Re: Made in China

Date: Mon Apr 23 2001 - 16:26:46 MDT

Charlie Stross wrote:

> An axe and a live crewman are not going to accidentally toast all your
> avionics and set fire to the airframe if there's a short in the detonator
> electronics.

You don't toast your avionics, you only toast the s00per s3kr1t kRyPt0
and s1g1nT components. And you can do it with flip-switches, in a galvanically
separate circuit (lest you fry something, or lose power). With high-threshold
igniters. And/or mechanical igniters, which are immune to electrical interference.
(So if somebody NEMPs you, you're not toast, literally so).

> And if there's a fire on board, you don't want equipment racks adding
> to the !fun by exploding around the crew who're trying to control it.

Modern explosives are essentially inert. It's just the detonators which
are susceptible to mechanical and thermal stimuli.
> On the other hand, much of the equipment will have been custom-designed.
> Surely it'd be possible to wire a couple of rails inside the equipment
> racks to opposite poles of a 415 volt three-phase supply, separated by
> something low-tech like a knife switch locked behind a panel saying IN
> EMERGENCY BREAK GLASS? It's amazing what a few kilowatts will do to

One word: "nondeterministic". Frying equipment with a bow discharge
is *not a good idea*. 'nuff said.

> delicate electronics -- without requiring high explosives inside a
> pressurised cabin.

Pressurized cabin, that's an argument. However, you can blow out pieces
of the hull first, and then ignite the self-destruct pyrotechnics. (Please
observe that them are *thin* sheets of plastique). Notice also that
thermite is essentially neutral in relation to pressure, and reliably
slags equipment in few 10 s, while being easily containable in sandboxes.

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