Thursday, September 13, 2007

Blowing people up without the residual fuss

Isn't this nice, a bomb with the ability to do nuclear-style damage without all that nasty radioactive fallout stuff. That's sort of what I was shooting for, in a grander way, in my little novel The Imaginary Bomb.

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia has tested the world's most powerful vacuum bomb, which unleashes a destructive shockwave with the power of a nuclear blast, the military said on Tuesday, dubbing it the "father of all bombs." ...

Such devices generally detonate in two stages. First a small blast disperses a main load of explosive material into a cloud, which then either spontaneously ignites in air or is set off by a second charge.

This explosion generates a pressure wave that reaches much further than that from a conventional explosive. The consumption of gases in the blast also generates a partial vacuum that can compound damage and injuries caused by the explosion itself.

Oh, no. How can "they" have developed a weapon more powerful than what "we" have? Ah, but what's this down near the end?

U.S. forces have used a "thermobaric" bomb, which works on similar principles, in their campaign against al-Qaida and Taliban forces in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan.

I'm sure it's comforting to someone that governments continue to seek bigger and better ways to reduce people and buildings to dust. It is, on the other hand, a reminder that this is the only thing that governments are really good at.

I don't spend a lot of time checking TV news channels and such, but I haven't heard much about this on the puppet theater. I guess no one wants to give "the masses" something to shake them out of their lethargy and get them worried about what the maniacs in charge are up to. It's the new TV season, after all, doncha know. (Not that there's anything wrong with that - I confess to be looking forward to Sept. 24 and the season 2 premiere of Heroes.)

Just a reminder: They can kill us, but short of that we are still free. If a large number of individuals ever wrapped their minds around that fact, governments would become crippled. That's why they need, well, weapons of mass destruction.

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