Project Plowshare

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pages: 356 words: 95,647

Sun in a Bottle: The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking by Charles Seife

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Brownian motion, correlation does not imply causation, Dmitri Mendeleev, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gary Taubes, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Mikhail Gorbachev, Norman Macrae, Project Plowshare, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, the scientific method, Yom Kippur War

Program No. 7 was not the only secret government project to harness the power of fusion. An equivalent program was already under way in the United States. A few years earlier, American scientists began work on Project Plowshare and started drawing up plans to use nuclear weapons to create an artificial harbor in Alaska, widen the Panama Canal, and dig a second Suez canal through Israel’s Negev desert. Project Plowshare and Program No. 7 were crude attempts to harness the power of fusion. Researchers quickly reasoned that if humans could learn to control the power of fusion, it could be the biggest boon that mankind has ever seen.

The nuclear bombs shattered rocks around the test site and natural gas poured out of the wells. Unfortunately, the gas was radioactive, and no utility would buy it. After twelve years of trying and twenty-seven nuclear tests, Project Plowshare sputtered to a halt without ever having proved the usefulness of peaceful nuclear bombs. Thirty years after Teller first dreamed of liberating the power of the sun upon the Earth, Project Plowshare was dead. Even the discovery of oil in Alaska in the late 1960s didn’t make his proposal of a bomb-carved harbor any more palatable. In his waning years, Teller turned away from peaceful nuclear explosions and back toward using fusion as a tool of war, dreaming up unworkable schemes to defend the United States from a Soviet missile attack.

Treaties with the Soviet Union were signs of weakness; detente and peacemaking would just lead to the destruction of America. Project Plowshare was a lie; to Teller, it was not a tool of peace but a means to undermine treaties with the Soviet Union. Teller was a man of swords, not plowshares. “I’ve never seen [Teller] take a position where there was the slightest chance in the interest of peace,” said Isidor Rabi. “I think he is the enemy of humanity.” Project No. 7 had a little more success than Project Plowshare. After the creation of Lake Chagan, the Soviets briefly experimented with nuclear excavations of lakes and dams, but the results were disappointing.


pages: 423 words: 118,002

The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World by Russell Gold

accounting loophole / creative accounting, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, activist lawyer, addicted to oil, American energy revolution, Bakken shale, Bernie Sanders, Buckminster Fuller, clean water, corporate governance, corporate raider, energy security, energy transition, hydraulic fracturing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), margin call, market fundamentalism, Mason jar, North Sea oil, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Project Plowshare, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Upton Sinclair

The Plowshare scientists wanted to know whether using nuclear blasts to fracture rocks around wells would work and be cost effective. “Aspects outside the scope of a technical program—political, sociological, and psychological considerations—were not matters of AEC [Atomic Energy Commission] concern,” notes The Nuclear Impact: A Case Study of the Plowshare Program to Produce Gas by Underground Stimulation in the Rocky Mountains, a 1976 book about the program written by Frank Kreith and Catherine B. Wrenn. This oversight would doom nuclear fracturing, as would another problem. In 1967, scientists detonated a twenty-nine-kiloton bomb outside of Farmington, New Mexico.

Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1948. History of Petroleum Engineering. New York: American Petroleum Institute, 1961. Howard, George C., and C. Robert Fast. Hydraulic Fracturing. New York: Society of Petroleum Engineers of AIME, 1970. Kreith, Frank, and Catherine B. Wrenn. The Nuclear Impact: A Case Study of the Plowshare Program to Produce Gas by Underground Nuclear Stimulation in the Rocky Mountains. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1976. Lederer, Adam. “Using Public Policy Models to Evaluate Nuclear Stimulation Projects: Wagon Wheel in Wyoming.” Master’s diss., University of Wyoming, 1998. McLaurin, John J. Sketches in Crude-Oil: Some Accidents and Incidents of the Petroleum Development in All Parts of the Globe.

Edward Teller, a father of the hydrogen bomb, convened a meeting that year at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory—now the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory—to discuss peaceful uses of nuclear power. Teller suggested it could be used for mining and excavation. The US Atomic Energy Commission agreed and created Project Plowshare, named after the biblical verse from the book of Isaiah: “And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.” The program focused first on using the power of the atom as a massive earthmover. The government toyed with the idea of using bombs to carve out a new deepwater harbor in Alaska and build a new canal through Panama.


pages: 398 words: 105,032

Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve And/or Ruin Everything by Kelly Weinersmith, Zach Weinersmith

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, Alvin Roth, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, connected car, disinformation, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Google Glasses, hydraulic fracturing, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, market design, megastructure, microbiome, moral hazard, multiplanetary species, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, personalized medicine, placebo effect, Project Plowshare, QR code, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, Skype, stem cell, Tunguska event

There are probably also a lot of hard-to-predict benefits of cheap energy. It would’ve been hard to imagine gasoline-powered cars by the millions back in the age of whale oil. Just the same, in this age of relatively expensive energy, we may not be able to see what wonders are over the horizon. Nota Bene on Project Plowshare It’s southeastern New Mexico, 1961. Dry, flat land with scattered scrubby plants. A place that has seen few humans over the past millennium is, this day, populated by United Nations representatives invited by the White House. They are here to witness an atomic explosion. Although it may have geopolitical implications, the point of this bomb is not war—it is to demonstrate that atomic bombs can be used for peaceful purposes, that the atomic sword can be beaten into a plowshare.

The salt will reach extremely high temperatures and become molten. You now have a huge volume of molten salt, which is an excellent way to retain heat. In theory, you can use that heat to make steam, drive turbines, and run your toaster. As in previous explosions under what came to be called Project Plowshare, this one produced an impressive shock wave and shook the dust from the desert ground. Then things got weird. When nuclear bombs are going off, you don’t want things to get weird. As scientists, reporters, military members, and government officials watched, a white vapor began to seep up from the blast site.

Yes indeed, a couple of friendly burrowing rodents (whose ultimate fate can probably be guessed) chewed through electric cables at the blast site, which took some of the radiation detectors off-line. As far as your authors know, this is the only known gopher-related nuclear accident, but it is nevertheless illustrative of why Project Plowshare never quite got off the ground. In theory, it was a beautiful idea: There are all sorts of uses to which massive, cheap explosions could be put—creating harbors, digging a new Panama Canal, and generating new elements. If this sounds crazy, that’s for two reasons: (1) It’s crazy, and (2) this was the age of nuclear optimism!


pages: 297 words: 84,447

The Star Builders: Nuclear Fusion and the Race to Power the Planet by Arthur Turrell

Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, autonomous vehicles, Boris Johnson, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, decarbonisation, Donald Trump, energy security, energy transition, Ernest Rutherford, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, New Journalism, nuclear winter, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Project Plowshare, Silicon Valley, sovereign wealth fund, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Bannon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tunguska event

While the best chemical rockets can achieve exhaust speeds of 4.5 kilometers (about 2.8 miles) per second, and nuclear fission might reach 8.5 kilometers per second, a working nuclear fusion reactor could potentially produce exhaust speeds of hundreds to thousands of kilometers per second.12 Sticking a fusion reactor on a spacecraft is, surprisingly, not the only fusion-spacecraft option out there. Project Orion was part of Edward Teller’s “Plowshare” program to turn nuclear weapons to peaceful purposesII and was co-led by physicist Freeman Dyson.13 It looked at chucking exploding hydrogen bombs out of the back end of a spacecraft to cause it to accelerate in the other direction. The scheme isn’t quite as insane as it may seem, and Dyson himself estimated that it could produce exhaust speeds of one thousand to ten thousand kilometers (approximately six hundred to six thousand miles) per second.

See National Ignition Facility Nuckolls, John, 67, 115–18, 120, 129 nuclear fission climate change solution using, 39–41, 216 deaths per exajoule for, 181 Einstein’s theory on, 58 problems using, 40–41 public support for using, 40 regulatory considerations for, 40–41 renewables used with, 41 nuclear fission reactors meltdown possibilities for, 168 potential for nuclear weapon creation related to, 40, 167 nuclear fusion arguments for using, 42 availability of two reactants needed for, 43 Big Bang and, 72–73, 149, 186 carbon dioxide emissions using, 42 carbon-nitrogen-oxygen (CNO) cycle and, 79–80 climate change solution using, 45, 46–47, 199–200 confinement and, 68, 69 costs of, 200–7 density and, 68, 69 development timeline for, 45–46, 183, 185 difficulty of getting net energy from, 61–64 early ideas about, 8–9 end of life stars and, 83–86 energy crisis solution using, 41–46 energy released in, 58–59 energy security and access to, 42–43 engineers and technological challenge of, 139 four fundamental forces of nature affecting, 59–61, 96 ignition in, 92 land area needed for, 42 Lawson’s theory and equations on conditions for, 108–10, 113, 129, 130, 132, 142, 156, 193–94 magnetic fields for plasma confinement during, 95–102, 110, 111 motivations for working with, 45 number of years left for supply of, if used exclusively, 43–45 plasma control devices in, 185 plasma physics understanding of factors in, 67–69 progress made in, 183–86 public support for using, 40 Q measure in, 92, 100, 105, 107–8, 183–84 renewables used with, 41–42 risks in using, 42–43 Rutherford’s first artificial nuclear reaction and, 53 stars and, 77–83 temperature and, 64–65, 68, 69 trapping hot hydrogen for, 95–106 nuclear fusion energy high temperatures needed for production of, 91–95 private sector and, 143–44 star power and, 47 nuclear fusion reactors hydrogen bombs compared with, 8, 166, 167 low level of risk associated with, 168–69, 180 meltdown possibilities for, 168 plasma turbulence problem in, 67, 81 potential for nuclear weapon creation related to, 42, 166–67 nuclear weapons Halite-Centurion experiments with, 131, 190–91 nuclear fission and potential for proliferation of, 40, 167 nuclear fusion power plants and potential for creation of, 42, 166–67 Teller’s “Plowshare” program for, 214 oil. See also fossil fuels energy security and access to, 42–43 number of years left for supply of, if used exclusively, 43–44 Oishi, Matashichi, 161–63 Oliphant, Mark, 54–55, 149 Pickworth, Louisa, 126–29, 130, 132, 119, 158 pinch effect, 97, 149 Pisanello, Gianluca, 136–38 pistol shrimp shock waves Hawker’s computer simulation of shock waves made by, 134 noise generation by, 133–34 piston design, at General Fusion, 145–46 Pitt, Brad, 13 plasmas, 64–69 atom structure in, 64–65 confinement and, 68, 69 control devices for, 185 density and, 68, 69 energy release in nuclear reactions and, 65–66 need for more research on, 66–69 temperature and, 64–65, 68, 69 “Plowshare” program, 214 population growth, and energy consumption, 29–30 Post, Richard, 11 power plants DEMO plans for, 197, 198, 199, 206 LIFE prototype for, 199, 206 Project Orion, 214 Proton Scientific, 143 public-private partnerships, 13, 159–60 Pulsar Fusion, 143, 144 Q measure commercial energy production and, 142–43 definition of, 92 ITER tokamak and, 188 JET reactor using, 92, 100, 105, 107–8, 183–84 types of, 92 quenching, 141 Rabi, Isidor, 161 radiation exposure, in hydrogen bomb testing, 163, 174 radioactive carbon-14 dating, 173 radioactive waste fission power and, 11–12, 40, 42 nuclear fusion and, 42 radio telescopes, 76–77 Rayleigh-Taylor instability, 129–30, 145–46 Renaissance Fusion, 24, 143 renewable energy British government projection of use of, 37–38 competitive forms of, 207 costs of, 207 diffusion problem using, 37 energy crisis solution using, 36–39, 46 environmental changes and, 210 intermittent energy generation with, 37, 38, 39 land area needed for, 37 nuclear fusion used with, 41–42 projection of global share of energy using, 39 public support for using, 40 scale problems with, 37 world energy consumption and, 34 Rimini, Fernanda, 41–42, 98–99, 102–3, 108 robotics, 41–42, 106, 119, 212 Rose, Steve, 131 Rosenbluth, Marshall, 11 Russia fusion funding by, 13, 14 ITER tokamak, Cadarache, France, and, 186–87 laser fusion facility in, 192 net energy gain goal and, 192 T-3 tokamak in, 184 Rutherford, Ernest, 49–51, 52–55, 173 atom model developed by, 50–51, 52 background of, 49–50 deuterium experiment leading to discovery of nuclear fusion by, 54–55, 61, 149 early experiments on radioactive substances by, 171 first artificial nuclear reaction performed by, 53, 61 heavy hydrogen (deuterium) experiment of, 54–55 importance of early experiments smashing particles by, 52–53 on inefficiency of early nuclear experiments, 62 on laboratory work, 122 producing energy by particle smashing and, 62, 63 splitting lithium atoms to produce energy experiment by, 53–54 Sandia National Laboratory, New Mexico, 157–59, 190 sawtooth instability, in tokamaks, 103–4 Shenguang III megajoule laser, China, 14, 193 Siemens, Werner von, 133 Sierra supercomputer, 189 simulations, 10, 23, 185, 188 solar power.

See also fossil fuels energy security and access to, 42–43 number of years left for supply of, if used exclusively, 43–44 Oishi, Matashichi, 161–63 Oliphant, Mark, 54–55, 149 Pickworth, Louisa, 126–29, 130, 132, 119, 158 pinch effect, 97, 149 Pisanello, Gianluca, 136–38 pistol shrimp shock waves Hawker’s computer simulation of shock waves made by, 134 noise generation by, 133–34 piston design, at General Fusion, 145–46 Pitt, Brad, 13 plasmas, 64–69 atom structure in, 64–65 confinement and, 68, 69 control devices for, 185 density and, 68, 69 energy release in nuclear reactions and, 65–66 need for more research on, 66–69 temperature and, 64–65, 68, 69 “Plowshare” program, 214 population growth, and energy consumption, 29–30 Post, Richard, 11 power plants DEMO plans for, 197, 198, 199, 206 LIFE prototype for, 199, 206 Project Orion, 214 Proton Scientific, 143 public-private partnerships, 13, 159–60 Pulsar Fusion, 143, 144 Q measure commercial energy production and, 142–43 definition of, 92 ITER tokamak and, 188 JET reactor using, 92, 100, 105, 107–8, 183–84 types of, 92 quenching, 141 Rabi, Isidor, 161 radiation exposure, in hydrogen bomb testing, 163, 174 radioactive carbon-14 dating, 173 radioactive waste fission power and, 11–12, 40, 42 nuclear fusion and, 42 radio telescopes, 76–77 Rayleigh-Taylor instability, 129–30, 145–46 Renaissance Fusion, 24, 143 renewable energy British government projection of use of, 37–38 competitive forms of, 207 costs of, 207 diffusion problem using, 37 energy crisis solution using, 36–39, 46 environmental changes and, 210 intermittent energy generation with, 37, 38, 39 land area needed for, 37 nuclear fusion used with, 41–42 projection of global share of energy using, 39 public support for using, 40 scale problems with, 37 world energy consumption and, 34 Rimini, Fernanda, 41–42, 98–99, 102–3, 108 robotics, 41–42, 106, 119, 212 Rose, Steve, 131 Rosenbluth, Marshall, 11 Russia fusion funding by, 13, 14 ITER tokamak, Cadarache, France, and, 186–87 laser fusion facility in, 192 net energy gain goal and, 192 T-3 tokamak in, 184 Rutherford, Ernest, 49–51, 52–55, 173 atom model developed by, 50–51, 52 background of, 49–50 deuterium experiment leading to discovery of nuclear fusion by, 54–55, 61, 149 early experiments on radioactive substances by, 171 first artificial nuclear reaction performed by, 53, 61 heavy hydrogen (deuterium) experiment of, 54–55 importance of early experiments smashing particles by, 52–53 on inefficiency of early nuclear experiments, 62 on laboratory work, 122 producing energy by particle smashing and, 62, 63 splitting lithium atoms to produce energy experiment by, 53–54 Sandia National Laboratory, New Mexico, 157–59, 190 sawtooth instability, in tokamaks, 103–4 Shenguang III megajoule laser, China, 14, 193 Siemens, Werner von, 133 Sierra supercomputer, 189 simulations, 10, 23, 185, 188 solar power.


pages: 1,117 words: 270,127

On Thermonuclear War by Herman Kahn

British Empire, business cycle, defense in depth, John von Neumann, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, oil shale / tar sands, Project Plowshare, RAND corporation, two and twenty, zero-sum game

For whatever it is worth, the author of this book views the spread of nuclear weapons with the gravest apprehension. Some of the reasons for this feeling are given on pages 491 to 494. While I agree with the notion that we will not be able to control the diffusion of weapons over the next 50 years by the kinds of social, legal, and political barriers which have been erected against Project Plowshare, and which are likely to be erected by normal negotiations, such barriers can effect 5-, 10-, and 20-year delays. It is simply my judgment that if we can buy such time, it is worth buying. We will then be better able to anticipate problems and set up arrangements ahead of time. This small number of missiles will of course be supplemented by quite a force of manned bombers that will have in their bombbays a great deal more megatons than the missiles have in their warheads.

If these other countries can, in fact, get access to super-fuels, their strategic capability would become an order of magnitude more threatening. Some form of climate- and weather control should be more available in 1965. The Argus effect that has been receiving much prominence at this writing is an example of a current ability at a kind of weather control. Project Plowshare has made some systematic studies on the use of nuclear explosives to modify both weather and climate. In the fifth volume of the Proceedings of the Second Plowshare Symposium (UCRL-5679), J. W. Reed speculates on the possibility that we will be able to control hurricanes by the use of 20 MT clean (relatively nonradioactive) bombs, and L.


pages: 1,037 words: 294,916

Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus by Rick Perlstein

affirmative action, anti-communist, anti-work, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, business climate, card file, collective bargaining, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, distributed generation, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, ending welfare as we know it, George Gilder, haute couture, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, index card, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, Joan Didion, liberal capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, mortgage debt, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Project Plowshare, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, school vouchers, the medium is the message, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban renewal, War on Poverty, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white picket fence, Works Progress Administration

Within hours of the bombing of Hiroshima, the Washington Press Club had an “Atomic Cocktail” on offer; no one blanched at naming a sexy new bathing suit after an atoll that had been nearly wiped from the Earth in a hydrogen bomb test in 1952. That same year, in fact, an airborne nuclear test was broadcast on TV to Chet Huntley’s thrilled commentary. Casinos scheduled outings to watch tests at the Atomic Energy Commission Proving Grounds northwest of Las Vegas. The AEC’s propagandistic “Project Plowshare” produced glowing stories of the possibilities of using nuclear devices to carve a new canal in Central America and a new harbor in Alaska. The bomb was something to be proud of. It protected us. Its more imminent dangers were only discussed behind scientists’ closed doors. Atomic testing began showing a darker face in the mid-1950s, when physicist Ralph Lapp and chemist Linus Pauling began publishing widely on the dangers of “nuclear fallout,” a mysterious toxin that “cannot be felt and possesses the terror of the unknown”—although it was known that it was released in the air in tests, was linked to cancer and genetic damage, and had a half-life of twenty-eight years.

Mary McGrory followed Goldwater back to Washington: Time, September 27, 1963. 231 On the American friendship with the atom, see Allan M. Winkler, Life Under a Cloud: American Anxiety About the Atom (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 27-28. For airborne test broadcast, see ibid., 91. For Project Plowshare, see Dan O’Neill, The Firecracker Boys (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994). 231 For public awareness of nuclear fallout, see Winkler, Life Under a Cloud, 84-108; Ralph E. Lapp, “Civil Defense Faces New Perils” (1954), and W.K. Wynant Jr., “50,000 Baby Teeth” (1959), both in Robert C. Williams and Philip L.


pages: 519 words: 136,708

Vertical: The City From Satellites to Bunkers by Stephen Graham

1960s counterculture, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, Buckminster Fuller, Buy land – they’re not making it any more, Chelsea Manning, Commodity Super-Cycle, creative destruction, deindustrialization, digital map, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Edward Snowden, energy security, Frank Gehry, ghettoisation, Google Earth, Gunnar Myrdal, high net worth, housing crisis, Howard Zinn, illegal immigration, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Jane Jacobs, late capitalism, low earth orbit, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, megastructure, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, post-industrial society, Project Plowshare, rent control, Richard Florida, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, Skype, South China Sea, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, trickle-down economics, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, white flight, WikiLeaks, William Langewiesche

.: Yale University Press, 2003, p. 234. 25Quoted in Alex Marshall, Beneath the Metropolis: The Secret Lives of Cities, New York: Carroll & Graf, 2006, p. 56. 26Maja Gori, ‘The Stones of Contention: The Role of Archaeological Heritage in the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict’, Archaeologies 9:1, 2013, p. 223. 27Eyal Weizman, ‘The Politics of Verticality: Excavating Sacredness’, Open Democracy, 28 April 2002, available at opendemocracy.net. 28Cited in Gori, ‘Stones of Contention’, p. 226. 29Weizman, ‘Politics of Verticality’. 30See Chiara De Cesari, ‘Hebron, or Heritage as Technology of Life’, Jerusalem Quarterly 41, 2010, pp. 6–28. 31Scott Kirsch, Proving Grounds: Project Plowshare and the Unrealized Dream of Nuclear Earthmoving, New York: Rutgers University Press, 2005. 32See Brian Hudson, Cities on the Shore: The Urban Littoral Frontier, London: Pinter, 1996. 33Réné Kolman, ‘New Land in the Water: Economically and Socially, Land Reclamation Pays’, Terra et Aqua 128, September 2012. 34Lizette Alvarez, ‘Where Sand Is Gold, the Reserves Are Running Dry’, New York Times, 24 August 2013. 35Sand is also necessary to produce glass, the concrete used in vertical construction, and in high-tech industries. 36Joshua Comaroff, ‘Built on Sand: Singapore and the New State of Risk’, Harvard Design Magazine 39, 2014, p. 138. 37Peduzzi, ‘Sand, Rarer Than One Thinks’. 38Maria Franke, ‘When One Country’s Land Gain Is Another Country’s Land Loss’, Working Paper No. 36, Institute for International Political Economy, Berlin, 2014, available at ideas.repec.org. 39Comaroff, ‘Built on Sand’. 40See Denis Deletrac’s 2012 documentary at sand-wars.com. 41See Fazlin Abdullah and Goh Ann Tat, ‘The Dirty Business of Sand: Sand Dredging in Cambodia’, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, 2012, available at http://lkyspp.nus.edu.sg. 42The $60 billion debt the project created for the developer, Dubai World, was a major reason that forced Dubai to go to its rich Emirati neighbour, Abu Dhabi, for a $10 billion bailout in 2008. 43Adam Luck, ‘How Dubai’s $14bn Dream to Build The World Is Falling Apart’, Daily Mail, 11 April 2010. 44Mark Jackson and Veronica Della Dora, ‘“Dreams So Big Only the Sea Can Hold Them”: Man-Made Islands as Cultural Icons, Travelling Visions, and Anxious Spaces’, Environment and Planning A 41:9, 2009, p. 2092. 45Jacks and della Dora ‘“Dreams so big only the sea can hold them” ‘, p. 2088. 46Dia Saleh, ‘Bahrain: An Island without Sea’, Arteast, Fall 2013, available at arteeast.org. 47Martin Lukacs, ‘New, Privatized African City Heralds Climate Apartheid’, Guardian, 21 January 2014. 48Asian Maritime Transparency Initiative, Mischief Reef, January 2015, at amti.csis.org/mischief-reef/. 49See John Burt, ‘The Environmental Costs of Coastal Urbanization in the Arabian Gulf’, City 18:6, 2014, pp. 760–70; Paul Erftemeijer et al., ‘Environmental Impacts of Dredging and Other Sediment Disturbances on Corals: A Review’, Marine Pollution Bulletin 64:9, 2012, pp. 1737–65. 50‘No Place to Land: Loss of Natural Habitats Threatens Migratory Birds Globally’, New York: United Nations Environment Programme, 2011. 51Susan Strasser, Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash, New York: Macmillan, 1999, p. 15. 52Cinzia Scarpino, ‘Ground Zero/Fresh Kills: Cataloguing Ruins, Garbage, and Memory’, Altre Modernità, 2011, pp. 237–53. 53Daniel Hoornweg and Perinaz Bhada-Tata, ‘What a Waste: A Global Review’, Urban Development Series 2012, no. 15, Washington, DC: World Bank, March 2012. 54Thelma Gutierrez and George Webster, ‘Trash City: Inside America’s Largest Landfill Site’, CNN, Atlanta, 2012. 55See Rodney Harrison and John Schofield, After Modernity: Archaeological Approaches to the Contemporary Past, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. 56Quoted in Thelma Gutierrez ‘Trash City: Inside America’s Largest Landfill Site’, available at cnn.com, 28 April 2012. 57‘Street Children, India’, 2006, available at gvnet.com. 58Dave Petley, ‘Garbage Dump Landslides’, American Geophysical Union Blog, 22 June 2008, available at blogs.agu.org. 59Quoted in Petley, ‘Garbage Dump Landslides’. 60Karl Mathiesen, ‘Is the Shenzhen Landslide the First of Many More?’


pages: 684 words: 188,584

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

Albert Einstein, Brownian motion, Charles Lindbergh, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, continuation of politics by other means, 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, low earth orbit, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, music of the spheres, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, Project Plowshare, Ralph Nader, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche, éminence grise

Featuring Raytheon’s Radarange (the first commercially available microwave oven), NS Savannah was christened by first lady Mamie on July 21, 1959, and, when it docked in New York City, inspired a “Nuclear Week” of educational events, which included two episodes of the Tonight show. Joining the Atoms for Peace agenda with his Plowshare Program was none other than Edward Teller, who studied the use of fusion bombs to dredge harbors and canals, nuclear explosions for fracking shale oil fields, and firing a nuclear rocket into the moon. This last proposal, Teller said, was to “observe what kind of disturbance it might cause.” He told the University of Alaska in 1959, “If your mountain is not in the right place, just drop us a card” and “We’re going to work miracles.”


pages: 572 words: 179,024

Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base by Annie Jacobsen

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, disinformation, drone strike, Maui Hawaii, mutually assured destruction, operation paperclip, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Project Plowshare, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Seymour Hersh, South China Sea, uranium enrichment, urban sprawl, zero day

In addition to weapons tests, the nuclear laboratories were racing to find ways to use nuclear bombs for “peaceful applications.” This included ideas like widening the Panama Canal or blowing up America’s natural geography to make room for future highways and homes. These proposed earthmoving projects fell under the rubric of Project Plowshares, a name chosen from a verse in the Old Testament, Micah 4:3: And they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks: nations shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. But that was just semantics. Test ban treaty or not, the Department of Defense had no intention of putting down its swords.


Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health by Laurie Garrett

accounting loophole / creative accounting, airport security, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, biofilm, clean water, collective bargaining, desegregation, discovery of DNA, discovery of penicillin, disinformation, Drosophila, employer provided health coverage, Fall of the Berlin Wall, germ theory of disease, global pandemic, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, Induced demand, John Snow's cholera map, Jones Act, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, mass incarceration, Maui Hawaii, means of production, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mouse model, Nelson Mandela, new economy, nuclear winter, phenotype, profit motive, Project Plowshare, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Right to Buy, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, stem cell, the scientific method, urban decay, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Works Progress Administration, yellow journalism

., “Bio-weapons in mind, Iranians lure needy ex-Soviet scientists. New York Times (December 8, 1998): Al; Broad, W. J., “Iranian denies seeking biological arms in Russian.” New York Times (December 12, 1998): A3; and Miller, J., “Russian biologist denies work in Iran on germ weapons.” New York Times (January 19, 1997): A7. 69. Miller, J., “Bombs-to-plowshares program criticized.” New York Times (February 22, 1999): A8; Stout, D., “U.S. imposes sanctions on tech labs in Russia.” New York Times (January 13, 1999): A7; and Miller, J. and Broad, W. J., “Germ weapons: In Soviet past or in the new Russia’s future?” New York Times (December 28, 1998): Al. 70.