More to Fear than Fear Itself

 

Memo to the 1%: Be Careful What You Wish For

In the late 1960s and early 1970s large swaths of American cities burned. It could happen again, and this time it might not be restricted to poor areas.

USAToday Mag-Sept12

General Interest
Politics
USA Today Magazine

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Deployed Nuclear Weapons and Force Structure-II

Recently, Sir Menzies Campbell wrote in the Financial Times that British nuclear doctrine should be redrawn in ways that might no longer require the Trident submarines that are currently the basis of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.  It was maintained that doing so would require abolishing the so called “Moscow criterion” that presumably drove force level requirements.

This “Nuclear Question” was the subject of the lead editorial of the Financial Times on May 19th.  In response, I submitted the following letter that was published in the 22 May 2012 edition:

Weakening Britain’s nuclear deterrent could come at a cost

Your 19 May editorial Nuclear Question lays the appropriate ground rules for the debate on the future of Britain’s deterrent: ‘First, Britain must not scrap its nuclear arsenal’, and most importantly, it ‘should only do so in multilateral negotiation with other powers. Second, it must stick to a sea-launched deterrent’  But the issue of the ‘Moscow criterion’ is a bit of a red herring.

During the cold war, Soviet ‘sophisticated air defenses’ had no capability against warheads delivered by ballistic missile and were not a factor in U.S. targeting. I doubt that this has changed.  The defense-offense balance would, however, dramatically shift if Britain eliminated its ballistic missile deterrent and relied instead on cruise missiles carried on conventional attack submarines to replace the Trident system.  A deterrent based on cruise missiles could well require higher force levels to compensate for their vulnerability.  Using cruise missiles, because of their range limitations, could also require the attack submarines carrying them to operate in areas where they would be more vulnerable. And last, but not least–and this alone should rule out their use–there is the confusion that would be introduced by any cruise missile launch: is the missile carrying a nuclear or conventional warhead? Bad idea.

While four Trident submarines would still be required for operational reasons (yes, one should always be at sea), the real issue is how many missiles must each submarine carry and how many warheads need be on each missile.  In the end, maintaining the Trident missile system may well be Britain’s most cost effective deterrent for the future.”

General Interest
Nuclear Policy
Politics

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THE INVISIBLE HAND

IF THE INVISIBLE HAND OF THE FREE MARKET IS DEAD, HAS CAPITALISM BEEN BURIED ALONG WITH IT?

We now have more than enough evidence that the “invisible hand” does not exist, and it is time that this hoary belief is replaced by something better—a new contract between the general public, the wealthy, and the government.

USA TODAY MAGAZINE-JANUARY 2012 (pdf)

General Interest
Politics
USA Today Magazine

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Dark Matter and Charged Exotic Dust

The density profiles of dark matter halos are often modeled by an approximate solution to the isothermal Lane-Emden equation with suitable boundary conditions at the origin. It is shown here that such a model corresponds to an exact solution of the Einstein-Maxwell equations for exotic charged dust. It is also shown that, because of its necessarily very small charge to mass ratio, the fact that the particles are charged does not necessarily rule out such material as a candidate for dark matter.

Dark Matter-Charged Exotic Dust

Version published in Journal of Physics and Astronomy, Volume 2, Issue 3 (2013):

J Phys & Astron-Chrged Exotic Dust

Physics

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LESSONS FROM THE EARTH’S PAST: RESPONSE TO KIEHL

The following was submitted to Science magazine in response to Jeffrey Kiel’s 14 January 2011 Persective “Lessons from Earth’s Past”:

Response to Kiehl

This letter was also posted on Climate Audit

Global Warming

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The American Condition: The Party’s Over-Maybe for Good

By June of 2010 the GDP of the U.S. had recovered to a few percent higher that it was in the first quarter of 2007, while employment was five percent lower than it was in that first quarter. Why?

USA Today Magazine March 2011.

The Party’s Over-Maybe for Good

General Interest
Politics
USA Today Magazine

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BORN SECRET: The H-Bomb, the Progressive Case and National Security

By A. DeVolpi, G.E. Marsh, T.A. Postol, and G.S. Stanford.

Born Secret looks at the widely publicized Progressive magazine case and the U.S. government’s then unprecedented attempt to prevent publication of an H-bomb design culled by a journalist from unclassified materials. The book, originally published by Pergamon Press in 1981, has long been out of print and the authors have decided to make it available to the general public and those having an interest in the Atomic Energy Act and the First Amendment. After the court proceedings ended, the authors also donated a copy of the complete unclassified in camera file to the University of Chicago Libraries.

The file is a PDF of approximately 300MB. To download, click here.

ERRATA for BORN SECRET

The following 6.5 MB file has been reformatted and corrected. Born Secret-Reformated with corrections-updates

Books
General Interest
Nuclear Policy
Politics

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Electromagnetic and Gravitational Waves: the Third Dimension

Plane electromagnetic and gravitational waves interact with particles in such a way as to cause them to oscillate not only in the transverse direction but also along the direction of propagation. The electromagnetic case is usually shown by use of the Hamilton-Jacobi equation and the gravitational by a transformation to a local inertial frame. Here, the covariant Lorentz force equation and the second order equation of geodesic deviation followed by the introduction of a local inertial frame are respectively used. It is often said that there is an analogy between the motion of charged particles in the field of an electromagnetic wave and the motion of test particles in the field of a gravitational wave. This analogy is examined and found to be rather limited. It is also shown that a simple special relativistic relation leads to an integral of the motion, characteristic of plane waves, that is satisfied in both cases.

Canadian Journal of Physics 89, 1187-1194 (2011).

Electromagnetic and Gravitational Waves: The Third Dimension

Physics

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From Hiroshima to Today

This is a Convocation Lecture given at Monmouth College on 18 November 2003. It was given in the context of Technology and the Human Condition and is still relevant today.

MONMOUTH COLLEGE LECTURE

General Interest
Nuclear Policy
Politics

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Deployed Nuclear Weapons and Force Structure

If the number of nuclear weapons is to be further reduced in the future, it is important that they be deployed in a survivable mode if their reduction is not to lead to an increased probability of use. Reducing nuclear force levels can lead to instability in a time of crisis.

The following letter was published in the June 5/June 6 2010 UK edition of the Financial Times:

UK must keep to sea-based deterrent

The possibility was recently reported by James Blitz (‘Nuclear warhead total revealed’, May 27) – with regard to the Strategic Defence and Security Review – that according to ‘Whitehall insiders’ the SDSR ‘will contain an examination of whether Britain should move to a land or air-launched deterrent’. Such a move should be rejected.

The reason is simple: a British air or land-based deterrent is not survivable. This means there is an enormous incentive to move to a launch-on-warning policy. Nuclear forces must be survivable if the probability of nuclear use is not to be increased with decreasing arsenals. For countries without strategic depth like Britain and France this means a sea-based deterrent. That is why France has already eliminated its land-based nuclear component.

If Britain is to maintain a survivable deterrent it will have to anti-up the cost for new Tridents as the existing force ages. A minimum of three is needed to maintain one in its operational area – ie, one on alert, one in transit (where it could be vulnerable), and one in dry dock.

If we are to move to a world where the number of nuclear weapons is much reduced, careful attention must be paid to force-structure.”

Nuclear Policy
Politics

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