Tag Archives: USA

Project Chariot and the glorious task of blowing the absolutely crap out of a desolate area of Alaska is today’s failure

It’s 1958, the glory days of utterly unmanaged nuclear experimentation, any idea involving the term “nuclear” will get coverage and funds from the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), no matter how insane, bizarre, derange, mad, impracticable and quixotic, after all, you couldn’t fall back in the race against the mighty Soviet Union.

The project arose, like a horrible mutated Phoenix, from Operation Plowshare, a reference to the old “beat their Swords into ploughshares” quote from Isaiah 2:3–4 in ye olde Christian bible. The Operation’s purpose was to somehow figure out a peaceful use for nuclear weapons, turning horrible world-ending mass explosives into something that could be useful for civilians.

A wonderful idea right? That is if you want to irradiate the ENTIRE BERING STRAIT!

Chariot was the brainchild and dearest concept of the Father of the Hydrogen Bomb, Edward Teller, whom I shall know tell you about, because I need an excuse to tell you about him, so fuck you.

Teller was a Hungarian-American theoretical physicist and like most the amazing physicist, he was a complete weirdo, unlike some physicists who just collected dolls or lunchboxes or typewriters, he was massive asshole, undeniably brilliant, huge motherfucker.

Known for the development of the Jahn–Teller effect, which describes something called Spontaneous symmetry breaking, which I guess makes something asymmetrical, somehow, somewhere, sometime, fish and the Ashkin–Teller model (Or Potts model) which has something to do with interacting spins on crystal lattice and I have never ever written something like that in my entire glorious existence, no clue what it means.

And finally, the last one, the HYDROGEN BOMB, the biggest, meanest, baldest and craziest nuclear device you can possibly play with, also known as THERMONUCLEAR weapons, they are essentially a small fission or conventional nuclear bomb inside of a shell of fusion fuels, originally deuterium and tritium, these days something called lithium deuteride, which apparently reacts absolutely delightfully with water, presumable it reacts even better under the vast heat and significant pressure of a nuclear blast.

Teller loved his nukes, he loved experimenting with them, he loved to see them exploded, he even loved Ronald Reagan stupid Strategic Defense Initiative, Teller died in 2003 at the age of 95, his deep desire to see shit blow up was the reason for his passionate desire to see Project Chariot become a horrible radioactive reality.

Nothing here at all

Now, for the Project itself, initially Teller’s passion spread like an STD at a festival, until it reached the environmental groups, who basically shat themselves in sheer horror, pointing out that this whole idea would almost certainly just result in massive radioactive damage to the local area, and for once the AEC actually agreed and put the whole mess in “abeyance”, which is a fancy way of not cancelling a project while cancelling the project.

Didn’t help that they were lacking a very important factor for any project in any capitalist country: A buyer, nobody wanted a harbour in the area.

Fuck! Why would anybody want a harbour there? In the sixties the place was basically ice-packed most of the year!

And obviously, it didn’t end this easily, the madmen did several experiment in the area to test how the radiation could potentially spread in the area and then disposed of the test material from the test sites in Nevada, by just burying the whole mess in the ground, and unlike the dwarves of Moria, they did not dig too deep.

They buried the site in 62, thirty years later some bored student found the records in the archives, shat himself and told the Alaskan government, who then shat themselves and basically went straight the site to see what the fuck the old loonies at the AEC had done, the result? Discovered radioactive material less than two feet from the flowing water, no fucking wonder the locals in the nearby Inuit settlement of Cape Hope were all dying of cancer.

The lessons learned? Don’t FUCKING USE NUKES FOR ANYTHING!

Project Plowshare is today’s tremendously dangerous failure

Project Plowshare was the United States Atomic Energy Commission’s forlorn attempt to somehow develop civilian uses for nuclear weapons, the idea being that activities and operations the would require significant amount of explosives, could use nuclear devices instead of enormous amount of TNT.

It also developed into, essentially, early experiments with fracking, just instead of using water pressure to fuck around with the geology of an area, they used smaller nuclear bombs, ranging from 29 kilotons to 43 kilotons.

Now the “civilian” uses of nuclear explosions were concentrated into two broad categories:

  1. Using the explosions to essentially eliminate large formations for specific purposes.
    1. Project Carryall from 63 suggested using TWENTY-TWO nuclear devices to outright blow a canyon out of a mountain range, so two of the partners, California Division of Highways and the Santa Fe Railway, could build a motorway and railroad.
    1. Project Chariot: LET’S BLOW UP ALASKA.
  2. Various fracking experiments primarily aimed towards encouraging natural gas fields.

Now, fortunately, none of the first ever get anywhere, which the people of California and Alaska are probably very happy about, seeing as Californians don’t have to wear protective suits and gieger counters when driving along Interstate 40, nor do Alaskan have even more radioactive shit in their food.

However, the fracking experiment resulted in 27 test explosions, of whom, three were practical tests, actual detonation near gas fields, to observe he results.

I do enjoy the irony of “gnomes” being underground creatures.

Now, almost all of the experimental explosions were done at the Nevada test site, except the first one, Gnome, done near Carlsbad, New Mexico, close to several oil and gas fields, and right inside a salt field.

The explosion was actually a remarkable success, six months later a team drilled their way into the underground cavity created and found that the radiation was only five milliroentgen, nothing special, temperatures inside the cavity was around 60 degrees Celsius, again, nothing spectacularly dangerous.

Yeah, let’s dig into a cavity created by a nuclear explosion deep underground, what could go wrong?

So they plowed on, the Sedan test was next, this was a test of Option One, using nukes for large-scale construction, 105 kilotons, caused an event of the Richter scale of 4.75, displaced eleven million tons of earth and created a crater 100 meters deep and 360 meters in diameter, it’s also the source of seven per cent of all the radiation Americans have gotten as part of US nuclear tests, so well done there.


A side effect here, is the fact that the crater left behind, helped with developing new theories on how impact craters from meteor happened.

Hey, mildly radioactive tourist attraction is always cool, seeing as the wind gave Mississippi most of the radiation anyways.

Now, three fracking detonations were conducted too, let’s not forget them, they were Gasbuggy, Rulison and Rio Blanco 1-3 and all three had something utterly not surprising in common:

Radioactive gas, which someone figured that Californians might not enjoy radiation from their gas ovens and furnaces.

None of the gas from any of the fields were ever used for commercial purposes, only industrial, and the entire program was quietly defunded and stopped.

The lesson learned? Nuclear weapons are nuclear weapons, they are designed for the sole purpose of destruction, the radiation they carry with the massive destructive potential, render them utterly unsuitable for any other real purposes.

And if you think the Americans just stopped the quickly? Then join me tomorrow, as we discuss the Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy program of the Soviet Union, the red Version of Project Plowshares and I’ll illuminate your staggeringly misguided desire for more explosions.

The many kinds of Healthcare


So yeah, there are more than one alternative to handle Healthcare in a country, and most of them have a bunch of hybrid solution that blends elements of them all.

So let’s run through the three “pure” ways of handling healthcare in a nation:

Universal government owned healthcare:

This is the one the American Republicans would call “Socialist”, it’s fairly straightforward, the state has every citizen in a giant database, you show up at your local hospital through either a doctor, an accident or the emergency room.

You get treated, it costs you absolutely nothing, it’s paid collectively through the taxes everyone pays. Fairly straightforward, this is the basic model used in the Scandinavian countries and to a degree Great Britain through the NHS.

It does carry a fairly large bill and depending on the nature of the system, a potential waiting list and inefficiency.

But people don’t die in the streets, or at home, generally.

Government owned, mandated or heavily legislated Healthcare insurance.

This is the method used in German and Japan, among others, it’s also fairly simple. It’s a system based on private or public hospitals, who get paid through either government run health insurance companies or private companies that often operate in a sort of cooperative method, i.e. mostly non-profit or mandated not to produce larger profits than some legislative limit.

It generally works, in Germany your job actually pays to private non-profit companies, and if you lose your job? Off to the government subsidy, so people, you know, don’t die in the gutter and other such uncivilized stuff.

I gave an example on the Japanese system in yesterdays update, it does seem to have some problems actually paying enough to the healthcare companies and doctors.

The anarchy model, no control, limited or no government intervention.

Note, that I refrain from using laissez faire, because this model sucks. This is the model most commonly used in dirt poor African and Asian nations, it’s absolutely horrible and mandates that the poor have to make use of local clinics, often funded by who knows what, and old traditional methods.

It’s also the American model, just with an actual healthcare system present, completely run through the medium of private for-profit virtually unregulated healthcare insurance companies, which is why the most common reason for bankruptcy in America, is medical bills.

It, as we have seen in the US, doesn’t work at all, even with the American patchwork programs of Medicare and Medicaid, who are only directed towards those below or just above some Federal Poverty limit, which is a problem when lots of people lose their jobs, and thus their healthcare insurance, and for when the profiteering companies decided to go “Ha ha, fuck you” and dump you for the old insurance “Act of God” bullshit.


Shit, there’s tons of hybrid solutions, the Universal Government Healthcare often has possibilities for the rich and resource wealthy to simply skip the entire public waiting list and emergency room and just check into one of the many private hospitals and recently, in Denmark at least, some companies hand out private insurance as a little additional to their crucial employees, insures that they get them back to work faster and more efficiently, it’s also often used to just everyone, to draw people to the company.

Not in these days with crisis of course.

The second option is really a hybrid already.

Now for the American/Dirt poor country method? Perhaps some sort of Government Non-profit Health Insurance company to provide some proper competition to large Insurance companies who really only benefit people with a job or their shareholders or their CEOs.

Or perhaps a shift into the second model, and regulated the shit out of an area that always should have been heavily legislated.