[ RadSafe ] Fwd: [New post] New Book: A Short History of NuclearFolly

Tue May 28 07:22:22 CDT 2013

With regards to the  Nazi nuclear weapons program, the best book I've read on the subject is "Heisenberg's War" - this went a long ways towards convincing me that the Nazis (including Hitler) were avidly pursuing nuclear weapons and that Heisenberg and other scientists helped delay matters because of their concerns.

With regards to the Plowshares Program, it's easy to scoff today - and some of the schemes certainly seem nutty with the benefit of hindsight. But at a time when nuclear weapons were viewed as being really big explosives (and lacked the emotional and political overtones of today) such plans seemed reasonable - a lot of people wanted desperately for something good to come from devices that made such horrible weapons. But as we learned more - and as we learned more about the health and environmental effects of the things - everyone figured out that the cost might be too high.

I'm assuming that the "implanting plutonium into patients' hearts" refers to plutonium-powered pacemakers - another idea that seemed to be reasonable at the time since it meant that the rudimentary pacemakers of the day wouldn't need additional surgery to replace batteries.

To me the question isn't about the soundness (or stupidity) of this work as we see it today so much as the intent of those proposing the projects in light of what they knew at the time. In the Plowshares Program and the plutonium-powered pacemakers I see programs that were well-intentioned based on what we knew at the time - I guess we could call them "noble blunders." 

And then there are plenty of other things that are just boneheaded....


-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Roger Helbig
Sent: Saturday, May 25, 2013 4:44 AM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Fwd: [New post] New Book: A Short History of NuclearFolly

I really doubt that Nazi scientists knew how to and had the capability to
make an atomic weapon but "chose" not to.  I wonder what other fiction that
Herzog might have buried in this book.  Has anyone had the opportunity to
read it?

Roger Helbig

(see last line of the following news release)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: nuclear-news <comment-reply at wordpress.com>
Date: Sat, May 25, 2013 at 12:53 AM
Subject: [New post] New Book: A Short History of Nuclear Folly
   Christina MacPherson posted: "A Short History of Nuclear
Folly [Hardcover]
date: April 30, 2013 In the spirit of Dr."
      New post on *nuclear-news*
<http://nuclear-news.net/author/christinamacpherson/>  New Book: A Short
History of Nuclear
Christina MacPherson <http://nuclear-news.net/author/christinamacpherson/>

Short History of Nuclear Folly [Hardcover]
  *Release date: April 30, 2013
*In the spirit of Dr. Strangelove and The Atomic Café, a blackly sardonic
people's history of atomic blunders and near-misses revealing the hushed-up
and forgotten episodes in which the great powers gambled with
catastrophe* Rudolph
Herzog, the acclaimed author of *Dead Funny*, presents a devastating
account of history's most irresponsible uses of nuclear technology. From
the rarely-discussed nightmare of "Broken Arrows" (40 nuclear weapons lost
during the Cold War) to "Operation Plowshare" (a proposal to use nuclear
bombs for large engineering projects, such as a the construction of a
second Panama Canal using 300 H-Bombs), Herzog focuses in on long-forgotten
nuclear projects that nearly led to disaster.

In an unprecedented people's history, Herzog digs deep into archives,
interviews nuclear scientists, and collects dozens of rare photos. He
explores the "accidental" drop of a Nagasaki-type bomb on a train
conductor's home, the implanting of plutonium into patients' hearts, and
the invention of wild tactical nukes, including weapons designed to kill
enemy astronauts.

Told in a riveting narrative voice, Herzog-the son of filmmaker Werner
Herzog-also draws on childhood memories of the final period of the Cold War
in Germany, the country once seen as the nuclear battleground for NATO and
the Warsaw Pact countries, and discusses evidence that Nazi scientists knew
how to make atomic weaponry . . . and chose not to.
  *Christina MacPherson<http://nuclear-news.net/author/christinamacpherson/>
* | May 25, 2013 at 7:52 am | Categories: resources -
Resources -audiovicual <http://nuclear-news.net/?cat=39132860> | URL:


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