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Nuclear Winter (2)

Editor’s Note: Please refer to previous post for a correction as noted in the Editor’s Note.  Last week’s post reviewed the basic science of nuclear winter – the short version is that the explosions themselves will put many tons of dust into the atmosphere, and the fires that are started by the nuclear explosions will […]

The post Nuclear Winter (2) appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

glacier

Nuclear Winter (1)

  Editor’s Note: It has come to our attention that the study on nuclear autumn referenced below was not from a peer reviewed scientific journal; it was published in Foreign Affairs in 1986. In addition, we have learned that there are not two opposing camps on this issue as described in this post and we […]

The post Nuclear Winter (1) appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

The 60-mile diameter Manicouagan impact feature in Canada

Defending the Earth

As astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has pointed out, we live in a cosmic shooting gallery. Less than a year ago a good-sized chunk of cosmic rock exploded over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk with a force of over 400 kilotons – over 30 times as powerful as the bomb that flattened Hiroshima. The impact was […]

The post Defending the Earth appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

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Keeping it clean

The last few weeks have been busy ones for me with a lot of field work and testing various instruments (which is one reason for the long interval since my last posting). I’ve finally got a chance to catch up with housekeeping at my apartment and I’ve got to thinking about our obsession with keeping things […]

The post Keeping it clean appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

north korea test

North Korea’s latest test

Well, it finally happened – North Korea finally set off another nuclear test, which wasn’t much of a surprise to be honest with you. After a couple of low-yield devices the North Koreans had plenty of reasons to continue testing – we’ll talk about that in a moment – and the world reacted fairly predictably [...]

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The plots thicken

A couple of weeks ago the Associated Press ran a story that seemed to confirm the world’s fears about Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program. Central to the story was a plot (shown here) that showed, over a period of a few microseconds, energy and power output from a nuclear weapon. While everyone seems to agree [...]

The post The plots thicken appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

Duck and Cover – two quick bits on the risk from nuclear attacks

I’m old enough to remember the duck-and-cover drills at school when I was a kid. Even in the first grade I can remember wondering how a desk would protect me against a nuclear explosion – at some point I just assumed that the adults must know more than I so I’d climb under my desk [...]

The post Duck and Cover – two quick bits on the risk from nuclear attacks appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

Testing?

Consider the impact of a single nuclear explosion – temperatures higher than the surface of the Sun vaporize everything within tens to hundreds of meters; pressure and shock waves rippling outward at the speed of sound shred buildings; and fissioning uranium or plutonium atoms produce huge amounts of radioactivity. There have been over 2000 nuclear [...]

The post Testing? appears on ScienceWonk, FAS’s blog for opinions from guest experts and leaders.

Not just a bigger boom

  A kiloton is an abstract concept. Let’s face it – most of us have no direct understanding of what a kilogram of TNT can accomplish, let alone a million times that amount. A kiloton is just a number – like the national debt – that we know intellectually to be huge, but without a [...]

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How Logical is Nuclear Deterrence?

I am a professor at Stanford University, best known for my invention of public key cryptography — the technology that protects your credit card. But, for almost 30 years, my primary interest has been how fallible human beings can survive possessing nuclear weapons, where even one mistake could be catastrophic. I’ve created a series of [...]

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