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.
Project Oil Sands - "In the late 1950s, Dr. Manley Natland, a passionate, lifelong geologist working for the Richfield Oil Corporation, hatched a gonzo idea to harness the power of a nuclear explosion for the benefit of bitumen extraction in Alberta’s oil sands. He proposed a plan to plant an atomic bomb deep below the oil sands, set it off and start pumping the oil freed up by the intense heat of the explosion."
"The CIA would have [given] Iran the actual [nuclear bomb] already constructed for them, but didn't because it wouldn't have been credible for their Russian to have it." [more inside]
The 36-Hour War. A look at the future of nuclear warfare, from a 1945 issue of Life Magazine
Lookout Mountain Laboratories (Hollywood, CA) was originally built in 1941 as an air defense station. But after WWII, the US Air Force repurposed it into a secret film studio which operated for 22 years during the Cold War. The studio produced classified movies for all branches of the US Armed Forces, as well as the Atomic Energy Commission, until it was deactivated in 1969. During this time, cameramen, who referred to themselves as "atomic" cinematographers, were hired to shoot footage of atomic bomb tests in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and the South Pacific. Some of their films have been declassified and can be seen here. [more inside]
A Burmese general has defected from the country to tell the world about the military junta's top secret nuclear weapons program. Sai Thein Win reveals that Singapore and Germany have been selling SLORC technology used to convert uranium into weapons-grade fuel. The end goal of the program is not to defend Burma from other countries but to protect the military elite from the underground democratic opposition. In response, US Senator Jim Webb cancels his trip to Burma. A full report will air on Al Jazeera starting at 6AM GMT.
In 2009, a remarkably gifted politician, confronting a remarkably difficult set of challenges, will have to learn to say "No we can't", Guantánamo will prove a moral minefield, economic recovery will be invisible to the naked eye, governments must prepare for the day they stop financial guarantees, we will judge our commitment to sustainability, scientists should research the causes of religion, we will all be potential online paparazzi, English will have more words than any other language (but it's meaningless), Afghanistan will see a surge of Western (read: American) troops, Iran will continue its nuclear quest while diplomacy lies in shambles, the sea floor is the new frontier, we should rethink aging, (non-)voters will continue to thwart the European project -- but cheap travel will continue to buoy it -- though it has some unfinished business to attend to, and a Nordic defence bond will blossom.
The Economist: The World in 2009. [more inside]
The Economist: The World in 2009. [more inside]
Russian cold war bombers - The Tu 95 Bear and Tu 160 Blackjack, based in central Russia, which resumed long range patrols in August.
Angela Merkel to fire organiser of Munich security conference over Iranian envoy's criticism of the U.S. policies in the Middle East, Der Spiegel reports. (Translated English version) Read the full speech of Ali Larijani, Iran's top nuclear negotioator at the conference.
Coming Apocalypse? In a forthcoming book by Paul L. Williams, Al Qaeda Connection: International Terrorism, Organized Crime, And the Coming Apocalypse, Williams alleges that al Qaeda has managed to obtain nuclear weapons from Russia and has already smuggled the WMDs across the Mexican border and into the U.S.
Tomahawk® Brand Cruise Missiles Because not all Block II Nuclear Variant cruise missles are alike... Look for the name you can trust!
U.S. Plans Tidal Wave of Nuclear Proliferation They want to tell all the non-nuclear states: “Y’all must stay non-nuclear, but we’ll have as many nukes as we want. We’ll make new nukes but keep the old. And if you don’t like it, just take a good look at Iraq, because you could be next.” The message coming from the Bush administration and the U.S. media is clear. It’s not about the danger of weapons of mass destruction. It’s about using the fear of that danger, along with our own growing nuclear arsenal, as a club to rule the schoolyard roost.
Nuclear codes = 00000000 Remember Johnson's Daisy ad, which led to the question whose finger do you want on the button? Well it seems it was not the President's finger alone. SAC took it upon itself (if this article can be believed) to set all the nuclear launch codes to 00000000 and then to tell all of the launch operators. Any one of those crews could have by themselves started WWIII. Apparently, that whole "nuclear briefcase" trick was nothing but a charade for many years. YIKES! (via Geekpress and Slashdot).
Nuke components found in Baghdad back yard. U.S. officials say it is no smoking gun but investigators point out that there is no way they would ever have found these components buried in a barrel in a back yard under a rose garden for 12 years unless someone such as this Iraqi scientist came forward.
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?
...the end of existence, the long shadow cast by nuclear weapons. Includes a powerful testimony from a hiroshima survivor.
Bush prepares nuclear weapons for use. A classified Pentagon report directs the Defense Department to prepare "smaller nuclear weapons for use in certain battlefield situations," such as "targets able to withstand nonnuclear attack." Potential targets listed include China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria. Is the U.S. merely bluffing, or should we begin stocking our fallout shelters?
Canadians figure out exactly how many nukes it would take. Using the software, researchers estimated it would take 124 weapons to destroy the U.S. and 51 to eliminate Russia as a country. The computer program mimics the U.S. military's SIOP, or Single Integrated Operational Plan, which outlines the targeting of America's nuclear weapons and the likely consequences of each attack. [via dailyrotten.com]
Would you survive nuclear blast? With all the talk of Bin Laden's nuclear capabilities lately, you may be interested in this link again. Its been posted before, but not in this context I presume.... I wonder where the fallout would have the worst affect?
Paper says bin Laden claims he has nuclear weapons. Pakistan's respected Dawn newspaper said on Saturday bin Laden, in an interview inside Afghanistan, said he had nuclear and chemical weapons and might use them to respond to U.S. attacks. Maybe he read DSSi's strategic scenario analysis.
Nuclear Emergency Search Team (NEST) We know about the US "elite" special ops - Delta Forces, Navy Seals, CDC (I would argue) - but had you heard of NEST, located inside a small, unobtrusive box under "Dept of Energy, Emergency Response" in the New York Times Office of Homeland Security Org Chart (reg required), "....The primary task of NEST is constantly to be on the lookout for potential nuclear or radiological weapons that might be smuggled onto the U.S. ....After the Sept. 11 attacks on New York City and the Pentagon, NEST was put on a state of high alert and operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the nation's capital and New York City monitoring for nuclear-related weapons... includes extensive use of deployed sensors and specially equipped vehicles patrolling the streets of both cities..." I can't decide if I feel safer or more paranoid thinking the windowless minivan parked for the last hour outside my window is sniffing for a nuke.
Newest scare meme: Nukes and the al Qaeda Wired news chimes in bin Ladin's attempts to aquire fissionable materials. If true, why is al Qaeda's history full of low tech attacks?
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?
Remember the movie "The Day After?" Back in the Cold War days, we were all worried about someday being vaporized by a nuclear blast. Well now, in this post-Cold War era you can relive those wonderful memories with PBS' Nuclear Blast Mapper. I popped in the coordinates for MetaFilter's server location, set the bomb to a 25 megaton blast and this is the result. Think about that the next time you hear a country gets their first nuclear weapons.