Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Freud and the Non European or Imaginary Weapons

Freud and the Non-European

Author: Edward W Said

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See also: Definitive Guide to Canadian Artisanal and Fine Cheeses or Herbs

Imaginary Weapons: A Journey Through the Pentagon's Scientific Underworld

Author: Sharon Weinberger

How did a fluke experiment in 1998, involving a used dental X-ray machine and a dubious sample of radioactive material, become the Pentagon's pet weapons project? It had been rejected by one of the Pentagon's most important advisory groups, but the Pentagon found an eccentric scientist who believed that a super "isomer" bomb could be built, and deliver the punch of a two-kiloton nuke packaged in a hand grenade. Ideologues at the Pentagon claimed that the Russians were in the process of building one of their own, and that the weapon was essential to the Pentagon's arsenal. Imaginary Weapons tells the story of the battle that ensued, pitting the nation's leading nuclear physicists against the Pentagon's top brass, and the military against nuclear arms control advocates, as funds and experiments for the "isomer weapon" miraculously reappeared even after the project had been shelved numerous times, even by Congress. This book also illuminates the dangerous trend that the Bush administration continues to follow of putting politics before science. The bomb is imaginary, and the only explosion produced by the "isomer weapon" will leave a hole in the nation's budget and a fallout of the nation's best and brightest scientists.

Publishers Weekly

The Pentagon's fascination with fringe science is old news, writes veteran defense reporter Weinberger in this incisive study, but the Bush administration has pushed it to new levels of wackiness. After reviewing our government's pursuit of antimatter weapons, psychics and telepathy, she focuses on a "nuclear hand grenade" that may cost billions and seems certain to fail. Before the War on Terror and the avalanche of government money for advanced new weapons, few paid attention to physicists who said they could harness the energy of unstable atomic nuclei, or "isomers," through a wildly expensive process involving atomic reactors. But in recent years, a group of fringe scientists aided by defense industry insiders has convinced the Pentagon that America's post-9/11 survival depends on developing an isomer bomb. While proponents compare it to the Manhattan Project, opponents point out that independent researchers have not been able to duplicate the results attained by isomer enthusiasts, and that many assumptions behind the bomb contradict the laws of physics. Though Congress canceled isomer bomb development in 2004, the Department of Energy found $5 million to continue the research. (July 1) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Table of Contents:
Prologue : the gateway
1Mickey Mouse's hand grenade1
2From Romania with love11
3The secret life of the isomer weapon23
4Deep in the heart of Los Alamos39
5The dental X-ray goes to war51
6Do you believe in isomers?65
7Hafnium comes to Washington83
8Scary things come in small packages95
9Isomers hit prime time129
10A bomb and a prayer137
11The mother of all dirty bombs159
12Fringe science takes flight191
13Welcome to the far side217
14Boom or bust229
Epilogue : a hafnium ending251

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