January 09, 2016

US Air Force adding an order for 32 more C-130J transport aircraft

The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded Lockheed Martin a USD1.1 billion contract for 32 C-130J Hercules turboprop transport aircraft, the US Department of Defense (DoD) announced on 30 December.

Delivery is expected by April 2020, according to the DoD.

Earlier this year, Lockheed Martin announced that it had reached a tentative agreement with the USAF for a five-year contract to build up to 83 of the aircraft for the USAF, the US Coast Guard, and the US Marine Corps.

C-130Js are able to land on unimproved runways, so they are frequently used for humanitarian relief missions, and special operations missions. They are also able to provide aerial refuelling, close air support, and search-and-rescue capability.

The Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft. The C-130J is a comprehensive update of the Lockheed C-130 Hercules, with new engines, flight deck, and other systems.

Rollup TVs and displays are very near commercialization

LG Display has been working on its fully flexible screen for some time now and they revealed displays that can be rolled up at CES.

The screen can be rolled up and scrunched around, and the display is full HD.

The BBC was shown a 18 inch diagonal display. LG says they're aiming for screens that are 55 inch and beyond.

At that size they will be able to produce a screen quality of 4K, they say - that's four times HD.

Right now, the resolution is 1,200 by 810 pixels.

LG Display has created an OLED display than can be rolled into a cylinder while it continues to show a video image. The firm suggests the innovation could revolutionise the way we use and store televisions.

Research for smaller and lighter hypersonic engines

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research joined forces with the National Science Foundation in awarding a $1.5 million grant to Harsha Chelliah, a University of Virginia mechanical and aerospace engineering professor, to expand the validity of turbulence models that researchers use to predict high-speed reacting flows of air and fuel in hypersonic engines. The grant is the latest in a series of awards that has placed UVA’s School of Engineering and Applied Science at the forefront of an international effort to make hypersonic flight a reality.

“The ultimate goal is to find ways to stabilize combustion over a shorter distance,” Chelliah said. “By reducing the overall length of the combustor, we will be able to decrease overall engine weight and increase the payload.”

The Air Force had also awarded Chelliah a $2.2 million grant in 2012 to explore a viable catalytic cooling system that uses a scramjet’s own fuel as a coolant. A traditional liquid coolant system capable of controlling temperatures of this magnitude would be prohibitively heavy.

The airflow inside the UVA scramjet engine test facility is moving extremely fast, from between Mach 0.6 to Mach 1.5. At these velocities, it takes just 400 microseconds to burn the fuel/air mixture. Understanding the fundamental modes of turbulence-flame interactions under these conditions is critical.

Gene therapy seems able to convert severe hemophilia into mild hemophilia

Dutch firm UniQure presented results from an early study of AMT-060, a gene therapy it’s developing for patients with hemophilia B. To be clear, these are numbers from just the first handful of patients in UniQure’s study, treated with a low dose of the gene therapy. And they’re early—the patient treated the longest is now 20 weeks post-treatment. For gene therapy to become a viable option for hemophilia, the effects will have to hold up for a long period of time, stop the dangerous, spontaneous bleeds that patients can suffer, and eliminate the need for frequent infusions of the recombinant factors that patients have to take to clot their blood.

The first two hemophilia patients treated with AMT-060, about 12 and 20 weeks after treatment, are now producing 4.5 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively, of normal Factor IX. To put that in context, these patients have severe or moderately severe hemophilia, meaning they typically produce less than 1 to 2 percent of these levels, and rely on frequent infusions to get those numbers up.

Shares of UniQure jumped about 12 percent in pre-market trading on Thursday.

Bumping those Factor IX figures up by a few percentage points might not seem like a big deal, but getting a patient to produce even 5 to 10 percent of their normal levels of clotting factor can turn a severe case of hemophilia into a mild one, or significantly lower the risk of a spontaneous bleed.

January 08, 2016

Japan’s 5th Generation Stealth Fighter to Make Maiden Flight in Early 2016

Japan’s Ministry of Defense Technical Research and Development Institute (TRDI) announced that a prototype of Tokyo’s first indigenously-designed fifth-generation air superiority fighter, the Mitsubishi ATD-X Shinshin, will make its maiden flight in February 2016 according to Sankei.com

The principal objective of the ATD-X Shinshin program is to develop a research prototype aircraft an–“advanced technology demonstration unit” to test the capacity of Japan’s defense industry to develop, among other things, a powerful fighter engine and various other indigenous stealth fighter aircraft technologies.

The program is meant to eventually produce Japan’s first indigenously-designed fifth-generation air superiority fighter, designated F-3, with serial production slated to begin in 2027, although various delays in the development of the ATD-X Shinshin prototype –scheduled to be fully developed by 2018– make a later date more likely.

The reason behind the development of the F-3 is the refusal of the United States to sell to Japan the Lockheed-Martin F-22 Raptor stealth air superiority fighter in the 2000s. According to some media reports, Lockheed-Martin is playing an undetermined role in the development of the ATD-X prototype.

Among other things, the aircraft will feature 3D thrust vectoring capability.

The aircraft will be fitted with an active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar. The radar will have capabilities for electronic countermeasures, communications functions, and possibly even microwave weapon functions. The Shinshin is planned to have a flight-by-optics flight control system.

One full-scale ATD-X prototype has been constructed. Back in 2011, Japan decided to procure 42 F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, the first of which are scheduled to arrive at the end of 2016

World's First real time wearable language translator will be smaller than imagined Star Trek universal translator

A portable device has a button and a speaker. One person speaks into Ili while holding down the button; after the user stops speaking, the speaker relays the message in the chosen language. (Right now, Ili only supports English, Chinese and Japanese, but its parent company, Logbar, has promised more will be available in the future.) Version two will have French, Thai, and Korean

Ili's novel feature — and the perk that distinguishes it from translation services like Google — is its capacity to work without a wireless connection. It relies on its own database of words and phrases, which means it can conceivably be used in any situation, whether you're scaling the mountains of Chile or stuck underground on the New York City subway.

Unfortunately, Ili's representatives at CES were unable to provide a demonstration "due to the noise on the show floor," according to Reviewed.com's Tyler Wells Lynch.

Clothes Folding Robot

Laundroid is the world's first laundry-folding robot. It is made by Japan-based Seven Dreamers. Laundroid is about the size of a refrigerator; you throw your crumpled clothes in a bottom bin like a pull-out freezer, and they're moved up to shelves neatly folded. The robot uses image-recognition algorithms to tell what kind of clothing it's handling and to fold it appropriately, Seven Dreamers CEO Shin Sakane said. It takes between 3-10 minutes to fold one piece of laundry at the moment.

If you do your own laundry. You can expect to spend 18,000 hours of your life doing laundry.

Improved image recognition and robotics have enabled this appliance.

Seven Dreamers will have a working model at CES in 2017, has a deal to potentially start including it with Panasonic washers and dryers in 2018, and may build it into new homes in Japan by 2020.

China using Infrastructure stimulus and currency devaluation to counter slowing economy

China's top economic planner on Wednesday approved two high-speed railway projects with a total value of 34.6 billion yuan ($5.28 billion), a move to hasten infrastructure projects to boost economic growth.

One project is a 197-km (122-mile) rail link between northeastern Liaoning province and northern Inner Mongolia, and the other involves an investment of 17.02 billion yuan ($2.6 billion) in a separate rail link between different cities in the two regions, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on its website.

More currency devaluation expected

Most outside traders consider the yuan to be more than 10 percent overvalued against the U.S. dollar. Allowing the market to take the exchange rate to that value could potentially devastate China's domestic economy, but it's an expensive — and potentially impossible — task to fight the market now that the yuan is a global currency.

China's currency had gone up against Europe as the Euro devalued

China’s decision to push the value of its currency lower has opened a new front of worry for global investors: a potential wave of currency devaluations among the so-called Asian tigers — South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan.

Such an outcome, a number of foreign exchange specialists say, would put a further damper on global growth expectations

“I expect these currencies to fall by another 20 or 30 percent,” said Raoul Pal, an independent financial analyst and the founder of Real Vision TV, a media venture where sophisticated investors discuss their views on the market. “These export figures are a big deal — it’s a huge shrinkage in the dollar-based economy, as not enough people are buying goods.”

For quite some time, Mr. Pal has been promoting an investment thesis that the relentless rise of the dollar — since mid-2011, the dollar is up 35 percent against a broad basket of currencies — will have a deflationary effect on the global economy as export-driven economies enter into a series of competitive devaluations to protect crucial export sectors.

“This is not just a commodity story,” he said. “It’s a global trade story.”

Exchange-rate volatility in this part of the world will not take the heat off other weak currencies. In addition to usual examples like Turkey, Brazil and South Africa, investors expect commodity exporters like Indonesia, Chile and Colombia to take a big hit, as the prices for their products continue to fall.

SpaceX hopes to make history again on Jan. 17 with a rocket landing on its drone ship

SpaceX hopes to make history again on Jan. 17 by landing a Falcon 9 rocket on a drone ship at sea after launching a payload into orbit. SpaceX confirmed to NBC News that it would be making the attempt; the news was earlier reported by space journalist Charles Lurio on Twitter.

This launch will take off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, carrying NASA's Jason-3 satellite. Jason-3 carries instruments to monitor the ocean's surface, collecting information about circulation patterns and perhaps rising sea levels.

The commercial spaceflight company succeeded Dec. 21 in making its first-stage rocket, which is usually discarded after reaching space, return safely to Earth and land upright at a predetermined location nears its launch pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

The Spacex Stage that was landed in December will be kept for Museum Display

"I think we'll probably keep this one on the ground because it's quite unique, it's the first one we brought back," Musk said in a conference call following December's successful landing. The company will "just confirm through tests that it could fly again and then put it somewhere to display."

China domestic aircraft carrier has conservative updating of the Soviet version they converted and the next ships will upgrade to nuclear propulsion and electromag launching of planes

China will consider developing a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier after it gains enough experience in operating large vessels, Senior Captain Zhang Junshe with the People's Liberation Army Naval Military Studies Research Institute said.

China Shipbuilding Industry Corp, which refitted the Liaoning and is building the second carrier in Dalian in northeastern Liaoning Province, has been researching nuclear-powered ships since 2013, PLA Daily reported Friday.

Du Wenlong, a senior researcher at the PLA Academy of Military Science, previously has said that it is highly possible that the navy's next-generation aircraft carrier will be equipped with nuclear propulsion.

China already has nuclear submarines that require highly sophisticated technologies and manufacturing capabilities, so developing a nuclear carrier will not be difficult, he was quoted as saying.

China’s long-term goal is to have at least four aircraft carriers. China is looking into nuclear propulsion and electromagnetic launching of aircraft to match the aircraft carrier capabilities of US Aircraft carriers.

Developing the design talent to design aircraft carriers

The PLA Navy was able to extract eight truckloads of detailed plans of the Liaoning (repaired Soviet carrier) from the Ukrainian vendors. These have been the foundation of the present activity. China is now facing the same reality that has dogged the efforts of all the major navies of the last century. The greatest restraint on naval expansion in the industrial age has been neither budgets nor disarmament treaties. It has in fact been the lack of drafting expertise to translate the design concepts of naval architects into the detailed compartment-by-compartment drawings that allow the shipbuilders to do their work (arguably, this has been a key problem for Australia with the new Air Warfare Destroyers)

Although the PLA Navy is pursuing multiple paths of technology transfer from overseas, both legitimate and covert, its shipbuilders must recruit and train sufficient expert indigenous design staff in very large numbers at a time when the Chinese navy is seeking to introduce many different new classes: submarines, cruisers, destroyers, frigates, amphibious ships, replenishment ships and light craft. In particular, the demands of the submarine force, both nuclear and conventional, must be a higher priority than the carrier force for the PLA Navy as a whole, and for the national leadership.

China’s second aircraft carrier and its first operational combat carrier will set sail later this year “based on current progress.”

The first ocean-going aircraft carrier combat taskforce of the Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA) Navy, led by the new aircraft carrier, will possess initial combat capability in 2018 or 2019, according to an insightful article in China Military sourced from Southern Weekly.

The carrier will be the first by a developing country with 50000 tons displacement running on conventional power and possessing a ski-jump take-off. This, the article says “reflects China's small –yet-quick-steps development guideline for its naval vessels and is conducive to forming combat capability as early as possible.”

The second aircraft carrier will be equipped with the same phased array radar as those on the 052D destroyer. Other improvements may include installing advanced satellite communication system, electronic warfare system, and command and control system.

Compared with aircraft carrier Liaoning, the second aircraft carrier will have major improvements in the layout of the flight deck, hangar and island (superstructure) which will be more rational, resulting in saving of space improved overall performance, said the article.

The island of the second aircraft carrier is re-designed from that of the Liaoning as the Soviet Union's ship-borne radar and electronic equipment is large and heavy, leading to a large island on the Varyad (now Liaoning) and taking up the valuable space on the flight deck.

When modifying the Varyad, China didn't change the original island structure for stability and project simplification.

Terrestrial Energy gets funding for development for Gamechanging Molten Salt Nuclear Reactor

Canadian company Terrestrial Energy has secured CAD$10 million ($7 million) in Series A funding to support its program to bring its Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR) technology to industrial markets in the 2020s.

Terrestrial Energy CEO Simon Irish said that the funds will be used to support pre-construction and pre-licensing engineering, and to support further engagement with industry and nuclear regulators. "These programs allow the Company to demonstrate to industry the commercial merits of the IMSR design," he said.

Series A funding is a term used to describe a company's first round of funding secured by selling preferred stock to investors, typically venture capitalists. Details on the source of Terrestrial Energy's funding have not been revealed.

Terrestrial Energy in January 2015 announced a collaboration with ORNL to develop its IMSR design to the engineering blueprint stage.

The conceptual design stage is anticipated to be completed in 2017.

The 25 MWe version of the IMSR is the size of a fairly deep hottub

January 07, 2016

In-body incubation of IVF embryos

Women having IVF can now incubate embryos in their own bodies before they are implanted in the womb. Results from a clinical trial suggest the incubation device could work as well as conventional IVF and be far cheaper.

Cylindrical in shape, INVOcell is held in the vagina by a flexible diaphragm. The embryos are kept in an inner chamber at body temperature and gases such as carbon dioxide and oxygen diffuse in and out at levels matching natural fertilisation. After five days the embryos will have grown into balls of about 100 cells. The device is then removed and doctors choose the embryo that looks healthiest to implant.

In a US trial of 40 women, the device performed almost as well as conventional incubation, with 65 per cent of the women becoming pregnant regardless of the method used. Fifty-five per cent who used in-body incubation went on to give birth compared with 60 per cent who had the standard method. “We were very pleased with the results,” says Kevin Doody of the Center for Assisted Reproduction in Bedford, Texas, who carried out the trial.

Doody wants to offer the device to women at his clinic, and reckons that it could halve the cost per cycle, typically $16,000 to $20,000 in the US. In conventional IVF, incubators are set up to mimic the body and have to be regularly monitored to ensure early embryos are supplied with the right amounts of gas and that conditions are optimal for five days. Because the woman’s body acts as a natural incubator, such expensive equipment isn’t needed, he argues.

SOURCE - New Scientist

Drone able to transport humans shown at Consumer Electronics Show by Chinese drone company

At CES 2016 in Las Vegas, Chinese UAV company EHang has shown a drone which can transports humans.

However, there is no actual footage of a human actually flying around inside of the EHang 184 drone.

EHang said that the drone will be totally automated, meaning passengers will input a destination and have no control during the flight. The company says this will make the machine safer by eliminating “the most dangerous part of standard modes of transportation, human error.”

EHang was founded in 2014 and has raised about $50 million in venture funding.

The drone is about four-and-a-half feet tall, weighs 440 pounds, and will be able to carry a single passenger for 23 minutes at a speed of 60 MPH. The 184 also has gull-wing doors and arms that fold up.

Cameco targets over 6000 tons of Uranium production in 2016 from Cigar Lake

Cameco expects the Cigar Lake operation to produce 16 million pounds of packaged uranium concentrate (U3O8) - equivalent to 6154 tU - in 2016, the company announced yesterday. Full achievement of the production outlook will depend on regulatory approvals to increase the production at the McClean Lake mill, where ore from Cigar Lake is milled and packaged.

Note - Disclosure - Author of Nextbigfuture has some shares in Cameco

The mine achieved its initial 2015 production target range - 6 million to 8 million pounds U3O8 (2308 to 3077 tU) - during the third quarter of the year. Full 2015 production will be reported in the company's fourth quarter results, due to be released on 5 February 2016.

With an average ore grade of 17.8% U3O8, Cigar Lake, in northern Saskatchewan, is claimed by Cameco as the highest-grade uranium mine in the world. Located at depths of 410 metres to 450 metres below the surface, the orebody is at the boundary between dry basement rock and water-bearing sandstone, meaning that the orebody must be frozen before mining to prevent water from entering the mine workings and to stabilize weak rock formations. A high-pressure water jet is then used to mine out cavities in the frozen ore in a technique called jet boring. Thickened ore slurry is pumped to the surface and transported in tanker trucks 70 kilometres to the McClean Lake mill where it is processed into uranium concentrate.

McClean Lake, majority owned and operated by Areva Resources Canada Inc, is currently licensed to produce up to 13 million pounds U3O8 (5000 tU) per year. A program to increase its total capacity to about 24 million pounds per year (9200 tU) has been funded by the Cigar Lake joint venture.

Underground tunnels at Cigar Lake (Image: Cameco)

Over $740 billion will be invested in the construction of new reactors going forward as operable reactors are slated to increase by 81 till 2024

January 06, 2016

Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array may have found Super-Earth in our solar system

Astronomers using data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have found a distant object in the direction of Alpha Centauri. The object appears to be in the outer region of our solar system, and depending on its distance could be a hypothesized ”super-Earth.”

Other Evidence of a super earth - There is evidence of a specific planet that is 5000 times larger than Pluto. This other evidence is different from the Atacama telescope work

ALMA is capable of precise observations at short microwave wavelengths, typically emitted by cold gas and dust. But objects on the edge of our solar system also emit light in this range, and would be too cool and distant to be observed by infrared telescopes. In 2014, ALMA found a faint object in the direction of Alpha Centauri A and B. The object was again observed in May of this year, this time more clearly the object is most likely part of the solar system, in prograde motion, albeit at a distance too far to be detectable at other wavelengths,
* an ETNO [Extreme Trans Neptunian Object] (≫ 100 AU)
* a hypothesized Super-Earth (∼ 300 AU)
* a super-cool brown dwarf (∼ 20 000 AU).

It doesn’t seem to be part of the Alpha Centauri system, it must be closer and correspondingly smaller. With just two observations it isn’t possible to determine the object’s orbit, so we can only guess at its distance and size. One possibility (and the one I think most likely) is that it’s an extreme trans-Neptunian object about 100 astronomical units away from the Sun, which is further than Sedna at 86 AU. This would make it the most distant known object in the solar system, but likely smaller than Pluto.

Another possibility (which seems more likely to the object’s discoverers) is that it is about 300 AU away and about 1.5 times the size of Earth, making it the first “super-Earth” found in our solar system. Observations of trans-Neptunian objects have led to some speculation that one or two super-Earth’s could lurk in the outer solar system, so it’s not out of the question. There’s reason to be cautious of this idea, however, because of its location. Alpha Centauri is about 42 degrees away from the ecliptic. Most large solar system lay within a few degrees of the ecliptic, and even Sedna’s orbit is only inclined about 12 degrees from it.

A third possibility is that the object is a cool brown dwarf about 20,000 AU away. Such an object should also be visible in the infrared, so there would still be the question as to why it wasn’t discovered by earlier infrared sky surveys. Its proximity to Alpha Centauri would seem to make such an object easy to find.

The only way to know for sure is to gather more observations.

It will take a lot of work to learn more about the new ALMA objects, but we’re finding out how the array can fine-tune our capabilities in probing out into the Oort Cloud. If such perturbers exist, we’re going to turn them up sooner or later as we continue to map the system’s farthest depths.

Arxiv - A new submm source within a few arcseconds of α Centauri: ALMA discovers the most distant object of the solar system

Arxiv - The serendipitous discovery of a possible new solar system object with ALMA

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is an astronomical interferometer of radio telescopes in the Atacama desert of northern Chile. Since a high and dry site is crucial to millimeter wavelength operations, the array has been constructed on the Chajnantor plateau at 5,000 meters altitude, near Llano de Chajnantor Observatory and Atacama Pathfinder Experiment. Consisting of 66 12-meter (39 ft), and 7-meter (23 ft) diameter radio telescopes observing at millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths, ALMA is expected to provide insight on star birth during the early universe and detailed imaging of local star and planet formation.

ALMA is an international partnership among Europe, the United States, Canada, several countries from East Asia and the Republic of Chile. Costing about US$1.4 billion, it is the most expensive ground-based telescope in operation

Genetic doping can permanently increase the muscle mass in mice and there are delivery methods which could avoid the need for immune system suppression

The origins of genetic doping have nothing to do with sports. Rather, researchers have been trying to develop ways to repair muscles in people with muscular disorders. Here's how it works: A synthetic gene is engineered to secrete a specific protein, one that's normally involved in muscle growth and repair. That gene is delivered by an otherwise harmless virus, and when it reaches the cell it's designed to work with, it "turns on." With access to more of the protein than would normally be produced, the damaged muscle is enhanced. Current techniques allow this all to happen without actually altering a person's genetic makeup.

  • Gene therapy has added 15% more muscle mass in monkeys and the effect has lasted for 15 years
  • There are ways to circumvent the need for viruses to deliver gene therapy
  • Viral gene therapy delivery requires temporary immune system suppression
  • Arrays of microneedles can directly deliver treatment to muscles
  • Gene therapy can be enclosed in tiny bubbles of fat


According to Dr. H. Lee Sweeney, a professor of physiology at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School who's worked to develop such treatments, healthy athletes could benefit greatly from similar methods. "The same things, if introduced into normal muscle, would make them much more responsive to exercise and training, and much more responsive to repairing themselves following an injury," says Sweeney. For that reason, Sweeney doesn't believe sports leagues and governing bodies will allow it.

The change in muscle performance for an elite athlete could be substantial. The actual effect would depend on a number of factors (including the intensity of training), but in tests, lab rats who were injected and then made to do resistance exercises increased their muscle mass by 15 percent on top of what they would have normally achieved with exercise alone. More important to an athlete, the effects could last for years, if not decades. Researchers tested it on monkeys some 15 years ago and still haven't seen the induced changes drop off.

Dr. Charles Yesalis, a professor emeritus at Penn State who's researched performance-enhancing drugs, says he expects this "cascade" method of doping — in which athletes trick their bodies into releasing more of something that would increase performance — will become increasingly common as new advances are made. And while he says there are different ways athletes could use such a method, "The No. 1 thing that comes to mind is genetic doping."

Photo: Joseph McNally/Getty Images

DARPA Closer to Full-Scale Demonstration of Unmanned VTOL Aircraft Designed for Small Ships

Small-deck ships such as destroyers and frigates could greatly increase their effectiveness if they had their own unmanned air systems (UASs) to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and other capabilities at long range around the clock. Current state-of-the-art UASs, however, lack the ability to take off and land from confined spaces in rough seas and achieve efficient long-duration flight. Tern, a joint program between DARPA and the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR), seeks to provide these and other previously unattainable capabilities. As part of Tern’s ongoing progress toward that goal, DARPA has awarded Phase 3 of Tern to a team led by the Northrop Grumman Corporation.

The first two phases of Tern successfully focused on preliminary design and risk reduction. In Phase 3, DARPA plans to build a full-scale demonstrator system of a medium-altitude, long-endurance UAS designed to use forward-deployed small ships as mobile launch and recovery sites. Initial ground-based testing, if successful, would lead to an at-sea demonstration of takeoff, transition to and from horizontal flight, and landing—all from a test platform with a deck size similar to that of a destroyer or other small surface-combat vessel.

North Korea claim successful hydrogen bomb test

North Korea claimed Wednesday that it had successfully tested a hydrogen bomb, a claim that, if true, would mark a huge step forward in its nuclear capability.

Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation and author of “Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the. World Before It Is Too Late,” said Wednesday that he doubted North Korea had exploded a “real” hydrogen bomb. More likely, he said, Pyongyang detonated a “boosted” weapon with tritium added to increase the yield of a fission bomb.

Retrieving information from a black hole using quantum teleportation

Aidan Chatwin-Davies, Adam Jermyn, and Sean Carroll of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena have found an explicit way to retrieve information from one quantum particle lost in a black hole, using Hawking radiation and the weird concept of quantum teleportation.

Quantum teleportation enables two partners, Alice and Bob, to transfer the delicate quantum state of one particle such as an electron to another. In quantum theory, an electron can spin one way (up), the other way (down), or literally both ways at once. In fact, its state can be described by a point on a globe in which north pole signifies up and the south pole signifies down. Lines of latitude denote different mixtures of up and down, and lines of longitude denote the "phase," or how the up and down parts mesh. However, if Alice tries to measure that state, it will "collapse" one way or the other, up or down, squashing information such as the phase. So she can't measure the state and send the information to Bob, but must transfer it intact.

To do that Alice and Bob can share an additional pair of electrons connected by a special quantum link called entanglement. The state of either particle in the entangled pair is uncertain—it simultaneously points everywhere on the globe—but the states are correlated so that if Alice measures her particle from the pair and finds it spinning, say, up, she'll know instantly that Bob's electron is spinning down. So Alice has two electrons—the one whose state she wants to teleport and her half of the entangled pair. Bob has just the one from the entangled pair.

January 05, 2016

USA, Russia and China among early entrants in race for Super Soldiers and Artificial Intelligence.

The USA has been researching ways to enhance the biology and performance of soldiers for decades.

Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work warned that America would soon lose its military competitive advantage if it does not pursue technologies such as employing artificial intelligence.

Altering human beings from the inside to more effectively fight in combat is claimed to presents ethical dilemmas for American scientists and military planners.

Work says those ethical concerns typically don't apply to authoritarian governments like Russia's or China's, but their lack of hesitation in developing EHOs may force America's hand.

Previous US human augmentation research

DARPA had started work on a super-soldier suit called TALOS (Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit) unlike anything in the history of warfare. Engineered with full-body ballistics protection; integrated heating and cooling systems; embedded sensors, antennas, and computers; 3D audio (to indicate where a fellow warfighter is by the sound of his voice); optics for vision in various light conditions; life-saving oxygen and hemorrhage controls; and more, TALOS is strikingly close to the futuristic exoskeleton that Gorman first envisioned for DARPA 25 years ago, and aims to be “fully functional” by 2018.

It was the collapse of the Soviet Union that accelerated many of DARPA’s most radical super-soldier science programs. The revelation that the Soviets had developed an extensive biological-weapons program caused DARPA to bring biologists into its ranks, and with the life sciences at the fore, DARPA began to look inside the human body, toward a scientific capability that could transform soldiers from the inside out.

DARPA's Defense Sciences Office (DSO) investigated a mind-altering pain vaccine. Once injected into a soldier who had been shot, the vaccine would theoretically reduce the pain from inflammation and swelling. After 30 seconds of agony, the soldier would feel no pain for 30 days. As long as the bleeding was contained the soldier could keep fighting.

The government's research into halting the bleeding yielded another program that involved injecting millions of microscopic magnets into a person, which could later be brought together into a single area to stop bleeding with the wave of a wand.

DARPA has also studied whales and dolphins—mammals that don't need to sleep in long chunks like humans do—as inspiration for creating a soldier who requires little to no sleep for a week or more. Whales and dolphins independently control the left and right lobes of their brains, keeping one alert while the other sleeps. It's not known if DAPRA scientists made any progress with human lobe control, but they did explore powerful anti-sleep drugs like Modafini

Spacex upgraded the Merlin Rocket Engines

In 2015, SpaceX made a number of modifications to the existing Falcon 9 v1.1. The new rocket was known internally as Falcon 9 v1.1 Full Thrust, and is also known as Falcon 9 v1.2, Enhanced Falcon 9, and Full-Performance Falcon 9.

A principal objective of the new design was to facilitate booster reusability for a larger range of missions, including delivery of large commsats to geosynchronous orbit.

Modifications included liquid oxygen subcooled to −206.7 °C and RP-1 cooled to −7 °C for density (allowing more fuel and oxidizer to be stored in a given tank volume), several size and volume changes to the first- and second-stage propellant tanks, and several small mass-reduction efforts. The modified design gained an additional 1.2 meters of height, stretching to exactly 70 meters including payload fairing.

Two key improvements were the replacement of the first-stage engine with the full-thrust variant of the Merlin 1D and the replacement of the second-stage engine with the Merlin Vacuum (1D). The new first-stage engine featured an increased thrust-to-weight ratio while the new second-stage engine was optimized for higher performance in vacuum through modifications such as a larger exhaust nozzle and improved attitude control system. First stage booster can reach low Earth orbit as a single-stage-to-orbit if it is not carrying the upper stage and a heavy satellite

In late 2012, Elon Musk tweeted an image of the Merlin 1D-Vac firing on the test stand and stated "Now test firing our most advanced engine, the Merlin 1D-Vac, at 80 tons of thrust." Currently the official SpaceX's Falcon 9 product page lists the thrust of the Merlin Vacuum on the second stage of the launcher at 934 kN (210,000 lbf) and specific impulse of 348 seconds in vacuum conditions. The increase is due to the greater expansion ratio afforded by operating in a vacuum, now 165:1 using an updated nozzle extension

NASA Research Could Save Global Commercial Airlines over a trillion dollars between 2025 and 2050

The nation’s airlines could realize more than $250 billion dollars in savings in the near future thanks to green-related technologies developed and refined by NASA’s aeronautics researchers during the past six years.

These new technologies, developed under the purview of NASA’s Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) project, could cut airline fuel use in half, pollution by 75 percent and noise to nearly one-eighth of today’s levels.

“If these technologies start finding their way into the airline fleet, our computer models show the economic impact could amount to $255 billion in operational savings between 2025 and 2050,” said Jaiwon Shin, NASA’s associate administrator for aeronautics research.

US jet fuel usage will be less than 25% of the world total for 2025 to 2050. Therefore the world will save over a trillion dollars from 2025 to 2050 by all airlines adopting the NASA aerodynamic improvements.

Researchers with NASA's Environmentally Responsible Aviation project coordinated wind-tunnel tests of an Active Flow Control system -- tiny jets installed on a full-size aircraft vertical tail that blow air -- to prove they would provide enough side force and stability that it might someday be possible to design smaller vertical tails that would reduce drag and save fuel.
Credits: NASA/Dominic Hart

Herman Kahn's Idea of Eight World Wars: World War 3 through 8 Projected Against the Future World of The Movie 2001

A guest article by Joseph Friedlander

Note: This is a longer article that ties together some of the crazy apocalyptic nuclear tropes popular around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis and just before and after. That was the period in which much of modern popular science fiction (Including Star Trek and 2001) was incubated,  as well as the arms races that lead to the moon landing and Internet. This also gives detailed Cold War history and nuclear strategy discussed by some of the people of that era who packaged it best. We examine just how far the arms race would have gone if it had not slowed down around 1966.

Actually, I remember a list in a high school history book-- The American Pagent-- that stated that nine world wars had been fought since 1688.  Titled, the Nine World Wars-- that is, nine wars fought world wide-- that certainly woke up my younger science fiction oriented self and I think the idea was to wake up the students.  Yep, here is that book many editions later--

The Nine World Wars

(If you are into swashbuckling movies the first two are during the golden age of piracy which is much better watching than travelling through)

The Nine World Wars, my modification (The Ninth World War, aka WWII, used science fictiony atomic weaponry)  Also you can quibble that some ancient conquerors ranged over their then known world-- often at far greater logistics penalties than even in World War 2 and remember that until the 1840s there were blank spaces on maps, especially around Antarctica.  This is definitely a modern, Western oriented list.  A Persian or a Mongol or a Macedonian might well have a more inclusive list.

  1. The League of Augsburg/King William's War 1688-97
  2. War of Spanish Succession/Queen Anne's War 1701-1713
  3. War of Austrian Succession/ King George's War 1740-48
  4. Seven Years War/French and Indian War 1756-63
  5. War of American Revolution 1775-1783
  6. Wars of French Revolution/Undeclared French War 1793-1802
  7. Napoleonic Wars/War of 1812  1803-1815
  8. World War One 1914-18 (some fighting in Russia till 1924)
  9. World War 2 1939-45  (If you count preshock and aftershock wars in Manchuria in 1931 and Korea till 1953 a full generation)

 I recall a reprint of an early 60's DC comics science fiction story about a guy inventing a time machine, tried to go in the future, met cavemen and disappointed assumed he could only go to the past. As he vanished the despairing cavemen commented to themselves how they needed the vanished scientist's help to rebuild their world after the EIGHTH WORLD WAR nearly destroyed it.  My, how time flies.

Allegedly attributed to Albert Einstein- "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."  But here they made it to World War 8 in the DC comics universe.

Freeman Dyson in Weapons and Hope mentioned that a series of ten nuclear wars might well exterminate the human race (being younger at the time, I scoffed at the claim that the then deployed arsenals could literally destroy every last human.  But Dyson thought deeper.
  In Weapons and Hope  http://scilib-physics.narod.ru/Dyson/Weapons_and_Hope/Weapons_Hope.htm  he said:

Although it may be technically impossible for a single nuclear exchange to exterminate the human species, a succession of nuclear wars might well do so.... the possibility that the fighting of nuclear wars might become a habit, that we might find ourselves adapting too well to the fighting of nuclear wars. ... to leave our species in some sense incurably insane. Hatred and suffering on an unparalleled scale might lock us into a cyclical pattern of war and rearmament and revenge which would in the end make our planet uninhabitable. As it was said long ago: Whom God wishes to destroy, He first makes mad. Jonathan Schell may be right in saying that a single nuclear war can destroy our species, if we interpret his words as meaning that a single nuclear war could leave us so psychologically scarred that we would be unable afterward to escape from the vicious cycle of hatred and revenge. If a species becomes collectively insane, then it becomes in the Darwinian sense unfit, and in the long run it is unlikely to survive. A sequence of ten nuclear wars, each one more desperate and more insane than the one before, could plausibly result in our final disappearance from this planet." 

That would be about World War 19 by the American Pagent count.

A  nicely written dark vision of the apocalyptic nuclear memes circulating from 1945-62--don't read it unless you want to be disturbed...

Alison McQueen
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science

Stanford University

 ...common moral convictions as to what a gentleman was and was not

allowed to do in his relations with another gentleman, whether of his own or of a foreign
nation... As sovereigns jostled for power on the international stage, they did so “as competitors
in a game whose rules were accepted by all the other competitors.”... Bismarck, for instance, could never have contemplated the possibility of annihilating Germany’s eastern and western neighbors. The fact that Hitler was able to imagine and deploy such a strategy is a symptom of the dissolution of the supranational
moral consensus that had previously restrained even the most ambitious states. 

...Yet like other frustrated millennialist movements for whom the inevitable transformation

of the world fails to materialize, liberal internationalists seek explanations for the inability of
history to achieve its ends. Faced with uneven evidence of the spread of democracy or the
success of international legal reforms, “the internationalists take the appropriateness of the
devices for granted and blame the facts for the failure. ‘When the facts behave otherwise than
we have predicted,’ they seem to say, ‘too bad for the facts.’

...Given their abhorrence of war, liberal internationalists justify these battles by investing

them with apocalyptic significance. This is what Woodrow Wilson did when he announced to
America and the world in 1918 that the Great War would be “the final and culminating war for
human liberty.” For Morgenthau, these slogans are not propaganda meant to conceal the base
power interests of the United States. Rather, “they are the expression of an eschatological hope
deeply embedded in the very foundations of liberal foreign policy.*...
His remarkable 1961 essay “Death in the Nuclear Age” offers a terrifying account of an apocalypse without redemption or renewal  ...
“Patroclus dies to be avenged by Achilles. Hector dies to be mourned by Priam. Yet if Patroclus, Hector, and all those who could remember them were killed simultaneously, what would become of the meaning of Patroclus’ and Hector’s deaths?”
For Wiesel, the two constellations of events are clearly linked:
“for us, time stopped between Auschwitz and Hiroshima.”...
 This connection is by no means
particular to Wiesel. For many, the images and lived experiences of Nazi genocide became a
way to imagine the possibility of nuclear annihilation
In a 1962 piece in The Atlantic Monthly, poet and critic A. Alvarez went further and
hypothesized that our fear of nuclear annihilation was one of the reasons the concentration camps
had captured the popular imagination:
There are no limits to the inflationary spiral of destruction. From 1940 to 1945
nearly 4,500,000 people died in Auschwitz. The same number would die in
minutes if a hydrogen bomb landed on London. The gap is very small between
the comforts of our affluent society and the bare, animal squalor of Birkenau, or
the finality of the Auschwitz crematorium, with its rasping iron trolleys. So,
perhaps the concentration camps have kept a tight hold on our
imaginations…[because] we see them as a small-scale trial run for nuclear war....

Anyhow, about the same time my own (ancient) version of the American Pagent was published, Herman Kahn was in his prime.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herman_Kahn#The_Year_2000  Writing in 1966 for the 1967 book the year 2000, Kahn mentioned that technology had advanced under the forced draft of war as much between 1940 and 1945 as between 1914 and 1939.  What (as Herman Kahn noted) had been a 5-year cycle in revolutionary upgrades in technology (think B-17, which is a 1938 kind of plane,  B-29 and mods; then B-36, B-47, B-52, B-58 and F-4, B-70 and A-12 http://roadrunnersinternationale.com/cia-sr71-a12.pdf) and after McNamara pulled the R and D plug in the early to mid 60s-- about when Kahn was writing the book, the 5 year upgrade cycle basically became a 15 year cycle—(think F-15, F-117, F-22).
I cover McNamara's perhaps inadvertent short circuiting of that supercruise to the future in US defense research here http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/05/where-did-future-go-strategy-of.html

other posts of mine that have at least touched on what Kahn wrote (you may have to search for his name) 


Kahn writings at the Hudson Institute http://www.hudson.org/experts/174-herman-kahn/publications

Herman Kahn invented the Escalation Ladder--how high will your enemy choose to climb in starting one of Dyson's 10 nuclear wars?

Kahn predicted many things about the future-- his predictions of nuclear terrorism were not taken seriously then and may yet prove prescient--my highlights in bold--note how they interface with what Dyson said about a cycle of nuclear wars and games playing without end.

Some Problems in the Near Future

Herman Kahn

1. Greater opportunities for blackmail, revenge, terrorism, and other mischief-making. In a world which is armed to its teeth with nuclear weapons, every quarrel or difference of opinion may lead to violence of a kind quite different from what is possible today. Today there are technical problems in rapidly escalating problems of mobilization, transportation, logistics, etc. This time and effort means that there are built-in safety features on the use or threat of violence. In the future these technical constraints may disappear. Even a relatively innocuous quarrel over fishing rights could involve the early use of a nuclear weapon or two as a demonstration (the literal modern equivalent of a shot across the bow). The other troublesome international problems, such as disputed frontiers or irredentist movements, can give rise to local “games of chicken.” These games would build up pressures to threaten all-out war and violence on a scale previously unknown, in order to show resolve. It is not unreasonable to believe that every so often someone would miscalculate in this game of chicken and actually unleash a nuclear war.

2. More widespread capabilities for “local Munichs, Pearl Harbors, and blitzkriegs. I have already mentioned an increased tendency to play the game of chicken and some of the increased risks to the players. An irresponsible, desperate, or determined decision maker might not waste time on the lower rungs of the escalation ladder. He might simply launch a disarming attack on his victim and present the world with a fait accompli. Even if the potential victim has a nuclear capability, it may not have enough second-strike capability to deter such an attack. While the other nations are likely to be indignant, they are not likely to start a nuclear war to avenge an accomplished fact. The attacker might even use the attacked nation as a hostage to prevent effective reprisals.

Sometimes an aggressor may not even need to launch his attack. He might merely launch an ultimatum. In many circumstances this will force the other side to choose between backing down or launching an attack itself. Both courses may be dangerous, but a competent aggressor should be able to make the second look worse; between accommodation and thermonuclear war, most will choose accommodation. Therefore, it should not surprise us if such choices are manufactured. Where opportunities for gain are large in the event of extremely aggressive behavior, some nations will choose to indulge in such behavior. A world armed with nuclear weapons would provide a fertile field for paranoiacs, megalomaniacs, and indeed all kinds of fanatics.

3. Pressure to preempt because of points one and two. To the extent that the aggressive behavior described above might actually occur, one could reasonably expect decision makers, at whom it might be directed, to note that they risk disaster by not acting, and therefore to note the importance of acting first. While few would wish to be either executioner or victim, most would prefer the first role to the second. A world in which “reciprocal fear of surprise attack” (or surprise ultimatum) is ever present is also a world in which there would be little stability. There would also be greater pressure toward psychological and political preemption. In any situation in which an important advantage can be gained by announcing, “One of us has to be responsible, and since it isn’t going to be me, it has to be you,” there is a tendency to use committal strategies, that is, to say it first and firmly.

4. Tendencies to neglect conventional military capabilities. Because of an over-reliance on nuclear capabilities or fear of the other side’s nuclear capabilities, it is likely to be difficult for most nations to remain committed to the notion of limited conventional war. Since nuclear weapons provide “more bang for the buck,” they are unlikely to allocate money, manpower, thought, and other scarce commodities, to conventional or other limited-war situations. This is so notwithstanding what could well be their realization that they might be unwilling to use their nuclear capabilities in a crisis, and so must either wage an inadequate conventional war or issue rather weak threats in that direction. This tendency to neglect conventional military capabilities may well create many kinds of instabilities and opportunities for bluff, counterbluff, or actual attacks that could result in defeat or escalation.

5. Greater danger of inadvertent war. The possibility of inadvertent war would no doubt increase not only because there would be many more weapons and missiles available, but because there will be many more organizations in existence, each with different standards of training, organization, and degrees of responsibility. The possibility of unauthorized behavior, irresponsibility, misunderstanding of orders, or lax discipline inevitably increases. Mistakes can occur and the probability of most mistakes would increase if the military or political organization were weak or slipshod.

To be sure, a mistake need not set off a large-scale chain reaction. In fact, every small war or accident would bring pressures to reform the system, pressures that are likely to spur a relatively peaceful evolution out of the current system of virtual anarchy. Hopefully, nations will refuse to accept a situation in which nuclear accidents actually do occur, and, if at all possible, they will do something to correct a system which makes them likely.

6. Internal political problems (civil war, coup d’etat, irresponsibility, etc.) and external factors (arms race, fear of fear, etc.). Even in a world that is much less dangerous than the one I have been describing, there will be both responsible and irresponsible peace and accommodation movements. If every time a hard decision has to be made, a major portion of the country has to be risked; if every time a country’s diplomat walks into a hostile conference room, every man, woman, and child feels threatened; if every time a nation stands firm against aggressive probes, panic seizes the hearts of many of its citizens, then many citizens will simply adopt an attitude of denial or apathetic fatalism. Others will call for “peace” at any price with such intensity that their governments will have to get out of their way. There may even be some who will say, “Better a fearful end than endless fear.” Responsible political life is likely to suffer disastrously as a result of a combination of apathy, denial, and hysteria. The trouble with “negotiating” in this atmosphere is that, to put it mildly, it is not likely to produce thoughtful, considered suggestions or programs. It will instead invite blackmail and deception by the government which is in better control of its people, and irresponsible rigidity or destabilizing weakness by the government which cannot manipulate its people. The anxieties created by such a perilous world may increase the dangers even more should “peace” movements be accompanied by violence or even large-scale non-violence. Organized political life may be threatened even more gravely. Their threat might activate less pacific groups which in turn might encourage governments to practice a rigid despotism in an attempt to prevent even small military or political groups from obtaining and using weapons either for protest or for revolutionary purposes. And, eventually, even the best of safeguards may fail.

7. Diffusion of nuclear weapons to irresponsible private organizations. To the extent that these advanced weapons or their components are treated as articles of commerce, perhaps for peaceful uses as in the Plowshare program, their cost would be well within the resources available to many large private organizations. In fact, if prices are lowered to $100,000 or so--and this is not all implausible--they are in some sense available to vast numbers of individuals. (Almost any dedicated or fanatic member of the middle class of any advanced nation could save up all or an appreciable fraction of this sum.) Exactly what this could mean is hard to grasp without detailed consideration of various “scenarios,” but few will feel comfortable in a world in which Malayan guerrillas, Cuban rebels, Algerian terrorists, right-wing counter-terrorists, the Puerto Rican Independence party, or even gangsters and atomic extortionists, might obtain access to nuclear weapons or other means of mass destruction. Even if nuclear weapons and their delivery systems do not become articles of commerce, almost all of their components will have peaceable “relatives” and therefore may become generally available. Only a few special parts or assemblies would have to be specially manufactured by organizations or individuals who wish to obtain actual nuclear weapons’ capability.

8. More complicated future problems of control. Once weapons are allowed to become widely diffused, it becomes much more difficult to work out methods of arms control. Moreover, even if some serious crisis leads to a general agreement to prevent the use or threat of nuclear weapons in the future, it is likely to be harder to ratify and implement such an agreement once nuclear weapons have spread. The small powers would then have to be asked to accept a reduction in their current capability rather than simply to abstain from acquiring weapons. Of course, if the control measures were sufficiently complete, it might be that all nations could be treated equally. Even then it would be difficult if not impossible to get all of them to junk their nuclear weapons systems peacefully. As our experience with France has shown, it can even be quite difficult to induce a nation to acquiesce in controls that would prevent its acquisition of such systems and it will be even harder to find, or even estimate, the size of hidden stocks which would be a nucleus around which future arms control violators could base their conspiracy.

9. Intensified agent-provocateur problems. One thing which restrains the behavior of “respectable” large nations is that they do not wish to acquire a reputation for being blatantly aggressive. Therefore, when a nation wants to be aggressive it usually needs an excuse to make its aggression seem defensive or, at least, very special and limited. In the absence of a special situation, such as Berlin, it may become more difficult to bring about such “justifiable” aggression. It is, after all, almost impossible for a large power to make a small power look so provocative as to justify an attack. When the small nations have acquired nuclear weapons, however, not only does the danger of accidental incidents go up sharply but the dangers of “arranged accidents” also increase. Thus it becomes easier for the large power to arrange for, or to counterfeit, the firing of a nuclear missile by the small power. This incident then could be used to justify all kinds of ultimatums, or actual reprisals, up to and including the forceable disarming of the small power. If the arranged incident has been successfully and imaginatively staged, many will applaud the punishment of the small power which had shown itself to be so dangerously irresponsible.

10. Catalytic and Anonymous War. The widespread diffusion of nuclear weapons would make many nations able, and in some cases also create the pressure, to aggravate an on-going crisis, or even touch off a war between two other powers for purposes of their own. Here again the situation is so complicated that one must construct and consider many scenarios to get a feeling for the many possibilities. However, even without systematic exploration one can list dangerous possibilities for anonymous mischief-making by third parties who control nuclear weapons. If a nation finds two of its cities destroyed by missiles from Polaris type submarines, how is it to react? Presumably it would be impossible to tell which of several nations was responsible. Moreover if any one nation was the obvious candidate, it might make it all the less dangerous for a third power to launch its attack. When the possible development of suitcase bombs is considered it becomes clear how private groups might foment a war between two nations.

Fortunately, although we may not have unlimited time before our system reaches the breaking point, we may have thirty or forty years.

Friedlander here again. Note--Kahn's 40 years expired in around 2002. I have quoted at length to point out that no serious answers have been given to any of Kahn's concerns. Hope you're happy! (The best that has been done is to keep nuclear materials as confined as possible from free availability.  But the impression that I am getting from my reading is that is a slow fight against a rising tide.  The invention of pure fusion weapons would invalidate it overnight for example.)

Some references on this--

discussion of 4th generation weapons FGNW...  .... nuclear shaped charges 15 kg of tritium in an arsenal equivalent to one million 1-ton-FGNWs,... the move towards
“virtual nuclear weapons” and “virtual nuclear weapon States”  as well
as to “factory deterrence” “technical deterrence,” or “deterrence by competence”
...FGNWs do not need to be actually built and deployed
before that can play significant strategic and political roles.  
https://cryptome.org/2014/06/wmd-4th-gen-quest.pdfThe physical principles of
thermonuclear explosives, inertial
confinement fusion, and the quest for
fourth generation nuclear weapons
Andre Gsponer and Jean-Pierre Hurni  

Note from Friedlander-- This is a good as something Winterberg would write. Enjoy. 

any country with access to tritium and high-power x-ray imaging technology could
easily develop and weaponize simple boosted fission explosives without nuclear
testing....with boosting — the problem of the preinitiation of the chain reaction, which creates difficulties in making a non-boosted fission bomb [66, 69], is no longer a serious problem....Boosting can also be used to make efficient and reliable fission weapons in which reactor grade plutonium is used instead of weapons grade plutonium.....It is therefore clear that ICF experiments will contribute very significantly to progress in weapons physics...A modern, sophisticated proliferator with access to ICF computer codes and today’s computer workstations would have far more tools for designing a secondary than the U.S., U.K. or USSR had in the 1950s or France and China in the 1960s..., in subcritical burn, the quality of the fissile material is of little importance: reactor-grade plutonium is just as good as weapons-grade plutonium....many technologically sophisticated countries (and, in particular, Germany, India, Israel, Japan, and Pakistan which have highly developed nuclear
infrastructures) are today in a good position to make not only atomic bombs but
also hydrogen bombs...currently preferred technique is to use magnetic compression to increase the
density of the fissile material (which may consist of low-quality, reactor-grade
plutonium) and a very small amount of antimatter to initiate the subcritical burn.....Fourth generation nuclear weapons based on such processes, and with yields of 1 to 10 tons equivalents of TNT, may weigh less than a few kilograms. 

Friedlander here again,  My take on nuclear arms control is that after the Cuban Missile Crisis perhaps by silent agreement, perhaps not, there was formed what I have termed the "1964 Consensus".  There is a political and a technical side to this but essentially it was an attempt to push the Non Proliferation Treaty, limit the spread of nuclear capability in countries and industries, to embrace the minimalist view of radiation as the mainstream theory, and so on. This worked for half a century but I don't see it working for another half century. I don't think they have thought the endgame through, or perhaps the scientists involved did not communicate their vision so that it stuck to the next generations of their successors.  This may be related to Bruce Charlton's hypothesis on the slow death of science after World War 2-- Whatever the true explanation-- we may be looking forward to interesting times...

We now return to the title concept of Kahn: Herman Kahn's Idea of Eight World Wars: World War 3 through 8.

To be clear-- this is an illustrative exercise only to give the idea of military industrial revolutions at 5 year intervals-- not to say the world could fight and survive 6 world wars in 30 years. (Freeman Dyson in fact wrote about the human race being basically exterminated if there were about ten such wars-- see above.)

 The idea would be that IF war came in year X this is the tech level that would be seen. in that war. And if we can imagine no easing of the arms race or the strategy of technology on the USA side from 1966 or so on, but an unending series of new innovations, we basically are in the 2001 movie tech timeline of which I have written in these two posts.. http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/05/where-did-future-go-strategy-of.html

Here is my Herman Kahn like list (using some of his inputs) to give a feel for the eras.

World War 0: 1889  Civil war tech, railroad mobilizations and logistics, Gatling guns, observation balloons, ironclads, chlorine cannonballs (the tech existed) steam shovels for excavations, etc. And although set in 1870, the spy tech of the TV show Wild Wild West (Pullman car, ingenious gadgets) would be at home right here.   Jules Verne like DARPA of that era if any needed-- developing electric submarines for the next war---Remember that Tesla, Edison, Westinghouse, all the corporate names are MEN, alive and kicking, and available for drafting.

World War 1: 1914-18 Chemical weapons, flamethrowers, rudimentary submarines, biplanes, Zeppelin bombers, tanks,  vast mine barrages (Adriatic) huge continental trench systems. Modern rifles, naval guns.Diving suits.Biplane Aircraft carriers, dazzle camouflage

World War 2: 1939-45  Biological weapons (https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/war-in-the-east/ ) fission weapons, (on a war basis at the end of 1945 with unlimited budget and manpower 130 a year could have been made) transoceanic submarine aircraft carriers, pressurized bombers, jet fighters, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, pressure suits, frogmen  B-17 becomes B-29.  (Note that the B-39 and B-44 were attempts to get the B-29 really right, finally reaching success in the B-50 which was widely deployed around 1950)

Biowar links

World War 3: 1951-- B-36s with jet augmentation, JATO, B-47 all jet bombers, F-86, snorkel submarines. Soper Oralloy 500 kiloton fission bomb (typical stockpile bomb 30-80 kilotons with boosting)
World War 4:  1956: Atomic hunter killer submarines, supersonic Century series fighters,   B52, deliverable  3.8-15 megaton H-Bombs, several thousand nuclear warheads a year can be made.
World War 5:   1961: Polaris Submarines B58 operational Atlas Titan I Hound Dog cruise missiles, 24 megaton bomb stockpiled, 100 megaton bomb possible,  (4 x 24 megaton B-41s within a B-52 may have been possible but was not routinely done) 7000 nuclear warheads a year can be made. Tactical aircraft delivered megaton weapons practical.  20000 plus warheads in US Arsenal.
World War 6:   1966: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STRAT-X  Polaris A-2 http://fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/slbm/a-2.htm Sr 71, A12 interceptor with nuclear air to air Falcon missiles, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_YF-12 Titan 2--9 megaton ICBM (35 megaton new same weight warhead possible)  Minuteman 2, Orion Test flight https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GAM-87_Skybolt gigaton bomb possible B58 C should give B-70 like performance (cancelled in real world) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convair_B-58_Hustler#Variants  31255 nuclear warheads in US arsenal.
World War 7:    1971: Poseidon Submarines. http://fas.org/nuke/guide/usa/slbm/c-3.htm Rail mobile Minuteman 2 and 3  B 70 Saturn V Blue Gemini, MOL. Orion operational  Orbiting H-Bombs possible   Soviet Fractional Orbit Bombardment System operational.
World War 8:    1976: Air Launched Minuteman, Hard Mobile Launcher that was designed to carry the MGM-134 Midgetman missile, Saturn 8 C-8, Flyback Saturn V booster,  Big Orion operational (10000 tons to escape, orbiting gigaton constellations possible) A-10, F-15, Spartan, Sprint
World War 9:     1981: Trident Submarines, Peacekeeper MX (ultimate utilization of Minuteman silo system) Sea Dragon 500 tons to orbit  Space Shuttle for manned recon cancelled Big Orion tugged asteroid for 10000 megaton strike on Western Russia possible to avoid fallout of giant Soviet 10 gigaton warheads
World War 10:    1986  Aurora like cryogenic LNG oxygen fueled mile a second superbomber. Hyper-sonic launch systems  Mobile MX racetrack covering much of Nevada and Utah.  Orion III spaceplane operational.
from  http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/02/heinlein-style-spaceflight-with.html

2001 (the movie) scale lunar development could be modeled as follows, say each Pan Am shuttle brings up 30 tons per flight. 

A squadron of 30 such, flying once a day. (Distributed around the world because of need to match Station V's orbit) It takes a year or so to lift the stuff for Station V, (~300,000 tons) and after that, in the next decade 10 times as much mass--3 million tons-- of which 1 million tons is landed on the Moon

World War 11:     1991: Space Station V Operational   Space Station V!

Soviet Venus seismic H bomb calibration  tests http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/lofiversion/index.php/t2268.html
2001 style orbiting H bomb dispensers http://www.orbiterwiki.org/wiki/World_of_2001
All the major space powers can launch their nuclear weapons into orbit now.
Right at the beginning of this clip from 2001

in the first minute are three of the orbiting weapons stations.  Typical configuration is probably 16, 24, 48, 96 or 192 warheads (remember it need not be more than a few percent as massive as a small missile sub since you don't need the missile, just the RV.)
Also many launch failure modes are gone because you have already passed all the bad weather in the atmosphere, Max Q on the way up, all the pyrotechnic events-- you are already in orbit. You need a good deorbit burn and penetration aids, and that is it.

The disadvantage of orbiting nuclear weapons is that their location is known unless you constantly change your orbit by high exhaust velocity plasma drive maneuvers. (which in a war time configuration would probably be the case on heightened alert)   They are also vulnerable to surprise attack from the ground (V2s can hit the lower stations, IRBMs the higher ones)
Clarke wrote in a short story of the early 1960s projecting that Britain and France (and presumably the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Canada, India, Japan, China, and Sweden) would have low gigaton range arsenals--(Like the Soviet Union in 1960) -- say 1000 1 megaton warheads --- 
and the two super powers, the US and USSR would have teraton range arsenals (equivalent of  10,000 100 megaton warheads) although many configurations are possible, some with hundreds of thousands of operational warheads of every description.  Many scholars have pointed out that a million tactical warheads might be needed in certain contexts in very involved tactical land warfare in Eurasia. 

(In the context of 2001 the Chinese Empire is something like a third of humanity possibly having absorbed India, I am not clear if it is a third nuclear superpower in the book but it absolutely is something that both the US and USSR together are allying against so that argues yes they are a superpower even in the 2001 movie universe.) 

Typical configuration then for medium powers like the UK FRG France and Japan would be say 10-100 orbiting small military satellites with a minimum 2 man crew (more likely 3 men) because of the 'No Lone Zone' rule.  So Skylab's https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skylab mass of 70 tons or so times 10. Even 200 warheads might weigh as little as 300 tons with needed equipment. Ten such satellites would be a minimum creditable deterrent,  If say most of the 2 superpower arsenals in gigatonnage are in large Orion orbited deep space 10,000 megaton weapons and 10% are in 'traditional' megaton sized warheads that is 1000 satellites with 100 warheads each, in a random orbit passing overhead every 10 minutes or so. 

The idea for a medium power is to get the warheads out of crowded metropolitan bases to eliminate Soviet or Chinese first strike concerns and into space.  The second idea is if tactical fighting erupts to be able to strike from space in battlefield contexts in support of their own ground units. If the Federal Republic of Germany is invaded by Warsaw Pact forces and NATO is unsupporting, they can creditably drop megaton devices on Red Army positions in Eastern Europe. Japan can deter an amphibious Chinese invasion the same way, regardless of lack of naval strength.

For a major power wanting to take out an entire enemy country the strategy is different.
Mean time to deorbit a space warhead can be as little as 30 seconds if exactly in line with the target; maximum depends on the orbit. A Molniya like orbit  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molniya_orbit might be used for huge gigaton mines, (orbit shown below)  and of the teraton in the USSR arsenal 90% might be 90 10,000 megaton bombs which if detonated at low point could set on fire single targets the size of UK/Ireland, New England, Bangladesh, Taiwan, and so on.

All this leads to the development of space rendezvous interceptors and boarding tactics akin to the early days of sea battles. More than one crew is immolated in atomic fires when ignoring a no-board warning of an unmanned station.  Fortunately this has so far only happened over remote ocean, but a number of surface ships have also fallen victim to the heat pulse.

Figure 1: The Molniya orbit. Usually the period from perigee +2 hours to perigee +10 hours is used to transmit to the northern hemisphere

Groundtrack of Molniya orbit. In the operational part of the orbit from apogee −3 hours to apogee +3 hours the satellite is north of 55.5° N (latitude of for example central Scotland,Moscow and southern part of Hudson Bay)

World War 12:      1996: Clavius Moonbase https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clavius_Base operational
An Aries Ib in circumlunar orbit

most detailed rendering of Clavius Base ever seen

Because of the ease of minor power access raids intercepting unmanned low orbit platforms,
US-USSR Moonbase Race in progress, Russians match Clavius with base called Moonbase Alfa
Lunar missile  bases being set up with tens of thousands of Advanced Scuds  and cheap mass produced 40 year old tech developments of the SS-3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS-3_Shyster for 3-5 day assured strike to Earth in case of vulnerability of orbiting Soviet deterrents

World War 13:      2001: Weird looking Star Child http://2001.wikia.com/wiki/Star_Child
 alien fetus derived from former astronaut Dave Bowman detonates all orbiting nuclear weapons at once "bringing a false dawn to half the world"  ending the vital arms race production which keeps the world from economic depression.  Great Depression II begins, 7 years before 2008 in the alternate timeline. 

If you liked this article, please give it a quick review on ycombinator or StumbleUpon. Thanks

Форма для связи


Email *

Message *