Gamma-ray weapons could trigger next arms race
August 14, 2003 2:32 AM   Subscribe

Gamma-ray weapons could trigger next arms race "The hafnium explosive could be extremely powerful. One gram of fully charged hafnium isomer could store more energy than 50 kilograms of TNT. Miniature missiles could be made with warheads that are far more powerful than existing conventional weapons, giving massively enhanced firepower to the armed forces using them." Half of me thinks: "WOW! Cool!" The other 1% thinks: "We've really had it now"
posted by hmgovt (25 comments total)
Just keep those damn kids off the testing range...
posted by PenDevil at 2:41 AM on August 14, 2003

hmgovt: The pedant in me has to ask what the remaining 49% thinks.
posted by Nick Jordan at 2:45 AM on August 14, 2003

"We're quite looking forward to armageddon, actually" - G W Bush.
posted by Blue Stone at 2:46 AM on August 14, 2003

The other 49% has descended into a mute stupor at the prospect of having my nucleotides roasted by nucleides.
posted by hmgovt at 2:51 AM on August 14, 2003

Great, just great. How do these people sleep at night?
posted by maggie at 3:12 AM on August 14, 2003


I, for one, appreciate your reference. I wish And Lee had...
posted by jpburns at 4:02 AM on August 14, 2003

I wish And Lee had...

Ang or Stan? And what's the big deal about letting kids wander onto gamma ray weapons testing grounds? Nothing really happens. I, for one, appreciate that Rick Jones found a quiet place to practice harmonica rather than bothering people around his house.
posted by yerfatma at 4:07 AM on August 14, 2003

I wonder how far we would have progressed on curing cancer, HIV, ensuring clean water and food in the third world if the money spent on obscene weapons had been diverted to preserving and enhancing life rather than innovative methods of destroying it.

you may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one etc etc
posted by Pericles at 4:11 AM on August 14, 2003

.... still no cure for cancer.
posted by shadow45 at 4:15 AM on August 14, 2003

Yes... ANG Lee (pre-coffee post...).

Better plot than having a crazy, abusive dad messing around with starfish DNA.
posted by jpburns at 4:28 AM on August 14, 2003


homo sapiens sapiens -- extinct

This species of primates had a short-lived dominance on the planet. Most scientists theorize that where dinosaurs went extinct due to a global natural catastrophe, homo sapiens sapiens drove itself to extinction because they didn't know to quit while they were ahead.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:23 AM on August 14, 2003

Won't the fallout from Gamma Ray warfare create legions of Spidermen?
posted by psmealey at 6:24 AM on August 14, 2003

Damnit, didn't you take any science classes? Gamma rays make you big and green, cosmic rays make you either strechy, rocky, hot or invisible (and make you bitch at anyone who got one of the other powers) but only radioactive spider bites give you the proportionate speed and strength of a human spider.

I hope I don't have to remind you what comes with great power.
posted by yerfatma at 6:38 AM on August 14, 2003

I was going to do a FPP about something like this, but I guess here's as good a place as any to post it, since I've been unable to find a lot of supporting links that aren't from complete quacks.

There's supposedly this stuff called Red Mercury, a derivative of mercury antimony oxide, which when created under extremely high pressure and bombarded with neutrons can act as a trigger for a thermonuclear device. You need a great deal of heat to fuse the heavy water (or lithium-6 deteuride) in H-Bombs; traditionally a fission device (a small nuclear bomb) is used to set it off. The idea is that you can somehow achieve fusion without the messiness of the fission trigger. The inventor of the neutron bomb, Sam Cohen, apparently thinks the threat is real, but almost every government agency on the planet denies the existance. Personally, I'm highly sceptical, since every link that talks about RM tends to also have articles on UFO's and the US Government's conspiracy to blow up the twin towers. But it's interesting, nonetheless.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:46 AM on August 14, 2003

I hope I don't have to remind you what comes with great power

With great power comes greater opportunities to abuse that power?
posted by Stynxno at 6:53 AM on August 14, 2003

Civil_Disobedient: we discussed Red Mercury here
posted by PenDevil at 7:47 AM on August 14, 2003

My favorite is Purple Mercury, but watch out, it's BAD.
posted by PigAlien at 9:02 AM on August 14, 2003

posted by rathikd at 9:11 AM on August 14, 2003

With great power comes $4.00 off your next car wash (limit 1 per person).
posted by rusty at 9:34 AM on August 14, 2003

and then i woke up and realised "hey there are an awful lot of "could's" in that sentence".
posted by carfilhiot at 10:42 AM on August 14, 2003

damn what i meant to say was then the other 49% of me realised.. &c.
posted by carfilhiot at 10:45 AM on August 14, 2003

or even more witty: so you're low fat 2% human?
posted by carfilhiot at 10:46 AM on August 14, 2003

Hold it, Daddy-Os -- I ain't chicken to show you the real score: "AAARGH!"
(Heh, I like MetaFilter today!)
posted by Shane at 11:17 AM on August 14, 2003

Hey, Pen Devil -- thanks! Must have overlooked it the first time.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:38 AM on August 14, 2003

I hope I don't have to remind you what comes with great power.


I'm pretty sure that human beings are genetically predisposed to self-extinction. There are a lot of indications that we're simply not fit to live, mass warfare being but one example.

I don't understand why anyone would think we need yet another way to kill lots of people. Having nuclear warheads enough to destroy the earth a half-dozen times over wasn't enough firepower? WTF kind of weirdo would think total annihilation wasn't quite good enough?

It's disappointing, really. There's so much good that could be accomplished if there were just a will to do so. But once again, the choice has been for the destructive, not the constructive.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:01 AM on August 15, 2003

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