Re: eeyore and tigger

From: John Clark (
Date: Fri Jun 16 2000 - 10:40:50 MDT

Michael S. Lorrey <> Wrote:

> 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.

A sphere of Plutonium of normal density just reaches criticality at 9 pounds,
so that would be the easiest size bomb to make. If you wanted to use more you'd have
to take extra measures to ensure that the parts did not detonate before assembly. If you
wanted to use less you'd have to take extra measures to ensure that more neutrons
were reflected back into the core or improve the chemical shaped charge explosive so
the Plutonium is compressed to greater than normal density. As I've said human beings
have made several thousand tons of this crap.

You should read the 1973 book "The Curve of Binding Energy" by John McPhee.
It's about the physicist Ted Taylor, he's the fellow who designed the backpack nuke
I was talking about, if fact he was the chief designer of the fission part of nearly every
nuclear weapon the USA deployed in 1960's and 70's. The reason he agreed to cooperate
with McPhee on the book was that even in 1973 nuclear terrorism scared the hell out of him.
He strongly maintained that if they had the plutonium or U235 any physics graduate student
or even a bright undergraduate could make a bomb; it wouldn't be nearly as efficient or as
powerful as one he knew how to make but it would be strong enough to crack open Hover
Dam or knock over the World Trade Center Towers. His military bosses thought he was
exaggerating so he challenged them, he asked that they give him some plutonium,
legal commercial explosives, some simple tools like baking tins and measuring cups
and one weeks time and without using classified knowledge he would actually make
a nuclear bomb. Then he wanted to take it out to the test range and see if it worked.
He really pushed for this but it scared his bosses too much and they wouldn't let him,
but he made his point.

>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.

Not true. Although I wouldn't want to try it myself I'm told that you can safely hold
a (sub critical!) chunk of Plutonium metal in your unprotected hand, they say it
feels warm. Almost any measurable level of Plutonium dust in your lungs will
kill you but probably not for a decade or two.

> Even the US doesn't make half megaton weapons any more

How long do you thing it would take an experienced nuclear nation to special
order an H bomb of any size desired? I would guess between 5 and 6 hours.

> Akhmed's ICBM is going to hit the right state. Completely useless.

Ok, so it hits Boston not New York. Besides what about Ivan's ICBM.

> 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
> course.

Lets see, your space station is full of delicate optical elements, antennas and solar cells
not to mention exquisitely precise X-ray waveguides, and yet it's much tougher than a tank,
much tougher even than even a World War 2 battleship.
I think we've entered the realm of fantasy.

>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.

Perhaps you know of a company that is feverishly hiring people so they can make
a trillion watt pulsed chemical pulsed laser for civilian use but I don't.

>How many terrorists do you know that have submarines with ranges of more than
>10,000 miles, can carry (and launch) cruise missiles? None.

I never said terrorists would use cruse missiles or submarines, I did say that
ICBMs are not the only way for nations or terrorists to deliver H bombs and
your space battle wagon would be powerless against them.

>>I've heard that the beam had much less power than expected and nobody had
>>any idea how to aim it to hit a tiny fast moving target thousands of miles away.

>Thats what I expect you would have heard. Disinformation does wonders

I don't believe that for a minute. Even Star Wars supporters in congress are pessimistic
about X ray Lasers nowadays, there is simply no way on earth that would have happened
if things had been going well. Besides, if the great success is top secret how the hell
do you know about it?

             John K Clark

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