Nuclear Options | Dialogue & Planning Needed

This post is a follow-up to one from a week ago. See below the line break for the original.

Thanks to comments by readers, there are three resources to promote which discuss the need for careful, considered dialogue and planning with regard to our nation’s domestic and military nuclear capacity. Readers shoreacres and Jim Wheeler discussed two resources by Thomas Nichols. The third resource is a recent NOVA program about the nuclear option.

First, what if we could rebuild our nuclear weapon forces from scratch? How should it be done?

Second, read the preface and introduction to the Nichols book No Use: Nuclear Weapons and U.S. National Security

Third, the NOVA program Nuclear Option is available for viewing until 8 Feb 2017.

All three urge bi-partisan discussion by all interested parties. One of the reasons hinges on the need for safety and security in our world today. The other reason hinges on the need for a viable solution to the challenges of climate change and global warming.

I believe nuclear energy should play a role in our future. To not examine the ideas and technologies formed in the 50s, 60s, and 70s which brought us to our current position is foolhardy. The world has changed very much since then.


Nuclear Weapons | Do Accidents Happen?

Have there been nuclear weapon accidents or incidents? Yes, there have been many. We are lucky to not have detonations or major spills of radioactive material. An accident near Damascus Arkansas on 18 Sep 1980 illustrates how a simple event can cause a situation of monumental potential for disaster.

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Nuclear Weapons | Do Accidents Happen?

Have there been nuclear weapon accidents or incidents? Yes, there have been many. We are lucky to not have detonations or major spills of radioactive material. An accident near Damascus Arkansas on 18 Sep 1980 illustrates how a simple event can cause a situation of monumental potential for disaster.

Local PBS television stations will broadcast on 10 Jan 2016 a program on the American Experience detailing this accident and others. Here is a short preview. Here is a Q&A with the director and the author.

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Two airmen technicians were servicing a Titan II missile in an underground silo with a hydrogen bomb mounted on top. The bomb had 3x the explosive energy of all the bombs dropped in WWII including the two nuclear bombs dropped on Japan. It was based on the design of this one, the B53, developed during the Cold War. It had a 9 megaton yield.

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Camera Obscura | Then and Now

📷 This post was published over two years ago. Broken links prompted a re-post.

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Brunelleschi’s Duomo, Florence | 17th Century | Library of Congress

 

The Camera Obscura technique has been with us for much longer than photography. The principle is that of a pinhole camera.

The device consists of a box or room with a hole in one side. Light from an external scene passes through the hole and strikes a surface inside where it is reproduced, upside-down, but with color and perspective preserved.
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The image can be projected onto paper, and can then be traced to produce a highly accurate representation. The first camera obscura was later built by an Iraqi scientist named Abu Ali Al-Hasan Ibn al-Haytham, born in Basra (965-1039 AD), known in the West as Alhacen or Alhazen, who carried out practical experiments on optics in his Book of Optics

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Moon’s Far Side | Tycho Crater | Apollo 15

Far Side of the Moon

This image of the Moon is probably not familiar to you. It is the Moon’s far side. Only 24 people have seen it with their own eyes and not as an image. They are the Apollo astronauts. Click on this image for a detailed and closeup view.

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NASA | Goddard | Arizona State University

 

Because the moon is tidally locked (meaning the same side always faces Earth), it was not until 1959 that the far side was first imaged by the Soviet Luna 3 spacecraft. Russian names are common for prominent far side features, such as Mare Moscoviense. The widespread smooth maria on the nearside that we see do not appear much on the far side. It is a very different world from what we see from Earth.

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Iridium Flares

This morning I captured an Iridium Flare on video. What, you might ask, is that?

There is a constellation of 66 spacecraft orbiting Earth which make up a world-wide satellite phone system. The system provides coverage all over the Earth. The spacecraft look like this. Besides having two solar panels, barely visible in this image, there are three highly reflective rectangular antennae. These antennae communicate with phones on the ground and with other Iridium satellites.

Source: Wikipedia Commons

 

The antennae are also excellent mirrors which reflect sunlight in orbit. Those reflections sometimes pass over the surface of the Earth as a bright patch of light about 10 km (6.1 mi) wide. If you know when and where to look, the reflections can be seen easily at night and sometimes in broad daylight. They last only a few seconds. They can be many times brighter than Venus or Jupiter. This morning one of the brightest possible reflections, or flares, passed directly over me. I wanted to try recording it on video.

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Gravity | Silly Science Trick

Put a nickel on top of a quarter. Or, use whatever coins you have with the top one smaller than the bottom one. Hold them above your other hand. Drop them. They will rotate and reverse places. Get the distance just right and they will land softly in your lower hand. Great party trick. 🙂

I used my Samsung Galaxy s5 to film this at 1/8 speed. YouTube allowed me to trim out some dead time and shorten the video. It also did some minor enhancements to lighting and color.

After a year of using the phone, it was time to try some unused features. I am not an avid phone user.