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Better Living Through Nukes?

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the brb-registering-my-hemispherical-pool-business dept.

The Military 432

perkonis writes "So, you've got 23,000 nukes laying about and no one to use them on. What to do with them? Well, you blow up stuff for fun and profit. Some of the ideas range from good on paper (such as mining oil shale) to just downright bad (such as making a new Panama Canal). Making a big ditch by blowing up nukes — what could possibly go wrong?"

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432 comments

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I don't know if someone proposed this but... (5, Interesting)

JamesP (688957) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542529)

blowing up geological faults to 'ease the tension'. Better a small slip than a full-blown earthquake.

Or maybe if it's just for fun, give it to the Mythbusters.

Security and Radioactivity (5, Insightful)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542709)

Even if this was deep enough to contain the radioactivity do we really want lots of civilian uses for nuclear explosions? This will mean demand to make more and, rather than being stored on high security military bases, they will be looked after by companies hiring security guards. If we want to get rid of them the safest option is to disassemble them and either burn the fissionable material in a reactor or render it non-weapons grade. Developing commercial uses will only encourage us to build more.

Re:Security and Radioactivity (5, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542733)

And the radioactivity is really problematic for some of these tasks. For example, oil shale. That was studied a lot in the 70s, and last I saw, it was deemed infeasible because it'd leave the oil too radioactive to be usable.

Oh, and as for using any relevant amount of nuclear weapons on the surface at once -- say, the amount that would be exchanged between India and Pakistan in a nuclear war -- um, no. [wunderground.com] That would be a Bad Thing(TM).

Re:Security and Radioactivity (0, Flamebait)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543299)

Oh, and as for using any relevant amount of nuclear weapons on the surface at once -- say, the amount that would be exchanged between India and Pakistan in a nuclear war -- um, no. [wunderground.com] That would be a Bad Thing(TM).

Looks like a decent solution to the global warming issue... Also if more people starved and died it would leave more room for other species and kick of more evolution. An extra bonus would be even more evolution, again, thanks to all the resulting mutations.

As Nike would had put it: Just do it!

Re:Security and Radioactivity (3, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542917)

they will be looked after by companies hiring security guards.

And that is worse than the Russian military how?

Developing commercial uses will only encourage us to build more.

Yes. And used responsibly that can be a good thing. We might even see new nuclear power plants, which is definitely a good thing.

Fearmongering will get us nowhere.

Re:Security and Radioactivity (2, Insightful)

Zordak (123132) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543289)

Fearmongering will get us nowhere.

I don't know about that. Al Gore has made many millions of dollars off of fearmongering.

Re:Security and Radioactivity (1, Insightful)

firmamentalfalcon (1187583) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543035)

Developing commercial uses will only encourage us to build more.

That sentence is so wrong with that "only" there. When good commercial uses are found for nuclear explosions, then that is a good thing.

Re:I don't know if someone proposed this but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27542735)

while a good idea on paper, in reality you would have to put bombs every few kilometers on those geological faults and blow them up in a certain pattern.

The "small" slip happening thereafter will release a lot of the created radiating material in the atmosphere, which depending on wind condition can pollute residential areas. (the san andreas fault might got enough energy for a whoppy slip already this time around)

You can think about what will happen then...

Re:I don't know if someone proposed this but... (0)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542981)

Just launch them into the Sun.

Re:I don't know if someone proposed this but... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543145)

Safer to just leave them sitting wherever they happen to be.

Re:I don't know if someone proposed this but... (1)

Greg_D (138979) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543265)

Oh sure, and then instead of nukes, we'll have a radioactive solar powered NUCLEAR MAN to come and lay waste to the world.

No thanks!

Re:I don't know if someone proposed this but... (3, Funny)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542995)

Can we do that to California?

If a wide enough opening is made in the mountains between California and other desert states would it bring good climate change? If Arizona, Nevada, etc could be made lush I'd nuke 'em.

Re:I don't know if someone proposed this but... (1)

JoeCool1986 (1320479) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543085)

Yes they have. I remember my geol professor talking about trials of this. If I remember correctly, it came down to it that they had no reason to believe that the "small slips" they could produce were really helping. Even worse, they had no way of knowing if they might accidentally cause a full out earthquake by the explosions, which would obviously defeat the purpose (and kill many people).

Re:I don't know if someone proposed this but... (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543207)

Even worse, they had no way of knowing if they might accidentally cause a full out earthquake by the explosions, which would obviously defeat the purpose (and kill many people).

If we leave it be, an earthquake would happen anyways. It's just a matter of when. With the nuke method, "when" is a controllable variable. "When" can be "after we have warned everybody in the surrounding 300 miles incessantly for the past 6 months".

A weird weapon, it only works if you don't use it (5, Insightful)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543167)

A weird weapon, it only works if you don't use it... shades of WarGames.

Nuclear weapons have solved the problem of national defense, but at a stiff price. In the past, there was always someone out there who thought that they could just come to your country or piece of ground, kick your ass, steal everything of value, rape your women, and turn your (and your women's) children into their slaves to buy, sell, fuck, or work to death as they please.

    Hell, we even did it ourselves and got away with it for a long time. Your ancestors did also to your neighbors. And your neighbors did it to you. It's quite possible that you are thinking right now about doing it to someone.

    It's not a bad idea, actually. You get all the benefits and you get to kill off all the assholes and bullies in your society that would make your life miserable if they weren't occupied by raging, raping, and pillaging someone else, somewhere else. Excuse me, I meant to say "turn all our brave boys into heroes or martyrs, proudly serving in our nation's defense..." Same thing.

    However, there are some countries that no-one imagines or seriously plans to conquer and enslave. These countries have, at great expense, developed refrigerator-sized machines that convert hydrogen into helium in the most environmentally-insensitive way imaginable. When someone shows up at the border for a little bit of the old in-out, they get met with a few of these hydrogen-to-helium converters thrown their way, along with a few tossed through outer space to the folks back home.

    What a mess. Basically the consequences of having to deal with having hydrogen-to-helium machines thrown your way far exceeds the joys and profits in ravishing and pillaging your neighbors. So you find something else to do. And we have world peace. Peace through machines. Not microprocessor-controlled dildos, or cool stereos playing groovy music, but through hydrogen bombs.

    One small problem: If you have a few of these hydrogen-to-helium conversion machines, it's real easy to get your friends and neighbors to give you their stash and daughters. Without having to go through the trouble of violently taking it. Just go to their embassy with a list in one hand and picture of the H2H machine in the other. Don't say a word; they'll get the message.

    So they want a few of the H2H machines themselves. And the more that there are around, the more likely that some one, somewhere, for some reason, under some God's direction, justified by some ancient holy book, is going to set them off. Which is bad for business.

    So an elaborate game evolves. You pretend that you are going to use them if it were to happen that someone might assume that they could pretend to do something that would piss you off, if it were possible that it could ever happen.

    And, success, you get world peace. Civilized people don't fuck with each other any more. Giant corporations can pretend that chickenshit things like trading MP3 files are a major issue, and other fantasies.

    The only problem is when weirdos and fanatics get the H2H devices. And you don't know if they are going to be willing and able to play the 'pretend that we use them' game. So you can ignore them and hope for the best, as we do with nuclear powers like Israel and Japan ( please don't insult our intelligence by telling me that the Japanese don't have hydrogen-to-helium conversion machines), or you can threaten to kick their ass in advance if they cross a certain line that you and the other civilized nations have drawn in the sand (Pakistan and Korea). Or, if you're lucky, you can just buy them off and get them to surrender their H2H machines (and their U238 little brothers), like South Africa and the Ukraine.

    Anyway, back to the point. You don't want to use the H2H converters for anything else except convincing other people not to use their H2H converters for anything else. Because once you start doing this, someone, somewhere is going to think that they can use H2H converters to fuck with their neighbors.

    And we lose the world peace that we've had since these things were invented. And world peace is more important than finding a quick way to get shale oil out the ground, or dig canals.

   

Re:A weird weapon, it only works if you don't use (1)

KahabutDieDrake (1515139) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543235)

^ THIS

Mod parent up. This is by far the most rational explanation for why nuclear weapons should continue to be deterrents, and nothing else.

Besides, if you just want a big boom, you don't need to irradiate the planet to get it. We have chemical explosives that are more than adequate.

My suggestion: Use as energy source. (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543255)

Save the material in case you can make energy of it later.

Why waste it?

This is an old idea (1)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542539)

In the 50s there were lots of civil engineering projects planned, and stuff like Freeman Dyson's Orion space ship. It never got going since it doesn't sound so safe.

Re:This is an old idea (4, Funny)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542625)

Now there's an understatement.

Then the radioactive waste is poured into the subterranean cavity so formed

"Radioactive waste is dangerous and toxic so we need a safe way of disposing of it without the possibility of it leaking into the ground. I propose pumping it into the ground."

Re:This is an old idea (2, Insightful)

jimpop (27817) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542889)

Radioactive waste is dangerous and toxic....

As are many of the items in use by people on a day to day basis.

Re:This is an old idea (4, Insightful)

KahabutDieDrake (1515139) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543301)

Not on a scale of tens of thousands of years. Nor do very many "daily" use items have a tendency to destroy reproductive qualities immediately. Radiation attacks the fast growing cells first (or more rapidly) and therefore renders any biological exposure fatal to the blood line.

The testing in the 50's caused a noticeable legacy. Most of the test sites are still unsafe for human occupation, and the planets background radiation level still hasn't dropped to pre-nuke levels.

I don't have a problem with nuclear power plants. They have proven that they are more or less a safe (acceptable risk) use of the technology. The same can NOT be said for nuclear bombs. Air bursting causes most of the radioactive fallout to go into the super-sphere, but it comes down eventually, some if, if not all. Ground shots tend to destroy any local ecology and permanently irradiate environments. Read up on Bikini Atoll, and the Baker test.

Re:This is an old idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543219)

I propose dumping it into you...! No just kidding... I propose we dump it into the sun.

Re:This is an old idea (1)

Doctor Jimmy (1359521) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542695)

The book The Curve of Binding Energy by John McPhee follows the exploits of Ted Taylor and has several ideas using nukes to create plutonium extremely rapidly - detonating a thermonuclear bomb above a square sheet of uranium. The ideas were quickly shot down though.

Re:This is an old idea (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543091)

I don't see how a ship the size of a city propelled by hundreds of nuclear explosions sounds dangerous. You just aren't adventurous enough.

Ideas (5, Funny)

OldProgrammerDude (721239) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542547)

I always wanted to get back at John for that prank!

Been tried, major fail (4, Informative)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542563)

It was tried back in the 60's with "project Plowshare". Blowing up new harbors, blowing up gas wells, etc, etc, etc. Did not pan out. Radioactive gas spewing into your home through the cooktop, not a big win. Radioactive dust and water from making a new harbor, not too keen either, and this was before peta and greenpeace et al.

Re:Been tried, major fail (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27542769)

We just put peta and greenpeace in the soon to be harbor, then detonate the nuke.

Kill three birds with one stone.

Re:Been tried, major fail (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27542955)

What if these results in some sort of mutant PETA/Greenpeace/Harbor monster?! It might protest us to death!

Re:Been tried, major fail (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543267)

Kill three birds with one stone.

That depends on the type of bomb. Gun-type fission bombs use 2 "stones"

Re:Been tried, major fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543295)

Kill three birds with one stone.

This is the only reason PETA would be against the idea..

Re:Been tried, major fail (1)

tbischel (862773) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542963)

clearly you don't recall past successful genetic experiments [freewebs.com] as a result of such radioactive waste disposal!

Re:Been tried, major fail (2, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542997)

Not really. It was just politically infeasible. Nuclear weapons can be built to have very low fallout. So the gas was probably safe to use.

Re:Been tried, major fail (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543285)

Nuclear weapons can be built to have very low fallout.

It's not going to help with repurposing the stockpile, though. Also there is a history of bungling such things. We totally blew it with using a lot of stuff, like DDT, Asbestos, PCBs, etc - in each case, overuse and use where it was inappropriate, when we completely knew the risks.

Re:Been tried, major fail (3, Informative)

dlenmn (145080) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543223)

From TFA:

"The natural gas work culminated in 1973 with the explosion of three 33-kiloton bombs thousands of feet underground in Rio Blanco, Colorado. The key problem was that the gas this produced had measurable amounts of radioactivity. Not surprisingly, that created political problems for the method, even though the scientists involved in the experiments claimed the radiation would not be detrimental to public health."

...

From one of the scientists on the project (quoted in TFA):

"For excavation, we put a lot of time and effort and money into developing nuclear explosives which had minimal fissionable material so that you could carry out a 100-kiloton cratering explosion and release the radioactivity equivalent to a 20-ton explosive of fissionable material."

Radiation is a problem, but over 2000 nuclear test have been carried out, and we haven't all dropped dead. A few more explosions that have specifically designed to minimize fallout won't kill us either.

there's got to be someone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27542565)

I'm sure you can find someone to use them on...

2 is better than one (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27542577)

I would like 2 moons. mayby they wont be perfectly round but I dont care.

According to Space 1999... (1)

VampireByte (447578) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542831)

You will end up with no moon instead of two moons because the moon would be knocked out [wikipedia.org] of orbit by a nuclear explosion.

Re:2 is better than one (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543189)

The result would eventually be two mostly round objects like it is already. Its a natural effect of gravity when the mass of an object exceeds a certain level.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrostatic_equilibrium [wikipedia.org]

what I thought was interesting. (1)

onepoint (301486) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542583)

I really liked the thought on some new harbours and canals, but due to the radioactivity it's not viable yet.

Likewise, I could imagine making a few lakes out in the mid west or along the Mississippi river to catch some of the flooding ( and some huge bass ponds )

Re:what I thought was interesting. (3, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542647)

( and some huge bass ponds )

Mutant bass? With lasers?

I find your ideas intriguing and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

Re:what I thought was interesting. (1)

WCguru42 (1268530) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542975)

I really liked the thought on some new harbours and canals, but due to the radioactivity it's not viable yet.

I think more accurately, due to radiation it's not viable ever. Maybe using conventional explosives would work but nuclear weapons simply won't, until we develop a mutation that makes radiation impotent to humans (I don't even think this is evolutionarily possible).

Re:what I thought was interesting. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543121)

Do they disperse material so well that they would work better than just starting digging?

I can't imagine that scraping a few dozen feet of somewhat radioactive material off of 100 square miles (or 1,000, whatever) is going to be any easier than scraping a deeper layer of non radioactive material off of a smaller area.

idea (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27542601)

We can use them to mine for new oil in IRAN and North Korea

2 Words: Fall Out (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27542605)

I'm all for using explosives. Not so much for the nuclear kind. Too much fall out and contamination of land or water.

Re:2 Words: Fall Out (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543271)

Detonating them deep enough under the surface generates no fallout or water contamination as far as we're concerned on the surface.

You still get a crater as the matter near the blast changes forms (vaporized) and is pushed into the surrounding rocks. When the initial pressure subsides, the roof of the now massive cavern collapses and on the surface you end up with a basin that is not radioactive in the least.

Theres a reason we detonate them underground when testing in our own country without worrying a whole lot. I don't think I'd call it safe, but its certainly nothing like using a bomb as a weapon where it is detonated a distance above the surface so that its blast can spread and do the most damage.

Horrible idea. (-1, Troll)

Eravnrekaree (467752) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542613)

This is one of the dumbest, most henious and dangerous ideas I have ever heard. Every time a nuke is detonated, the result is a dispersion of radioactive material into the environment. The environmental impact of this can be considerably negative. Oil shale mining has already been criticised in altering the hydrography of the environment and erosional and water flow patterns, perhaps causing a permenant change in wildlife habitation patterns and so on for many years to come. We do not need to make this any faster or more destructive than it already is given the amount of damage that is occuring the earths surface and alteration of its landscape, biogeography and so on. This idea belongs in the waste bin where it belongs with other bad, dangerous, ideas which show little concern or sensitivity for the environment and fail to recognise the effect of ecosystem loss, destruction of natural environments and ecosystems, and scenic quality of our planet, things which are of inestimable value. We need to recognise the intrinsic value in the earths environment and scenic beauty as is rather than looking at everything as something to exploit for profit for material greed. We can eat foods grown in the soil but we cant eat cars or oil shale, or food off land polluted by such. Oil shale will be depleted in a few decades anyway but the environmental damage would be permenant, it should not be developed at all. When we destroy or alter the earths landscapes we are stealing the environmental legacy from future generation, an example are people displaced by mines or by dam projects who have lost their homes, land to which they were entitled which were stolen from them. Not enough intrinsic value is placed on the value of the land and environments as is and the people who live in balance on them, and too much on destructive or non sustainable activities that permenantly alter and destroy natural environments, or cause damage and alteration to the earths surface.

The rights of a native people who fish in a river and live off the land in a sustianable way with little impact on it, is more importnat than that of dams and other projects that would destroy the ecosystem which they have lived off of

Re:Horrible idea. (1)

yvesdandoy (44789) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542683)

TOTALLY AGREE.

Re:Horrible idea. (4, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542829)

This is one of the dumbest, most henious and dangerous ideas I have ever heard.

You must be new here. Stick around; I'm sure something dumber, more henious or dangerous will be posted soon - probably by a reader!

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to cook and dye some Easter eggs so I can leave them out for hours in the warn weather for kids to find tomorrow...

Whoa, whoa, whoa... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543191)

What are you thinking, buddy?

Cook?

Mutants anyone? (4, Funny)

iammani (1392285) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542615)

What about creating mutants?

Re:Mutants anyone? (1)

marco.antonio.costa (937534) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543101)

If it's not that stupid metaphysical ending-screwing Fawkes from Fallout 3 we're talking about here, then I'm all for it. :D

Sell them for cash, lots of it. (4, Funny)

auric_dude (610172) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542627)

Sell them to Iran, North Korea or whoever wants some and use the cash obtained to finance various economic stimulation packages. Then as soon as the money, gold, diamonds or whatever is in the bank have them self destruct via some CIA,NSA bit of trickery. Seen it in a James Bond film so it must be possible.

Re:Sell them for cash, lots of it. (1)

Extremus (1043274) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542763)

I think they will find it a little bit suspicious: "They say Mr. Obama was nice, but never that nice!"

Re:Sell them for cash, lots of it. (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543009)

That would never work. All those countries are poor.

Re:Sell them for cash, lots of it. (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543149)

Exchange the nukes for the secular, educated people. Get the wheat out, fry the chaff.

Probably forbidden by international treaties (5, Insightful)

MikTheUser (761482) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542629)

There is a Treaty banning Nuclear Weapon Tests In The Atmosphere, In Outer Space And Under Water (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PTBT), which would probably hold and prevent this from happening, even though the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NNPT) still allows nuclear explosions for "peaceful purposes". Anyway, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CTBT), which stands on much better fotting again since Obama supports it, would definitely prevent it.

Re:Probably forbidden by international treaties (1)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543297)

You wouldn't detonate at the surface, that would be silly.

You detonate far below the surface. Well below the water table. The resulting void under the surface results in the collapse of the rock above it into the void, end result: A depression on the surface of the planet, with all the bad stuff far below ground, relatively locked away.

The problem is that we don't have enough information about the rock we'd want to detonate the device in, and as a result we may end up releasing radioactive and other dangerous materials into our enviroment by accident/ignorance.

It'll probably be something we can consider when we have far better ways of mapping the Earths crust.

" no one to use them on." (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27542633)

I'm sorry, but that is just flat wrong and wishful thinking.
There are plenty of enemies out there we can use them on, such as Al Queda. I think dropping a few random nukes in Afghanistan should smoke out Bin Laden, or at least show the world the might of the US nuclear arsenal.

And with China rising as a potential military adversary, we shouldn't be taking our nuclear advantage for granted.

Forget bin Laden (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542697)

There are some nice juicy targets on and just off the cost of Somalia.

The US Marines got rid of pirates off the coast of Libya back in the day, with modern weaponry they can do so much more.

Re:Forget bin Laden (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543237)

I heard they even wrote a song about it. Whatever happened to tradition?

No, that song was about Mexico (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543281)

From the Halls of Montezuma, to the shores of some place I don't remember.

Re:" no one to use them on." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27542797)

Burning the village to save it. That's always worthwhile. Riiight.

Also, we already showed the might of the US arsenal over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we've drawn up plans for annihilating opponents since the cold war. Our arsenal has only gotten bigger.

Re:" no one to use them on." (1)

bdenton42 (1313735) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543183)

Given the effects of the relatively dinky nukes dropped on Japan, I don't know how anyone can seriously consider dropping them at random to smoke out one idiot.

On top of that "those" people do not think like "we" do... dropping nukes on them will likely embolden their cause against us rather than driving them to surrender. Same for those Somali pirates... despite having a destroyer right next to them with one man being the only thing keeping them from becoming a grease spot they don't appear to have any intention of giving up. I hope the USN has no intentions of letting those guys go, and brings a bunch of warships down there to drive them out of business.

pickle 'em? (4, Funny)

Theolojin (102108) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542637)

I don't get what the big deal is. How can they lead to healthy living? They don't exactly have a lot of nutritional value---just a smidgeon of vitamin C. Don't get me wrong; they are yummy and all---especially the hot house variety, with fewer seeds and the flavor...oh, the flavor is wonderful.

Wha? Oh. *N*ukes.

Sorry.

Panama canal and asteroids - 2 birds, one nuke (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542641)

Well, maybe more than one nuke.

Killer asteroid en route? Send up some nukes to change its course and speed so it lands in the isthmus. Modern human civilization might not survive the impact, but whatever civilization arises to follow will have a nice cut-through between the Americas.

Disclaimer: This solution does not apply to Earth-shattering heavenly bodies.

Re:Panama canal and asteroids - 2 birds, one nuke (1)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543171)

And hopefully we can get Bruce Willis and his merry band of asteroid hunters to save us!

Nukes won't save us from a killer asteroid at short notice. When you do the math of asteroid impacts there is a maximum amount of energy that can be applied to the planet, anything larger (short of one large enough to confetti the planet) reflects back off into space. If you were to use nuclear explosions to shatter a massive asteroid into "smaller" pieces (go from the state of Colorado to 8 states of Vermont), you're then getting 8 worst-case impacts instead of one. Our serious best hope is early detection and then doing something that applies a small force over a long period of time like an ion engine or something similar. Hey, the ion engine could be nuke powered! Or nuclear detonations far enough away to not shatter the asteroid... Shumacher-Levy was pretty sobering, the scars on Jupiter were about the size of Earth... each!

Global cooling (2, Funny)

russbutton (675993) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542663)

Several years ago, the Brits published a study that even a small scale nuclear exchange would kick up enough crap in the atmosphere that it would cool the planet. Here's a way to get rid of a few nukes and stop global warming at the same time! Hey! You could call this... are you ready... Glow-ball cooling! Whaaaaat? You want me set to the damn things off with a match?

Re:Global cooling (2, Interesting)

earlymon (1116185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543175)

This solution was proposed in a short scifi story several decades ago, in fact. In the story involving the USA and USSR, one side was visiting the other and no one noticed that a colonel from the entourage stepped aside and pulled a counterpart aside and they spoke briefly. A year later there were two accidental launches, one from each side. Political tensions eased when it became clear that the two small nukes landed in the deep ocean, and sent up huge plumes of water vapor with little radiation. Not too long after, global warming was solved.

And not too long after that, the ice age started.

I think it was by Elison....?

How about a good old megatons to megawatts program (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27542679)

ummmm fallout?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27542693)

i dont understand how this could be anything else but ignorance. you cant use a nuke without living with the radiation side effects. and that means globally.

Re:ummmm fallout?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27542757)

Underground explosions don't cause fallout.

Let's just blow up the moon. (1)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542703)

Would you miss it? Would you miss it!!!???

Re:Let's just blow up the moon. (1)

peterjb31 (1108781) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542765)

Umm... yes both for aesthetic and practical reasons.

Tides? (1)

VampireByte (447578) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542817)

We'd lose the tides, and that would be bad because we are supposedly going to be generating clean energy from tidal forces.

Re:Let's just blow up the moon. (1)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543109)

Yea, I would, for the rest of my life. My children probably wouldn't, though, because I don't have any yet, and without the moon I'm probably not going to have any. Ever noticed that the length of a woman's menstrual cycle is about equal to the length of the full cycle of the moon?

Great Idea... (1)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542737)

But...KABOOM!

Now look what you've done.

Re:Great Idea... (1)

omuls are tasty (1321759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542885)

No Rico, not yet.

Not really 23,000 nukes (4, Interesting)

j. andrew rogers (774820) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542755)

The majority of the "23,000 nukes" have essentially been deactivated and are only counted because they have not been fully disassembled yet. The link itself says only 8,000 are operational globally. On the other hand, if you count plutonium cores, trigger assemblies, and miscellaneous spare parts lying around that could be engineered into a functional weapon if required there are significantly greater than 23,000 potential nukes.

What does or does not constitute a nuclear weapon for accounting purposes does not necessarily match common sense understanding.

Re:Not really 23,000 nukes (1)

auric_dude (610172) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543123)

http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/ [armscontrolwonk.com] may well support your thinking but I can't be bothered to click through the archive to make sure.

better idea (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542815)

I think it'd be more effective to empty out the uranium and make a big statue out of it. Then it'd be so decorative and artistic lol.

Great!!! This will be the greatest... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27542833)

4th of July EVER!!!

Geothermal Boreholes! (2, Funny)

sam_handelman (519767) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542891)

You puncture a big hole in the earth's crust, and let the ocean flow in. You use the electrical output from the turbines to re-smelt the turbines (because they get coated with salt), and you use the steam as fresh water.

Launch heavy payloads into orbit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27542903)

Seriously. [projectrho.com]

Remember all those underground nuclear bomb tests that were all the rage?

Now you can direct your anger toward the stars!

Yes we can. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542909)

1. You take them apart.
2. You put the material in a reactor.
3. You sell the electricity.
4. You reprocess the waste like they do in Japan. "But without pouring it into a buck through stupidity."
5. Profit.

Engineering with Nuclear Explosives (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542929)

The classic book on this is "Engineering with Nuclear Explosives". [archive.org] I have a copy, discarded from the Stanford engineering library, and I had the Internet Archive digitize it. It has the Panama canal plan, plus several other proposed projects.

The California Department of Highways seriously considered using 22 nuclear bombs to excavate for I-40 through the mountains between Barstow and Needles. Here's the environmental impact statement: The cloud resulting from each of the two row shots would be cylindrical in shape, about 2 miles high, and 7 miles in diameter. The density of dust in this cloud might be such as to obscure vision during its passage within the first 100 miles. While radioactivity levels in the cloud would not present a hazard, it might be necessary from a traffic hazard viewpoint to close any highways in the path of the cloud during passage within the first 100 miles.

Based on the Sedan experience, it is estimated that access to the channel for limited periods of time for inspection purposes would be possible within about 24 hours. Entry for an 8-hour work day or 40-hour work week without unusual safeguards should be possible within about 4 days.

Things were so much simpler then.

well if we're talk FUN and profit (3, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27542945)

you have to implement all these schemes from orbit

its the only way to be sure

Make a fireworks display for all of Earth! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27542979)

There isn't anything we can do with them on the Earth that wouldn't end in serious damage to the environment. So lets blow them into space for a fireworks display the entire Earth can enjoy :D

Nuke the moon! (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543003)

Oh come on, if the subject is silly uses for a nuke can anyone beat A Realistic Plan for World Peace a.k.a. Nuke The Moon [www.imao.us] . And it would be just crazy enough to work if we still had Bush. Nobody would believe Obama had the balls for the kind of crazy the plan requires though.

Can't they be used as non-explosive fuel? (4, Interesting)

istartedi (132515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543053)

Isn't there some way to use the fissile material in there as non-explosive fuel? Build a nuke plant in Panama and use specialized electrically powered earth-moving equipment to dig. Then when you're done you have a clean new canal and a nuke plant instead of a toxic canal.

Or better yet, build several of the same types of reactors they use on aircraft carriers, and install them in enormous digging machines. Retired naval personnel could even be used to run the nuke operations on the diggers. Then when you're done you have several small reactors and a clean canal.

How about Orion? (4, Interesting)

downix (84795) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543081)

I say dig up the old Project Orion [wikipedia.org] files and let's start getting serious about space exploration and colonization.

Is this for real? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543087)

This isn't a late April Fools joke is it?

Both the US and old Soviet Union experimented with the whole "nukes to plowshares" idea in the late 60's. It was abandoned as being dangerously impractical.

And we know a heck of a lot more about long term radiation exposure and ecological damage now then we did then.

Winter (2, Funny)

evilphish_mi (1282588) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543113)

With all the hub-bub about "man made global warming" why not counter it with man made nuclear winter.

the firecracker boys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27543153)

http://www.amazon.com/Firecracker-Boys-Dan-ONeill/dp/0312134169

book about this back in the 60's..... scary

Advocating climate control nukes (1)

arthurh3535 (447288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543157)

I've actually been advocating the use of nukes if our climate shift truly does get to the point of extinction level heat.

We can easily clear a few mines (or make a pure waterway in Central America) to get enough volcanic-type particulates into the air to drench the world in rain or snow. Radiation fallout would be unpleasant, but better than the extinction of humanity.

Mines, you say? (2, Funny)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543293)

You mentioned the ratio of ten women to each man. Wouldn't that necessitate abandoning the so-called monogamous form of sexual relationship?

Firecrackers (1)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543159)

Sell them as firecrackers for the 4th of July. You may have to retrofit them with a sticker that says "Aim away from face." But that wouldn't be too hard, I have a label maker.
...
Or, you could put them all together and make one really big firecracker!

Alaska was a hotbed of this kind of stuff (4, Informative)

Alaska Jack (679307) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543245)

...back in the day.

Project Chariot [wikipedia.org] was a program to blast a new harbor near Point Hope, led by none other than Ed Teller.

Alaska was also the site of several nuclear test blasts, among them the largest one the U.S. ever conducted: Amchitka's Nuclear Legacy [uaf.edu] .

- Alaska Jack

Brand new shiny canal (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27543291)

That no one can use for 50 years due to the radiation.. ( or the country that it goes thru )

These people stoned or what?

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