uranium enrichment

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pages: 293 words: 74,709

Bomb Scare by Joseph Cirincione

Albert Einstein, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, energy security, Ernest Rutherford, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, 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

Ayatollah Khomeini, Brian Krebs, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, Doomsday Clock, drone strike, Edward Snowden, facts on the ground, Firefox, friendly fire, Google Earth, information retrieval, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Loma Prieta earthquake, Maui Hawaii, MITM: man-in-the-middle, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, smart grid, smart meter, South China Sea, Stuxnet, undersea cable, 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: 556 words: 141,069

The Profiteers by Sally Denton

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, clean water, corporate governance, crony capitalism, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, energy security, Fall of the Berlin Wall, G4S, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Joan Didion, Kitchen Debate, laissez-faire capitalism, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, new economy, nuclear winter, profit motive, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, trickle-down economics, uranium enrichment, urban planning, WikiLeaks, wikimedia commons, William Langewiesche

Bechtel would be at the forefront of the burgeoning new government-subsidized market, obtaining contracts to build more than half of the thirty-one nuclear plants on the drawing board. In November 1972, the federal government gave tentative approval for a $5.7 billion nuclear fuel plant at Dothan, Alabama—the world’s first privately owned nuclear facility of its kind—to a Bechtel subsidiary called Uranium Enrichment Associates (UEA) in partnership with the mega chemical company Union Carbide. The corporatization of uranium enrichment—which had been the government’s sole province since the Manhattan Project—ushered in what journalist Jonathan Kwitny described as the beginning of “what may be the largest commercial undertaking in history.” Despite fierce lobbying by Bechtel, Congress rejected the plan that would have broken the Atomic Energy Commission’s monopoly on the enrichment of uranium, and would have given UEA a series of subsidies and guarantees to meet the needs of commercial nuclear power plants—with the US government assuming most of the risk.

See Soviet Union United Nations, 5, 69, 140, 234 US Agency for International Development (USAID), 232–33, 238–39, 241 US Air Force, 66, 85, 160, 162, 165, 253 US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, 163 US Army, 10, 51, 56, 160, 165, 237 US Army Corps of Engineers, 152, 295 US Bureau of Public Roads, 25 US Bureau of Reclamation, 12, 32 United States Committee for Energy Awareness, 150 US Department of Commerce, 77, 175, 176, 197, 198 US Department of Defense (DOD) Bechtel’s contacts at, 77, 161 Bechtel officers’ moving to, 7 Bechtel projects for, 9 Carter’s energy policy and, 150 Council on Foreign Relations and, 113 criticism of management by, 162 SRI’s close alliance with, 84 Weinberger as Reagan’s secretary of defense in, 137, 139, 144, 160–63 US Department of Energy (DOE) Bechtel projects under, 9, 10, 150, 151–52, 153, 155, 157–58, 255, 296, 318 Cold War and, 156 Davis’s appointment to, 154–55 Livermore workforce restructuring and national laboratories and, 157, 251, 253, 256, 257, 364n290 nuclear weapons program of, 156–57 Reagan’s approach to, 150–51 US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW), 105, 116, 119 US Department of Homeland Security, 266 US Department of Justice, 125–27, 129, 191 US Department of State, 126 Bechtel officers’ moving to, 7 Bechtel’s contacts at, 77, 123 Bechtel’s participation in Arab boycott of trade with Israel and, 126–27 Bush’s reconstruction plans for Iraq and, 5 Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program of, 215 Council on Foreign Relations and, 113 nuclear weapons dispersion and, 72 Shultz as Reagan’s secretary of state at, 133, 135, 136, 137–38, 142–43, 144, 145, 154, 155, 157, 166, 167 Shultz’s Iraq policy and, 168–71, 173 US Department of the Treasury, 119 Labor-Management Advisory Committee of, 95 Shultz as Reagan’s secretary of state at, 105, 109, 112, 133, 135, 136, 137–38, 142–43, 144, 145, 154, 155, 157, 166, 167 Steve Jr.’s position with, 95 US Energy Policy Act (1992), 218 US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), 305 US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 305 US foreign policy anti-Communist approach of, 64 Bechtel’s foreign policy at odds with, 7, 146–47 Bechtel’s influence on, 148 Bechtel’s possible involvement in Syrian coup and, 64 Carter’s administration and, 160 CIA creation and, 64 defense industry and, 83 domino theory and, 75, 87, 98, 100 Indonesian coup and, 95–96 internationalist viewpoint and, 67 investment in Middle East as part of, 63 Israel and, 131, 165 Justice Department charges of discrimination against Jewish employees and impact on, 126–27 Nixon and, 100–02 nuclear weapons and, 69 oil industry and, 64–65 Pacific Rim strategy in, 84, 89, 100 Syrian coup and, 64 Weinberger’s defense budget and, 162–63 US General Accounting Office (GAO), 52, 162, 240 US Generating Company (USGen), 218 US Interior Department, 31, 264 US Maritime Commission, 51 US Missile Defense Agency, 295 US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), 206 US National Security Agency, 14, 79, 276 US Navy, 10, 51, 160, 174, 206, 295 US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), 154, 157–58 US Parole Commission, 303 US Reclamation Service, 32 US Supreme Court, 129 U.S. Steel, 87 US War Department, 51 University of California, and management Los Alamos, 251–52, 255, 265 University of California at Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, Investigative Reporting Program, 307–08 University of California Radiation Laboratory, 251 University of Chicago, 125–26 Unruh, Vincent Paul, 220, 221, 226, 227 Uranium Enrichment Associates (UEA), 104 uranium enrichment facilities, 67–68, 104, 109, 113, 121, 152, 154, 156–57, 162, 258, 271, 272, 295 uranium mining projects, 23, 30, 87, 152, 156, 157 USA Today, 91, 236, 242 USSR. See Soviet Union Utah Construction Company, 23, 30 Utah Corporation, 23 Vallette, Jim, 169 van der Zee, John, 85 Venezuela, 50, 96 venture capital, 95, 135 Vietnam, 84, 209, 236 Vietnam War Bechtel and, 84, 236 Johnson’s policy on, 82 Kennedy’s policy on, 82 Nixon’s policy on, 95, 100 protests against, 84, 126, 267 Village Voice, 170 Viorst, Milton, 300 W.

In his fanaticism he joined an elite group of what a Luce biographer described as “men of great mental vigor who sank to narrowest parochialism in the area where the molten materials of their religion, patriotism, and politics fused into one great cold and flinty mass.” McCone’s unwavering support of this radical strategy against the Soviet Union manifested especially in the atomic warfare theories he embedded in the inchoate air force. Truman had responded to McCone’s recommendations for an atomic buildup by tripling the capacity of the principal nuclear weapons plant at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and constructing gaseous-diffusion facilities for uranium enrichment in Portsmouth, Ohio, and Paducah, Kentucky. Proud of his influence at the highest levels of government, McCone was even more gratified that his longtime friend Steve Bechtel would be the chief contractor on all three projects. While McCone’s sway within the Truman administration was impressive, it was minor in comparison with the authority he would wield with Eisenhower—his golfing buddy and the commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)—who had solicited, and then followed, McCone’s advice about running for the White House on the Republican ticket in 1952.


Atomic Accidents: A History of Nuclear Meltdowns and Disasters: From the Ozark Mountains to Fukushima by James Mahaffey

clean water, Ernest Rutherford, experimental economics, Google Earth, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, loose coupling, Menlo Park, mutually assured destruction, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, uranium enrichment, wage slave, wikimedia commons

The initial data unraveled by the scientists was sobering, and it took some of the euphoric edge off the celebration. The Little Boy was an “assembly weapon.” A cylindrical shell made of a stack of uranium rings was blown against a similar stack of smaller rings held stationary in a block of tungsten carbide, using a smooth-bore 6.5-inch gun barrel. The projectile rings, propelled quickly by three bags of burning nitrocellulose, and the smaller cylinder assembled into a larger, complete cylinder of uranium metal, enriched to 86% U-235. The resulting configuration was hypercritical, and it fissioned explosively. To maximize the “shock and awe,” no leaflets were dropped warning Japan of an impending A-bomb attack, and security was so tight on Tinian Island, the base for atomic operations, that most of the Army Air Force personnel could only guess what was going on.27 However, the surprise was not as complete as one might think.

Everyone was impressed, particularly Oppenheimer, who was not disappointed by Feynman’s sharp analysis of the problem. It was even worse than Segré had reported. There were storage drums of different sizes stored in dozens of rooms in many buildings on site. Some held 300 gallons, some 600 gallons, and some an eye-opening 3,000 gallons of uranium oxide dissolved in water, in a range of uranium-235 enrichments from raw, natural uranium to nearly critical concentrations. Some were on brick floors, which was fine, but some were on wooden floors. Wood is an organic compound, and it contains hydrogen, which would moderate the speed of leaking neutrons and reflect them back into a drum, enhancing the conditions for fission. In some cases large drums were segregated into adjoining rooms, but if two drums were backed up against the same wooden wall, the two subcritical nuclear reactors were capable of coupling into one critical assembly, using the wall as a neutron-moderating connection.

Nicholaus Kopermann was in charge of uranium production. Paul Harteck got heavy water production. Walther Bothe drew nuclear constants measurement, and Georg Stetter was given transuranic elements. Heisenberg was assigned the core problem, to prove the validity of the chain-reaction concept and then use the resulting nuclear reactor as a neutron source for further experimentation and data collection. Oddly, a separate uranium-enrichment task was spun off for Manfred von Ardenne, a German television pioneer, funded by the German Post Office. Truth be known, Heisenberg was a brilliant theorist but not so good as an experimentalist, and his task involved building a nuclear reactor, which was heavy on the experimental side. He was grateful to be assigned Robert Döpel, professor of radiation physics at the University of Leipzig, to assist.


pages: 719 words: 209,224

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

active measures, anti-communist, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, crony capitalism, cuban missile crisis, failed state, joint-stock company, Kickstarter, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Silicon Valley, standardized shipping container, Stanislav Petrov, Thomas L Friedman, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, zero-sum game

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: 217 words: 61,407

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

Bakken shale, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, deindustrialization, energy security, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, income per capita, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), means of production, mutually assured destruction, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, out of africa, peak oil, price discovery process, rising living standards, sceptred isle, 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: 465 words: 124,074

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

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


pages: 323 words: 89,795

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

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, Kickstarter, land reform, microcredit, Negawatt, Nelson Mandela, 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: 427 words: 127,496

Mossad: The Greatest Missions of the Israeli Secret Service by Michael Bar-Zohar, Nissim Mishal

airport security, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, illegal immigration, Stuxnet, traveling salesman, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War

Iranian officials ridiculed the report, claiming that the Mossad could never carry out such an operation inside Iran, and that “Professor Hosseinpour suffocated by inhaling fumes during a fire in his home.” They also insisted that the forty-four-year-old professor was only a renowned electro-magnetic expert and not involved with Iran’s nuclear endeavors in any way. But it turned out that Hosseinpour worked at an Isfahan secret installation where raw uranium was converted into gas. This gas was then used for uranium enrichment by a series (“cascades”) of centrifuges in Natanz, a faraway, fortified underground installation. In 2006, Hosseinpour was awarded the highest Iranian prize for science and technology; two years earlier, he had been awarded his country’s highest distinction for military research. The assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists were just one front in a much larger war. According to the Daily Telegraph in London, Dagan’s Mossad had rolled out an assault force of double agents, hit teams, sabotage, front companies, and brought their strength to bear over years and years of covert operations against Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Joklik took upon himself to obtain large quantities of a radioactive isotope, Cobalt-60, and experiment with it in Egypt. If the experiments succeeded, Joklik would try getting more cobalt, which would be placed in the missiles’ warheads and spread deadly radiation on impact. The goal of the second project, Cleopatra, was to produce two atomic bombs. Joklik suggested an ingenious method for manufacturing the bombs: buying uranium enriched to 20 percent in the United States or in Europe; enriching it up to 90 percent by special centrifuges developed in Germany and Holland by the scientists Dr. Wilhelm Groth, Dr. Jacob Kistemaker, and Dr. Gernot Zippe; and building the bomb with the enriched uranium. Joklik flew to the United States and tried to get the enriched uranium there; he also met with several German scientists and invited them to build centrifuges in Egypt.

In Jerusalem and Washington, official sources confirmed that Israel and the United States were acting together, but disagreed on a major point: when would Iran have to be stopped by all means necessary—military or other. The American services claimed that this would be the moment when the enrichment of uranium by Iran reached 80 percent, a crucial stage in the development of their nuclear capability. Uranium enriched to that level could be very quickly upgraded to 97 percent, the degree needed for the assembly of an atomic bomb. Israel’s timetable was different, based on reports from the ground and satellite detection. The Mossad had discovered that Iran was engaged in a chaotic race against time, building a large number of underground facilities buried at a depth of hundreds of meters. They were transferring all their fissile materials and their secret labs underground.


Because We Say So by Noam Chomsky

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, American Legislative Exchange Council, Chelsea Manning, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Julian Assange, Malacca Straits, Martin Wolf, means of production, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, Powell Memorandum, 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.


Global Catastrophic Risks by Nick Bostrom, Milan M. Cirkovic

affirmative action, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, anthropic principle, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, availability heuristic, Bill Joy: nanobots, Black Swan, carbon-based life, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer age, coronavirus, corporate governance, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, death of newspapers, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, Doomsday Clock, Drosophila, endogenous growth, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, feminist movement, framing effect, friendly AI, Georg Cantor, global pandemic, global village, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, Kevin Kelly, Kuiper Belt, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, P = NP, peak oil, phenotype, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, Singularitarianism, social intelligence, South China Sea, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, Tunguska event, twin studies, uranium enrichment, Vernor Vinge, War on Poverty, Westphalian system, Y2K

The most basic type of nuclear weapon and the simplest to design and manufacture is a H EU-based gun-type device. As its name implies, it fires a projectile - in this case a piece of H E U - down a gun barrel into another piece of H E U . Each piece of H E U is sub-critical and by itself cannot sustain an explosive chain reaction. Once combined, however, they form a supercritical mass and can create a nuclear explosion. Weapons-grade H E U - uranium enriched to over 90% of the isotope U235 - is the most effective material for a H EU-based device. However, even H E U enriched to less than weapons-grade can lead to an explosive chain reaction. The Hiroshima bomb, for example, used about 60 kg of80% enriched uranium. Terrorists would probably need at least 40 kg of weapons-grade or near weapons-grade H E U to have reasonable confidence that the I N D would work (McPhee, 1 974, pp. 1 89-1 94) . 2 1 As indicated above, the potential for non-state actors to build a nuclear explosive already had been expressed publicly by knowledgeable experts as early as the 1 970s.

Aside from the assistance provided by a state sponsor, the most likely means by which a non-state actor is apt to experience a surge in its ability to acquire nuclear explosives is through technological breakthroughs. Today, the two bottlenecks that most constrain non-state entities from fabricating a nuclear weapon are the difficulty of enriching uranium and the technical challenge of correctly designing and building an implosion device. Although almost all experts believe uranium enrichment is beyond the capability of any non-state entity acting on its own today, it is possible that new enrichment technologies, especially involving lasers, may reduce this barrier. Unlike prevailing centrifuge and diffusion enrichment technology, which require massive investments in space, infrastructure, and energy, laser enrichment could theoretically involve smaller facilities, less energy consumption, and a much more rapid enrichment process.

This is a distinguishing feature of biological weapons that is obscured by the tendency to include them with nuclear, chemical, and radiological weapons as a 'weapon of mass destruction' (Chyba, 2002) . 20.3 Biological weapons are d istinct from other so-called weapons of mass destruction Producing a nuclear bomb is difficult; it requires expensive and technologically advanced infrastructure and involves uranium enrichment or plutonium production and reprocessing capacity that are difficult to hide. These features render traditional non-proliferation approaches feasible; despite being faced with many obstacles to non-proliferation, the I nternational Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is able to conduct monitoring and verification inspections on a large number (over a thousand) of nuclear facilities throughout the world.


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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

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.


pages: 258 words: 63,367

Making the Future: The Unipolar Imperial Moment by Noam Chomsky

"Robert Solow", Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, capital controls, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate personhood, creative destruction, deindustrialization, energy security, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Frank Gehry, full employment, Howard Zinn, Joseph Schumpeter, kremlinology, liberation theology, Long Term Capital Management, market fundamentalism, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, 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.


pages: 530 words: 154,505

Bibi: The Turbulent Life and Times of Benjamin Netanyahu by Anshel Pfeffer

Ayatollah Khomeini, British Empire, centre right, different worldview, Donald Trump, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, full employment, high net worth, illegal immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, pre–internet, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stuxnet, Thomas L Friedman, uranium enrichment, Yom Kippur War

Shipments of military and nuclear materials disappeared at sea. The prime suspect, Israel, never took responsibility. The United States was a partner in the secret campaign against Iran. Bush had authorized the cooperation, which continued, and even intensified, under Obama. Their most famous success was Stuxnet, a malicious computer worm that found its way into the operating system of Iran’s uranium enrichment centrifuges. According to the New York Times, Stuxnet had been developed by a joint American-Israeli team in “Operation Olympic Games” to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program.8 Contrary to the “throwing Israel under the bus” narrative pushed by Netanyahu’s people in Jerusalem and Washington, Obama authorized taking the intelligence-sharing and operational coordination between the two countries to unprecedented levels.

The sanctions would eventually bring Iran to the negotiating table, but this wasn’t enough for Netanyahu, who wanted a more credible military threat against Iran from the United States. Obama refused to publicly go beyond his standard formulation—“All options are on the table,” and the United States would “do what is necessary.” The United States was indeed working on operational plans to strike Iran if necessary. For one, it was developing massive bunker-buster bombs capable of taking out the underground uranium enrichment plants. But what Israelis and Iranians heard was a president who had no intention of going to war and who would do whatever it took to prevent Israel from doing so. Bibi with Benzion at age 101. ON APRIL 30, 2012, Benzion Netanyahu passed away at the age of 102. Well into his late nineties, he had soldiered on with his research, spending long periods in the United States, where he often read and wrote in the New York Public Library.

At the global forum he put forward his strongest case for military action against Iran. “Iran uses diplomatic negotiations as a means to buy time to advance its nuclear program,” Netanyahu said. And “sanctions have not stopped Iran’s nuclear program either.”24 He had even brought a diagram, in the shape of a cartoon bomb, on which he drew with a marker a thick red line, highlighting the 90 percent uranium enrichment threshold. From the red line, “it’s only a few months, possibly a few weeks, before they get enough enriched uranium for the first bomb…. The relevant question is not when Iran will get the bomb. The relevant question is at what stage can we no longer stop Iran from getting the bomb. The red line must be drawn on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program because these enrichment facilities are the only nuclear installations that we can definitely see and credibly target.”25 Netanyahu was imploring Obama and the world to stop Iran from crossing the red line.


pages: 648 words: 165,654

Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East by Robin Wright

Anton Chekhov, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, central bank independence, colonial rule, Fall of the Berlin Wall, feminist movement, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, old-boy network, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, Thomas L Friedman, uranium enrichment

It was surrounded by five of the world’s eight nuclear powers—neighboring Pakistan and the Soviet Union, with China, India, and Israel nearby. Saddam Hussein reportedly had his own nuclear weapons development program too. For the next eighteen years, Iran reportedly worked on acquiring pieces and technology for a clandestine program. In 2002, however, it got caught. An exiled opposition group exposed research and development at two sites, Natanz and Arak. The sprawling desert facility in Natanz included preparations for uranium enrichment. Enriched at low levels, uranium can fuel reactors in a peaceful nuclear energy program. At high levels, it can be subverted for bomb-making. The dual-purpose technology presented a special conundrum for the outside world, as Iran definitely had been on a longstanding and legal quest for nuclear energy—a goal dating back to the monarchy. In the 1970s, the United States had actually approved Iran’s plans for twenty-two nuclear reactors.

Although the president is just one member of the Supreme National Security Council, the results of Iran’s presidential election had altered the atmosphere. The hard-liners and ideologues dominated the internal debate. And they were far less willing to buckle to the West. Tensions with the outside world quickly began building again. In 2006, Europe and the United States crafted a carrot-and-stick compromise with broad incentives: Iran could keep its energy program, but Russia would control the uranium enrichment fuel cycle to ensure that the key process was not diverted for a weapon. The West would also throw in economic and diplomatic perks, including talks that would bring the United States and Iran to the negotiating table for the first time in decades. The alternative was the threat of increasingly punitive United Nations sanctions. Tehran balked. It did not want to be dependent on the often hostile outside world.

Iran claimed the British sailors had crossed into its waters, which was not unprecedented. It had happened in 2004, when eight British sailors were held for three days. But Britain claimed global satellite tracking proved its patrol boats were almost two miles inside Iraqi waters. The abduction was interesting in another respect. It came one day before the United Nations voted on a new resolution to impose sanctions on Tehran for failing to suspend uranium enrichment. The sanctions were narrow, targeting banks, institutions, and twenty-eight officials believed to be involved in Iran’s suspected nuclear program. Among the individuals were the top seven Revolutionary Guard commanders of its ground forces, navy, air force, intelligence unit, and Quds Force. Iran and Britain both insisted there were no connections between the seizure of the Irbil Five, the UN sanctions resolution and the capture of the fifteen Brits.


pages: 433 words: 124,454

The Burning Answer: The Solar Revolution: A Quest for Sustainable Power by Keith Barnham

Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, carbon footprint, credit crunch, decarbonisation, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, Ernest Rutherford, hydraulic fracturing, hydrogen economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Kickstarter, Naomi Klein, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, uranium enrichment, wikimedia commons

Sadly, the UK has set an unhappy precedent by removing safeguarded nuclear material from the civil programme for military activities. This is allowed if due notice is given to the safeguards authorities. In the 1980s vast amounts of depleted uranium (the waste left behind when uranium is enriched) belonging to the UK civil programme were removed from safeguards. Some was used to produce tritium for warheads. The depleted uranium was also used for hardening shells and strengthening tank armour. The investigative journalist John Pilger has highlighted the human cost of the radioactive debris from the use of UK depleted uranium in Iraq. Though depleted uranium is not as radioactive as enriched uranium, a suggestion has been made, which has yet to be experimentally verified, as to why it might be genetically damaging. Another factor in the enthusiasm of successive British governments for new nuclear reactors could be that a new programme will require an enhanced supply of nuclear engineers from the universities.

Neutrons produced by the splitting of uranium-235 were slowed by blocks of graphite and captured by the uranium-238 nuclei to form plutonium-239. Fermi had produced the first controlled nuclear fission reaction. In one of the great ironies of science, Fermi achieved in Chicago in 1942 what had erroneously preoccupied his team in Rome in 1934. It is a sobering thought that had they guessed correctly eight years earlier, fascism might have triumphed in the Second World War. Both the uranium enrichment and the plutonium production approaches worked, but too late for the bomb to be used in the war in Europe. Uranium was used in the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. Plutonium was used in the bomb dropped on Nagasaki. This practical demonstration of the quantum revolution was infinitely more problematic, complex and more expensive than the discovery of semiconductors, which followed a few years later.

Solar the ‘new nuclear’ In the days of the Cold War, East and West competed to sell nuclear reactors to non-nuclear, countries on favourable terms. I have argued that it would be more appropriate to the needs of developing countries if Western and Chinese manufacturers were to compete in supplying solar factories. Solar technology might then become a tool of political influence, the ‘new nuclear’, with the great advantage that it cannot be used for weapons. In Iran for instance, I suggest that, in return for stopping all uranium enrichment activity, the US and EU should offer to build a solar cell factory and a wind turbine factory, each capable of manufacturing systems producing 1 GW of electrical power a year. This would cost less than a new nuclear reactor. Within ten years Iran could have around 15 GW of new electricity capacity, much more than its nuclear programme will produce in that time. As neither wind nor PV requires fuel, they would give Iran much more energy security than a nuclear programme.


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

banking crisis, British Empire, Doomsday Clock, failed state, feminist movement, Howard Zinn, informal economy, liberation theology, mass immigration, 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.


Interventions by Noam Chomsky

Albert Einstein, Ayatollah Khomeini, cuban missile crisis, energy security, facts on the ground, failed state, Monroe Doctrine, nuremberg principles, old-boy network, 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.


Days of Fire: Bush and Cheney in the White House by Peter Baker

addicted to oil, anti-communist, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bob Geldof, buy low sell high, card file, clean water, collective bargaining, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, drone strike, energy security, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, friendly fire, guest worker program, hiring and firing, housing crisis, illegal immigration, immigration reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Saturday Night Live, South China Sea, stem cell, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, War on Poverty, working poor, Yom Kippur War

On this morning, Cheney found a report from the Defense Intelligence Agency, or DIA, titled “Niamey Signed an Agreement to Sell 500 Tons of Uranium a Year to Baghdad.” The report, dated February 12, 2002, caught Cheney’s eye. Niamey was the capital of Niger, an African country with significant uranium deposits. Iraq had no civilian nuclear energy program, and the only reason it could want uranium from Africa was to fuel a bomb. The uranium would have to be enriched, no easy task and not one that Iraq had mastered. But if it were, five hundred tons by one calculation would be enough to make fifty weapons. The report was based on information from a foreign intelligence service, and Cheney asked his briefer to find out what the CIA thought of it. By this point, Cheney was hunting for evidence that Iraq had chemical, biological, and even nuclear weapons in violation of its obligations under the UN Security Council resolutions that followed the Gulf War.

Still, Rumsfeld was not opposing war. He concluded his list by noting that “it is possible of course to prepare a similar illustrative list of all the potential problems that need to be considered if there is no regime change in Iraq.” THROUGH ALL OF this, a separate crisis was brewing with another member of the axis of evil. American intelligence agencies had uncovered evidence that North Korea had a secret uranium enrichment program in addition to the plutonium program it had suspended as part of the Agreed Framework negotiated with Bill Clinton. James Kelly, an assistant secretary of state, was instructed to confront the North Koreans during a trip to Pyongyang. When he did, the North Koreans responded in a way that Kelly took as confirmation. Suddenly Bush and Cheney had another rogue state developing nuclear weapons.

The United States would drop its opposition to World Trade Organization membership talks for Iran and allow the sale of spare parts for American-made civilian airplanes. But they represented a sea change from the policy of confrontation Cheney had advocated in the first term. After all the talk of going it alone if necessary, Bush would now be letting the British, Germans, and French take the lead in pressuring Iran to give up uranium enrichment. Unlike with Andijan, this time Rice moved policy without a major clash. As she sat in the Oval Office one day describing her plan, even Cheney went along without protest. “That makes sense,” he said. The emergence of Rice underscored the evolution of Bush’s partnership with Cheney. “There certainly seemed to be a difference in their relationship,” Christine Todd Whitman observed from the outside.


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

airport security, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, BRICs, capital controls, clean water, creative destruction, Deng Xiaoping, Doha Development Round, energy security, European colonialism, failed state, global rebalancing, global supply chain, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, Nixon shock, nuclear winter, Parag Khanna, 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: 1,071 words: 295,220

Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel's Targeted Assassinations by Ronen Bergman

Ayatollah Khomeini, Boycotts of Israel, British Empire, card file, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Edward Snowden, facts on the ground, friendly fire, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Marshall McLuhan, Ronald Reagan, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War

In June 2009, the Mossad, together with U.S. and French intelligence, discovered that they had built another secret uranium enrichment facility, this one at Qom. Publicly, three months later, President Obama made a dramatic announcement and condemnation, and the economic sanctions were tightened further. Covertly, joint sabotage operations also managed to produce a series of breakdowns in Iranian equipment supplied to the nuclear project—computers stopped working, transformers burned out, centrifuges simply didn’t work properly. In the largest and most important joint operation by the Americans and the Israelis against Iran, dubbed “Olympic Games,” computer viruses, one of which became known as Stuxnet, caused severe damage to the nuclear project’s uranium enrichment machinery. The last component of Dagan’s plan—the targeted killing of scientists—was implemented by the Mossad on its own, since Dagan was aware that the United States would not agree to participate.

After a few months in the job, Pardo went back to the targeted killing policy his predecessor had laid down. In July 2011, a motorcyclist followed Darioush Rezaeinejad, a doctor of nuclear physics and a senior researcher for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, until he reached a point close to the Imam Ali Camp, one of the most fortified bases of the Revolutionary Guard, which contains an experimental uranium enrichment area. The biker drew a pistol and shot Rezaeinejad dead. In November 2011, a huge explosion occurred in another Revolutionary Guard base, thirty miles west of Tehran. The cloud of smoke was visible from the city, windows rattled, and satellite photos showed that almost the entire base had been obliterated. General Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, head of the Revolutionary Guard’s missile development division, was killed in the blast, as were sixteen of his personnel.

“There’s a limit to an organization’s ability to coerce a scientist to work on a project when he does not want to,” Dagan said. In order to intensify the fears of the scientists, the Mossad looked for targets that were not necessarily very high up in the nuclear program, but whose elimination would cause as much apprehension as possible among the greatest numbers of their colleagues at the same level. On January 12, 2012, Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, a chemical engineer at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, left his home and headed for a laboratory in downtown Tehran. A few months earlier, a photograph of him accompanying Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on a tour of nuclear installations had appeared in media across the globe. Once again, a motorcyclist drove up to his car and attached a limpet mine that killed him on the spot. His wife, who was sitting next to him, was not hurt, but she saw everything and told his colleagues, horrified at what had happened.


pages: 363 words: 105,039

Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin's Most Dangerous Hackers by Andy Greenberg

air freight, Airbnb, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, call centre, clean water, data acquisition, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, global supply chain, hive mind, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, Mikhail Gorbachev, open borders, pirate software, pre–internet, profit motive, ransomware, RFID, speech recognition, Steven Levy, Stuxnet, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, Valery Gerasimov, WikiLeaks, zero day

According to some U.S. intelligence analysts, Stuxnet set back the Iranian nuclear program by a year or even two, giving the Obama administration crucial time to bring Iran to the bargaining table, culminating in a nuclear deal in 2015. But in fact, those long-term wins against Natanz’s operation weren’t so definitive. Even in spite of its confusion and mangled centrifuges, the facility actually increased its rate of uranium enrichment over the course of 2010, at times progressing toward bomb-worthy material at a rate 50 percent faster than it had in 2008. Stuxnet might have, if anything, only slowed the acceleration of Ahmadinejad’s program. And what was Stuxnet’s price? Most notably, it exposed to the world for the first time the full prowess and aggression of America’s—and to a lesser extent Israel’s—most elite state hackers.


pages: 653 words: 155,847

Energy: A Human History by Richard Rhodes

Albert Einstein, animal electricity, California gold rush, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Copley Medal, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, demographic transition, Dmitri Mendeleev, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, energy transition, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, flex fuel, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, nuclear winter, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Ralph Nader, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, Simon Kuznets, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, Vanguard fund, working poor, young professional

Fermi used graphite rather than water to moderate CP-1 because graphite absorbs fewer neutrons than water. Natural uranium contains too little U235 to sustain a chain reaction with water moderation. To use water to moderate a reactor, the uranium fuel has to be enriched from .07 percent U235 to at least 3 percent U235. Uranium enrichment, which the United States’s Manhattan Project pioneered during World War II, was first used to make nearly pure U235 for the first atomic weapon, the bomb exploded over Hiroshima, Japan, on 6 August 1945. After the war, when the navy developed the first power reactors for nuclear submarines, it used uranium fuel enriched to a level of U235 sufficient to sustain a chain reaction with water moderation. The laboratory at the University of Chicago where Fermi built CP-1 worked during the early years of World War II to develop the technology of breeding plutonium.

But most of natural uranium is U238; U235 is only about 1 part in 140, or .07 percent—seven-tenths of 1 percent. Even more troublesome, the two isotopes are chemically identical, which means they can’t be separated using chemical means. They’re different physically: U238, with three more neutrons, is slightly heavier. So they can be laboriously separated by taking advantage of their slight difference in mass. Uranium isotope separation, also called enrichment, requires industrial-scale facilities such as factories full of centrifuges. There were no such factories in 1942. As Henry Ford had to build his first automobile in a world without automobile parts, so did Fermi have to work with natural uranium, somehow teasing a chain reaction from its scant content of U235. The difference in nuclear structure between U238 and U235 makes a crucial difference in performance: U238 is insensitive to slow neutrons but absorbs fast neutrons and transmutes to a heavier element, neptunium, which in turn transmutes to plutonium.II If the goal is to fission uranium to release energy, U238 is a poison, soaking up neutrons with no energy release.

The natural reactors were like the geysers of Yellowstone National Park, which cycle similarly because water seeps into underground magma chambers where the hot magma heats it to steam, which spouts up through natural channels in the overburden and sprays into the air, emptying the underground chambers and shutting down the geysering. Then water seeps into the magma chambers again, and the cycle repeats. In May 1972 a staff member at the Eurodif uranium-enrichment plant in Pierrelatte, France, first noticed the discrepancy that led to the discovery of the Gabon reactors: analyzing a standard sample prepared from uranium ore, he was surprised to find it slightly depleted in U235. Checking other samples, Eurodif found U235 similarly missing in ore shipments from Gabon going back to 1970. The ore shipments had yielded some 700 tons of natural uranium, so about 200 kilograms of U235 were missing, enough to make at least ten atomic bombs.30 At that point, the Commissariat à l’énergie atomique—CEA, the French atomic energy commission—got involved.


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

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, 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, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, John von Neumann, life extension, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Mars Rover, mass immigration, megacity, Mitch Kapor, Murray Gell-Mann, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, Ray Kurzweil, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, social intelligence, 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

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, business cycle, buy and hold, 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, fixed income, Flash crash, floating exchange rates, forward guidance, G4S, George Akerlof, global reserve currency, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, income inequality, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invisible hand, jitney, John Meriwether, Kenneth Rogoff, labor-force participation, 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 market fund, 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, undersea cable, 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.


The Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East by Andrew Scott Cooper

addicted to oil, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Boycotts of Israel, energy security, falling living standards, friendly fire, full employment, interchangeable parts, Kickstarter, land reform, MITM: man-in-the-middle, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, RAND corporation, rising living standards, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, strikebreaker, unbiased observer, uranium enrichment, urban planning, Yom Kippur War

The Bechtel connection meant that private commercial motives were now entangled in the administration’s handling of sensitive policy discussions with the Shah concerning oil prices and nuclear energy, and specifically nuclear enrichment. Kissinger viewed the Shah’s nuclear ambitions, as he did oil prices and arms sales, in purely tactical terms. Shultz’s Iran trip had the dual purpose of following up on the oil talks while selling the Shah on the idea of building a U.S.-based uranium enrichment facility. “Also, at our instigation, approaches have been made by the Bechtel Corporation to Iran to encourage the Shah’s investment (on the order of $300 million) in a private uranium enrichment plant to be built in the United States,” Kissinger was reminded by an aide in December 1974. The administration calculated that if the Shah went ahead and acquired half his nuclear power program from the United States, the equivalent of between six and eight nuclear power plants, the United States stood to earn $6.4 billion in revenues.

His stance appeared to rule out the American preference for a multinational enrichment facility. Three months earlier Iran had entered into a secret pact with South Africa to buy enough uranium to power up to a hundred nuclear power plants at an estimated cost of between $700 million and $1 billion. Under the terms of the deal Iran would help to finance the construction in South Africa of a big new uranium enrichment facility. The South Africans would supply Iran with ore from its occupied territory of Namibia. The Ford administration had agreed to sell Iran eight nuclear power plants but opposed granting Iran the right to reprocess uranium in Iranian-built and managed facilities. The Shah’s South Africa deal directly challenged U.S. domination of the international uranium trade. This was his way of evading his ally’s restrictions.


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

3D printing, Airbus A320, carbon footprint, clean water, cleantech, commoditize, Deng Xiaoping, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, glass ceiling, global supply chain, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, reshoring, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, telemarketer, Tesla Model S, thinkpad, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, 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: 383 words: 105,021

Dark Territory: The Secret History of Cyber War by Fred Kaplan

Cass Sunstein, computer age, data acquisition, drone strike, dumpster diving, Edward Snowden, game design, hiring and firing, index card, Internet of things, Jacob Appelbaum, John Markoff, John von Neumann, kremlinology, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, national security letter, packet switching, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, Stuxnet, uranium enrichment, Y2K, zero day

In the cyber age, once they hacked a computer, they could prowl the entire network connected to it; and, once inside the network, they could not only read or download scads of information; they could change its content—disrupt, corrupt, or erase it—and mislead or disorient the officials who relied on it. Once the workings of almost everything in life were controlled by or through computers—the guidance systems of smart bombs, the centrifuges in a uranium-enrichment lab, the control valves of a dam, the financial transactions of banks, even the internal mechanics of cars, thermostats, burglary alarms, toasters—hacking into a network gave a spy or cyber warrior the power to control those centrifuges, dams, and transactions: to switch their settings, slow them down, speed them up, or disable, even destroy them. This damage was wreaked remotely; the attackers might be half a world away from the target.

From the outset of his presidency, Obama articulated, and usually followed, a philosophy on the use of force: he was willing to take military action, if national interests demanded it and if the risks were fairly low; but unless vital interests were at stake, he was averse to sending in thousands of American troops, especially given the waste and drain of the two wars he inherited in Afghanistan and Iraq. The two secret programs that Bush pressed him to continue—drone strikes against jihadists and cyber sabotage of a uranium-enrichment plant in Iran—fit Obama’s comfort zone: both served a national interest, and neither risked American lives. Once in the White House, Obama expressed a few qualms about the plan: he wanted assurances that, when the worm infected the Natanz reactor, it wouldn’t also put out the lights in nearby power plants, hospitals, or other civilian facilities. His briefers conceded that worms could spread, but this particular worm was programmed to look for the specific Siemens software; if it drifted far afield, and the unintended targets didn’t have the software, it wouldn’t inflict any damage.


pages: 850 words: 224,533

The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World by Oona A. Hathaway, Scott J. Shapiro

9 dash line, Albert Einstein, anti-globalists, bank run, Bartolomé de las Casas, battle of ideas, British Empire, clean water, colonial rule, continuation of politics by other means, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Donald Trump, facts on the ground, failed state, humanitarian revolution, index card, long peace, Monroe Doctrine, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, South China Sea, spice trade, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, uranium enrichment, zero-sum game

It would remove two thirds of the centrifuges, maintain low levels of enrichment for at least fifteen years, reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium by 98 percent, and allow comprehensive access to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor compliance. A year after the agreement, in May 2016, the IAEA found that Iran had lived up to its commitments. Iran went from over 19,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges to just 5,060. It ended uranium enrichment and removed all nuclear material from its once secret facility at Fordow. It reduced its stockpile of enriched uranium and filled the core of its heavy-water reactor at Arak with concrete, making it permanently inoperable. Together, these terms increased Iran’s “breakout time”—the period to produce enough fissile material for a single nuclear weapon—from about two to three months to at least one year.93 Although critics complained that the deal still allowed Iran to enrich nuclear material, some later acknowledged that it had succeeded in eliminating an imminent threat.

The Iranian economy was relatively healthy, averaging an annual GDP growth rate of 5.5 percent over the first half of the decade.59 Meanwhile, there was little evidence that the sanctions were dissuading the Iranians from pursuing nuclear research.60 The first step toward more effective sanctions was an increase in international cooperation. Outcasting, after all, is not very effective if carried out by a single state—even one as powerful as the United States. The more states participate, the more effective the sanction. The turning point for Iran came in 2006, when the U.N. Security Council joined the American effort. It demanded that Iran stop uranium enrichment and imposed progressively painful sanctions in response to its continued intransigence.61 As a result, Iran was shut out not only by the United States and a few sympathetic countries but by nearly every nation in the world. But there was another crucial step, as well: an innovation in the technology of outcasting. An obscure office in the U.S. Treasury Department is tasked with enforcing sanctions rules: the Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC.


Inside British Intelligence by Gordon Thomas

active measures, Albert Einstein, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, Etonian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, job satisfaction, Khyber Pass, kremlinology, lateral thinking, license plate recognition, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, old-boy network, Ronald Reagan, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, Yom Kippur War

The family was issued with American passports, which contained their new identities, and in August a transition team flew from Washington to accompany them to America. On arrival they were absorbed into the Witness Protection Program and assured that for the foreseeable future they would be among the most protected of all American citizens. MEANWHILE, ANALYSTS ON THE IRAN DESK in Vauxhall Cross continued to study Israel’s plans to launch a preemptive strike against Iran’s three prime uranium enrichment facilities: Natanz; a uranium conversion site at Isfahan; and the heavy water reactor at Arak. Low-yield bunker-busting bombs would be used against Natanz, as the facility was buried deep underground. It would be the first time since 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that nuclear weapons would be used. The Israeli bombs would explode a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of that detonated over Hiroshima.


pages: 465 words: 140,800

Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe by Serhii Plokhy

Mikhail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan, stem cell, uranium enrichment

In the corridors of power, however, the VVER reactors lost in competition with the RBMK, or High Power Channel Reactor, which used graphite to moderate the reaction and water as a coolant. The RBMK reactors had an output of 1,000 megawatts of electrical energy, twice that of the VVERs. And they were not only more powerful but also cheaper to build and operate. Whereas VVER reactors required enriched uranium, RBMK reactors were designed to run on almost natural uranium-238, with an enrichment level of a mere 2 to 3 percent of uranium-235. Last but not least, the RBMK reactors could be constructed on the spot from prefabricated components produced by machine-building plants that did not specialize in the production of high-precision equipment for the nuclear industry. As far as the party leadership in Moscow was concerned, it was a win-win situation. While the rest of the world chose VVER reactors, the USSR went mostly, but not exclusively, with the RBMK type.


pages: 587 words: 117,894

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

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, do-ocracy, drone strike, 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, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, M-Pesa, MITM: man-in-the-middle, 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, zero-sum game

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: 363 words: 101,082

Earth Wars: The Battle for Global Resources by Geoff Hiscock

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, mass immigration, megacity, Menlo Park, Mohammed Bouazizi, new economy, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Panamax, Pearl River Delta, 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, WikiLeaks, 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

"Robert Solow", 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, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, liberation theology, Malacca Straits, Martin Wolf, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, nuclear winter, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, one-state solution, 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: 251 words: 76,868

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

Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, bank run, blood diamonds, Bob Geldof, borderless world, BRICs, British Empire, call centre, carbon footprint, charter city, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, commoditize, continuation of politics by other means, 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, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Live Aid, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, microcredit, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, New Urbanism, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, out of africa, Parag Khanna, 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: 254 words: 76,064

Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Joi Ito, Jeff Howe

3D printing, Albert Michelson, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, Burning Man, buy low sell high, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, Computer Numeric Control, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, data acquisition, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, double helix, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ferguson, Missouri, fiat currency, financial innovation, Flash crash, frictionless, game design, Gerolamo Cardano, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Harrison: Longitude, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, microbiome, Nate Silver, Network effects, neurotypical, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pirate software, pre–internet, prisoner's dilemma, Productivity paradox, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Coase, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, SETI@home, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Singh, Singularitarianism, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, universal basic income, unpaid internship, uranium enrichment, urban planning, WikiLeaks

But Stuxnet, as this particular sample was called, was a different animal. It was the first time anyone had seen malware that targeted the customized software that is used to control industrial machineries such as turbines and presses. After months of relentless analysis it became apparent that the code targeting these supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems had a very specific purpose: to disrupt the process of uranium enrichment in nuclear facilities. When the centrifuges connected to the system met certain conditions, the malware would forcibly alter the rotation speed of the motors, ultimately causing the centrifuges to break years before their normal life span. More importantly, the centrifuges would fail to properly enrich the uranium samples. The malware would also cleverly alter the information sent back on the computer screens so that its sabotage of the turbine would remain undetected for a long time.


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

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, Brian Krebs, British Empire, butter production in bangladesh, call centre, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, digital map, 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, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, obamacare, Occupy movement, packet switching, pension reform, prediction markets, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, spectrum auction, statistical model, Stuxnet, trade route, undersea cable, 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: 310 words: 82,592

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

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: 157 words: 53,125

pages: 181 words: 52,147

The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future by Vivek Wadhwa, Alex Salkever

23andMe, 3D printing, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, Google bus, Hyperloop, income inequality, Internet of things, job automation, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Law of Accelerating Returns, license plate recognition, life extension, longitudinal study, Lyft, M-Pesa, Menlo Park, microbiome, mobile money, new economy, personalized medicine, phenotype, precision agriculture, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart grid, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Stuxnet, supercomputer in your pocket, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, Thomas Davenport, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, uranium enrichment, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

As high-speed, ubiquitous connectivity among all manner of devices binds us more tightly to technology and to the Internet, a crucial and frightening mega-trend for the next two decades is that cyber security will become a more important domestic-security issue. In 2007, the Stuxnet computer worm sent costly and critically important centrifuges spinning wildly out of control at Natanz, a secret uranium-enrichment facility in Iran.2 In a matter of months, American and Israeli security forces were able to remotely destroy 1,000 of the 5,000 centrifuges Iran had spinning at the time to purify uranium. The government program behind the virus, code-named “Olympic Games,” was developed during the Bush and Obama Administrations. Stuxnet was the first major publicly reported governmental cyber attack on industrial facilities of another nation.


pages: 1,373 words: 300,577

The Quest: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World by Daniel Yergin

"Robert Solow", addicted to oil, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, borderless world, BRICs, business climate, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, cleantech, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, colonial rule, Colonization of Mars, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, diversification, diversified portfolio, Elon Musk, energy security, energy transition, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fear of failure, financial innovation, flex fuel, global supply chain, global village, high net worth, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, index fund, informal economy, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, Kenneth Rogoff, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Malacca Straits, market design, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Mohammed Bouazizi, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Norman Macrae, North Sea oil, nuclear winter, off grid, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, peak oil, Piper Alpha, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, rising living standards, Robert Metcalfe, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart grid, smart meter, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, Stuxnet, technology bubble, the built environment, The Nature of the Firm, the new new thing, trade route, transaction costs, unemployed young men, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, William Langewiesche, Yom Kippur War

After his election, Ahmadinejad restarted enrichment. Iran’s repeated assertion that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes is met with total disbelief by its Arab neighbors. Ahmadinejad has also accelerated the development of missiles, some of which could carry nuclear payloads. The nuclear program entered a new phase in 2006 with the activation of a large number of centrifuges to enrich uranium. Enrichment is the process by which the ratio of the U-235 isotope to the far more common U-238 is increased. A 3 percent to 5 percent U-235 concentration is required to provide the fuel for a civilian nuclear reactor. A 20 percent level is needed for medical purposes. An atomic bomb needs 90 percent. It is much easier, once having reached the 20 percent level, to go from 20 percent to 90 percent than it is to go the initial distance from 3 percent to 20.

As the water circles the core, it is heated to such a level as to produce, either directly or indirectly, the steam to drive a turbine. The light-water reactor is the basis for about 90 percent of the 440 or so nuclear reactors currently operational in the world, and virtually all those presently planned. Whatever the coolant, it is typical to speak of the nuclear-fuel cycle. For the light-water reactor, the cycle begins with the mining of uranium and then moves to enrichment to increase the concentration of the isotope U-235 to a level that will be able to sustain a controlled chain reaction. This more-concentrated fuel is then fabricated into fuel rods that will be inserted into the reactor. The cycle continues through the use of the fuel in the reactor all the way through to the deposition of the spent fuel in some form of storage or possible reuse.

Ulam, Stanislaw unemployment in Iraq Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), see Soviet Union unipolar world United Airlines United Arab Emirates (UAE) United Kingdom (UK) see also Great Britain United Nations climate change and Eisenhower’s address at (Dec. 1953) First Gulf War and General Assembly of Iran and JFK’s address to Oil-for-Food Programme established by sanctions program of Security Council of weapons inspectors of United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, see Earth Summit United Nations Development Program United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change United States antitrust in arms buildup of biofuels in blackouts in buildings in cars in Caspian Derby and climate change and coal and cyberattack and deepwater production in demand for oil in demand shock and deregulation in East Coast of economy of elections in electricity in electricity in, completion of electricity in, “unintended hybrid” system of emergency stimulus package in energy efficiency in energy independence and energy security of female voting rights in financial crisis and foreign relations of, see specific countries gasoline prices in global supply chains and Great Depression in Great Game and Great Recession in hostage crisis and Hurricane Katrina in Iraq War and LNG and Malacca Strait and Mid-Atlantic states in Midwest in national security of natural gas of Nigerian oil and 9/11 and Northeast in nuclear accident in nuclear navy of nuclear power in nuclear weapons of oil consumption in oil discoveries in oil exports of oil imports of oil sands and oil shale in peak production predicted for price controls in R&D in renewables in shale gas in Southeast in Southwest in Soviet collapse and in space race stability and Standard Oil Trust in Strait of Hormuz and Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Tengiz oil field and tight oil in total energy consumption of total energy of unipolar world and venture capital in West in in World War II, United States Bureau of Mines United Technologies Unocal Upton, Fred uranium enrichment of urbanization Urengoy field U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP) U.S. Windpower Vanguard program Varadi, Peter variable-speed technology Vekselberg, Viktor Velasco Alvarado, Juan Venezuela aggregate disruption and amnesty in Boesi painting and Chávez in China’s relations with coups in economy and economic growth in election of 1998 in general strike in la apertura in nationalization in oil of Pérez reforms in as petro-state population increase in poverty in unconventional oil in U.S. relations with Venter, Craig venture capital, venture-capital investing in cleantech Doriot and photovoltaics and start of energy focus of Western growth of Venus Vermont vertically integrated companies Vestas Vienna Vietnam Villach meeting (1985) Vilsack, Tom Vogtle nuclear power plant Volkswagen Volvo Vostok Voyages dan les Alpes (Sassure) Wagoner, Rick Wall Street Walton, John T.


pages: 219 words: 61,720

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

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 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, low earth orbit, 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: 247 words: 68,918

The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations? by Ian Bremmer

affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, BRICs, British Empire, centre right, collective bargaining, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, diversified portfolio, Doha Development Round, Exxon Valdez, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global reserve currency, global supply chain, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, low skilled workers, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, new economy, offshore financial centre, open economy, race to the bottom, reserve currency, risk tolerance, shareholder value, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, tulip mania, uranium enrichment, Washington Consensus, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

In the meantime, the world’s oil companies, whether state-owned or multinational, will rely increasingly on supplies from unstable (and potentially unstable) parts of the world—the Middle East, the Caspian Sea basin, and West Africa. Energy consumers will continue to turn to America, which has the world’s only global naval presence, to ensure the free flow of oil and gas supplies on which their economic futures depend. The U.S. provision of global public goods will also extend to new military challenges. As Iran masters uranium-enrichment technology, some of its Arab neighbors will rely even more heavily on Washington to guarantee their security and to help them avoid the costs that come with a nuclear arms race. As governments in Eastern Europe worry over threats of Russian expansionism—an anxiety heightened by dependence on Russia’s natural gas, Moscow’s demonstrated willingness to bully its neighbors by turning off the taps, and its conflict with Georgia in August 2008—they will increasingly turn to a U.S.


pages: 795 words: 215,529

Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman by James Gleick

Albert Einstein, American ideology, Arthur Eddington, Brownian motion, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Ernest Rutherford, gravity well, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Menlo Park, Murray Gell-Mann, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, pattern recognition, Pepto Bismol, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Schrödinger's Cat, sexual politics, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, uranium enrichment

At first the only telephone link was a single line laid down by the Forest Service. To make a call one had to turn a crank on the side of the box. As he sat waiting for the military police to approve his pass, Feynman was running through some calculations for the hypothetical in-between reactor that would be called a water boiler. Instead of blocks of uranium interspersed with graphite, this unit would use a uranium solution in water, uranium enriched with a high concentration of the 235 isotope. The hydrogen in the water would increase the effectiveness many times over. He was trying to figure out how much uranium would be needed. He worked on the water-boiler problem, picking it up and putting it down again over the next weeks, thinking about the detailed geometry of neutrons colliding in hydrogen. Then he tried something quirky. Perhaps the ideal arrangement of uranium, the one that would require the least material, would be different from the obvious uniform arrangement.

The splitting of an ordinary uranium atom required a blow from a fast, high-energy neutron. Every atom was its own tiny bomb: it split with a jolt of energy and released more neutrons to trigger its neighbors. The neutrons tended to slow, however, dropping below the necessary threshold for further fission. The chain reaction would not sustain itself. However, the rarer isotope, uranium 235, would fission when struck by a slow neutron. If a mass of uranium were enriched with these more volatile atoms, neutrons would find more targets and chain reactions would live longer. Pure uranium 235—though it would not be available in any but microscopic quantities for months—would make an explosive reaction possible. Another way to encourage a chain reaction was to surround the radioactive mass with a shell of metal, a tamper, that would reflect neutrons back toward the center, intensifying their effects as the glass of a greenhouse intensifies its infrared warming.


pages: 443 words: 116,832

The Hacker and the State: Cyber Attacks and the New Normal of Geopolitics by Ben Buchanan

active measures, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, family office, hive mind, Internet Archive, Jacob Appelbaum, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, kremlinology, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Nate Silver, profit motive, RAND corporation, ransomware, risk tolerance, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Steve Jobs, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, WikiLeaks, zero day

Noting the number of uses within the code of the word “crash” and its ability to override key industrial control system processes, researchers at Dragos, a leading industrial control system security company, named it CRASHOVERRIDE. To make CRASHOVERRIDE so powerful, clearly its creators had studied previous attempts at targeting industrial control systems. The most infamous of these attempts was Stuxnet. As Chapter 6 showed, Stuxnet’s architects exhibited a deep understanding of the Iranians’ industrial processes for uranium enrichment. They understood how the centrifuges worked and how illicit computer code could manipulate these processes and cause them to fail. They also understood the importance of testing the code on similar or replica machinery and refining it to have a tailored and well-defined effect against the intended target. CRASHOVERRIDE’s creators internalized all of these lessons, even if they could not execute them all perfectly.


pages: 270 words: 79,992

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

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, commoditize, creative destruction, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, death of newspapers, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, global supply chain, Google Chrome, Gordon Gekko, Hacker Ethic, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Mitch Kapor, Mohammed Bouazizi, Mother of all demos, Narrative Science, new economy, Occupy movement, old-boy network, peer-to-peer, period drama, Peter Thiel, pirate software, publication bias, Robert Metcalfe, 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: 301 words: 85,263

New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future by James Bridle

AI winter, Airbnb, Alfred Russel Wallace, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, congestion charging, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, drone strike, Edward Snowden, fear of failure, Flash crash, Google Earth, Haber-Bosch Process, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, late capitalism, lone genius, mandelbrot fractal, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, oil shock, p-value, pattern recognition, peak oil, recommendation engine, road to serfdom, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, social graph, sorting algorithm, South China Sea, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stem cell, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, the built environment, the scientific method, Uber for X, undersea cable, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

In just a few weeks, Mirai infected half a million devices, and it needed just 10 per cent of that capacity to cripple major networks for hours.41 Mirai, in fact, looks like nothing so much as Stuxnet, another virus discovered within the industrial control systems of hydroelectric plants and factory assembly lines in 2010. Stuxnet was a military-grade cyberweapon; when dissected, it was found to be aimed specifically at Siemens centrifuges, and designed to go off when it encountered a facility that possessed a particular number of such machines. That number corresponded with one particular facility: the Natanz Nuclear Facility in Iran, the mainstay of the country’s uranium enrichment programme. When activated, the programme would quietly degrade crucial components of the centrifuges, causing them to break down and disrupt the Iranian enrichment programme.42 The attack was apparently partially successful, but the effect on other infected facilities is unknown. To this day, despite obvious suspicions, nobody knows where Stuxnet came from, or who made it. Nobody knows for certain who developed Mirai either, or where its next iteration might come from, but it might be there, right now, breeding in the CCTV camera in your office, or the Wi-Fi-enabled kettle in the corner of your kitchen.


pages: 304 words: 80,143

The Autonomous Revolution: Reclaiming the Future We’ve Sold to Machines by William Davidow, Michael Malone

2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, blue-collar work, Bob Noyce, business process, call centre, cashless society, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, gig economy, Gini coefficient, Hyperloop, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joseph Schumpeter, license plate recognition, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, QWERTY keyboard, ransomware, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Snapchat, speech recognition, Stuxnet, TaskRabbit, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, trade route, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, urban planning, zero day, zero-sum game, Zipcar

In 1988, another warning shot was fired when Robert Tappan Morris released the first computer worm into the Internet—an act, he claimed later, that was intended to call attention to the vulnerability of the system and the inadequacy of its security measures.41 A year later, he earned the dubious distinction of being the first person to be indicted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.42 He was sentenced to three years of probation, community service, and a small fine. Over the subsequent thirty years, the United States has focused a great deal of its energy on building offensive cyber weapons. In 2009, Stuxnet was launched against the Iranian uranium enrichment facility at Natanz. Twenty-seven years after the pipeline explosion in Siberia, cyber experts nevertheless described Stuxnet as the world’s first digital weapon.43 The virus took control of the Natanz centrifuges and caused a thousand of them to self-destruct.44 The NSA has developed tool kits that can be used to engineer cyberattacks. Tragically, some of those tool kits were stolen and sold on the Dark Web.


pages: 677 words: 206,548

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

23andMe, 3D printing, active measures, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, airport security, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Joy: nanobots, bitcoin, Black Swan, blockchain, borderless world, Brian Krebs, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, 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, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Flash crash, future of work, game design, global pandemic, 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, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, Law of Accelerating Returns, Lean Startup, license plate recognition, lifelogging, litecoin, low earth orbit, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mobile money, more computing power than Apollo, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, national security letter, natural language processing, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, offshore financial centre, optical character recognition, Parag Khanna, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, 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, Ross Ulbricht, 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 Future of Employment, 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, Westphalian system, 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.


pages: 464 words: 127,283

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

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, digital map, Donald Davies, 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, Jane Jacobs, jitney, John Snow's cholera map, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, Kibera, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, load shedding, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, mobile money, mutually assured destruction, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, off grid, openstreetmap, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Parag Khanna, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, 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 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, undersea cable, 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.


pages: 414 words: 101,285

The Butterfly Defect: How Globalization Creates Systemic Risks, and What to Do About It by Ian Goldin, Mike Mariathasan

"Robert Solow", air freight, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, butterfly effect, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, connected car, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of penicillin, diversification, diversified portfolio, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, energy security, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Gini coefficient, global pandemic, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, income inequality, information asymmetry, Jean Tirole, John Snow's cholera map, Kenneth Rogoff, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, mass immigration, megacity, moral hazard, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, open economy, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, reshoring, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, trade liberalization, transaction costs, uranium enrichment

National e-government services as well as the national infrastructure, including power plants, electricity grids, and oil pipelines, use networked control systems to decrease their operational costs. The concentration of information and power in these digital systems creates points of vulnerability that are open to attack by malevolent forces. One example of such an attack is the deployment of the Stuxnet virus, discovered in 2010, which is widely thought to have caused damage to a uranium enrichment plant in Iran. The virus is believed to have been developed for this purpose by experts with detailed knowledge of Iranian systems and with the involvement of at least one government. Another threat to the virtual integrity of the Internet is cybercrime. The notion of cybercrime is used to denote security threats motivated by financial gain (although in many countries acts of cyberaggression are illegal, too).


pages: 898 words: 253,177

Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner

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

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: 422 words: 113,525

Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto by Stewart Brand

agricultural Revolution, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, 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, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, Jane Jacobs, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Kibera, land tenure, lateral thinking, low earth orbit, M-Pesa, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, microbiome, New Urbanism, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, out of africa, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Calthorpe, 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, wealth creators, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, William Langewiesche, 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: 482 words: 106,041

pages: 335 words: 107,779

Some Remarks by Neal Stephenson

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, 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, undersea cable, 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

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Asilomar, autonomous vehicles, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, Climatic Research Unit, Commodity Super-Cycle, conceptual framework, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Attenborough, decarbonisation, dematerialisation, demographic transition, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, double helix, energy security, failed state, financial independence, Gary Taubes, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, Induced demand, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, knowledge economy, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Naomi Klein, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, pattern recognition, peak oil, Peter Calthorpe, 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: 592 words: 161,798

The Future of War by Lawrence Freedman

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, British Empire, colonial rule, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Donald Trump, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global village, Google Glasses, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), John Markoff, long peace, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, open economy, pattern recognition, Peace of Westphalia, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Stuxnet, the scientific method, uranium enrichment, urban sprawl, Valery Gerasimov, WikiLeaks, zero day

Given the resources allocated to this issue it could be assumed that the Americans were well able to interfere with the systems of others. Small but significant acts illustrated the possibilities. First Iraqi and then Serb air defences were degraded by messing with their software. The Israelis did something similar with Syrian air defences when they took out a nuclear reactor under construction in 2007. The Stuxnet virus, probably a joint US-Israeli project, was designed to set back uranium enrichment in Iran by disabling centrifuges.21 This had some effect but also showed how hard it was to stop these attacks spreading away from the original target. The virus was noticed when non-Iranian systems were hit. Every time national systems were tested to see how well they could defend against interference from others, they were found to be wanting, and for all types of networks, malevolent hacking became regular.


pages: 448 words: 116,962

Singularity Sky by Stross, Charles

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

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 pandemic, global supply chain, Hyperloop, immigration reform, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial cluster, industrial robot, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Johannes Kepler, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low skilled workers, Lyft, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral hazard, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, New Urbanism, non-tariff barriers, Occupy movement, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, open economy, Panamax, Pearl River Delta, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, post-Panamax, profit motive, rent-seeking, reshoring, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, 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, The Future of Employment, too big to fail, trade liberalization, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, uber lyft, undersea cable, 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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The Ultimate Engineer: The Remarkable Life of NASA's Visionary Leader George M. Low by Richard Jurek

additive manufacturing, affirmative action, Charles Lindbergh, cognitive dissonance, en.wikipedia.org, fudge factor, John Conway, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, operation paperclip, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Stewart Brand, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, Whole Earth Catalog, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce

The first was to serve as president of his alma mater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute back in Troy, New York. Low had been serving as a trustee to the institute since 1971, and he was intimately familiar with its challenges and opportunities. It was in desperate need of renewal. The institute was at a crossroads, and without radical changes, it would face the real possibility of extinction. He was also approached to be the president of a start-up uranium-enrichment company as part of the Garrett Corporation, an industrial conglomerate based in Los Angeles, California. The high-tech start-up, called TRENCOR, would build and operate a centrifuge enrichment plant in Texas on behalf of the U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration. While the Garrett opportunity offered him enticing financial rewards, including rich bonus targets and generous stock grants, the unique opportunity at RPI represented something even more valuable to him—a challenge with a purpose.


pages: 476 words: 120,892

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

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, 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.


pages: 412 words: 128,042

Extreme Economies: Survival, Failure, Future – Lessons From the World’s Limits by Richard Davies

agricultural Revolution, air freight, Anton Chekhov, artificial general intelligence, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, big-box store, cashless society, clean water, complexity theory, deindustrialization, eurozone crisis, failed state, financial innovation, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, James Hargreaves, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, large denomination, Livingstone, I presume, Malacca Straits, mandatory minimum, manufacturing employment, means of production, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, off grid, oil shale / tar sands, pension reform, profit motive, randomized controlled trial, school choice, school vouchers, Scramble for Africa, side project, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, Skype, spinning jenny, The Chicago School, the payments system, trade route, Travis Kalanick, uranium enrichment, urban planning, wealth creators, white picket fence, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional

Over a period of just four days in March 1949 over 20,000 kulak Estonians were rounded up, put on special trains and deported to Siberian cities such as Khabarovsk and Krasnoyarsk over 5,000 km away. The Estonian industrial base changed too, with factories set up all along the north-east coast: Kunda was the site of a huge cement factory and pulp mill; Kohtla-Järve had plentiful oil-shale deposits and became an important source of energy; Sillamäe, once a peaceful resort where Russia’s cultural elite, including Tchaikovsky, had vacationed, was repurposed as a centre for uranium enrichment, the nature of the work so secretive that the town was removed from maps. The economic model, planned from Moscow, was catastrophic for Estonia. Agricultural collectivization was supposed to reduce the number of farms by amalgamating small homesteads into large estates and thus deliver efficiency gains; instead it resulted in agricultural output falling by half. The resulting food shortages undermined the communist model in Estonia from its inception: during this period people survived only through a network of (illegal) privately run farms, with this informal agricultural output running alongside the official state system.


pages: 801 words: 229,742

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by John J. Mearsheimer, Stephen M. Walt

affirmative action, Ayatollah Khomeini, Boycotts of Israel, David Brooks, energy security, facts on the ground, failed state, invisible hand, oil shock, Project for a New American Century, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Thomas L Friedman, uranium enrichment, Yom Kippur War

Elissa Gootman, “Security Council Approves Sanctions Against Iran over Nuclear Program,” New York Times, December 24, 2006; Colum Lynch, “Sanctions on Iran Approved by U.N.,” Washington Post, December 24, 2006. Also see Nazila Fathi, “Iran Is Defiant, Vowing to U.N. It Will Continue Nuclear Efforts,” New York Times, December 25, 2006; Ron Kampeas, “The Iran Sanctions Package: Some Assembly Required, Teeth Not Included,” JTA.org, December 25, 2006; Nasser Karimi, “Iran Rebuffs U.N., Vows to Speed Up Uranium Enrichment,” Washington Post, December 25, 2006; and Neil King, “U.S. Bid to Limit Iran Gets Wary Response,” Wall Street Journal, December 29, 2006. 77. Daniel Bilefsky, “Europe Approves More Sanctions Against Iran,” New York Times, April 24, 2007; Daniel Dombey and Gareth Smyth, “New EU Sanctions Raise Pressure on Iran,” Financial Times, April 23, 2007; Warren Hoge, “U.N. Council Gets New Draft Decree on Iran Nuclear Sanctions,” New York Times, March 16, 2007; Colum Lynch, “U.N.


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

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, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Donald Trump, energy security, Exxon Valdez, invisible hand, means of production, Myron Scholes, Nelson Mandela, offshore financial centre, Pepto Bismol, 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.


pages: 1,509 words: 416,377

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

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, zero-sum game

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.


pages: 311 words: 17,232

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

addicted to oil, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, carbon footprint, clean water, commoditize, commodity trading advisor, computerized trading, diversified portfolio, Doha Development Round, Elon Musk, energy security, European colonialism, flex fuel, food miles, Hernando de Soto, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, hydrogen economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Kickstarter, Long Term Capital Management, new economy, North Sea oil, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, 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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Underground by Suelette Dreyfus

airport security, invisible hand, John Markoff, 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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Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges

Albert Einstein, Ayatollah Khomeini, Cal Newport, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, creative destruction, 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, social intelligence, 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. . . .


pages: 268 words: 76,702

The System: Who Owns the Internet, and How It Owns Us by James Ball

Bill Duvall, bitcoin, blockchain, Chelsea Manning, cryptocurrency, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Oculus Rift, packet switching, patent troll, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, ransomware, RFC: Request For Comment, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Crocker, Stuxnet, The Chicago School, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, yield management, zero day

The potential for government conflict across the internet to affect us as regular users goes even further, though: today lots of industrial machinery is connected, directly or indirectly, to the internet. So too are power plants, dams, train signalling systems and other key bits of our infrastructure. Hacking doesn’t just let an attacker see how these are being used: it can let the attacker take control of those systems themselves – and break them. This was most dramatically unleashed in 2010, in an attack against Iran. Inside their nuclear-enrichment sites – where uranium was being enriched to weapons-grade quality – cylinders on the site began behaving erratically, spinning back and forth rapidly in a particular and deeply destructive pattern. After a short time behaving in this inexplicable way, the cylinders would explode, damaging the site and disrupting the country’s nuclear programme. The cause of the explosions was eventually found – by Symantec, a US-based cyber-security company – to be an extremely sophisticated form of cyber attack (a ‘worm’), which targeted the exact model of industrial controller software used in Iran’s plants.


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

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


pages: 193 words: 51,445



The Secret World: A History of Intelligence by Christopher Andrew

active measures, Admiral Zheng, airport security, anti-communist, Atahualpa, Ayatollah Khomeini, British Empire, Chelsea Manning, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Etonian, Fellow of the Royal Society, Francisco Pizarro, Google Earth, invention of movable type, invention of the telegraph, Julian Assange, Khyber Pass, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murano, Venice glass, RAND corporation, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, Skype, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, the market place, trade route, union organizing, uranium enrichment, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, WikiLeaks, éminence grise

Bush became President, DCI George Tenet told Congress: ‘Our most serious concern with Saddam Hussein must be the likelihood that he will seek a renewed WMD cap-ability both for credibility and because every other strong power in the region either has it or is pursuing it.’27 The British Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) reported a year later: ‘Although there is very little intelligence we continue to judge that Iraq is pursuing a nuclear weapons programme. We assess the programme to be based on gas centrifuge uranium enrichment . . . ’28 The fact that there was indeed ‘very little intelligence’ on Saddam’s supposed nuclear-weapons programme should have rung alarm bells. But the high quality of SIS intelligence both on Gaddafi’s WMD programmes and on the network run by the former head of the Pakistani nuclear project, Dr A. Q. Khan, which secretly supplied nuclear material to Iran, Libya and North Korea, seems to have given both the JIC and the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, exaggerated confidence in much weaker SIS intelligence on Iraqi WMD.* SIS had accurate, detailed intelligence on the location of twenty-seven Libyan WMD sites.


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Eleanor Rigby: A Novel by Douglas Coupland

stem cell, Stephen Hawking, uranium enrichment


pages: 572 words: 179,024

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

"Robert Solow", Airbnb, airport security, Al Roth, Alvin Roth, Andrei Shleifer, attribution theory, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, Brownian motion, business cycle, buy and hold, centralized clearinghouse, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, clean water, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, continuous double auction, creative destruction, deferred acceptance, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, experimental subject, first-price auction, framing effect, frictionless, fundamental attribution error, George Akerlof, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gunnar Myrdal, helicopter parent, information asymmetry, 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, Kenneth Arrow, late fees, linear programming, Lyft, market clearing, market design, market friction, medical residency, multi-sided market, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Occupy movement, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, 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, uber lyft, uranium enrichment, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, winner-take-all economy


pages: 403 words: 132,736

In Spite of the Gods: The Rise of Modern India by Edward Luce

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, Bretton Woods, call centre, centre right, clean water, colonial rule, crony capitalism, cuban missile crisis, demographic dividend, energy security, financial independence, friendly fire, Gini coefficient, Haight Ashbury, informal economy, job-hopping, Kickstarter, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Wolf, megacity, new economy, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, purchasing power parity, Silicon Valley, trade liberalization, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, urban planning, women in the workforce, working-age population, Y2K

But all Islamabad needed to do was to request help from China, which supplied Pakistan with much of the technology to develop both nuclear warheads and the missile delivery systems. In addition, Pakistan’s notorious A. Q. Khan, who later became known as the father of the country’s nuclear program, had in the 1970s stolen the blueprints from his Dutch employer that revealed the process by which uranium is enriched into weapons-grade material. By 1987, when India and Pakistan almost came to blows following India’s “Brass Tacks” operation—a large-scale military exercise near the Pakistan border, which India says Pakistan misinterpreted as a prelude to war (Islamabad said its interpretation was reasonable)—both were thought to possess rudimentary nuclear devices. It was only a matter of time before they tested them.


pages: 262 words: 83,548

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Post Wall: Rebuilding the World After 1989 by Kristina Spohr

American Legislative Exchange Council, Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, central bank independence, colonial exploitation, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, G4S, Kickstarter, mass immigration, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, open economy, price stability, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, software patent, South China Sea, special economic zone, Thomas L Friedman, Transnistria, uranium enrichment, zero-coupon bond

Indeed, their accord on the removal and destruction of hundreds of their battlefield nuclear weapons also created a basis for the START II treaty that Yeltsin and Bush would come to sign in January 1993.[19] Taking his cue from Bush, on 8 November 1991 Roh formally proposed the denuclearisation of the whole peninsula. If implemented, South Korea would no longer possess or store nuclear weapons on its soil, although, he stressed, Seoul would remain ultimately protected by the US nuclear umbrella. The denuclearisation declaration would also prohibit Seoul from having nuclear reprocessing or uranium enrichment facilities. In this light Roh called on North Korea to abandon any plans it might harbour to develop and build its own nuclear bomb.[20] The North Korean nuclear programme was, and remains, a tangled story.[21] Since the 1950s Kim had legitimately acquired from the Soviet Union at least two small nuclear reactors for purely research purposes, of which the most recent known example had come on stream in 1987 at the Yongbyon site about ninety kilometres north of Pyongyang.


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The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne

medical residency, stem cell, undersea cable, uranium enrichment


pages: 673 words: 88,905

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

1960s counterculture, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, 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, coherent worldview, colonial rule, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, crony capitalism, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, different worldview, 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, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet Archive, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jones Act, Kickstarter, light touch regulation, market fundamentalism, moral hazard, Naomi Klein, new economy, Nixon shock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, patent troll, Pearl River Delta, planetary scale, post-oil, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rana Plaza, renewable energy transition, 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, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, wages for housework, walkable city, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks


pages: 351 words: 96,780

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Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control by Stuart Russell

3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Alfred Russel Wallace, Andrew Wiles, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, blockchain, brain emulation, Cass Sunstein, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer vision, connected car, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ernest Rutherford, Flash crash, full employment, future of work, Gerolamo Cardano, ImageNet competition, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, invention of the wheel, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, Mark Zuckerberg, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, NP-complete, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, positional goods, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit maximization, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart contracts, social intelligence, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, superintelligent machines, Thales of Miletus, The Future of Employment, Thomas Bayes, Thorstein Veblen, transport as a service, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, Von Neumann architecture, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, zero-sum game



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Give People Money by Annie Lowrey

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, airport security, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deindustrialization, desegregation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, ending welfare as we know it, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, full employment, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Earth, Home mortgage interest deduction, income inequality, indoor plumbing, information asymmetry, Jaron Lanier, jitney, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, late capitalism, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, McMansion, Menlo Park, mobile money, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, obamacare, Peter Thiel, post scarcity, post-work, Potemkin village, precariat, randomized controlled trial, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan, Sam Altman, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, theory of mind, total factor productivity, Turing test, two tier labour market, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, universal basic income, uranium enrichment, War on Poverty, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey, Y Combinator


pages: 289 words: 113,211

Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models by Gabriel Weinberg, Lauren McCann

affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, anti-pattern, Anton Chekhov, autonomous vehicles, bank run, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Broken windows theory, business process, butterfly effect, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Attenborough, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Snowden, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, fear of failure, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, framing effect, friendly fire, fundamental attribution error, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hindsight bias, housing crisis, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, illegal immigration, income inequality, information asymmetry, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Nash: game theory, lateral thinking, loss aversion, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, mail merge, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, nuclear winter, offshore financial centre, p-value, Parkinson's law, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, Potemkin village, prediction markets, premature optimization, price anchoring, principal–agent problem, publication bias, recommendation engine, remote working, replication crisis, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, school choice, Schrödinger's Cat, selection bias, Shai Danziger, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, survivorship bias, The Present Situation in Quantum Mechanics, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, uber lyft, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, wikimedia commons


pages: 389 words: 119,487

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Case for Mars by Robert Zubrin

Charles Lindbergh, Colonization of Mars, gravity well, Johannes Kepler, Kevin Kelly, low earth orbit, Mars Rover, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, planetary scale, skunkworks, spice trade, telerobotics, uranium enrichment

Deuterium, the heavy isotope of hydrogen, occurs as 166 out of every million hydrogen atoms on Earth, but comprises 833 out of every million hydrogen atoms on Mars. Deuterium is the key fuel not only for both first- and second-generation fusion reactors, but it is also an essential material for the nuclear power industry today. If you have enough deuterium, you can moderate a nuclear fission reactor with “heavy water” instead of ordinary “light water,” and such a heavy-water moderated reactor can run on natural uranium, with no enrichment required. Canadian-made nuclear power reactors known as “CANDUs” work on this principle today. The problem however, is that you have to electrolyze 30 tonnes of ordinary “light” water to produce enough hydrogen to make one kilogram of deuterium, and unless you have a lot of very cheap hydroelectric power to burn, the process is prohibitively expensive. (This is why in World War II the German atomic bomb project had to conduct its heavy water production near the large Norwegian hydroelectric dams at Vemork.


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People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent by Joseph E. Stiglitz

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, barriers to entry, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, central bank independence, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, deglobalization, deindustrialization, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, George Akerlof, gig economy, global supply chain, greed is good, income inequality, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, late fees, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, new economy, New Urbanism, obamacare, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, Peter Thiel, postindustrial economy, price discrimination, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Mercer, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Great Moderation, the market place, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade liberalization, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, two-sided market, universal basic income, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, War on Poverty, working-age population


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Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson

Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Atahualpa, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, conceptual framework, Copley Medal, corporate governance, creative destruction, 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, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, land reform, land tenure, liberal capitalism, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, market bubble, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, Pearl River Delta, Pierre-Simon Laplace, 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, undersea cable, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, wage slave, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, World Values Survey


pages: 537 words: 158,544

Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order by Parag Khanna

"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, affirmative action, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, Branko Milanovic, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, different worldview, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, failed state, flex fuel, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, friendly fire, Gini coefficient, global reserve currency, global supply chain, haute couture, Hernando de Soto, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, invisible hand, Islamic Golden Age, Khyber Pass, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, land reform, low cost airline, low skilled workers, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, open borders, open economy, Parag Khanna, Pax Mongolica, Pearl River Delta, pirate software, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, Potemkin village, price stability, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, reserve currency, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, South China Sea, special economic zone, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Thomas L Friedman, trade route, trickle-down economics, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce


pages: 535 words: 151,217

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Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna

"Robert Solow", 1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, 2013 Report for America's Infrastructure - American Society of Civil Engineers - 19 March 2013, 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, commoditize, complexity theory, continuation of politics by other means, 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, digital map, disruptive innovation, diversification, Doha Development Round, edge city, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, energy security, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, family office, Ferguson, Missouri, financial innovation, financial repression, fixed income, 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 cluster, industrial robot, informal economy, Infrastructure as a Service, interest rate swap, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Just-in-time delivery, Kevin Kelly, Khyber Pass, Kibera, Kickstarter, LNG terminal, low cost airline, low cost carrier, low earth orbit, manufacturing employment, mass affluent, mass immigration, megacity, Mercator projection, Metcalfe’s law, microcredit, mittelstand, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, openstreetmap, out of africa, Panamax, Parag Khanna, Peace of Westphalia, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, 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, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transaction costs, UNCLOS, uranium enrichment, urban planning, urban sprawl, WikiLeaks, young professional, zero day


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

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, Boris Johnson, 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, G4S, ghettoisation, global rebalancing, global reserve currency, hiring and firing, inflation targeting, Irish property bubble, Just-in-time delivery, labour market flexibility, light touch regulation, 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, Myron Scholes, negative equity, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, open economy, paradox of thrift, Pearl River Delta, pension reform, price mechanism, price stability, profit motive, quantitative easing, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, race to the bottom, regulatory arbitrage, reserve currency, reshoring, Right to Buy, 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, WikiLeaks, working-age population, zero-sum game


pages: 266 words: 80,273

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

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, Andrei Shleifer, banking crisis, barriers to entry, Basel III, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, business cycle, 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, information asymmetry, invisible hand, jobless men, John Harrison: Longitude, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, London Interbank Offered Rate, lone genius, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mass incarceration, medical bankruptcy, microcredit, moral hazard, mortgage tax deduction, negative equity, obamacare, offshore financial centre, paper trading, Pareto efficiency, patent troll, Paul Samuelson, 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%, wealth creators, women in the workforce, zero-sum game


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

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, business cycle, 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, George Santayana, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, global village, Henri Poincaré, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, impulse control, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, long peace, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, 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, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanford prison experiment, 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, Turing machine, twin studies, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, zero-sum game


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pages: 384 words: 112,971

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Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker

3D printing, access to a mobile phone, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anti-communist, Anton Chekhov, Arthur Eddington, artificial general intelligence, availability heuristic, Ayatollah Khomeini, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Black Swan, Bonfire of the Vanities, business cycle, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, clockwork universe, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, conceptual framework, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, decarbonisation, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, distributed generation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, double helix, effective altruism, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, endogenous growth, energy transition, European colonialism, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, frictionless, frictionless market, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, Hans Rosling, hedonic treadmill, helicopter parent, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, Indoor air pollution, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge economy, l'esprit de l'escalier, Laplace demon, life extension, long peace, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Naomi Klein, Nate Silver, Nathan Meyer Rothschild: antibiotics, Nelson Mandela, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, obamacare, open economy, Paul Graham, peak oil, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, precision agriculture, prediction markets, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, rent control, Republic of Letters, Richard Feynman, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Saturday Night Live, science of happiness, Scientific racism, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Simon Kuznets, Skype, smart grid, sovereign wealth fund, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, supervolcano, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, union organizing, universal basic income, University of East Anglia, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, uranium enrichment, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, women in the workforce, working poor, World Values Survey, Y2K


pages: 1,744 words: 458,385

The Defence of the Realm by Christopher Andrew

active measures, 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, G4S, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, large denomination, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, North Sea oil, post-work, Red Clydeside, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, strikebreaker, Torches of Freedom, traveling salesman, union organizing, uranium enrichment, 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.


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