Nukes for Dummies

I’m still trying to verify this, but if the Daily Rotten is correct, the “nuclear weapon plans” found in the Al Qaeda safe house are actually a download of an ancient (gag) article from the Journal of Irreproducible Results. Given their idiocy in so many other realms, why would this not surprise me? And why would it also not surprise me that few journalists would know the difference?

Anyway, if it can be verified, perhaps we can all sleep a little better tonight.

[Update at 7 AM]

It’s twue, it’s twue! This is delicious.

Just google the words, “the de-vice basically works,” and you’ll get a plethora of links to this document (this one, from Barking Spider, is just an example–it can be found at a number of sites) titled “How To Build An Atomic Bomb.” Look carefully at the pictures of the terrorist document from the BBC at the Daily Rotten page (or go directly to the source, if you don’t trust them) and compare.

It’s worth pointing out that this article was part of a series. The previous ones were:

  • Let’s Make Test Tube Babies! May, 1979
  • Let’s Make a Solar System! June, 1979
  • Let’s Make an Economic Recession! July, 1979
  • Let’s Make an Anti-Gravity Machine! August, 1979
  • Let’s Make Contact with an Alien Race! September, 1979

The next one was a primer on how to clone your neighbor’s wife in a single weekend, using common kitchen utensils.

This may provide a hint about some of Al Qaeda’s nefarious plans for our future.

[Further Update: 5:40 PM PST]

In actually reading the satirical document in question, this paragraph jumped out at me (and remember this was over twenty years ago).

Worldwide controversy has been generated recently from several court decisions in the United States which have restricted popular magazines from printing articles which describe how to make an atomic bomb. The reason usually given by the courts is that national security would be compromised if such information were generally available. But, since it is commonly known that all of the information is publicly available in most major metropolitan libraries, obviously the court’s officially stated position is covering up a more important factor; namely, that such atomic de-vices would prove too difficult for the average citizen to construct. The United States courts cannot afford to insult the vast majorities by insinuating that they do not have the intelligence of a cabbage, and thus the “official” press releases claim national security as a blanket restriction.

This seemed particularly ironic to me under the circumstances. Of course, to not even be able to recognize the difference between an actual nuclear bomb manual, and an obvious send up of same, implies that one has a level of intelligence that would make a cabbage look like, well, Stephen Hawking–it would imply something more on the order of a lobotomized fern.

So can they really be this stupid, or is this some kind of reverse mindfuck on us to make us believe that they’re really, really stupid? That all of this apparent idiocy–the mindless threats, counting on a population that they’ve been repressing to support them once they’re out of power, expecting Muslims worldwide to come to their aid when they’re getting their asses blown up, attacking the American Media by literally sending an anthrax-laced envelope to “American Media,” asking for flying lessons that don’t involve takeoffs or landings, stealing joke plans for bombs from scientific satire magazines–is actually a fiendishly clever ploy, and once we’ve destroyed their power structure, killed most of them, chased the rest up into their caves, blown up the caves, and starved out the rest, and let our guard down, that’s when they’re going to hit us with something really big?

I have to confess, that I find both explanations so improbable that I no longer know what to think–the notion that they are really that bereft of mental capacity almost defies biology and the nature of the human genome, but the other explanation absolutely beggars logic. Anyway, I find the former more comforting…

Capitalism Will Always Out

According to this story from the Gulf News in Dubai, the bombing of Kandahar has invigorated the local economy. The scrap from US bombs is apparently of a superior quality relative to that which was available antebellum. It is so valuable, in fact, that some Kandaharians have made the investment in decoy bunker lights to attract US bombers, the results of which are then collected and sold on the local scrap metal market. They’ve even (apparently successfully) taken to tying unfortunate dogs to positions near the lights to provide an IR signature.

It brings to mind the coastal inhabitants who would put out false lights to lure wayward ships onto the rocks so that they could be plundered. I wonder if the Pentagon’s damage assessment team is compensating for these spurious targets?

[crackle…ROGER, TANGO BASE–WE HAVE A CONFIRMED KILL ON TWO FLASHLIGHTS, ONE EXTRA DRY-CELL BATTERY PACK, AND A MALAMUTE, OVER…]

“Allies” Seize Paris–Mass Atrocities Occur

(PONN—Pessimistic Objective News Network) August 26, 1944

Risking civic anarchy and destruction of the ancient fabled and beautiful city by Hitler’s rockets of vengeance, “Allied” forces recklessly entered Paris yesterday, while ravishing French women by the thousands, and slaughtering helpless Germans, often allowing the Parisians to hang or shoot them, without even the semblance of a fair trial.

Led by the Second Armored Division of the “French Army,” commanded by “Major General” Lecleric, the troops marched up the Champs Elysee, reportedly to at least scattered cheers and throwing of flowers. Of course, the Paris natives have had a rough few years, and almost anyone, even the “Allies,” might at first seem preferable to the Germans, against whom there are serious but unsubstantiated allegations of human rights abuses, including “genocide.”

Editor’s note: can we come up with a less judgmental word? One man’s genocide is another’s freedom fighting.

Though General Eisenhower’s spokesmen would never confirm it, there had been much concern over the past few weeks that the “Allied” forces might be bogged down in a northern French quagmire, as the Germans seemed well dug in, and were bringing up reinforcements from their eastern front against the brave and stalwart Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the main US ally. Thus, even if Paris cannot be ultimately held, its seizure represents at least a temporary appearance of an “Allied” “victory.”

Over the past few weeks, as they marched through the French countryside from Normandy, often accompanied by great destruction and civilian casualties, “Allied” troops, particularly Americans, have been engaging in dangerous propaganda tactics. They have been distributing pamphlets urging the helpless French people to rise up against the much better-armed Germans. Also, in an attempt to show that this war is not against the people of Vichy France, they have been handing out chocolate to children, and nylon st0ckings to the women, though they lack enough to feed or clothe the entire French populace.

The “Allies” and the US had been warned that Mr. Hitler would not allow Paris to be taken, and that he would destroy it before he let it happen. However, at the urging of “General” de Gaulle, they decided to go for the quick propaganda victory, instead of waiting for a more orderly French government to form.

Official US government organs put out stories of a people happy to be liberated.

Pvt. Howard Katzander, a correspondent for Yank, the Army’s weekly magazine, reported on the “hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who cheered them on their way.”

“There was one GI on a truck who kept pointing toward Germany, and then lifting a finger and slashing his throat,” Katzander wrote. “The crowd loved him.”

Such stories, if true, indicate that the American soldiers were allowed to inflame the passions of the Parisian populace, which no doubt led to many of the atrocities and murders against the unarmed German officials, and also against French who had collaborated with them. Many Vichy French officials were summarily hung or shot with their German counterparts, and the heads of many of the poor French women who had slept with the “enemy” were shaved.

Also, it was reported that many German troops were unfairly shot and strafed by aircraft and French resistance fighters as they escaped the city, even though they were in full retreat, and not firing back.

When American and British troops entered the city today, there was reportedly a great deal of wild and uninhibited sex between them and the French women. It was not clear whether any of it was consensual, as these are a people who have been subjugated by armed troops for years, and may have simply resignedly accepted more rape by the troops as an inevitable part of this long and needless war, to which no end is in sight.

“Allies” Seize Paris–Mass Atrocities Occur

(PONN—Pessimistic Objective News Network) August 26, 1944

Risking civic anarchy and destruction of the ancient fabled and beautiful city by Hitler’s rockets of vengeance, “Allied” forces recklessly entered Paris yesterday, while ravishing French women by the thousands, and slaughtering helpless Germans, often allowing the Parisians to hang or shoot them, without even the semblance of a fair trial.

Led by the Second Armored Division of the “French Army,” commanded by “Major General” Lecleric, the troops marched up the Champs Elysee, reportedly to at least scattered cheers and throwing of flowers. Of course, the Paris natives have had a rough few years, and almost anyone, even the “Allies,” might at first seem preferable to the Germans, against whom there are serious but unsubstantiated allegations of human rights abuses, including “genocide.”

Editor’s note: can we come up with a less judgmental word? One man’s genocide is another’s freedom fighting.

Though General Eisenhower’s spokesmen would never confirm it, there had been much concern over the past few weeks that the “Allied” forces might be bogged down in a northern French quagmire, as the Germans seemed well dug in, and were bringing up reinforcements from their eastern front against the brave and stalwart Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the main US ally. Thus, even if Paris cannot be ultimately held, its seizure represents at least a temporary appearance of an “Allied” “victory.”

Over the past few weeks, as they marched through the French countryside from Normandy, often accompanied by great destruction and civilian casualties, “Allied” troops, particularly Americans, have been engaging in dangerous propaganda tactics. They have been distributing pamphlets urging the helpless French people to rise up against the much better-armed Germans. Also, in an attempt to show that this war is not against the people of Vichy France, they have been handing out chocolate to children, and nylon st0ckings to the women, though they lack enough to feed or clothe the entire French populace.

The “Allies” and the US had been warned that Mr. Hitler would not allow Paris to be taken, and that he would destroy it before he let it happen. However, at the urging of “General” de Gaulle, they decided to go for the quick propaganda victory, instead of waiting for a more orderly French government to form.

Official US government organs put out stories of a people happy to be liberated.

Pvt. Howard Katzander, a correspondent for Yank, the Army’s weekly magazine, reported on the “hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who cheered them on their way.”

“There was one GI on a truck who kept pointing toward Germany, and then lifting a finger and slashing his throat,” Katzander wrote. “The crowd loved him.”

Such stories, if true, indicate that the American soldiers were allowed to inflame the passions of the Parisian populace, which no doubt led to many of the atrocities and murders against the unarmed German officials, and also against French who had collaborated with them. Many Vichy French officials were summarily hung or shot with their German counterparts, and the heads of many of the poor French women who had slept with the “enemy” were shaved.

Also, it was reported that many German troops were unfairly shot and strafed by aircraft and French resistance fighters as they escaped the city, even though they were in full retreat, and not firing back.

When American and British troops entered the city today, there was reportedly a great deal of wild and uninhibited sex between them and the French women. It was not clear whether any of it was consensual, as these are a people who have been subjugated by armed troops for years, and may have simply resignedly accepted more rape by the troops as an inevitable part of this long and needless war, to which no end is in sight.

“Allies” Seize Paris–Mass Atrocities Occur

(PONN—Pessimistic Objective News Network) August 26, 1944

Risking civic anarchy and destruction of the ancient fabled and beautiful city by Hitler’s rockets of vengeance, “Allied” forces recklessly entered Paris yesterday, while ravishing French women by the thousands, and slaughtering helpless Germans, often allowing the Parisians to hang or shoot them, without even the semblance of a fair trial.

Led by the Second Armored Division of the “French Army,” commanded by “Major General” Lecleric, the troops marched up the Champs Elysee, reportedly to at least scattered cheers and throwing of flowers. Of course, the Paris natives have had a rough few years, and almost anyone, even the “Allies,” might at first seem preferable to the Germans, against whom there are serious but unsubstantiated allegations of human rights abuses, including “genocide.”

Editor’s note: can we come up with a less judgmental word? One man’s genocide is another’s freedom fighting.

Though General Eisenhower’s spokesmen would never confirm it, there had been much concern over the past few weeks that the “Allied” forces might be bogged down in a northern French quagmire, as the Germans seemed well dug in, and were bringing up reinforcements from their eastern front against the brave and stalwart Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the main US ally. Thus, even if Paris cannot be ultimately held, its seizure represents at least a temporary appearance of an “Allied” “victory.”

Over the past few weeks, as they marched through the French countryside from Normandy, often accompanied by great destruction and civilian casualties, “Allied” troops, particularly Americans, have been engaging in dangerous propaganda tactics. They have been distributing pamphlets urging the helpless French people to rise up against the much better-armed Germans. Also, in an attempt to show that this war is not against the people of Vichy France, they have been handing out chocolate to children, and nylon st0ckings to the women, though they lack enough to feed or clothe the entire French populace.

The “Allies” and the US had been warned that Mr. Hitler would not allow Paris to be taken, and that he would destroy it before he let it happen. However, at the urging of “General” de Gaulle, they decided to go for the quick propaganda victory, instead of waiting for a more orderly French government to form.

Official US government organs put out stories of a people happy to be liberated.

Pvt. Howard Katzander, a correspondent for Yank, the Army’s weekly magazine, reported on the “hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who cheered them on their way.”

“There was one GI on a truck who kept pointing toward Germany, and then lifting a finger and slashing his throat,” Katzander wrote. “The crowd loved him.”

Such stories, if true, indicate that the American soldiers were allowed to inflame the passions of the Parisian populace, which no doubt led to many of the atrocities and murders against the unarmed German officials, and also against French who had collaborated with them. Many Vichy French officials were summarily hung or shot with their German counterparts, and the heads of many of the poor French women who had slept with the “enemy” were shaved.

Also, it was reported that many German troops were unfairly shot and strafed by aircraft and French resistance fighters as they escaped the city, even though they were in full retreat, and not firing back.

When American and British troops entered the city today, there was reportedly a great deal of wild and uninhibited sex between them and the French women. It was not clear whether any of it was consensual, as these are a people who have been subjugated by armed troops for years, and may have simply resignedly accepted more rape by the troops as an inevitable part of this long and needless war, to which no end is in sight.

Cavalry To The Rescue!

This is kind of cool. The Pentagon has released photos of US Special Forces on horseback with the Northern Alliance.

But wait–I thought that this was an ineffective and outmoded means of warfare. That’s what the press was telling us last week. That was why the Northern Alliance could never defeat the Talib…

Oh. Never mind.

Clarification

For those reading Instapundit this morning, I don’t really think that Professor Reynolds is singlehandedly responsible for global warming. In fact, I’m not entirely sure that such a phenomenon exists, or that if it does, that it’s not a feature, rather than a bug, as the hysterical media paint it.

But as he was heavily involved in policy at the National Space Society in the 1980’s, I do wish he could have more effectively used whatever meager influence he might have had over Rick Berman to fend off Star Trek Voyager. But he’s forgiven–I’m sure that, as always, he did his best…

Technodialectic

In noting James Lileks’ excellent commentary concerning leftist angst about American success, which exposes the anti-war types as actually just anti-American types (apparently they’re also upset that we’re achieving arms control greater than they ever could have fantasized, but it doesn’t count, because it’s part of our actual successful defense strategy, instead of an “arms control process”), Professor Reynolds makes an interesting point this morning.

This hostility to American success also explains why the same kinds of people were so viscerally hostile to the space program. As Norman Mailer famously observed, it showed them up. They were blathering on about changing the world, while a bunch of flat-topped nerds with slide rules actually went and did it. Naturally, the left has never forgiven them.

As a recovering aerospace engineer, I’ve noticed this as well. And this is as good a time as any to make a confession.

Once upon a time, in Flint, Michigan, when I was young and impressionable, I was a campus radical, and even a member of SDS (though I don’t think they ever had any cards to carry, and I don’t recall any dues). I should note, for those Gen X and Y’ers not up on their ancient history (i.e., the late sixties and early seventies), that this was Students for a Democratic Society, which was actually founded about sixty miles east of Flint, in Port Huron.

Now, so-called “progressive” groups have never worried overmuch about truth in advertising (as the self-labeling with the word “progressive” implies), or truth in general, for that matter. The Bolsheviks didn’t call themselves that because they were really a majority–they were just after kind of a bandwagon effect. So it seemed like a good thing to me. After all, I was a “Student” (albeit a junior-high-school student). And “Democratic”–who could argue with that? And “Society”? Well, there’s the National Geographic Society–they seemed to be OK. So, as a naive fourteen-year old, I joined up.

I joined up mainly because I thought they were against the war in Vietnam, and I also (even though I had models of various fighter aircraft, and dreams of being an Air Force pilot, aborted by my near-sightedness) thought I was against the war. I wasn’t against war in general, but this one seemed to be problematic, even though I was three or four years shy of draft age…

The actual detailed history of my brief foray into leftist (high-school) campus politics is not so much interesting as it is long, so I’ll instead make it short and simply say that, after a few weeks of organizing sit-ins over dress codes (the girls wanted the right to wear cullotes, as I recall, and we guys were willing to go to the barricades for them), and publishing an underground student newspaper on mimeograph (another technology with which students today are utterly innocent), and actually attending an anti-war rally sponsored at the local branch of the University of Michigan, I was invited to attend a meeting at the grownups’ (i.e., local college students) SDS.

I went to the meeting, held in a classroom at night at the local U of M. The highlight (or for me, lowlight) of the evening was a film that we had to endure, that showed the joys of going down to Cuba and helping cut sugar cane por Fidel y la Revolucion.

At that moment, I had an epiphany. These people were socialists, if not communists! Being an Ayn Rand devotee at the time (and not just because she had a cool last name), I was shocked.

After the movie ended, I mentally tore up my imaginary SDS card into little fanciful pieces, walked out, and dabbled with leftist politics no more. But I did start to give some thought to the nature of societal change, and evolution, and revolution, and I started to read some history.

And in so doing, I came to realize that the true revolutionaries were not people marching to the barricades, or theorizing about social philosophies in Ann Arbor or Berkely or Paris cafes, or even the small subset of such people who actually somehow came to political power. The true revolutionaries were the technologists–those who solved societal needs not by attempting to forcibly rearrange society, but rather by giving individuals new tools that allowed them to reorder their own lives.

Gutenberg almost single-handedly (and probably unintentionally) overthrew much of the power structure of his time. Mssrs. Winchester and Colt, and the fellow who invented barbed wire, had as great an impact on the American West as Thomas Jefferson, and more than any politician from the region. Arguably, few politicians had as much impact on the twentieth century as Henry Ford, or Orville and Wilbur Wright, or Armstrong, prolific inventor of the modern radio, or Turing and von Neumann and Noyce and Jobs and Gates, and all the others who gave us the modern information revolution.

When a history of the late twentieth century is written decades or centuries from now, it seems likely to me that John F. Kennedy will be noted as “a minor politician during the era of von Braun.” His “we choose to go to the Moon and do the other things because they are hard” speech at Rice will probably be remembered, but as more information comes out about him, and his Presidency is put into perspective by historians not blinded by the Camelot myth, it will likely also be parodied (“I choose to do Marilyn Monroe, and Judith Exner, and the other women, not because they are easy, but because I am haaaarrrrd…”)

And as part of that insight, a few years later, I did head off to Ann Arbor, but not to hang out with the cool campus radicals, but rather, to attend engineering school.

Anyway, I think that Glenn is right. At some level, the left realize this as well, and it really pisses them off. This, to a large degree, is probably the source of much of their opposition to new (and even old) technology–it changes the world in dramatic and unpredictable ways, and disrupts their ongoing plans to impose upon us dystopias, and their latte philosophizing and teach-ins (and their own bombings) just can’t keep up.

In fact, I think that this is why some of them are still unable to bring themselves to support the war. In their hearts, though they don’t necessarily agree with the specifics of bin Laden’s goals, they feel a sympathy for his methods of lashing out at the otherwise impregnable Kapitalist Amerikan Tekno-Empire, and perhaps even admire and envy his ability to carry them out, in a way that they never competently could, though they’d never admit it. Bill Ayers was a piker compared to Osama. The enemy of their enemy is their friend.

And now that the Soviet Union has collapsed, and socialism has been shown to be the fraud that it is, they are infiltrating instead the environmental movement. In so doing, they are further infusing anti-technology attitudes there, depriving true environmentalists (as opposed to the green-on-the-outside, red-on-the-inside “watermelon” socialist environmentalists) of many of the technology solutions that could actually solve their problems, including space technology. But that’s a subject for another day.

Kabul Liberation Journal

I don’t have a lot of commentary on this piece, except to urge that it be read. It’s just damn good journalism, by Elizabeth Rubin, a woman at the front lines of a war in which the status of women is one of the fundamental issues..

By midday the Northern Alliance commanders were in the city. Gul Haider, a well-known, wooden-legged commander who has been fighting since the days of the Russians, had occupied an Arab and Pakistani military compound. A security guard with the Northern Alliance showed us an address book he’d found with numbers abroad to contact Osama bin Laden. At the Ministry for the Suppression of Vice and the Promotion of Virtue, books and papers written in Arabic littered the floors and desks and cabinets, along with piles of the infamous leather whips made in Pakistan and used by the religious police. One rolled-up edict read: “Three cooks didn’t pray in the evening and were given seven hundred whacks with the cable. In the morning four men left the house without saying prayers and were given seven hundred whacks with the cable.”

A poster-sized statement, drafted by the mullahs here, attempted to lay out all the Koranic justifications for closing down the girls’ schools–namely, because they need to be covered in chadors and separated from men. A bundle of Bibles written in Hebrew along with letters to Israel were bound up in a green bag, most likely confiscated from Jewish Afghans. The man guarding the old ministry shuddered when he saw a pile of turbans on a windowsill. He’d been thrown in prison by the religious police numerous times–because his beard was too short, because he was Tajik, because he was a man from the Panjshir Valley selling rugs.

Perhaps the greatest signs of freedom in Kabul today were the clumps of hair gathering on the barbershop floors, and the children sailing their multicolored kites over every city neighborhood–a pastime forbidden here for the last five years. The barbers, many of whom were arrested eight months ago for giving “Titanic-style” haircuts–combed straight, with a part down the center, and too Western–were celebrating the Taliban defeat by cutting their customers’ beards for free. I met a woman doctor, a cousin of Ahmed Shah Massoud, who held the rank of general in the military for nearly 20 years but was confined to practicing medicine on Taliban wives just once a month at the military hospital. “Tomorrow,” she told me, “they must announce on the radio that we can take off these chadris. And then I’ll put back on my general’s uniform and walk the streets with my face to the air.”

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!