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Orion, nukes, shotguns and the Cold War

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EnragedSith

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rickshaw said:
I suspect it wouldn't have ended it but would have caused its escalation.

The Soviets were already having nightmares because our factories were disgorging bombers at a seemingly unbelievable rate, practically overnight we built up a ballistic missile force eight times larger than theirs and our missiles were MIRV capable to boot (the soviets were just starting overcome the issues involved with MIRV in the early 60's), and we had stuff on the drawing board that they just didn't have the resources for.

Before the Kennedy Administration (in no small part the actions Robert McNamara) started gutting programs the Soviet's nightmares seemed like they'd only get worse...

ARADCOM was a planned US Army ballistic missile defense system that would have covered all of North America, were it to become operational the fledgling Soviet missile force would be rendered completely impotent and obsolete

F-12 and F-108 fighters were to be mach 3 capable and among their cornucopia of ordinance would've been thermonuclear tipped air to air missiles, were they to enter production the Soviet bomber force would be nothing but lambs led to slaughter (NORAD as it was is bad enough)

B-70 Bomber was to be a mach 3 strategic bomber, were it to go into production the whole Soviet air defense system (built up to stop SAC bombers from using the Urals as their own private parade route) would've been rendered completely useless

X-20 reusable spacecraft was entering the prototype stage and SAC had plans for it to serve as a reconnaissance and orbital bombardment platform


The Soviet Union was already writing checks it couldn't cash trying to match the X-20 with the MiG-105, counter the B-70 with the MiG-25 interceptor, and counter America's future mach three fighters with a mach 3 bomber of their own

If the Soviet Union knew that the United States was seriously planning an interplanetary warship....

...well Khrushchev and Soviet leadership would've (after changing into a fresh pair of pants) decided that the game was getting waaay too hot for them and diplomatically 'fold', trying to match the United States would clearly be a losing proposition and the Soviet Union could best guarantee its survival and the survival the communist ideal by staying out of America's way and concentrating on perfecting the worker's paradise at home.

The destabilizing nature of such a weapon system would have been extremely dangerous to MAD.

The policies that led to "MAD" were purely American and at the time Orion was being contemplated, said policies weren't in place yet.

The Orion battleship would've been the ultimate deterrent, it is completely unpremptable by any earthbound system and only the United States has the combination of resources to construct such a craft and viable means of interdicting spacecraft like it.

In a hypothetical crisis once 'Orion' establishes geostationary over the aggressor nation, said crisis is over as the aggressor would realize that diplomacy is the only viable course of action to end the crisis. It's actually very stabilizing

As to it being useful to fight a potential invading alien race, I rather think that if they are able to harness energy sufficiently to have an interstellar invasion force, we'd need something a tad more powerful than one Orion. Perhaps a computer virus? :eek:

The ship was an early Cold War Air Force program

...for those of you playing the home game "early Cold War Air Force" means "Strategic Air Command", with SAC (specifically under LeMay and Power) if they want a shiny new toy, you can bet that they want a ton of them

There certainly would've been more than one and given the interplanetary capability of the thing, one could imagine the long-term plans they had. (Pluto might become the new 'Alaska' for SAC delinquents :D)
 

Rickshaw

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You assume that the fUSSR would have merely "folded", without question. Its not assured that they would. ::)

What I find interesting is that no one has thought about the dangers of letting off numerous atomic bombs in order to launch this thing. Would have done wonders for the radioactivity in the atmosphere, which had already been noticeably increased by atmospheric tests (and hence the partial test ban treaty). Some people seem to act as if radioactivity is something they enjoy experiencing. ::)

What I see this as, is the ultimate masturbatory dream of some American right-wingers. It allows them to dream of establishing Pax Americana and dictating to the world. ::)
 

EnragedSith

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rickshaw said:
You assume that the fUSSR would have merely "folded", without question. Its not assured that they would. ::)

The Soviet Union has a very finite resource pool, they were running dry just trying to keep up with their own propaganda

The 50's arms build up by the United States was putting immense strain on the Soviet economy and industry, and even with factories being run into the ground and the treasuries running low they couldn't match the United States

Orion would've broke the Soviet Union, they'd try to make their own but it'd be like the Sukhoi mach 3 bomber to the tenth power (the material required for Orion's push plate alone, no Soviet plant could manufacture) and with that the Soviet government would realize that its assertive propaganda and desperate attempts to match the US are just too damn costly.

The Soviet Union would've then stopped its assertive build up and instead look inward towards its own issues, and diplomatic actions would be taken to 'calm' the Americans


What I find interesting is that no one has thought about the dangers of letting off numerous atomic bombs in order to launch this thing. Would have done wonders for the radioactivity in the atmosphere, which had already been noticeably increased by atmospheric tests (and hence the partial test ban treaty). Some people seem to act as if radioactivity is something they enjoy experiencing. ::)

The radiation from a nuclear bomb is very minimal, the truth to the test ban treaties is that they were made by people in the US that were against nuclear weapons and/or American nuclear superiority and by Soviet officials that wanted to compromise the gross advantage the United States has

That is not to say the radiation is harmless, the immediate launch zone (if indeed Orion launched solely trough nukes) would be unsafe for a couple years, but we're talking about a remote salt flat 500 miles from the nearest settlement
 

Rickshaw

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EnragedSith said:
rickshaw said:
You assume that the fUSSR would have merely "folded", without question. Its not assured that they would. ::)

The Soviet Union has a very finite resource pool, they were running dry just trying to keep up with their own propaganda

The 50's arms build up by the United States was putting immense strain on the Soviet economy and industry, and even with factories being run into the ground and the treasuries running low they couldn't match the United States

Orion would've broke the Soviet Union, they'd try to make their own but it'd be like the Sukhoi mach 3 bomber to the tenth power (the material required for Orion's push plate alone, no Soviet plant could manufacture) and with that the Soviet government would realize that its assertive propaganda and desperate attempts to match the US are just too damn costly.

The Soviet Union would've then stopped its assertive build up and instead look inward towards its own issues, and diplomatic actions would be taken to 'calm' the Americans.

Several points - WHAT Soviet "assertive build up"? Every claim of that was disproved. Be it the "Bomber Gap", the "Missile Gap" or the "Window of Opportunity". If any nation in the Cold War was undertaking an "assertive build up" it was the USA.

Secondly, you assume that the Soviets would have bothered to build their own Orionski. Why? Who cares if the US has a spaceship like that? All the Soviets have to do is actually keep on building ICBMs at the same rate. The Orion won't stop an ICBM. It won't stop an SLBM. It won't stop a cruise missile. It won't stop a bomber. IF the balloon goes up. Its only function is to intimidate. To make people obey the US's orders. Effectively interplanetary "gun-boat diplomacy". Not exactly the image that the US has attempted to portray itself as the defender of liberty and justice. Perhaps the reality that the Ultra-Right wants is for a world empire? I can just image what would have happened if Doubya Bush and his band of village idiot neo-Cons had gotten control of this beast. :eek:

Thirdly as the Able Archer 83 exercise proved, aggressive rhetoric and foreign policy tends to make people on the other side very nervous. Having a massive, threatening object like Orion overhead would do what, do you think to the mental state of a very fragile, nervous, ultimately paranoid regime like that of the fUSSR? Do you really, seriously believe that the Soviet leadership are going to look up and say, "Oh, crapski, the buggers have beaten us!" And take their bat and ball and wander off home? How is Orion going to help if they don't? You going to use it to dictate to the citizens of the Soviet Union that they MUST change their government? And what happens if they say, "no way!" You going to bomb people merely because they won't do what you command them to? Again, what sort of signal is that meant to convey to the world? We should bow down to our imperial masters in Washington? ::)

You appear incredibly naive if you think this thing would actually stabilise a world in the grip of a Cold War like we experienced.

What I find interesting is that no one has thought about the dangers of letting off numerous atomic bombs in order to launch this thing. Would have done wonders for the radioactivity in the atmosphere, which had already been noticeably increased by atmospheric tests (and hence the partial test ban treaty). Some people seem to act as if radioactivity is something they enjoy experiencing. ::)

The radiation from a nuclear bomb is very minimal, the truth to the test ban treaties is that they were made by people in the US that were against nuclear weapons and/or American nuclear superiority and by Soviet officials that wanted to compromise the gross advantage the United States has

Funny, that doesn't explain the millions of people in other nations who marched in protest against the continued atmospheric testing of nuclear warheads. That so-called "minimal radiation" was sufficient to register on gieger counters around the world. You have increased numbers of cancers and birth defects in your own country as a consequence of being downwind of the nuclear tests yet you seem to dismiss those problems as being "minimal". So much for the citizens of your own nation, let alone those of other ones. ::)

That is not to say the radiation is harmless, the immediate launch zone (if indeed Orion launched solely trough nukes) would be unsafe for a couple years, but we're talking about a remote salt flat 500 miles from the nearest settlement

Salt, like dust does not stay in one place. Nature is just so inconvenient like that, isn't she? ::)
 

Rickshaw

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Orionblamblam said:
rickshaw said:
What I find interesting is that no one has thought about the dangers of letting off numerous atomic bombs in order to launch this thing.

What I find interesting is that you're pontificating without having done any actual research on the topic.
1) This particular Orion would have released virtually *no* radioativity into the atmosphere, since it was a lofted design
2) Freeman Dyson and other did a *lot* of work determining the effects of ground-launching an Orion
3) Even ground launched, the increase in background radiation would have been tiny.

OK, how about you buy a house downwind of the launch point. Lets see you raise a family there. Willing to do it? That uncaring of your own and other's health that you're willing to risk it? ::)

Would have done wonders for the radioactivity in the atmosphere, which had already been noticeably increased by atmospheric tests (and hence the partial test ban treaty). Some people seem to act as if radioactivity is something they enjoy experiencing.

What, and you don't? Fine. Cut yourself off from that nasty, horrible sunshine.

Well, actually I do as much as possible. Unlike you, I've taken note of what the skin doctors tell me and have no desire to risk melanoma. Their message that "there is no such thing as a healthy tan" is proving particularly effective downunder. Could it be because we do actually live with the consequences of increased radiation because of your nation's love affair with CFCs? Or do you also deny the existence of the Ozone Hole?


What I see this as, is the ultimate masturbatory dream of some American right-wingers.

Actually, what Orion is is a test to separate those who think rationally from those with a delusional fear of nuclear power and/or Americans. Those who would prefer progress to those who would prefer to cower in fear and hope that their masters would be kind to them.
[/quote]

You're right it is. Those who believe in this thing have no real understanding of the effects of nuclear radiation and no understanding of the ramifications of building and launching this beast during the midst of the Cold War. You sound like someone who'd be a prime candidate for the John Birch Society, Scott. You're so far out in the right field that to you, Chingiz Khan looks like a dangerous left-wing radical. ;D
 

Rickshaw

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Orionblamblam said:
rickshaw said:
OK, how about you buy a house downwind of the launch point.

A house in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean?

My understanding was that this was to launched, using nuclear power, from a continental SW USA launch point in the middle of the desert. That is how most of the literature talks about it.

And what's so scary about being downwind of a rocket launch facility dealing with hydrogen/oxygen propellants? Now you're afraid of *water?* Is Dihydrogen Monoxide poisoning next on your list of Scary American Imperialist Conspiracies?

Nope, should it be? I don't deal, in the way, with conspiracies. I do deal with realities. I read what you type and compare it to what I know about the Cold War and the US's apparent political motivations and then consider its possible outcomes. You want this machine to dominate the fUSSR. OK, how will it allow you to do that? Except of course by dictating to the Russians who they can or cannot have to govern them or how that government can defend itself against the overtly aggressive USA - which BTW you've just proved to be fact by dictating to them what regime they can have govern them. The US was and is not a saint. Its rhetoric is as empty headed as that of the Soviet Union's. Thankfully we're rid of theirs' what a shame we can't be rid of the US's.

What, and you don't? Fine. Cut yourself off from that nasty, horrible sunshine.

Well, actually I do as much as possible.

And yet you're still well above the freezing point of nitrogen. Hypocrit.

Nope. I said "as much as possible". You do read and understand the language referred to as English or are you merely limited to the dialect referred to as American? ::)

Unlike you, I've taken note of what the skin doctors tell me and have no desire to risk melanoma.

"Unlike you?"

Yep, unlike you - based upon your stupid comment about solar radiation (ie sunlight).

your nation's love affair with CFCs? Or do you also deny the existence of the Ozone Hole?

ZZZZzzzzZZzzzZzsnorkZZZzzZZzzzz....

So, the world's largest user of CFCs wasn't the USA before they were banned? ::)

Actually, what Orion is is a test to separate those who think rationally from those with a delusional fear of nuclear power and/or Americans. Those who would prefer progress to those who would prefer to cower in fear and hope that their masters would be kind to them.

You're right it is.

At last, you show wisdom.

I always show wisdom. :-*

Those who believe in this thing have no real understanding of the effects of nuclear radiation...

Really? *GENERAL ATOMIC* had no understanding of radiation?
[/quote]

Nope. Not if they were proposing a nuclear powered spaceship for use in the atmosphere. Just like the fools who proposed nuclear power aircraft. ::)

You sound like someone who'd be a prime candidate for the John Birch Society, Scott. You're so far out in the right field that to you, Chingiz Khan looks like a dangerous left-wing radical. ;D

Blah, blah, blah.

Hit the spot did it? ;D

Your remind me of the cold war warriors I used to encounter online back in the 1980s. God they were screwy and crazy to boot as well. Everything was viewed through a one way lense which couldn't and wouldn't allow them to look at the problems of the cold war except from their nationalist and chauvinistic perspective. I had hours of fun with them. ;D
 

bobbymike

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I personally agree with Scott on almost all issues related to national defense/national security issues. Not so much the rickshaw/Chamberlain wing of "peace in our time".

His contibution to this site and my own personal knowledge on aerospace technology is amazing. Thanks.
 

Rickshaw

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bobbymike said:
I personally agree with Scott on almost all issues related to national defense/national security issues. Not so much the rickshaw/Chamberlain wing of "peace in our time".

Excuse me? Where have I suggested any such thing or is it perhaps that if someone disagrees with your viewpoint they must automatically be 100% supportive of the opposition? This is like Doubya's childish, "if yer not wit' us yer agin us," thinking on 11 September. ::)

His contibution to this site and my own personal knowledge on aerospace technology is amazing. Thanks.

Until he get challenged and then he seems to get rather upset. ;)
 

Rickshaw

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Orionblamblam said:
rickshaw said:
My understanding was...

That's your problem right there.

Touche'. I'll have to remember that one. ::)

I don't deal, in the way, with conspiracies. I do deal with realities.

Your record (shotguns illegal in wartime, anyone?) speaks otherwise. Moonbattery about right-wing American imperialism, for another.

If shotguns are not illegal why are they considered illegal by every other army around the world, apart from the American one? Even the Australian Army which uses them admits that their use is legally suspect.

You want this machine to dominate the fUSSR.

No, I "want this machine" in order to spread humanity - at least, not the cowering, simpering moonbat part of it - throughout the cosmos. Just as military forces have led the way in colonizations throughout history, this vehicle would have done the same. That it would make the idea of a successful, retaliation-free nuclear attack against the United States an *obvious* impossibility is a bonus.

If that is its use, why is it armed to the teeth like a battleship and is clearly intended for military not colonisation purposes? You scare of little green men or something? ::)

OK, how will it allow you to do that? Except of course by dictating to the Russians who they can or cannot have to govern them or how that government can defend itself against the overtly aggressive USA - which BTW you've just proved to be fact by dictating to them what regime they can have govern them.

Wait, what? Did I suddenly slip into an alternate reality with a whole different discussion going on?

Dunno. Did you go down a rabbit hole while I wasn't watching?

The US was and is not a saint. Its rhetoric is as empty headed as that of the Soviet Union's. Thankfully we're rid of theirs' what a shame we can't be rid of the US's.

Leaving the world to... who? China? The New Caliphate?

Maybe. However, at the time, neither was on offer. The fUSSR and the USA made it clear it was either or nothing. Personally, I'd suggest a pox on both their houses. Neither was particularly honest and neither was particularly altruistic. They were in many ways, as bad as each other. Something you don't seem to accept for some reason. Could it be your childish chauvinism, along with your worship of every Tom Swiftian proposal, getting in the way?
 

Abraham Gubler

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rickshaw said:
OK, how about you buy a house downwind of the launch point. Lets see you raise a family there. Willing to do it? That uncaring of your own and other's health that you're willing to risk it? ::)

There was a very interesting news story a few days ago that got a lot of air play in Australia. The only person to have survived both the nuclear bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki passed away at the age of 83 or 93 (or something like that). Amidst all the doom and gloom about nuclear weapons within these news stories was the fundamental reality that someone can be nuclear bombed twice and live to a full and ripe old age!

What made him so unique was not the deuce nuclear bomb survivor status but that he had the mobility to be moving around so much in late war Japan. He was a Mitsubishi engineer based in Nagasaki who had been sent to Hiroshima for a special assignment.

As to the rest of this thread I will try and avoid the troll bait. Imagine someone like Rickshaw actually bothering to learn about Project Orion (synonymous book, APR, wikipedia, etc) and the basics of radiology?
 

Abraham Gubler

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rickshaw said:
If shotguns are not illegal why are they considered illegal by every other army around the world, apart from the American one? Even the Australian Army which uses them admits that their use is legally suspect.

The day a pogue ordie “operator administration” speaks for the Australian Army will be a sad and sorry day indeed. Just like Project Orion you are again talking from a knowledge free zone in this regard.

The use of shotguns in combat is not illegal under the customary law of war. The Germans took the USA to court at the end of WW1 other this and it was thrown out. The German argument could be reapplied today with potential for more success because its basis is interpretive. The argument is based on the prohibition (Hague Conventions, now considered customary law) of “excessive” weapons that cause too much suffering. Of course such an argument is very hard to make in light of a range of other weapons that are far more excessive.


The ADF does use combat shotguns but mostly in the counter terrorist role and policing type missions (Navy boarding teams) which are not under the jurisdiction of the laws of war. Keeping them out of frontline use is an unfortunate example of the power and broadness applied by the ADF’s own lawyers in deciding allowed weapons. They are however simply responding to their remit by the risk adverse senior leadership to ensure limited liability at any cost to combat effectiveness. Because someone could possibly try and take the ADF to court for using shotguns is good enough for these people not to use them. That if such a case was to succeed would mean everything more lethal than a BB gun would have to be outlawed from war doesn’t rate a mention.
 

martinbayer

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I would trust the decades old optimistic estimates of fallout radiation effects done by Mr. Dyson and General Atomics about just as much as I would the claims of the tobacco industry from about the same time frame that smoking is harmless or even beneficial (remember the L&M slogan "Just what the doctor ordered" or the Kent "Micronite" cigarette filter that allegedly offered "the greatest health protection in cigarette history" by using *asbestos*, which was described in advertisements as a "pure, dust-free, completely harmless material"?). For one, our understanding of the damage mechanisms and long term consequences of radiation has notably increased in the half century since the Orion studies, and on the other hand it is *NEVER* a good idea to naively rely on technology risk assessments done by the very same people who have an active interest in realizing those very same technologies. That's for example why OTA was created (and also why it was killed by a repub congress at the first chance they got in 1995).

Martin
 

martinbayer

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I see you've chosen to blithely ignore Jemiba's exhortation - very well; I really didn't expect anything else from you.

You are absolutely correct that I haven't read the book about Orion, nor do I intend wasting my time by doing so in the future (or buying a dinky model thereof, or whatever). The fact that Dyson personally wasn't comfortable with his published casualty results certainly speaks for his ethics, but it completely misses the point as to whether his numbers are realistic in the light of today's knowledge and experience base, or whether a fatality estimate of "a dozen people across the globe" is still wildly optimistic (and it also still doesn't exclude the possibility that General Atomics exerted certain pressures on him to keep the estimate low). And note that I *NEVER* made the nonsensical claim that I was "looking for a risk-free approach to *anything...*" - that's simply a (deliberate?) distortion of my position on your part... you do so like red herrings, don't you?

Martin
 

martinbayer

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"Yeah, that's me in a nutshell."

Sounds about right ;D.

Sorry, just couldn't resist that one - my apologies to everybody...
 

martinbayer

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"Dozens" of potential fatalities over decades is not necessarily a number that causes me unease - what causes me unease is that, based on today's better and deeper understanding of the subject matter, that number *could* (and admittedly nobody knows that until a thorough reassessment would be performed) be several orders of magnitude too low. Please note I'm not claiming it *is* way too optimistic, but I won't simply believe, rely on and trust in Dyson's estimates decades after he performed them without having up to date confirmation from truly independent sources. And the difference to car accidents is that at least in principle driving a car is basically a choice (although there are admittedly certainly pressures that heavily influence that decision), whereas breathing is not. Therefore I also absolutely agree with you that pollution is a topic that needs to be addressed ;D.

Martin
 

sferrin

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EnragedSith said:
ARADCOM was a planned US Army ballistic missile defense system that would have covered all of North America, were it to become operational the fledgling Soviet missile force would be rendered completely impotent and obsolete)

Anymore info on this? ???
 

XP67_Moonbat

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Rickshaw, I'm going to burn your tie-dye shirts, your copy of The Communist Manifesto, and your Hammer & Sickle flag.

I may have been too young to have served in the Cold War. But a weapon system like the Orion battleship would have paid off in time!

Frankly, there's nothing wrong with a little radiation. I lived over two nuclear reactors for five years and I've turned out fine.


Finally, lay off America. We're not perfect, of course. But then who is?

Would you rather have us around or, if things turned out differently, be another province in the Greater Global Reich? Or how about a worldwide SSR?

If those nightmares had played out as our reality, I'd love to see you speak out the way you do. See what happens then.

Next time you get on your tie-die pedestal, try some decaf. Please.

Oh, BTW, have you guys checked out that new Orion Battleship model. It's totally rad. :p

Moonbat
 

martinbayer

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"The ground launch of a single Orion would produce fallout and radiological nastiness on the same order as a *single* large above-ground nuclear test. There were, IIRC, *thousands* of above ground nuclear tests, from dinky Davy Crocketts with yields measured in tons, to the Czar Bomb of about 50 megatons. Thus, there is a *lot* of data, and should be vast numbers of dead folk all over the planet attributable to nuclear bombs if Dyson was off by several orders of magnitude. 12,000 dead folk per Orion launch would mean many millions (into the hundreds of millions) died from nuclear testing. Is there evidence for this?"

Funny you should ask:

"Researchers have concluded that residual radioactivity from atmospheric nuclear testing will cause, through infinity, an estimated three million cancer fatalities."
http://www.janesoceania.com/oceania_bombs/index.htm

Pollution from nuclear energy and weapons programs up to 1989 will account for 65 million deaths, according to a European scientific committee headed by an adviser to the British Government."
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0131-03.htm

Now admittedly these number and the assumptions and ground rules behind them are debatable and unclear and *only* in the single digit to tens of millions, and yes, I realize one is an extrapolation into the future and the other includes things like Chernobyl, but the point is that the assumptions and ground rules behind Dyson's numbers are debatable and unclear as well, and I would be willing to trust *none* of the above blindly without credible independent corroboration. Also, the number of above ground US nuclear explosions, which you seem to refer to above, was 217, not "thousands":
http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/nuclear/tests/USA-ntestsS.html

"Clearly, the scientific approach to this would be to build a few dozen 4,000 ton Orions per year and actually ground launch them (specifically from sea-based facilites) and see what happens to the planetary population."

That sounds an awful lot like the type of "science" the nazis performed in the concentration camps...

Martin
 

bobbymike

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martinbayer said:
Funny you should ask:

"Researchers have concluded that residual radioactivity from atmospheric nuclear testing will cause, through infinity, an estimated three million cancer fatalities."
http://www.janesoceania.com/oceania_bombs/index.htm

Pollution from nuclear energy and weapons programs up to 1989 will account for 65 million deaths, according to a European scientific committee headed by an adviser to the British Government."
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0131-03.htm
Martin

I call BS to the tenth power. I also heard the Himalayan glaciers will be gone by 2035 and the East Anglia University does great climate global warming science.
 

martinbayer

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bobbymike,

and I call BS on Dyson's numbers until proven wrong ;D. But perhaps we should stick to factual arguments, shall we?

Martin
 

martinbayer

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"Frankly, there's nothing wrong with a little radiation. I lived over two nuclear reactors for five years and I've turned out fine."

XP67_Moonbat,

you do realize you make this awfully tempting ;D?

Martin
 

royabulgaf

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The Orion won't stop an ICBM.

Well, it could stop one, but it wouldn't be pretty.
 

bobbymike

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Yes Martin factual arguments like your comparison of someone's post to Nazi science in concentration camps :eek:
 
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