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Death march over (for now)

The death march is over, the manuscripts are safely in my editors' email inboxes, and I can sleep in tomorrow.

This weekend I'm going to be appearing at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate; in particular, I'll be part of the "Crime in another dimension" panel discussion on Friday at 10:30am, with Ben Aaronovitch, Christopher Fowler, Stuart MacBride and David Quantick. (Tickets still available.)

I hope to have enough brain cells left over to say something interesting on my blog shortly thereafter. But tonight I'm just celebrating the end of about three weeks in which I've had maybe three days off-work, due to carpal tunnel problems rather than actual, y'know, rest days. (It's a side-effect of the freelance lifestyle—work deadlines always show up simultaneously ...)

170 Comments

1:

After Isaac Asimov left his teaching job to become a full-time writer, he said he had discovered Asimov's Corollary to Parkinson's Law: writing eight hours a day instead of four hours just means you have time to fall twice as far behind your commitments.

BTW, I just saw your story "A Tall Tail" in the Tor newsletter. I know what inspired it because I just read the same book :)

2:

Kanpai! I think you deserve it :)

3:
(It's a side-effect of the freelance lifestyle—work deadlines always show up simultaneously ...)

That doesn't just happen to freelancers. A classic sign of bad management is when you're up to your ass in alligators and your manager tosses a tankful of piranhas into the mix. Back when I was still a hardware evaluation engineer, I worked in a team of 6 engineers, with a line manager who had been my peer a year before. Of the 24 projects assigned to our group, I was responsible for 11, and I was feeling the load as about half of them had deadlines in the same month. I went to my manager and asked to either offload 3 or 4 to someone else, or put them on hold. Instead, when I left his office I had somehow acquired 3 more projects, all of which had to have project plans written in the next couple of weeks. And that's when I became a software engineer.

4:

Be well, take care of those carpals! We need you to keep us sane.
I have just finished The Apocalypse Codex - one again, you are a marvelous teller of tales! Thank you.

5:

Have fun!
I'm done with TAC for today, still about a quarter of the book to go, you are doing great, btw, is it too personal to ask why you stopped adding the afterwords-musings like you did with AA and JM--they really added up nicely to the books.
Thanks for the books, again.
MX

6:

The afterword of book #3 collapsed in a messy heap before I finished writing it, and I didn't have the heart to try again with #4 -- I'd said what needed saying earlier. Book 5 is still too far away to make concrete plans for.

7:

I picked up a thoroughly shameful Doctor Who novel habit after reading Ben Aaronovitch's The Also People (in which the Doctor visits a civilisation which is almost, but not quite, just like Iain Banks' Culture with the serial numbers filed off). It's really good, although I think his Transit is even better.

I'm glad to see he's writing again; I should track down his novels.

8:

That's a pity. Nicely done anyway.
It seems to me you wrote here (or was it one of the interviews?--cannot find the quote) that AA is Len Deighton's book by Stross, JM is LeCarre's, whose FM and AC then would be?

9:

"The Jennifer Morgue" is Charlie's Ian Fleming book. I believe he's said the he's not doing Le Carre, iirc said he's not up to it (or was it not worthy?).

Not nice of Tor.com to require registration to get Charlie's story.

10:

Just finished the Apocalypse Codex...sigh. My only complaint with it is that I wish it had been longer. Excellent work!

Concerning your carpal tunnel problems, have you considered surgery? It worked well for me in my thirties. Had both wrists fixed, and they have been OK since (20+ years) for both typing and weightlifting. The first one was a bit slow to heal, since it was done with the traditional technique, ie. a big vertical cut through the lower part of the palm. But for the second one a few years later a newer method was used, with only a small horizontal cut at the wrist. Since then, one would expect this method to have become the standard.

Thanks for the good work!
Mikael

11:

I'm looking forward to the final Laundry book which I hear is supposed to be a pastiche of YA urban fantasy romance titles, all sparkly shoggoths and smoldering looks.

12:

...a side-effect of the freelance lifestyle—work deadlines always show up simultaneously ...

This seems to be a standard tech-related trouble. My last library position, i was A Systems librarian for a small liberal Arts University. My department consisted of me and a part time workstudy student and together we maintained 24 PCs in the common room, 20 iMacs in the lab, and 16 staff computers. I was also responsible for maintenance on the ILS, and keeping track of problem reports for the Consortium borrowing system, which consisted of a network that enabled 39 colleges in 4 states to lend and borrow materials as if it was one big collection. I was also installing a ERM module into the existing catalog system for managing our electronic serials, putting a new catalog search system on top of the old catalog, and helping redesign the library's web site. I had a meeting with the library director, who, int he span of ten minutes, told me, without a hint of irony, that each one of these projects was my top priority.

I don't miss that job, even a little.

13:

Tomorrow is a rest day!

14:

Keith:

I had a meeting with the library director, who, int he span of ten minutes, told me, without a hint of irony, that each one of these projects was my top priority.

I would put it up on a chalkboard or whiteboard and tell him to rank them in order of priority.

If he refuses to do so, tell him he's refusing to do his job, and that it's a firing offense. If he still refuses to do so, fire him. If that doesn't work, go to his boss and explain and ask them to fire him. If that doesn't work, quit, mailing a letter to your bosses' bosses' boss on why you left.

15:

Aaronovitch's current series, beginning with "Midnight Riot"/"Rivers of London" (different US/UK titles) are excellent: if you like the Laundry books, you'll almost certainly love his, too. (The London Met division for dealing with occult threats. British bureaucracy, humour, Lovecraftian nasties ... only police procedural rather than espionage.)

16:

Wrong sequence.

"The Atrocity Archives" = Len Deighton.

"The Jennifer Morgue" = Ian Fleming/James Bond.

"The Fuller Memorandum" = Anthony Price[1]

"The Apocalypse Codex" = Peter O'Donnell (Modesty Blaise)

[1] The title for TFM should have gone on an Adam Hall pastiche (the Quiller books) -- note in turn that "Adam Hall" was a pseudonym for Trevor-Dudley Smith, aka Elleston Trevor -- but I got bitten by Price when it was time to write it. On the other hand, I didn't want to ditch the title. So sooner or later there ought to be a Quiller pastiche with an Anthony Price title.

17:

Fairly sure the free, low-level-of-spam registration is only required to get get _early_ access to Charlie's story. Or you can wait something like a week.

18:

They're a LOT lighter in tone than the Laundry books. (Yes, I've been enjoying them.)

19:

charlie,

Can you give us a count of how many books discussed in the "Crime in another dimension" panel manage to make do without any killing/murders/deaths in the book?

There are so many seriously interesting crimes out there, yet, crime in fiction almost always seems to involve cold dead bodies for one reason or another.

20:

Confirming what Errol said. From the newsletter:
"Enjoy an exclusive read of "A Tall Tail" by Charles Stross a week before it appears on the site!".

21:

"There are so many seriously interesting crimes out there, yet, crime in fiction almost always seems to involve cold dead bodies for one reason or another."

I'd like to see one where the crime is illicitly reviving the dead.

22:

I pointed it out to the Director, she denied it ever happened. I would have pointed it out to her boss, the Provost, but he didn't care. Neither did the Dean, or the President. At this, like most universities, the library is regarded much like your appendix: quietly ignored until it bursts into flames.

I was never so happy loosing a job in my life.

23:

Thanks.
The Register page I was redirected to says:
Oops! The content you tried to access is restricted to members of the tor community.

The Good News.. Membership has its privileges! tormembers receive early access to exclusive excerpts, original fiction and special offers, as well as our weekly e-newsletter.

Registration is easy - just choose the standard or quick registration below:

It's the first time I've gotten that.
I'm patient, a week isn't too long.

24:

I was remembering the 'week' from the subscriber email I had received (and deleted, having read the story by following the link in my RSS feed). It isn't explicitly mentioned in the teaser section near the top of Tor.com.
So yes, the people that can easily find out about the week's wait are those that it doesn't apply to...

25:

While this is in fact just the old trope all over again, I agree that I like the idea.

26:

Charlie, have you messed around with ergonomic keyboards at all? A CS buddy of mine still uses his beaten to death fingerworks keyboard, the kind you can't buy anymore because the tech got folded into the iPad.

27:

My understandng of Charlie's previous comments on the subject was that he can't do a Le Carre pastiche because he's never read the guy.

My view is that it's somewhat redundant anyway, because Angleton resembles George Smiley more than anyone else in all the fiction I've read or watched in 50 years.

28:

Wrong. I can't do a le Carre pastiche because (a) he's a very fine writer, and (b) "Declare" by Tim Powers exists.

29:

A) I don't see why that means you can't do a pastiche, but note my comment about Angleton in #27.
B) I'm taking that as a recommendation thanks.

30:

Dan Goodman @21:
I'd like to see one where the crime is illicitly reviving the dead.

"Frankenstein" as a Police Procedural?

Errol Cavit @24:
Seems like Tor's being a little backwards letting those registered know about the week delay and not mentioning it on the site. I suppose it's an attempt to get more people registered. Sure I could, but I'm not in the habit of signing up for stuff unless I absolutely have to.

paws4thot @27:
I haven't read the guy, but have been getting old paperbacks of the Smiley books. I was planning on starting on them soon, but will have to wait till after "The Apocalypse Codex" Haven't read my copy of "Declare" yet, either.
Curse my slow reading.

31:

Charlie, as someone who lives in the America you so perfectly described, the book didn't need an afterword. You did an perfect job of describing the nightmare we live with daily. Just substitute "global warming" or "the economy" or "terrorism" for the novel's Big Bad and it stops being fiction. Any comments you made would have been redundant.

The book was glorious. It hit home so hard that there were times I had to stop reading, and I came close to putting the book down permanently because you'd pushed my buttons so hard and aroused my own emotions over the real threat to my country to such an ugly level

You trolled America dude. It was excellent! It went up to eleven!

32:

Charlie, I have an old V-shaped MS keyboard which I'll happily send you. It's got a PS-2 connector, but adapters are cheap.

33:

* Rolls eyes *

I use laptops and tablets exclusively. A keyboard bigger/heavier than my mobile office is not terribly useful. Even before we get into the Microsoft-free-zone thing.

34:

The ergonomically important thing is that you don't bend your wrist at the angle required to address a small laptop keyboard. The V-shaped keyboards allow you to keep your wrists straight and this massively cuts down on wrist/hand pain and repetitive strain injuries.

What I'm offering is the chance to try this approach with a free keyboard, sent to your PO Box without your paying for shipping. You can attach it temporarily to your laptop, and if it doesn't reduce your pain you recycle it. (And I'll shut up about this now.)

BTW, I use Linux exclusively at home, and got the MS keyboard when a friend gave me some of his old junk. I don't buy anything from MS either!

35:

If you accidentally drift off for whatever reason during the panel and Stuart MacBride turns to you as if to solicit your opinion on the matter he just spoke, the matter you didn't quite catch, ask him: "In what way?"

36:

Semi-seriously, Angleton went through an English Public School, and a retired George Smiley investigated a murder at an English Public School. It could almost be a non-Laundry story, though Le Carre's A Murder of Quality does have intelligence connections in the history of some characters.

37:

While we're singing Le Carre's praises, I recently read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy for the first time and was blown away. 40 years later, it still evokes the cold war in a visceral way few novels have. Perhaps there's also the meta-context of knowing that the things these characters (all based on real people) fought and sacrificed so much of their personal lives for, became meaningless 20 years later.

Highly recommend the recent movie adaptation of TTSS as well. They changed a few things to fit it into a movie but still brilliantly done, and has just about every notable male British actor alive, so the performances are incredible as well.

38:

Agreed. I saw the movie, and that prompted me to read Tinker Tailor. Great book.

As for keyboards and so forth, Charlie, I strongly hope you stay sane and moderately healthy. Sometimes I seem to see sentences written by the carpal tunnels, and they're not the best parts of your stories.

39:

Old time typists were trained to hold their hands above the keyboard to use more force on the nu-powered keys. My mom worked in a large room full of typists and was paid by the word. She never heard of carpal tunnel. She did see a librarian use a then new computer and said she could not see how any one could keep typing with their hands down. It seems they can not.
A lot of years ago my carpenter dad had carpal tunnel surgery. The Doc said it was no big thing. It ruined him. Most of his carpenter friends who had it done were also worse than before. But it was back in the 70's. I would get one done at a time. And not the good hand first. >br>Old time crime stories hardy ever had bodies. Now they always do and the worst shape they ate in the more the publisher thinks will be sold. I think. NO MORE STEALING THE OLD RING AT THE LADY'S PARTY.

40:

Alex, I type on a laptop keyboard without needing to bend my wrists. After using one of the V-keyboards for many years, I learned to stagger the bend of my fingers on the home row of a laptop. It's much more comfortable than curling your wrists around, and it doesn't slow down my typing speed. If I need to reach for a far key like the '6' or '7', I have to move a little bit from the elbow, but it's a small movement.

Your pinky fingers will be pretty tightly curled, and your pointer finger nearly fully extended when on the 'j' and 'f' keys. Otherwise, your position is the same for an ergonomic keyboard.

41:

I just tried that and it seems like it would work. I'm a little surprised that nobody has ever made a V-shaped laptop keyboard - it would probably work very well on a 15-inch model.

42:

I wondered if Angleton sparkles in sunlight?

No thanks, you go and look...

43:

You should, Declare is teh awsum, as I believe the youth of today say.

44:

I will second the movie recommendation and add that the scene with the bee In the the car was cinematic genius - the complete revelation of a mans character ,intelligence and working methods , in a few seconds of mainly inaction

45:

"Declare" didn't impress me much, though I didn't hate it either. Powers did get the angst right, but he doesn't have Le Carre's light, deft touch with language. Le Carre is the Aikido master of the English language - it's all technique and know-how; there's no force at all but it still hurls you across the room. Powers didn't come within a million miles of reproducing that. He was obviously aiming for "The Honourable Schoolboy" rather than anything else Le Carre wrote, but he didn't quite get it.

IMHO Charlie should go for a Le Carre-type novel, but he shouldn't say he's doing so.

46:

Just started re-reading tinker tailor this week funnily enough.

47:

J le Carre
NO
I tried reading "A smaal town in Germany"
Seriously boring & tedious.

48:

Teh yoof ob 2dai wood also sez az "Twitlite" R teh awsum.

Enough said on using youth as a barometer of good?

49:

Perhaps there's also the meta-context of knowing that the things these characters (all based on real people) fought and sacrificed so much of their personal lives for, became meaningless 20 years later.

Just maybe the behind the scenes battles these folks fought prevented us from tossing nukes that folks like Curtis LeMay seemed to think was a good way to resolve out conflicts.

50:

If he refuses to do so.... quit

Most people are not in a {financial, emotional, career situations, ...} position to take such a stand.

I had a discussion along these lines yesterday with my daughter. I told her if her real goal was to use her current job to bankroll her plans for the next few years then she needs to suck it up, make happy face, and do a decent job till she walks. Or just decide to be miserable.

51:

In many (most?,almost all?) academic environments the non academic job holders are considered serfs to do the bidding of the landed gentry.

52:

I do 60 wpm using 2 fingers.
At a push I suspect I could do a similar rate with chopsticks duct taped to my wrists.

53:

To be fair to Le Carre, I think Small Town is amongst the least of his good books. But Tinker Tailor, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People are outstanding. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold is also worth reading (and extremely bleak).

Another vote of approval for Ben Aaronovitch's Folly series, and also the audiobooks read by Kobna Holbrook-Smith. If only there were audiobooks of the Launday series (not that I can think who would be a good voice actor for Bob. Martin Freeman maybe).

54:

Isn't that how it should be? The dog wags the tail. Universities are supposed to be about the production, storage and propagation of knowledge. Everything else is just catering.

(I'd count librarians as academics in this sense.)

55:

"The Little Drummer Girl" is also very good.

56:

In many (most?,almost all?) academic environments the non academic job holders are considered serfs to do the bidding of the landed gentry.

Oh, don't I know it. Even the academic jobs these days are a sort of serfdom. A lot of universities and colleges have gotten rid of the tenure track, so all professors are there for limited terms. Saves money, you see. They end up not having to pay pensions or provide cost-of-living wage increases for the old geezers who have been there for 30 years, because there aren't any! That it turns academics into gypsies, wandering the country, offering to perform obscure and esoteric tasks for a bit of coin before moving on is a feature, not a bug.

The library Director decided I had a negative attitude, and so restructured my department, redefining my job out from under me. This meant that when it came time for my evaluation, it looked like I hadn't been doing my job, even though I had been working my butt off on systems projects all year.

When my contract came up for renewal she declined, on the grounds that there was no longer a position to offer me, and because I hadn't published or been to any conferences, so I was not contributing academically, and therefore moving me to another position was out of the question.

57:

If this were a forum then "potential actors to play film / audiobook versions of the laundry files novels would be an excellent topic...

58:

That's certainly what many of them would like us to believe. I think it's worth retaining some skepticism after hearing Le Carre's anecdote about the time MI 6 put itching powder in the men's room at a conference.

59:

In which the real heroes of the Cold War were the defectors and double agents.

60:

I've read that many of Le Carre's terms were so good they became real life. The our present is from the Cold War. Some great historian said after WW-2 there were wars every 30 or so when enough new soldiers had grown to be used up. The A-bomb and its Cold War stopped that. The best book on what was really going on is Peter Wright's “Spy Catcher.” A lot of you will not like the facts about the old S.U.

61:

I've always had a suspicion that was the case. They seemed to be the peacekeepers, not letting one side get a supposed advantage, though that wasn't necessarily their intention.

62:

Not any more they aren't. Firstly you don't want teh plebs getting access to information. Secondly someone has to do the research and it had better be my company that benefits and not our competitors, so lets get all legal. Thirdly universities actually exist to maximise the opportunities their management have for the exercise of power. This whole knowledge discovering, keeping and education thing is old fashioned, the modern university tells you what you aught to know, charges you for the privilege and certainly doesn't want to find anything unknown. Useful things, of course we want to know them because they can be monetised, but as for things we don't know, forget it.

63:

Please take some time to preview your posts before posting -- it's not a race to see who can post the fastest.

That's not just to guthrie, so please don't feel singled out.

64:

I've never read / wasn't aware of those second two writer's works until looking up on Wiki, after just finishing TAC. Which gave me a couple of extra post hoc laughs. All the tech, geek stuff and "other place" horror is good of course but I like the dry humour that's present too. Cheers Charlie.

65:

As in, I'd wondered what the joke was with the name Bashful Incendiary til Wiki'd.

66:

I tried reading " A small own in Germany" too. I also found it incredibly dull. Same thing for "The Little Drummer Girl". Didn't manage to finish it either.

On the other hand I enjoyed "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy", The Honourable Schoolboy, The Tailor of Panama, and The Constant Gardener and I really loved the short stories collected as "The Secret Pilgrim".

68:

FWIW, I've been getting occasional "500 Internal Server Error" messages after hitting Submit, though the comments are posted.

69:

Actually, an illicit revival is part of Bujold's CRYOBURN (which starts out fairly interesting, devolves into Caper Mode, and then ends with...a ten ton sledgehammer into your brain). A somewhat imbalanced book, but one that delves into the ethics of corpsicle manufacture and maintenance (especially the financial side) in an extremely subversive way.

70:

There may be a genetic thing going on here as well - check out Nick Garroway (Le Carre's son) - I finished "The Gone-Away War" last week and plowed straight into "Angelmaker" after that (it's just in front of "The Apocalypse Codex" on my Kindle list). Garroway has a very engaging writing style with some similarity to OGH.

71:

This apocalypse codex... It is , as theysay 'the awsm'

72:

That was more of a stream of consciousness thing, not quite up to dbrown standards.

73:

There's a difference between a decent employer / employee relationship than the landed gentry / serf relationship.

I live in a college town. (Actually I'm surrounded by them.) There are a lot of decent folks who I know who teach at the local universities. There are also a lot of profs who then theirs doesn't stink due to their position. Many of these truly believe they are "better" than the rift raft that aren't profs.

74:

You're performing the classic blunder of treating a large organization as if it had a single mind and a single goal. What has really happened, at least in Canada, is that the bureaucratic factions have expanded, and a new MBA faction has appeared and waxed strong, which weakens the students who just want to learn and the profs who just want to research and teach proportionately. The counter is to explicitly reject the ideas that MBA thinking is the appropriate model for running a university, and that universities are worker factories, rather than trying to defend a fundamentally noncommercial sphere of life in commercial terms.

75:

Arrg.
than -> and
then -> think

76:

Any pointer to what you found?

I tried wikipedia and all I found was a character actor who started in films early 1900s who had two films in his filmography, one with the word Incendiary in he title, and one with the word Bashful...

77:

That's not my experience (a couple of Russell Group universities, a polytechnic and two "new universities", plus a lifetime as the son of a senior academic).

78:

Bashful Incendiary - a modest blaze - Modesty Blaise.

79:

Thanks!

However: What I'm interested in is reviving the dead-dead. And I thought Cryoburn was about people in suspended animation.

80:

Reviving the dead-dead can potentially be accomplished by a number of routes - all of which (probably) require PostHuman technologies. See my URL.

81:

Just read "A Tall Tail" on tor.com

You have been lurking on the arocket list, haven't you, Charlie...

82:

I assumed the pipeline.corante.com blog; the "Things I Won't Work With" posts bring the most fascinating stories out of the woodwork, and if they weren't professional chemists you'd be ringing the nearest Special Branch. ",)

83:

No, no, the Things I Won' Work With guy (and just reading John Clark's "Ignition") are required starters, but the twistedness of this story idea (and the chemicals involved) seem arocket-y.

Charlie's "Red Mercury" is nice, but actually pales in comparison in several aspects to the actual current winner of the "Most Awful Propellant" informal contest we rocket folks have had. John Schilling and myself came up with it about a decade ago; Ozone-13.

Oxygen-13 is a short term (minute-ish half-life) isotope of Oxygen. It's notably lighter, and therefore better propellant, than normal Oxygen-16. It decays into a Nitrogen isotope...

Ozone is a hazardous, corrosive, toxic, and unstable explosive oxidizer, O3. Liquid ozone has been considered for rockets, and fired. But it has a tendency to explode.

Ozone-13 therefore is radioactive, corrosive, toxic, unstable explosive rocket oxidizer. But wait, it gets better.

The decay product of O-13, N-13, will create molecules of NO2 when the radioactive decay happens.

As any barking mad rocket scientist knows, Ozone and NO2 are hypergolic with each other. They react instantly, on contact, in a violent reaction.

Most of the type hypergolic reactions are good in rocketry. It makes for smoother ignition and burning and avoids hard starts and several failure modes.

What they are NOT good for, is as the radioactive decay product of the propellant itself...

ESPECIALLY when the propellant itself is hazardous, corrosive, toxic, and unstably explosive.

By current acclaim this is the absolute worst rocket propellant that might actually work that anyone has thought of so far. A number of other propellants are more corrosive, more toxic, more unstable or explosive, or radioactive, but not all of them at the same time, with hypergolicity with its own decay product thrown in.

Charlie's story fits into the same vein as my later pure-joke Poly-Acetyl-Ozone. PAO (HOOOCCH). See:
http://www.retro.com/hooocch/acezone.html

Neither his Red Mercury nor HOOOCCH actually have any chance of really working. But they make good stories if done right 8-)

84:

My favorite is liquid ozone with liquid acetylene

85:

Tom Swift used ozone as rocket fuel in "Tom Swift and his Rocket Ship" way back in 1952, back when rocket men were rocket Men. Good times ;-)

Speaking of absolutely insane fuel combinations in the service of maximal performance, iirc there was a proposal back in a happier era for a plane fueled by the fission of atmospheric ozone. Touted as able to cruise at high altitudes for months on end between touchdowns. Funded by the military, of course. I don't recall if depletion of our planetary UV shield ever came up as an issue.

86:

Not enough energy density

87:

As long as the Laundry movies are directed by Joss Whedon I'm good.

88:

Dirk:

My favorite is liquid ozone with liquid acetylene

This is regrettably not bugfuck-crazy (at least, regrettably in this conversation).

Yes, if you use the pure substances it's bugfuck crazy. But Ozone's nasty habits can be tamed with moderate (20-30%) additions of LOX, and liquid acetylene's nasty habits can be tamed with moderate (10-30%) additions of liquid hydrocarbons (propane is probably a good one, methane or ethane may be better performance, trade space is not sufficiently worked to be sure).

Ozone with oxygen's primary problem is that you have to keep it subcooled. LOX boils at 90K; Ozone at 161K. If you warm the mixture up past 90K you start losing gaseous oxygen out of it, so the ozone concentration slowly creeps up. Eventually, it's not stabilized anymore, and then if you're not careful WHAM, it can kaboom. If not for that, it would likely have been used as a performance enhancer on production rockets already.

89:

If you want nasty rocket fuels start with FOOF !!

90:

Oh holy Hell; that's a prizewinner, alright. A bomb whose detonation timer relates to its constituent's half-life wins pretty much everything. ",)

91:

Minor corrections...

My memory is apparently slightly faded. From:
http://yarchive.net/space/rocket/fuels/ozone.html

Frank Crary was also there and involved in the discussion, in addition to John Schilling and myself. I was getting my isotopes slightly wrong; O-13 is 8.6 milliseconds half-life; O-14 is about 70 sec and O-15 is about 120 seconds. So Ozone-13 is not going to be produceable, Ozone-14 and -15 on the edge of so.

Also, I inverted the stability of Ozone/LOX. It's above 30% Ozone in the mixture that is explosive, not below 30% LOX.

My apologies for the detail mistakes. I should have google searched rather than trust my own memory. Fortunately, I am not so daft as to actually work with Ozone or radioactive oxygen isotopes, so there was little to keep the precise details fully in front-brain.

92:

ERR, off subject, but speaking of bugfuck-crazy... GOP Opposes Critical Thinking
Party platform paints original ideas as a liberal conspiracy
BY RICHARD WHITTAKER, 1:17PM, WED. JUN. 27

Who needs a frontal lobe anyway? Texas GOP platform opposes critical thinking.
It's official: The Republican Party of Texas opposes critical thinking. That's right, drones, and it's part of their official platform.
One of our eagle-eyed readers emailed us to point out this unbelievable passage in the RPT 2012 platform, as adopted at their recent statewide conference.
"Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority." http://www.austinchronicle.com/blogs/news/2012-06-27/gop-opposes-critical-thinking/

93:

That should be Nick Harkaway. Based on your recommendation, I tried "Miss Edie Investigates", and have now moved on to "Angelmaker".

94:

Actually, the only real candidate in this contest is the good old combination of Fluorine and Hydrogen. It does have the merit of a) actually being better than anything currently in use (some 5.3-5.5 km/s instead of 4.5km/s for Hydrogen and LOX), b) not turning into harmless compounds upon burning and c) being actually feasible.

You also only need half the amount of hydrogen that you would need if you burn it with LOX. So, what's not to like?

95:

Sorry, I got an error message on my first attempt to post.

96:

Spam alert.
"High School Diploma" @98, clearly spam.
GED mill? Considering how badly it's written, I wonder if whoever (or whatever) wrote it was a customer.

97:

There's a lot to recommend chlorine trifluoride:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlorine_trifluoride

"It is, of course, extremely toxic, but that's the least of the problem. It is hypergolic with every known fuel, and so rapidly hypergolic that no ignition delay has ever been measured. It is also hypergolic with such things as cloth, wood, and test engineers, not to mention asbestos, sand, and water — with which it reacts explosively. It can be kept in some of the ordinary structural metals — steel, copper, aluminum, etc. — because of the formation of a thin film of insoluble metal fluoride which protects the bulk of the metal, just as the invisible coat of oxide on aluminum keeps it from burning up in the atmosphere. If, however, this coat is melted or scrubbed off, and has no chance to reform, the operator is confronted with the problem of coping with a metal-fluorine fire. For dealing with this situation, I have always recommended a good pair of running shoes."

98:

BASHFUL DWARF was one of the terrorists convicted after Operation Crevice (related to the 7/7 bombings). Almost certainly unrelated to Charlie's code-name.

99:

I wonder: did SNEEZY DWARF evade capture?

100:

A lot except for the Chlorine atom, which makes the exhaust gas heavier and thus reduces specific impulse. Also, molecular fluorine isn't that much more amenable to combinations with just about any material, especially those that happen to belong to your body.

101:

Miscellaneous off topic comment.
One thing that pisses me off in fantasy stories (and the LOTR movies) are archers being told to "fire".

102:

What would the proper command have been?

103:

"Loose"?

105:

I was going to say Fluorine was good. Well it would have frosted glass for miles around. You know the the reason for all that weird was at the time bombs were big, heavy and inaccurate and needed bombers.
The S.U.'s dry lithium hydride H-bomb made ICBMS a real tool. With that big a bang it did not have to be accurate But nobody ever went for the weird stuff. Liquid oxygen/nitric acid and kerosene/alcohol was good enough for the real world.
And now America is so nuts its going to work on accurate small sized small nukes. They can use A softer power. The old bomb people worked long and hard to keep them so big they would not be used. But they are dead or out of power with the Star Wars types in power.
AN American working on ack ack scooped up some road tar and made the first safe solid rockets. Now using some kind of liquid oxygen to make a controllable solid fuel rocket is the new thing. I like the green, wax bi-fuel one.
FYI G. Harry Stine was there and wrote a very useful book called just "ICBM" If you are into real history it seems good.

106:

Is this a random text generator?

107:

Not enough energy density

I'm not sure what you mean here or if "energy density" is even relevant. When O3 decomposes to O2 about 143 kj/mol are liberated, according to the wiki. That's a bit abstract for me, so let's compare it to something like propane; wiki says something like 2200 kj/mol for the enthalpy of combustion which doesn't sound right. Ah, got it, jet fuel is better approximated by something like decane, enthalpy of combustion about 6800 kj/mol. So you can say that standard jet fuel is about 50 times as "energy dense" as ozone.

But those figures don't tell me a whole lot: Convert from moles to grams and jet fuel has an energy density of 48 kj/g, ozone about 3 kj/gm. By this metric, jet fuel is only 16 times as "energy dense" as ozone. Going by volume the figures change yet again, and this time the performance gap widens, and widens a lot. Jet fuel is after all a liquid and ozone is a gas; since it's being harvested in situ from the ozone layer it's not even at STP.

108:

I do wonder on occasion.

dbrown, what do you mean "its going to work on accurate small sized small nukes"? Did you not notice the development of the backpack nuke a few decades back? As in the late 1950s?

109:

So how much ozone can an aircraft suck up in flight? Enough to keep it aloft?

110:

Takke cross section of engine intake (oh, let's say 10 square metres).

Multiply by distance flown per second (say 500 metres for something going decently supersonic).

You've now got 5000 cubic metres a second, which is 5 million litres.

The actual relative concentration of ozone in the ozone layer is 10 ppm. So that's 50 litres of pure ozone gas equivalent.

I'll let you continue the rest. Don't forget to allow for lower air density because of the altitude required - 20 km up means it's going to be pretty thin. As to how you extract that ozone from everything else, well, wave your hands a bit and it'll surely all work out.

111:

I believe I've seen fire used for archers in contemporary sources.

112:

Just a guess, but I think it's a reference to CEP - the more accurate your delivery system, the smaller the device it needs to carry. You only really nead a Tsar Bomba if you think you might miss.

113:

Well yes, I did "notice the development of the backpack nuke a few decades back?" My point was why they even looked at what they knew were bugfuck crazy but power full fuels.
The Cold War Green Berets drilled in carrying backpack nukes into the old S.U. They even worked on a donkey with a bomb pack and a guidance systemic wired into its head. In tests it worked.
People like Freeman Dyson and Luis Alvarez were proud to get them recalled as making the bomb too easy to use. Now there is talk of making them cruise missile size. Something the old cold warriors worked hard to stop at the time. Yes, that matters and should be known.

114:

D brown:

One, you aren't being entirely coherent.

Two, compact nuclear weapons date to the late 1950s. The more modern ones are physically bigger than ones built in the 60s through early 70s. More modern ones are bigger to be safer in accidents. Cruise missiles have had nuclear warheads since the 1950s (Regulus / Matador etc). The current ALCM nuclear cruise missile on US bombers uses the W80-1 thermonuclear warhead derived from the B61 bomb desigh, whose primary was tested in the late 1950s and which was produced in the early 1960s and on, and is still in service now. It's 13 by 32 inches, roughly, and 250 lbs.

115:

"I believe I've seen fire used for archers in contemporary sources."

Is not fire derived from the phrase "give fire", which in turn comes from applying a lit fuse to the pan or fuse of a gunpowder weapon?

In other words, it is an anachronism - it would not have been known at all before the use of gunpowder weapons (early European cannons date from the 11th to the 13th centuries), would not have been in wide use before the mass adoption of them (the arquebus, 15th/16th centuries), and would not have been applied to an entirely different type of weapon (the bow) at all.

116:

From the Online Etymology Dictionary (etymonline.com):
fire c.1200, furen, figurative, "arouse, excite;" literal sense of "set fire to" is from late 14c., from fire (n.). The O.E. verb fyrian "to supply with fire" apparently did not survive into M.E. The sense of "sack, dismiss" is first recorded 1885 in Amer.Eng. (earlier "throw (someone) out" of some place, 1871), probably from a play on the two meanings of discharge: "to dismiss from a position," and "to fire a gun," fire in the second sense being from "set fire to gunpowder," attested from 1520s. Of bricks, pottery, etc., from 1660s. Related: Fired; firing. Fired up "angry" is from 1824. Firing squad is attested from 1904.

117:

You may be thinking of translations done by people who weren't experts in military technology (or whose copy-editors weren't- anyone can write something that sounds right to them). There are a lot of those out there, because literary scholars are often vague on the material details of the societies they study.

118:

So this just came up http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/jul/21/chemputer-that-prints-out-drugs

Using a cheap 3d printer and "a bathroom sealant" (I'm guessing silicone caulking) they made a series of chambers/connections, fill it up with reagents and off you go, one of the tricks is that the space the reactions take place in can be modified so as to help the process along.

So my thought is: given cheap 3d printer being used to fabricate miniature chemical labs, and normal hardware store supplies to build them/etc. how the heck will drug policy deal with this stuff? Will I have to show my drivers license to buy silicone caulking at the store?

119:

Oh, they'll just have some other way of bothering us, like conviction on blood sample or similar - ignore policing of production and concentrate on possession/use.

120:

I'm interested in your statement regarding European cannons from the 11th to 13th centuries - as far as I am aware the earliest evidence is the 14th century. The pot with arrow in it illustration is 1320's or so, and by the 1330's you can find mention of purchase of the ingredients of blackpowder in accounts. Who was using cannon earlier than that?

121:

Sorry, brain fart while typing - I should have typed 13th to 14th (starting in Spain, late 13th).

122:

The Chinese. There is a depiction of someone using a hand cannon in Sichuan in the 13th century and in the century before that they were using black powder for other types of weapons.

123:

#114 I was not talking about the old 1950, 60s Regulus /Matados cruise missiles. I read one of them “passed” the military tests by dropping as it was launched. Till someone outside the project found out and its program was killed. They have been dead for many years.
It is the new in use cruise missiles I am talking about. I read there was talk then about making new smaller nukes for the new missiles as they were being designed. And that it was shouted down for making it too easy to think about using a nuke bomb. I have read there is talk again of making new smaller nukes for today’s cruise missiles as the old guard that hated small nukes passes on. They worked hard ending the idea of smaller nukes for making there use too tempting. All I said was I said I read about it. I did. In any case your coherent point is? #118 WOW Brave new world anyone? WOW!!!And the first thing people think of is dope. So this just came up http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/jul/21/chemputer-that-prints-out-drugs"

124:

It pisses off modern archers too (not one myself, but had a classmate at uni who was). Apparently the correct term is "loose". "Fire" obviously wouldn't have made sense before the invention of cannon.

125:

I cannot recall the wording of the order in the LOTR book, but if Tolkein did write "fire" then he either made a serious mistake or was implying that somewhere in the history of Middle Earth there were guns.

126:

Gunpowder in Europe (The Chinese had worked out black-powder by the mid 800's)
Roger Bacon, approx 1250 attested to witnessing firecrackers, probably imported via the Mongols, from China.
Also used by the Arabs (again imported knowledge from the Mongols - recorded as being used in Spain approx 1264 ....
Guns were certainly used at Crecy, 1346

127:

I think he also has someone "meandering" at some point, a far more serious error. While there might well be guns hidden somewhere in the unexplored recesses of Tolkien's pseudohistory, his world certainly doesn't contain the river Maeander.

128:

It is the new in use cruise missiles I am talking about. I read there was talk then about making new smaller nukes for the new missiles as they were being designed. And that it was shouted down for making it too easy to think about using a nuke bomb.

I suggest you try looking up the Davy Crocket unit at some time when your blood pressure will handle it; that was built in the late 1950s. There was a very nice government documentary video about it, showing its test firing remarkably close to friendly troops at Ivy Flats, which you can watch on the net.

129:

He might if it is set in the far future

130:

Yes I know. Sometimes this place is a kind of machine in which you enter a topic and answers are spewed out, whether or not they are entirely relevant.

post number 128 is spam.

131:

While Tolkien's Middle-earth wouldn't have contained those words, LotR and "the Hobbit" themselves are implicitly translated (or at least linguistically modernised) from the Red Book of Westmarch. So you could claim, in JRRT's defence, that he was simply using the descriptions that he expected his readers to be more familiar with.

On the other hand, given the total failure of most of Middle-earth to make any sense as a social or economic construct, what are a few misplaced words?

132:

I cannot recall the wording of the order in the LOTR book, but if Tolkein did write "fire" then he either made a serious mistake or was implying that somewhere in the history of Middle Earth there were guns.

I think that's a pretty obvious read from TH. Gandalf has "the best" fireworks, right? And what about that scene in the caves when goblins came out of the woodwork? IIRC, the wording went something like 'But Gandalf was not caught napping. There was a great flash and a terrible roar and several Goblins fell down all at once.'

What do you want to bet that close examination of Gandalf's "Staff of Power" would have found a hole (or several holes) in it :-)

133:

So how much ozone can an aircraft suck up in flight? Enough to keep it aloft?

I'll let you continue the rest. Don't forget to allow for lower air density because of the altitude required - 20 km up means it's going to be pretty thin. As to how you extract that ozone from everything else, well, wave your hands a bit and it'll surely all work out.

This is one of those Big Ideas that sounds crazy at first, then maybe plausible on the strength of a few BOTECS (and the implacable menace that is Communism, of course), and hey, it's Big, so why not check it out? Then you find out it's not crazy enough.

Yes, the air is thin and ozone doesn't compare all that well to jet fuel on a per mass or per volume basis. But air is free and unlimited. Now if you can just pump the reaction rate high enough with the right catalyst, maybe you could overcome drag . . .

If you think I'm getting in a sidewise swipe at the Bussard interstellar ramjet, you'd be right ;-)

134:

In fact the Davy Crockett was one of the things that was happily killed as something that could be used too easily. That's why arming the new cruse with small nukes was shouted down. Then! But how about now? I think it was Freeman Dyson who wrote of this. But I am not going to go to the trouble of looking it up. Whats the big deal here. That people who were in the nuke establishment back in the 60's were trying to keep the world from being blown up? Well they are old and out of power now anyway.
Hmm. Lots of ozone down here you know. Naaa.

135:

You mean aliens with a Bussard ramscoop would swoop up half of all our ozone in one single pass in order to fuel up? Then the other aliens chasing them would swoop up the rest?

136:

Setting up a production line for extraction and reforming Plutonium and other interesting metals into new smaller warheads would cost what would be even today eye watering amounts of money. They are no longer allowed to build these plants without a plan for taking them apart later. I suspect the ruckus over the money alone would be heard from here to the UK without amplifying aids.

One of the reasons the US maintains its current stockpile of warheads is the systems are already in place to deal with them "as is". Taking them apart costs way more than just maintaining. So you have a combination of cutting spending and maintaining our superpower stance acting to keep the current levels steady. When we (the US) does take some apart it is typically because they cost more to maintain than keep on the shelf. But taking apart for "forever" storage is not the same at recycling for new warheads.

But at times I am considered to be overly optimistic on these topics.

137:

D brown:


In fact the Davy Crockett was one of the things that was happily killed as something that could be used too easily. That's why arming the new cruse with small nukes was shouted down. Then!

W53 variants and the Davy Crockett's functional replacements, the various nuclear artillery shells, were in service past 1990.

The cruise missiles of the 1970s were all armed with B61 variants (W80, W84). Only about twice the size of W53, due to their thermonuclear second stage.

It's not publicly known for sure, but B61's primary and the W53 were very close to the same size and yield and developed over the same late 1950s timeline. W53 design may still be in use today...

138:

It takes about as much Plutonium to make a small nuke as a big one. The difference are things like Tritiun boosting and having a thermonuclear stage.

139:

I was referring to the costs for building a production line for taking apart plutonium and other bits then reworking them in new weapons. Not the amounts of plutonium itself.

The EPA and environmental impact studies would be tied up in courts for years. After spending $billions on them. Assuming you can find a new site for such a plant or figure out how to site it on land used for old plants.

140:

On both sides. IIRC, Soviet artillery of 122mm and upwards was capable of firing chemical weapons; 152mm and upwards could fire nuclear.

There were two problems with Davy Crockett - the first was that the launch system only had a couple of km range, so you needed to find a convenient hill to hide behind as you fired. Secondly, it gave nuclear release authority out to Second Lieutenants :( As soon as they had a package that could be reliably banged out of long-range artillery, they binned it.

You have to remember the sheer weight of numbers that the Group of Soviet Forces Germany had over NATO forces. According to Dad, when they wargamed a Soviet attack in the 60s/70s, the Tactical nuclear weapons started to fly after the first few days (it being the only way to halt the advance). By the 80s, it was apparently taking a couple of weeks (technology was perceived as making the difference). By the 90s, the shortcomings of Soviet kit were becoming apparent.

141:

The first problem is not quite as bad as you make out (but a shallow trench would not be an unreasonable precaution). The second...yeah. I've heard before that the brass wanted decisions made rather higher up the chain of command than the guy who happened to be ass-deep in Russian Army that day.

142:

"that's why arming the new cruse with small nukes was shouted down." OK it was shouted at not down. My years old memory was off. But the then new cruse was a smaller bomb. Are there any now? Not suppose to be. They were withdrawn. What I read I read there was talk to make smaller, more "usable" nukes for them now.  I still don't think the Davy Crockett was in the same league.

143:

D brown:


But the then new cruse was a smaller bomb. Are there any now? Not suppose to be. They were withdrawn. What I read I read there was talk to make smaller, more "usable" nukes for them now.  I still don't think the Davy Crockett was in the same league.

There are over 500 nuclear ALCM still in service.

What do you mean by "same league?"

144:

I was told 3 days before NATO went nuclear. Also, we only had enough ammunition to fight a full scale invasion at the expected intensity for 2 weeks. Upon a general release down to divisional commanders, expected use of tactical nuclear weapons was some 200 per day on our side.

145:

Over time how long NATO could stand up grew as things like the wire guided anti tank missiles came online. And the Soviets didn't advance all that much technically or logistically compared to the NATO forces after WWII. But like the Chinese in Korea they had the numbers and that would likely have been decisive in terms of the first months if they had attacked.

146:

The Command and Control argument about the Davy Crockett was that it would be controlled by junior personnel, maybe not even an officer (though an SNCO might have been a safer bet).

Maybe modern communication tech, combined with the fusing system, could overcome that. A sufficiently senior officer would have to supply an authorization code. But we're still talking about something that would be very tactical, and you're still depending on junior personnel spotting a significant target, reporting accurately, and the whole system being fast enough that the target is still there.

The USAF did deploy nuclear-warhead air-to-air missiles, about 2kT yield, as a counter to high-flying nuclear-armed bombers. That makes some sense, both because of the target, and because of the control exercised by the air-defence network.

It was not a general opposition to small warheads.

147:

(De-railing from the nuclear exchange, pardon the pun.)

I don't remember Tolkien having any character ever shout "fire" at a group of archers, but I am pretty certain that he uses phrases similiar to "loosing arrows" on a number of occasions.

Also, on the note of "meander", there's a bunch of other words like that in LOTR (and most other fantasy and non-terrestrial based SF) that couldn't really exist in the invented world; however, the only alternative is to have very dull English stripped of these words, or wholly invented terms that mean nothing to the reader. There's actually a preface in my edition of the Asimov novel NIGHTFALL where the author addresses this very problem, and in conclusion says something like: "It doesn't matter what language everyone is speaking, it's the story and characters that are important".

148:

To be honest you've now brought up the problem that biblical literists walk into and refuse to deal with. (I'm not starting a debate about religion, just talking about word usage between eras.) There is NO literal translation for much of what was written 2000 years ago or longer. It just doesn't work to do a word for word substitution. Anyone writing or translating for an era more than a few years removed from current times has to deal with changes in word meanings and audience understanding. And the same issues crop up between languages that are based on differing grammars. Chinese to English is a great for for incomprehension or humor if done word for word.

I suspect a literal word for word translation of Homer and the Iliad into English/German/whatever would be a terrible read. It may not even work into modern Greek.

149:

(Also skirting the religious quagmire carefully...)

I also seem to remember PTerry writing something a few years ago about the skill of the people who translate the Discworld books -- given the volume of humour in DW that relies on linguistics and word-play, it's no mean feat!

150:

The NATO plan was to slowly scale up response until you get to TAC nukes, fired into the soviet bases, airfields and tank columns.
the T72 has a thick layer of lead based 'paint' on it
after the cold war an ex-soviet general explained why.
they were going to nuke us first,
the paint was so they could drive their tanks through the fallout.
I do not miss those days

151:

'Bout that carpal tunnel. I think you get it when your hand is in a certain position, how to describe this. Wrist bent so the fingers are brought toward the tendons on the inside of your wrist. You don't have to be typing to get c.t. from this. It turned out I was sleeping with my hands like that, and as a result I started getting c.t. symptoms from my computer work. Duct tape my hands straight at night and the computer work stopped causing carpal tunnel. My friend was absent-mindedly sitting with her hands like that while listening to piano students; she didn't get it from playing the piano. Unfortunately, iirc once the symptoms present it takes a long time, weeks or months, of not irritating the nerves for them to heal.

152:

Americas nuclear armed cruise missiles were destroyed under the bilateral Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty with the USSR.
,br."What do you mean by "same league?" Err, Davy Crockett pop. Normal nuke BOOOOM? When this started all this I said I read their some people were wanting to make Cruise missiles with smaller nukes, to make them more "useful." I did not like this and wanted others to know. If it it was true at least, as i said I did not know if it was. Then we went to counting other kinds of points. And my original point was lost in the static.
I read that after the old S.U. went down and before the GOP made them an useful enemy again, information showed showed the NATO plans could not have kept them away from the English Channel without going to nukes. In other words they would have won fast with out NATO going nuclear. For what its worth I was part of the sponge that was going to choke their armies till more of us could be flown from America. To save you. It is now known that would not have worked.
Outside the US military there was a WW-2 based civilian nuclear science establishment that I think is mostly gone now. Among other things It had a general opposition to small warheads of the back pack, Crockett, etc kind. It was believed they could make a mind set that could make going to the bomb seem easy. They did seem (I think)to like the Cruise because it had a smaller bomb that could hit a smaller target.
I read the "Command and Control argument about the Davy Crockett" was used by the many small nuke civilians". That did not mean they were the only reason it was dumped. Just that was something they worked for and were happy about.

153:

I believe it's expressly understood all fantasy world settings are being translated into our own terminology. The stylistic concern would be to not use words that feel anachronistic. A Viennese engineer would certainly have drawings of his fortifications and "blueprint" might be a synonym but it would be wholly inappropriate. Likewise, the Japanese have a word, "yatta," which is an exclamation of success, similar to "we did it" or "hooray." Other synonyms could be "eureka" or "cowabunga" which might fit if we're talking modern Japan (being such fans of English, they may be using the actual words!) but would be inappropriate, say, during the Shogunate.

For a fantasy setting, I would try to avoid using words and idioms of modern construction, just to keep the flavor. A traitor would be a traitor, not a Benedict Arnold or Quisling. A bandit would remain a bandit and not a scofflaw since that word is less than a hundred years old. Swords would remain swords, horses would remain horses, but a domesticated riding reptile could called anything that sounds cool.

155:

And forget not the correct fantasy grammar to use, forsooth.

156:

I wonder how long dial will hang on. As in dial a phone. Which for more and more people means pushing an icon on a touch screen. Or punching in a number using a fake or real keypad. But rarely means dialing in the first world. And likely will vanish soon in the rest of the world as the maintenance and power costs of true rotary dial systems just gets too expensive to maintain.

Of course it could hang on for decades or centuries as the way to connect to someone long after someone is living who has actually dialed a phone.

157:

Already gone here, but then it was never used that much: we've been 'ringing' people since we got phones. (",)

158:

I read that

I read the

[Citation required] If you're going to refer to something written in a book or article or whatever to support your argument, just occasionally tell us which book or article or whatever it is.

Without that, we can't assess whether there is any credibility to it, or whether it might be Von Daniken level wild-eyes loony ranting.

Otherwise we may end up assuming you're making up your arguments from whole cloth. 'I read' seems to be one of your favourite phrases, but I have yet to note you ever telling us where. I don't expect every such case to have supporting documentation, but you need to build some credibility.

159:

d brown:


Americas nuclear armed cruise missiles were destroyed under the bilateral Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty with the USSR.

America's ground launched cruise missiles (and USSR SS-20s) were banned and destroyed after the INF treaty, yes. America's air launched cruise missiles, the ALCM (AGM-84B) are still in service (500+ units deployed), all with W80-1 nuclear warheads.

"What do you mean by "same league?" Err, Davy Crockett pop. Normal nuke BOOOOM? When this started all this I said I read their some people were wanting to make Cruise missiles with smaller nukes, to make them more "useful." I did not like this and wanted others to know. If it it was true at least, as i said I did not know if it was. Then we went to counting other kinds of points. And my original point was lost in the static.

The B61 bomb (which is the parent family from which the W80 and several other weapons descend) tactical models (Mod 3, 4, and 10) has a selectable yield range including 0.3, 1.5, 5, 10, and larger up to 170 kiloton yields. The 300 ton (0.3 kt) yield is about 15 times bigger than Davy Crockett's 10 or 20 tons but is still quite small. The variable yield components never made it into the W80 but they could, or a B61-10 could be mated with W80 fuzing systems if someone wanted to.

That said, there is NO western modern (post-2000) new nuclear cruise missile program. The last one was the Advanced Cruise Missile (AGM-129), which was supposed to replace the ALCM but was in fact taken out of service due to reliability issues a few years ago. It did not introduce any new warhead and used plain W80-1 warheads. There's no other program going right now, other than an ALCM life extension program to keep them in service until 2030.

I hate that this thread has descended this far and long into nuclear techwankery, but really. It's been very hard to tell what you were trying to communicate in the thread, and what you think you know seems to mostly be wrong. You seem to be conflating a number of arguments about cruise missiles (NOT banned, only ground launched ones) and small "more usable" tactical nuclear weapons.

160:

These missiles have been "mothballed" and placed in storage." from that posted http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruise_missile#Nuclear_warhead_versions.
"'I read'" A LOT. AND HAVE FOR YEARS. I sometimes give trunk loads of books away from lack of room. I am a reader and not defending my testes. My own opinions from from MY life do not need citations. When I say "I read it means just that." I know I can be wrong, memory can be wrong and that new facts come out of history. That should be clear. This is not ion a school class. Often the old agreed on history is much preferred over simple facts that were and are not in fashion. Then or now. And if it matters I have always made my way with tools and work. Not long schooling. The way I write something simply may not be the way you learned. You may not like what I think or the way I write it. But it is not from going along to get along.

161:

I read that some were wanting to rearm Cruise missiles with smaller, more “useful” nukes. I did not like that and was trying to tell people and find out the truth. I was tired misspoke about the first cruise missile having nukes. I was wrong and knew better. Why is this so hot and needs so many negative posts is beyond me. Unless they are reading what they think I said for some kind of political believes. If I am wrong about something important say so. But why bother with what is being posted? I have only been responding to posts that are off subject. And getting personal. Its time for some to take a deep breath and for all to move on

162:

we've been 'ringing' people since we got phones.

And just how long since you or anyone you know used a phone with an actual mechanical bell inside of it? And a chip that generates a bell sounding tone doesn't count. :)

Says he with two Western Electric touch tone handsets from the 80s sitting in a box. I guess I keep saving them to use when the EMP from a nuke takes out all my normal phones. And the Strowger Step-by-Step system at the phone CO will still be working also. Yep.

163:

Speaking of Blog SPAM. (We were at one point right?)

Here's something that tried to post on a blog I work with. Someone forgot to configure their SPAM generator.
So here's the generic feed through a random number generator to generate fake meaningful sentences.

I am {trying|annoying|tiresome|irritating|wearisome|frustrating} to {build|shape|size|figure|body|physique|form|dimensions} a blog as {part|share|portion|fragment|slice|chunk|amount} of a project, and I {have|must|need|obligate|require|ought to|be necessary} {been|remained|stood|stayed|be situated|be located|be present|be there|existed|lived} {told|expressed|said|voiced|communicated|stated|articulated} not use blogger or any of the blog {building|structure|construction|edifice|house|shop|erection|office block|constructing} websites, {Requirement|Obligation|Condition|Prerequisite|Must|Necessity|Constraint} is to get {access|admission|admittance|entr�e|entree|contact|right of entry|right to use|entrance|entry} to my blog {privately|confidentially|secretly|clandestinely|surreptitiously|in confidence|in private|in secret|behind closed doors} {without|deprived of|lacking|wanting|short of|starved of} {using|by|by means of|with|via|consuming|expending|spending|exhausting} any {public|community|civic|communal|municipal|free} {site|place|location|spot|position|put|position|place|situate|locate|establish} that {requires|needs|necessitates|wants|entails|involves|have need of|call for|obliges|compels} me to log on to them {before|beforehand|earlier|previously|already|formerly} i get to my blog. How do i do it? Or is {there|here|near|nearby|around|present|in attendance|at hand} any website that {could|might|can|possibly will|may well|may perhaps} {help|assistance|aid|benefit|support|service}? {Please|Satisfy|Gratify|Delight|Thrill|Entertain|Content|Give pleasure to|Make happy|Make somebody’s day} {help|assistance|aid|benefit|support|service|relief|comfort|advantage|succor|good thing}. I am in a {race|competition|contest|battle|duel|fight|sprint|rivalry} {against|in contradiction of|contrary to|counter to|in contrast to|compared to|alongside|beside} {time|period|while|spell|stretch|stint|interval|phase|stage|occasion|instance}. {Please|Satisfy|Gratify|Delight|Thrill|Entertain|Content|Give pleasure to|Make happy|Make somebody’s day|Like}.

164:

Tolkien does have the orcs use a "blasting fire" at Helm's Deep, some kind of explosive material Saruman cooked up.

The worst LOTR anachronistic word-choice I remember is referring to some dragon-shaped firework zooming past like an "express train".

165:

d brown:

These missiles have been "mothballed" and placed in storage."

In this particular case, Wikipedia lies - there are 500+ AGM-86B nuclear cruise missiles in US service still. I will correct Wikipedia later today.

The AGM-129 ACM were all scrapped, and about 900 of the prior inventory of 1400 AGM-86Bs were retired, but 500+ are still in service.

166:

While we're circling the usual strange blog attractors, there's an announcement on the AR-15 rifle forums (I discovered from a link on RPGnet)by someone who claims they have built and test-fired a pistol using a 3D printer, firing over 200 rounds of .22 and then reconfigured it as a .223 rifle.

http://www.ar15.com/forums/t_3_118/579913_3D_printed_lower___yes__it_works_.html

167:

ah, sorry for "jumping the gun" on this, it seems he only printer a "lower", whatever that is and not the complete firearm. It's not the toughest part but it is the bit that's legally controlled in the US.

168:

He printed it with one of the really low-melting temp thermoplastics, it's not going to last very long.

Even the lowers see a lot of heat in an AR-15 design, from the bolt and at the front lug from the upper (the barrel mounts directly above that lug, and aluminum upper conducts heat really well).

That said, the potential to do real weapons with real materials in fabs is certainly there. DMLS, anyone? ...

169:

It seems silly to me to expect a 3D printer to duplicate a "traditional" product. The properties of the materials don't often match.

But check on the concept of the Khyber Pass rifle. They seem at about the same level as the 3D-printer output. They use low-grade steel. If you want something that can be made b a 3D printer, it's not going to look much like a steel gun.

170:

The problem is that Khyber Pass rifles are inaccurate. Accuracy is also (in the main) due to effective training and practice. They are only really an option if you are truly desperate, or a murderous and suicidal nutter. Apologies for defaming any paranoid schizophrenics with that last sentence.

When badly-equipped individuals and groups go up against well-equipped ones, they generally lose badly. Isandlwana was not typical; Rorke's Drift was. See Former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, and Syria for examples. Winning is driven by access to comparable weaponry; hence why terrorists / insurgents / freedom fighters tend to use IEDs until they have them, and close-quarter tactics when they do.

http://www.michaelyon-online.com/images/pdf/the_eagle_went_over_the_mountain.ppt

If you want to know more about the machinery, processes, and tolerances involved in making rifle barrels, there is a small-scale but high quality manufacturer local to OGH who has a very interesting website; note that barrel-making machines weigh a ton (literally)...

http://www.border-barrels.com/articles/listarts.htm

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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on July 17, 2012 6:03 PM.

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