End of the Year Links

As I have been lax in posting things, yesterday I posted a bunch of links on recent stories regarding the NSA. Today I’m posting links of more general interest. I’ve tried to organize them by category.



The biggest story I have not had time to address were the diplomatic talks regarding Iran’s nuclear program. So here are some links to that.

On 5 November 2013 Reuters reported that Iran, Israel, and Middle East countries “took part in a meeting two weeks ago about prospects for an international conference on banning nuclear weapons in the Middle East.”

Temporary nuclear pact.

UN nuclear inspectors in Iran.

“Iran, from Enemy to Ally.”

Right on the verge of a nuclear agreement, perhaps the biggest event in nuclear nonproliferation in my lifetime, Bob Mendez fights Obama on imposing new sanctions on Iran, as do fifteen other democrats. More here.

Though from today: progress in nuclear talks.

Continue reading

Nukes, Antiquated and Simulated

At Defense News Paul McLeary reports that in a recent war game conducted by the US Army, they simulated the aftermath of a collapsed regime in a country that very much resembles North Korea. The simulation concerned how  the US military would go about securing the failed state’s nuclear arsenal after the collapse. McLeary writes, in “U.S. Army Learns Hard Lessons in N. Korea-like War Game”: “It took 56 days for the U.S. to flow two divisions’ worth of soldiers into the failed nuclear-armed state of ‘North Brownland’ and as many as 90,000 troops to deal with the country’s nuclear stockpiles, a major U.S. Army war game concluded this winter.”

And in nuke news about the past rather than a speculated future, the Physics Buzz blog unpacks the fallout shelters stocked by the Office of Civil Defense during the Cold War. Geiger counters. Lots of Geiger counters.[1]


[1] On an only semi-related note, I ran across this little gem yesterday: “So this ground bass [sic] of material production continues underneath the new formal structures of the modernist text [. . .], its permanencies ultimately detectable only to the elaborate hermeneutic geiger counters of the political unconscious and the ideology of form” (Fredric Jameson, The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act [Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1981], 215, emphases mine).

How Did We Ever Survive the Twentieth Century?

Quite the fail safe. io9 reports that “according to recently declassified documents made available by the U.S. National Security Archive, the United States had a contingency plan in effect where, in the event that the President went missing or was killed during an attack on the country, the military was instructed to launch an automatic and simultaneous ‘full nuclear response’ against both the Soviet Union and China. And it wasn’t until 1968 that the government under Lyndon Johnson repealed the directive.”

And, in other news, “Scientists Plan to Test to See if the Entire Universe is a Simulation.”