is a self-taught composer and musician who has expanded his process of composing music for himself and others to perform into creating new or modified instruments
, and is also involved with traveling to hard to access regions of Angola and recording local music, as documented on his website Tsikaya: Músicos do Interior
. You can read an outstanding interview of Victor with Ned Sublette for Afropop
, or read more on his creation of instruments as part of his creative process
, or you can experience his performances on YouTube
and his music on Soundcloud
. [more inside]
From 1949 onwards, the closed city of Semipalatinsk (now Semey, Kazakhstan) was the test site
for 456 nuclear devices. The test site
was known as "The Polygon
." Testing was stopped in 1989
, but the long term effects remained
. [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.
"There is no conventional or chemical or biological threat out there that we cannot counter with our overwhelming conventional forces." ~ US President Barack Obama
The US 2010 Nuclear Posture Review Report (NPR) has been announced. (pdf) For the first time,
the United States is explicitly
committing not to use nuclear weapons except in "extreme circumstances"
, pledging not to develop new ones and limiting the use of those in storage -- even for self defense. Nuclear weapons will not be used against non-nuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty
, even in response to a hypothetical biological or chemical weapons attack, or a crippling cyberattack. The new focus will be deterrence
. [more inside]
Did America Forget How to Make the H-Bomb?
Nobody in the general public knows exactly what it is, though there are guesses
, but it seems the bombmakers themselves forgot how to make a crucial ingredient in US thermonuclear weapons, FOGBANK
North Korea has confirmed
that it has performed another nuclear test. Soth Korea measurements say it was magnitude 4.5
, compared to 3.6 for the last one
. USGS says 4.7
this time. Last year, Joe Biden said that within months of his inauguration, hostile foreign powers would attempt to test Obama. Looks like he was right.
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]
According to the English language edition of the Asahi Shimbun, an Israeli airstrike against Syria last September targeted a nuclear-related facility that was under construction with technical assistance from North Korea, according to Israel's prime minister...It is apparently the first time that the intended target had been disclosed to the head of a foreign government.
Original Japanese link here
Via the wonderful Marmot's Hole
. [more inside]
Israel not talking. Syria says little. US silent.
Syria claimed it chased away the Israeli plane. But since then Syria has said nothing. Nor has Israel. And this news item from BBC says that the intrusion into Syrian airspace is a mystery. But why would N. Korea, Syria, Israel and the US be so reticent to comment? Perhaps because Israel took out a nuke site
Recent MeFi threads
have suggested how easy
it is (or not
) to build a gun
. The comparison to dynamite
is made, frequently, in these sorts of discussions, supposedly to illustrate another "weapon"
which is in the public corpus but largely outlawed. [more inside]
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.
breaking into a nuclear facility
serious in McLean County
The Iran Plans
by Seymour Hersh.
: Iran & the Bomb
. A comprehensive examination.
A History of Concealment and Deception
With an hour-long slide show [PDF, 2.4MB] that blends satellite imagery with disquieting assumptions about Iran's nuclear energy program, Bush administration officials have been trying to convince allies that Tehran is on a fast track toward nuclear weapons.[more inside]
Pentagon Revises Nuclear Strike Plan
- The Pentagon has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to use them to preempt an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction. The draft also includes the option of using nuclear arms to destroy known enemy stockpiles of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. [...] The first example for potential nuclear weapon use listed in the draft is against an enemy that is using "or intending to use WMD" against U.S. or allied, multinational military forces or civilian populations.
Hmm, if we nuke them, then I guess we destroy the evidence that they were planning to use WMD against us....
Operation Crossroads: Bikini Atoll.
Paintings from the site of the Bikini Atoll atomic bomb tests. Some personal favorites
Answering the "Glass Mecca" Strategy.
Regarding the comments by Rep. Tom Tancredo
offering the nuclear terrorist attack response of "nuking Mecca.”
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.
The U.S. removes the nuclear brakes
Under the cloak of secrecy imparted by use of military code names, the American administration has been taking a big - and dangerous - step that will lead to the transformation of the nuclear bomb into a legitimate weapon for waging war.
Ever since the terror attack of September 11, 2001, the Bush administration has gradually done away with all the nuclear brakes that characterized American policy during the Cold War. No longer are nuclear bombs considered "the weapon of last resort." No longer is the nuclear bomb the ultimate means of deterrence against nuclear powers, which the United States would never be the first to employ.
In the era of a single, ruthless superpower, whose leadership intends to shape the world according to its own forceful world view, nuclear weapons have become a attractive instrument for waging wars, even against enemies that do not possess nuclear arms.
Congressional Copy Editors Needed To Prevent Future Diplomatic Incidents
A minor typo in an unofficial transcript at a Congressional hearing a couple of weeks ago caused Sudan to think the U.S. had conducted a secret nuclear weapons test there in 1962. As one might expect, they didn't take the news well.
It snowballed: within a day, the Chinese news service was reporting that the Sudanese government held the U.S. responsible for "cancer spread in Sudan" caused by "U.S. nuclear experiments in the African country in 1962-1970."
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).
NTI Working for a Safer World Concerned that the threat from nuclear weapons had fallen off most people's radar screens after the end of the Cold War, CNN founder Ted Turner asked former Senator Sam Nunn in the spring of 2000 to help assess whether a private organization could make a difference. After months of discussions and consultations with some of the world's most respected security experts, Mr. Turner and Senator Nunn founded the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) in January 2001. NTI is supported by a pledge from Mr. Turner and other private contributions.
Although originally focused on nuclear threats, the NTI site has areas covering chemical, biological, and other WMDs. They have a well balanced Question the Candidates
area. I like the site because it appears to be politically neutral with no agenda past eliminating these global risks.
Libya has pledged to dismantle its atomic weapons program. That is obviously good news, in addition to being a victory for George W. Bush's aggressive foreign policy. But what, exactly, is Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi giving up? Not much... Libya may be closing down its nuclear program because it wasn't working anyway. This points to an important reality about nuclear weapons: they are extremely difficult to make. Claims that bomb plans can be downloaded from the Internet, or that fissile material is easily obtained on the black market and slapped together into an ultimate weapon, seem little more than talk-radio jabber. Nations like Libya that have made determined attempts to obtain atomic munitions have not even come close. If the Bomb Is So Easy to Make, Why Don't More Nations Have It?
The Bush Administration has advocated, and Congress recently approved
, the repeal of a 1994 ban on U.S. research and development on new, low-yield nuclear weapons, setting the stage for pursuit of a new generation of such weapons. "The Administration had sought to remove this restriction because of the chilling effect it has had on nuclear weapons research and development," wrote Linton F. Brooks, head of the National Nuclear Security Administration in a December 5 memo
(PDF). A detailed Congressional Research Service (CRS) report on "Nuclear Weapon Initiatives: Low-Yield R&D, Advanced Concepts, Earth Penetrators, Test Readiness
" was updated last week. (PDF)
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.
The Real Dr. StrangeLove? Last May 9, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to repeal a 10-year ban on the research and development of "low-yield" nuclear weapons—defined as nukes having an explosive power smaller than 5 kilotons. (The House committee will take up the measure this week.) The Bush administration has lobbied heavily for the repeal. Democrats oppose the idea on the grounds that "mini-nukes"—by blurring the distinction between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons—make nuclear war more thinkable and, therefore, in the minds of some, more doable.
Scary people. How weird can our new overlords get? I'm afraid to speculate.
An epic look at modern nuclear weapons diplomacy and ''counterproliferation'' strategies. (NYT Mag., reg. req.)
Get your Armageddon on. North Korea
admits vast nuclear weapon program.
Here are two thoughtful pieces on the North Korean Crisis.
From Foreign Affairs comes How to Deal With North Korea
From the New York Times comesQ&A: Should U.S. Launch Direct Talks with North Korea?
Here, by the way, is the fourth footnote from How to Deal With North Korea
:Had the Agreed Framework not been signed in 1994, the North's plutonium-based program would by today have produced enough plutonium for up to 30 nuclear weapons. Critics of the accord should not ignore this fact.
A list of articles
by former weapons inspector Richard Spertzel on current inspections. Also former weapons inspector Bill Tierney says Saddam has nukes
and the French sabotaged U.N. WMD searches
How to build a bomb
isn't all there is to the Internet as press would have you think. Anyway it's harder than just getting some plans
, as this guy
So why not build a bomb shelter
instead? Or build your own train, hovercraft, speedboat, car
- can't fly - don't worry build a flight simulator
! Toast your success with DIY firewater
cooked with your solar furnace
. Enjoy your CB radio
, listen to MP3s
or toy with your sextant
. And with all the kinky clothes
and loads of pervy toys
to make who has time to build bombs? I can see the bumper stickers now "Make leg spreaders
, not war!"
Agency disavows report on Iraq arms
"The International Atomic Energy Agency says that a report cited by President Bush as evidence that Iraq in 1998 was 'six months away' from developing a nuclear weapon does not exist. 'There's never been a report like that issued from this agency,' Mark Gwozdecky, the IAEA's chief spokesman, said yesterday in a telephone interview from the agency's headquarters in Vienna, Austria."
has about 400
nuclear weapons, according to an air force report
. (via fark)
(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]
India, Pakistan and the Bomb. Scientific American
says "The Indian subcontinent is the most likely place in the world for a nuclear war." How soon?