Friday, August 14, 2020

Who's Next

 Brian and MT hav already taken some free whacks at Michael Shellenberger, but Eli would a couple too. In a truly deranged article at Forbes Shellenberger goes fully insane 

Who Are We To Deny Weak Nations The Nuclear Weapons They Need For Self-Defense?

Now Eli knows that foresight was never the Breakthrough Institutes forte, given their inability to go beyond the bright shiny thing they see in the candy store window, but Michael Shellenberger needed to grow up sheltering under his desk.

Of course one could put together a carefully reasoned replies to this, but why bother when it has been done 50 years ago, and with rhythm. Going back to the old days of the nuclear arms race Tom Lehrer put it well

and as to the other side there will be universal bereavementfor Shellenberger an inspiring achievement, we will all go together when we go.

Shellenberger has always been a boy playing with toys, not able to figure out that sticking his finger in an electrical socket is not a great idea. As Oliver Cromwell put it, Dear Michael, in the name of God, go. there is more, but it fits so well


Entropic man said...

Unfortunately Pandora's Box is open and nothing we do will close it again.The knowledge of how to build a bomb is out there.

A mobile nuclear bomb is in reach of any government, mid-sized engineering company or well financed terrorist organisation.

Given the materials any school science teacher could build a static bomb capable of destroying their home town.

And there is the key. "Given the materials"

The key to controlling the spread of nuclear weapons is to control the production and distribution of fissile material.

David B. Benson said...

You give far too much credit to governments, school science teachers and so on. Arranging for sustained criticality remains technically difficult.

Arthur said...

You left out that old world war 3 song - “So Long Mom, I’m off to drop the bomb” ! One of my sons used to sing that at age 4 on his way to pre-school :) yeah, we are big Tom Lehrer fans here...

Barton Paul Levenson said...

Also, there's a trick to A-bombs that goes beyond starting criticality (DAB's remark about "sustained criticality" hits the mark on the head), and as a physicist I know what it is. It has been published in the past, but that's the only clue I'll give. I hope most idiots fooling around with homemade A-bombs won't be able to figure it out.

David B. Benson said...

BPL --- DBB, if you please.

Canman said...

Thanks Eli for the videos. They're funny, but most of the stuff in the first one looks valid, just like Michael Shellenberger says.


I am saddened but not surprised to see this sequel to his last Forbes effusion.
Between Murdoch Proliferation and the Federalist Society the deliberate decimation of science editors that began at The Wall Street Journal is growing into a cult rivaling Cancel Culture.

Barton Paul Levenson said...


Sorry about that, I don't know why I got your initials wrong.

Bob Loblaw said...

Big Tom Lehrer fan here, too. Glad to see that someone else remembers "So Long Mom (I'm Off to Drop The Bomb)", too.

I'll look for you when the war is over,
An hour and a half from now!

Seeing how the U.S. is capable of ending up with a leader that seems to think atomic weapons are suitable for everyday use, I"d hate to think what might happen if atomic weapons were in the hands of a tin-pot dictator. (But then, I repeat myself).