Monthly Archives: September 2016

The Fermi Paradox and Nuclear Terrorism: Where are the Mushroom Clouds?

29 September marked the birthday of Enrico Fermi, one of the 20th centuries more noted physicists. It was Fermi that posed the famous paradox, since named after him, on the probability of extraterrestrial intelligence. To mark the occasion I reproduce … Continue reading

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North Korea’s Big New Rocket Engine: What Does the Latest Engine Test Mean?

The New York Times carries an article on North Korea’s recent stationary test of a new engine for its space programme, which, of course, has implications for ballistic missile development. The article emphasises possible North Korean cooperation with Iran, which … Continue reading

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Apolitical Politics and the Perestroika Movement: Once More Unto the Behaviouralist Breach.

Whatever happened to the perestroika movement in political science? It has not achieved its objectives, many sadly lament. Man is a political animal, or so wrote Aristotle in his Politics. Much that passes for “science” in political science, game theory … Continue reading

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Back Into the Cold? Incoming Stratcom CinC Vows to Ditch the RD180 Rocket Engine

On September 20 North Korea, in the august presence of Kim Jong Un himself, tested a rocket engine as part of its space programme, and the test appears to be that of a new engine incorporating features that take North … Continue reading

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Nuclear Reactor Security and Nuclear Terrorism: Whither the Design Basis Threat?

It was not so long ago that much hope, especially among the nuclear industry, was invested in a new wave of nuclear reactor construction. So much so that it was often said that we were embarking upon a “nuclear renaissance” … Continue reading

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Possible New Centrifuge Plant at Kahuta and the Nuclear Suppliers Group

Public domain satellite imagery shows new construction activity at the Khan Research Laboratories, Kahuta Pakistan, consistent with development of a new uranium enrichment plant. The imagery was obtained on 28 September 2015 and 18 April 2016. According to Jane’s Intelligence … Continue reading

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Hollow North Korean Nuclear Warhead Pits?

Jeffrey Lewis has an interesting article exploring some of the possible technical advances represented by North Korea’s fifth nuclear weapons test. He reminds us of the boast earlier this year, from Kim Jong-un, that North Korea had developed a nuclear … Continue reading

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Does the Deep Earth Biosphere Suggest There are Ecosystems on Mars?

Astrobiology is perhaps the newest scientific discipline, and a noteworthy feature of astrobiology is its highly interdisciplinary nature. The boundary between intellectual disciplines are largely social, not natural nor cognitive, constructions and this point is worth reflecting upon when thinking … Continue reading

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The Ecology of Big Science

The interface and interlinkages between science and society has long been of especial interest to me, and much on the topic has been written since the 1960s. For example, work on the different attitudes of physicists and computer scientists toward … Continue reading

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5th North Korean Nuclear Test: Sleepwalk to Catastrophe Continues.

With what can only be described as great timing 38North, on September 8, reported that the latest (August 27) public domain satellite imagery of the North Korean nuclear test site, at Punggye-ri, indicated renewed activity at the site. Notably, a … Continue reading

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