Doomsday weapons and weapons to end all wars

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(Shamelessly stolen from the website atomic rockets)

One notional 1959 concept for a large military Orion was the “doomsday weapon" idea. Instead of one Orion carrying a large number or weapons, able to rain down devastation on many separate targets, the idea was to equip one Orion with one single weapon, a hydrogen bomb of immense size and capability. While data is sketchy. the payload would be a single nuclear device with a mass of 1,650 tons. Yield is not readily available. but is estimatable. Numbers vary from source to source, but maximum yield-per-bomb-mass seems to be around five megatons per metric ton of bomb based on current technology; this could increase to well above 100 megatons per ton of bomb for a highly efficient nearly pure-fusion lithium deuteride device. But assuming 5 megatons per ton, 1,650 tons of bomb yields 8,250 megatons, or 8.25 gigatons. This falls far short of the 100 million megaton “yield” of the dinosaur-killing asteroid or comet from the end of the Cretaceous era, but would still wreak vast havoc upon the Earth. A 1,650 metric ton bomb composed chiefly of lithium deuteride would have a volume of about 2,115 cubic meters, although a large hydrogen bomb probably cannot be made as simple as a block of lithium deuteride with a fission trigger in it. In reality, it would very likely be a structurally complex device.

Such a massive weapon would of course be a last ditch weapon, one to be used only when the United States was threatened with extermination. The idea was that the mere existence of such a weapon would deter the Soviets from doing anything foolish. The bomb would be detonated well over the Soviet Union, several hundred miles out; it would not be blast but radiation which would do the job. However, weapons of this size were so far beyond contemporary understanding that nobody really knew exactly what would happen if the bomb was touched off. Would the high energy radiation simply sleet through the atmosphere, only being absorbed in the ground or structures? Would it be largely absorbed in the upper atmosphere, which would as a consequence be heated well past incandescence… essentially setting the sky on fire? Whatever the effects were, they would be spread over most of a hemisphere. 1623698403800.png
 

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WASHINGTON — We’ve all been there … well, some, at least: You have a pile of chemical or biological weapons you want to destroy, but you don’t want to risk spreading the toxic mess over a wide area.

What do you do?

You could be extremely careful, making sure no stray missiles hit something other than their target. Or you could use X-rays.

The U.S. Defense Department is researching how to use an X-ray bomb to neutralize chemical and biological weapons without damaging the structures that hold the weapons, New Scientist reports (article is behind a paywall).

Although the technology behind such a bomb isn’t publicly available, the article notes that researchers have looked at using conventional explosives to compress aluminum or helium to the point that the compressed material emits bursts of X-rays.

However, to be effective in destroying either chemical or biological materials, an X-ray bomb would have to produce radiation tens of thousands of times stronger than the typical chest X-ray. This would not just destroy the weapons, but would also kill anyone unlucky enough to be standing near the X-ray burst.
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Hafnium Bomb​


Consider an electron buzzing around an atomic nucleus. If it is as close as it can get to the nucleus (i.e., it is in the lowest unoccupied energy band structure) it is in its base energy state. This means it is "at rest", or at least as close as an electron gets to being at rest.
Anyway, if the electron absorbs some energy, from a photon or something, it can no longer occupy the base energy state. It has to rise to a higher energy state. In scientific terms, the electron has become "excited." This is not a stable situation, eventually the electron spits out the extra energy (generally in the form of a photon) and falls back into its base energy state.
Nuclear physicists immediately wondered if the protons and neutrons in the atomic nucleus could also become excited. As it turns out, indeed they could. When a nucleon becomes excited, the nucleus becomes a nuclear isomer.
Most nuclear isomers decay back into the base state in a fraction of a second. However, one or two can stay excited for years. Tantalum's isomer Ta-180m has a half-life of 1015 years, which is much longer than the age of the universe. But then there is Hafnium's isomer hafnium-178m2, which has a half-life of 31 years.

Storing Energy​

By now you are thinking "So what?"
Well consider this. Excited electrons contain the energy of chemical reactions. For example: a stick of dynamite. Excited nucleons contain the energy of nuclear reactions. For example: a nuclear weapon. Not so boring now, are they?
So converting ordinary hafnium into hafnium-178m2 would be the equivalent of revving up a rechargeable battery with nuclear energy.
One gram of pure hafnium-178m2 (the same mass as a paperclip) contains about 1330 megajoules of energy. This is the equivalent of 317 kilograms of TNT, about the same as the warhead on a Tomahawk cruise missile (TLAM-C). Now you know why people started to talk about a "nuclear hand grenade." (as Alan Bellows puts it: "the most appealing aspect of isomer triggering was its potential to shoehorn yet more death and destruction into convenient 'fun size' packages")
There was also speculation about using hafnium-178m2 as a power source. A suggested application was a nuclear isomer powered airplane. The popular term was "quantum nucleonic reactor".
What was even better is the fact that the energy emerges not as visible light photons, not as ultraviolet photons, not even as x-ray photons. This stuff spits out freaking gamma rays! In other words, it just might be the key to constructing a gamma-ray laser.
The US military was also interested in the fact that hafnium-178m2 could be used to circumvent the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Tremendous energy release, intense gamma rays, but it ain't a nuke.

The Problem​

The trouble is that it is a worthless weapon if it takes thirty one years for half of the energy to slowly leak out. For a weapon you want it all to burst forth instantly. Therein lies the rub, nobody knew how.
That is where the controversy started.
Enter Dr. Carl B. Collins of the university of Texas. He figured that hafnium-178m2 could be triggered to release its energy by irradiating it with carefully tuned x-rays. The process is called induced gamma emission.
In January of 1999, Dr. Collins lead a team to explore this possibility. They put a tiny smear of hafnium-178m2 on the top of a styrofoam coffee cup, and used a scavenged dental x-ray machine to bombard the sample. After several weeks, the team studied the results. They concluded that there was a teeny-tiny increase in gamma rays measured in the data, which they interpreted as proof positive that they had succeeded. Or at least opened the possibility that there might be some magic frequency which would make the hafnium-178m2 create the desired explosion.
As always in science, if one has extraordinary claims, one had better have extraordinary evidence. And the sad fact of the matter is that Dr. Collins' evidence was pretty pathetic. Many scientists were uncomfortable with his outlandish claims and his experiment's large margin for error. Indeed, his findings were somewhat at odds with the laws of physics given that nuclei are thought to be practically unaffected by electromagnetic radiation.
The US military didn't want to provide funding to a crack-pot, but didn't want to miss out on nuclear hand grenades either. So they asked the Jason Defense Advisory Group (a panel established in 1960 to advise the government in matters of scientific controversy) to make an assessment. The Jasons concluded that the results fell into the former category: the data did not prove that induced gamma emission had occured, and even if it had a successful triggering event would not start the necessary chain reaction due to energy dissipation.
Meanwhile the Argonne National Laboratory used their own powerful x-ray machine in an attempt to reproduce Dr. Collins results. They failed: no induced gamma emission was recorded. Dr. Collins said it must be because your machine is too powerful. The skeptical Argonne scientists tried again using Dr. Collins' specifications. Still nothing was seen. Collins again ascribed the problem to experimental minutia, but by now the Argonne scientists had better things to do with their time.
Dr. Collins' work is more or less totally discounted nowadays, but there is a small group of true believers that still dreams of nuclear hand grenades.

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natewillcome4you

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(Shamelessly stolen from the website atomic rockets)

One notional 1959 concept for a large military Orion was the “doomsday weapon" idea. Instead of one Orion carrying a large number or weapons, able to rain down devastation on many separate targets, the idea was to equip one Orion with one single weapon, a hydrogen bomb of immense size and capability. While data is sketchy. the payload would be a single nuclear device with a mass of 1,650 tons. Yield is not readily available. but is estimatable. Numbers vary from source to source, but maximum yield-per-bomb-mass seems to be around five megatons per metric ton of bomb based on current technology; this could increase to well above 100 megatons per ton of bomb for a highly efficient nearly pure-fusion lithium deuteride device. But assuming 5 megatons per ton, 1,650 tons of bomb yields 8,250 megatons, or 8.25 gigatons. This falls far short of the 100 million megaton “yield” of the dinosaur-killing asteroid or comet from the end of the Cretaceous era, but would still wreak vast havoc upon the Earth. A 1,650 metric ton bomb composed chiefly of lithium deuteride would have a volume of about 2,115 cubic meters, although a large hydrogen bomb probably cannot be made as simple as a block of lithium deuteride with a fission trigger in it. In reality, it would very likely be a structurally complex device.

Such a massive weapon would of course be a last ditch weapon, one to be used only when the United States was threatened with extermination. The idea was that the mere existence of such a weapon would deter the Soviets from doing anything foolish. The bomb would be detonated well over the Soviet Union, several hundred miles out; it would not be blast but radiation which would do the job. However, weapons of this size were so far beyond contemporary understanding that nobody really knew exactly what would happen if the bomb was touched off. Would the high energy radiation simply sleet through the atmosphere, only being absorbed in the ground or structures? Would it be largely absorbed in the upper atmosphere, which would as a consequence be heated well past incandescence… essentially setting the sky on fire? Whatever the effects were, they would be spread over most of a hemisphere.View attachment 659011
Very cool! This was the military orion variant I knew the least about, but was the most fascinated by.
 

edwest2

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For completeness, I would like to add that deeply buried installations in the United States had the capability to launch missiles for up to a year later should the Soviets deal a knockout blow.
 

Nik

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That would be 10^15 yrs, not 1015 ??

Speaking of scary isomers, there's a truly tall tale by Charles Stross over at Tor.com

YMMV...
 

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The hafnium controversy fascinates me. The concept of controlled, rapid energy release thru manipulation of the energy states of unique nuclear homers is interesting af. I am no scholar or wise man but there seems to be something seriously to it. There obviously seems to be hype and disinfo/misinfo but certain people discussing the topic particularly as a gamma ray laser source. Any of you guys smarter than me hear any recent news? I cannot find good, deep info beyond a few years back.
 

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For completeness, I would like to add that deeply buried installations in the United States had the capability to launch missiles for up to a year later should the Soviets deal a knockout blow.
Assuming they weren't damaged in the initial volleys that would likely target the missile fields heavily. Though I get the feeling we'll never actually know how much hardened defense infrastructure was built back in the day, but that's getting a bit tinfoil hat-y. The idea of an extended nuclear war was planned for or at least considered once the big players developed reliable SLBMs, in theory you could park a boomer under the Arctic ice or in an isolated patrol zone with orders to wait years before launching a counterstrike.

That would be 10^15 yrs, not 1015 ??

Speaking of scary isomers, there's a truly tall tale by Charles Stross over at Tor.com

YMMV...
Charles Stross is one of my absolute favourite authors, go check out A Colder War and/or Missile Gap if you liked that. Weird Cold War is a setting concept I love.

The hafnium controversy fascinates me. The concept of controlled, rapid energy release thru manipulation of the energy states of unique nuclear homers is interesting af. I am no scholar or wise man but there seems to be something seriously to it. There obviously seems to be hype and disinfo/misinfo but certain people discussing the topic particularly as a gamma ray laser source. Any of you guys smarter than me hear any recent news? I cannot find good, deep info beyond a few years back.
Induced gamma emission is another one of those things that disappeared from the public literature as soon as someone realized it might actually work. That tends to happen with exotic programs with potential military uses. Back in the '90s Phillips Laboratory and LLNL were working on a project called MARAUDER that was effectively developing plasma accelerator cannons. It looked like they were actually on to something with that, initial tests using the SHIVA STAR capacitor banks for power were promising, producing accelerations on the order of 10^10Gs with milligram amounts of plasma. By 2000 they were hoping to get velocities as high as 3% lightspeed.

And then in 1995, the whole thing vanished. Or, much more likely, was moved into the black project sphere and for all we know might have produced a functional weapon. Same thing goes for a lot of the concepts cooked up under the Strategic Defense Initiative in the '80s, things like bomb-pumped X-ray lasers and CASABA-HOWITZER nuclear directed energy weapons - think directing the output of a nuclear detonation into a cohesive hypervelocity particle beam. With some modifications you can also convert that into what's been termed a nuclear explosively formed penetrator, which uses the focused plasma of a directed nuclear explosion to launch a tungsten slug at...well, one option is a good 100km/sec faster than escape velocity from the sun's surface.
 

Dilandu

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10-gigaton skyburner was... elegant solution. Bomb powerful enough to stall even the most opportunistic warmonger. I could perfectly understood Teller here; after witnessing World War 2, he probably have nightmares about the possibility of some future "atomic Hitler", insane and opportunistic enough to be willing to sacrifice dozen of millions of his own citizens for a mere possibility of victory. 10-gigaton superbomb was supposed to make sure that even hopes of victory are unrealistic.
 

Dilandu

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CASABA-HOWITZER nuclear directed energy weapons -
Actually, according to some unclassified documents, it was two different programs.

* Casaba - an atomic cannon, using nuclear blast to throw ultra-fast shrapnel.
* Atomic howitzer - plasma thrower, direct decendant of Orion drive charges.
 

Dilandu

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Before continuing with the description of the force it is again necessary to
digress with a brief description of the AICBM capabilities with which this force
might be provided. The recent development of a concept called Nuclear
Howitzer and a variation of this concept called CASABA -after a directly related
non-nuclear experiment of the same name -may provide the technological
basis for the development of a formidable AICBM weapon of significant effectiveness.
This concept involves a nuclear means of producing and focusing a highdensity,
extremely high-velocity gas (Nuclear Howitzer)
or, by means of a
second interaction, a mass of high velocity, solid pellets (CASABA) into an
angle of about l 0 -4 °.
The desired effect of this concept is a capability for
structural kill df targets such as ICBM boosters at very great distances from
the point of detonation -distances as great as 1, 000 kilometers -with flight
times no greater than a few seconds, 6 While it is undeniably technically possible
to produce a working Nuclear Howitzer, the feasibility of CASABA is in some
doubt, and, more important, there is very little iriformation available as to the
lethality of high-velocity gases or pellets interacting with structural bodies.
The current theory, however, indicates that the kill probability will be significant
enough to warrant serious consideration of these devices as AICBM weapons
when used above the atmosphere.

From the "Counterforce from space", Air Force Special Weapon Center, 1961.

Seems like there was a mix-up at some point, and someone mixed two different projects together.
 

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Or else the two projects converged and ended up merging.

I doubt that. "Casaba" explicitly called a further development of "nuclear howitzer" project.
From what I remember reading, the directed nuclear energy weapon (whatever you want to call it) was an offshoot of Project Orion and originally was much less tightly directed. The idea being instead of a spherical detonation, the device would produce a cone-shaped burst directed at the pusher plate of an Orion ship to achieve better efficiency per blast pulse.

Before continuing with the description of the force it is again necessary to
digress with a brief description of the AICBM capabilities with which this force
might be provided. The recent development of a concept called Nuclear
Howitzer and a variation of this concept called CASABA -after a directly related
non-nuclear experiment of the same name -may provide the technological
basis for the development of a formidable AICBM weapon of significant effectiveness.
This concept involves a nuclear means of producing and focusing a highdensity,
extremely high-velocity gas (Nuclear Howitzer)
or, by means of a
second interaction, a mass of high velocity, solid pellets (CASABA) into an
angle of about l 0 -4 °.
The desired effect of this concept is a capability for
structural kill df targets such as ICBM boosters at very great distances from
the point of detonation -distances as great as 1, 000 kilometers -with flight
times no greater than a few seconds, 6 While it is undeniably technically possible
to produce a working Nuclear Howitzer, the feasibility of CASABA is in some
doubt, and, more important, there is very little iriformation available as to the
lethality of high-velocity gases or pellets interacting with structural bodies.
The current theory, however, indicates that the kill probability will be significant
enough to warrant serious consideration of these devices as AICBM weapons
when used above the atmosphere.

Okay, that's...I think there's a few layers of confusion there. The concept for the Orion propulsion device generated a cone of approximately 22.5°. CASABA-HOWITZER is the hypervelocity gas/plasma design (I'm seeing references to a dispersion angle of 0.057°). Now here's where it gets headache-inducing, per that link. You're right that Casaba and Howitzer may have been separate programs. But what's being described with the solid projectile kinetic design sounds a lot more like something SDI cooked up called PROMETHEUS. There's very little known about that and going off that link, it sounds fairly different from the plasma lance idea.
 

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A weapon that would sound cool as hell is a giant AI torpedo, but with a scramjet attached inside it with a nuclear warhead that would launch after getting very close to a coast where its SONAR sensor would cue it to launch the scramjet with the nuclear warhead. I would call this weapon the dolphin.
 

Dilandu

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or create mutant viruses that selectively attack certain human groups...

Problem is, that differences between human groups are very insignificant. Considering how intermixed humanity become in recent century, any such "precise" virus would have little troubles mutating over its pre-set limitation, and starting to targeting all mankind. And if you put too much redundant safeguards, the virus would be too slow-acting and inefficient to be of military importance (the programmed virus that would over ten years gave 1% of targeted population a mild case of cold would hardly satisfy even the most modest Evil Overlord)

I suppose you could made the virus that would target a very specific traits of some isolated population, and, say, wipe out Sentinelese with it, without fearing that it would become dangerous for other population. The Sentinelese genome, due to centuries of total isolation, most likely very uniform, and have a lot of very specific mutations, that we could program virus to target. But frankly, mercenaries with assault rifles is the more practical and cheaper way of wiping out small stone-age tribe, if you really annoyed by them...
 

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Yes, while greater precision and discrimination is possible in theory, there have always been concerns that 'slatewipers' and the like would slip their targeting parameters, especially on wide scale deployments.
 
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Dilandu

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Yes, while greater precision and discrimination is possible in theory, there have always been concerns that 'slatewipers' and the like would slip their targeting parameters, especially on wide scale deployments.

Exactly. Thing is, that such efforts are basically working against the backbone of organic evolution - survival of the fittest - because for virus "point of view", it is not practical to limit itself to a very specific population. So, the mutations would quickly erode any safeguards (and if we put too many, they would render virus completely inefficient due to overcomplication of its most basic functioning)
 

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The necessary technology already exists to deflect the trajectory of small asteroids or create mutant viruses that selectively attack certain human groups... and they would look like accidents.

A fundamental problem is that humans are too similar to each other... especially at a cellular level. Humans also show clinal variation (rather than forming distinct races from a genetic point of view) and it is worth remembering that many viruses hit multiple species (so trying to target them within a species is obviously difficult).

Relatively high mutation rates mean that a lot of threats could indeed slip their targeting parameters (as Grey Havoc put it). This is one reason why a lot of scientist are dismissive of the idea of using coronaviruses as biological weapons - they are even harder to control than most candidates for biological weapons (i.e. they'd 'slip their parameters' even sooner).

There are alternatives though. One is to produce a biological weapon that is designed to fall apart after a limited number of replications... even producing something exceptionally highly virulent (kills most hosts quickly) could work because it would have trouble spreading for long. But again - after billions of of descendants form in the first few generations - there is the risk that some could mutate to survive. That could be fine if its virulence drops rapidly enough - but the risk really is something that is virulent enough to kill, but not so virulent it can't spread.

One could also do a two-stage solution - say, genetically engineer a microbe which is able to reproduce outside for a time, and produces a toxic by-product, but isn't able to survive in the wild for long (as it exhausts it resources, or get killed by weather changes or predators). You spray an area and it poisons the people in it, then you either wait for it to die off or you spray the area with something else to remove it. Theoretically you could even use something which doesn't infect humans directly but uses a host-plant which is highly regional for part of its life-cycle.

The other diabolical thing are anti-crop weapons. For instance, you could target rice production to cause a famine in China... assuming you are willing to also sacrifice the rest of SE Asia, S Asia/India, parts of Africa...

Anyway, biology is inherently unstable. It makes playing with criticality seem relatively safe. :)
 

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or create mutant viruses that selectively attack certain human groups...

Problem is, that differences between human groups are very insignificant. Considering how intermixed humanity become in recent century, any such "precise" virus would have little troubles mutating over its pre-set limitation, and starting to targeting all mankind.

1: You assume that's a "bug" and not a "feature." If someone is willing to create a virus to wipe out 50% of the human population, someone else will be ready to create a virus to wipe out 100% of the human population.
2: Anyone who thinks it's a good idea to commit genocide is likely going to be nutty enough to think that "but this time, I'll get away with it."
 

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One could also do a two-stage solution - say, genetically engineer a microbe which is able to reproduce outside for a time, and produces a toxic by-product, but isn't able to survive in the wild for long (as it exhausts it resources, or get killed by weather changes or predators). You spray an area and it poisons the people in it, then you either wait for it to die off or you spray the area with something else to remove it. Theoretically you could even use something which doesn't infect humans directly but uses a host-plant which is highly regional for part of its life-cycle.

Multi-stage options are many.
1: Release a plague of some retrovirus onto the enemy. Not something world-ending, something that makes people ill, but which, with effort, can be vaccinated against and stopped. Huzzah! Then, phase two: release another plague that targets those who have had the first plague. The advantage of this system is that if the first plague is effectively controlled, only the enemy population gets affected by the second. But if the first plague *wasn't* controlled as expected, and it went worldwide or affected your own population, simply don't enact Phase Two.
2: Release a worldwide plague on the scale of the current Pinko Pox. But plan in advance: create several vaccines. The world gets vaccinated against this new plague. North America and the EU get Vaccine A, Africa and Latin America get Vaccine B, China gets Vaccine C, and so on. Then unleash your next plague that targets people who received a particular vaccine.
 

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Or a plague/virus that terminate ALL wars by destroying ALL human life. About the only way to do it, imho, of course. It could take a hundred thousand years or more for the replacement to evolve highly enouigh to replicate us and our insanities.
 

Michel Van

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There were stories/rumour after end of Cold War in 1990s
That Russia had develop a tandem Bioweapon system
First phase was modified Anthrax to kill most of population 60%~90% (depends on source)
Second phase was modified Ebola to kill the remaining survivors by 99%

Gorbachev issue program were ICBM nuclear warheads could be replace with modified Anthrax warheads.
Source: Ken Alibek book "Biohazard"

Another Story/Urban Legend is about a Soviet Doomsday weapon.
In form of large Cargo ship equip with largest H-bomb the Soviets could build.
The Story goes that Program was far into Development as Khrushchev stop it.
not because common sense, but because he had no control over the automatic system that trigger the Doomsday weapon.

Also the story that JFK tell that Soviet embassy had large thermonuclear bomb in their basement.
 
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Justo Miranda

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The necessary technology already exists to deflect the trajectory of small asteroids or create mutant viruses that selectively attack certain human groups... and they would look like accidents.

A fundamental problem is that humans are too similar to each other... especially at a cellular level. Humans also show clinal variation (rather than forming distinct races from a genetic point of view) and it is worth remembering that many viruses hit multiple species (so trying to target them within a species is obviously difficult).

Relatively high mutation rates mean that a lot of threats could indeed slip their targeting parameters (as Grey Havoc put it). This is one reason why a lot of scientist are dismissive of the idea of using coronaviruses as biological weapons - they are even harder to control than most candidates for biological weapons (i.e. they'd 'slip their parameters' even sooner).

There are alternatives though. One is to produce a biological weapon that is designed to fall apart after a limited number of replications... even producing something exceptionally highly virulent (kills most hosts quickly) could work because it would have trouble spreading for long. But again - after billions of of descendants form in the first few generations - there is the risk that some could mutate to survive. That could be fine if its virulence drops rapidly enough - but the risk really is something that is virulent enough to kill, but not so virulent it can't spread.

One could also do a two-stage solution - say, genetically engineer a microbe which is able to reproduce outside for a time, and produces a toxic by-product, but isn't able to survive in the wild for long (as it exhausts it resources, or get killed by weather changes or predators). You spray an area and it poisons the people in it, then you either wait for it to die off or you spray the area with something else to remove it. Theoretically you could even use something which doesn't infect humans directly but uses a host-plant which is highly regional for part of its life-cycle.

The other diabolical thing are anti-crop weapons. For instance, you could target rice production to cause a famine in China... assuming you are willing to also sacrifice the rest of SE Asia, S Asia/India, parts of Africa...

Anyway, biology is inherently unstable. It makes playing with criticality seem relatively safe. :)
I'm not talking about races but about different lifestyles, theoretically you can create a virus that is activated only in alcohol drinkers, or only in vodka drinkers, or only in cocaine addicts, or only in pork eaters or in the elderly who only consume a certain drug or in people from a certain country who have been vaccinated with the 25,000 to 35,000 series and there will always be extremists interested in to finance research for religious, ecological and, above all, economic reasons.
 

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I heard that some kind of virus was created in the USSR that killed men and almost did not affect women, supposedly this virus broke out of the laboratory, and a certain number of people died, but since this happened in a "closed" city, there were no victims there were many. Perhaps these are just rumors.
During the First World War, some Russian inventor proposed to arrange a chemical apocalypse using various poisons that were supposed to poison the air, water, soil, etc., in fact, the use of something like this would mean very serious consequences for the entire ecology of the planet , since the poisons would quickly spread over a large area using the water cycle.
 

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I heard that some kind of virus was created in the USSR that killed men and almost did not affect women, supposedly this virus broke out of the laboratory, and a certain number of people died, but since this happened in a "closed" city, there were no victims there were many. Perhaps these are just rumors.

This is probably the Sverdlovsk anthrax leak—the way I heard it (or read it—it'd take awhile to find where in my library of NBC tomes), was that there was an initial fear by outside analysts (CIA?) looking at the demographics of the victims that the Russians had somehow developed a bioweapon that almost exclusively killed working-age men, which had gotten released.

But just a bit more digging and deduction revealed the truth: the accident happened when the supervisor of the morning shift at the Anthrax plant turned on the drying machines' exhaust fans, not knowing that their filters had been removed for maintenance. The victims, outside the plant...were mostly working-age men, walking to work for their morning shifts, at various downwind but otherwise unrelated factories that skewed male in their employee demographics!
 

greenmartian2017

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There were stories/rumour after end of Cold War in 1990s
That Russia had develop a tandem Bioweapon system
First phase was modified Anthrax to kill most of population 60%~90% (depends on source)
Second phase was modified Ebola to kill the remaining survivors by 99%

Gorbachev issue program were ICBM nuclear warheads could be replace with modified Anthrax warheads.
Source: Ken Alibek book "Biohazard"

Another Story/Urban Legend is about a Soviet Doomsday weapon.
In form of large Cargo ship equip with largest H-bomb the Soviets could build.
The Story goes that Program was far into Development as Khrushchev stop it.
not because common sense, but because he had no control over the automatic system that trigger the Doomsday weapon.

Also the story that JFK tool that Soviet embassy had large thermonuclear bomb in their basement.
I remember reading that in regards to the JFK story, the version I had read described that it was a large fission bomb, which was assembled at the uppermost point of the Soviet embassy at the time. So if things devolved to war, the bomb blast would level most of Washington, DC, including the White House and the Capitol. (I have also been told of a story--I have not seen it anywhere in published form, so I don't know the accuracy of it--that the Russians came up with a US car that was controlled remotely that had an atomic device in it that would be driven to a key US government site and detonated in case of war winds and the break-off of diplomatic ties. Yes a kind of large RC controlled vehicle.)

But keep in mind we too (the United States) had plans in case the US-Soviet cold war devolved. But ours involved "pre-mitigation" techniques, not necessarily using atomic weaponry.
 

Michel Van

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There is strange epilog on Soviet embassy Bomb story.
Under a 1972 agreement, Soviets got territory in Washington D.C. for a new embassy
On the same conditions, the United States leased to territory in Moscow

oddly this Soviet territory is in a outskirts of Washington D.C.
away around 4 Kilometers from White House and 7 Kilometers from Capitol Hill...
 

Justo Miranda

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The bomb could be inside a truck circulating throughout the country or inside a ship in the port of New York... why limit yourself to a fixed installation in the basement of a building?
 

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The bomb could be inside a truck circulating throughout the country or inside a ship in the port of New York... why limit yourself to a fixed installation in the basement of a building?

Because a building is unlikely to get in a car wreck or blow a tire or get stolen by a crafty crackhead. Also, an embassy is vanishing unlike to be raided by the local government.
 

Orionblamblam

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of it--that the Russians came up with a US car that was controlled remotely that had an atomic device in it that would be driven to a key US government site and detonated in case of war winds and the break-off of diplomatic ties. Yes a kind of large RC controlled vehicle.)
.

An RC car doesn't make sense. Too easily defeated, too easy to malfunction. If you need someone to drive a bomb, recent history has shown that there are many more than happy to do it willingly. And you can always tell Intern Skippy to just drive to some address and to not look in the trunk.
 

Justo Miranda

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The bomb could be inside a truck circulating throughout the country or inside a ship in the port of New York... why limit yourself to a fixed installation in the basement of a building?

Because a building is unlikely to get in a car wreck or blow a tire or get stolen by a crafty crackhead. Also, an embassy is vanishing unlike to be raided by the local government.
That explanation makes sense although it greatly limits the options of the aggressor and the price of real estate in the area.
 

Orionblamblam

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That explanation makes sense although it greatly limits the options of the aggressor and the price of real estate in the area.

Depends on the aggressor. If you are the Soviet Union, the pre-placed nukes are a trivial number compared to the rain of nukes you can shower down onto your opponent by more conventional means. If you are a small power or a terrorist group, you are unlikely to plan for years down the line, and any nuke you smuggle into a country is probably going to be used in the very near future.

Mobile nukes are always going to be a risk. There are *lots* of ways for you to be found out or frakked up, whether through espionage or sheer dumb luck. You could be the best, most conscientious driver in the history of drivers, and still get T-boned at an intersection by a drunk. But an emplaced nuke, even one well away from embassy grounds, will be reasonably secure unless someone who knows where it is spills the beans. A nuke that can be smuggled in the trunk of a car can be moved *anywhere*, a pit eight or ten feet deep dug, some lines tapped into local power and telephone, and the thing buried again. You could rent a house for a month, do some "gardening," and then split, leaving behind a nuke that will quietly sit underground waiting for a signal that comes over the local phone line. Unless someone sees you doing this - and unlike the movies, it's *easy* to do this sort of thing on property you control - how would anyone know the bomb is there? Six or eight feet of soil is a damn good radiation shield, and that's deep enough to avoid a casual metal detector. You might need some sort of heat sink to keep the pit cool; this could be done by linking the bomb to the local water lines. Hell, you could make a show of building a bomb shelter... and burying the bomb *under* the shelter. The metal hull of the shelter would make a dandy heat sink.

Obviously there's the risk that some future homeowner will decide to do a complete renovation or dig a swimming pool, but most places are stable on a period of decades.
 

Michel Van

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Looking from analytical standpoint on Case of Soviet embassy Nuke

They had during early 1960 only FOUR ICBM type R-7, the R-16 failed, killing hundred, including the Head of Soviet ICBM program.

It make sense to Install a hydrogen bomb in Soviet embassy at Washington D.C.
and since is stationary there no size/Mass restriction except the place it build into it.
The fission detonator could be transported as Diplomatic transport with label "medical X-ray apparatus"
While the fusion stage enter as "Russian bath salts" the US.

But biggest question is, had the soviet a nuke in their Embassy ?
Khrushchev could have taken this option for counterstrike in case US nuclear attack.
but as for political pressure or extortion, it's quite useless
The US could storm the Soviet embassy and try to dismantle it.
or force the Soviet Union to remove that dam thing, other wise it rain US nuclear Warheads over Russia.

It interesting that Kennedy told that Story to journalists
like he send a message to Soviets
"Look guys, we think you got something in Soviet embassy basement, we do not want, remove it !"
 

Dilandu

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But biggest question is, had the soviet a nuke in their Embassy ?
Khrushchev could have taken this option for counterstrike in case US nuclear attack.
but as for political pressure or extortion, it's quite useless
Sigh. And now let's consider that relations between US and USSR break down, and Soviet diplomatic personnel is send home. What exactly they are supposed to do with the bomb in the basement?

Seriously, the "bomb in embassy" idea is one of the most stupid I ever heard. You are seriously suggesting trying to sneak a massive weapon in the one place which is under constant observation by any possible means for sure? Where the efforts of all US intelligence concentrated? I.e. where the probability of failure is maximized? And what would be the fallout, if such plot blow up? Embassy is NOT supposed to have any offensive weapon! It would lose its protection if such thing is found - and you could not exclude the possibility of such, because there are always a possibility of someone defecting. Moreower, diplomatic personnel, literally sitting on the illegal bomb - are you really thought that all Soviet ambassadors were insane fanatics? Or how easily would be for ambassador to make such operation fail before it even started?
 

Justo Miranda

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That explanation makes sense although it greatly limits the options of the aggressor and the price of real estate in the area.

Depends on the aggressor. If you are the Soviet Union, the pre-placed nukes are a trivial number compared to the rain of nukes you can shower down onto your opponent by more conventional means. If you are a small power or a terrorist group, you are unlikely to plan for years down the line, and any nuke you smuggle into a country is probably going to be used in the very near future.

Mobile nukes are always going to be a risk. There are *lots* of ways for you to be found out or frakked up, whether through espionage or sheer dumb luck. You could be the best, most conscientious driver in the history of drivers, and still get T-boned at an intersection by a drunk. But an emplaced nuke, even one well away from embassy grounds, will be reasonably secure unless someone who knows where it is spills the beans. A nuke that can be smuggled in the trunk of a car can be moved *anywhere*, a pit eight or ten feet deep dug, some lines tapped into local power and telephone, and the thing buried again. You could rent a house for a month, do some "gardening," and then split, leaving behind a nuke that will quietly sit underground waiting for a signal that comes over the local phone line. Unless someone sees you doing this - and unlike the movies, it's *easy* to do this sort of thing on property you control - how would anyone know the bomb is there? Six or eight feet of soil is a damn good radiation shield, and that's deep enough to avoid a casual metal detector. You might need some sort of heat sink to keep the pit cool; this could be done by linking the bomb to the local water lines. Hell, you could make a show of building a bomb shelter... and burying the bomb *under* the shelter. The metal hull of the shelter would make a dandy heat sink.

Obviously there's the risk that some future homeowner will decide to do a complete renovation or dig a swimming pool, but most places are stable on a period of decades.
There should be some means to detect the radiation produced by a nuclear device, in my opinion it should be a priority for the national security of all countries. Considering the volume of goods that enter the ports of the United States daily and that cross the Panama Canal, the system (if any) should be some kind of very fast and discreet scanner.
 

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