pupupu Science and Technology | Weird News - Part 2
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Scary Terminator Bear

terminator bear toy t rip 0 Scary Terminator Bear

As if the the Terminator is not freaky enough, they have now combined it with a bear, bringing the Bearbrick Terminator to life in a morbid and crazy looking toy.

Bearbrick makes some odd looking bears in different themes and fashion and now with the upcoming Terminator Movie made a new version of the endoskeleton model in a bear toy called T-Rip. It isn’t everyday that you see a lovable toy such as the Care Bears turned into a horrifying model…unless you think of good ol’ Chucky from Child’s Play.

The T-Rip Bear looks like the model with the bright red eyes, endoskeleton print and robotic colors, making it a great collectible for the Terminator movie fans. If you would rather go for some thing with a little more presence, you can check out the Bio-Cycle held together with a silver skeleton, the Terminator T-800 Replica, or the Exoskeleton Suit. info via Walyou

terminator bear toy t rip 1 Scary Terminator Bear

Eight Extreme Situations You’d Never Survive

Food and water are necessities of life. Without them, life would not exist. Believe it or not, scientists have now found bacteria than survive without them.

 Eight Extreme Situations Youd Never Survive

Life Below Freezing

It is hard for life to survive and reproduce below the freezing point of water as ice crystals form, fatally rupturing cell walls. In 1992 scientists discovered a single-celled organism, “Methanococcoides burtonii”, which lives and grows at -2.5°C. Flexible cell walls and an ability to produce their own ‘antifreeze’ enable some bacteria to survive a chilling -20°C.

Life in Acid

Acid can eat through human flesh in a second, damaging cells and ultimately killing them. Yet there are some life forms, like the red algae “Cyanidium caldarium”, that have adapted to survive, and even thrive,

in the most acidic of conditions, such as the hot volcano pools found in Yellowstone National Park.

Life Above Boiling

In 2003, scientists studying a volcanic vent 2 km under the sea and discovered a single-celled organism that can cope with temperatures of 121°C. They named it “Geogemma barossii”. Since then, these creatures have been found living happily under the enormous pressures found at the bottom of many of the world’s deepest oceans.

Life Without Air

In the vacuum of space there is practically no water or oxygen, and the intense cold and radiation are extremely harmful to most life. But experiments have shown that at least one strain of bacteria can survive for over six months in space, by hibernating. Bacteria could be hibernating on distant worlds with little water or oxygen, just waiting for the right conditions to blossom into life.

Life in Ice

This microorganism was discovered under 4 km of ice, just above Lake Vostok, Russia. Lake Vostok is a massive body of liquid water buried under the ice for 400,000 years. It may contain some very unusu

al life, having been isolated from the rest of the planet for so long.

Life under High Radia

tion Bombardment

The bacteria “Deinococcus radiodurans” can survive doses of radiation 3,000 times greater than that needed to kill a human being. Radiation destroys DNA but this creature has spare copies of the most vital bits, as well as speedy DNA repair mechanisms.

Life in Salt

Salt in large quantities can pose a danger to life because it sucks the water from cells. However, the organisms such as “Haloferax volcanii” have adapted to live in extremely salty conditions, and can even survive for thousands of years in dried-out salt lakes.

Rock-Eating Bacteria

Buried deep underground, well away from sunlight or oxygen, there exists one of the strangest forms of life on this planet. This strain of bacteria lives on hydrogen and carbon dioxide given off from the surrounding rock.

10 Amazing Uncovered Treasures From 2008

It’s amazing what you can find! These unbelievable discoveries of 2008 make it exciting to be a collector, and for many of these lucky finders, provide quite a nice cash reward as well. Maybe it is finally time to dig your old metal detector out of the closet (doesn’t everybody have one of those?) and think about building some extra income this year – with some kind of awesome discovery! Avast, matey, buried treasure!

1. Gold Coins found in Jerusalem

1 gold coins 10 Amazing Uncovered Treasures From 2008

The Israel Antiquities Authority reported a thrilling find Sunday — the discovery of 264 ancient gold coins in Jerusalem National Park.

The coins were minted during the early 7th century.

“This is one of the largest and most impressive coin hoards ever discovered in Jerusalem — certainly the largest and most important of its period,” said Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, who are directing the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Researchers discovered the coins at the beginning of the eight-day Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, which started at sunset on Sunday.

One of the customs of the holiday is to give “gelt,” or coins, to children, and the archaeologists are referring to the find as “Hanukkah money.”

Nadine Ross, a British archaeological volunteer, happened onto the coins during the dig just below the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

“To be honest, I just thought, ‘Thank God I didn’t throw it in the rubbish bucket,’ ” said Ross, who had taken four weeks off from her engineering job in England to work at the site. “I was just glad I sort of spotted it before I disturbed it too much.”

The 1,400-year-old coins were found in the Giv’ati car park in the City of David in the walls around Jerusalem National Park, a site that has yielded other finds, including a well-preserved gold earring with pearls and precious stones.

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2. A Hobbyist with a Metal Detector Strikes Gold… and Silver!

2 celtic coins 10 Amazing Uncovered Treasures From 2008AMSTERDAM, Netherlands —  A hobbyist with a metal detector struck both gold and silver when he uncovered an important cache of ancient Celtic coins in a cornfield in the southern Dutch city of Maastricht.

“It’s exciting, like a little boy’s dream,” Paul Curfs, 47, said Thursday after the spectacular find was made public.

Archaeologists say the trove of 39 gold and 70 silver coins was minted in the middle of the first century B.C. as the future Roman ruler Julius Caesar led a campaign against Celtic tribes in the area.

Curfs said he was walking with his detector this spring and was about to go home when he suddenly got a strong signal on his earphones and uncovered the first coin.

“It was golden and had a little horse on it — I had no idea what I had found,” he said.

After posting a photo of the coin on a Web forum, he was told it was a rare find. The following day he went back and found another coin.

“It looked totally different — silver, and saucer-shaped,” he said. Curfs notified the city of his find, and he and several other hobbyists helped in locating the rest of the coins, in cooperation with archaeologists.

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3. 300 Morgan Silver Dollars Found in Backyard Treasure

3 silver coins 10 Amazing Uncovered Treasures From 2008The Case of the Missing 300 Silver Dollars, or What In The World Is Something Like That Doing In A Place Like This, likely will never be solved. That they were actually uncovered is astonishing enough, but to find out why 300 Morgan silver dollars from 1887 in mint condition were under a foot of hardened soil on former Amarillo Mayor Jerry Hodge’s property, well, let your imagination be your guide.

Our story begins June 11. Plumbers were digging a trench to run utilities for a pool house and swimming pool on property Hodge had purchased adjacent to his home on Oldham Circle in Amarillo. Randy McMinn had a backhoe about a foot deep when on one particular scoop, mixed in with the dirt, was found a bunch of dingy little objects.

Whoa, time out. Work came to a halt, and closer inspection revealed them to be coins – old coins from 1887. Careful digging found a lot more in some kind of fine plastic, what Margaret, Hodge’s wife, described as sort of an old version of Saran Wrap. Lest anyone think plastic is a recent invention, plastic was used as early as World War I.

The coins had Lady Liberty on one side and the American eagle on the other. A little bit of homework found them to be Morgan silver dollars, which were minted from 1878 to 1904. A count of the coins totaled 100 … 150 … 200 … 250 … 300 of them.

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4. Treasure Hunter Discovers Gold Ring with Rare Black Diamond

4 diamond ring 10 Amazing Uncovered Treasures From 2008A treasure hunter was stunned when  he unearthed a beautiful and historic gold ring with a rare black diamond set inside it in a muddy field.

John Stevens, 42, couldn’t believe his eyes when he rubbed off the soil and saw lettering indicating the ring was from the early medieval period, possibly the 11th century.

It is believed the ring would have belonged to a wealthy person either from the Church, or possibly even royalty.

Black diamonds are rare today and would have been even rarer nearly 1,000 years ago, having come from Africa.

The ring has not yet been valued but is thought it could be worth tens of thousands of pounds.

It is currently being examined and will go to an inquest where it will almost certainly be recorded as treasure.

Mr Stevens, a businessman from Hinckley, has been metal detecting for 30 years, and this find in his home county of Leicestershire is his most valuable yet.

After discovering it he contacted antiquities specialist Brett Hammond from Time Line Originals.

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5. Amateur Hits Gold Unearthed Golden Collar Valued at over $500,000

5 gold collar 10 Amazing Uncovered Treasures From 2008An iron age gold collar worth more than £350,000 that was found by an amateur metal detectorist in a muddy field in Nottinghamshire was described yesterday as the best find of its kind in half a century.

“I was only in the field because a customer kept me late,” Maurice Richardson, a tree surgeon from Newark, said yesterday. “Normally I’d never want to go into this field because a plane crashed there in the last war, and the whole place is littered with bits of metal.”

The first beep from his detector was indeed a chunk of wartime scrap metal, but as he bent down to discard it, his machine gave a louder signal. Expecting to find a bigger chunk of fuselage, he instead discovered the 2,200-year-old collar.

The piece, a near twin of one already in the British Museum, was the most spectacular of 1,257 finds reported over the last three years. Treasure reports have increased every year since the Portable Antiquities scheme was set up to record finds by the public in England and Wales.

“It’s a fabulous thing, the best Iron Age find in 50 years,” said JD Hill, head of the British Museum’s iron age department. “When I first saw a picture of it I thought somebody was pulling my leg because it is so like the Sedgeford torc in our collection that it must have been made by the same hand.

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6. Treasure Hunter Finds Rare Gold Coins

6 carausius coins 10 Amazing Uncovered Treasures From 2008A treasure-hunter could be in line for a small fortune after unearthing two rare coins that shed light on a little-known rebel Roman emperor.

Derrick Fretwell’s finds, which date back to AD286 and the reign of Carausius, have been hailed “priceless” by experts at the British Museum. Mr Fretwell, 57, was digging in a field near Ashbourne, Derbys, when he uncovered the coins, which are at least 90 per cent gold.

The discovery of these two gold coins sheds light on a little known ‘British’ Emperor.

Gold coins of Carausius are extremely rare, until now only 23 being in existence. The last example found was in 1975 in Hampshire and it is quite possible that we will have to wait for over 30 years before another one sees the light of day.

Carausius was a Menapian (from modern Belgium). In the AD 280s he was the commander of the Roman Fleet (“Classis Britannica”) that patrolled the English Channel and North Sea. The fleet was commanded from Boulogne and one of its major functions was to defend Britain and Gaul (France) from Saxon raiders. Carausius fell foul of the Roman emperors Diocletian and Maximian, supposedly because he allowed the Saxons to RAID and only intercepted them afterwards, keeping the stolen loot for himself! Rather than hand himself over, Carausius declared himself emperor of Northern Gaul and Britain and set up his own mini-empire.

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7. 72 Year Old Woman Uncovers Roman Treasure

7 gold leaf2 10 Amazing Uncovered Treasures From 2008A 72-YEAR-OLD woman found a piece of Roman treasure on farmland near Clifton.  Alice Wright found the small gold leaf while using her metal detector in the Clifton area on March 23.

The leaf was declared as treasure trove, meaning she may receive a reward for her find, at an inquest in Nottingham.

Mrs Wright, from Littleover in Derby, has sent the object to the British Museum, and another museum is interested in acquiring it.

The Roman votive leaf is believed to date back to sometime between the first and fourth century.

Coroner Dr Nigel Chapman said: “The object was incomplete and folded to suggest that it had been removed from its original temple context.

“It is characteristic of Roman votive plaques that were dedicated at temples and shrines in Britain.”

He congratulated Mrs Wright on finding the treasure and sending it on to the British Museum.

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8. Viking Hoard Discovered in Sweden

8 viking hoard 10 Amazing Uncovered Treasures From 2008Hundreds of ancient coins unearthed last week close to Sweden’s main international airport suggests the Vikings were bringing home foreign currency earlier than previously thought, archaeologists say. Buried some 1,150 years ago, the treasure trove is made up mainly of Arabic coins and represents the largest early Viking hoard ever discovered in Sweden.

Archaeologists from the Swedish National Heritage Board unexpectedly found the stash of 472 silver coins while excavating a Bronze Age tomb near Stockholm’s Arlanda airport.

Kenneth Jonsson, a professor of coin studies at the University of Stockholm, has independently dated the hoard to about A.D. 850.

“That date is very early, because coin imports [by the Vikings] only start in about [A.D.] 800,” Jonsson said.

The discovery contains more coins than Sweden’s only other known large Viking hoard from the period, which was discovered in 1827, Jonsson added.

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9. Metal Detector Enthusiast Finds 6000 Roman Coins

9 roman coins 10 Amazing Uncovered Treasures From 2008

One of the largest deposits of Roman coins ever recorded in Wales, has been declared treasure trove.

Nearly 6,000 copper alloy coins were found buried in two pots in a field at Sully, Vale of Glamorgan by a local metal detector enthusiast in April.

After the ruling by the Cardiff coroner, a reward is likely to be paid to the finder and landowner.

It is hoped the coins will be donated to National Museum Wales, which has called the find “exceptional”.

Two separate hoards were found by the metal detectorist on successive days, one involving 2,366 coins and the other 3,547 coins, 3m away.

The 1,700-year-old coins dated from the reigns of numerous emperors, notably Constantine I (the Great, AD 307-37), during whose time Christianity was first recognised as a state religion.

Derek Eveleigh, 79, from Penarth, who came across the hoards in a field of sheep, has kept his find a secret until the outcome of the inquest.

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10. Bus Driver Digs up £80,000 Worth of Bronze Axe Heads

10 axe heads 10 Amazing Uncovered Treasures From 2008

Bus driver and metal detector fanatic Tom Peirce is in for a bumper pay day after unearthing 500 Bronze Age artefacts – one of the largest ever ancient finds.

Amateur treasure hunter Mr Peirce started combing a field after dropping off a school coach party at a farm – and now he could have a haul worth more than £80,000 on his hands.

Within a few minutes, the device began beeping and the 60-year-old dug 10 inches into the ground to find a partial axe head.

He realised he had struck it lucky when he dug deeper and found dozens more.

Over the next two days, he and colleague Les Keith uncovered nearly 500 bronze artefacts dating back 3,000 years.

The find prompted a Time Team-style search of the area by excited archaeologists.

The hoard, which included 268 complete axe heads, is one of the biggest of its kind found in Britain.

Mr Peirce, 60, will have to split any proceeds with landowner Alfie O’Connell.

Mr Peirce said: “We are extremely thrilled and excited because this was a once-in-a-lifetime find. It’s like winning the lottery – you don’t think it is going to happen to you.

“If you speak to other detectorists, they will find a nice coin or something in 20 or 30 years of treasure hunting.

“You do it as a hobby – you don’t do it for the money but if you strike it lucky then so be it.”

Mr Peirce stumbled upon the field after taking a group of schoolchildren for a day out at the farm near Swanage, Dorset.

He asked farmer Mr O’Connell for permission to search the two-acre field and later returned with Mr Keith.

The hoard was found up to 2ft down in three holes spread 50ft apart.

It is believed there was a Bronze Age settlement nearby where the axe heads would have been manufactured.

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Anatomy Of A Lego Minifig

.lego minifig Anatomy Of A Lego Minifig

The Lego Group began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter from Billund, Denmark. Christiansen began creating wooden toys in 1932; the company began calling itself “Lego” two years later in 1934. The company expanded to producing plastic toys in 1940. In 1949, Lego began producing the now-famous interlocking bricks, calling them “Automatic Binding Bricks.” These bricks were based largely on the design of Kiddicraft Self-Locking Bricks, which were released in the UK in 1947. The first Lego bricks, manufactured from cellulose acetate, were developed in the spirit of traditional wooden blocks that could be stacked upon one another; however, these plastic bricks could be “locked” together. They had several round “studs” on top, and a hollow rectangular bottom. The blocks snapped together, but not so tightly that they could not be pulled apart.

The company name Lego was coined by Christiansen from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means “play well”. The name could also be interpreted as “I put together” or “I assemble” in Latin, though this would be a somewhat forced application of the general sense “I collect; I gather; I learn”; the word is most used in the derived sense, “I read”. The cognate Greek verb “λέγω” or “lego” also means “gather, pick up”, but this can include constructing a stone wall.

The Lego Group’s motto is “Only the best is good enough”, a free translation of the Danish phrase Det bedste er ikke for godt. This motto was created by Ole Kirk to encourage his employees never to skimp on quality, a value he believed in strongly. The motto is still used within the company today. A more correct translation into english would be “Even the best isn’t good enough”.

The use of plastic for toy manufacture was not highly regarded by retailers and consumers of the time. Many of the Lego Group’s shipments were returned, following poor sales; it was thought that plastic toys could never replace wooden ones.

By 1954, Christiansen’s son, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, had become the junior managing director of the Lego Group. It was his conversation with an overseas buyer that struck the idea of a toy system. Godtfred saw the immense potential in Lego bricks to become a system for creative play, but the bricks still had some problems from a technical standpoint: their “locking” ability was limited, and they were not very versatile. It was not until 1958 that the modern-day brick design was developed, and it took another five years to find the right material for it. The modern Lego brick was patented on January 28, 1958, and bricks from that year are still compatible with current bricks.

Design



A model of Trafalgar Square, London in Legoland Windsor.

Lego pieces of all varieties are a part of a universal system. Despite variation in the design and purpose of individual pieces over the years, each remains compatible in some way with existing pieces. Lego bricks from 1963 still interlock with those made in 2008, and Lego sets for young children are compatible with those made for teenagers.

Bricks, beams, axles, mini figures, and all other parts in the Lego system are manufactured to an exacting degree of precision. When snapped together, pieces must have just the right amount of strength and flexibility mixed together. They must stay together until pulled apart. They cannot be too easy to pull apart, or the resulting constructions would be unstable; they also cannot be too difficult to pull apart, since the disassembly of one creation in order to build another is part of the Lego appeal. In order for pieces to have just the right “clutch power”, Lego elements are manufactured within a tolerance of 2 µm.

Primary concept and development work takes place at the Billund headquarters, where the company employs approximately 120 designers. The company also has smaller design offices in the UK, Spain, Germany, and Japan, which are tasked with developing products aimed specifically at these markets. The average development period for a new product is around twelve months, in three stages. The first stage is to identify market trends and developments, including contact by the designers directly with the market; some are stationed in toy shops close to holiday periods, while others interview children. The second stage is the design and development of the product based upon the results of the first stage. As of September 2008 the design teams use 3D modeling software such as Rhinoceros 3D to generate CAD drawings from initial design sketches. The designs are then prototyped using an in-house stereolithography machine. These are presented to the entire project team for comment and for testing by parents and children during the “validation” process. Designs may then be altered in accordance with the results from the focus groups. Virtual models of completed Lego products are built concurrently with the writing of the user instructions. Completed CAD models are also used in the wider organization, such as for marketing and packaging.

Nuclear weapons

Fission weapons
A few words about nuclear weapons technology..

Nuclear weapons exploit two principle physical, or more specifically nuclear, properties of certain substances: fission and fusion.

Fission is possible in a number of heavy elements, but in weapons it is principally confined to what is termed slow neutron fission in just two particular isotopes: 235U and 239Pu. These are termed fissile, and are the source of energy in atomic weapons. An explosive chain reaction can be started with relatively slight energy input (so-called slow neutrons) in such material.

Pu239Ga11111111 Nuclear weapons
An actual 239Pu ingot, alloyed with gallium for improved physical properties

Isotopes are ‘varieties’ of an element which differ only in their number of neutrons. For example, hydrogen exists as 1H 2H and 3H — different isotopes of the same chemical element, with no, one, and two neutrons respectively. All the chemical properties, and most of the physical properties, are the same between isotopes. Nuclear properties may differ significantly, however.

The fission, or ‘splitting’ of an atom, releases a very large amount of energy per unit volume — but a single atom is very small indeed. The key to an uncontrolled or explosive release of this energy in a mass of fissile material large enough to constitute a weapon is the establishment of a chain reaction with a short time period and high growth rate. This is surprisingly easy to do.

Fission of 235U (uranium) or 239Pu (plutonium) starts in most weapons with an incident source of neutrons. These strike atoms of the fissile material, which (in most cases) fissions, and each atom in so doing releases, on average, somewhat more than 2 neutrons. These then strike other atoms in the mass of material, and so on.

If the mass is too small, or has too large a surface area, too many neutrons escape and a chain reaction is not possible; such a mass is termed subcritical. If the neutrons generated exactly equal the number consumed in subsequent fissions, the mass is said to be critical. If the mass is in excess of this, it is termed supercritical.

Fission (atomic) weapons are simply based on assembling a supercritical mass of fissile material quickly enough to counter disassembly forces.

The majority of the energy release is nearly instantaneous, the mean time from neutron release to fission can be of the order of 10 nanoseconds, and the chain reaction builds exponentially. The result is that greater than 99% of the very considerable energy released in an atomic explosion is generated in the last few (typically 4-5) generations of fission — less than a tenth of a microsecond.*

This tremendous energy release in a small space over fantastically short periods of time creates some unusual phenomena — physical conditions that have no equal on earth, no matter how much TNT is stacked up.

Plutonium (239Pu) is the principal fissile material used in today’s nuclear weapons. The actual amount of this fissile material required for a nuclear weapon is shockingly small.

Below is a scale model of the amount of 239Pu required in a weapon with the force that destroyed the city of Nagasaki in 1945:

Pu32inch Nuclear weapons

In the Fat Man (Nagasaki) weapon design an excess of Pu was provided. Most of the remaining bulk of the weapon was comprised of two concentric shells of high explosives. Each of these was carefully fashioned from two types of explosives with differing burn rates. These, when detonated symmetrically on the outermost layer, caused an implosion or inward-moving explosion.

The two explosive types were shaped to create a roughly spherical convergent shockwave which, when it reached the Pu ‘pit’ in the center of the device, caused it to collapse.

The Pu pit became denser, underwent a phase change, and became supercritical.

A small neutron source, the initiator, placed in the very center of this Pu pit, provided an initial burst of neutrons — final generations of which, less than a microsecond later, saw the destruction of an entire city and more than 30,000 people..

Nearly all the design information for weapons such as these is now in the public domain; in fact, considering the fact that fission weapons exploit such a simple and fundamental physical (nuclear) property, it is no surprise that this is so. It is more surprising that so much stayed secret for so long, at least from the general public.

A neutron reflector, often made of beryllium, is placed outside the central pit to reflect neutrons back into the pit. A tamper, often made of depleted uranium or 238U helps control premature disassembly. Modern fission devices use a technique called ‘boosting’ (referred to in the next section), to control and enhance the yield of the device.

Today’s nuclear threat lies mostly in preventing this fissile special nuclear material (often referred to as SNM) from falling into the wrong hands: once there, it is a very short step to construct a working weapon.

What we do now to keep these devices out of the hands of groups like Al-Qaeda is vital to civilized peoples.

abomb Nuclear weapons

A schematic of a hypothetical ‘boosted’ fission weapon (showing unnecessary 235U)

trinity Nuclear weapons The gadget device used in the Trinity test: the world’s first nuclear weapon test. Note spherical geometry and the HE detonator arrangement. New Mexico, 21KT, 1945.

grable Nuclear weapons Typical fission weapon, shortly after detonation at the Nevada test site, with roughly the same yield as the weapon that destroyed Hiroshima. Reddish vapor surrounding the plasma toroid includes intensely radioactive fission fragments and ionized nitrogen oxides from the atmosphere. (Grable, 15KT, 1953)

Fusion Weapon

Fission weapons discussed above are ultimately limited in their destructive capability by the sheer size a subcritical mass can assume — and be imploded quickly enough by high explosives to form a supercritical assembly. The largest known pure fission weapon tested had a 500 kiloton yield. This is some thirty-eight times the release which destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. Not satisfied that this was powerful enough, designers developed thermonuclear (fusion) weapons.

Fusion exploits the energy released in the fusing of two atoms to form a new element; e.g. deuterium atoms fusing to form helium, 2H + 2H = 4He2 , as occurs on the sun. For atoms to fuse, very high temperatures and pressures are required. Only fusion of the lightest element, hydrogen, has proven practical. And only the heavy isotopes of hydrogen, 2H (deuterium) and 3H (tritium), have a low enough threshold for fusion to have been used in weapons successfully thus far.

The first method tried (boosting) involved simply placing 3H in a void within the center of a fission weapon, where tremendous temperatures and high pressures were attendant to the fission explosion. This worked; contributing energy to the overall explosion, and boosting the efficiency of the Pu fissioning as well (fusion reactions also release neutrons, but with much higher energy).

Because 3H is a gas at room temperature, it can be easily ‘bled’ into the central cavity from a storage bottle prior to an explosion, and impact the final yield of the device. This is still used today, and allows for what is termed ‘dial-a-yield’ capability on many stockpiled weapons.

Multistage thermonuclear weapons — the main component of today’s strategic nuclear forces — are more complex. These employ a ‘primary’ fission weapon to serve merely as a trigger. As mentioned above, the fission weapon is characterized by a tremendous energy release in a small space over a short period of time. As a result, a very large fraction of the initial energy release is in the form of thermal X-rays.

These X-rays are channeled to a ‘secondary’ fusion package. The X-rays travel into a cavity within a b28.jpg (8660 bytes)cylindrical radiation container.

b28 Nuclear weaponsThe radiation pressure from these X-rays either directly, or through an intermediate material often cited as a polystyrene foam, ablates a cylindrical enclosure containing thermonuclear fuel (shown in blue at left); this can be Li2H (lithium deuteride).

Running along the central axis of this fuel is a rod of fissile material, termed a ‘sparkplug’.

The contracting fuel package becomes denser, the sparkplug begins to fission, neutrons from this transmute the Li2H into 3H that can readily fuse with 2H (the fusion reaction 3H + 2H has a very high cross-section, or probability, in typical secondary designs), heat increases greatly, and fusion continues through the fuel mass.

A final ‘tertiary’ stage can be added to this in the form of an exterior blanket of 238U, wrapping the outer surface of the radiation case or the fuel package. 238U is not fissionable by the slower neutrons which dominate the fission weapon environment, but fusion releases copious high energy neutrons and this can fast fission the ordinary uranium.

This is a cheap (and radiologically very dirty) way to greatly increase yield. The largest weapon ever detonated — the Soviet Union’s ‘super bomb’, was some 60 MT in yield, and would have been nearer 100MT had this technique been used in its tertiary. Again, to control the yield precisely, 3H may be bled from a separate tank into the core of the primary, as shown in the hypothetical diagram on the left of a modern thermonuclear weapon.

This primary/secondary/tertiary or multistage arrangement can be increased — unlike the fission weapon — to provide insane governments with any arbitrarily large yield.

bravo Nuclear weapons

Rare photo of the actual shrimp device used in Castle Bravo. Note the cylindrical geometry, and the emergent spherical fission trigger on the right. Light pipes leading to ceiling are visible near the fission trigger and at two points along the secondary for transmitting early diagnostic information to remote collection points, before they themselves are destroyed. Note the ‘danger, no smoking’ sign at lower left. 15MT, 1954.

Fusion, or thermonuclear weapons, are not simple to design nor are they likely targets of construction for would-be terrorists today.

Many aspects of the relevant radiation transport, X-ray opacities, and ultra-high T and D equations-of-state (EOS) for relevant materials are still classified to this day (though increasing dissemination of weapons-adaptable information from the inertially-confined fusion (ICF) area may change this in time). Keeping such information classified makes good sense.

romeo Nuclear weaponsTypical appearance of a thermonuclear weapon detonation — from many miles away.
(Castle Romeo, 7MT, 1954)

Special techniques were required to record the fleeting moments of a weapon’s initial detonation. One such method was the Rapatronic camera, developed by Dr. Harold Edgerton. The images it created are bizarre. Check out our collection of Rapatronic photographs.

Hollow Earth

hollow9 Hollow Earth

Once everyone finally agreed that the earth was round, the next natural step was to argue about what was inside. About 200 years after Columbus failed to prove the world was round by failing to sail all the way around it, and 170 years after Magellan got it right, Sir Edmund Halley put forward the first well-developed theory of the Hollow Earth.

Halley, known the world over as “that comet guy”, had been troubled by his study of the earth’s magnetic fields, detected by compasses, and spent a fair amount of his life trying to come up with an explanation for why those fields were shifting. Eventually, he concluded that there had to be some sort of mechanism within the earth to explain the phenomenon.

Halley wasn’t the first person to speculate about vast underground spaces. The mad Jesuit Athanasius Kircher had already proposed vast networks of underground conduits and caves in his Mundus Subterraneus — a collection of the geological knowledge of his day, compiled a couple of years before Halley’s tract.

But Halley took the cave concept a step further and thrust the Hollow Earth into a popular belief. He argued that the earth on which we live was simply a shell, inside of which floated another entire planet.

Halley theorized that the outer shell was coated with a tarry substance that would ooze like caulk into any cracks formed by earthquakes or other unfortunate geological incidents, thus preventing the oceans from emptying into the hollowed-out earth like water running down a drain. He also argued that this theory explained a popular but mistaken view that the Earth had four magnetic poles — two fixed and two floating. The fixed ones were on the outer shell and the floating ones were inside. [Read more…]

Extraterrestrial Found in California Duck?

O n Sunday, May 21, 2006 an adult male mallard was brought to the International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC), with what appeared to be a broken wing. Since 1971, the IBRRC has been rescuing birds from the devastating effects of oil spills around the world. Marie Travers, assistant manager of the center, radiographed the mallard and was immediately shocked by what was revealed on the x-ray. A very clear image of what appeared to be the face, or head, of an extraterrestrial alien was in the bird’s stomach.

duck alien face Extraterrestrial Found in California Duck?
Blown up: Alien face?
duck alien xray sm Extraterrestrial Found in California Duck?Alien duck xray
Help IBRRC and bid on this unusual x-ray image online via eBay.
The IBRRC staff discussed if an alien life form was either consumed by or trying to communicate with the people of Earth through the duck, because
the center
is located in an area of California known for its mysterious crop circles.

Karen Benzel, Public Affairs Director for IBRRC noted that the symmetry of the alien’s face is perfect, with an intense grimace, as if it was in anguish after being eaten. “Since aliens are notoriously short, reports are they are usually no more then 3-feet tall, we initially thought the small proportions of the face meant the duck had consumed a juvenile extraterrestrial being,” Benzel quipped. “We immediately knew this was something we had never seen before in our 35 year history.”

alien xray full Extraterrestrial Found in California Duck?Full x-ray – The radiograph measures 17″ x 14″ and is of a mallard duck.

But, is it the face or head of an alien? Regrettably, IBRRC reports the duck succumbed to its injuries and passed away quickly, quietly, and peacefully after the x-rays were taken, and not from the alien bursting through the duck’s chest in classic gory Hollywood style. Was it an alien channeling through the duck or an anomaly similar to the “Face on Mars,” discovered by the Viking Lander when it orbited the Red Planet in 1976? No one knows. What is known is the one-of-a-kind x-ray, which measures 17” x 14”, will be sold on eBay along with a certificate of authenticity. All of the proceeds will go towards funding IBRRC’s rehabilitation programs. The center is also selling t-shirts with the alien image.
Jay Holcomb, Director of IBRRC, states “IBRRC is a 501c3 non-profit and donations fund our wildlife rehabilitation programs. Our Alien in the Duck X-Ray will surely garner a significant amount of interest, just like the NunBun™, and the Madonna in the Cheese Toast, which sold on eBay for a staggering amount of money.” The auction ened on Sunday, June 4, 2006 at 3 p.m. PST.
Holcomb continues, “Proceeds from the sale of this one-of-a-kind x-ray will go towards funding our continuing efforts to rescue and rehabilitate oiled, orphaned and injured waterfowl and aquatic birds.”
A necropsy was done by UC Davis veterinarians and showed the stomach had some grain in it, but no alien.
Established in 1971, IBRRC is the world’s leading first responder bird rescue organization and has saved countless birds from the devastating effects of hundreds of oil spills, including the Exxon Valdez, Apex Houston and MV Treasure disasters.
The IBRRC manages two centers in California, one located in Cordelia/Fairfield next to Suisun Marsh along the San Francisco Bay and the other in San Pedro, near Los Angeles Harbor. IBRRC and the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center work cooperatively helping birds in need of special care.
For more information about IBRRC programs or to make a donation or to buy an Alien in the Duck t-shirt!

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