Better Killing Through Chemistry

March 22nd, 2007

Whether you like it or not, one of the principal reasons the government supports scientific research is to strengthen our ability to wage war. Scientific discoveries often open avenues for new and improved weapons, and making sure that our military technology is the most advanced in the world is vital to our national security. While military power alone is not a sufficient condition for maintaining our superpower status, it is a necessary condition. Part of our job as scientists is to use our knowledge to ensure that the “good guys” have the most advanced technology in the world when it comes to efficiently killing humans. Yes, this thought is a little revolting, but having scientists collaborate with the military is one of the best ways to ensure the protection of our political and social ideals.

The announcement that the US will begin developing a new model of nuclear warhead seemed to completely bypass the major news outlets. At least, no one made a fuss about it. I don’t know how much of an improvement the new design is over the old one, but it seems that the change is oriented more toward safer handling than greater yields.  That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s more to the story.  I don’t expect the Army to go around advertising what exactly they’re hoping to accomplish. Congress needs to know, but that can be done behind closed doors. Suffice it to say, if the leap is significant, I think that the money used to fund the project would be money well spent. It will be interesting to see what Congress has to say when hearings open this month.

I’ve always wondered where the US stands in terms of the active development of chemical weapons. I know the Army has publicized the fact that it’s trying to destroy large portions of its stockpile, but it probably doesn’t want anyone to know whether it’s researching ways to create more potent chemical weapons.  Whether for tactical or strategic purposes, I simply presume that in some secret lab, the government continues to sponsor research on lethal chemistry.

And that’s a good thing. Do you think the bad guys wouldn’t use a powerful chemical weapon if they had access to it? No way. In both times of war and of peace, we should constantly challenge ourselves to develop new and improved chemical and biological weapons so that: 1) they are available if we need them and 2) we can develop effective counterweapons in case the enemy makes them first. Saying that the development of weapons of mass destruction is wrong and pursuing a strategy of self-imposed ignorance will solve nothing. We can’t afford to let our enemies seize the initiative on any of these fronts.

If you don’t want to participate, that’s understandable—I personally wouldn’t like testing compounds on mice all day—but be glad (as I am) that there are people who have decided to work in these areas.

Previous Comments

  1. Dr Nick Says:
    March 22nd, 2007 at 6:17 pm The bad guys – the good guys
    Black and whiteI would expect a little bit more from a Harvard student…
  2. Wavefunction Says:
    March 22nd, 2007 at 6:24 pm I am not sure I agree with the fact that any country needs to keep on developing “better” strategic weapons just because they might come in handy if you need them, and so that you can develop counterweapons before the “enemy” does. In fact, I am afraid this sounds like the logic they used during the Cold War to justify more bomb-making. The point is that while this is true to a certain limited extent, above that extent, there is no real strategic advantage to developing more or better weapons. Failure to realise this resulted in a scenario which is there for everybody to see; the US and Russia ended up having tens of thousands of warheads which are more than enough to destroy the whole world many times over. Clearly, this grotesque number of weapons has no strategic value. Even deterrence was more of a pretext than a real policy. It was clear in every administration ranging from Kennedy to Bush that the arsenal of nukes that was really being built up was not for deterrence but for first strike, and all from taxpayers’ money. The same thing goes for the ostensible “Son of Star Wars”.
    On the other hand, Nixon followed a good policy about chemical and nuclear weapons (and Matt Meselson was one of the guys who was instrumental in this), effecting unilateral reduction of stockpiles in the early 70s. But the Soviets did not comply at the time.I had heard about the piece of news and pondered over it. Thanks for writing about it. A clerihew came to mind:

    Lawrence Livermore
    wants more and more
    with unnecessary aplomb
    is making a bigger bomb

  3. Kutti Says:
    March 22nd, 2007 at 6:57 pm “Part of our job as scientists is to use our knowledge to ensure that the “good guys” have the most advanced technology in the world when it comes to efficiently killing humans”I completely disagree with that. First of all, how can you say who the “good guys” and the “bad guys” are? Many Americans think they are the good guys, a lot of Russian people also think that they themselves are the good guys, of course there are plenty of Irani people who see themselves as the good guys. Thus, each nation should have the latest technolgy for efficiently killing humans?!

    Second, I think that trying to find weapons that are even more efficient in killing humans than the one´s we already have is sheer madness.

  4. eugene Says:
    March 22nd, 2007 at 6:57 pm So, who are the bad guys? It seems that America is currently at war with Iraq and the Taliban. Those guys have got really great scientists working on their side…. Better watch out or they’ll develop that new chemical nerve toxin real soon. But we also better watch out for North Korea and Iran. Only by making sure we have 100 times the nuclear warheads and chemical weapons can we make those buggers scared. They are getting pretty close to breaching the 100 to 1 barrier though…On the other hand, I always had a litmus test that if you can’t justify your research in terms for how it would be used in war as a weapon, or to give a tactical advantage to your country’s army, then you need to move on to a different project. It’s a little silly, but works really well to pinpoint a lot of those ‘hot’ research areas.
  5. CET Says:
    March 22nd, 2007 at 8:08 pm Re: The bad guys – the good guysI could see the argument that ‘If you live in X, you presumably consider the political structure of X worth supporting and would want to see them win an armed conflict.’ It doesn’t always work out that nicely in practice (Oppenheimer, et al), but the idea that your country = good guys isn’t too far out there.

    Re: (1) and (2) in the original post.

    It certainly makes sense to put money into developing the most effective counter-measures possible. I don’t know that this requires a corresponding effort to develop more effective weapons, but I’m not close enough to the research.

    However, I would be very interested in hearing the reasoning behind a position that the US needs to develop better chem/bio toys for their offensive potential. With some exceptions (non-lethal weapons) I fail to see how such advances would serve any legitimate interest.

  6. Captain Catalysis Says:
    March 22nd, 2007 at 8:27 pm You never know who the enemy is going to be and what you may need to kill his people and break his stuff most effectively. Nor do you know how they’re gonna come at you, so you need to be prepared defensively as well. A good example of this is the new MRAPs being deployed in Iraq to replace the HMMWV, since military vehicles have traditionally been designed to defend against shells and rockets and shrapnel from above, not roadside bombs exploding from below. It’s an engineering problem, not a science problem, but still pretty relevant. Regardless, you can never be too prepared–not everyone goes to the UN before invading.re: 5

    If you can’t develop better chem and bio weapons, you won’t know how they work biologically and how to stop them (if possible). The classic example of this is Lewisite and British Anti-Lewisite, which most of us probably learned in undergrad Inorganic. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are some of the nastiest bio-weapons out there, and I’m not sure if there’s any effective defense against them, so that may be one area of “legitimate” active research.

  7. Klug Says:
    March 22nd, 2007 at 8:38 pm “…this grotesque number of weapons has no strategic value.”While the current end result is clearly more than a little absurd, in a bipolar (pardon the pun) scenario, it would not do for each side to only have 100 or so nuclear warheads. “Winnable” nuclear war starts to get tempting at some relatively small number, within the confines of state-to-state conflict.
  8. Hap Says:
    March 22nd, 2007 at 9:08 pm I think it was covered at least tangentially in the media, because people seem to be asking if we should even have nukes at all. Nukes are good against rational/semi-rational targets who believe that you can retaliate and that such retailation fails to serve their needs (Rusia, China, India). The nukes we have weren’t designed to last this long, and if they are no longer useful, they may not pose a deterrent. The research is out there, and countries believe that possessing nukes will get them status and glory, so they need for deterrence is not going to go away.However, nukes don’t do other things – if your targets want to cause maximal destruction but don’t care if they survive, then directly or undirectly causing a nuclear war is in their interest and the deterrent strategy previously employed fails. As above, our faith in nukes as a deterrent highlights their value to others, and makes attempts at acquisition more likely. If nukes become usable at semi-regular intervals, they will probably be used more often. If we build enough, some will probably get loose (as per the Russians), though the lack of any incidents may mean that not as many are loose as I would have thought possible. Finally, even in a world with MAD as a deterrence mechanism, we still could unleash armageddon accidentally (about 20 incidents over the last 50 years in which nuclear war was narrowly averted have been reported).

    I understand the need for these, because I lack the faith to believe that we can survive a war based on force against force and that we can get along as a whole. I worry about what we can or will become though. To quote from Under Siege 2 about an earthquake-triggering weapon:

    “Sane people don’t design weapons like this.”
    “You’d think we’d have learned.”

  9. Wolfie Says:
    March 22nd, 2007 at 10:20 pm Look how exaggerated nationalism has ended up for us. Would you like to repeat it ? Self-restraint is of course one of the most difficult excercises. China is not yet as far as to be a major counterforce, so how long may it take until the US finally come down ? Let’s assume they are on the top of their power now and history repeats itself. It will take 500 years then until the middle ages come. Time enough for Paul to find a suitable wife and found a family, even without a Harvard Ph.D.
  10. mederic Says:
    March 22nd, 2007 at 10:34 pm The billions of pounds the UK is planning to spend on updating Trident would be money well spent. Not
  11. Wolfie Says:
    March 22nd, 2007 at 11:35 pm spam filter or not, i need to repeat thatEdwards Says Wife’s Cancer Has Returned

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03…..ds.html?hp

    who would ever have thought that this guy with his toothpaste smile would get American President

    why does he not get back to his wife or to his family before she’s dead ? but he cannot admit resignation because he is American and has to fight everything up to the very bad end

  12. Wolfie Says:
    March 22nd, 2007 at 11:36 pm so then leave it through, American Nazi !!!
  13. Wolfie Says:
    March 22nd, 2007 at 11:49 pm to explain for everyone, he deleted a comment critizing your great nation
  14. Ψ*Ψ Says:
    March 22nd, 2007 at 11:53 pm Call me a hippie, Paul, but I disagree with you here.
  15. Mitch Says:
    March 23rd, 2007 at 1:14 am What, no one else understands the concept of killing as many people in cold blood as you can who have never offended you?Mitch
  16. ZAL Says:
    March 23rd, 2007 at 3:50 am Paul, it’s certainly true that “making sure that our military technology is the most advanced in the world is vital to our national security” and “having scientists collaborate with the military is one of the best ways to ensure the protection of our political and social ideals”. Nations have always tried to gain technological advance on their neighbours/enemies, and have seen that as a mean to protect their political and social stability. But that’s pure “raison d’etat”, you can’t apply the moral categories of “good” and “bad” to such a way of thinking. Coming, as you, from the civilized western world, I agree on the basic set of values that constitute the basis of our democracies, but I have to admit that the view on what is “good” or “bad” can be different in different parts of the world, and I am not only talking about Iran or North Korea. The “good guys vs. bad guys” view can be very dangerous in the wrong hands, it’s the basis of all the ideological wars that have been fought in history, that have in many cases been the bloodiest, in Europe we know it well. If we are the “good guys”, and the “bad guys” are really bad, then we should feel morally allowed (more: compelled) to go where they are, without waiting for them to attack us, and close the game with them once and for all, to make the world a better place: have you already heard that before from some democratically elected administration? Would you agree with that?
    Sorry for the long post
  17. een of andere vent Says:
    March 23rd, 2007 at 4:08 am Warfare is such a primitive activity… So happy I was declared unfit (unwilling) for military service.
  18. Mark C R UK Says:
    March 23rd, 2007 at 7:36 am Paul… I read the title to this post and just could do nothing but chuckle…You and your satire!
  19. Phlogiston Says:
    March 23rd, 2007 at 7:41 am Actually, this new bomd project is an attempt to replace our current nuclear stockpile with an older, simpler design. The older design is lower yielding, but easier to maintain and service. It also has less chance of accidentally being deployed. So this project is a step backwards in design. It’s also a nice big chunk of money to the bomb making companies.Unfortunately, we live in a world where there are “bad” and “good” countries with lots of gray area in between. I really despise moral relativism. Does anyone in the west really believe that Iranian women or anyone in North Korea are living the good life? I believe that this stupid liberal cultural relativism which says that “how can we really judge what is a good or bad country” is the type of thought system that allows genocide to occur in other countries (i.e. Sudan, Cambodia, Rawanda, etc…).

    The big question we need to ask is how many nukes do we need and are they really any use against suicidal, despotic, religious countries like Iran. I would argue that nuclear detterence only works against stable countries. The money would be much better spent on intelligence and keeping nuclear materials (especially from Pakistan and Russia) away from the nutty ones.

  20. Mark C R UK Says:
    March 23rd, 2007 at 7:55 am “I’ve always wondered where the US stands in terms of the active development of chemical weapons. I know the Army has publicized the fact that it’s trying to destroy large portions of its stockpile, but it probably doesn’t want anyone to know whether it’s researching ways to create more potent chemical weapons. Whether for tactical or strategic purposes, I simply presume that in some secret lab, the government continues to sponsor research on lethal chemistry.”Modern conventional military doctrine utilised by the US and the rest of Nato is effectively “Blitzkrieg” in offensive conventional warfare. This was seen in Iraq 2003 – the greatest such example since the Second World War in all probability, not taking anything away from Norman Schwarzkopf’s earlier use in Iraq.

    Thus, chemical weapons do not really fit into modern conventional military warfare strategy. “They get in the way” of fast attacks of “sieze and hold” – due to chemical persistance. The reason for concern is there use in strategic weaponry or asymmetric warfare by relatively low-tech states.

    Also Paul, you need to remember that the use of such weapons is a warcrime. see: Chemical warfare

    Modern thinking and indeed the legal framework for warfare – effectively means that weapons should be specific and kill outright and not cause un-necessary pain or suffering such as prolonged-drawn out death… like that seen in chemical attacks.

    In case of deterent – the nuclear issue is one where the weapons in question can be kept (relatively) secure and safely. Issues regarding WMD constitute an entire seperate issue.

    Personally, I am pro-Trident renewal. I think the UK having its own ensures that potential aggressors are made to think twice.

    I also think personally that the UK has done more to promote law and human rights than many countries. Indeed, we’re celebrating 200 years since the abolishment of slavery here currently.

    I also say, that unfortunately not everyone in the world thinks the same way about living peacefully. In so, the UK learnt the hardway regarding dictators on it’s doorstep over 60 years ago. For that reason you will always see a policy of promoting democracy from the UK, but equally you will always see the UK not taken unprepared again in future. I mean it would be irresponsible government to do otherwise???

    Would it not?

  21. Mark C R UK Says:
    March 23rd, 2007 at 8:13 am Readers may like to know that the Rumsfeld “Shock and Awe” quotation was borrowed – indeed he didn’t come up with it personally… and that Blitzkrieg was one element in the Rapid Dominance doctrine employed by US and allied forces.See: “Shock and Awe” and Rapid Dominance

    The problem is – the US is now learning the hard way in the “hold” operations phase.

    Something the British Army has learnt through trial and error over 30 years in Northen Ireland.

    You see the potential for demoralisation then… as both sides try and outwit each other tactically.

  22. Wavefunction Says:
    March 23rd, 2007 at 11:25 am Phlogiston: That the new weapon is lower in yield and simple does provide give any reassurances to me. It could well be one of those “bunker busters” which were so vociferously and rightly protested against. The bunker busters would be both lower in yield and also simpler in design.
  23. Wavefunction Says:
    March 23rd, 2007 at 11:26 am “does not provide” I mean
  24. Phlogiston Says:
    March 23rd, 2007 at 11:40 am 22I agree, sort of. The bunkerbusters are small. These will still be extremely large yielding, but my point is that there will be absolutely no new science or engineering for these new bombs. The military just wants to save money by using an old, simple design because the current stock requires a ton of matainance. There was a “science Friday” podcast on NPR detailing all of this.
  25. Paul Says:
    March 23rd, 2007 at 12:12 pm Some thoughts:Good vs. Bad

    Face it, there are good and bad guys in this world. As far as I’m concerned, the US and UK are among the good guys. Bad guys include Iran, North Korea, and what’s left of the Taliban. Some bad guys are worse than others, and there is plenty of gray in between. I never said there wasn’t. I also admit that this is my personal opinion, but that’s the opinion I care about the most.

    The “good guys vs. bad guys” view can be very dangerous in the wrong hands, it’s the basis of all the ideological wars that have been fought in history, that have in many cases been the bloodiest, in Europe we know it well. If we are the “good guys”, and the “bad guys” are really bad, then we should feel morally allowed (more: compelled) to go where they are, without waiting for them to attack us, and close the game with them once and for all, to make the world a better place: have you already heard that before from some democratically elected administration? Would you agree with that?

    After Hitler and Co. committed unspeakable acts during the Holocaust, the world collectively looked at itself and said “Never again.” Well, genocide is still occurring in today’s world. We’ve completely lost site of the lesson we had supposedly learned. Saddam Hussein was a horrible man and a genocidal maniac. I am not upset that Bush wanted to remove him. The problem with the war in Iraq was that it was poorly planned and executed. It looks like the Bush Administration distorted the truth in convincing Congress to wage war (a big no-no in a democracy) and once the war had started, it completely misplanned the whole thing. I blame Bush for those things, but he should be credited for wanting to remove Saddam from power. If we could solve the problems in North Korea, Iran, and Sudan with a couple of nukes, I’d do it. The problem is that it’s not that easy.

    Also Paul, you need to remember that the use of such weapons is a warcrime. see: Chemical warfare. Modern thinking and indeed the legal framework for warfare – effectively means that weapons should be specific and kill outright and not cause un-necessary pain or suffering such as prolonged-drawn out death… like that seen in chemical attacks.

    So let’s develop more humane chemical weaponry. Anyway, if our backs are against the wall, or if we can save “good guy” lives by getting a quick victory, I have no problems with our using chemical weapons. As they say, inter arma enim silent leges.

    Wolfie: I told you there is a spam filter, I don’t (but probably should) delete your posts. It simply requires time for me to go in a clear them. That said, your posts were truly tasteless. His wife’s cancer just relapsed. Give him a break.

  26. Uncle Al Says:
    March 23rd, 2007 at 12:26 pm 1) The new Bomb will not contain beryllium – a sop thrown to Enviro-whiners.2) Neither Little Boy (685 lbs/KT) nor Fat Man (490 lbs/KT) was weight-efficient. By the 1950’s it was 0.45 lbs/KT. We do even better now.

    3) Bomb redevelopment is merely a way to dump big money on necessary friends. Will maize be an important part of the device?

    4) We had tonnes and tonnes of quinuclidinyl benzilate (BZ, QNB) that we subseqently incinerated. How smart was that? A kilo or ten of silanized micronized BZ blown into a city’s air is endgame with zero casualties (until bladders start bursting 18 hours later. Collateral damage is not our responsibility).

    5) Killing is stupid. Killing does not educate. Permanent mutilation permanently drains enemy resources. Leverage!

    One raghead tries to blow up his sneakers then Homeland Severity spends a $billion/year to deter its repeat. Ask yourself – what was the true weapon and who won the engagement?

  27. McGeorge Bundy Says:
    March 23rd, 2007 at 1:13 pm “There is a very simple way to stop the proliferation of terror…stop participating in it”- Nim Chimpsky
  28. CET Says:
    March 23rd, 2007 at 1:22 pm Re: #25The problem is that it’s not that easy.

    Quite. One of the major concerns being that the attempt to ‘rescue’ the populace of the oppressed nation will result in little more than a high body count and change in dictators. Then there’s our impressive record at winning wars in 3rd world countries to consider . . .

    I would certainly agree that ‘more humane’ chemical weapons might be a benefit – that episode at the theatre in Moscow a couple years back illustrated the neccesity for effective, but non-lethal options. Making more humane (faster acting, shorter lifetime) lethal chem/bio weapons might just make them a more common occurence in the field.

    Of course, if it means that DuPont is hiring more organic chemists then who am I to complain.

  29. Mark C R UK Says:
    March 23rd, 2007 at 3:00 pm “I would certainly agree that ‘more humane’ chemical weapons might be a benefit – that episode at the theatre in Moscow a couple years back illustrated the neccesity for effective, but non-lethal options. Making more humane (faster acting, shorter lifetime) lethal chem/bio weapons might just make them a more common occurence in the field.”Have you heard of the term of “escalation”?
    We really have NO NEED of chemical weapons (BANNED BY CONVENTION ANYWAY).

    It’s training, tactics, strategy and suitable equipment which is the key.

    Think about it. In conventional military terms America is not losing anywhere. It’s the demoralising effect of casualties that has disproportionate effects at home – to undermine morale. This is classic insurgency tactics, time and again used against the US… sad to say.

    I don’t comment on the the original pretext – except on Afghanistan. We we most certainly do have a requirement to be there… the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are most definitly one and the same, and sad to say they really do wish to undermine our way of life… and anyone elses who don’t fit into their view.

    In such cases have people here seen the counter-insurgency tactics being employed by the British? Only through high levels of training (from top to bottom in the military) and equiping will the correct balance be struck… for strategic politico-military objectives to be met.

    This was done successfully elsewhere in the middle east in the 20th century, creating stable and what we could call “friendly countries”. q.v. Oman. whom we have no quarrel with and can freely trade and exchange in educational terms with.

    My only annoyance has been the “lack of allied assistance” when requested in Afghanistan (barring the Canadians and other major members of ISAF). Calls for re-enforcements have been politely ignored… by “the usual culprits”.

    The point on a “clash of civilisations”? Is wrong. No problem with anyones religion – and anyone saying otherwise doesn’t speak for me! I simply say that I will not live under Sharia law here in the UK under any circumstances, laws are made by our representatives in Parliament, under our sovereign. Thats the end of the matter as far as I am concerned – since they are democratic and can be modified by exercising a vote. It’s not perfect – but it works, and has done for a very long time.

    We’re talking about areas of the world described as the “cradle of civilisation”, originally both in learning and culture. It’s sad to see it being run into the ground by a bunch of despots BASED IN THE REGION… and that theres even an apparent need for us to be there to ensure a sembelence of “world order”.

    Does anyone think if we left – neighbours wouldn’t be at each others throats?

    I’m confident that the US, UK and other allies via the UN have prevented more wars then started in the last 60 years.

    I love the fact I’m allowed to rationally make these without being locked up on some trumped up charge. Also as I’ve previously stated elsewhere – I like my country. This is not a blind love. But I can seriously see attempts by certain lobby groups to create a divide between it and myself. It is quite obvious some of these are ramming political opinions down people’s throats for their own agendas/self interest. I can make up my own mind thank you. The UK is a decent place… that’s all I need to know.

    As Paul says – these are all my opinions. That’s the opinion I care about the most, so if you disagree thats fine…

  30. Captain Catalysis Says:
    March 23rd, 2007 at 6:47 pm 27: no way you’re the real McGeorge Bundy. At least we know you paid attention in your Cold War policy course.There is another way to “end the proliferation” of terror. Just fight terror with terror. Ask the Carthaginians how that worked out.

    29: “We really have NO NEED of chemical weapons (BANNED BY CONVENTION ANYWAY).”

    Bad Guys don’t play by the rules (cf. gun violence in cities with handgun bans). We can be noble and end all CBW research or we can keep pumping money into it so we can find effective countermeasures. Regardless, international convention depends upon self-enforcement. Who’s gonna tell the US no? If the Security Council can’t stop dragging its feet on genocide, how’s it going to go after a superpower with a veto? Personally, I think that one can never have enough of any kind of weapons, but I’m a bit Clausewitzian like that, and also plan on doing a DoD-type postdoc.

    “Does anyone think if we left – neighbours wouldn’t be at each others throats?”

    That depends on Russia, whose long-term interests are served by instability in the Middle East. We can leave, but I’ll bet you dollars for doughnuts Russia will still be involved there in some capacity.

  31. CET Says:
    March 23rd, 2007 at 7:32 pm
    Have you heard of the term of “escalation”?
    We really have NO NEED of chemical weapons (BANNED BY CONVENTION ANYWAY).
    I think #29 is in agreement with most of what I meant. To rephrase: (IMO)
    Research that creates countermeasures for WMD = good
    Research that creates Non-lethal options for law-enforcement/counter terrorism = arguably good
    Research that creates more effective ‘battlefield’ chem/bio weapons = very dubious, for reasons that have been mentioned by a number of posters.

    As for international conventions . . . we have certainly demonstrated that we *can* go against the wishes of the UN. That doesn’t neccesarily mean it is a good idea. (Note the decline in international enthusiasm for helping out in Afghanistan)

  32. Mark C R UK Says:
    March 24th, 2007 at 10:12 am “the decline in international enthusiasm for helping out in Afghanistan”…As I said: “The usual suspects…”

    Something thats not entirely unusual…

  33. Dude Says:
    March 24th, 2007 at 11:11 am The sauciest minx to ever don a lab coat was definitely Margaret Thatcher
  34. Mark C R UK Says:
    March 24th, 2007 at 5:21 pm Can’t help but laugh at that… known as “the iron lady”…
  35. Wolfie Says:
    March 24th, 2007 at 8:59 pm I am finally grateful that free speech seems to work here, the US still have a chance
  36. Wolfie Says:
    March 24th, 2007 at 9:57 pm I apologize deeply for my countless anti-americanisms, but what true taste is, you still have to learn (can I see your retractions, please ?)
  37. Wolfie Says:
    March 25th, 2007 at 12:21 am Mice are only good if they finally lead to somthing human, but it’s not guaranteed. Same thing like with Harvard graduate students.
  38. excimer Says:
    March 25th, 2007 at 12:58 am The Dude abides. With Margaret Thatcher.
  39. ZAL Says:
    March 25th, 2007 at 9:57 am 33. What about Angela Merkel? She even has a JACS! http://pubs3.acs.org/acs/journ…..a00233a012
  40. Paul Says:
    March 25th, 2007 at 10:47 am And Cindy Crawford studied chemical engineering at Northwestern.
  41. aa Says:
    March 25th, 2007 at 5:50 pm i will completely ignore the morality of making chemical weapons etc in this reply, since that is not an easy thing to debate… what is easier is the huge inflow of $$$ that can come when the military beefs up R and D spending in chemistry. A source of funding other than NIH/NSF would be nice, I’m sure. Think of all the old-timers that got money from the defense budget to do harmless research (total synthesis of this and that potential drug etc). Imagine how much money EJ would have gotten for his Cipro synthesis if he could have applied to the Army for funding?Why should the physicists get all the military love?? Show us the money! Of course, this is pretty far off-topic from the nuclear bombs we started at, but hopefully I’ve made the drift of my thoughts plain.
  42. TotallyMedicinal Says:
    March 27th, 2007 at 4:16 pm I thought a major obstacle to “novel” nuclear weapon research (at least at the “tactical” ie fusion end of the thermonuclear spectrum) was the banning of tritium enhanced fusion weapons? Given that tritium has a half-life on the order of twelve years these weapons have a shelf-life anyway.I think in part this research may be directed towards the enhancement of tactical weapon yield that obviate the need for tritium.

    Then again, I could be completely wrong.



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