ChrisWeigant.com

Nuke The Hurricanes?

[ Posted Tuesday, August 27th, 2019 – 16:58 UTC ]

It should be taken as a given that the current president of the United States is crazy as a loon. I mean, it's pretty obvious for those who have eyes to see. In the past few days, he boasted of two phone calls from the Chinese to resume trade negotiations. It turns out, though, that these phone calls did not actually happen. The stock market didn't seem to care, and reacted the way Trump wanted, so nobody's making that big a deal of the fact that Trump just made up some (as he would call it) self-serving "fake news." Trump also lied repeatedly about what was talked about during the G-7 meetings, saying that all the other leaders agreed with him on various things like readmitting Russia to the group, the meanness of the American media towards Trump, Trump's stance on Iran, and anything else he dreamed up that he thought he could get away with bragging about. Of course, none of the other world leaders agreed with him on any of it, and a few actually dared to say so. Trump barely even noticed, because he obviously lives in his own personal fantasyland where contradictions and criticisms magically turn into laudatory personal praise. But while all of that is run-of-the-mill craziness for Trump, the wilder story that broke was that Trump has repeatedly suggested that the way American can avoid massive hurricane damage is to just drop nuclear weapons right in the middle of them before they get to our shores.

The Axios story that broke this news is pretty jaw-dropping (containing quotes from White House aides such as: "You could hear a gnat fart in that meeting"), but if the report is to be believed, all of this happened just after Trump took office, so perhaps with enough time he's been convinced that this is a monumentally stupid idea. Or maybe not -- the article doesn't make clear whether Trump has actually given up on the notion or perhaps just forgot he ever had it in the first place.

Maybe he's entering his second childhood, to give Trump the benefit of the doubt. After all, he was born in the 1940s and thus spent his formative years in the 1950s. This was the dawn of what used to be called the Atomic Age, when nuclear weapons and nuclear power were considered the future in many ways that seem not just dangerous but downright delusional today. Nuclear bombs were going to be the new way to excavate, to cite just one example, so that digging a canal or building a dam would be quick, cheap, and easy to do. Need a bunch of dirt and rock removed? Just plant a nuke, stand back, and push the button! Voilà! Instant excavation! Nuclear bombs were also blithely proposed for such megaprojects as melting the polar ice caps and warming up Siberia.

At the time, radioactivity and the dangers of fallout were not well understood. Even though there was ample evidence (from both Hiroshima and Nagasaki), this evidence was largely kept from the American public (for the usual "national security" reasons). Atomic bomb tests in Nevada were a convenient distance from Las Vegas, so people would drive out into the desert to watch them -- the ultimate fireworks show, one might call them. Popular science fiction also explored the myriad uses atomic energy was going to provide in the near future (one example: "Tom Swift And His Atomic Earth Blaster," one of the Tom Swift series of books where Tom builds one and then uses it to go on a "Journey To The Center Of The Earth" adventure).

Amid all the 1950s speculation about the beneficial uses of atomic energy and atomic bombs, the idea of disrupting hurricanes did indeed surface. After all, if a hurricane could be tamed by a couple of nuclear bombs, well, why not give it a try? The answer today is pretty obvious, but it wasn't back then.

In the first place, it almost certainly wouldn't work. We're accustomed to regarding the power of nuclear weapons with awe, and they certainly are awe-inspiring. But they are small potatoes when it comes to planetary forces. Volcanoes are much more powerful than atomic bombs, and hurricanes use more energy in 20 minutes than any bomb we could drop. So even a multi-megaton warhead wouldn't be big enough to even achieve the objective. Of course, it's never been put to the test, but even if anyone had been insane enough to try it, the effects would likely have been minimal.

In the second place, what would definitely happen is that you would have just spewed out an enormous amount of nuclear fallout right in the middle of a hurricane. When that hurricane hit land, the victims would not only have to deal with their houses being destroyed, but they'd also have to deal with radioactive material everywhere. That's not just rubbing salt in their wounds, that is flooding them with radioactive poison. This is the primary reason why nuking a hurricane is an absurdly stupid idea.

Of course, back in the 1940s and 1950s, this wasn't as painfully obvious as it is now, so the scientists and science fiction writers dreaming about using nuclear power and nuclear explosions as a shortcut to all sorts of beneficial futures can be excused for not having a deep understanding of how toxic such ideas would have been. But you simply cannot excuse anyone today on the same grounds, because the toxicity of fallout has been well understood for over half a century now.

At least by most people, that is. You know, the ones who aren't crazy as a loon.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

24 Comments on “Nuke The Hurricanes?”

  1. [1] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    What? Whales were just too small!

  2. [2] 
    Paula wrote:

    Blotus should be 25th Amendmented out - (and would be if the GOP wasn't such a disgraceful failure).

    I hope Liz Warren puts forth a plan for how POTUS' should have to submit to medical/cognitive reviews and the results should be made public.

  3. [3] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Don't worry.

    If Trump has been convinced nuking hurricanes is a bad idea it won't be long before he proposes extending the border wall around the whole country and into the upper atmosphere to also protect us from hurricanes.

    A win-win.

  4. [4] 
    TheStig wrote:

    A hurricane is just big heat engine powered by warm water. Adding more heat ia a bad idea. What we need is a giant ice maker producing iceburgs that can be towed into place each hurricane season. Think like a a Trump! What better place to put that ice maker than Greenland? Icey cold is free in the winter! Of course Trump will find a way to monetize that into the loving arms of Trump Org.

    Trump was so close to a very artistic deal. Too bad he cheesed off Greenlanders.
    Maybe he can make nice to them and cut a deal. The only fat man more agile than Trump was Jackie Gleason. Every yesr, President Trump could initiate the ice production by pulling the giant wire stop bar down from its off position. Make a morning of it, then off to the links.

  5. [5] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    As it is not as painfully obvious as it is now the political scientists and writers that for the last half a century have been dreaming aboot using big money contributors as a shortcut to all sorts of beneficial futures can be excused for not having a deep understanding of how toxic such an ideas could be.

    But you simply cannot excuse anyone today on the same grounds.

    At least not anyone claiming to address reality.

  6. [6] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: Nuclear bombs were going to be the new way to excavate, to cite just one example, so that digging a canal or building a dam would be quick, cheap, and easy to do. Need a bunch of dirt and rock removed? Just plant a nuke, stand back, and push the button! Voilà!

    Got an infestation at your South Florida country club and a potential hurricane headed that same way? Well, just sit back, relax, and let your handy-dandy thermonuclear weapon take care of those bloodsucking insects and that violent windstorm.

    More bang for your buck!

    Bye bye bedbugs and Dorian... and Doral. ;)

  7. [7] 
    Kick wrote:

    ... Having said all that above in [6], anyone in the path of Dorian, I wish you the best... stay safe! :)

  8. [8] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    "Nuke the Hurricanes?"

    Remember,"Nuke the Whales"?

    Everything old is new again. Sigh

  9. [9] 
    chaszzzbrown wrote:

    [6] Kick

    Well, just sit back, relax, and let your handy-dandy thermonuclear weapon take care of those bloodsucking insects and that violent windstorm.

    That sounds like Act 1 of the next SyFy made for TV movie: Bedbug-Nado!!

  10. [10] 
    TheStig wrote:

    The scary thing about Trump nuking a hurricane is that he has, by law, absolute authority to do so for any reason he wants to. Whether anybody down the chain of command would balk is another matter.....as happened on a Russian sub during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_submarine_B-59

  11. [11] 
    dsws wrote:

    [4] A hurricane is just big heat engine powered by warm water. Adding more heat ia a bad idea.

    A heat engine is powered by transferring heat from a warmer place to a cooler place. If you wanted to stop it by adding heat, you would add the heat to the warm side. In the case of a hurricane, that would be the top.

    There are at least a couple ways you could do it. One possibility is to have a large sheet of black bubble wrap, with hydrogen or helium in the bubbles, floating in the air at about the same altitude as the top of a hurricane. Sunshine on a dark-colored object warms the object and thus the air around it. The wind at that height is much faster than the speed at which a hurricane moves across the ocean, so you would launch your bubble wrap far upwind of the hurricane (by high-altitude wind direction, which is usually somewhat different from the wind direction at the surface). Or more precisely, upwind of where the hurricane will be by the time the bubble-wrap-warmed air gets there.

    The other way would be to trigger smaller storms, either by putting drag on the wind in appropriate places or by changing the pattern of surface temperatures. All storms transport heat upward.

  12. [12] 
    TheStig wrote:

    dws-11

    I salute you! An F-35 level of complexity applied on a an oceanic scale. The military/meteorology industrial complex will be thrilled. Partner with foreign nations!

  13. [13] 
    Paula wrote:

    So Blotus' Deutsche Bank loans were co-signed by Russian oligarchs who were Putin pals.

  14. [14] 
    Paula wrote:

    Meanwhile, in credit-where-due file BS released a plan to deal with media consolidation. That's a VERY IMPORTANT issue and I applaud him for that.

  15. [15] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Paula [13] So Blotus' Deutsche Bank loans were co-signed by Russian oligarchs who were Putin pals.

    Biggest news story of the year, if true. Can he talk/explain his way out of this? Will it be a "park avenue" moment for his supporters, or will it be called "fake news"? Can we get the original docs?

    More questions than answers, at this point...

  16. [16] 
    Paula wrote:

    [15] Balthasar: Yep - if true, it's big.

    Whether it matters to his base is a different question but I suspect it would matter a lot to many Independents and to Dem legislators considering impeachment. And it would figure heavily IN the impeachment strategy. And it would alter media narratives.

    But we'll see.

  17. [17] 
    dsws wrote:

    Why would anyone change their mind based on the ra*ist-in-chief having had loans co-signed by some Russians? If they like him after everything else, I don't see how this would matter. If they don't like him, well, they already don't like him.

  18. [18] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    It's absolutely true folks, The Orange Moron colluded with the Russians, he conspired with the Russians, he asked the Russians to hack the Dem emails, all that's absolutely true, but here's the clincher that Mueller was unable to prove - The idiot actually had RUSSIAN DRESSING ON HIS SALAD!!!

    But Mueller couldn't prove it, and that's why Kick descended into permanent PTSD shock syndrome, never to emerge.

  19. [19] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    CRS

    But Mueller couldn't prove it,

    But is that really the case? Mueller made it clear that if he could not bring charges against the sitting president, he would not accuse them of committing a crime since they would not have a chance to respond legally. When the Mueller report was released, there were 14 cases that had to redacted because the investigations were not completed.

    14?!!? That is a lot of ongoing investigations into different aspects of the Trump campaign after almost 2 years. One possible explanation could be that those investigations are still considered “ongoing” because they make up the foundations for sealed indictments that have yet to go to trial. It’ll be curious to see how Trump will try to circumvent being indicted once he leave office.

  20. [20] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Listen

    What's he gonna be indicted for"? As I repeatedly explained, neither getting "political dirt" on your opponent from any source whatsoever, nor eating Russian dressing on your salad, is against the law!!

  21. [21] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    CRS

    And as has been repeatedly noted after you have shared this explanation....you are incorrect. The fact that Russian hackers were found guilty in Federal court for “getting dirt” on a candidate proves your explanation is flawed. Why did President Ford pardon Nixon for any crimes related to the Watergate break-in if there were no crimes to be pardoned for?

    There are plenty of crimes that could have been uncovered during the investigations that might have nothing to do with “getting dirt” on a political rival. Face it, Donnie’s been breaking laws his whole life... and it’s only been the nature of his crimes and of course his money that’s kept him from being held accountable in the past.

  22. [22] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Listen

    The "dirt" on Hillary thing had nothing to do with hacking. That originated when the Russian lady lawyer came to Trump tower to share her "dirt" thing with Jr. And worse than that, the "dirt" turned out to be worthless.

    I see no connecion between Ford & Nixon and the whole Watergate thing, pardons and otherwise, with "dirtgate". Try as you might, you simply cannot driminalize free speech.

  23. [23] 
    Kick wrote:

    chaszzzbrown
    9

    That sounds like Act 1 of the next SyFy made for TV movie: Bedbug-Nado!!

    Heh! :)

  24. [24] 
    Kick wrote:

    Russ
    19

    It’ll be curious to see how Trump will try to circumvent being indicted once he leaves office.

    I can't see Trump being able to successfully circumvent indictment when you consider the separate sovereigns doctrine and New York, New York. :)

Comments for this article are closed.