Archive for the ‘nuclear weapons’ category: Page 6

Jun 16, 2009

Gulches — freedom lifeboats

Posted by in categories: education, geopolitics, habitats, lifeboat, nuclear weapons

Jim Davies of Strike the Root writes about Galt’s Gulch and some gulch-like projects. These appeal to him because of the exponential trends in government power and abuse of power. He writes, in part,

“We have the serious opportunity in our hands right now of terminating the era of government absolutely, and so of removing from the human race the threat of ever more brutal tyranny ending only with WMD annihilation–while opening up vistas of peaceful prosperity and technological progress which even a realist like myself cannot find words to describe. ”


Avoiding those terrible events is what building our Lifeboat is all about. Got Lifeboat?

Mar 10, 2009

How long do we have? — Regulate armed robots before it’s too late

Posted by in categories: counterterrorism, defense, ethics, military, nuclear weapons, policy, robotics/AI

NewScientist — March 10, 2009, by A. C. Grayling

IN THIS age of super-rapid technological advance, we do well to obey the Boy Scout injunction: “Be prepared”. That requires nimbleness of mind, given that the ever accelerating power of computers is being applied across such a wide range of applications, making it hard to keep track of everything that is happening. The danger is that we only wake up to the need for forethought when in the midst of a storm created by innovations that have already overtaken us.

We are on the brink, and perhaps to some degree already over the edge, in one hugely important area: robotics. Robot sentries patrol the borders of South Korea and Israel. Remote-controlled aircraft mount missile attacks on enemy positions. Other military robots are already in service, and not just for defusing bombs or detecting landmines: a coming generation of autonomous combat robots capable of deep penetration into enemy territory raises questions about whether they will be able to discriminate between soldiers and innocent civilians. Police forces are looking to acquire miniature Taser-firing robot helicopters. In South Korea and Japan the development of robots for feeding and bathing the elderly and children is already advanced. Even in a robot-backward country like the UK, some vacuum cleaners sense their autonomous way around furniture. A driverless car has already negotiated its way through Los Angeles traffic.

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Feb 6, 2009

Nuclear Secrets Smuggler A.Q. Khan is Now Free

Posted by in category: nuclear weapons

According to the Associated Press, Abdul Qadeer Khan is now free to “move around” and is no longer under house arrest (where he was confined since 2004).

“In January 2004, Khan confessed to having been involved in a clandestine international network of nuclear weapons technology proliferation from Pakistan to Libya, Iran and North Korea. On February 5, 2004, the President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, announced that he had pardoned Khan, who is widely seen as a national hero.” (Source)

For more information about nuclear proliferation, see:

See also this recent post by Michael Anissimov, the Fundraising Director of the Lifeboat Foundation.

Nov 26, 2008

What are the Risks of Failure of Nuclear Deterrence?

Posted by in categories: existential risks, geopolitics, nuclear weapons

Nuclear warheads

Martin Hellman is a professor at Stanford, one of the co-inventors of public-key cryptography, and the creator of NuclearRisks.org. He has recently published an excellent essay about the risks of failure of nuclear deterrence: Soaring, Cryptography and Nuclear Weapons. (also available on PDF)

I highly recommend that you read it, along with the other resources on NuclearRisks.org, and also subscribe to their newsletter (on the left on the frontpage).

There are also chapters on Nuclear War and Nuclear Terrorism in Global Catastrophic Risks (intro freely available as PDF here).

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Nov 25, 2008

Giant planets ignition

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, existential risks, futurism, geopolitics, nanotechnology, nuclear weapons, rants, space

I wrote an essay on the theme of the possibility of artificial initiation and fusion explosion of giants planets and other objects of Solar system. It is not a scientific article, but an atempt to collect all nesessary information about this existential risk. I conclude that it could not be ruled out as technical possibility, and could be made later as act of space war, which could clean entire Solar system.

Where are some events which are very improbable, but which consequence could be infinitely large (e.g. black holes on LHC.) Possibility of nuclear ignition of self-containing fusion reaction in giant planets like Jupiter and Saturn which could lead to the explosion of the planet, is one of them.

Inside the giant planets is thermonuclear fuel under high pressure and at high density. This density for certain substances is above (except water, perhaps) than the density of these substances on Earth. Large quantities of the substance would not have fly away from reaction zone long enough for large energy relize. This fuel has never been involved in fusion reactions, and it remained easy combustible components, namely, deuterium, helium-3 and lithium, which have burned at all in the stars. In addition, the subsoil giant planets contain fuel for reactions, which may prompt an explosive fire — namely, the tri-helium reaction (3 He 4 = C12) and for reactions to the accession of hydrogen to oxygen, which, however, required to start them much higher temperature. Substance in the bowels of the giant planets is a degenerate form of a metal sea, just as the substance of white dwarfs, which regularly takes place explosive thermonuclear burning in the form of helium flashes and the flashes of the first type of supernova.
The more opaque is environment, the greater are the chances for the reaction to it, as well as less scattering, but in the bowels of the giant planets there are many impurities and can be expected to lower transparency. Gravitational differentiation and chemical reactions can lead to the allocation of areas within the planet that is more suitable to run the reaction in its initial stages.

The stronger will be an explosion of fuse, the greater will be amount of the initial field of burning, and the more likely that the response would be self-sustaining, as the energy loss will be smaller and the number of reaction substances and reaction times greater. It can be assumed that if at sufficiently powerful fuse the reaction will became self-sustaining.

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Oct 8, 2008

Global Catastrophic Risks: Building a Resilient Civilization

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, chemistry, cybercrime/malcode, defense, events, futurism, geopolitics, lifeboat, military, nanotechnology, nuclear weapons, robotics/AI

November 14, 2008
Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA


Organized by: Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology and the Lifeboat Foundation

A day-long seminar on threats to the future of humanity, natural and man-made, and the pro-active steps we can take to reduce these risks and build a more resilient civilization. Seminar participants are strongly encouraged to pre-order and review the Global Catastrophic Risks volume edited by Nick Bostrom and Milan Cirkovic, and contributed to by some of the faculty for this seminar.

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Sep 10, 2008

Global risk researches in Russia

Posted by in categories: defense, existential risks, geopolitics, military, nuclear weapons

1. Language and cultural isolation lead to the situation then Russian researches are not known in West and vice versa. I spent a lot of time translating into Russian and promoting works of Bostrom, Yudkowsky, Circovic, D.Brin, Freitas, A.Kent and other writers on global risks. Here I would like to tell you about some Russian researchers. Though I can’t prove validity of their ideas I think they should be checked internationally in order to roll out them or to take preventive measures. A. V. Karnauhov created a theory of “green house” catastrophe. He shows that climate is non linear system this many positive feedbacks and one of them is often missed – it is that water vapor is also greenhouse gas and growing temperatures would lead to injection of more and more water vapor into atmosphere. Also current level of carbon dioxid should lead to much more temperature increase, but inertia of ocean temperature makes current temperature smaller. But ocean temperature will rise, especially in Arctic, where large amounts of methane stored under seebed on the low shallow waters. This would lead to clarhat gun explosion of metane. Cumulative effect of water vapor, CO2, Metane and surmounting of ocean inertia will lead to very quick exponential global warming, which could have devastating effects as early as in 2020th and make global temperature higher not on 6 degrees but on several tens to the end of the century – which would mean human extinction, and after 200 years all life extinction on Earth Some his ideas you could see in the article: http://www.poteplenie.ru/doc/role.pdf Karnaukhov A.V. Role of the biosphere in the formation of the Earth’s Climate: The Greenhouse Catastrophe, Biophysics, Vol.46, No 6, 2001, pp. 1078–1088. Also I should mention works of Drobishevsky “Danger of the explosion of Callisto and the priority of space missions” http://www.springerlink.com/content/584mw0407824nt72/ He thinks that Jovian satellite Callisto could soon explode because of H and O reaction in its ice. Such explosion will lead to bombardment of the earth by comets and “nuclear winter” for 60 years. He suggested to send there a space mission. But I wrote him that, if he is write, it is very dangerous to send where mission, because it could trigger the explosion by drilling the ice crust. And the last man, about whom I would like to tell you, is a reviewer of my book “the Structure of the global catastrophe” Aranowich, who told me by way that his group has created much more effective way to penetrate the earth crust the Stevenson’s probe. Stevenson’s probe require 10 million ton of melted iron. His probe will weight only 10 tons and will use an energy of radioactive decay. It could reach 1000 km depth by one month – and the main danger is creation of supervolcano. Then I asked him, was any safety analysis done – he said not. But this is only theoretical work and no practical realization is planned.
2. I have wrote a book “The structure of global catastrophe” which aim was to investigate how different scenarios of global risks could interact in time, because all of them could realize in the XXI century. This book is sponsored by Russian Transhumanist movemet. Nick Bostrom wrote short preface to it. The book is mostly ready, but some editorial and organizational problems still persists. I hope it will be published by the end of the year.
3. I am started to translate this book into English. I have translated it by computer and then edit the result – now I am on the page 27 of 390. I need someone with native English who could help me to edit this translation. The book is here: http://avturchin.narod.ru/sgkengl2.doc I hope to finish English translation (in readable, but not high literature quality:) of the book until winter.
4. The shorter version of this book is already published on the name “War and 25 other scenarios of the End of the world”. This name was suggested by editorial house, the original name was: “Gnoseology of catastrophes”. The main idea of the book is that our inability to predict the future is equal to the end of the world.
5. I have translated the most part of Lifeboat site on Russian and I expect it will appear in the Net soon.
6. I have wrote several articles on the theme of global catastrophe: “Is SETI dangerous? English translation — http://www.proza.ru/texts/2008/04/12/55.html, “Atrophic principle and natural catastrophes” http://www.proza.ru/texts/2007/04/12-13.html and “About possibilities of manmade ignition of giant planets and other objects of Solar system” http://www.proza.ru/texts/2008/07/19/466.html which are in Russian.
7. I have created “Global catastrophic risks and human extinction library” there you could find many interesting literature on English and Russian. http://avturchin.narod.ru/Global.htm
8. I think that it is provable that if humanity will unite, it will have a chance to resist global risks, but if it will be divided on military competing parts, it almost doomed. Resent events on Caucasus put again in agenda the question of New cold war. Here we should ask what is the worst outcome of possible Cold war? Common answer is that Nuclear war is that worst outcome. But Nuclear war will not terminate all human population in most realistic scenarios. Much worse outcome is, I think, new arm race, which could lead to quick creation of much more destructive weapons, than nuclear. And the worst outcome of arm race is creation of Doomsday machine. Doomsday machine (DM) is ultimate defense weaponry. The example of such strategy was depicted by Kubrick in his genius movie “Dr. Strangelove”. Here we should say that DM-strategy is more suitable for a weaker state, which is in danger of aggression (or feels so). Quality of Russian nuclear forces is continue to deteriorating and minimum is expected around the year 2010 then most of old soviets rockets should be out of order. Simultaneously after the year 2010 US will rich a peak of their supremacy (because of thousand non nuclear cruise missiles, unique GPS system and antimissile shield it will have ability to make first strike without answer.), but later could lose supremacy because of economic crisis in US and growing arsenal of new Russian missiles. This situation looks dangerous, because from chess we know the principle: “Someone must attack under threat of losing his supremacy”. And antiballistic missile shield (ABM), which is developing now by NATO is very dangerous because it makes direct way to the creation of Doomsday Machine. Before ABM rockets were good as a mean of defense. But now only large underground bomb (gigaton order and with cobalt shield) could be a strategic defense. Such ideas is not only my creation but they are circulating in the air. Of course nobody is going to actually use such weapon, but it could be lunched accidentally. It should not be nuclear – it could be also large stockpile of anthrax, manmade supervulcano-threat or something more sophisticated. DM also could be used as a offensive mean. If Osama get it, he could say: everybody should convert in Islam, or I detonate it. The really big problem arise if in answer someone Catholic say: if anyone convert in Islam I will detonate my own Doomsday machine. In this case we finally doomed. But worst case scenarios are low probability ones, so I hope we have a chance to unite.

Apr 15, 2008

$153 million/city thin film plastic domes can protect against nuclear weapons and bad weather

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, defense, existential risks, habitats, lifeboat, military, nanotechnology, nuclear weapons, sustainability

Cross posted from Nextbigfuture

Click for larger image

I had previously looked at making two large concrete or nanomaterial monolithic or geodesic domes over cities which could protect a city from nuclear bombs.

Now Alexander Bolonkin has come up with a cheaper, technological easy and more practical approach with thin film inflatable domes. It not only would provide protection form nuclear devices it could be used to place high communication devices, windmill power and a lot of other money generating uses. The film mass covered of 1 km**2 of ground area is M1 = 2×10**6 mc = 600 tons/km**2 and film cost is $60,000/km**2.
The area of big city diameter 20 km is 314 km**2. Area of semi-spherical dome is 628 km2. The cost of Dome cover is 62.8 millions $US. We can take less the overpressure (p = 0.001atm) and decrease the cover cost in 5 – 7 times. The total cost of installation is about 30–90 million $US. Not only is it only about $153 million to protect a city it is cheaper than a geosynchronous satellite for high speed communications. Alexander Bolonkin’s website

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Jan 31, 2008

Promising Anti-Radiation Drug Based on Carbon Nanotubes

Posted by in categories: defense, military, nanotechnology, nuclear weapons

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) gave a $540,000 grant to researchers from Rice University to do a fast-tracked 9-month study on a new anti-radiation drug based on carbon nanotubes:

“More than half of those who suffer acute radiation injury die within 30 days, not from the initial radioactive particles themselves but from the devastation they cause in the immune system, the gastrointestinal tract and other parts of the body,” said James Tour, Rice’s Chao Professor of Chemistry, director of Rice’s Carbon Nanotechnology Laboratory (CNL) and principal investigator on the grant. “Ideally, we’d like to develop a drug that can be administered within 12 hours of exposure and prevent deaths from what are currently fatal exposure doses of ionizing radiation.” […]

The new study was commissioned after preliminary tests found the drug was greater than 5,000 times more effective at reducing the effects of acute radiation injury than the most effective drugs currently available. […]

The drug is based on single-walled carbon nanotubes, hollow cylinders of pure carbon that are about as wide as a strand of DNA. To form NTH, Rice scientists coat nanotubes with two common food preservatives — the antioxidant compounds butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) — and derivatives of those compounds.

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Jan 22, 2008

Cell phone sensors detect radiation to thwart nuclear terrorism

Posted by in categories: defense, existential risks, nuclear weapons

PhysOrg.com is reporting that researchers at Purdue University are working to develop a system that would use a network of cell phones to track radiation in an effort to prevent terrorist attacks with dirty bombs or nuclear weapons. Tiny solid-state radiation sensors are already commercially available and the additional circuitry would not add significant bulk to portable electronic products.

The researchers tested the system and demonstrated that it is capable of detecting a weak radiation source 15 feet from the sensors. A fully developed system could cover a nation with millions of cell phones equipped with radiation sensors able to detect even light residues of radioactive material. Because cell phones already contain global positioning locators, the network of phones would serve as a large scale tracking system that would require no intervention from individual users.

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