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University researchers have discovered that quantum communications are possible with submerged objects in turbulent water. The revelation means it might someday be possible for the National Command Authority to use quantum communications to securely communicate with underwater submarines, particularly those that make up part of the nuclear triad.

China might be secretly conducting nuclear tests with very low explosive power despite Beijing’s assertions that it is strictly adhering to an international accord banning all nuclear tests, according to a new arms-control report to be made public by the State Department.

The coming report doesn’t present proof that China is violating its promise to uphold the agreement, but it cites an array of activities that “raise concerns” that Beijing might not be complying with the “zero-yield” nuclear-weapons testing ban.

As the world fights against the COVID-19 pandemic, nuclear weapons have taken a backseat in most people’s minds. But for Global Strike Command (AFGSC)—the Air Force unit in control of two of the three legs of America’s nuclear triad—their mission remains top priority.

And it’s an unforgiving business. Nuclear deterrence requires extreme levels of readiness among pilots, maintenance crews, and security teams. Adversaries that don’t think the U.S. can respond with conventional bombing strikes or nukes could be emboldened to act aggressively.

But in a War of the Worlds-style twist, humanity’s most lethal weapons could be nullified by an organism that can’t even be seen. It’s up to the AFGSC to make sure that never happens.

A new look at 2017 test data reveals an explosion 16 times as powerful than the one that leveled Hiroshima.

Scientists looking anew at a 2017 North Korean nuclear test discovered that the explosion was likely about two-thirds more powerful than U.S. officials previously thought.

Earlier data put the yield somewhere between 30 and 300 kilotons; the U.S. intelligence community said 140 kilotons. That was already the most powerful device tested by North Korea, topping a 2016 test by about an order of magnitude. But a new look at seismological data suggests that the blast was between 148 and 328 kilotons, and probably around 250 kilotons.

Just days after North Korea announced it was suspending its testing programme, scientists revealed that the country’s underground nuclear test site had partially collapsed. This assessment was based on data gathered from smaller earthquakes that followed North Korea’s biggest nuclear test in 2017. A new study published in Science has now confirmed the collapse using satellite radar imaging.

The collapse may have played a role in North Korea’s change in policy. If correct, and with the hindsight of this research, we might have speculated that the North Koreans would want to make such an offer of peace. This shows how scientific analysis normally reserved for studying natural earthquakes can be a powerful tool in deciphering political decisions and predicting future policy across the globe.

In fact, another unusual in South Korea in 2017 also has the potential to affect geopolitics, this time by changing energy policy. “Seismic shift” may be a cliche often used by journalists and policymakers to describe changing political landscapes, but these recent earthquakes along the Korean Peninsula remind us there can really be authentic links between and global affairs.

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CERN has revealed plans for a gigantic successor of the giant atom smasher LHC, the biggest machine ever built. Particle physicists will never stop to ask for ever larger big bang machines. But where are the limits for the ordinary society concerning costs and existential risks?

CERN boffins are already conducting a mega experiment at the LHC, a 27km circular particle collider, at the cost of several billion Euros to study conditions of matter as it existed fractions of a second after the big bang and to find the smallest particle possible – but the question is how could they ever know? Now, they pretend to be a little bit upset because they could not find any particles beyond the standard model, which means something they would not expect. To achieve that, particle physicists would like to build an even larger “Future Circular Collider” (FCC) near Geneva, where CERN enjoys extraterritorial status, with a ring of 100km – for about 24 billion Euros.

Experts point out that this research could be as limitless as the universe itself. The UK’s former Chief Scientific Advisor, Prof Sir David King told BBC: “We have to draw a line somewhere otherwise we end up with a collider that is so large that it goes around the equator. And if it doesn’t end there perhaps there will be a request for one that goes to the Moon and back.”

“There is always going to be more deep physics to be conducted with larger and larger colliders. My question is to what extent will the knowledge that we already have be extended to benefit humanity?”

There have been broad discussions about whether high energy nuclear experiments could pose an existential risk sooner or later, for example by producing micro black holes (mBH) or strange matter (strangelets) that could convert ordinary matter into strange matter and that eventually could start an infinite chain reaction from the moment it was stable – theoretically at a mass of around 1000 protons.

CERN has argued that micro black holes eventually could be produced, but they would not be stable and evaporate immediately due to „Hawking radiation“, a theoretical process that has never been observed.

Furthermore, CERN argues that similar high energy particle collisions occur naturally in the universe and in the Earth’s atmosphere, so they could not be dangerous. However, such natural high energy collisions are seldom and they have only been measured rather indirectly. Basically, nature does not set up LHC experiments: For example, the density of such artificial particle collisions never occurs in Earth’s atmosphere. Even if the cosmic ray argument was legitimate: CERN produces as many high energy collisions in an artificial narrow space as occur naturally in more than hundred thousand years in the atmosphere. Physicists look quite puzzled when they recalculate it.

Others argue that a particle collider ring would have to be bigger than the Earth to be dangerous.

A study on “Methodological Challenges for Risks with Low Probabilities and High Stakes” was provided by Lifeboat member Prof Raffaela Hillerbrand et al. Prof Eric Johnson submitted a paper discussing juridical difficulties (lawsuits were not successful or were not accepted respectively) but also the problem of groupthink within scientific communities. More of important contributions to the existential risk debate came from risk assessment experts Wolfgang Kromp and Mark Leggett, from R. Plaga, Eric Penrose, Walter Wagner, Otto Roessler, James Blodgett, Tom Kerwick and many more.

Since these discussions can become very sophisticated, there is also a more general approach (see video): According to present research, there are around 10 billion Earth-like planets alone in our galaxy, the Milky Way. Intelligent life might send radio waves, because they are extremely long lasting, though we have not received any (“Fermi paradox”). Theory postulates that there could be a ”great filter“, something that wipes out intelligent civilizations at a rather early state of their technical development. Let that sink in.

All technical civilizations would start to build particle smashers to find out how the universe works, to get as close as possible to the big bang and to hunt for the smallest particle at bigger and bigger machines. But maybe there is a very unexpected effect lurking at a certain threshold that nobody would ever think of and that theory does not provide. Indeed, this could be a logical candidate for the “great filter”, an explanation for the Fermi paradox. If it was, a disastrous big bang machine eventually is not that big at all. Because if civilizations were to construct a collider of epic dimensions, a lack of resources would have stopped them in most cases.

Finally, the CERN member states will have to decide on the budget and the future course.

The political question behind is: How far are the ordinary citizens paying for that willing to go?

LHC-Critique / LHC-Kritik

Network to discuss the risks at experimental subnuclear particle accelerators


Particle collider safety newsgroup at Facebook:

In the end, however, if the critics quoted in the Science article don’t care about global warming, fine – many people don’t. If they think renewables alone can do it, fine – some people do. I’m sure they’re well-intentioned. However, every leading climate scientist from Jim Hansen on down knows that we will not achieve any of our climate goals without a dramatic increase in both nuclear and renewables.

Since fast-reactors, like those that will be tested in the VITR, can get ten times the power out of the same fuel, can burn spent fuel and even depleted uranium like our old Iraqi tank armor, when we get to fast reactors as a significant portion of our energy we will have several thousand years of low-carbon power on hand.

That’s more energy than exists in all the coal, oil and natural gas in the ground right now.

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