In the telling it has the contours of a creation myth: At a time of great evil and great terror, a small group of scientists, among the world’s greatest minds, secluded themselves in the desert. In secrecy and silence they toiled at their Promethean task. They sought the ultimate weapon, one of such great power as to end not just their war, but all war. They hoped their work would salvage the future. They feared it could end everything. - Prometheus in the desert: from atom bombs to radio astronomy, New Mexico's scientific legacy
posted by Artw
on Nov 24, 2012 -
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.
J. Robert Oppenheimer, watching the first mushroom cloud rise above the American nuclear test heartbreakingly codenamed Trinity, said: "Now I am become Death, the Destroyer of Worlds." Today, a half century after the first use of atomic weapons, in the birthland of the sacred text Oppenheimer quoted, 12 million people could die at once in a nuclear exchange.