'll still take at least another 6 months to get up to speed. In other words, there's pretty much no way that Bush would be ready to even consider attacking North Korea until at least sometime in 2006.
Killing a person is hard. Killing a dream is murder. : : : ($3.75 hosting)
[ Parent ]

And then there's arty (none / 0) (#185)
by skavookie on Thu Sep 16, 2004 at 02:14:42 PM EST

It also should be remembered that North Korea has enough artillery aimed at Seoul to level the city pretty fast.

[ Parent ]
And then there is China ... (none / 1) (#186)
by cdguru on Thu Sep 16, 2004 at 02:55:35 PM EST

who has said they would defend North Korea. I think the problem with attacking North Korea is far, far outweighed by the backing of China than any other factor. We could mop up any trouble that Korea could create in a matter of weeks. But, if we had an all-out war with China this would eventually be something that would drag everyone into the conflict.

Besides, we can't attack China - where would Wal-Mart get all their junk from if we were at war? This would mean that American manufacturing would have to rebuild, because it would be impossible to get our TV sets, computers, dishwashers, and so on from China.

I keep hearing about the reason we don't play hardball with North Korea is that they have nuclear weapons. I don't see that as much of a reason. Now, it might be a problem if Tokyo got hit with a Korean missle, but still that might not be a big enough deterrent. War with China? That is a big enough deterrent.

[ Parent ]

Not a nuke test, they probably have them anyway (1.00 / 2) (#155)
by cburke on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 03:50:20 PM EST

and no we're not going to be invading.

Next.

12005 -> 2005 (none / 1) (#164)
by darkonc on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 06:27:10 PM EST

But when you're dealing with a bureaucracy, you can never really be sure....
Killing a person is hard. Killing a dream is murder. : : : ($3.75 hosting)
Welcome to K5 (none / 1) (#173)
by bjlhct on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 10:37:32 PM EST

Where a news article stays in the queue until it becomes outdated -

- and is then and only then autoposted.

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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism

Reminds me of the Far Side... (none / 1) (#176)
by brettd on Tue Sep 14, 2004 at 11:14:42 PM EST

Some of the comments here remind me of the old Far Side cartoon with a bunch of generals around a war table.

"Now, Gentlemen, what if we throw a war and EVERYONE comes?"

Update. (none / 1) (#188)
by bjlhct on Fri Sep 17, 2004 at 02:46:00 AM EST

N Korea agreed to a visit to the site, and they took the envoys to a construction site, but S Korea says it was a different site from the explosion.


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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
And again... (none / 0) (#189)
by bjlhct on Sun Sep 19, 2004 at 04:22:01 AM EST

Now there was no explosion and the cloud was natural.

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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
and a new timeline (none / 0) (#191)
by bjlhct on Thu Sep 23, 2004 at 03:28:55 AM EST

http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2004/9/23/32727/2896

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[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism
[ Parent ]
There was no nuclear bomb (none / 1) (#192)
by rogun on Sat Sep 25, 2004 at 11:01:10 AM EST

I find this likely to be propaganda by our own Government. If it were a nuclear explosion than we should have known shortly thereafter, but they supposedly didn't. I can think of a couple of reasons why they might do such a thing, but my favorite one is that the story was fed to the press to help Bush get re-elected, since we know his campaign is already using fear tactics because polls show that it helps them.

Nuclear Test in North Korea? | 192 comments (167 topical, 25 editorial, 4 hidden)
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