With a global mean temperature rise of 1.5℃ (video, direct .mp4 link) the Marshall Islands, site of the US's Bikini Atoll nuclear weapons tests, may disappear completely. With most islands just six feet above sea level and less than a mile wide the ring of atolls is already severely affected by climate change. ⅓ of all Marshall Islanders are believed to live in the US, although they may face deportation. In recent months the residents of the Pacific island nation have been advised to cease eating fish after elevated levels of PCBs were found in the waters around the US missile base on Kwajalein Atoll. Recently, very previously, previously, previously, personal anecdotes.
North Korea says it just tested a hydrogen bomb. Here's what we know. [Vox]
According to top experts, it's very plausible this was a test. "I think it is *probably* a test," Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, tweeted. "DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the formal name of North Korea] event epicenter close to test site and on 1/2 hour." Generally, earthquakes don't just happen on exactly the half hour.[more inside]
Someday this country’s gonna be a fine, good place to be. Maybe it needs our bones in the ground before that time can come: An essay on the summer of the Atomic Bomb, by Joni Tevis. Originally published in The Diagram
Command and Control is a new book by Eric Schlosser about nuclear weapons mishaps, with a focus on the Damascus Accident. You can read an excerpt at Mother Jones, an op-ed adapted from the text at Politico, or a different op-ed at The Guardian. The book has been positively reviewed by The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. Schlosser has been interviewed by Steve Roberts on The Diane Rehm Show, Amy Goodman, Michael Mechanic at Mother Jones, and Ryan Devereaux at Rolling Stone.
The 36-Hour War. A look at the future of nuclear warfare, from a 1945 issue of Life Magazine
Atomic Test Archive. Histories of atomic testing by country, with video and photographic archives. The Information Films page is interesting: One can envision 50's dad smugly admiring his tidy yard through freshly vapourised retinas. Also: the one-hour declassified Ivy Mike film at the internet archive.
Back in the early 1960s, Amchitka, a volcanic, tectonically unstable island in the Rat Islands group of the Aleutian Islands in southwest Alaska was selected by the United States Atomic Energy Commission to be the site for underground detonations of nuclear weapons. Three such tests were carried out and, thanks to Youtube, you too can watch some declassified US Government Amchitka test films. The first, named Long Shot, was an 80-kiloton blast (video) and was followed by Milrow (1-megaton) (video) and Cannikin (said to be under 5-megaton) (video). There's also a declassified video that discusses the program at Amchitka in more detail.
Why He Went Nuclear. Before he was the infamous father of the "Islamic bomb," A.Q. Khan was just another midlevel scientist working at a research job in Amsterdam. Here, the story of how he betrayed his employer and set out to create a worldwide bazaar in lethal weapons.
The day the sky exploded. Ever wondered exactly what happened when the H-bomb hit Hiroshima? So did lots of scientists.. It's not pointless curiosity - these discoveries should help us all in the future. Of course, those in charge had other things in mind at the time. Hiroshima previously well examined here.
You Call That Evidence? Op-Ed from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists about the so-called evidence for the administration's claim that Iraq is "moving very near a nuclear weapon capability." Too bad something that at least seems to be approaching the truth will have nothing to do with whether we go to war or not.
Nuking Lincoln (via www.dailygrail.com). Thaddeus McMullen, 1864. "I showed McMullen’s writings to physicists familiar with nuclear fission and they were stunned," Remarsh states. "His bomb was crude, with maybe a tenth of the destructive power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, but it would have worked. Maybe. I suspect this is a hoax, but it's interesting enough to post it anyway. Now whether the Confederates could have refined the uranium to make the bomb out of is another question. Any physicists care to express an opinion?
Is Terrorists For Nukes the 2001 version of Arms For Hostages? President Bush has lifted the sanctions on India and Pakistan imposed by the U.S. in 1998 to protest their "tit-for-tat" nuclear tests. In a memorandum just released by the White House, he states that keeping those sanctions in place "would not be in the national security interests of the United States". Is this an acceptable exchange? Just how far should the U.S. go in appeasing Pakistan, not to mention further fuelling its already explosive confrontation with India?