"A huge cloud rose from the ground and followed the trail of the great sun. ... All through the very short but long-seeming interval not a sound was heard. I could see the silhouettes of human forms motionless in little groups ...
"Then out of the great silence came a mighty thunder. For a brief interval the phenomena we had seen as light repeated itself in terms of sound. ... The big boom came about a hundred seconds after the great flash ...
"It brought the silent, motionless silhouettes to life, gave them a voice. A loud cry filled the air. The little groups that had hitherto stood rooted to the earth like desert plants broke into a dance ...
"Later that Monday morning, at the breakfast table in the pleasant dining room of the Los Alamos Lodge, the silence was broken by Dr George B. Kistiakowsky of Harvard. ... 'This was the nearest to doomsday one can possibly imagine,' he said. 'I am sure', he added after a pause, as though speaking to no one in particular, 'that at the end of world - in the last millisecond of the earth's existence - the last man will see something very similar to what we have seen.'
"And out of the silence that ensued I heard another voice - my own ... 'Possibly so', I said, 'but it is also possible that if the first man could have been present at the moment of Creation when God said, Let there be light, he might have seen something very similar to what we have seen. ...
"That afternoon I encountered the late Dr Lawrence, one of my neighbors on the hill in the desert. 'What a day in history!' he exclaimed. 'It was like being witness to the Second Coming of Christ!' I heard myself say.
"It then came to me that both 'Oppie' and I, and likely many others in our group, had shared in a profound religious experience, having been witness to an event akin to the supernatural."
DNA-TR-82-18: Dust-Cloud Effects On Aircraft Engines-Emerging Issues and New Damage Mechanisms (U) DNA-TR-87-106: Characterization of Dust Environments for the F.I07, TF-33, and J.57 Engine Tests (U) DNA-TR-90-72-1: Exposure of Air Breathing Engines to Nuclear Dust Environment (U)Volume I-Performance Deterioration of an Operational F100 Turbofan Engine Upon Exposure to a Simulated Nuclear Dust Environment (U) DNA-TR-90-72-3: Exposure of Air Breathing Engines to Nuclear Dust Environment (U)Volume III-Performance Deterioration of a Second F100 Turbofan Engine Upon Exposure to a Simulated Nuclear Dust Environment (U) DNA-TR-91-160: The "Most Probable" Dust Blend and Its Response in the F-I00 Hot Section Test System (H STS) DNA-TR-91-26: Response of an Operational Turbofan Engine to A Simulated Nuclear Dust Environment (U) DNA-TR-92-111: The Response of an F107-WR-102 Engine to a "Most Probable" Nuclear Dust Environment (U) DNA-TR-92-121: The Response of a YF101-GE-100 Engine to a "Most Probable" Nuclear Dust Environment (U) DNA-TR-93-124: Response Models for the FIOI, TF33, and F107 Turbofan Engines to Dust Environments DNA-TR-93-2: Influence of Ingested Nuclear Cloud Dust, and Overpressure Waves on Gas Turbine Engine Behavior (U) DNA-TR-94-110: The Response of a Third F100-PW-100 Engine to a "Most Probable" Nuclear Dust Environment (U) DNA-TR-94-24: The Response of a Second YF101-GE-100 Engine to a Dust-Laden Environment (U) DNA-TR-94-45: The Response of a F112-WR-100 Advanced Cruise Missile Engine to a Dust-Laden Environment (U) DNA-TR-94-46: The Response of a Second F112-WR-100 Advanced Cruise Missile Engine to a Dust-Laden Environment (U)
There is a problem with using this close-in volcanic ash situation to infer such a hazard when aircraft are not 110 miles from a volcano, but 1,200 miles, which is the distance of London from Iceland. This is because the concentration of airborne ash decreases rapidly the further you go downwind, as a result of diffusion. Ultimately, some of the dust from any volcanic eruption diffuses into the air around the world. This doesn't mean that all aircraft should be grounded. The danger depends on the dust concentration. The lesson from the 1982 Boeing 747 experience at 37,000 feet near Jakarta, 110 miles from a volcano, is that the visible effects of dust on the aircraft such as static electricity on the windshield, correspond to turbine blade and dust clogging to the engines, and the crew of such an aircraft should get it out of the high concentration of dust immediately, just as they should avoid other aircraft, severe storms, mountains, etc.
Grounding aircraft over a thousand miles away from a volcano is not needed, judging from flights through low concentrations of volcanic dust (for a list of general consequences, see the paper linked here):
Which is a shame, because it is costing airlines and millions of stranded passengers many millions, while the concentration of the volcanic dust over Britain has not proved enough to cause visible damage. If the airborne dust cloud is invisible to the eye (as this volcanic dust cloud over Britain is) the concentration of dust in grams per cubic metre is simply too low to cause any risk of engine failure. It won't sand-blast turbines to shreds and it won't clog air intakes. There is always some dust in the atmosphere, including rough particles of silicate (glass). These come from micrometeorites which are broken up during entry to the atmosphere from space, volcanic eruptions, erosion in sandy desert areas, etc. Aircraft are always flown through these natural low concentrations of airborne dust. Aircraft are designed to take it. As the dust concentration increases but remains invisible to the eye thousands of miles downwind from a volcanic eruption, the sandblasting of the engines will at least theoretically reduce the total engine lifespan or the time to full overhaul (worn engine parts can be replaced). However, this cost is not the overriding factor, requiring the grounding of aircraft, because engines will not shut down in such low (invisible) dust concentrations; the cost in replacing compressors and servicing engines needs to be offset against the costs of keeping aircraft grounded. You have to do a cost-benefit analysis that takes account of the costs to the airways of shutting down for long periods, thousands of miles from volcanoes, where diffusion has reduced the dust concentration to the extent that it is no longer visible:
Apart from the (over exaggerated) hazard to aircraft, the close-in volcanic ash is naturally toxic fallout because it can cause fluoride poisoning if inhaled in large quantities, resulting in "internal bleeding, long-term bone damage and teeth loss". Unlike radioactive fallout, the danger doesn't decay quickly with the -1.2 power of time. Close-in visible deposits of volcanic ash are a very long-term chemical hazard until the excess fluoride has been physically weathered out of the biosystem. Additionally, the fluoride in volcanic ash causes a corrosive effect on metals.
Instead of the government analyzing scientifically the concentration of airborne dust and evaluating whether it is cost-efficient to fly aircraft through (we know it is safe to fly aircraft through it, i.e. engines don't cut out in invisibly low dust concentrations), the government follows the scientifically inept BBC and instead confuses the close in threat from flying aircraft through visible dust clouds with invisibly low dust concentrations:
This is just the political "no threshold theory", which in the context of radiation was discussed in an earlier post. The "no threshold" propaganda started with low level radiation in the 1950s. The idea is that if something is dangerous in large concentrations, it must also be banned in small concentrations, a form of pseudoscience which - if really true - would lead to most vitamins and minerals (which are dangerous in large amounts) being completely banned even in small concentrations, with tragic consequences.
Jet aircraft were routinely flown into dust laden mushroom clouds a few minutes after 1950s nuclear weapons tests to collect "cloud samples" of fission products. This is important because it is easy to determine the airborne dust concentration from the specific radioactivity of fallout (the amount of radioactivity per gram at 1 hour after detonation); the total lofted dust in grams is simply equal to the total radioactivity produced in the bomb, divided into the specific activity. For decades this data was secret, but after the "nuclear winter" controversy in 1983, Dr Edward Teller managed to get a small amount of data declassified and released in a report by R. G. Gutmacher and others, Total Mass and Concentration of Particles in Dust Clouds, UCRL-14397 (revision 2) which showed that the 110 kiloton 1954 Castle-Koon surface burst at Bikini Atoll produced 500 tons of fallout per kiloton (this production ratio was much less for megaton bombs, because the lofted mass is a constant fraction of the cratered material, and crater volumes scale up less than linearly with increasing total explosive energy). By dividing this total measured dust cloud mass into the total visible volume of the dust cloud, you find the dust concentration in grams per cubic metre. Since many jet aircraft flew through that measured dust loading for known periods of time without suffering damage during nuclear tests, it sets an effective safe threshold.
Brick, concrete, and steel frame buildings are far more fire resistant (the Twin Towers fires were due to the injection of aviation fuel, which nuclear weapons don't provide). Feinstein's report AD676183 is based on a 10 megaton nuclear surface burst, which has a longer blast wind drag duration than the smaller Hiroshima and Nagasaki explosions, so the speed attained by blast carried debris is greater and casualty rates are higher for blast for any fixed peak overpressure. There are huge differences in the median (50%) lethal peak overpressure for different situations: outdoors, 50% of people standing without any thermal radiation shadowing will be killed by burns and wind drag impacts for 3.0 psi, but inside a 7-story load-bearing brick warehouse 9.2 psi is needed. The types of buildings predominating in all modern cities provide immensely more protection than was generally available in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the predictions above, people are assumed to be standing with no "duck and cover" countermeasures. Injuries are here due primarily to flying glass, flying debris, bodily displacement by wind drag, and flash burns.
Note that Feinstein's model for standing personnel is accurate, but the results predicted for prone personnel are exaggerations because they ignore the shielding from thermal radiation by shadowing and do not properly account for the sliding resistance to translation. In addition, covering under a strong table or under a strong staircase - the "Morrison shelter" effect in WWII Britain, also demonstrated by 1950s nuclear tests on brick houses - protects reasonably well against the debris collapse of a house, since the weight of falling debris when a house collapses is completely unaffected by the strength of the blast wave.
Above:as we shall see in this blog post, hiding under the stairs or under tables like the "Morrison" led to survival in houses destroyed in the Blitz. This page is from the 1964 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons and shows two supposedly "brick" houses (actually the brick finish was just a veneer: "The exterior walls were of brick veneer and cinder block and the foundational walls of cinder block", according to page 182 in the 1977 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons) subjected to peak overpressures of 5 and 1.7 psi from the 29 kt Apple-2 Nevada tower test of 5 May 1955. In the film of the 5 psi blast hitting the wrecked house, the wind pressure peels the roof off while the peak overpressure cracks the front wall, enters the house through the windows, and then (as the blast passes and the external pressure drops below ambient pressure in the "negative phase") the blast overpressure inside the house causes the cracked walls to visibly explode outwards. The brick debris goes outwards, not inwards. People ducking under the stairs or a strong table to avoid flying glass could have avoided injury from blast, as well obviously as all of the thermal radiation and the larger part of the nuclear radiation dose. By ripping the roof off, the debris load on the floors below was reduced, preventing total collapse (some photos taken from other angles make it look as if this house was squashed flat, which is untrue). Of the house at 1.7 psi, Glasstone and Dolan (1977) state: "its condition was such that it could be made available for habitation by shoring and some fairly inexpensive repairs." They also show that precast concrete houses survived 5 psi in that test with just damage to windows and doors.
At higher blast yields, the wind pressure duration increases so debris loading problem is actually further reduced (making duck and cover countermeasures still more important), because the wind pressure carries more and more of the rubble horizontally beyond the building, instead of allowing it to fall vertically straight down on to the ground floor. The collapsing load is therefore reduced, unlike the situation with controlled demolition, the Twin Towers (which collapsed due to the heating of the metal frame, weaking it as a result of the intensely burning aviation fuel from the planes, which has little relevance to nuclear weapons), or with conventional TNT bombing (short duration wind pressures) in WWII, which all maximised the debris load per unit area on the ground floor.
Above: Dr Shields Warren and Dr Ashley Webster Oughterson compiled detailed data on the survival of groups of people at various distances in Hiroshima according to the degree of protection they had in their book Medical effects of the atomic bomb in Japan, by the Joint Commission for the Investigation of the Effects of the Atomic Bomb in Japan (McGraw Hill, New York, 1956, p. 103). The high casualty rates from thermal radiation in Japan are not generally applicable to other situations. The U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment study The Effects of Nuclear War in 1979 pointed out that on a cold winter night typically only 1 % of the population would be exposed to thermal radiation, compared to typically 25 % for the summer and daytime. In addition, the weather (atmospheric visibility) affects thermal transmission from bomb to target, just as the wind direction affects fallout delivery to a target in a surface burst. Nobody therefore can assert that a nuclear weapon explosion will automatically produce the effects exhibited on Hiroshima. Even if the atmospheric conditions were similar, other factors would be different and the results would not be the same.
This demonstrates that a reduction of the area of skin exposed to the fireball thermal radiation can be vitally important in reducing the risk of mortality in nuclear war. Duck and cover is not a fraud. The protection afforded by clothing was established by Nevada nuclear tests and is reported in Capabilities of Atomic Weapons TM 23-200, November 1957 (dark clothing may flame and smoke at the higher exposure levels, but if the person is lying on the ground they can roll over to extinguish flames as the thermal pulse subsides):
It has been brought to our attention that certain elements among the passengers and crew favor the installation of "life" boats on this ship. These elements have advanced the excuse that such action would save lives in the event of a maritime disaster such as the ship striking an iceberg. Although we share their concern, we remain unalterably opposed to any consideration of their course of action for the following reasons:
1. This program would lull you into a false sense of security.
2. It would cause undue alarm and destroy your desire to continue your voyage in this ship.
3. It demonstrates a lack of faith in our Captain.
4. The apparent security which "life" boats offer will make our Navigators reckless.
5. These proposals will distract our attention from more important things i.e. building unsinkable ships. They may even lead our builders to false economies and the building of ships that are actually unsafe.
6. In the event of being struck by an iceberg (we will never strike first) the "life" boats would certainly sink along with the ship.
7. If they do not sink, you will only be saved for a worse fate, inevitable death on the open sea.
8. If you should be washed ashore on a desert island, you will be unaccustomed to the hostile environment and will surely die of exposure.
9. If you should be rescued by a passing vessel, you would spend a life of remorse mourning over your lost loved ones.
10. The panic engendered by a collision with an iceberg would destroy all vestiges of civilized human behavior. We shudder at the vision of one man shooting another for the possession of a "life" boat.
11. Such a catastrophe is too horrible to contemplate. Anyone who does contemplate it obviously advocates it.
- Committee for a Sane Navigational Policy: Stephan A. Khiney '62, Robert Fresco '63, Richard W. Bulliet '62, Donald M. Scott '62.
In fact, the analogy of civil defence to lifeboats goes a lot deeper: for many years lifeboats were in fact "debunked" and ridiculed as silly, expensive, useless, etc. That came to a dramatic end in 1912 with the testimony of Commander Charles Lightoller, the Second Officer aboard the Titanic, who was ordered to fill a grossly inadequate number of lifeboats, choosing who would survive and who would die. He recommended to the inquiry that lifeboat capacity be based on numbers of passengers and crew instead of ship tonnage, that lifeboat drills should be conducted regularly on ships so passengers know where their lifeboats are and crew know how to operate them, and that early warnings of ice and collision should be given by radio communications in all passenger ships. Summarizing the points made in Walter Lord's minute-by-minute account of the disaster based on interviews with 63 survivors, A Night to Remember (Longmans, Green and Corgi, London, 1956), Dr Tom Stonier explained this obvious analogy between the inadequate disaster preparations of the Titanic and the panic due to the inadequacy of civil defence for nuclear attack in Hiroshima, on page 55 his 1964 book Nuclear Disaster (Penguin, London):
"The immediate survivors of a disaster are ... frequently so frightened or so stunned that they cannot utilize the resources available to them with the greatest effectiveness, nor can they muster the courage to conduct rescue operations. Nowhere is the incapacitating effect of fear more clearly illustrated than by the events that followed the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Of sixteen hundred men, women, and children in the ice water, only thirteen people were picked up by the half-empty lifeboats nearby. Only one of the eighteen boats made the attempt to return and rescue them. The others failed to lend assistance out of fear of being swamped. In boat after boat, the suggestion to go back and help was countered by the sentiment, 'Why should we lose our lives in a useless attempt to save others from the ship?'
"The damaging effect of fear is therefore not so much that it elicits the flight reaction, which is a healthy, normal, and life-saving response, but that it leads to a paralysis of judgement and action that tends to prevent the maximum use of available resources and thereby prevents preserving the maximum number of lives."
Robert Jungk's book, Children of the Ashes (Heinemann, London, 1961) cites a report in Hiroshima by American psychologist Woodbury Sparks called Panic Among A-Bomb Casualties at Hiroshima which showed that due to their surprise at the effects of the Hiroshima nuclear explosion, only 26 percent (153 out of a random sample of 589) of bomb survivors in Hiroshima gave any assistance at all to anybody else after the explosion. Only 5% of people trapped alive by blast debris in Hiroshima were freed by others, while 50% freed themselves before the firestorm took hold. Because British brick houses produce heavier debris than Japanese wooden houses, only 25% of people trapped alive under the stairs or a strong table (Morrison shelter) in collapsed houses after air raids in Britain could free themselves, although the fire risk was lower because bricks do not burn as U.K. Home Office proved. Organised rescue efforts (see the earlier post, linked here) could therefore increase the survival chance even in demolished wooden buildings substantially.
"... distribution of 'Andersons' had begun before their testing had been completed. At the opening of 1939 'load tests' had shown that 'Andersons' were strong enough to bear the weight of any debris falling on them from the type of house for which they were intended. But it was not until some months later [Sectional Steel Shelters, Cmd. 6055, July 1939] that a series of 'explosion tests' proved conclusively [that they] could withstand without damage a 500 lb. [227 kg] high explosive bomb falling at least fifty feet away [equivalent to a 12 kt Hiroshima nuclear bomb some 50(12,000/0.227)1/3 = 1,880 feet away: thus, Anderson shelters would have survived undamaged at ground zero after the air burst that high over Hiroshima] ... It was established at the same time that they would protect their occupants against blast from a bomb of this size bursting in the open at a distance of thirty feet or more. But this soundness of the 'Andersons' from a structural soundpoint, it soon became clear, was counterbalanced by an important practical defect, namely liability to flooding."
"By Christmas more than one-half of the 1,500,000 mothers and children concerned had returned home; in the London and Liverpool areas about two-thirds of the evacuated children had returned. (The first count taken in January 1940 disclosed that about 900,000 had returned.) ... this evacuation scheme had, as Mr Titmuss says, 'largely failed to achieve its object of removing for the duration of the war most of the mothers and children in the target areas'."
These Morrison table shelters were named after the Minister of Home Security (Herbert Morrison) and were introduced in March 1941. More than 500,000 were issued by November 1941, and they simply consisted of a strong dinner table containing a mattress for sleeping. They were 6' 6" long x 4' wide x 2' 9" high with a top consisting of 1/8" solid steel plate, with welded wire mesh sides and a metal lath floor. One wire side lifted up, allowing people to crawl inside the structure, where there was sleeping space for several people. These were placed in a ground floor (or basement) "refuge room", a technique revived for blast, thermal flash and fallout radiation shielding by the U.K. Government in its 1980 civil defence manual against nuclear attack, Protect and Survive. Edward Leader-Williams, assistant to Morrison shelter designer Sir John Baker during the experiments, worked in the U.K. Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch until 1965, and in 1955 initiated the basic Protect and Survive "inner refuge" research against nuclear war.
The 22 May 1940 booklet Your Home as an Air Raid Shelter had already marked a change in policy as the discomfort and flooding of outdoor Anderson shelters became clear. As a result of the experience gained during the Blitz bombing, it was revised and greatly improved in June 1941 to create the new handbook (featuring the indoor Morrison shelter), Shelter at Home, which states:
“people have often been rescued from demolished houses because they had taken shelter under an ordinary table ... strong enough to bear the weight of the falling bedroom floor.”
“The walls of most houses give good shelter from blast and splinters from a bomb falling nearby. The bomb, however, may also bring down part of the house, and additional protection from the fall of walls, floors and ceilings is therefore very essential. This is what the indoor shelter has been designed to give. Where to put it up, which floor? Ground floor if you have no basement. Basement, if you have one. ... Protect windows of the shelter room with fabric netting or cellulose film stuck to the glass (as recommended in Your Home as an Air Raid Shelter). The sides of your table shelter will not keep out small glass splinters.”
“The public outcry about conditions in the largest public shelters, often without sanitation or even lighting, and the appalling inadequacy of the over-loaded and ill-equipped rest centres for the bombed-out led to immediate improvements, but cost Sir John Anderson his job. ... His successor as Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison ...
“The growing reluctance of many people to go out of doors led the new Home Secretary to look again at the need for an indoor shelter… The result was the Morrison shelter, which resembled a large steel table … During the day it could be used as a table and at night it could, with a slight squeeze, accommodate two adults and two small children, lying down. The first were delivered in March 1941 and by the end of the war about 1,100,000 were in use, including a few two-tier models for larger families. Morrisons were supplied free to people earning up to £350 a year and were on sale at about £7 to people earning more. … the Morrison proved the most successful shelter of the war, particularly during the ‘hit and run’ and flying-bomb raids when a family had only a few seconds to get under cover. It was also a good deal easier to erect than an Anderson, and while most people remember their nights in the Anderson with horror, memories of the Morrison shelter are usually good-humoured.
“... A government leaflet, Shelter at Home, pointed out that ‘people have often been rescued from demolished houses because they had taken shelter under an ordinary table... strong enough to bear the weight of the falling bedroom floor’. I frequently worked beneath the solid oak tables in the school library during ‘imminent danger periods’ and, particularly before the arrival of the Morrison, families became accomplished at squeezing beneath the dining table during interrupted meals. ... Although the casualties were mercifully far fewer than expected, the damage to property was far greater. From September 1940 to May 1941 in London alone 1,150,000 houses were damaged ...”
1. Introduction 2. Height of burst blast curves: American and British analyses 3. Ground shock, cratering, water waves 4. Thermal phenomenology 5. Initial nuclear radiation 6. Fallout 7. Radio and radar temporary attenuation by ionization 8. Electronic and electrical equipment damage by EMP 9. Biological effects
The 1977 edition was published at a time when the Soviet strategic nuclear threat was finally outpacing the American stockpile, and is technically the most sophisticated. It is really a military textbook. It is not a compendium of all of the best nuclear test data, let alone of the scientific literature, although it does have many excellent chapter bibliographies listing very important research reports and books on each topic. Instead, it is a state-of-the-art summary of the results that have come out of generally secret research, as we will show later on. The result is a reliance on authority to a certain extent, although in some cases - the best example being the chapter on "Radio and Radar Effects" - most of the basic calculations are clearly set out in detail. Because detailed comparisons between theory and nuclear test data are generally excluded from the book due to secrecy in 1977, it suffers from an overly "theoretical" feel. The secrecy of nuclear test effects data, and even the full U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey reports on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, misleads the public (particularly many academic scientists) into believing falsely that such data simply does not exist, and was never measured accurately. One problem with The Effects of Nuclear Weapons in every edition has always been that it tends to encourage this belief by excluding a full comparison of theory versus all the (secret) nuclear test data.
People believe that the book contains everything known, rather thay just being a summary of the conclusions to far more detailed secret research reports, and therefore they assume that human knowledge on nuclear effects is more "theoretical" that it really is. For instance, when we go right back to 1945, only a brief summary, excluding the mechanism of the firestorm, was published in unclassified form in 1947 of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey report on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The full report has never been published to this very day!
The originally ‘secret’ May 1947 U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey report on Hiroshima, pp. 4-6:
‘Six persons who had been in reinforced-concrete buildings within 3,200 feet [975 m] of air zero stated that black cotton black-out curtains were ignited by flash heat... A large proportion of over 1,000 persons questioned was, however, in agreement that a great majority of the original fires were started by debris falling on kitchen charcoal fires... There had been practically no rain in the city for about 3 weeks. The velocity of the wind ... was not more than 5 miles [8 km] per hour....
‘The fire wind, which blew always toward the burning area, reached a maximum velocity of 30 to 40 miles [48-64 km] per hour 2 to 3 hours after the explosion ... Hundreds of fires were reported to have started in the centre of the city within 10 minutes after the explosion... almost no effort was made to fight this conflagration within the outer perimeter which finally encompassed 4.4 square miles [11 square km]. Most of the fire had burned itself out or had been extinguished on the fringe by early evening ... There were no automatic sprinkler systems in building...’
The originally ‘secret’ May 1947 U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey report on Nagasaki states (vol. 1, p. 10):
‘... the raid alarm was not given ... until 7 minutes after the atomic bomb had exploded ... less than 400 persons were in the tunnel shelters which had capacities totalling approximately 70,000.’
Unlike the previous editions, which were cheaply printed in paperback with an empty pocket for the "Nuclear Bomb Effects Computer" inside the back cover (which was sold separately), the 1977 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons was published hardback with the slide-rule included. It is considerably shorter than the 1964 edition, since the civil defense final chapter was removed. It presents example problems and solutions in textbook format, and indeed a major purpose was for the instruction of military personnel in nuclear weapons effects, not civil defense. Philip J. Dolan drafted the 1977 edition at Stanford Research Institute, California, shortly after editing the 1972 first two-part version of the U.S. Department of Defense's Secret-Restricted Data 1,650 pages long Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons, Effects Manual EM-1. Many of the new diagrams in the 1977 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons were declassified from the 1974 NATO edition of EM-1.
The military focus is shown by the relatively brief treatment of fallout radiation, ignoring the prediction of specific activity of fallout (the visibility of its mass deposit, as related to its hazardous radioactivity content), the uptake of fallout nuclides in food from contaminated soil, solubility of fallout from different kinds of detonation, decontamination measures and their effectiveness, and so on. The major focus is on blast, shock, cratering, thermal effects, initial nuclear radiation, and radio and radar effects. The chapter on "Radio and Radar Effects" is brilliant technically and scientifically, but is written up more like a detailed scientific review paper than a brief book chapter. All of the material there is excellent, but requires a lot of very close technical study to understand. Some of the material, such as detailed equations for calculations of the disappearance of electrons in the ionosphere due to combination with neutral particles or their ions, is more important for detailed EMP field predictions, which were not provided due to classification.
The ionization from a nuclear explosion attenuates or refracts radio and radar signals for relatively short periods of time for the extremely high frequencies that are used now. Satellite based communications systems are designed to use extremely high frequencies to penetrate the Earth's natural ionosphere, and such frequencies will also penetrate most nuclear explosion ionization regions at high altitudes, with only a temporary disruption at most. Radio systems that don't use satellites or the bouncing of signals off the ionosphere are immune to ionization regions unless the explosion is so close that blast and initial nuclear radiation would be of overriding importance. The permanent damage due to EMP is of more concern. The EMP can of course be degraded by the ionization. For instance, in a surface burst, the EMP radiated by the net upward Compton current above ground zero is partially absorbed by the air ionization caused by the gamma rays moving outwards in more horizontal directions. This reduces the observed EMP at a long distance from a surface burst to less than the field strength that could be predicted from the net vertical Compton current if air ionization is ignored.
The 1977 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons is not a book whose content can be assimilated quickly. I think that a lot of the information could be communicated in a faster, more appealing way by changing the format to a larger, A4 size, and laying out the pictures and diagrams in a graphics designer way which helps to achieve rapid communication, preferably with equations briefly summarized inside graphical diagrams (so that they are available for checking and computation, but can be ignored if not needed). Pictures of blast destruction to buildings could be arranged in order of blast pressures and duration, showing at a glance the visible effects of different pressures and durations. In the case of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the carefully documented survival rates in the various kinds of buildings could also be included, as well as declassified information on how the fires began and when buildings caught fire. Photographs of nuclear explosions should be laid out to demonstrate more clearly the visible time-sequence of detonation effects for the various kinds of burst and yields (surface bursts, underwater, air bursts, and high altitude bursts). The 1964 civil defense material should be similarly revised and included.
Dr Iklé also makes the point on page 147 that the lessons learned from Hiroshima were quickly applied to help survivors of the nuclear attack on Nagasaki; on 10 August (Day 2 after Nagasaki), emergency rations are brought in to feed 67,000 survivors: ‘this represents a remarkable feat of organisation that illustrates the great possibilities of mass feeding.’
7 August (Day 2): Survivors open bridges and roads to pedestrian traffic, clearing away debris.
8 August (Day 3): Tracks cleared and trains to Hiroshima resumed.
9 August (Day 4): Street trolley bus (electric tram) lines return to service.
Next, consider what civil defence did during the post-attack recovery process to help aid survivors in Nagasaki, subjected to a nuclear explosion just 3 days after Hiroshima:
9 August (Day 1): Emergency rations are brought in to feed 25,000 survivors (though less than the required amount, due to bureaucratic confusion). The survivors lived in the air-raid shelters, which had survived.
10 August (Day 2): Emergency rations are brought in to feed 67,000 survivors.
Robert Jungk, Children of the Ashes (Heinemann, London, 1961): 'one morning in April 1946, the Vice-Mayor [of Hiroshima] gazed for a long time. For what met his eyes was a sight he had scarcely hoped ever to see again ... The blackness of the branches was dappled with the brilliant white of cherry buds opening into blossom.'
2. On 7 September 1945, the Chugoku Shimbun reported that Hiroshima then had a population estimated to be 130,000.
3. On 10 September 1945, electricity was reconnected to some parts of Hiroshima: "huts made of planks quickly knocked together ... already had electric light."
4. On 5 November 1945, the Chugoku Shimbun reported that - despite inertia and delays due to "the rigidity of bureaucratic procedure" which was hindering the recovery rate - a lot of progress was being made:
"Housing. The building of houses is to be systematically begun on 15 November. ...
"Tramways. At present, ten trams are in commission on the main route, eight on the Miyajima route and five muncipal buses. These twenty-three vehicles must cater for an average of 42,000 persons daily."
It is a fact that 70% of the destroyed buildings of Hiroshima had been reconstructed by mid-1949. (Ref.: Research Department, Hiroshima Municipal Office, as cited in Hiroshima, Hiroshima Publishing, 1949. Other recovery data are given in U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, The Effects of Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Washington, D.C., 1946, p. 8.)
- Complete lie, even in the worst city firestorm on record, that in Hamburg (not Hiroshima!). If there was no oxygen, there would be no fire! Fires only burn where there is oxygen. Underground shelters proved effective in Hamburg, contrary to unending lies from CND for over fifty years. In any case, underground structures are not needed for civil defense: it is possible to protect against all the effects in a normal city building to such an extent that the casualty rate is reduced by a factor of 120, as in the example for Hiroshima already given.
CND forgot to add the lie that the "nuclear winter" from the soot rainfall in Hiroshima froze the planet and exterminated all life, making the rebuilding of "eternally contaminated" Hiroshima impossible, and making the all the tens of thousands of "survivors envy the dead" as Khrushchev's propaganda claim stated (after he brutally suppressed the peaceful uprising in Hungary using tanks in 1956), thereby disproving the value of civil defense for survival. Maybe they will add this media lie later on? That policy will encourage aggressors to develop weapons of mass destruction in order to intimidate us into appeasement towards them, just like Hitler did in the 1930s, while they prepare for war! Is this what CND wants? Why can't they ever tell the truth about the effects of nuclear weapons? Why do people listen to their Goebbels-style "big lie" propaganda confidence tricks? Why can't the civil defense authorities publish the truth in a clear concise way and debunk these people?
2. Height of burst blast curves: American and British analyses
The 1977 edition of The Effects of Nuclear Weapons contains revised height-of-burst blast curves, with "knees" differing from those in the 1962/4 edition. The 1957 edition contained no such curves at all, merely data for a surface burst, a "free air burst" (i.e., where the blast wave reaches the observer without first striking the ground), and for "typical air burst" at the altitude of the Nagasaki detonation, with burst altitude and ground distance scaled by the cube-root of the explosive yield in all cases. The 1950 edition, The Effects of Atomic Weapons contained more information on the effect of the height of burst on blast pressures, based partly on the chemical high explosive air bursts and partly upon the data from early tests like Trinity, Crossroads-Able, and Operation Sandstone.
Before going into the full details, it is worth jumping forwards in time to the present day. The current compendium is John A. Northrop's 736 pages long 1996 Handbook of Nuclear Weapon Effects: Calculational Tools Abstracted from DSWA's Effects Manual One (EM-1), a compendium of declassified key equations and data extracted on Brode's 22-volume revision of Dolan's EM-1, Capabilities of Nuclear Weapons. Northrop's book is unclassified but of "limited" distribution and is banned from export outside the U.S.A. Regarding the height-of-burst effect on blast pressures, it follows a review by Brode, in which Brode developed an awesome-looking page-long mathematical formula to summarize the nuclear test data on height-of-burst effects in the massive secret American compilation, report DASA 1200.
This thermal enhancement on air blast is quite apart from the (1) dust storm "precursor" which can occur and (2) the "Mach effect", which is the simple merging of reflected and incident shock waves, due to the fact that the reflected shock wave is travelling through air heated by the incident blast wave and therefore travels faster, catching up and merging with the incident shock wave to form the so-called "Mach stem". The thermal enhancement is also separate from the enhancement of the air blast by regular reflection and by the fact that air bursts have more blast and thermal energy available owing to the fact that they do not expend fireball energy in cratering, severe ground shock, and melting on the order of 100 tons of soil per kiloton to form fused fallout particles.
Penney's height-of-burst curves from British nuclear tests can be directly compared to those in Glasstone and Dolan, and show a yield effect. Most of the American Nevada test data in the "knees" region is for yields in the range of 20-30 kilotons. British test data is mostly for yields in the range of 1-20 kt. The American data shows greater "knees", giving larger ranges of blast for optimum heights of burst. This could be partly due to the higher average yield in American tests, because the blast radii scale as W1/3 whereas the thermal ranges (over relatively small distances in clear atmospheric visibility, so that thermal attenuation by air is trivial) scale more far more strongly with yield, as W1/2 not W1/3. The thermal contribution to the "knees" means that the blast wave from optimized air bursts will depend on the colour of the soil and also will not scale simply by the cube root law in clear atmospheric conditions, but will scale up more rapidly and for very high yield optimum air bursts over dark colored soil, the peak overpressure distances will scale with yield more like W1/2 than like W1/3.
However, unlike the Nevada test site, city buildings shadow the thermal radiation (at least prior to blast arrival at any given building), eliminating most of this effect over large ranges. Penney also points out another factor which is ignored by Glasstone in all editions after the first (1950) edition, namely the use of blast energy in irreversibly causing destruction of buildings in any given radial line outwards from ground zero. In Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Penney's research found that each wooden building blown up by the blast took out on average around 1% of the blast peak overpressure (compared to the unobstructed Nevada desert), so after 100 buildings in any given radial line from ground zero had been destroyed, the peak overpressure was down to just 0.99100 = 0.37 of that in unobstructed terrain. Although you might naively expect some non-radial diffraction of blast energy downwards from higher altitudes to offset this cumulative energy loss due to damage done, the blast pressures are greatest near the ground surface due to the thermal interaction anyway, so the general non-radial flow of energy due to vertical diffraction is upwards, not downwards. You can't get around this problem.
All factors considered, the blast height-of-burst curves are oversimplified by Glasstone, Brode and Northrop. Most nuclear test data is applicable to unobstructed deserts with dark color Nevada soil and clear atmospheric visibility, and these conditions are not applicable generally to the use of nuclear weapons. It is easy, however, to use the nuclear test data to validate full theoretical solutions of the height-of-burst curves. All you need to do is to integrate over the amount of thermal energy (emitted by the time the blast reaches any given radius) absorbed by the ground and add a fraction of that energy to the effective blast yield of the weapon. The fraction will simply be dependent on the albedo of the ground for absorbing the thermal pulse (this is well known, since the fireball thermal pulse spectrum is very similar to that of sunlight), and the sine of the angle which the radial line from the fireball makes with the ground. A considerable proportion of the thermal flash energy absorbed by the ground can convectively heat the air above the ground by "smoking" (a phenomenon visibly clear in many films of nuclear test effects) prior to the blast arrival at that point. The exact fraction of energy transferred from the thermal heating of the ground to the blast wave can be determined by comparing the calculations to the observed blast for given weapon yields in the Nevada, and the result can then be used to predict height-of-burst curves for other bomb yields allowing accurately for the pre-shock thermal layer boosting of the Mach stem.
posted by Nuclear Weapons Effects 6:36 pm0 comments
Historically, it has been proved that having weapons is not enough to guarantee a reasonable measure of safety from terrorism and rogue states; countermeasures are also needed, both to make any deterrent credible and to negate or at least mitigate the effects of a terrorist attack. Some people who wear seatbelts die in car crashes; some people who are taken to hospital in ambulances, even in peace-time, die. Sometimes, lifebelts and lifeboats cannot save lives at sea. This lack of a 100% success rate in saving lives doesn't disprove the value of everyday precautions or of hospitals and medicine. Hospitals don't lull motorists into a false sense of security, causing them to drive faster and cause more accidents. Like-minded ‘arguments’ against ABM and civil defense are similarly vacuous.
‘As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile system that is cost-effective and proven. If the Iranian threat is eliminated, we will have a stronger basis for security, and the driving force for missile-defense construction in Europe will be removed.’
‘The [ABM] treaty was in 1972 ... The theory ... supporting the ABM treaty [which prohibits ABM, thus making nations vulnerable to terrorism] ... that it will prevent an arms race ... is perfect nonsense because we have had an arms race all the time we have had the ABM treaty, and we have seen the greatest increase in proliferation of nuclear weapons that we have ever had. ... So the ABM treaty preventing an arms race is total nonsense. ...
‘The Patriot was not a failure in the Gulf War - the Patriot was one of the things which defeated the Scud and in effect helped us win the Gulf War. One or two of the shots went astray but that is true of every weapon system that has ever been invented. ...
‘President Bush said that we were going ahead with the defensive system but we would make sure that nobody felt we had offensive intentions because we would accompany it by a unilateral reduction of our nuclear arsenal. It seems to me to be a rather clear statement that proceeding with the missile defence system would mean fewer arms of this kind.
‘You have had your arms race all the time that the ABM treaty was in effect and now you have an enormous accumulation and increase of nuclear weapons and that was your arms race promoted by the ABM treaty. Now if you abolish the ABM treaty you are not going to get another arms race - you have got the arms already there - and if you accompany the missile defence construction with the unilateral reduction of our own nuclear arsenal then it seems to me you are finally getting some kind of inducement to reduce these weapons.’
Before the ABM system is in place, and afterwards if ABM fails to be 100% effective in an attack, or is bypassed by terrorists using a bomb in a suitcase or in a ship, civil defense is required and can be effective at saving lives:
‘Paradoxically, the more damaging the effect, that is the farther out its lethality stretches, the more can be done about it, because in the last fall of its power it covers vast areas, where small mitigations will save very large numbers of people.’
‘The purpose of a book is to save people [the] time and effort of digging things out for themselves. ... we have tried to leave the reader with something tangible – what a certain number of calories, roentgens, etc., means in terms of an effect on the human being. ... we must think of the people we are writing for.’
“FY 1997 Plans: ... Provide text to update Glasstone's book, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, the standard reference for nuclear weapons effects. ... Update the unclassified textbook entitled, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons. ... Continue revision of Glasstone's book, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons, the standard reference for nuclear weapons effects. ... FY1999 Plans ... Disseminate updated The Effects of Nuclear Weapons.”
‘The evidence from Hiroshima indicates that blast survivors, both injured and uninjured, in buildings later consumed by fire [caused by the blast overturning charcoal braziers used for breakfast in inflammable wooden houses filled with easily ignitable bamboo furnishings and paper screens] were generally able to move to safe areas following the explosion. Of 130 major buildings studied by the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey ... 107 were ultimately burned out ... Of those suffering fire, about 20 percent were burning after the first half hour. The remainder were consumed by fire spread, some as late as 15 hours after the blast. This situation is not unlike the one our computer-based fire spread model described for Detroit.’
- Defense Civil Preparedness Agency, U.S. Department of Defense, DCPA Attack Environment Manual, Chapter 3: What the Planner Needs to Know About Fire Ignition and Spread, report CPG 2-1A3, June 1973, Panel 27.
“... the city lacked buildings with fire-protective features such as automatic fire doors and automatic sprinkler systems”, and pages 26-28 state the heat flash in Hiroshima was only:
“... capable of starting primary fires in exposed, easily combustible materials such as dark cloth, thin paper, or dry rotted wood exposed to direct radiation at distances usually within 4,000 feet of the point of detonation (AZ).”
Volume two examines the firestorm and the ignition of clothing by the thermal radiation flash in Hiroshima:
“Scores of persons throughout all sections of the city were questioned concerning the ignition of clothing by the flash from the bomb. ... Ten school boys were located during the study who had been in school yards about 6,200 feet east and 7,000 feet west, respectively, from AZ [air zero]. These boys had flash burns on the portions of their faces which had been directly exposed to rays of the bomb. The boys’ stories were consistent to the effect that their clothing, apparently of cotton materials, ‘smoked,’ but did not burst into flame. ... a boy’s coat ... started to smoulder from heat rays at 3,800 feet from AZ.” [Contrast this to the obfuscation and vagueness in Glasstone, The Effects of Nuclear Weapons!]
“Ignition of the City. ... Only directly exposed surfaces were flash burned. Measured from GZ, flash burns on wood poles were observed at 13,000 feet, granite was roughened or spalled by heat at 1,300 feet, and vitreous tiles on roofs were blistered at 4,000 feet. ... six persons who had been in reinforced-concrete buildings within 3,200 feet of air zero stated that black cotton blackout curtains were ignited by radiant heat ... dark clothing was scorched and, in some cases, reported to have burst into flame from flash heat [although as the 1946 unclassified USSBS report admits, most immediately beat the flames out with their hands without sustaining injury, because the clothing was not drenched in gasoline, unlike peacetime gasoline tanker road accident victims]
“... but a large proportion of over 1,000 persons questioned was in agreement that a great majority of the original fires was started by debris falling on kitchen charcoal fires, by industrial process fires, or by electric short circuits. Hundreds of fires were reported to have started in the centre of the city within 10 minutes after the explosion. Of the total number of buildings investigated [135 buildings are listed] 107 caught fire, and in 69 instances, the probable cause of initial ignition of the buildings or their contents was as follows: (1) 8 by direct radiated heat from the bomb (primary fire), (2) 8 by secondary sources, and (3) 53 by fire spread from exposed [wooden] buildings.”
‘During World War II many large cities in England, Germany, and Japan were subjected to terrific attacks by high-explosive and incendiary bombs. Yet, when proper steps had been taken for the protection of the civilian population and for the restoration of services after the bombing, there was little, if any, evidence of panic. It is the purpose of this book to state the facts concerning the atomic bomb, and to make an objective, scientific analysis of these facts. It is hoped that as a result, although it may not be feasible completely to allay fear, it will at least be possible to avoid panic.’
‘The consequences of a multiweapon nuclear attack would certainly be grave ... Nevertheless, recovery should be possible if plans exist and are carried out to restore social order and to mitigate the economic disruption.’
‘Suppose the bomb dropped on Hiroshima had been 1,000 times as powerful ... It could not have killed 1,000 times as many people, but at most the entire population of Hiroshima ... [regarding the hype about various nuclear "overkill" exaggerations] there is enough water in the oceans to drown everyone ten times.’
In 1996, half a century after the nuclear detonations, data on cancers from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors was published by D. A. Pierce et al. of the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, RERF (Radiation Research vol. 146 pp. 1-27; Science vol. 272, pp. 632-3) for 86,572 survivors, of whom 60% had received bomb doses of over 5 mSv (or 500 millirem in old units) suffering 4,741 cancers of which only 420 were due to radiation, consisting of 85 leukemias and 335 solid cancers.
‘Today we have a population of 2,383 [radium dial painter] cases for whom we have reliable body content measurements. . . . All 64 bone sarcoma [cancer] cases occurred in the 264 cases with more than 10 Gy [1,000 rads], while no sarcomas appeared in the 2,119 radium cases with less than 10 Gy.’
‘... it is important to note that, given the effects of a few seconds of irradiation at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, a threshold near 200 mSv may be expected for leukemia and some solid tumors. [Sources: UNSCEAR, Sources and Effects of Ionizing Radiation, New York, 1994; W. F. Heidenreich, et al., Radiat. Environ. Biophys., vol. 36 (1999), p. 205; and B. L. Cohen, Radiat. Res., vol. 149 (1998), p. 525.] For a protracted lifetime natural exposure, a threshold may be set at a level of several thousand millisieverts for malignancies, of 10 grays for radium-226 in bones, and probably about 1.5-2.0 Gy for lung cancer after x-ray and gamma irradiation. [Sources: G. Jaikrishan, et al., Radiation Research, vol. 152 (1999), p. S149 (for natural exposure); R. D. Evans, Health Physics, vol. 27 (1974), p. 497 (for radium-226); H. H. Rossi and M. Zaider, Radiat. Environ. Biophys., vol. 36 (1997), p. 85 (for radiogenic lung cancer).] The hormetic effects, such as a decreased cancer incidence at low doses and increased longevity, may be used as a guide for estimating practical thresholds and for setting standards. ...
‘Though about a hundred of the million daily spontaneous DNA damages per cell remain unrepaired or misrepaired, apoptosis, differentiation, necrosis, cell cycle regulation, intercellular interactions, and the immune system remove about 99% of the altered cells. [Source: R. D. Stewart, Radiation Research, vol. 152 (1999), p. 101.] ...
‘[Due to the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986] as of 1998 (according to UNSCEAR), a total of 1,791 thyroid cancers in children had been registered. About 93% of the youngsters have a prospect of full recovery. [Source: C. R. Moir and R. L. Telander, Seminars in Pediatric Surgery, vol. 3 (1994), p. 182.] ... The highest average thyroid doses in children (177 mGy) were accumulated in the Gomel region of Belarus. The highest incidence of thyroid cancer (17.9 cases per 100,000 children) occurred there in 1995, which means that the rate had increased by a factor of about 25 since 1987.
‘This rate increase was probably a result of improved screening [not radiation!]. Even then, the incidence rate for occult thyroid cancers was still a thousand times lower than it was for occult thyroid cancers in nonexposed populations (in the US, for example, the rate is 13,000 per 100,000 persons, and in Finland it is 35,600 per 100,000 persons). Thus, given the prospect of improved diagnostics, there is an enormous potential for detecting yet more [fictitious] "excess" thyroid cancers. In a study in the US that was performed during the period of active screening in 1974-79, it was determined that the incidence rate of malignant and other thyroid nodules was greater by 21-fold than it had been in the pre-1974 period. [Source: Z. Jaworowski, 21st Century Science and Technology, vol. 11 (1998), issue 1, p. 14.]’
‘Professor Edward Lewis used data from four independent populations exposed to radiation to demonstrate that the incidence of leukemia was linearly related to the accumulated dose of radiation. ... Outspoken scientists, including Linus Pauling, used Lewis’s risk estimate to inform the public about the danger of nuclear fallout by estimating the number of leukemia deaths that would be caused by the test detonations. In May of 1957 Lewis’s analysis of the radiation-induced human leukemia data was published as a lead article in Science magazine. In June he presented it before the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy of the US Congress.’ – Abstract of thesis by Jennifer Caron, Edward Lewis and Radioactive Fallout: the Impact of Caltech Biologists Over Nuclear Weapons Testing in the 1950s and 60s, Caltech, January 2003.
Dr John F. Loutit of the Medical Research Council, Harwell, England, in 1962 wrote a book called Irradiation of Mice and Men (University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London), discrediting the pseudo-science from geneticist Edward Lewis on pages 61, and 78-79:
‘... Mole [R. H. Mole, Brit. J. Radiol., v32, p497, 1959] gave different groups of mice an integrated total of 1,000 r of X-rays over a period of 4 weeks. But the dose-rate - and therefore the radiation-free time between fractions - was varied from 81 r/hour intermittently to 1.3 r/hour continuously. The incidence of leukemia varied from 40 per cent (within 15 months of the start of irradiation) in the first group to 5 per cent in the last compared with 2 per cent incidence in irradiated controls. …
‘What Lewis did, and which I have not copied, was to include in his table another group - spontaneous incidence of leukemia (Brooklyn, N.Y.) - who are taken to have received only natural background radiation throughout life at the very low dose-rate of 0.1-0.2 rad per year: the best estimate is listed as 2 x 10-6 like the others in the table. But the value of 2 x 10-6 was not calculated from the data as for the other groups; it was merely adopted. By its adoption and multiplication with the average age in years of Brooklyners - 33.7 years and radiation dose per year of 0.1-0.2 rad - a mortality rate of 7 to 13 cases per million per year due to background radiation was deduced, or some 10-20 per cent of the observed rate of 65 cases per million per year. ...
‘All these points are very much against the basic hypothesis of Lewis of a linear relation of dose to leukemic effect irrespective of time. Unhappily it is not possible to claim for Lewis’s work as others have done, “It is now possible to calculate - within narrow limits - how many deaths from leukemia will result in any population from an increase in fall-out or other source of radiation” [Leading article in Science, vol. 125, p. 963, 1957]. This is just wishful journalese.
‘The burning questions to me are not what are the numbers of leukemia to be expected from atom bombs or radiotherapy, but what is to be expected from natural background .... Furthermore, to obtain estimates of these, I believe it is wrong to go to [1950s inaccurate, dose rate effect ignoring, data from] atom bombs, where the radiations are qualitatively different [i.e., including effects from neutrons] and, more important, the dose-rate outstandingly different.’
‘From the earlier studies of radiation-induced mutations, made with fruitflies [by Nobel Laureate Hermann J. Muller and other geneticists who worked on plants, who falsely hyped their insect and plant data as valid for mammals like humans during the June 1957 U.S. Congressional Hearings on fallout effects], it appeared that the number (or frequency) of mutations in a given population ... is proportional to the total dose ... More recent experiments with mice, however, have shown that these conclusions need to be revised, at least for mammals. [Mammals are biologically closer to humans, in respect to DNA repair mechanisms, than short-lived insects whose life cycles are too small to have forced the evolutionary development of advanced DNA repair mechanisms, unlike mammals that need to survive for decades before reproducing.] When exposed to X-rays or gamma rays, the mutation frequency in these animals has been found to be dependent on the exposure (or dose) rate ...
‘At an exposure rate of 0.009 roentgen per minute [0.54 R/hour], the total mutation frequency in female mice is indistinguishable from the spontaneous frequency. [Emphasis added.] There thus seems to be an exposure-rate threshold below which radiation-induced mutations are absent ... with adult female mice ... a delay of at least seven weeks between exposure to a substantial dose of radiation, either neutrons or gamma rays, and conception causes the mutation frequency in the offspring to drop almost to zero. ... recovery in the female members of the population would bring about a substantial reduction in the 'load' of mutations in subsequent generations.’
George Bernard Shaw cynically explains groupthink brainwashing bias:
‘We cannot help it because we are so constituted that we always believe finally what we wish to believe. The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it and become blind to the arguments against it. The moment we want to disbelieve anything we have previously believed, we suddenly discover not only that there is a mass of evidence against, but that this evidence was staring us in the face all the time.’
From the essay titled ‘What is Science?’ by Professor Richard P. Feynman, presented at the fifteenth annual meeting of the National Science Teachers Association, 1966 in New York City, and published in The Physics Teacher, vol. 7, issue 6, 1968, pp. 313-20:
‘... great religions are dissipated by following form without remembering the direct content of the teaching of the great leaders. In the same way, it is possible to follow form and call it science, but that is pseudo-science. In this way, we all suffer from the kind of tyranny we have today in the many institutions that have come under the influence of pseudoscientific advisers.
‘We have many studies in teaching, for example, in which people make observations, make lists, do statistics, and so on, but these do not thereby become established science, established knowledge. They are merely an imitative form of science analogous to the South Sea Islanders’ airfields - radio towers, etc., made out of wood. The islanders expect a great airplane to arrive. They even build wooden airplanes of the same shape as they see in the foreigners' airfields around them, but strangely enough, their wood planes do not fly. The result of this pseudoscientific imitation is to produce experts, which many of you are. ... you teachers, who are really teaching children at the bottom of the heap, can maybe doubt the experts. As a matter of fact, I can also define science another way: Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.’
Richard P. Feynman, ‘This Unscientific Age’, in The Meaning of It All, Penguin Books, London, 1998, pages 106-9:
‘Now, I say if a man is absolutely honest and wants to protect the populace from the effects of radioactivity, which is what our scientific friends often say they are trying to do, then he should work on the biggest number, not on the smallest number, and he should try to point out that the [natural cosmic] radioactivity which is absorbed by living in the city of Denver is so much more serious [than the smaller doses from nuclear explosions] ... that all the people of Denver ought to move to lower altitudes.'
Feynman is not making a point about low level radiation effects, but about the politics of ignoring the massive natural background radiation dose, while provoking hysteria over much smaller measured fallout pollution radiation doses. Why is the anti-nuclear lobby so concerned about banning nuclear energy - which is not possible even in principle since most of our nuclear radiation is from the sun and from supernova debris contaminating the Earth from the explosion that created the solar system circa 4,540 million years ago - when they could cause much bigger radiation dose reductions to the population by concentrating on the bigger radiation source, natural background radiation. It is possible to shield natural background radiation by the air, e.g. by moving the population of high altitude cities to lower altitudes where there is more air between the people and outer space, or banning the use of high-altitude jet aircraft. The anti-nuclear lobby, as Feynman stated back in the 1960s, didn't crusade to reduce the bigger dose from background radiation. Instead they chose to argue against the much smaller doses from fallout pollution. Feynman's argument is still today falsely interpreted as a political statement, when it is actually exposing pseudo-science and countering political propaganda. It is still ignored by the media. It has been pointed out by Senator Hickenlooper on page 1060 of the May-June 1957 U.S. Congressional Hearings before the Special Subcommittee on Radiation of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, The Nature of Radioactive Fallout and Its Effects on Man:
‘I presume all of us would earnestly hope that we never had to test atomic weapons ... but by the same token I presume that we want to save thousands of lives in this country every year and we could just abolish the manufacture of [road accident causing] automobiles ...’
Dihydrogen monoxide is a potentially very dangerous chemical containing hydrogen and oxygen which has caused numerous severe burns by scalding and deaths by drowning, contributes to the greenhouse effect, accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals, and contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape: 'Dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO) is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and kills uncounted thousands of people every year. Most of these deaths are caused by accidental inhalation of DHMO, but the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide do not end there. Prolonged exposure to its solid form causes severe tissue damage. Symptoms of DHMO ingestion can include excessive sweating and urination, and possibly a bloated feeling, nausea, vomiting and body electrolyte imbalance. For those who have become dependent, DHMO withdrawal means certain death.'
Protein P53, discovered only in 1979, is encoded by gene TP53, which occurs on human chromosome 17. P53 also occurs in other mammals including mice, rats and dogs. P53 is one of the proteins which continually repairs breaks in DNA, which easily breaks at body temperature: the DNA in each cell of the human body suffers at least two single strand breaks every second, and one double strand (i.e. complete double helix) DNA break occurs at least once every 2 hours (5% of radiation-induced DNA breaks are double strand breaks, while 0.007% of spontaneous DNA breaks at body temperature are double strand breaks)! Cancer occurs when several breaks in DNA happen to occur by chance at nearly the same time, giving several loose strand ends at once, which repair proteins like P53 then repair incorrectly, causing a mutation which can be proliferated somatically. This cannot occur when only one break occurs, because only two loose ends are produced, and P53 will reattach them correctly. But if low-LET ionising radiation levels are increased to a certain extent, causing more single strand breaks, P53 works faster and is able deal with faster breaks as they occur, so that multiple broken strand ends do not arise. This prevents DNA strands being repaired incorrectly, and prevents cancer - a result of mutation caused by faults in DNA - from arising. Too much radiation of course overloads the P53 repair mechanism, and then it cannot repair breaks as they occur, so multiple breaks begin to appear and loose ends of DNA are wrongly connected by P53, causing an increased cancer risk.
1. DNA-damaging free radicals are equivalent to a source of sparks which is always present naturally.
2. Cancer is equivalent the fire you get if the sparks are allowed to ignite the gasoline, i.e. if the free radicals are allowed to damage DNA without the damage being repaired.
3. Protein P53 is equivalent to a fire suppression system which is constantly damping out the sparks, or repairing the damaged DNA so that cancer doesn’t occur.
In this way of thinking, the ‘cause’ of cancer will be down to a failure of a DNA repairing enzyme like protein P53 to repair the damage.
'For the mindset that engendered and enables this situation, which jeopardizes the existence of the United States as a nation as well as the lives of millions of its citizens, some American physicians and certain prestigious medical organizations bear a heavy responsibility.
Charles J. Hitch and Roland B. McKean of the RAND Corporation in their 1960 book The Economics of Defense in the Nuclear Age, Harvard University Press, Massachusetts, pp. 310-57:
‘With each side possessing only a small striking force, a small amount of cheating would give one side dominance over the other, and the incentive to cheat and prepare a preventative attack would be strong ... With each side possessing, say, several thousand missiles, a vast amount of cheating would be necessary to give one side the ability to wipe out the other’s striking capability. ... the more extensive a disarmament agreement is, the smaller the force that a violator would have to hide in order to achieve complete domination. Most obviously, “the abolition of the weapons necessary in a general or ‘unlimited’ war” would offer the most insuperable obstacles to an inspection plan, since the violator could gain an overwhelming advantage from the concealment of even a few weapons.’
Disarmament after World War I caused the following problem which led to World War II (reported by Winston S. Churchill in the London Daily Express newspaper of November 1, 1934):
‘Germany is arming secretly, illegally and rapidly. A reign of terror exists in Germany to keep secret the feverish and terrible preparations they are making.’
British Prime Minister Thatcher's address to the United Nations General Assembly on disarmament on 23 June 1982, where she pointed out that in the years since the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 10 million people had been killed by 140 non-nuclear conflicts:
‘The fundamental risk to peace is not the existence of weapons of particular types. It is the disposition on the part of some states to impose change on others by resorting to force against other nations ... Aggressors do not start wars because an adversary has built up his own strength. They start wars because they believe they can gain more by going to war than by remaining at peace.’
J. D. Culshaw, the then Director of the U.K. Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch, stated in his article in the Scientific Advisory Branch journal Fission Fragments, September 1972 (issue No. 19), classified 'Restricted':
'Apart from those who don't want to know or can't be bothered, there seem to be three major schools of thought about the nature of a possible Third World War ...
* 'The first group think of something like World War II but a little worse ...
* '... the second of World War II but very much worse ...
* 'and the third group think in terms of a catastrophe ...
'When the Armageddon concept is in favour, the suggestion that such problems exist leads to "way out" research on these phenomena, and it is sufficient to mention a new catastrophic threat [e.g., 10 years later this was done by Sagan with "nuclear winter" hype, which turned out to be fake because modern concrete cities can't produce firestorms like 1940s wooden-built areas of Hamburg, Dresden and Hiroshima] to stimulate research into the possibilities of it arising. The underlying appeal of this concept is that if one could show that the execution of all out nuclear, biological or chemical warfare would precipitate the end of the world, no one but a mad man would be prepared to initiate such a war. [However, as history proves, plenty of mad men end up gaining power and leading countries into wars.]'
J. K. S. Clayton, then Director of the U.K. Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch, stated in his introduction, entitled The Challenge - Why Home Defence?, to the 1977 Home Office Scientific Advisory Branch Training Manual for Scientific Advisers:
'Since 1945 we have had nine wars - in Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam, between China and India, China and Russia, India and Pakistan and between the Arabs and Israelis on three occasions. We have had confrontations between East and West over Berlin, Formosa and Cuba. There have been civil wars or rebellions in no less than eleven countries and invasions or threatened invasions of another five. Whilst it is not suggested that all these incidents could have resulted in major wars, they do indicate the aptitude of mankind to resort to a forceful solution of its problems, sometimes with success. ...'
It is estimated that Mongol invaders exterminated 35 million Chinese between 1311-40, without modern weapons. Communist Chinese killed 26.3 million dissenters between 1949 and May 1965, according to detailed data compiled by the Russians on 7 April 1969. The Soviet communist dictatorship killed 40 million dissenters, mainly owners of small farms, between 1917-59. Conventional (non-nuclear) air raids on Japan killed 600,000 during World War II. The single incendiary air raid on Tokyo on 10 March 1945 killed 140,000 people (more than the total for nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined) at much less than the $2 billion expense of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs! Non-nuclear air raids on Germany during World War II killed 593,000 civilians. The argument that the enemy will continue stocking megaton fallout weapons if we go to cleaner weapons is irrelevant for deterrence, since we're not planning to start war, just to credibly deter invasions. You should not try to lower your standards of warfare to those of your enemy to appease groupthink taboos, or you will end up like Britain's leaders in the 1930s, trying to collaborate with fascists for popular applause.
Lord Hailsham of Saint Marylebone: ‘My Lords, if we are going into the question of lethality of weapons and seek thereby to isolate the nuclear as distinct from the so-called conventional range, is there not a danger that the public may think that Vimy, Passchendaele and Dresden were all right—sort of tea parties—and that nuclear war is something which in itself is unacceptable?’
Lord Trefgarne: ‘My Lords, the policy of making Europe, or the rest of the world, safe for conventional war is not one that I support.’
Mr. Bill Walker (Tayside, North): ‘I remind the House that more people died at Stalingrad than at Hiroshima or Nagasaki. Yet people talk about fighting a conventional war in Europe as if it were acceptable. One rarely sees demonstrations by the so-called peace movement against a conventional war in Europe, but it could be nothing but ghastly and horrendous. The casualties would certainly exceed those at Stalingrad, and that cannot be acceptable to anyone who wants peace’
On 29 October 1982, Thatcher stated of the Berlin Wall: ‘In every decade since the war the Soviet leaders have been reminded that their pitiless ideology only survives because it is maintained by force. But the day comes when the anger and frustration of the people is so great that force cannot contain it. Then the edifice cracks: the mortar crumbles ... one day, liberty will dawn on the other side of the wall.’
On 22 November 1990, she said: ‘Today, we have a Europe ... where the threat to our security from the overwhelming conventional forces of the Warsaw Pact has been removed; where the Berlin Wall has been torn down and the Cold War is at an end. These immense changes did not come about by chance. They have been achieved by strength and resolution in defence, and by a refusal ever to be intimidated.’
‘... peace cannot be guaranteed absolutely. Nobody can be certain, no matter what policies this or any other Government were to adopt, that the United Kingdom would never again be attacked. Also we cannot tell what form such an attack might take. Current strategic thinking suggests that if war were to break out it would start with a period of conventional hostilities of uncertain duration which might or might not escalate to nuclear conflict. ... while nuclear weapons exist there must always be a chance, however small, that they will be used against us [like gas bombs in World War II]. ... as a consequence of war between other nations in which we were not involved fall out from nuclear explosions could fall on a neutral Britain. ... conventional war is not the soft option that is sometimes suggested. It is also too easily forgotten that in World War II some 50 million people died and that conventional weapons have gone on killing people ever since 1945 without respite.’ - - The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Lord Gray of Contin), House of Lords debate on Civil Defence (General Local Authority Functions) Regulations, Hansard, vol. 444, cc. 523-49, 1 November 1983.
‘All of us are living in the light and warmth of a huge hydrogen bomb, 860,000 miles across and 93 million miles away, which is in a state of continuous explosion.’ - Dr Isaac Asimov.
‘Dr Edward Teller remarked recently that the origin of the earth was somewhat like the explosion of the atomic bomb...’ – Dr Harold C. Urey, The Planets: Their Origin and Development, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1952, p. ix.
‘But compared with a supernova a hydrogen bomb is the merest trifle. For a supernova is equal in violence to about a million million million million hydrogen bombs all going off at the same time.’ – Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001), The Nature of the Universe, Pelican Books, London, 1963, p. 75.
‘In fact, physicists find plenty of interesting and novel physics in the environment of a nuclear explosion. Some of the physical phenomena are valuable objects of research, and promise to provide further understanding of nature.’ – Dr Harold L. Brode, The RAND Corporation, ‘Review of Nuclear Weapons Effects,’ Annual Review of Nuclear Science, Volume 18, 1968, pp. 153-202.
Dr Paul K. Kuroda (1917-2001) in 1956 correctly predicted the existence of water-moderated natural nuclear reactors in flooded uranium ore seams, which were discovered in 1972 by French physicist Francis Perrin in three ore deposits at Oklo in Gabon, where sixteen sites operated as natural nuclear reactors with self-sustaining nuclear fission 2,000 million years ago, each lasting several hundred thousand years, averaging 100 kW. The radioactive waste they generated remained in situ for a period of 2,000,000,000 years without escaping. They were discovered during investigations into why the U-235 content of the uranium in the ore was only 0.7171% instead of the normal 0.7202%. Some of the ore, in the middle of the natural reactors, had a U-235 isotopic abundance of just 0.440%. Kuroda's brilliant paper is entitled, 'On the Nuclear Physical Stability of the Uranium Minerals', published in the Journal of Chemical Physics, vol. 25 (1956), pp. 781–782 and 1295–1296.
A type Ia supernova explosion, always yielding 4 x 1028 megatons of TNT equivalent, results from the critical mass effect of the collapse of a white dwarf as soon as its mass exceeds 1.4 solar masses due to matter falling in from a companion star. The degenerate electron gas in the white dwarf is then no longer able to support the pressure from the weight of gas, which collapses, thereby releasing enough gravitational potential energy as heat and pressure to cause the fusion of carbon and oxygen into heavy elements, creating massive amounts of radioactive nuclides, particularly intensely radioactive nickel-56, but half of all other nuclides (including uranium and heavier) are also produced by the 'R' (rapid) process of successive neutron captures by fusion products in supernovae explosions. Type Ia supernovae occur typically every 400 years in the Milky Way galaxy. On 4 July 1054, Chinese astronomers observed in the sky (without optical instruments) the bright supernova in the constellation Taurus which today is still visible as the Crab Nebula through telescopes. The Crab Nebula debris has a diameter now of 7 light years and is still expanding at 800 miles/second. The supernova debris shock wave triggers star formation when it encounters hydrogen gas in space by compressing it and seeding it with debris; bright stars are observed in the Orion Halo, the 300 light year diameter remains of a supernova. It is estimated that when the solar system was forming 4,540 million years ago, a supernova occurred around 100 light years away, and the heavy radioactive debris shock wave expanded at 1,000 miles/second. Most of the heavy elements including iron, silicon and calcium in the Earth and people are the stable end products of originally radioactive decay chains from the space burst fallout of a 7 x 1026 megatons thermonuclear explosion, created by fusion and successive neutron captures after the implosion of a white dwarf; a supernova explosion.
How would a 1055 megaton hydrogen bomb explosion differ from the big bang? Ignorant answers biased in favour of curved spacetime (ignoring quantum gravity!) abound, such as claims that explosions can’t take place in ‘outer space’ (disagreeing with the facts from nuclear space bursts by Russia and America in 1962, not to mention natural supernova explosions in space!) and that explosions produce sound waves in air by definition! There are indeed major differences in the nuclear reactions between the big bang and a nuclear bomb. But it is helpful to notice the solid physical fact that implosion systems suggest the mechanism of gravitation: in implosion, TNT is well-known to produce an inward force on a bomb core, but Newton's 3rd law says there is an equal and opposite reaction force outward. In fact, you can’t have a radially outward force without an inward reaction force! It’s the rocket principle. The rocket accelerates (with force F = ma) forward by virtue of the recoil from accelerating the exhaust gas (with force F = -ma) in the opposite direction! Nothing massive accelerates without an equal and opposite reaction force. Applying this fact to the measured 6 x 10-10 ms-2 ~ Hc cosmological acceleration of matter radially outward from observers in the universe which was predicted accurately in 1996 and later observationally discovered in 1999 (by Perlmutter, et al.), we find an outward force F = ma and inward reaction force by the 3rd law. The inward force allows quantitative predictions, and is mediated by gravitons, predicting gravitation in a checkable way (unlike string theory, which is just a landscape of 10500 different perturbative theories and so can’t make any falsifiable predictions about gravity). So it seems as if nuclear explosions do indeed provide helpful analogies to natural features of the world, and the mainstream lambda-CDM model of cosmology - with its force-fitted unobserved ad hoc speculative ‘dark energy’ - ignores and sweeps under the rug major quantum gravity effects which increase the physical understanding of particle physics, particularly force unification and the relation of gravitation to the existing electroweak SU(2) x U(1) section of the Standard Model of fundamental forces.
Even Einstein grasped the possibility that general relativity's lambda-CDM model is at best just a classical approximation to quantum field theory, at the end of his life when he wrote to Besso in 1954:
‘I consider it quite possible that physics cannot be based on the [classical differential equation] field principle, i.e., on continuous structures. In that case, nothing remains of my entire castle in the air, [non-quantum] gravitation theory included ...’
‘Science is the organized skepticism in the reliability of expert opinion.’ - Professor Richard P. Feynman (quoted by Professor Lee Smolin, The Trouble with Physics, Houghton-Mifflin, New York, 2006, p. 307).
‘The expression of dissenting views may not seem like much of a threat to a powerful organization, yet sometimes it triggers an amazingly hostile response. The reason is that a single dissenter can puncture an illusion of unanimity. ... Among those suppressed have been the engineers who tried to point out problems with the Challenger space shuttle that caused it to blow up. More fundamentally, suppression is a denial of the open dialogue and debate that are the foundation of a free society. Even worse than the silencing of dissidents is the chilling effect such practices have on others. For every individual who speaks out, numerous others decide to play it safe and keep quiet. More serious than external censorship is the problem of self-censorship.’
— Professor Brian Martin, University of Wollongong, 'Stamping Out Dissent', Newsweek, 26 April 1993, pp. 49-50
In 1896, Sir James Mackenzie-Davidson asked Wilhelm Röntgen, who discovered X-rays in 1895: ‘What did you think?’ Röntgen replied: ‘I did not think, I investigated.’ The reason? Cathode ray expert J. J. Thomson in 1894 saw glass fluorescence far from a tube, but due to prejudice (expert opinion) he avoided investigating that X-ray evidence! ‘Science is the organized skepticism in the reliability of expert opinion.’ - Richard Feynman, in Lee Smolin, The Trouble with Physics, Houghton-Mifflin, 2006, p. 307.
Mathematical symbols in this blog: your computer’s browser needs access to standard character symbol sets to display Greek symbols for mathematical physics. If you don’t have the symbol character sets installed, the density symbol 'r' (Rho) will appear as 'r' and the 'p' (Pi) symbol will as 'p', causing confusion with the use of 'r' for radius and 'p' for momentum in formulae. This problem exists with Mozilla Firefox 3, but not with Microsoft Explorer which displays Greek symbols.
Mean yield of the 5,192 nuclear warheads and bombs in the deployed Russian nuclear stockpile as of January 2009: 0.317 Mt. Total yield: 1,646 Mt.
Mean yield of the 4,552 nuclear warheads and bombs in the deployed U.S. nuclear stockpile as of January 2007: 0.257 Mt. Total yield: 1,172 Mt.
For diffraction damage where damage areas scale as the two-thirds power of explosive yield, this stockpile's area damage potential can be compared to the 20,000,000 conventional bombs of 100 kg size (2 megatons of TNT equivalent total energy) dropped on Germany during World War II: (Total nuclear bomb blast diffraction damaged ground area)/(Total conventional blast diffraction damaged ground area to Germany during World War II) = [4,552*(0.257 Mt)2/3]/[20,000,000*(0.0000001 Mt)2/3] = 1,840/431 = 4.3. Thus, although the entire U.S. stockpile has a TNT energy equivalent to 586 times that of the 2 megatons of conventional bombs dropped on Germany in World War II, it is only capable of causing 4.3 times as much diffraction type damage area, because any given amount of explosive energy is far more efficient when distributed over many small explosions than in a single large explosion! Large explosions are inefficient because they cause unintended collateral damage, wasting energy off the target area and injuring or damaging unintended targets!
In a controlled sample of 36,500 survivors, 89 people got leukemia over a 40 year period, above the number in the unexposed control group. (Data: Radiation Research, volume 146, 1996, pages 1-27.) Over 40 years, in 36,500 survivors monitored, there were 176 leukemia deaths which is 89 more than the control (unexposed) group got naturally. There were 4,687 other cancer deaths, but that was merely 339 above the number in the control (unexposed) group, so this is statistically a much smaller rise than the leukemia result. Natural leukemia rates, which are very low in any case, were increased by 51% in the irradiated survivors, but other cancers were merely increased by just 7%. Adding all the cancers together, the total was 4,863 cancers (virtually all natural cancer, nothing whatsoever to do with radiation), which is just 428 more than the unexposed control group. Hence, the total increase over the natural cancer rate due to bomb exposure was only 9%, spread over a period of 40 years. There was no increase whatsoever in genetic malformations.
‘If defense is neglected these weapons of attack become effective. They become available and desirable in the eyes of an imperialist dictator, even if his means are limited. Weapons of mass destruction could become equalizers between nations big and small, highly developed and primitive, if defense is neglected. If defense is developed and if it is made available for general prevention of war, weapons of aggression will become less desirable. Thus defense makes war itself less probable. ... One psychological defense mechanism against danger is to forget about it. This attitude is as common as it is disastrous. It may turn a limited danger into a fatal difficulty.’
Advice of Robert Watson-Watt (Chief Scientist on the World War II British Radar Project, defending Britain against enemy attacks): ‘Give them the third best to go on with, the second best comes too late, the best never comes.’