Re: eeyore and tigger

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Thu Jun 15 2000 - 10:52:49 MDT

John Clark wrote:
> Spike Jones <> Wrote:
> > Plutonium is just too hard to get,
> I hope you're right but there are thousands of tons of the stuff and 9 pounds
> can make a bomb. It's not like money where you can keep track of every cent,
> whenever you process or machine Plutonium a little sticks to the machinery and
> is unaccounted for. This worries me.

Using only 9 lbs requires capabilities of the highest caliber. You don't just
learn how in college. Publicly available designs call for much more.

> >too hard to handle.
> I'd have to be careful or I might get cancer, but if I'm crazy enough to kill a
> million people I probably wouldn't let a little thing like that stop me.

Plutonium dust poisoning kills you in a matter of a few days. Actual physical
skin contact with the weapons grade metal will kill you as quickly. Funny thing
about arabs, they have this cultural thing against dying in bed at a young age
(at least the bedouins do).

> >He said that the NMD was so vulnerable that it has
> >a number of soft radar sites, so that if any one of these is taken out
> >the whole system is useless. Nowthen, it doesnt take an extropian
> >to figure out that *no* weapon system is designed with multiple
> >single-point failure modes and zero redundancy.
> One half a megaton explosion 90 miles above Washington would create an EMP
> that would shut down the entire eastern seaboard power grid and blow out every
> civilian computer and RADAR from Boston to Atlanta. Perhaps the military stuff
> is tougher but I'm skeptical, they've got sensitive electronics connected to huge
> antennas and the pulse is so fast, much faster than lightning, that fuses are useless.

Even the US doesn't make half megaton weapons any more, and those we did make
once were very difficult and expensive. We only made megaton weapons because of
missile and reentry vehicle technology constraints in the 50's and 60's, and
they don't exist anymore. All of our weapons range from 50k - 250k tons.

> >Production is cheap, way cheap in comparison to that.
> Cheaper than mass producing simple dumb ICBMs? I don't think so.

Simple dumb ICBMs are a misnomer. Scuds are tactical missiles, not
intercontinental, and they are lucky if they land within a few miles of their
targets. Extrapolate that to a longer range system, and you are lucky if
Akhmed's ICBM is going to hit the right state. Completely useless.

> >Once we design a space based laser system
> Space based? I didn't know you were talking about a permanent orbital
> battle station. OK. I'll orbit a much cheaper satellite of my own in a similar
> orbit but moving in the opposite direction. A modern anti tank gun fires
> a round that weighs about 5 pounds and moves at 1 mile a second,
> it can destroy a 70 ton M1 tank. The relative speed of our two satellites
> is 11 miles a second, 121 as much kinetic energy per unit of mass,
> so a projectile that weighed about half an ounce could nock out a M1.
> Your space station will certainly not be a tough as a tank so I think I'll
> just throw a bucket of sand in your path. Even if you miss the grains the
> first time every 45 minutes the come around again.

My laser battle stations are small nukes with dozens of xray waveguides
surrounding a heavy sheilding shell. You can launch literally hundreds of these
from the bay of a space shuttle, and they can take sand abrasion as a matter of

> >Recall that the photons that come out of the business end of
> >a laser have *already* passed thru a highly reflective surface.
> Only one end of a LASER is highly reflective, the other end, the one the beam
> comes out, is about 50% reflective and with many high power LASERS it needs
> to be replaced after every shot.

Actually, mechanical shutters are being used now.

> >those who design and build missile defense systems are not hurting for
> >employment. They could make waaay more money elsewhere, but dont.
> I don't believe that for a minute. I think the reasons for the project are bureaucratic
> momentum and a childish fascination with things that go boom. I'm childish
> myself and like things that go boom too, but there are limits I will not stoop to.
> OK, it's easy for me to say that because I'm not an expert on light weight high
> energy chemical LASERS, but if I was where else could I find a job? It's either
> star wars or the golden arches, hold the pickles hold the lettuce.

hardly. laser technology is a booming industry for health care, for industrial
cutting and welding, all sorts of things, plus you've got the launch laser
program as well... there are way more job openings now for laser research than
just a few years ago.

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