uranium enrichment

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pages: 293 words: 74,709

Bomb Scare by Joseph Cirincione

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Albert Einstein, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, energy security, Ernest Rutherford, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan, uranium enrichment, Yogi Berra

Light-water reactors use uranium that has about 3 percent uranium-235. Weapons-grade highly enriched uranium usually has 90 percent or more. URANIUM–238 A fertile isotope, meaning that it does not easily fission, but can be converted into fissile material through neutron absorption. Nearly all (99.3 percent) of natural uranium is composed of this isotope. URANIUM HEXAFLUORIDE (UF6) Highly toxic gas that is the intermediate stage between yellowcake and enriched uranium. UF6 is the feedstock for all uranium enrichment processes. URANIUM OXIDE (U3O8) The most common oxide found in natural uranium ore. Uranium oxide is extracted from the crushed ore. Yellowcake is about 80 percent uranium oxide. See also yellowcake. WEAPONS-GRADE Fissile material ideal for nuclear weapons. This includes uranium enriched to at least 90 percent uranium-235 and plutonium that is approximately 93 percent plutonium-239.

Most of the uranium for the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was produced in this way. Both of these processes are forms of uranium enrichment and are still in use today. By far the most common and most economical method of enriching uranium, however, is to use large gas centrifuges. (See the third diagram on the page facing the opening of chapter 1.) This method (considered but rejected in the Manhattan Project) pipes uranium gas into large vacuum tanks; rotors then spin it at supersonic speeds. The heavier isotope tends to fly to the outside wall of the tank, allowing the lighter U-235 to be siphoned off from the inside. As with all other methods, thousands of cycles are needed to enrich the uranium. Uranium enriched to 3–5 percent U-235 is used to make fuel rods for modern nuclear power reactors. The same facilities can also enrich uranium to the 70–90 percent levels of U-235 needed for weapons.

Atomic Energy Commission Chairman David Lilienthal in March 1946. The plan sought to establish an International Atomic Development Authority that would own and control all “dangerous” elements of the nuclear fuel cycle, including all uranium mining, processing, conversion, and enrichment facilities. Only “non-dangerous” activities would be allowed on a national level, and even then only with a license granted by the proposed International Authority. Baruch reasoned that this structure would make verification relatively simple since the mere possession of a uranium conversion or enrichment plant by a national authority would be a clear violation. Baruch’s version of the plan also included automatic punishment for violations, which went a step further than the recommendations of Acheson and Lilienthal.2 Since the objective of the Baruch Plan was not only to restrain the spread of nuclear weapons, but also to prevent an arms race and eliminate the bomb altogether, it proposed that once the International Authority could ensure that no other state was able to construct the bomb, the United States would guarantee the elimination of its entire nuclear stockpile.


pages: 492 words: 153,565

Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon by Kim Zetter

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Ayatollah Khomeini, Brian Krebs, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, facts on the ground, Firefox, friendly fire, Google Earth, information retrieval, Julian Assange, Loma Prieta earthquake, Maui Hawaii, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, smart grid, smart meter, South China Sea, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, WikiLeaks, Y2K, zero day

But they said the gas was enriched only to test the centrifuges and was enriched only to 1.2 percent. This didn’t jibe with the particles the IAEA had collected, however, which ranged from 36 percent to 70 percent enriched.13 Uranium in its natural state contains less than 1 percent of U-235, the isotope needed for reactors and bombs. Most nuclear reactors need uranium enriched to just 3 to 5 percent. Highly enriched uranium is enriched to 20 percent or more. Although 20 percent enrichment can be used for crude nuclear devices, in addition to some types of nuclear reactors, weapons-grade uranium is enriched to 90 percent or above. Iranian officials insisted the highly enriched particles must have come from residue left inside used centrifuges that Iran had purchased—an admission that the centrifuge design wasn’t Iran’s own, as they had previously stated, and that some other nation was helping Iran build its program.

Unfortunately, Iran wasn’t required to tell inspectors why they had replaced them, and, officially, the IAEA inspectors had no right to ask. The agency’s mandate was to monitor what happened to uranium at the enrichment plant, not keep track of failed equipment. What the inspectors didn’t know was that the answer to their question was right beneath their noses, buried in the bits and memory of the computers in Natanz’s industrial control room. Months earlier, in June 2009, someone had quietly unleashed a destructive digital warhead on computers in Iran, where it had silently slithered its way into critical systems at Natanz, all with a single goal in mind—to sabotage Iran’s uranium enrichment program and prevent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from building a nuclear bomb. The answer was there at Natanz, but it would be nearly a year before the inspectors would obtain it, and even then it would come only after more than a dozen computer security experts around the world spent months deconstructing what would ultimately become known as one of the most sophisticated viruses ever discovered—a piece of software so unique it would make history as the world’s first digital weapon and the first shot across the bow announcing the age of digital warfare

He also had a reputation for quiet confidence and steadfast determination that made it clear to the nations he inspected that he had little patience for duplicity. As he took in the news from Jafarzadeh, he was struck by the level of detail it revealed. Heinonen had been waiting for information like this for a while. Like his counterparts at ISIS, he immediately suspected the Natanz facility wasn’t a fuel-manufacturing plant at all but a uranium enrichment plant. Two years earlier, government sources had told the IAEA that Iran tried to secretly purchase parts from Europe in the 1980s to manufacture centrifuges for uranium enrichment.10 Based on this, Heinonen had suspected that Iran had an illicit centrifuge plant hidden somewhere within its borders, but he never knew its location, and the IAEA couldn’t confront the Iranians without exposing the source of the intelligence. The IAEA had also been wary of acting on information received from government sources, ever since an intelligence agency had told the IAEA in 1992 that Iran was secretly procuring prohibited nuclear equipment but hadn’t provided any details.


pages: 217 words: 61,407

Twilight of Abundance: Why the 21st Century Will Be Nasty, Brutish, and Short by David Archibald

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Bakken shale, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, deindustrialization, energy security, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, income per capita, means of production, mutually assured destruction, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, out of africa, peak oil, price discovery process, rising living standards, South China Sea, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, Yom Kippur War

Iran has a broadly based and well-funded nuclear weapons program that includes multiple sites for centrifugal enrichment of uranium, a heavy-water plant sized at a hundred metric tons annually, and a forty-megawatt-thermal heavy-water reactor suitable for the production of plutonium. By 2003, Iran had created an isotope of polonium (Po210) by irradiating bismuth in its Tehran reactor. One of the best-known uses for this isotope is as a neutron initiator in nuclear weapons. It has been estimated that as of November 2012, Iran had 7.6 metric tons of uranium enriched to 3.5 percent U235 and 232 kilograms of uranium enriched to 20 percent U235. Further enriched, the latter quantity is estimated to provide enough uranium for one bomb with a fifty-kilogram core of 90 percent U235. GUARANTEED SECOND STRIKE The U.S.-Russian nuclear standoff gave mankind the most peaceful period in world history. This was the period of mutually assured destruction, or MAD, that made the nuclear powers cautious in their dealings with each other.

One result of Communism’s collapse was that the former Communists and their fellow travelers in the West found a new ideological home in the environmental movement and moved on to promoting the global warming hoax as a wealth redistribution exercise, via a network of UN agencies. Another unfortunate consequence was that a number of regimes felt much less constrained from developing nuclear weapons. The errant nuclear power of the moment is Iran, which has a large, well-funded uranium-enrichment program and a stated intention of annihilating Israel with nuclear weapons. But whatever the fate of the Iranian bomb-making effort, there is already another nation that is also heading toward failed-state status while still upping the bomb-making rate of its nuclear weapons program. This is Pakistan, “the land of the pure.” Pakistan is in one of the world’s poorer countries, with a literacy rate of 55 percent and a population growth rate of 1.7 percent per annum.

A Pakistani-initiated attack on India’s coastal city of Mumbai by terrorists backed by Pakistan’s secret service agency, the ISI, would follow in 2008. The terrorists were members of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the same group that had earlier attacked India’s parliament. And in 2011, satellite imagery showed that construction had commenced on a fourth plutonium-producing reactor at Khushab. Pakistan’s uranium-enrichment facilities are thought to be capable of producing 110 kilograms of weapons-grade U235 annually, which is enough for five weapons. On the completion of the fourth Khushab reactor, assuming that these four reactors are each rated at seventy megawatts thermal and operate 70 percent of the time, Pakistan could also produce seventy kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium each year, enough for fourteen weapons.


pages: 719 words: 209,224

The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy by David Hoffman

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anti-communist, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, crony capitalism, cuban missile crisis, failed state, joint-stock company, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, Stanislav Petrov, Thomas L Friedman, uranium enrichment, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier

They drove him around the gargantuan factory, fenced off, dark and brooding. Mette's workers were making fuel for Russian nuclear power plants. If they weren't exactly thriving, Weber saw they were not starving either. The entire town seemed to be a "little Russia"--Weber saw no Kazakhs there. Just before leaving, Weber inquired gently about the uranium. "If it is not a secret," he asked, "do you have any highly-enriched uranium?" Highly-enriched uranium could be used for nuclear weapons. Mette was still evasive. The former Soviet Union was brimming with highly-enriched uranium and plutonium. Viktor Mikhailov, the Russian atomic energy minister, revealed in the summer of 1993 that Russia had accumulated much more highly-enriched uranium, up to twelve hundred metric tons, than was previously thought.8 Outside of Russia, in the other former republics, less was known about stockpiles, but much was feared about the Iranians and the Iraqis hunting for material to build nuclear bombs.

They needed someone who could quickly lay "eyes on target," as Starr put it, and know exactly what was stored there, and how vulnerable it was. They couldn't be sure if they could take samples, or photographs, so it had to be someone who could mentally absorb everything, who would know about canisters and metals. The job went to Elwood Gift of the National Security Programs Office at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. A chemical-nuclear engineer, Gift had experience in most of the nuclear fuel cycle, including uranium enrichment. Gift arrived in Kazakhstan March 1 amid swirling snowstorms, and for several days holed up at Weber's house. When the weather cleared, they boarded an An-12 turboprop for Ust-Kamenogorsk. The Kazakh government purchased tickets in false names to hide their identity. Fuel was scarce. Just ten minutes after takeoff, they unexpectedly landed again--the tanks were almost empty and the pilot attempted to coax more fuel from a military airfield.

In his briefcase, Gift placed the small glass vials that held the eleven samples into holes cut in foam cushioning and snapped it shut. When they walked away from the uranium warehouse, Gift, carrying the briefcase, suddenly slipped and fell hard on the ice. Weber and Mette helped him to his feet but looked at each other. "Both of us, our initial reaction was, Oh my God, the samples!" Weber said. Both Gift and the samples were fine. Back in Almaty, they told the ambassador they had verified the uranium was highly enriched. Courtney immediately sent a cable to Washington, noting the ancient padlock on the door. The cable, Weber recalled, "hit Washington like a ton of bricks." Starr, who was in Washington, said the cable "established there was a potentially serious proliferation issue." Weber thought there was only one thing to do. "In my mind it was a no-brainer," he said. "Let's buy this stuff as quickly as we can and move it to the United States."


pages: 323 words: 89,795

Food and Fuel: Solutions for the Future by Andrew Heintzman, Evan Solomon, Eric Schlosser

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agricultural Revolution, Berlin Wall, big-box store, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, corporate social responsibility, David Brooks, deindustrialization, distributed generation, energy security, Exxon Valdez, flex fuel, full employment, half of the world's population has never made a phone call, hydrogen economy, land reform, microcredit, Negawatt, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment

Second, the claim that nuclear power produces no greenhouse gas emissions is not actually correct. Greenhouse gases are emitted during the extraction of uranium for fuel, as well as during uranium processing and enrichment. Greenhouse gases are also emitted in the production of construction materials for nuclear power plants, such as concrete and steel. In addition, there are some minor emissions of greenhouse gases during reactor operations by secondary generators that are required in case of accidents. These generators must be tested on a regular basis, and during the testing they emit carbon dioxide and other gases. Most nuclear power reactors in operation in the world today — those termed light water reactors — require uranium to be enriched in one of its naturally occurring isotopes, uranium-235, for use in fuel. The enrichment process can be very energy intensive, depending on the exact method used.

Perhaps the main problem with nuclear power is that some of the associated technologies — reprocessing of spent fuel to separate plutonium and uranium enrichment technologies — pose the highest proliferation threats. Separated plutonium can easily be fashioned into nuclear weapons by knowledgeable people. Highly enriched uranium is arguably even easier to make into nuclear weapons. Thus, for years the world has safeguarded these technologies in non–nuclear weapons states. The problem with a ten-fold expansion in nuclear power is the resulting growth and spread of these technologies. Clearly, they would have to be controlled. Perhaps the best way to do so would be through the use of international uranium enrichment, reprocessing, and reactor production facilities. An additional step to ensure proliferation resistance would be internationalizing nuclear waste disposal, so that all nuclear material was controlled and accounted for from cradle to grave.

The Paducah, Kentucky, gaseous diffusion plant gets most of its electricity from coal-burning power plants. Thus, its annual operation creates the emission of about as much greenhouse gases as that from three 1,100-megawatt coal plants. Other enrichment technologies, such as centrifuge plants, are less energy intensive than gaseous diffusion; nonetheless, they still use electricity. Unless a system can be made in which all the electricity used in uranium mining, milling, and enrichment comes form nuclear power itself, nuclear-produced electricity will result in the emission of some greenhouse gases. The larger question that we are trying to address is, what is a reasonable expectation for greenhouse-gas-emission reductions from nuclear power? Today’s nuclear power plants save 600 million tonnes of carbon per year from going into the atmosphere from equivalent power-producing coal-fired plants.


pages: 465 words: 124,074

Atomic Obsession: Nuclear Alarmism From Hiroshima to Al-Qaeda by John Mueller

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airport security, Albert Einstein, Black Swan, Cass Sunstein, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Doomsday Clock, energy security, F. W. de Klerk, failed state, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, oil shock, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, side project, uranium enrichment, Yom Kippur War

According to CIA Director George Tenet, “Mahmood was thought of as something of a madman by many of his former colleagues in the Pakistan nuclear establishment.”17 It is possible to believe that the two scientists “provided detailed responses to bin Laden’s technical questions about the manufacture of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons,” as another Washington Post report puts it.18 But the questions do not seem to be very sophisticated, and as the scientists themselves have reportedly insisted, it seems that the discussion was wide-ranging and academic (even rather basic) and that they provided no material or specific plans. Moreover, as the Pakistani officials stressed to Khan and Moore, Mahmood had been involved with uranium enrichment and plutonium production but not bomb building. Therefore he “had neither the knowledge nor the experience to assist in the construction of any type of nuclear weapon,” nor, it seems, were the scientists experts in chemical or biological weapons. Therefore, they likely were incapable of providing truly helpful information, because their expertise was not in bomb design, which might be useful to terrorists, but rather in the processing of fissile material, which is almost certainly beyond the capacities of a nonstate group, as discussed in chapter 12.

Because We Say So by Noam Chomsky

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Chelsea Manning, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Malacca Straits, Martin Wolf, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Slavoj Žižek, Stanislav Petrov, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks

It begins by rejecting the American assertion that the accord breaks 10 years of unwillingness on Iran’s part to address this alleged nuclear threat. Ten years ago Iran offered to resolve its differences with the United States over nuclear programs, along with all other issues. The Bush administration rejected the offer angrily and reprimanded the Swiss diplomat who conveyed it. The European Union and Iran then sought an arrangement under which Iran would suspend uranium enrichment while the EU would provide assurances that the U.S. would not attack. As Selig Harrison reported in the FINANCIAL TIMES, “the EU, held back by the U.S. . . . refused to discuss security issues,” and the effort died. In 2010, Iran accepted a proposal by Turkey and Brazil to ship its enriched uranium to Turkey for storage. In return, the West would provide isotopes for Iran’s medical research reactors.


pages: 258 words: 63,367

Making the Future: The Unipolar Imperial Moment by Noam Chomsky

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Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate personhood, deindustrialization, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Frank Gehry, full employment, Howard Zinn, Joseph Schumpeter, kremlinology, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Mikhail Gorbachev, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, precariat, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, structural adjustment programs, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, working poor

The July [2008] meeting in Geneva between Iran and six major world powers on Iran’s nuclear program ended with no progress. The Bush administration was widely praised for having shifted to a more conciliatory stand—namely, by allowing a U.S. diplomat to attend without participating—while Iran was castigated for failing to negotiate seriously. And the powers warned Iran that it would soon face more severe sanctions unless it terminated its uranium-enrichment programs. Meanwhile India was applauded for agreeing to a nuclear pact with the United States that would effectively authorize its development of nuclear weapons outside the bounds of the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), with U.S. assistance in nuclear programs along with other rewards—in particular, to U.S. firms eager to enter the Indian market for nuclear and weapons development, and ample payoffs to parliamentarians who signed on, a tribute to India’s flourishing democracy.

What We Say Goes: Conversations on U.S. Power in a Changing World by Noam Chomsky, David Barsamian

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banking crisis, British Empire, Doomsday Clock, failed state, feminist movement, Howard Zinn, informal economy, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Thomas L Friedman, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus

There are all kinds of hideous things you can say about it. But the fact is, on the nuclear issue, they are the ones who offered negotiations. They are the ones who said that they would accept the two-state settlement on Israel-Palestine. But the United States is willing to “negotiate” only if Iran concedes the result of the negotiations before the negotiations begin. The negotiations are conditional on Iran stopping uranium enrichment, which it’s legally entitled to do, but which is supposed to be the goal of negotiations.38 So, yes, we’ll negotiate if they first concede in advance. And with a gun pointed at their heads, because we won’t withdraw the threats against Tehran. Washington has made that very clear. We continue the threats, which are a violation of the UN Charter. In other words, the United States is still refusing to negotiate.

U.S. oil companies would be delighted to help enter into the development of huge Iranian natural gas and oil fields, but they’re blocked by the state.25 We have to punish Iran for its successful defiance in overthrowing a U.S.-imposed tyrant. This morning, the Boston Globe reported something that has been known around here for a long time. In 1974, presumably at U.S. government initiative, MIT made a deal with the shah of Iran to effectively lease the nuclear engineering department, or a large part of it, to Iran, to bring in lots of Iranian nuclear engineers and train them in the development of uranium enrichment and other techniques of nuclear development. In return, the shah, who was one of the most brutal tyrants of the period, with a horrible human rights record, would pay MIT at least half a million dollars. The article also points out that several of the engineers who were trained at MIT are now apparently running the Iranian nuclear programs.26 Those programs were strongly supported by the United States in the mid-1970s.


pages: 684 words: 188,584

The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era by Craig Nelson

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Albert Einstein, Brownian motion, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, Doomsday Clock, El Camino Real, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, music of the spheres, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, Project Plowshare, Ralph Nader, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, éminence grise

Abbasi and his wife escaped more or less unharmed, but one of his colleagues was killed by a similar attack, as was an Iranian particle physicist in January 2010, an electronics specialist in July 2011, and a manager at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant in January 2012. Teheran blamed Tel Aviv and Washington for the assassinations, as well as for the malware viruses known as Flame and Stuxnet, which were discovered in the spring of 2012 infecting Iran’s uranium enrichment computers. Flame is lithe spyware that turns on computer microphones and Skypes the recorded conversations; scans the neighborhood’s Bluetooth gadgets for names and phone numbers; and takes pictures of the computer’s screen every fifteen to sixty seconds. Stuxnet infected Iran’s uranium-enriching centrifuges and sped them up until they committed suicide. A Russian nuclear executive summed up that after the fall of the USSR, “the great powers were stuck with arsenals they could not use, and nuclear weapons became the weapons of the poor. . . .

We have yet to learn how not to do this.” 13 Too Cheap to Meter FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT always planned to share the Manhattan Project’s final blueprints with Britain and Canada. After all, they had contributed scientists and money to the research. But after FDR’s death, the United States instead forbade the sharing of secret atomic-energy information with any foreign country, including Britain and Canada, on pain of death. It didn’t actually matter for the allies as they had been involved enough to know the fundamentals, but since the USA had a monopoly on uranium enrichment, the British were forced to engineer reactors that used natural uranium metals, moderated by graphite but cooled by gas. France followed Britain’s design in their own burners, and Canada used similar fuels, but moderated with heavy water. In the end, America’s attempts at safeguarding her atomic secrets hurt only her own allies. When in 1960, Argonne, Westinghouse, and Oak Ridge proudly displayed the first US pressurized- and boiling-water reactors for civilian utilities, they were six years behind the Soviet Union in nuclear power.

Unfortunately, the history of breeder reactors is not good; all four of the AEC’s test breeders of the 1960s were failures. But a number of physicists and engineers insist that the thorium design will solve all of those problems, with less maintenance, and less waste. Microsoft billionaires Bill Gates and Nathan Myhrvold are, meanwhile, investing in a “traveling wave reactor” process, a type of breeder reactor fueled by ordinary uranium instead of enriched, which, if it works, won’t require massive Oak Ridge–like industrial plants isolating near-weapons-grade isotopes. Breeder reactors are so interesting that Eagle Scout David Hahn decided that, for his 1994 Atomic Energy merit badge, he should build one in his parents’ suburban Detroit potting shed. “His dream in life was to collect a sample of every element on the periodic table,” Hahn’s high school physics teacher remembered.

Interventions by Noam Chomsky

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Albert Einstein, Ayatollah Khomeini, cuban missile crisis, energy security, facts on the ground, failed state, Monroe Doctrine, nuremberg principles, Ralph Nader, Thorstein Veblen, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, éminence grise

Included were “weapons of mass destruction, a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the future of Lebanon’s Hezbollah organization and cooperation with the UN nuclear safeguards agency,” the Financial Times reported last month (May 2006). The Bush administration refused, and reprimanded the Swiss diplomat who conveyed the offer.2 A year later, the European Union and Iran struck a bargain: Iran would suspend uranium enrichment, and in return Europe would provide assurances that the United States and Israel would not attack Iran. Apparently under U.S. pressure, Europe backed off, and Iran renewed its enrichment processes.3 As in the case of the 2003 offers, and others, there is only one way to determine whether Iran’s initiatives are serious: pursue them. From the record, we can only conclude that the U.S. and its allies are afraid that they might be serious.


pages: 234 words: 63,149

Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World by Ian Bremmer

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airport security, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, BRICs, capital controls, clean water, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, energy security, European colonialism, failed state, global rebalancing, global supply chain, income inequality, informal economy, Julian Assange, labour mobility, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Nixon shock, nuclear winter, purchasing power parity, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Stuxnet, trade route, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War

Though some experts called it the most sophisticated malicious computer program ever seen, this weapon did not draw much media attention until experts discovered that among its many features is an ability to send nuclear centrifuges spinning out of control.38 As a result, many analysts now believe it was designed as part of a joint U.S.-Israeli project to disrupt the nuclear program under development in Iran, and senior U.S. and Israeli officials have since reported their belief that Iran’s uranium enrichment program has been significantly delayed. All this amounts to high, if mostly hidden, drama, but it’s just the latest episode in the nearly seven-decade battle to contain one of the world’s most complicated long-term problems. The two bombs that abruptly ended World War II marked the peak of American military dominance, but the U.S. atomic monopoly lasted just four years. The Soviets successfully tested an atomic device in August 1949, and the race was on to bolster national defenses with the most destructive available weapons.

That’s one reason why Iran has pushed full speed ahead with development of a weapons capability—and why it will probably one day cross the nuclear finish line. Between now and then, Iran will have to cope with a variety of international sanctions on the export of nuclear materials, missiles, and other military matériel; investment in oil, gas, and petrochemicals; and shipping, banking, and insurance transactions. The purpose of these sanctions is not simply to slow or halt Iran’s uranium enrichment program; it’s also to ensure that the next wave of would-be weapons states can see just how dangerous and expensive nuclear development in violation of international agreements can be. But too many governments are interested in Iran’s oil and gas to maintain effective sanctions on its energy trade. In Myanmar, an authoritarian military regime suppresses domestic demand for democracy and brutalizes and jails civilian protesters.


pages: 523 words: 148,929

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 by Michio Kaku

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agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, blue-collar work, British Empire, Brownian motion, cloud computing, Colonization of Mars, DARPA: Urban Challenge, delayed gratification, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, friendly AI, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hydrogen economy, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, megacity, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, Turing machine, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, Wall-E, Walter Mischel, Whole Earth Review, X Prize

History has shown that when a nation masters commercial technology, it can, if it has the desire and political will, make the transition to nuclear weapons. The danger is that nuclear weapons technology will proliferate into some of the most unstable regions of the world. During World War II, only the greatest nations on earth had the resources, know-how, and capability to create an atomic bomb. However, in the future, the threshold could be dramatically lowered as the price of uranium enrichment plummets due to the introduction of new technologies. This is the danger we face: newer and cheaper technologies may place the atomic bomb into unstable hands. The key to building the atomic bomb is to secure large quantities of uranium ore and then purify it. This means separating uranium 238 (which makes up 99.3 percent of naturally occurring uranium) from uranium 235, which is suitable for an atomic bomb but makes up only .7 percent.

In the 1980s and 1990s, the United States, France, Britain, Germany, South Africa, and Japan attempted to master this difficult technology and were unsuccessful. In the United States, one attempt actually involved 500 scientists and $2 billion. But in 2006, Australian scientists announced that not only have they solved the problem, they intend to commercialize it. Since 30 percent of the cost of uranium fuel comes from the enrichment process, the Australian company Silex thinks there could be a market for this technology. Silex even signed a contract with General Electric to begin commercialization. Eventually, they hope to produce up to one-third of the world’s uranium using this method. In 2008, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy announced plans to build the first commercial laser enrichment plant in Wilmington, North Carolina, by 2012.


pages: 466 words: 127,728

The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System by James Rickards

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, banking crisis, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business climate, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, complexity theory, computer age, credit crunch, currency peg, David Graeber, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, Edward Snowden, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, financial repression, Flash crash, floating exchange rates, forward guidance, George Akerlof, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, inflation targeting, invisible hand, jitney, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, labour mobility, Lao Tzu, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, market clearing, market design, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mutually assured destruction, obamacare, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price stability, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, reserve currency, risk-adjusted returns, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, Stuxnet, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, trade route, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, working-age population, yield curve

The Syrian government was forced to conduct business in the currencies of its three principal allies—Iranian rials, Russian rubles, and Chinese yuan—because the Syrian pound had practically ceased to function as a medium of exchange. By late 2013, the financial damage in Iran led to an agreement between President Obama and Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, which eased U.S. financial attacks in exchange for Iranian concessions on its uranium enrichment programs. Iran had suffered from the sanctions, but it had not collapsed, and now it had met the United States at the negotiating table. In particular, sanctions on gold purchases by Iran were removed, enabling Iran to stockpile gold using the dollar proceeds from oil sales. President Obama made it clear that although sanctions were eased, they could be reimposed if Iran failed to live up to its promises to scale back its nuclear programs.

Chinese president Hu Jintao and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev used the occasion of the SCO and BRICS summits to sign a joint Sino-Russian declaration calling for reform of the global financial system and international financial institutions and greater developing economy representation in the IMF. Newly elected Iranian president Hassan Rouhani had a kind of international coming-out party at the SCO summit in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, on September 13, 2013. At the summit, Iran received strong support from Russia, China, and the rest of the SCO for noninterference in Iran’s uranium-enrichment efforts. As geopolitics are increasingly played out in the realm of international economics rather than purely military-diplomatic spheres, the SCO’s evolution from a security alliance to a potential monetary zone should be expected. This has already happened covertly through Russian and Chinese banks’ role in facilitating Iranian hard-currency transactions, despite sanctions on Iranian money transfers imposed by the United States and the EU.


pages: 386 words: 91,913

The Elements of Power: Gadgets, Guns, and the Struggle for a Sustainable Future in the Rare Metal Age by David S. Abraham

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3D printing, carbon footprint, clean water, cleantech, Deng Xiaoping, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, glass ceiling, global supply chain, information retrieval, Internet of things, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, reshoring, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, Tesla Model S, thinkpad, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, Y2K

Sillamäe town officials, interview by David Abraham, Sillamäe, Estonia, January 22, 2013. 2. Sillamäe, “History: Sillamäe Linn,” accessed December 17, 2014, http://www.sillamae.ee/en/web/eng/history. 3. Sillamäe, “Secret Period: Sillamäe Linn,” accessed December 18, 2014, http://www.sillamae.ee/en/web/eng/secret-period; Olaf Mertelsmann, “The Uranium Enrichment Factory in Sillamäe (Kombinat 7),” Estonica, January 28, 2009, http://www.estonica.org/en/The_Uranium_Enrichment_Factory_in_Sillam%C3%A4e_Kombinat_7/. 4. “Tech Topics: The Leading Edge,” Kemet, September, 2001, Vol 11, No. 1, http://www.kemet.com/Lists/TechnicalArticles/Attachments/143/V11N01%20Nb%20vs%20Ta%20Capacitors.pdf; David O’Brock, interview by David Abraham, Sillamäe, Estonia, January 22, 2013; Sally Lowder, “David Trueman: The Ups and Downs of Minor Metal Investing,” Gold Report, July 5, 2011, accessed December 18, 2014, http://www.theaureport.com/pub/na/david-trueman-the-ups-and-downs-of-minor-metal-investing. 5.


pages: 363 words: 101,082

Earth Wars: The Battle for Global Resources by Geoff Hiscock

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Admiral Zheng, Asian financial crisis, Bakken shale, Bernie Madoff, BRICs, butterfly effect, clean water, cleantech, corporate governance, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, energy security, energy transition, eurozone crisis, Exxon Valdez, flex fuel, global rebalancing, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, Long Term Capital Management, Malacca Straits, Masdar, megacity, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Panamax, purchasing power parity, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, trade route, uranium enrichment, urban decay, working-age population, Yom Kippur War

Coal, oil, gas, and biomass make up the remaining 13 percent of Brazil’s energy mix. Brazil has about 5 percent of the world’s known uranium reserves, and all output is used domestically after enrichment overseas. State-owned Industrias Nucleares do Brazil (INB) operates the Lagoa Real/Caetite mine in Bahia state, and a second mine Itataia/Santa Quiteria in Ceara state. Brazil has a significant capability in uranium enrichment and fuel fabrication at Resende in Rio de Janeiro state, and is also working on the development of advanced reactor designs and systems. No private investment in nuclear power is allowed. A secret nuclear weapons program embarked on by Brazil’s military government in the 1970s was abandoned by the civilian administration in the 1980s, and Brazil subsequently renounced any interest in developing nuclear weapons.

Who Rules the World? by Noam Chomsky

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Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, corporate governance, corporate personhood, cuban missile crisis, deindustrialization, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, invisible hand, Malacca Straits, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, precariat, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, Stanislav Petrov, structural adjustment programs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, trade route, union organizing, uranium enrichment, wage slave, WikiLeaks, working-age population

In Europe, polls show that Israel is regarded as the leading threat to peace.27 In the MENA countries, that status is shared with the United States, to the extent that in Egypt, on the eve of the Tahrir Square uprising, 80 percent of the population felt that the region would be more secure if Iran had nuclear weapons.28 The same polls found that only 10 percent of Egyptians regard Iran as a threat—unlike the ruling dictators, who have their own concerns.29 In the United States, before the massive propaganda campaigns of the past few years, a majority of the population agreed with most of the world that, as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has a right to carry out uranium enrichment. Even today, a significant majority favors peaceful means for dealing with Iran. There is even strong opposition to military engagement if Iran and Israel are at war. Only a quarter of Americans regard Iran as an important concern for the United States.30 But it is not unusual for there to be a gap—often a chasm—dividing public opinion and policy. Why exactly is Iran regarded as such a colossal threat?


pages: 310 words: 82,592

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss, Tahl Raz

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banking crisis, Black Swan, clean water, cognitive bias, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, framing effect, friendly fire, iterative process, loss aversion, market fundamentalism, price anchoring, telemarketer, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment

Lucky for Williams, Disney wanted to keep its star happy. After initially pointing out the obvious—that he’d happily signed the deal—Disney made the dramatic gesture of sending the star a Picasso painting worth a reported $1 million. The nation of Iran was not so lucky. In recent years, Iran has put up with sanctions that have cost it well over $100 billion in foreign investment and oil revenue in order to defend a uranium-enriching nuclear program that can only meet 2 percent of its energy needs. In other words, like the students who won’t take a free $1 because the offer seems insulting, Iran has screwed itself out of its chief source of income—oil and gas revenue—in order to pursue an energy project with little expected payoff. Why? Again, fairness. For Iran, it’s not fair that the global powers—which together have several thousand nuclear weapons—should be able to decide if it can use nuclear energy.


pages: 251 words: 76,868

How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance by Parag Khanna

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Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, bank run, blood diamonds, borderless world, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, don't be evil, double entry bookkeeping, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, friendly fire, global village, Google Earth, high net worth, index fund, informal economy, invisible hand, labour mobility, laissez-faire capitalism, Masdar, megacity, microcredit, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, out of africa, private military company, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Silicon Valley, smart grid, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, sustainable-tourism, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, X Prize

Many assert that America’s approach to Iran and North Korea has been that of a reckless gorilla, but if anything it has been too narrow and cautious, focused on containment and isolation rather than on engagement and resolution. Each encounter between American and Iranian officials has been suffused with a significance rivaled only by an extraterrestrial encounter. Demanding that no negotiations would take place until Iran suspended its uranium enrichment program and allowed full inspections wasted three years during which enrichment accelerated. The so-called carrot-and-stick approach to Iran has been a self-serving euphemism for coercion, since the preconditions for negotiation are already too patronizing for the Iranians. As one Iranian scholar put it, “No more carrots and no more sticks—and please no more sticks in the shape of carrots either.”


pages: 587 words: 117,894

Cybersecurity: What Everyone Needs to Know by P. W. Singer, Allan Friedman

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4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blood diamonds, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business continuity plan, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Edward Snowden, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fault tolerance, global supply chain, Google Earth, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, M-Pesa, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, packet switching, Peace of Westphalia, pre–internet, profit motive, RAND corporation, ransomware, RFC: Request For Comment, risk tolerance, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, WikiLeaks, zero day

In the variety of attacks cited by the senators above, the Citigroup attackers wanted account details about bank customers with an ultimate goal of financial theft. In the attack on RSA, the attackers wanted key business secrets in order to spy on other companies. For Stuxnet (a case we’ll explore further in Part II), the attackers wanted to disrupt industrial control processes involved in uranium enrichment, so as to sabotage the Iranian nuclear program. Finally, it is useful to acknowledge when the danger comes from one of your own. As cases like Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks or Edward Snowden and the NSA scandal illustrate, the “insider threat” is particularly tough because the actor can search for vulnerabilities from within systems designed only to be used by trusted actors. Insiders can have much better perspectives on what is valuable and how best to leverage that value, whether they are trying to steal secrets or sabotage an operation.

If they are to be used as a precision weapon, it is imperative both to avoid detection and to minimize the collateral damage beyond the intended target. This precision becomes even more important if the attack is to interfere with physical processes. In the case of Stuxnet, for example, many believe that practice was needed to understand how the software would deploy and how altering the industrial controllers would impact the targeted process of uranium enrichment. Reportedly, the new cyberweapon was tested at Israel’s secretive nuclear facility in Dimona. As one source told the New York Times about the test effort, “To check out the worm, you have to know the machines.… The reason the worm has been effective is that the Israelis tried it out.” On the defensive side, vulnerability tests and practice exercises are quite valuable for the actors in cyberspace that range from militaries to private companies.


pages: 322 words: 84,752

Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up by Philip N. Howard

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Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, Brian Krebs, British Empire, call centre, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Google Earth, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Julian Assange, Kibera, Kickstarter, land reform, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mobile money, Mohammed Bouazizi, national security letter, Network effects, obamacare, Occupy movement, packet switching, pension reform, prediction markets, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, spectrum auction, statistical model, Stuxnet, trade route, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, zero day

North Korea sends its elite hackers, specially trained at its military school, Mirim College, to attack South Korean and U.S. infrastructure on national holidays. The list of state-sponsored viruses is growing. One attack crippled the world’s most valuable company, the $10 trillion Saudi oil firm Aramco. Hackers wiped out data on three-quarters of the company’s computers.9 The attack was probably launched by Iran, and it came on a carefully chosen day when the impact would be severe. Stuxnet, the virus that crippled Iran’s uranium enrichment centrifuges, was probably developed by the United States and Israel.10 The same team that produced Stuxnet probably also produced the viruses Flame and Gauss, all of which have some shared code.11 These more recent viruses have basic data-mining goals, and Gauss seems to be targeting Lebanese banks. China is only one of several countries that have a full-time, professional cohort of hackers who aggressively attack information infrastructure in other countries and steal intellectual property.


pages: 219 words: 61,720

American Made: Why Making Things Will Return Us to Greatness by Dan Dimicco

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American energy revolution, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, carbon footprint, clean water, crony capitalism, currency manipulation / currency intervention, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, fear of failure, full employment, Google Glasses, hydraulic fracturing, invisible hand, job automation, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Loma Prieta earthquake, manufacturing employment, oil shale / tar sands, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, smart meter, sovereign wealth fund, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, Works Progress Administration

I switched to metallurgy and materials science, because I figured NASA would need people who understood alloys, stresses, and heat as much as they needed electrical engineers. I graduated from college just as the Apollo program was winding down. But happily, NASA was developing a space station—Skylab—and the space shuttle program was well underway. I interviewed with General Electric at its uranium enrichment facility in Wilmington, North Carolina, and in Massachusetts, where the company did its research and development work. But truth be told, I felt like I didn’t know enough when I got my bachelor’s degree. Graduate school seemed like the way to go. I applied to business schools and engineering schools, and got accepted into several of both, including Brown’s engineering school and the University of Pennsylvania.


pages: 270 words: 79,992

The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath by Nicco Mele

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3D printing, 4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, business climate, call centre, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative editing, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, death of newspapers, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, global supply chain, Google Chrome, Gordon Gekko, Hacker Ethic, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Mohammed Bouazizi, Mother of all demos, Narrative Science, new economy, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, pirate software, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, uranium enrichment, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Zipcar

Yet we also must acknowledge, as Clarke at least attempted to do, that the balance of power has shifted away from traditional militaries toward small groups of sophisticated, dedicated troublemakers. Recent months have brought the revelation that the United States military, possibly with the Israeli military, has released at least one and perhaps two computer viruses into the world with the intent of crippling Iran’s slow march to nuclear capabilities. The first virus was called Stuxnet, and was targeted at specific kinds of machines that would be in use for uranium enrichment. The second virus is called Flame, and it has not been definitively linked to the United States, although the evidence is strong. These proactive acts of “cyber war,” while significant programming projects, hardly raise the scale of resource-intensive military operations such as designing, building, and maintaining an aircraft carrier. Comparatively small, nimble teams can carry out cyber war.


pages: 422 words: 113,525

Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto by Stewart Brand

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agricultural Revolution, back-to-the-land, biofilm, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cass Sunstein, clean water, Community Supported Agriculture, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dark matter, decarbonisation, demographic dividend, demographic transition, Elon Musk, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, glass ceiling, Google Earth, Hans Rosling, Hernando de Soto, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kibera, land tenure, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, microbiome, New Urbanism, out of africa, Paul Graham, peak oil, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, smart grid, stem cell, Stewart Brand, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, Thomas Malthus, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, working-age population, Y2K

-Russia program to convert warheads into fuel. It began in 1994, and currently 10 percent of the electricity Americans use comes from Russian missiles and bombs. The goal is to convert twenty thousand nuclear warheads into fuel by 2013; that’s enough energy to run the whole U.S. nuclear fleet for two years. Two processes are involved. One “downblends” weapons-grade highly enriched (95 percent) uranium to low-enriched (5 percent) uranium for reactor use. The other converts plutonium into a “mixed oxide” (MOX) that also works as a fuel. In the next few years, the United States will supplement Russian efforts by commencing to forge our own nuclear swords into plowshares in Tennessee and at a new facility in South Carolina. This whole astonishing program has occurred with scant media attention and zero public hoopla.


pages: 898 words: 253,177

Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner

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affirmative action, Albert Einstein, California gold rush, clean water, Golden Gate Park, hacker house, jitney, Maui Hawaii, oil shale / tar sands, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, trade route, transcontinental railway, uranium enrichment, Works Progress Administration

Those were promises; what was already there had sustained their ancestors for five hundred generations. The whole idea behind Rampart Dam was to turn Alaska, overnight, into an industrial subcontinent. Five million kilowatts were enough to heat and light Anchorage and ten other cities its size, with power left over for a large aluminum smelter, a large munitions plant, a couple of pulp and paper mills, a refinery, perhaps even a uranium-enrichment facility tucked safely away in the wilderness—and even then, about half of the power would be left over for export. But that was the problem. Export where? The dam made sense only if all of the power could be immediately sold. Realistically speaking, the dam made no sense at all. Neither did Devil’s Canyon Dam. The last thing Alaska had to worry about was an energy crisis. It had 300,000 inhabitants; its population could fit inside a few square blocks of Manhattan.

This same obsession with cheap electricity had, of course, resulted in the TVA’s having built thirty-odd major dams in the Tennessee Basin over the course of thirty-odd years. The dams, mostly built during the Depression and the war era with low-interest money and by workers earning a few dollars a day, were the cheapest source of power around, and TVA’s rates were as low as those in the Northwest. As in the Northwest, a complement of energy-intensive industries had moved in—aluminum, uranium enrichment, steel—and now the TVA was afraid they would move right back out if it raised its rates. It was a fear whose end result, rational or not, was the Tellico Dam. In June of 1978, the Supreme Court upheld the injunction against the dam on the basis of the Endangered Species Act, as written. Legally, the Court had little choice, even though, by then, the dam was more than 90 percent built. Chief Justice Warren Burger, who wrote the decision, was clearly offended by the whole situation, and all but invited Congress to amend the act.


pages: 464 words: 127,283

Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia by Anthony M. Townsend

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1960s counterculture, 4chan, A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, anti-communist, Apple II, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Burning Man, business process, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, chief data officer, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, computer age, congestion charging, connected car, crack epidemic, crowdsourcing, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Deng Xiaoping, East Village, Edward Glaeser, game design, garden city movement, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global supply chain, Grace Hopper, Haight Ashbury, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, jitney, John Snow's cholera map, Khan Academy, Kibera, knowledge worker, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, packet switching, patent troll, place-making, planetary scale, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, social software, social web, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technoutopianism, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, too big to fail, trade route, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, working poor, working-age population, X Prize, Y2K, zero day, Zipcar

A year later, in an interview with CNET, Langer bristled at the media’s focus on attributing the attack to a specific nation. “Could this also be a threat against other installations, U.S. critical infrastructure?” he asked. “Unfortunately, the answer is yes because it can be copied easily. That’s more important than the question of who did it.” He warned of Stuxnet copycat attacks, and criticized governments and companies for their widespread complacence. “Most people think this was to attack a uranium enrichment plant and if I don’t operate that I’m not at risk,” he said. “This is completely wrong. The attack is executed on Siemens controllers and they are general-purpose products. So you will find the same products in a power plant, even in elevators.”42 Skeptics argue that the threat of Stuxnet is overblown. Stuxnet’s payload was highly targeted. It was programmed to only attack the Natanz centrifuges, and do so in a very specific way.


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pages: 335 words: 107,779

Some Remarks by Neal Stephenson

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airport security, augmented reality, barriers to entry, British Empire, cable laying ship, call centre, cellular automata, edge city, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Hacker Ethic, impulse control, Iridium satellite, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, music of the spheres, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shock, packet switching, pirate software, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, social web, Socratic dialogue, South China Sea, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, trade route, Turing machine, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, X Prize

Everything and More Foreword (2003) When I was a boy growing up in Ames, Iowa, I belonged to a Boy Scout troop whose adult supervision—consisting almost entirely of professors from the Iowa State University of Science and Technology—devised the following project for us to pursue when not occupied with dodgeball and clove hitches. One of the scouts’ dads—an eminent professor of agricultural engineering—obtained, from a lab in his department, a sack of genetically identical corn kernels, carried them across campus, and handed them off to one of the other scouts’ dads: a physicist employed by the Ames Laboratory. This was an offshoot of the Manhattan Project. The uranium enriched at Oak Ridge, and used in the first atomic bombs, had been refined from its ore by a process developed at Ames. Dad #2, who had been present at the startup of the world’s first atomic pile in a racquetball court at the University of Chicago, carried the seeds into a hot room buried a couple of stories beneath one of the Ames Lab’s buildings and handed it off to a mechanical arm that carried it behind a thick wall of yellowish lead-laced glass and set it down in the vicinity of something that was radioactive.


pages: 417 words: 109,367

The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-First Century by Ronald Bailey

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, Cass Sunstein, Climatic Research Unit, Commodity Super-Cycle, conceptual framework, corporate governance, credit crunch, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic transition, diversified portfolio, double helix, energy security, failed state, financial independence, Gary Taubes, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, invisible hand, knowledge economy, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, peak oil, phenotype, planetary scale, price stability, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Stewart Brand, Tesla Model S, trade liberalization, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce, yield curve

A traveling wave needs to be ignited only once, using just a bit of U-235 or plutonium to jump-start a chain-reaction wave of neutrons that continuously converts U-238 into plutonium-239. The traveling wave reactor also reduces nuclear weapons proliferation risks, since its fuel cycle would eliminate the need for numerous uranium processing plants. As Charles W. Forsberg, executive director of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has quipped, the traveling wave fuel cycle “requires only one uranium enrichment plant per planet.” The plutonium burns itself up as it sustains a further chain reaction by transforming depleted uranium into more plutonium. In other words, a traveling wave reactor produces plutonium and uses it up at once, which means that, unlike fuel in conventional reactors, there is very little left over that could be diverted for weapons production. The traveling wave moves through the reactor core at a rate of about a centimeter per year, somewhat like a cigarette burns from tip to filter.


pages: 677 words: 206,548

Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everyone Is Vulnerable and What We Can Do About It by Marc Goodman

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23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, data is the new oil, Dean Kamen, disintermediation, don't be evil, double helix, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, High speed trading, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, illegal immigration, impulse control, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, litecoin, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, personalized medicine, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, RAND corporation, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, security theater, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, uranium enrichment, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Wave and Pay, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, zero day

Stuxnet captured all of those data and recorded it on the PLC equivalent of a VCR, carefully saved for posterity. What happened next was straight out of a Hollywood blockbuster, portrayed many times in films such as Ocean’s Eleven and National Treasure. The attackers simply prerecorded video footage of the casino vault or safe room to be targeted and played it back on the screens of the watchers and security staff. As the uranium enrichment centrifuges spun out of control at Natanz, Stuxnet masterfully intercepted the actual input values from the pressure, rotational, and vibration sensors before they reached the operational control room monitored by the plant’s engineers. Rather than presenting the correct real-time data from the Siemens PLCs, Stuxnet merely replayed the prerecorded information it had taken during phase one of the operation, showing all systems in full working order.

As AI improves, we can expect growing numbers of criminals to use these tools as accomplices to help them in the commission of their crimes as we enter the age of Siri and Clyde. Algorithmic hacking could also cause major problems for society and its critical infrastructures because altering just a few lines of code among millions in an intelligent agent’s programming could be nearly impossible to detect but could lead to drastically different outcomes in the algos’ behavior. The attack against the uranium centrifuges at the nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz, Iran, is a perfect example of this type of threat, a subtle change that made a big difference and took years to discover. How would we know if our stock trading or navigation algos were off or maliciously subverted? We wouldn’t until it was too late, and that is a serious problem. The criminal opportunities afforded by narrow AI will grow in their use and sophistication, but they may pale in comparison to what becomes possible with stronger, more capable, and rapidly evolving forms of artificial intelligence in the near future.


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Living in a Material World: The Commodity Connection by Kevin Morrison

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barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, clean water, commodity trading advisor, diversified portfolio, Doha Development Round, Elon Musk, energy security, European colonialism, flex fuel, food miles, Hernando de Soto, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, hydrogen economy, Long Term Capital Management, new economy, North Sea oil, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, out of africa, peak oil, price mechanism, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transaction costs, uranium enrichment, young professional

Boone 163, 164 Pigou, Arthur Cecil 138 Pillsbury 233 Pioneer Hi-Bred 102, 106, 107, 108 Pizza Hut 89 Plant Patent Act 1930 (US) 104 platinum 192–3 Plato: Republic 179 plutonium 42 popcorn 70 population, world 15, 16 n. 11, 23–4, 61 n. 10, 94 portfolios 242–4 Potanin, Vladimir 199 poultry 85–7 Poupard, Cardinal Paul 145 Prebon 260 Precious Woods 149 Project Independence 30 Puranam Ravikkumar 249 Putin, President Vladimir 9, 45 Railpol 182 rapeseed 93–4 Rappaport, Daniel 253, 262 Raymond, Lee 50 Reagan, President Ronald 116, 252 Redford, Robert 265 reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) 150 Refco 231 298 | INDEX Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) 143 Reilly, William 158 renewable energies 34–9 Renewable Fuels Association 80 Reserve Bank of Australia 14 Reuters–CRB Index 240 Rhodes, Cecil 210 Rio Tinto 13, 200, 201, 211, 223 n. 24 Robertson, Julian 236 Robinson, John 105, 106 Rockefeller, John D. 197, 200, 254 Rockefeller, William Goodsell 200 Rogers, Henry 200 Roll, The 241 Romney, Mitt 80 Roogers, Henry H. 197 Roosevelt, President Franklin D. 76, 89, 103 Royal Dutch Shell 260, 261 Rudd, Kevin 171 n. 16 Ryan, John 155, 156, 160 Sahn, Bobby 269 Salad Oil Scandal 245 Samuelson, Paul 238, 239 Sandor, Richard 145–6, 147 Sasol 33 Saudi Aramco 47 Schaeffer, Richard 253, 266, 267, 268, 269 Schwarzenegger, Arnold 37, 38, 130, 144 Secretan, Pierre 200 Secretan Syndicate, The 200 Seed Resource Guide 106 seeds diversity 106–10 GM 104–6, 107 Seven Sisters 251 Seykota, Ed 239 shale oil 50–1, 64 n. 33 Shanghai Futures Exchange 213 Shaw, Robert 265 Shear, Neal 259 Shell 79, 261 Shuff, Thomas 230–1, 233, 238, 270 Silicon Valley 37 Simmons, Matthew 47 Simon, Julian 13, 14, 15 Ultimate Resource 2, The 14 Skilling, Jeffrey 257 Smith, Adam 71 Smith, Captain John 100 Snyder, Pamela 162–3 Societé des Metaux, Le 200 Société Générale 261 Solano Partners 157 solar power 33, 34, 36 Solar Power programme 39 soya bean 68–9, 82, 95, 109, 120 n. 14 Soylent Green 15 n. 4 Spacek, Sissy 114 Spencer, Jonathan 243 sport utility vehicles (SUVs) 64 n. 30 Sprecher, Jeffrey 257, 258, 259, 261, 262, 263 Squanto 100 Standard and Poor’s 240 Standard Chartered 242 Standard Oil 197, 200, 253, 273 n. 14 Star Wars Programme 55 Starbucks 89 Statoil 153 Steinbeck, John: East of Eden 161–2 Steinhause, Mitchell 266 Stern 134 Stern Review 147 Sting, The 265 Subramanian, Shri 35 sugar 89–94 sulphur dioxide 139, 140 sulphur hexafluoride 131 Sumitomo 215 Sumitomo copper scandal 204, 246 Sundblad, Philip 36, 76, 77, 78, 84, 114, 154, 155 Sun-Microsystems 37 Sustainable Forestry Management 147, 148 Sustainable Land Fund, The 157 Suzlon Energy 35 Swingland, Professor Ian 137, 146, 148 Sygenta 106 Tamminen, Terry 38, 53, 54, 55, 60, 144 tantalum 219 Tanti, Tulsi 35 Tara, Kimberly 149, 159, 184 Tata Motors 49 Telsa Motors 191 temperature, global 61 n. 11 teosinte 97 Tertiary Minerals 219 Tesla 38 Thatcher, Margaret 22 thorium 43–4 INDEX Three Mile Island accident 21 Tiger Fund 236 TimeWarner 13 Total 261 Touradji, Paul 218, 236, 237, 239 Touradji Capital Management 218, 237 Toyota 53, 54, 191, 193 tradable polluting permits 137, 138–9 Trading Places 255 Trafigura 199 Trapp, Goran 259 tree hugging 148–9 Truman, President Harry 8 Tudor Capital 237 Turner, Frederick Jackson 209 Tyson 86 UBS 246 United Nations Climate Change Conference (2007) 29 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) 173 n. 28 UNESCO 166 Union Miniere 202 United Fruit Company 239 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 125–6, 140, 150, 169 n. 2 United States Bureau of Reclamation 163 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 73, 74, 90, 95, 109–10 Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) 111 United States Department of Energy 30, 32, 33, 193 United States emissions market 142–4 United States Geological Survey 214 uranium 64 n. 27, 219 highly enriched (HEU) 64 n. 28 uranium-101 41–4 uranium-235 42 uranium hexafluoride (UF6) 42 uranium oxide (U3O8) 42 Vaidhyanathan, Raghuraman 35 Valentine, Billy Ray 256 Vantage Partners 55 Varzi, Mehdi 26, 47 Vatican Climate Forest 145 Vekselberg, Viktor 199 Venter, Craig 38 Verasun 77 | 299 Vice, Charles 258 Viola, Vinnie 253 virtual water 166 Vitol 199 Volcker, Paul 114 voluntary carbon offset schemes 144–5 Vromans, Dr Jaap 58, 59 Walker, Keith 167–8 Wallace, Henry A. 89, 102, 103, 120 n. 14, 122 n. 32 Wallace, Henry C. 103 Wal-Mart 25 Wamsley, John 157 War of the Pacific (1879–83) 198, 207 Wara, Michael 152 Warburg, Paul M. 229 Ward, Dr Richard 262, 263 water 157–68 consumption 158–9 desalination 168 droughts 167 entitlements 167 n. 63 irrigation 159 pollution 110–3 pricing 159–61, 164, 169 rights 162–3, 167, 177 n. 55, 177 n. 58 trading 160, 164–6 virtual 166 Water2water.com 164–5 Waterexchange 165 Webb–Pomerene Act (US) 201 West Texas Intermediate (WTI) 138, 250, 252, 253, 254 Western regional Climate Initiative (WCI) 143 Weston, Guy 147 wetland banking 155–6 Weymar, Helmut 238–9, 247 WFS Water Fund 166 White House Effect 27 Wildlands Inc. 156 wind power 33, 34–5, 36 World Bank 141, 147, 158, 159, 173 n. 28, 217 Global Environment Facility (GEF) 141 World Nuclear Association 41 World Trade Center 255 World Trade Organization (WTO) 94 Doha Round 11, 94 World Water Council 158 WorldCom 257 300 | INDEX Xstrata 211 yellowcake 42 Yeltsin, President Boris 46 Index compiled by Annette Musker Yergin, Daniel 33–4 yield return 242 Zinni, General Anthony (‘Tony’) 168–9


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Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea and the Kim Dynasty by Bradley K. Martin

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anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, failed state, four colour theorem, illegal immigration, informal economy, kremlinology, land reform, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, Potemkin village, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, special economic zone, stakhanovite, UNCLOS, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce

Republican officials in charge of foreign policy, suspicious of the Clinton administration’s efforts to find accommodation with Pyongyang, set out to review U.S. policy. After President Bush’s Axis of Evil speech, there was more to come. In October 2002 U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly and other officials visiting Pyongyang surprised their hosts with evidence that North Korea was continuing nuclear weapons development using uranium enrichment, a different and separate process from the plutonium process the country had frozen earlier. The delegation returned to Washington to report that its counterparts had come clean on the uranium project, defiantly insisting there was no reason why the country should not have its own nukes. Washington sought to keep the issue on the back burner while it took on Iraq first. North Korea used various provocations to try to force the United States into making concessions while the Pentagon was occupied in the Middle East.

“If that is indeed the case, it could have produced enough fissile material for an additional five or six nuclear weapons,” Kelly said.3 When Pyongyang hinted broadly that it might simply declare itself a nuclear power, China, for one, did not like that idea and cut off North Korea’s oil supplies for several days to enforce a demand for negotiations. By early 2004 Pyongyang had offered to re-freeze its plutonium-based program (evidently realizing its admission had been a tactical error, it now denied it had acknowledged having a uranium enrichment program) while negotiating with the United States, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia to see what sort of deal it could get. What it wanted from Washington included a non-aggression pact and diplomatic relations. While the first nuclear crisis had appeared pretty much to halt movement toward economic change, Pyongyang the second time around kept moving on a parallel track—to the extent that quite a few foreign skeptics started to become believers that something major could be happening this time.


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Singularity Sky by Stross, Charles

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anthropic principle, cellular automata, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological constant, Doomsday Clock, Extropian, gravity well, Kuiper Belt, life extension, means of production, new economy, phenotype, prisoner's dilemma, skinny streets, technological singularity, uranium enrichment

We've never actually seen one in the process of being destroyed, because the big E tends toward overkill in such cases —the smallest demolition tool tends to be something like a five-hundred-kilometer asteroid dropped on the regional capital at two hundred kilometers per second. "So I guess the big surprise is that we're still alive." She glanced around at the vacant chairs, the powered-down work-station on the table. "Oh, and one other thing. The Eschaton always wipes out CVDs just before they go live. We figure it knows where to find them because it runs its own CVD. Sort of like preserving a regional nuclear hegemony by attacking anyone who builds a uranium enrichment plant or a nuclear reactor, yes? Anyway. You haven't quite begun to break the law yet. The fleet is assembling, you've located the time capsule, but you haven't actually closed the loop or made use of the oracle in a forbidden context. You might even get away with it if you hop backward but don't try to go any earlier than your own departure point. But I'd be careful about opening that time capsule.


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Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology by Johnjoe McFadden, Jim Al-Khalili

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agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, bioinformatics, complexity theory, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Ernest Rutherford, Gödel, Escher, Bach, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Louis Pasteur, New Journalism, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, theory of mind, traveling salesman, uranium enrichment, Zeno's paradox

By the 1950s, Harold Urey was a distinguished but controversial scientist. He had been awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1934 for discovering deuterium, the isotope of hydrogen that, as you may remember from chapter 3, was used to study the kinetic isotope effect in enzymes and thereby demonstrate that their activity involves quantum tunneling. Urey’s expertise in the purification of isotopes led to his appointment in 1941 as head of the uranium enrichment part of the Manhattan Project, which was attempting to develop the atomic bomb. However, Urey became disillusioned with the Manhattan Project’s aims and the secrecy in which it operated, and later attempted to dissuade the US president, Harry S. Truman, from dropping the bomb on Japan. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Urey wrote an article for the popular Collier’s magazine entitled “I’m a Frightened Man,” warning of the dangers posed by atomic weapons.


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Vultures' Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates, and High-Finance Carnivores by Greg Palast

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anti-communist, back-to-the-land, bank run, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, centre right, Chelsea Manning, clean water, collateralized debt obligation, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Donald Trump, energy security, Exxon Valdez, invisible hand, means of production, offshore financial centre, random walk, Ronald Reagan, sensible shoes, transfer pricing, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, Yogi Berra

Other Louisiana Delta towns had “scenic views” and “pretty churches,” and therefore the cash to fight a poisonous industry. Juanita told me, “If it was so good, why’d they come all the way from Europe to this little Black town in Claiborne Parish? Why wouldn’t they keep it for themselves?” Local folk were worried about Claiborne Pond. Since a third of the houses didn’t have any plumbing, this was all they had for drinking and cooking. Juanita told me, “Not many folk around here know a lot about uranium enrichment.” BNFL counted on that. At a community meeting, the shill for the nuclear operation held up a chunk of what the company called “uranium hexafluoride,” and there was nothing to fear from this handful of dirt. It was an impressive display. However, Forest Grove residents may be Black and poor, but they know when a magic show is jive. The township residents called a local university, and found a physicist who explained that uranium hexafluoride UF6 would vaporize on contact with the humid air and, possibly, vaporize the BNFL spokeswoman as well.


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Underground by Suelette Dreyfus

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airport security, invisible hand, Julian Assange, Loma Prieta earthquake, packet switching, pirate software, profit motive, publish or perish, RFC: Request For Comment, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, urban decay, WikiLeaks, zero day

Ralph Langner, an independent German computer security expert who dissected Stuxnet and determined what the code actually did, described the narrow aim as being ‘a marksman’s job’ that made sure ‘only … designated targets were hit’.8 A highly sophisticated attack worm, Stuxnet was probably written by a team of people, and they clearly knew what they were doing. Programmed to monitor, control and reprogram very specific industrial processes, the worm then cleverly hid its footprints as it gallivanted through an estimated 100 000 systems worldwide. In particular it appears to have attacked Siemens’ systems in the nuclear power program in Iran where it messed with the centrifuges in that country’s uranium enrichment plants.9 This it apparently did very successfully, when hundreds of centrifuges suddenly stopped producing the materials needed to meet Iran’s nuclear agenda. There is evidence that the Stuxnet worm came from some sort of joint Israeli and American intelligence operation.10,11 Undoubtedly some of the millennium generation of hackers has ended up in jobs like these: on intelligence agency tiger teams working for the American and other governments designing a new sort of weapon.


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Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance by Ian Goldin, Chris Kutarna

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2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, clean water, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Dava Sobel, demographic dividend, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, experimental economics, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial innovation, full employment, Galaxy Zoo, global supply chain, Hyperloop, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, Lyft, Malacca Straits, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Network effects, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, Occupy movement, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, open economy, Panamax, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, post-Panamax, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Robert Gordon, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart grid, Snapchat, special economic zone, spice trade, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, uranium enrichment, We are the 99%, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, zero day

More recently, in mid-2015, personnel records of 21.5 million current and former employees of the US government, including 5.6 million fingerprint images, were stolen when the Office of Personnel Management was hacked—possibly by a foreign government aiming to recruit informants or identify spies.87 Other highly sophisticated malware initiatives, likely state-sponsored, have likewise penetrated embassies, research institutes and other sensitive targets of governments around the world.88 The rising scale of critical infrastructure connected to the Internet—including defense, chemical, food, transportation, nuclear, water, financial, energy and other systems—means that not just cybercrime, but cyber warfare is now possible. As of 2016, two major cyber attacks causing physical infrastructure damage have been publicly confirmed. In 2010, the Stuxnet worm sabotaged Iran’s uranium enrichment infrastructure by infecting control systems and causing the uranium centrifuges to tear themselves apart.89 (A similar worm had been aimed at North Korea’s facilities, but failed to reach its target because of the country’s extreme isolation.)90 And in 2014, a German steel mill suffered “massive damage” after cyber attackers gained access to the plant’s control systems and caused critical components to fail.91 Many more such strikes are being attempted.


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Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges

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Albert Einstein, Ayatollah Khomeini, Cal Newport, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, haute couture, Honoré de Balzac, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, income inequality, Joseph Schumpeter, Naomi Klein, offshore financial centre, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, single-payer health, statistical model, uranium enrichment

But, it appeared that morning in the New York Times and, therefore, they were able to talk about it.” Moyers went back to the clip of the Cheney performance:CHENEY: It’s now public that, in fact, he has been seeking to acquire, and we have been able to intercept to prevent him from acquiring through this particular channel, the kinds of tubes that are necessary to build a centrifuge, and the centrifuge is required to take low-grade uranium and enhance it into highly enriched uranium, which is what you have to have in order to build a bomb. Moyers, in the studio, asked Bob Simon of CBS what he thought of Cheney’s actions:MOYERS: Did you see that performance? BOB SIMON: I did. MOYERS: What did you think? SIMON: I thought it was remarkable. MOYERS: Why? SIMON: Remarkable. You leak a story, and then you quote the story. I mean, that’s a remarkable thing to do. . . .


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A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon by Neil Sheehan

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Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, double helix, European colonialism, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, operation paperclip, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, uranium enrichment

The design was simple and Robert Oppenheimer and the other scientists at Los Alamos were so certain it would work that they didn’t feel it was necessary to test it. The rub was that there was a shortage of uranium. Although there were plentiful underground deposits of the naturally occurring substance in the American West and in Canada, exploration for uranium deposits and mining them had hardly begun. The manufacturing process to turn natural uranium into the highly enriched isotope was also so slow that if the scientists relied on U-235 and the gun-type design, the United States would be able to produce only one atomic bomb by 1945. To create more atomic bombs, Los Alamos had to use plutonium as the nuclear core. Plutonium, however, was much more difficult to bring to supercriticality than U-235 because of a phenomenon called spontaneous fission, which resulted from an impurity inherent in the manufacturing process.


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The Inner Lives of Markets: How People Shape Them—And They Shape Us by Tim Sullivan

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Airbnb, airport security, Al Roth, Andrei Shleifer, attribution theory, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Brownian motion, centralized clearinghouse, clean water, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, continuous double auction, deferred acceptance, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, experimental subject, first-price auction, framing effect, frictionless, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, helicopter parent, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, late fees, linear programming, Lyft, market clearing, market design, market friction, medical residency, multi-sided market, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pez dispenser, pre–internet, price mechanism, price stability, prisoner's dilemma, profit motive, proxy bid, RAND corporation, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, school choice, school vouchers, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, technoutopianism, telemarketer, The Market for Lemons, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, two-sided market, uranium enrichment, Vickrey auction, winner-take-all economy


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This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein

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1960s counterculture, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bilateral investment treaty, British Empire, business climate, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, Climategate, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, crony capitalism, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, energy security, energy transition, equal pay for equal work, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, financial deregulation, food miles, Food sovereignty, global supply chain, hydraulic fracturing, ice-free Arctic, immigration reform, income per capita, Internet Archive, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, market fundamentalism, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, patent troll, planetary scale, post-oil, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rana Plaza, Ronald Reagan, smart grid, special economic zone, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, Ted Kaczynski, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, wages for housework, walkable city, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks


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Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson

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Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Atahualpa, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, BRICs, British Empire, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, conceptual framework, Copley Medal, corporate governance, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, Hans Lippershey, haute couture, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, land tenure, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, market bubble, Martin Wolf, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Great Moderation, the market place, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, wage slave, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, World Values Survey


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Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna

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1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 3D printing, 9 dash line, additive manufacturing, Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Boycotts of Israel, Branko Milanovic, BRICs, British Empire, business intelligence, call centre, capital controls, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, credit crunch, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, data is the new oil, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Detroit bankruptcy, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, ethereum blockchain, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Ferguson, Missouri, financial innovation, financial repression, forward guidance, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, Google Earth, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, Hyperloop, ice-free Arctic, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, interest rate swap, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, Khyber Pass, Kibera, Kickstarter, labour market flexibility, labour mobility, LNG terminal, low cost carrier, manufacturing employment, mass affluent, megacity, Mercator projection, microcredit, mittelstand, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, openstreetmap, out of africa, Panamax, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-oil, post-Panamax, private military company, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Rana Plaza, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, smart cities, Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, TaskRabbit, telepresence, the built environment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transaction costs, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day


pages: 475 words: 155,554

The Default Line: The Inside Story of People, Banks and Entire Nations on the Edge by Faisal Islam

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Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, Basel III, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, capital controls, carbon footprint, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, centre right, collapse of Lehman Brothers, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, dark matter, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, disintermediation, energy security, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial repression, floating exchange rates, forensic accounting, forward guidance, full employment, ghettoisation, global rebalancing, global reserve currency, hiring and firing, inflation targeting, Irish property bubble, Just-in-time delivery, labour market flexibility, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market clearing, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mini-job, mittelstand, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, mutually assured destruction, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, open economy, paradox of thrift, pension reform, price mechanism, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, reshoring, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, shareholder value, sovereign wealth fund, The Chicago School, the payments system, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, two tier labour market, unorthodox policies, uranium enrichment, urban planning, value at risk, working-age population


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The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

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1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, Broken windows theory, California gold rush, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, clean water, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, crack epidemic, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, experimental subject, facts on the ground, failed state, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fudge factor, full employment, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, global village, Henri Poincaré, impulse control, income inequality, informal economy, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Republic of Letters, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, security theater, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, Walter Mischel, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce


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The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future by Joseph E. Stiglitz

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affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, colonial rule, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dava Sobel, declining real wages, deskilling, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Flash crash, framing effect, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, inflation targeting, invisible hand, John Harrison: Longitude, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, London Interbank Offered Rate, lone genius, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, medical bankruptcy, microcredit, moral hazard, mortgage tax deduction, obamacare, offshore financial centre, paper trading, patent troll, payday loans, price stability, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, spectrum auction, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, very high income, We are the 99%, women in the workforce


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The Defence of the Realm by Christopher Andrew

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anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Clive Stafford Smith, collective bargaining, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Desert Island Discs, Etonian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, large denomination, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, North Sea oil, Red Clydeside, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, strikebreaker, Torches of Freedom, traveling salesman, union organizing, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, Winter of Discontent

At some point during the first half of 1945, Angelov asked May to obtain samples of the uranium used in the construction of atomic weapons – an assignment which a Canadian agent of the GRU, Israel Halperin, had described as ‘absolutely impossible’. May, however, succeeded. On 9 August 1945, three days after Hiroshima, he gave Angelov a report on atomic research, details of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima and two samples of uranium: an enriched specimen of U-235 in a glass tube and a thin deposit of U-233 on a strip of platinum foil. The GRU resident in Ottawa, Nikolai Zabotin, sent his deputy to take them immediately to Moscow. Soon afterwards Zabotin was awarded both the Order of the Red Banner and the Order of the Red Star. Angelov gave May about 200 Canadian dollars in a whisky bottle.10 The intelligence officer best equipped to interrogate Gouzenko after his defection was Jane Archer, née Sissmore.