Re: Nuke Weapon Mishaps--was Re: Bill Joy on the CBS evening news

From: John Marlow (
Date: Fri Jan 05 2001 - 17:09:15 MST

"S.J. Van Sickle" <> wrote: On Fri,
5 Jan 2001, John Marlow wrote:

> In 1957, the Air Force dropped a ten megaton nuclear
> bomb outside Albuquerque. In 1967, two, twenty four
> megaton bombs in North Carolina; five of six
> were tripped on one bomb—the one with the parachute,
> mind you. The other one they never found. The chute
> didn't open and it went into soft ground. Somewhere.
> It's still there. The bomb dropped on Hiroshima was
> one-fiftieth of one megaton.

And how many of these weapons detonated? None?

**Obviously. There was, however, a missile which
exploded in its silo when a tech dropped a wrench. The
warhead was blown through the 740-ton concrete slab
covering the silo. Such an event would rupture ANY
nannite containment mechanism.


> Nuclear warheads do not eat through their own
> containment mechanisms.

And nanoreplicators would? Why?

**Because the primary design function of nanoweapons
will be to self-replicate and disassemble. Programming
them to be incapable of disassembling any particular
substance (as a substance used for containment
purposes) would make them useless as weapons because
the enemy could employ that material to shield its
forces. True, they should be programmed not to exceed
a given total number of replications--but a bug in the
code of a single nannite could destroy the earth.

> Three more bombs off Delaware and two in Texas the
> same year. Another off Georgia the next year. Two
> on Spain in 1966. Four more on Greenland in '68…
> Detonators have gone off. The same year we torpedoed
> our own sub with two nukes on board. Classified for
> twenty five years. It's still going on; it just
> been declassified yet. The Russian record is, of
> course, far worse.

And despite all these mishaps, there were no nuclear

**The conditions required to produce fission, and
particularly dual-stage implosion leading to fusion,
are exacting and will not, generally speaking, occur
on their own. Thus, blowing a warhead through a
740-ton concrete slab is not sufficient to detonate
that warhead. (Detonation requires symmetrical
implosion.) Do the same thing with a shell containing
disassembler nannites--and they enter the environment.
Unlike radiation form a warhead, the nannites go forth
and multiply--and disassemble.

> As to reactors: Browns Ferry, I believe it was,
> burned to the ground because some idiot with a
> or a candle was poking it into FLAMMABLE
> insulation--AND the redundant wiring ran right
> alongside the primary wiring. Windscale, Chernobyl,
> Three Mile Island all released radiation into the
> atmosphere.

And despite the most appalling of human stupidity, all
these accidents
*combined* have killed only a small fraction of those
who have died in
other industrial accidents.

**Yes. Again because the results of an accident are
not self-replicating. They are local. Even if a nuke
detonates in Manhattan--the effects are geographically
limited. Not so with nanoweapons.

> We release self-replicating nannites,
> ONCE, and it's over.

Why? Nanotech is not magic.

**A single nonlimited disassembler will destroy the
earth in a matter of days. Period.

You might find "Some Limits to Global Ecophagy by
Nanoreplicators, with Public Policy Recommendations"
by Robert Freitas at:


**I'll take a look.

> We are not competent to control nanotechnology

Possible. It is a more difficult problem than nuclear
weapons and power,
since nanotech does not require exotic, easily
controlled materials.
However, it is far from obvious that it is hopeless,
as you seem to think.

**The nature of Man makes it hopeless, or nearly so.

john marlow


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