Re: Son of Star Wars

John Clark (
Mon, 4 Oct 1999 00:47:30 -0400

Robert J. Bradbury <> Wrote:

>The program [Star Wars] has continued as a
>ground-based, anti-missle missle program from the perspective
>of defense against accidental "single" launches as well as
>small scale attacks by WoMD from countries such as North Korea.

Star Wars wouldn't make me sleep better, I don't worry about rockets, I worry about nuclear bombs. If we can't stop drugs from entering the country I don't see how we could stop somebody from smuggling in a bomb. If they had about 10 pounds of Plutonium any physics graduate student with a little practical knowledge of conventional explosives could make a A bomb, and over a thousand tons of the element has been made and, like it or not, more is being manufactured every day in every nuclear power plant on earth. An H bomb would be more difficult but not impossible for a dedicated sub national group, but why bother building your own bomb? The former USSR made over 50,000 H bombs, I'd like to think that every single one is guarded by somebody who is not drunk and can't be bribed, but Russia is a madhouse and...

>Clinton might be moderatly "anti-defense", but he is really
>afraid of getting 'held-up' by some petty dictator threatening
>to lob a missle with Anthrax spores onto a major city.

Rockets would be a foolish way to deploy a biological weapon, they're very expensive and germs are a poor mans weapon, more important, everybody would know who sent it. Better to have a suicidal agent open a small box in the middle of Manhattan. Anthrax is a little old fashioned too.

Ebola Zaire kills (quite horribly) 90% of those infected, there is no treatment and none is likely anytime soon. If you're in contact with the blood of somebody infected you'll probably get it but otherwise you're safe, and because it kills so quickly epidemics don't spread far from their point of origin. There is a slightly different strain called Ebola Reston that's deadly to chimps but harmless to people, it does have an interesting property however, it's airborn and as contagious as the common cold. I'll bet it would be easy for genetic engineers to combine the best properties of both strains, easier than making a smarter mouse anyway. To quote Doctor Strangelove, "all it takes for realization is the will to do so".

Incidentally, the horror novelist Stephan King said that the nonfiction book "The Hot Zone" by Richard Preston about a Ebola epidemic in Africa was the most horrifying and gruesome book he ever read. I agree, It seems like it took me forever to finish it, I could only take a little at a time. Below is a brief quotation, the damn thing goes on like this for page after page:

"The only sound is a choking in his throat as he continues to vomit while unconscious. Then comes a sound like a bedsheet being torn in half, which is the sound of his bowels opening at the sphincter and venting blood. The blood is mixed with his intestinal lining. He has sloughed off his gut. The lining of his intestines have come off and are being expelled along with huge amounts of blood."

John K Clark