Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan’

Aphorisms May 2011.

May 17, 2011

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Main themes:

1) What the economy truly is, and why the USA not understanding this is causing the present malaise.

2) God as a big, bad, dad… Is believing in God a form of infantilism?

3) The strange, obdurate story of Israel, or why, relatively speaking, there are always fewer Jews. Intolerance and exclusionism do not bring understanding, oneself, or others.

4) Speaking of religious apartheid, Pakistan is, conceptually speaking, a child of Israel. OK, some are going to resent that remark. They also have a common Achilles’ heel, namely beng on the (bankrupt) USA payroll.

5) A set of nuclear reactors at Hamaoka in Japan, 190 kilometers from Tokyo, is being shut down, to build tsunami defenses. They are on a very narrow peninsula, with a government prediction of 87% probability of an 8 Richter  within three decades. How insane could deciders be?

6) Radioactivity, we can leave with, to some extent. Mercury, not so, to the present extent. Why can’t ecologists understand this? Is it because too many of them are anti-technological, thus anti-scientific, thus anti-rational?

7) Messing up with Iraq, has not started to backfire yet, for the USA. But it will. The USA started, unwittingly, the reunification of Iraq and Iran.

8) The notion of “conspiracy” is weaker, and thus more general, than that of “plot”. As the USA keeps broadcasting to the world its notions of justice, one week bin Laden is dispatched, another Strauss-Kahn humiliated as a “perpetrator”, there will be consequences. When they come, the food stamp country will not know what hit it (47 million food stamp recipients in the USA, speaking of humiliation).

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Managing A House Is More Than Letting Greed Run Amok:

The ruling economic orthodoxy in the USA is that all the economy needs is greed. 1960s:”All You Need Is Love!“. Fifty years later:”All You Need Is Greed!” That fits plutocracy just fine, thank you. (However, the élucubrations of the director of the IMF about the need for more state regulations, were just insufferable. Hopefully that has been fixed in the usual manner…)

The sociopaths who lead America into oblivion do not know, nor want to know, nor want to consider, that greed is only one human motivation among others. By considering, at the outset, that those other motivations are not generators of economic activity, the plutocratic orthodoxy impoverish the notion of  economy (= housemanagement). No wonder the socioeconomies they manage have always tended to go down (Sparta, Macedonia, all Muslim countries are example, in the fullness of history). Its theory and practice of the dismal science is exerted on a body politics that they mutilate themselves.

Thus democracy does not just provide with superior intelligence, but also with a superior economy.

(Islam and its Golden Age, Constantinople and its Roman empire, China, all dictatorial and very wealthy seem to be counter-examples… But a detailed examination show that they achieved much less than their potential. Actually they all failed spectacularly, as they were unable to sustain enough of a socioeconomic effort to hold off enemies which wiped them out, or turned them into shadows of their former selves… as happen twice to China in 400 years). 

Taxes allow to finance economic activities not sensitive to greed. Thus, by shrinking taxes too much, one shrinks the huge part of the economy for which greed cannot be a motivation. Care, for example, is in another dimension than greed. So are science, philosophy, poetry, and most of the noblest arts of the human spirit. So is education, so are so many of the life giving arts.

One will not provide the best care, because one is the most greedy. Worse: selecting individuals and organizations on the basis of greed to provide care insures failure. Indeed, care and greed live in different parts of the brain.

The failure to understand that basic neurobiological fact, the failure to understand that loving someone else, is different from sucking all the life blood from a creature, explains why the USA is turning into an economic black hole.

The USA, and the UK, are both obsessed by destroying off the non greed based economy. They are doing a good job of destruction.  The latest numbers show that their economies are keeling over. Whereas France and Germany, havens of central planning and high taxes, are expanding at a hefty clip… In spite of a currency (the euro) which has been overvalued by as much as 50% in the last quarter (thus damaging what is by far the world greatest exporting economy, that of the Eurozone). Let me rephrase this: the dollar has been at the bottom, uncomfortably close to the breaking point.

Let us be fair. The USA has automatic stabilizers. California will close 70 (yes, seventy) state parks (hey, it will allow to “fire” 220 state employees, realizing enormous savings). Thus hungry Californians will be able to go scavenge in the forests, come next winter.  If only one legalized cannibalism, think of all the savings!

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My Dad Is Bigger Than Yours, Let’s Call Him God:

The mysterious concept of “God” is very handy. First it allows to confuse debates. Indeed, in an important a way,  “God” is the pseudonym of many a creature. “God” the pseudonym hides various actors, often with wildly antagonistic minds. So its use makes debates more ill defined than they would be otherwise. Let me explain: when Obama speaks of God, and say some religious fundamentalists do not speak of “God” correctly, it is more than just ludicrous. It’s typical. Obama and the religious fundamentalists he disagrees with do not mean the same thing by “God”.

Second, those with a bigger, better, badder god are obviously endowed with a bigger, better, badder dad. So they feel more powerful, and this display of confidence may induce others to feel that they are more powerful too. So these metaphysics of power have consequences on power in real life.

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Will Israel Survive?

OK, with nuclear weapons, anything can happen. Granted. Nuclear weapons could insure the survival of Israel. Entire populations could be exterminated, at the rate of a few Auschwitz a minute. So maybe Israelis some day will come out of their fortified burrows over radioactive ruins, lonely survivors of a Mid-East turned to a fine crisp. Think about all the West Banks to settle with men in black (radiation) suits… Think of King David’s kingdom, throughout the Fertile crescent… Hope springs eternal…

However, adverse developments, adverse from the Zionist point of view, that is, such as universal nuclear weapons’ disarmament and generalized peace are to be feared. In theory, generalized nuclear disarmament  has been launched. But not for Pakistan, which makes at least a new thermonuclear bomb, every week, and maybe much more. By making Armageddon more likely, Pakistan is the best future  many nuts in Israel can hope for.

Einstein refused the (first) presidency of Israel. Although he hated the Germans by then, and reproached heavily Born (fellow Quantum Nobel physicist) to go back to Germany for retirement, he could only espouse the natural position of those who have looked at hatred and exclusion in the eye.

The (Jewish German) philosopher Isaac Berlin summed the creation of Israel  this way:”They did not listen to us. They listened to Hitler.”

Similarly Obama, in the guise of killing him, listened to Osama’s notion of justice:”Whatever we say it is”. When a conflict there is, one conventionally looks at who won. The more sophisticated approach to conflicts is to look at which system of thought won.

The case of Israel is curious, and enlightening in the greatest scheme of history. At the time when Judea rebelled, most Jews did not. Maybe 15% of the Roman empire population was Jewish (more than 10 million, and much more than there were Celts, as those suffered heavy losses at the hands of legions, besides more than a million sent as slaves to Rome, after Caesar’s bellum gallicum).

The Judea war killed may be a million Jews (in multiple way fighting, as the war against Rome was augmented by a war of various fanatical sects against each other). However, the Jewish religion was not outlawed by the Romans (instead it had a covenant with Rome, and Saint Paul was prosecuted for having violated Jewish religious law, as he went into the temple with a bodyguard who was not Jewish).

Meanwhile, the Celtic religion was outlawed (basically for crimes against mankind, to put it in contemporary terms).  But the Celts stayed where they were. And last observed, restrict their inheritance to music, and being themselves. Curiously, for about 5 centuries, the Celts were the greatest enemies of Rome, and, later, in collaboration with the Franks, and other Germans, pretty much subdued Rome.

Lesson? Clinging to one’s superstition is apparently not the best way to impose oneself. The best way may be sometimes to accommodate the oppressor, collaborate, pick up the best it has to offer, and use it for intellectual assist. Out of the Roman occupation, the Celto-Germans made a superior civilization (thus, when Julian came to direct the legions in Gallia and Germania, the Parisians showed him the way, in the end proclaiming him Augustus).

A few rebellions later, and thanks to the tender mercies of Christianism, founded by a number of Jews who did not like Jews, the Jews got chased from Judea.

The question of Israel, if one listens to Orthodox Jews, boils down to this: should we make a refuge for each and every single religion? A refuge where those who are not of the religion are not full citizen, or not viewed as human, in other words? 25% of the population of Israel right now is not Jewish… Shall they be expelled?

It may be wiser to remember that “Outremer” and the kingdom of Jerusalem, the kingdoms and principalities founded by the Franks in the Orient lasted mostly a century. Two centuries at most. Why? They cost too much, and were not profitable, especially in light of negotiations with Muslims such as Saladin, which resulted in a significant and durable decrease of tension.

Israel is presently kept afloat by enormous financial help, direct and indirect (through Egypt), from the USA, plus the fact that the USA trains, equip and hypnotize the Egyptian army, and the Saudi plutocracy. If this contraption goes, can Israel do better than “Outremer”?

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How Did Pakistan Come To Be?

Heard on a French speaking TV (I don’t remember from where): “Pakistan is the fruit of the colonial past“. Sure. That, hail storms, malaria, and slavery, have got to have originated with colonialism. When something is wrong, blame the colonialists. Especially in India, where there were no colons. (India, was sometimes “ruled” with as little as 1,500 British civil servants; not to say that Britain did not behave in a thugish fashion in multiple ways; but, overall, the influence of Britannia was good).

Claiming that Pakistan was engineered by the colonialists: nothing could be further from the truth. The British had united India, or, more exactly, the Raj.

Previously, the Mughal Raj, starting in 1526 CE, had united most of what would become the British Raj, plus Afghanistan, and minus the extreme south of the subcontinent. The (Islamized) Moguls were not from South Asia, but of Turco-Mongol origin. The Mughal empire is also known as the Timurid dynasty, as its founder Babur descended from Timur (a ferocious, conquering Mongol, but not the partly civilizing force that Genghis Khan had been). The Mughal empire disintegrated mostly on its own, two centuries later. The British had little to do with it, and their rule was nice, in comparison.

The British civilized India, after millennia of racial apartheid stagnation. They made reason more prevalent.

The creation of states on the ground of religious appurtenance in India, post independence from Britain has been just the opposite. Building a religious state was a fundamental takeover of humanitarian principle by gross superstition. By definition superstitious religions such as Islam or Hinduism (and  various variants) stand above the real world. That means they stand above reason; that is they founding mental act: “We believe a number of things which make no sense, therefore we are more important than sense itself“. In other words, common people and their common sense make no sense, only the theocrats makes sense. In the case of Pakistan, a small group of adventurers used religion as a pretext to justify their rule.

Who decides upon religious appurtenance? Well the proverbial commander of the faithful. The one who send the death commandos, the Caliph, the maximum terror chief, the one who tells you when “Justice Has Been Done“. 

Gandhi was the main force behind apartheid in India: he initialized it, by extolling Hinduism. Gandhi was the anti-Mandela. True, he did not commit the irreparable, as the Muslim leaders did, but he instigated it. At the end of his life, Gandhi no doubt preferred to die, rather than to contemplate what he had done.

In a sense, Gandhi was one of the Twentieth Century’s greatest  racists (no wonder Hitler was his “friend”). People of his sort claims that Hindu apartheid, being religious, is not racial. Logics demonstrates otherwise, and recent genetic studies have confirmed that.

Pakistan was founded on the same principle as Israel: “our God rules, he rules us, and even you, so get out!” Universal Human Rights will have to rule over all these little ‘hoods divinities, though, if most of us want to survive, and it would be better for all these little ‘hoods to understand this in a timely manner.

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What We Don’t See Can’t Hurt Us:

On the narrow tip of the Tokai peninsula, two plates meet. On one side a bay, on the other, the Pacific ocean. Best place to build nuclear reactors of course. Right on top of the fault. The fault between the two plates.

Don’t worry: a 6 meter tall sand dune was installed, to protect against the six meter tsunami. There is probably a local tradition that tsunamis are polite, bow and make themselves less than 6 meters high. Not all tsunamis are as gross as the one of March 2011, whose wave crested at 42 meters.

That tsunamis be polite and bow low is all the more important that a fabulous megathrust Richter quake is expected, anytime, on the triple plate junction just south, or on the other one, 200 kilometers east. An embarrassment of very moving riches. As I said there are nuclear reactors there, by the beaches. The beaches, which are on both sides. Fun never stops. (Latest news: as of mid May, the nuclear fission is being stopped so that the plant can be made more resistant to quakes and tsunamis.)

Point to be meditated upon: when the Japanese nuclear plants were built, seismic activity was low in Japan. Looking at history shows that seismic activity is concentrated in space and time. Haiti had a lot of very bad quakes in the 18C. Then nothing until recently. Right now the entire Pacific plate seems to be in play, from one side to the other. But the Americans cannot notice such as thing: it would be anti-American, say those who don’t want Americans to work (as the key to the plutocrats’ peace is an unemployed population).

The Chernobyl reactors had no confinement, and were of an extremely dangerous type, which explode when coolant leaks (whereas a PWR loses nuclear fission, as its neutrons are going too fast to be captured, when it loses coolant/water). Both characteristics should be totally unlawful, by international law. Before the famous explosion (of reactor 4), at Chernobyl, reactor 1 had a partial meltdown, and then was refurbished. Three of the crazy reactors at Chernobyl kept operating at the site for up to 14 years… After the famous disaster.

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Some Hate What They Don’t Understand:

Burning coal is the leading cause of human-caused global warming. But did you know that coal-fired power plants are also the single largest source of mercury pollution in much of the world? Coal burning in China creates mercury vapor, which condensates over the Arctic, making wildlife there increasingly poisonous. China accounts for about half of the world’s emissions of mercury. As I hold that China is the USA in drags, it ought to be the responsibility of American politicians to push for a resolution of this. American corporations make pile of money by using mercury laced cheap Chinese energy (the rest of the world has taken anti-mercury measures).

Mercury poisoning attacks the nervous system, affecting everything from brain development to muscle coordination.

The not-yet-born, and infants are especially susceptible to mercury exposure. Mercury vapor released into the atmosphere settles into rivers, lakes and oceans, where it is absorbed and ingested by fish. When expectant mothers eat the tainted fish, they pass the mercury on to their children. One in six U.S. women of childbearing age have enough mercury in their bodies to harm a pregnancy. annual mercury emissions have increased two to five fold within the last century, with anthropogenic emissions now surpassing natural emissions in the industrialized world. Annual mercury emissions have increased two to five fold within the last century. They come mostly from a mineral (HgS) found naturally in fossil fuel, especially coal. Methyl mercury piles up in fatty tissues, and is not eliminated, so it concentrates up the food chain, from small fish to man.

Compare this enormous, worldwide mercury disaster, with the obsession with the dangers of nuclear power. True, nearly all existing nuclear power plants should be seriously refurbished, or replaced. They are not safe. Technology to make nuclear plants much safer not only exists, but is for sale.

In particular most of the plants in Japan should be scrapped or seriously worked on. But the fact is that, even nuclear power plants which have been constructed in the most dangerous fashion, and should never have been allowed to operate, even after they have exploded, do not , have not, and could not, create a disaster comparable to worldwide mercury poisoning. The most awful nuclear pollution pales relative to coal induced pollution. At worst, some areas may be returned to nature, and wolves, moose, lynxes and wild horses can come back, as is the case in Chernobyl. Six workers at Chernobyl were injured by one wolf (later shot).

So what is wrong with most ecologists’ heads? The simple fact that they don’t understand nuclear fire, but coal has been burned for a millennium?

Another thing self defeating ecologists do not understand is thermodynamics. Or even how the wind works, and why there is wind. If they understood all this, they would be less sanguine, especially about wind energy (10% decrease in wind speed bringing 30% down in energy, something to be expected not only as wind farms proliferate, but as the greenhouse proceeds…)

Some not only hate, or fear, what they don’t understand, but they hate it so much, or fear it so much, that they cannot be motivated to understand it, and, thus, fall prey to it with greater ease. It’s the deer-in-the-headlights syndrome. This mechanism was in full view, when the Nazis threatened the Jews, and various other potential victims. Failure to understand Nazism was the prime failure of their prey.

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More Middle East Gates Of Hell:

Secretary of Defense Gates on “60 minutes”: “We are gaining the upper hand in Afghanistan… We are turning the corner“. The USA already acquired the upper hand in Afghanistan in 2001. So we have to guess it slipped down the sand pile in the meantime.

Pursuing his flight of fancy, Gates has found an improbable culprit, everybody else: “Maybe spent a trillion dollars in Iraq, 4,000 dead (etc.), and now the state department is going to carry us across the goal lineand the Congress is going to be penny wise, and pound foolish [and it will not happen]“. Verdict: Gates has watched too much sports. The world is not American football, but Gates, the ex intelligence chief of the CIA, does not understand that. So what does he understand? Whatever it is, it will be minute, and inconsequential.

In Iraq, or in Afghanistan, the American oligarchs played with history, something they did not master at school enough, to get a sense of it. History bites back, and North America is no island anymore, but a 40 minutes ballistic reach away, from anywhere in the world. And the world you build, is the one you have to live in, thereafter.

What is that the “goal line” Gates evokes? The USA has nearly reunited Iraq with Iran, through their common Shiite inheritance. Otherwise said, the USA has nearly reconstituted the (Baghdad) caliphate (which succeeded the Arab caliphate in 750 CE). The U.S. state department cannot go through the goal line, even if bloated with thousands of mercenaries to chase the terrorists around Iraq. American foreign policy, at least in Iraq, is a chicken without a head: its goal has nothing to do with what it can do, and is advantageous, only if what it wants, is a war with Iran. In Afghanistan, of course, for 32 years, there has been more coherence: the goal has been unending war, not just for war’s sake, but, as I explained, to get to some more oil and gas.

In the realm of the mad, lunatics are kings. But there is hope: the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court said that Colonel Qaddafi, his bright son Seif al-Islam Qaddafi, the de facto prime minister, and his brother-in-law Abdullah al-Sanousi (chief of intelligence) formed an inner circle that ‘crushed peaceful demonstrations and ordered the use of live ammunition and heavy weapons against protestors’. Three judges will decide whether to issue arrest warrants.

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New York Justice: Stupidity Makes Vicious.

A few words on the repugnant, uncivilized way, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the IMF, was dragged in the mud.  It’s all too typical of the state with the world’s greatest incarcerated population. Fully one American adult citizen out of 20 is in serious trouble with the law, a proportion inconceivable in Europe.

A proportion which brings a question Americans may want to meditate: what could be an objective definition of a police state? Let’s put it slightly differently: if, just looking at numbers, one tried to define the planet’s top police state, what would it be? A hint from Wikipedia: “The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world.

Americans who do not have eyes to see, claim that, in the USA, people are “innocent until proven guilty“. While the police make sure the cameras are there before exposing said “innocent”. It’s called the “perp walk“. Yes, “perp walk”. So much for “innocence”. It is obvious that the “perp walk” creates a bias against the defendant, as, by definition, said defendant is presented as a “perpetrator (which is what “perp” means).

Such treatment against a person presumed innocent is unlawful in France. (Even suspected murderers can walk without handcuffs if not deemed very dangerous.) Judge Eva Joly, a well-known French and Norwegian magistrate, adviser of the Icelandic government on white collar crime, who once brought charges against Mr. Strauss-Kahn for corruption (of which he was later acquitted), observed that “these are very violent images”. The images from New York. Very violent.

Americans seem unable to comprehend that the “perp walk” is a violation of basic rights. It is a curious thing.

At least, in the Middle Ages, when the humiliation of the pillory was applied, there was a conviction, prior. Madoff was free on bail, and so was Michael Jackson (suspected of serial pedophilia). That is what people know, when they look at it from the rest of the world.

Why does New York hate Strauss-Kahn that much? He was the Grinch who wanted to steal Christmas, as the French are won to (in the imagination of the owners of U.S. media).

Let me notice the following:

a) Strauss-Kahn changed completely the orientation of the IMF from an extremely abusive device at the service of American plutocracy, into something different. He also contributed to hold up European countries together with IMF funds (the EU contributes nearly 38% of the IMF; and the USA only 17%). Anybody reading even as “liberal” a “left wing” economist such as the esteemed Paul Krugman, will know that the Americans want to destroy the euro. To start with.

b) Strauss-Kahn held pro-government, pro-regulation opinions which are just the opposite from the anti-government, anti-regulation propaganda which presently reigns in the USA. As far as Wall Street was concerned, he was the enemy. Like Eliot Spitzer, or the Gracchi, long ago, Strauss-Kahn was the worst sort, traitor to his kind, and thus fully abreast of its tricks.

c) Manhattan is the very center of the pro-plutocratic worldwide octopus. The island lives off it. Such is often the paradox that people who profit most from an empire, find themselves at the center of it, and, even if they deplore it, they may sink themselves, if they think too much.

d) A conspiracy is not a plot. It’s much more sinister than that. The Romans had discovered that the simple fact that people together breathe (con-spirare) is enough to have dreadful consequences. A judge does not need to be bought off. Nor does the police. They are creatures of the same ecology, and if that ecology is threatened, they will strike back. In Manhattan, the ecology is the plutocracy.

Simple breathing-together of judges, police, and political, or plutocratic power, is enough to create bias, in the absence of very explicit legal guidelines. Breathing together is enough to build the right neurology of the conspirators, the neurology of mutually insured self survival.

Imperial Rome was full of police, and full of judges, all arrogantly above any suspicion, or self examination. They were full of it, and belong to the garbage of history, complete with their smug cruelty, and self interested stupidity. The Roman republic went down the drain on the heels of its degraded and degrading conception of justice. It resurfaced 2,000 years later.

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Patrice Ayme

The Worst.

April 16, 2010

THERMONUCLEAR THEOCRACIES, SUCH AS PAKISTAN, ARE THE WORST.

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In two sentences: Below is to be found a kaleidoscope of many problems: Pakistan, religious fundamentalism, fascism, nuclear explosives and their technology, quakes, volcanoes, the Middle East… united with the common mood of not looking at the possible catastrophes, as much as one should. The Obama administration has adopted many a correct stance, though.

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Abstract: Pakistan is, by far, the greatest danger in the world at this point. Some people claim there are no dangers, just paranoia, and that what did not happen recently will not happen tomorrow. I have a volcano to show them.

The Obama administration (contrarily to previous US governments) seems aware of the danger posed by Pakistan, and has been doing something about it. Pakistan, a Muslim regime, hence a dissembling fanatical dictatorship, should be defanged (in the Qur’an it is said that lying for the faith is no sin, thus Pakistani shady types lie about everything, including assassinating PM Bhutto, as the UN officially determined). Suicide ready bellicose primitive superstitions detonate best with thermonuclear fuel. Just crashing planes into buildings is amateurish.

A scenario is easily imaginable when the immense disaster of a nuclear war of Pakistan with India, besides having drastic consequences on the climate and environment, worldwide, could well throw the entire world in a nuclear war. So Pakistan needs to be defanged, ASAP.

The nuclear disarmament of Pakistan will have to be entangled with Iran: both have to respect the Non Proliferation Treaty. But then what of India and Israel? Well, a worldwide nuclear disarmament is necessary, but it depends upon a fail-proof monitoring regime (as I have long advocated). The peaceful use of nuclear power will help, both in promoting inspections, and in imposing measures decreasing the stores of dangerous nuclear explosives. Moreover, it is impossible to explode in a bomb, what you have already burned in a reactor: 10% of American nuclear power comes from Soviet nuclear explosives reprocessed into fuel, and quite a bit from American bombs (reprocessed in… France).

What we are talking about here is building a pragmatic, partial form of world government. It is much better than nuclear war.

Pragmatism is the way the European construction works: establish supranational structures, when and where needed, but still keep the entanglements of national safety nets and bilateral, or multinational accords below… as long as they are compatible with the highest supranational system.

This model of integration works magnificently in Europe.

Some obdurate neo conservatives doubt that international accords work. But European construction works, and the absence of all out war, worldwide, in the last 65 years, is due in great part to the respect of international accords. No important international accord was violated in the last 65 years.

The last massive violations of international accords were made by the Nazis, when they violated the Versailles Treaty several times, ultimately attacking powers created by Versailles such as Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland. (They had been encouraged by Great Britain in 1935, and the USA, though…)

However, the Nazis themselves respected international accords in the case of neurotoxic weapons of mass destruction (and millions of surviving Nazis were sure glad, after the war, that so they did… because they would have been annihilated otherwise!)

The Nazis also more or less respected the Geneva Conventions on the western front (but for the occasional savage mass assassination of French and African troops in 1940, and US troops during the Battle of the Bulge). So even fanatical idiots of the worst type can be brought to some international respect. By contrast, the Nazis justified their savagery in the USSR by arguing that the Soviets had not signed the Geneva Conventions.

Let’s notice that international relationships resting on reason can be long lasting: France has been at peace and collaboration with the USA since its creation, and both France and the USA have been in equally good collaborating relations with Britain since 1815. Let’s apply this strategy now to the likes of Pakistan, by forcing them to become our friend, and that means less ready to kill us all.

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YOU CAN’T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU EXPECT:

I have advocated the catastrophic calculus instead of the usage of probability on important matters. This is very practical, and the applications go from Pakistan, to building codes, to the so called “climate change” (where “The Economist” just adopted the same exact reasoning in its lead editorial) to what the French state and law call the “Principle of Precaution”.

It is wiser to use the catastrophic calculus rather than standard probability for earthquakes. Buildings are made half as strong in Seattle than in San Francisco. Why? Because earthquakes are half as frequent in Seattle than in San Francisco, the authorities decided Seattle buildings would suffer half the damage, over, say, a century. This is completely stupid. The correct reasoning is so obvious, that one could view this as criminal

The correct catastrophic calculus is, instead, to forget about computing probabilities, and just finding out if there is a plausible catastrophic scenario, and how catastrophic it could get.

In the case of Seattle versus San Francisco, the result is simple. Bad quakes around San Francisco seem to top out at 8 something, Richter. In Seattle: 9 something, Richter. At least 10 times more powerful (this comes from the nature of the faults: horizontally slipping in San Francisco, whereas Cascadia adds a vertical flipping component).

So, instead of making them much less strong, the buildings in Seattle ought to be much stronger. The last mega quake in Seattle was in 1700 CE, causing a giant tsunami which wiped out countless native villages, and struck Japan. This “Cascadia” quake may have been as much as 9.2 Richter. Seattle skyscrapers may collapse.

Thus catastrophic events should be measured by the catastrophe itself first, and not the exact value of the “probability”. Rare events happen because of a conjunction of factors, the probability for each impossible to compute if one did not even imagine it first. Thus the importance of imagining scenarios rather than computing away from trite assumptions.

Another example. Last year I explained that dinosaurs probably died from earth core volcanism, not an asteroid. One of my motivations was to show that injecting SO2 in the atmosphere to cool the planet would be insane.

An example I gave on the way was an eruption in Iceland in 1783, which killed a quarter of Iceland, 250,000 people in Europe, and increased the financial deficit of the French monarchy. Reading this, some could scoff, and say we are not in 1783. But actually massive catastrophes have impacted civilizations in the last 4 millennia, from giant volcano exploding: Crete, to possible cometary impact (or maybe submarine volcano?), under Justinian, to a terrible drought killing the Maya, to the Little Ice Age, etc.

So now we have a volcano erupting in Iceland, and air travel is stopped over Northern Europe. Most expect a momentary inconvenience. But, in truth, all we know for sure is that, someday, a volcanic eruption in Iceland will exterminate most of Northern Europe’s fauna. It clearly smacks of something that ought to have been studied before. Don’t forget that the mid-Atlantic ridge is the most formidable convection feature on earth (with the belt of fire around the Pacific; which drives which is not clear to me).

It is easier to find a scenario allowing Pakistan to get more people killed, though, and pretty soon.

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SERIOUSLY PRESIDING:

President Obama gave a wrap up news conference after the nuclear summit. As required by the seriousness of the matter, he did not smile. His delivery was perfect: highly presidential, sober, well informed and as frank as he could get away with. He had a good answer for everything. He quoted Baker about Palestine and Israel: “You can’t want peace more than they do.” Well, a great part of the Israel-Palestine problem, starting way back during the Roman empire, has been superstitious fanaticism (aka Judeo-Islamism). The Romans, exasperated by Judeo national-tribalism, promoted the word “Palestine”, to help forget about Israel. The Latin Palestina came from the Greek Palaistine (Herodotus), itself from the Hebrew Pelesheth “Philistia, land of the Philistines”. So Palestinians speak Hebrew. Whatever. Anyway, back to more serious, but related, problems.

Obama also pointed out that the Arab-Israeli conflict is a threat to the security of the USA, and had a cost in blood and treasure. Well, same for Europe, and same for the West-Islam conflict, which is partly fed by the Arab-Israeli problem.

A deal could be made: Israel nice, calm and friendly in its box in quid pro quo for literal Islam outlawed (as it was in Egypt in 1300 CE, something the fanatical Islamists know all too well!).

This can all be solved: the European Union and the USA can put Israel in whichever box they please, whenever they want, if they act jointly. Arab countries could get more economic activity from the EU… As long as they accept the mental and intellectual, not to say civilizational, activity that go with it, and a few more things direct from Israel, as the following Saudi prince suggested…

Indeed recently, the Saudi foreign minister was asked about the Iranian nuclear posturing, and he declared soberly that “the introduction of nuclear weapons in the Middle East would be a disaster”. This is superior diplomacy at its best; if the prince had been completely truthful, and less crafty, he would have mentioned instead the official introduction of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Everybody knows, and especially the Arabs, that Israel has plenty of nuclear warheads, around 200, enough to wipe out all the Muslims, and any other contradictor.

Maybe the prince considers Israel to be its implicit nuclear shield against big bad Iran? Iranians and Arabs have detested each other, and this long before they came, through the most violent means, to share hostile variants of Islam.

Rising to the challenge of superior Saudi diplomacy, President Obama said that “the worst” would be a nuclear attack by terrorists. Well, he has to say this, at this point. However, the word “terrorists” could be interpreted with a broader meaning than the usual one, and that is why the US administration, with the European leadership, is insisting so much about the Iranian nuclear problem. Terror states exist: for example, most fascist states turned into terror states.

The Washington conference was centered around bombs terrorists could grab, or contrive, using radioactive materials. Nasty elements wrapped around a simple explosive could cause tremendous damage, by transforming an area inside a city into a mini Chernobyl. More important, though, is the fact that world leaders were brought to admit to the seriousness of nuclear materials. Simply banning them is no panacea, because: 1) it can’t be done. 2) nuclear materials, properly used, may be just what the doctor ordered.

Radioactive elements are the most concentrated energy sources or reservoirs known (liquid fuels are an extremely distant second). Nuclear technologies are the only ones presenting us with new, clean, powerful energy. Contrarily to intuition, they could augment, not decrease, nuclear safety. But they need capital to be developed, and that means that banks will have to stop sending created capital to the netherworld of shadow banking and its derivatives.

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THERMONUCLEAR TERROR; ROASTING BY ARTIFICIAL SUNS:

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The 50 Megatons Tsar Bomba mushroom cloud, towering over the Arctic, 64 kilometers high, 40 kilometers wide. It could have been made, easily and cheaply, much more powerful (see below). The USSR deployed ICBMs equipped with 50 Megatons warheads.

97% of the power of the Tsar Bomba came from thermonuclear fusion, which lasted 40 nanoseconds, during which its output was 1.4% that of the entire sun. It was more than 3,000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, and, if exploded over its center, would have completely annihilated the largest megalopolis on earth, all its distant suburbs, all its 30 million inhabitants.

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ISLAMIST THERMONUCLEAR TERROR, CLEAR AND PRESENT:

The worst man-made danger on earth is posed by Pakistan, a brutal regime founded on exclusion, hell bent towards stuffing itself with nuclear weapons (it is building a new reactor designed to make 50 Plutonium “pits” a year, i.e. 50 bombs).

OK, Pakistan’s military dictatorship is presently masquerading as a democracy, because the Obama administration insisted to talk about “AfPak” (“Afghanistan-Pakistan”) instead of just “Afghanistan”.

Even before the Afghan war started, even before the first defense treaty between Afghanistan and the Soviet Union, “Muslim” terrorist teams were sent into Afghanistan by the Pakistani dictatorship (it long did the same with India, and persists to this day).

Pakistan never signed the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

India and Israel did not sign the NPT either, but, at least, they are democracies, and democracies are rarely outrageously aggressive to the point of suicide (at least in the onset of a conflict, because Athens became outrageously aggressive during its war with Sparta, and so did the Roman republic later, and in modern times, democracies such as France, Britain and the USA, when seriously attacked, were of an awesome ferocity).

Pakistan is a theocratic dictatorship masquerading as an Islamist “republic”, a contradiction in adjecto. Moreover, as a result of its long financing of the Taliban, and organizing Al Qaeda through its own Muslim fundamentalist “Inter Service Intelligence“, Pakistan is completely perfused with fanatics. Islamism is not Buddhism, a would be supine religion. Islamism was designed as a war machine against Westerners and authentic Persians. As long as Pakistani rockets cannot reach Europe and America, Pakistan is subdued. This will not last.

Per its unstable and intrinsically mock religious nature, Pakistan ought to be deprived of its thermonuclear fangs, ASAP.

Pakistan’s dangerousness is accentuated by its long frontier with India. India is the world’s largest democracy, and it is a secular, religiously tolerant republic. Now, when you put a fascist, self delusional, superstitious regime next to a secular democracy, the former, being secretly persuaded, while fully in official denial, about the latter’s superiority, is ready to detonate.

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FASCISM AND DEMOCRACY IN CLOSE PROXIMITY, DETONATE:

We have seen that situation many times before. We saw it between Macedonia and the Greek cities. Between Rome and Carthage. Between Rome and Greece. The most famous recent case occurred when the fascist German “kingdoms” (“Reich”) were sitting next to republican democratic France, putting both on a war footing, for decades (just as Pakistan and India in the last few decades). Finally the German fascists cracked, and attacked, because it was their last chance (the way they looked at it).

Notice that, at the outset, the odds of winning, for fascist Germany, were very low. The Prussian generals attacked both in the west and in the east, simultaneously. In the east was democratizing Russia, developing at blazing speed, propelled by French money. In the west was the French republic, heading an empire of 100 million men. As it turned out the Africans in that army played a crucial role, starting with the first battle of the Marne.

The French army was formidable, state of the art, and the Russian army was gigantic. The German commandment massed nearly all its forces to crash through (neutral) Belgium into France, around the French defenses, hoping to stall the Russians (which did not quite happen). All this, because the Prussian generals had decided that Britain would betray her “Entente Cordiale” with France and her status of guarantor of Belgium’s safety. Maybe they remembered too much when Britain used to bankroll German forces against France in the Seven Year war, 160 years before .

As it happened, the Prussian generals had not breathed the air of the times. Britain declared war to Germany within two days, and the French army, after mightily retreating for four weeks, helped by the African army holding Paris, and the British Expeditionary Force, counter attacked and nearly destroyed the entire German army, while the Russians put East Prussia in peril. Thus, within weeks, Germany had lost the war, and the fact that it was not a democracy, and that it started the war, guaranteed that a huge coalition would rise against it, as did (Italy soon joined France and Britain).

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WHY FASCISTS ARE MAD:

So here you have it: generals, left to themselves, tend to be delusional. They miscompute. They are brutal; as they moved through neutral Belgium nearly two million armed men, the Prussian generals threatened the population, and, when they got shot at, or so they said, they engaged in large scale, deliberate, ordered-from-the-top, atrocities.

Democratically supervised armies (US, all the British commonwealth, Italy, France, etc.) were never caught in the blatant atrocities the fascist supervised army engaged in Belgium in August 1914 (from there to what happened with the Nazis is just continuity: more of the same).

Fascism is intrinsically unpredictable, because only a few men from a small clique take all the decisions, or, more generally, the interpretation of a small exclusionary ideology (such as Islam as a governmental system) is the pretext used for arbitrary decisions. Since such a regime rests on military force inside, it is natural for it to attack outside (hence the attack of various German fascist regimes on Europe, or the attack of the Argentinean dictators on Britain, fascist Italy upon Ethiopia and Greece, the USSR onto Finland, etc…).

Fascist regimes are paranoiac because, resting on force, nothing holds them up, except more force; they are standing on one leg, and a single leg can kick, that is what legs do. (By contrast, democratic regimes rest, and are inserted in various democratic institutions and authorities, which buttress them in many ways, but also restrain them.)

Why are fascists mad? Because fascism is a human instinct, but to be used only in the case of war, when stress and combat hormones are sky high. Living day in, day out, with those stress hormones decay brains, both in the submitting and the submitted. Moreover, human brains are best when free, so the mental performance of fascism is second rate (as demonstrated by the German attack on the rest of Europe in 1914: it was hare brained). That, in turn, creates further problems, with further stress, increasing the combativeness and further stupidity resulting from it.

Unchained fascism rests on the metapsychology of ultimate violence, it lives by it. The top guys, and their underlings, reign by force, so they fear force, and use even more, to make sure they stay on top. Thus they advocate the metaphysics of force, and learn to justify it as an ultimate good, day in, day out, so, in the end, they are anxious to prove how omnipresent force is, and they are drawn to prove it, by visiting it upon themselves, because it’s all they know. (This analysis translates to plutocrats and their Wall Street.)

This is why the Nazis kept on fighting against all odds, against several vengeful military powers, each of them able to eradicate them, from German city to German city, each of them completely destroyed, in the last five months of the war. By fostering their own destruction, the fascists justify the core of what made their rule possible, thus, they justify themselves, to themselves.

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PAKISTAN-INDIA COULD NUCLEARLY DETONATE CHINA-INDIA:

Thus Pakistan presents an extreme danger, much greater than Iran (The fifty years old Pakistan has a history of aggression, whereas Iran has a much longer history of being attacked, but not striking out, in the last few centuries).

All of this makes a nuclear attack of a fanatical, Islamized, fascist and paranoiac Pakistan onto India probable, in the fullness of time (15 years or so).

As I said, we have seen that movie before: as Pakistan sinks, and a democratic India blossoms ever more, next door, the rage and fear in Pakistan’s leadership can only grow. It does not matter that Pakistan would become a radioactive hell, and would be utterly destroyed, if it attacked India. It only compounds the attractiveness. Fascism is attracted by the bitter end, like the butterfly by the flame.

 

As Russian artillery barrages could be heard in the distance, the Nazi elite went to listen religiously to Wagner’s Gotterdammerung in the Berlin opera house, complete with holed roof. Fascists live like Gods, giving death arbitrarily, thus they want their dusk of the Gods. 

 

After a nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India killing 100 million people or so, India would come out swinging, with a bloodied, but very powerful military, resting on a very stern, determined, aggrieved population, little inclined to be pushed around by fascism again.

 

And guess what, speaking of non democratic regime? China sits next door, arguably occupying territories it does not really own historically. Moreover China was Pakistan’s ally, in those times not so long ago, when it, and China, were at war with India .

Thus, China could well be blinded by the contempt for democracy fascist regimes are inclined to feel, and feed (it would be similar to the contempt the Nazis had for the Western democracies; fascists believe only them can take tough decisions, because they do not know that the very concept of fascism was invented by a democratic republic, Rome, during her best days).

Thus a future somewhat fascist, or, let’s say, insufficiently democratic governmental structure in China, could well decide to strike victorious (but heavily mauled) India, as it mops up Pakistan. Then the West would have to threaten China unambiguously. And, if need be, go to war against China.

This scenario, is, by far, the most probable of the most dangerous scenarios on earth. And it looks more likely than not.

Not only would a nuclear war between India and Pakistan turn China crazy. It may well turn the rest of the planet pretty crazy too: a nuclear war, by exploding thermonuclear fission-fusion-fission devices over cities would nearly guarantee a nuclear winter, and a radioactive one at that. For a scientific study on this, see:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=local-nuclear-war.

It is probable that, should such a scenario rise above the horizon, many countries’ military would scream for their own nuclear arsenal. To maintain an edge the present military nuclear powers would then engage in an all out arms’ race. This time, instead of a duopoly USA-USSR, it would be a many body problem (as physicists call it). In such a problem, there is guaranteed long term instability (it’s a mathematical theorem). In other words, guaranteed generalized nuclear war. Thus: No NPT = Armageddon.

On the good side, nuclear Armageddon would save the biosphere, because human civilization would collapse, perhaps not to be seen again. Indeed, civilization’s rise depended upon cheap and abundant crucial minerals such as copper, and iron, and coal and oil. They used to lie thereabout, but now we can only extract them by spending first enormous energy. Cut the availability of that energy, and the bronze age will be remembered as El Dorado. Rarely again will the whale have to fear the steel point of the harpoon, as the last iron rusts away.

On the bad side, well, Earth would join the countless planets, in this galaxy alone, where intelligence failed for this, that, or the other reason. A forever Paleolithic mankind may well ultimately be wiped out by the many cosmic disasters that Earth has so far avoided, by sheer luck.

So Obama is right: something has to be done to set up a worldwide nuclear monitoring regime.

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NUCLEAR MUSLIM FUNDAMENTALISM NO GOOD:

In the past, the USA ruled by dividing, and Muslim fundamentalism was found very handy that way. Now we should rule by superior reasoning, as in the past.

9/11 has demonstrated, even to the obdurate American leaders, the unpleasant side of the strategy of encouraging brutal criminals of the fanatical type. Bush was all confused about it, but Obama’s insistence to deal with “AfPak” as a single entity seems to exhibit a deep understanding of the tragedy in waiting, should one do nothing.

Under the clueless Bush, the USA funded part of the nuclear weapons program of Pakistan. Besides being insane, that was, supposedly, under the pretext of helping with nuclear safeguards. Obama expressed his confidence in the latter, which, with all due respect, is about as smart as trusting the Nazi government in 1933. (But, once again, Obama has to be diplomatic… and I don’t.)

Pakistan was a long favored by American diplomacy. This theocracy was considered to be a counter balance to India, which was viewed as too socialist, too friendly to the USSR, too inimical to Western plutocracy. Pakistan was part of the general American strategy, started under president FDR, to use Muslim fundamentalism against democracy.

Time to correct all this. Forcing Pakistan to nuclearly disarm ought to be the number one priority, before North Korea, before Iran, before Israel…

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WHY IRAN IS SO IRREVERENT:

So what of Iran in all this? Iran is a theocracy, a religious “republic” giving even more place to Islam than Pakistan does. So it is paranoiac, and preoccupied with preoccupying the people with exterior conflicts, to justify its military rule upon it. It also has the suicidal component of fascist psychology.

Iran, although an oil exporter (in particular, to thirsty China) is incapable of having enough refineries, and imports the gasoline it needs.

A complicating factor in Iranian psychology, is that Iran is not just a country with a 4,000 year old history, it was, for many millennia, one of the most important civilizations. In particular the old religion of Persia, was refurbished by Zoroaster maybe 3,300 years ago, with a very advanced philosophy which obviously impacted Greek thought, Judaism, and, later, Christianism and Islam.

The last 13 centuries have not been fun and games in Iran. After the Muslim invaders took control of Sassanid Persia, a sad defeat, a severe civil war erupted between Muhammad’s family and some of his generals. The generals won, Muhammad’s family members were either defeated or assassinated, creating the schism between Sunni and Shiite, with the later severely mauled. Persia followed the Shiites, sad defeat, multiplied by the violent death in combat and assassination of Ali’s sons, who led the Shia, another sad defeat. Revenge followed soon after, as the Syrian-Arab Caliphate, exsanguinous after three catastrophic invasions of Francia which had shredded its military capability, fell to the Persians, who moved the Muslim capital to Baghdad.

Then the Mongols came around, wrecking nearly everything, snuffing Baghdad, destroying the elites. The elites got replaced by superstitious low quality leaders who had hidden in the wilds. Finally, in the 20C, Palahvi Senior, following the lead of Ataturk, took severe measures against superstition (maybe inspired by similar, but even more severe measures taken in Russia against superstitious religion by Czar Peter the Great).

In recent decades, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq attacked Iran, after the later turned Shiite fundamentalist. The perfidious Euro-Americans incited Hussein to do so, helping him with all sorts of military capabilities, from dual use chemicals (of German origin, handy to gas Kurds and Iranians), to outright battle planning operations with satellite data, courtesy of the USA, taking into account Iraqi chemical attacks, and advanced supersonic interceptors (French Mirages) and bombers (French Exocet armed Super Etendards to block Iranian oil exports; it is said that some particularly difficult missions were flown by French pilots).

Meanwhile, Reagan was selling American weapons to Iran secretly, for his pocket change. The capitals of Iran and Iraq got bombed by rockets, and the war killed about a million people. No wonder Iranians are a bit leery of the West’s lenifying discourses.

But, of course, Iran is a signatory of the NPT, whose spirit is not just to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, but eradicating them in the long run.

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OUT AND ABOUT:

So what to do with existing nuclear weapons? Well there are still thousands around, mostly in the USA and Russia. They ought to be reduced ASAP. Global zero nuclear weapons ought to be the aim, and, in theory, it is the aim of the NPT.

However, nuclear reduction towards zero can proceed if, and only if, absolutely certain monitoring can be established. Only crisscrossing the world with military inspectors, of the diverse powers, both in one on one more or less standardized bilateral treaties, and, independently, from UN inspectors, can insure this. Maybe a global nuclear weapons transparency treaty ought to be signed by all powers, and enforced at will, by any signatory. During the transition, the wasting asset of the nuclear striking capability of the five permanent members would insure encouragement, enforcement, and dissuasion.

Rabid neo-conservatives, but also much wiser people may be genuinely worried about quitting an obvious equilibrium point in military terror. Indeed, there was no major war since 1945, at the cost of a Berlin blockade, firing general Mc Arthur, etc… It is plausible that this happened because of nuclear terror, but other factors were in play: the three largest powers, the USA, the USSR and China, could not believe their luck to be masters of the world, and one does not see why they would attack further. Both China and the USSR has suffered huge losses (20 to 30 million killed), and the USA reigned over the rest of the world like the fully stuffed fox over the chicken coop.

The fact remains that one single strategic nuclear sub of the type made by France, the USA and Russia, can annihilate a large part of the population of any country. This is exemplary of the power of nuclear weapons. One single powerful nuclear bomb could annihilate any city on earth, if it was cheaply boosted as a fission-fusion-fission device.

Of course, the present permanent members of the Security Council have zero interest to get into a nuclear war.

Peaceful nuclear energy can help, because it could burn the offensive materials, while concentrating on non weaponizable technologies, which have been little developed so far, but which do exist (such as the Thorium technology, or fusion-fission thermonuclear reactors, which are perfectly feasible, NOW).

A few nuclear bombs ought to be kept at the ready, using the Security Council, to handle the odd extravagant terror threat (probably deep underground), or the odd comet. I know some studies have claimed fusion bombs would ineffective against comets, but that is simply a ridiculous statement: if we have 72 months, that is what it will take, and nothing else would do it. And a fortiori, if it is just 72 hours. Remember, with thermonuclear fusion, we have the power of the sun at our disposal. No comet can resist a fireball 10 kilometers across.

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THERMONUCLEAR FIREBALLS

Tsar Bomba detonated over the gigantic Novaya Zemlya island of the Arctic ocean. Soviet scientists did not used the cheap trick of wrapping it in inexpensive and abundant Uranium 238 (U 238 fissions when bombarded by fast neutrons produced in immense quantities by thermonuclear fusion, just as U 235 fissions under slow neutrons). Wrapping Czar Bomba with U 238 would have boosted its power to 100 Megatons, half the energy of the Krakatoa’s main explosion. It would also have caused gigantic radioactive pollution, that is why Soviet scientists did not do it. But of course, nuclear terrorists, especially of the bin Laden persuasion, do not have to show as much restraint.

In conclusion, here is the Tsar Bomba’s fireball, measuring 8 kilometers (5.0 mi) in diameter, licking the ground, and nearly reaching the altitude of the deploying Tu-95 bomber.

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On the positive side, no comet could resist that.

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PA