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Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers


Clonus
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Your character has been flung into a parallel universe featuring an alternate World War II. It had enough time to there to establish beyond doubt that it has a different history, and in fact World War II was somewhat worse seeing as how it is 1947 and the war is still going on. From their point of view you and some others who were in the vicinity just popped in out of nowhere and helped liberate occupied Hawaii. With the help of a superscience genius you have determined how to get home, but you learn about one of his projects, one which is about to be used on Japan now that it is in range for American bombers. When deployed it will cause every volcano in Japan to erupt. Given the devastation and religious significance of volcanos in Japan, your superscience friend expects this to lead to an immediate surrender. However, you or one of the people who came with you, has the knowledge of climate and geological science to assess that the use of this weapon would produce far more drastic effects on the world's average temperatures than setting off every nuclear weapon at the height of the Cold War. In the best case scenario they are looking at 5-10 years of world-wide starvation. Worst case scenarios involve words like "global extinction event". Like most superscience weapons, it is dependant on some kind of unobtanium and it has taken 5 years to collect enough to build it.

 

What would your character do?

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

If your character can liberate occupied Hawaii, they can probably decapitate the Japanese government and military, quite likely making the superweapon unnecessary.

 

 

Also, can I ask why the atomic bomb hasn't been invented and used in this timeline, and why it couldn't be?

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

If your character can liberate occupied Hawaii, they can probably decapitate the Japanese government and military, quite likely making the superweapon unnecessary.

 

I said they helped liberate Hawaii. There was also a navy, an army and a bunch of Golden Age heroes involved.

 

 

Also, can I ask why the atomic bomb hasn't been invented and used in this timeline, and why it couldn't be?

 

They got distracted by other lines of research, but it probably could. Of course by the time they do, the war probably will be over. Although it didn't go as well for the Allies, they are in fact winning. Germany has already been defeated, and the Japanese fleet was defeated at Hawaii.

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

I remember Superman (1978)

Lux was going to drop California into the sea by a series on hydrogen bombs along the San Andreas fault.

Not likely, the west coast is slowly riding

and contiental masses out weigh the force of an H-bomb by a factor of a few exponential steps.

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

I would convince the super scientist to first demonstrate the weapon to the Japs on a small scale first. Say 1 valcano today and one tomorrow with threats of more to come. Remember we did not nuke all of Japan just one city on one day and a different one on the next, with the concealed threat of another bomb on day 3 and so forth. Of course they did not know we only had 2. One or two small demonstrations should not cause world wide catastrophe.

 

A more heroic approach would be to have the valcono weapon set off on an island under Japanese control to reduce loss of lives etc...of course this was in real life suggested when demonstrationing the power of the A-bombs but was rejected by the government in favor of Hiroshima and Nagaski for various reasons.

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

I remember Superman (1978)

Lux was going to drop California into the sea by a series on hydrogen bombs along the San Andreas fault.

Not likely, the west coast is slowly riding

and contiental masses out weigh the force of an H-bomb by a factor of a few exponential steps.

 

I am not so sure of that.

 

There are faults that are very delicately poised - one hard jolt in the right spot could well cause tremors, or even some kind of "knock-on effect". I recall reading, years ago, about a group that (for some reason I forget) was pumping large quantities of water deep underground. As they did so, earth tremors in the surrounding area started increasing dramatically - geologists realized that all this water was, basically, "lubricating" a particularly sensitive set of faults and had the whole thing stopped. The tremors quickly ceased.

 

There is also known to be something of a connection between hurricanes and earthquakes. If one thinks of the millions of tons of pressure along a wide front, as caused by changing air pressure and high winds (and related effects like the storm surge), then some effect on local plate tectonics doesn't seem so weird.

 

With all this in mind, it does not seem so unlikely that a nuke in the right place might be able to do something. Maybe even have effects out of all proportion to its yield. It is one of those things my gaming group has discussed on occasion (as do most gamers, I suspect) - if you have just one nuke, limited options and want to REALLY #### over your enemy; where do you set it off? Centre of a big city (preferably the capital), might seem an obvious choice but there are other more creative possibilities.

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

Kaian -- Show the guy the math re: nuclear winter and climate change. (Kaian's no super-scientist, but he has an excellent "normal" post-grad education) If Volcano Dude is not actually crazy... well, he had enough super-science skills to invent a volcano bomb, he should have more than enough to understand basic climatology when someone else is diagramming it for him on a whiteboard.

 

If Volcano Dude actually *is* that crazy... hospitalize him and throw him bodily through the "go home" gate superscience dude built for me to to use. That should keep him harmlessly out of the way, in Kaian's home timeline, surrounded by his teammates (Volcano Dude would arrive with an explanatory note pinned to his chest), until Kaian can finish convincing the US command structure of this place exactly how close to extinction they came. Then Kaian can go fetch him back, once his bosses have finished locking away the phlebotinum and drawing up operational plans for something with a slightly smaller blast radius.

 

(Kaian isn't really worried about stranding the dude in his his home timeline -- dude already proved that he could build a gate bridging the two, so if he has to build another one from scratch to get back to his home, meh, no skin off Kaian's ass. Besides, his teammate Daedalus can help cut down the time with that. Once its safe for Volcano Dude to come back, that is.)

 

Oh, and if necessary, show them how to build the bleeding H-bomb. Between having eidetic memory and having read the physics textbook, Kaian carries enough clues in his head that, when given to 1940s nuclear scientists, they should have no problem working it out in a year or so.

 

Edit: And hah, I just noticed Kaian finally got through a WWYCD without murdering, or at least being tempted to murder, anyone. See? He *is* improving! :)

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=257872

 

 

"The figure you usually see is that the latent heat energy

released in a hurricane in one day could be equivalent of

the energy released by 400, twenty-megaton hydrogen bombs."

 

8000 megaton

 

"Currently, the total destructive power of the world's

known nuclear arsenals is equal to approximately five

billion tons of TNT--or 5000 Megatons."

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=257872

 

 

"The figure you usually see is that the latent heat energy

released in a hurricane in one day could be equivalent of

the energy released by 400, twenty-megaton hydrogen bombs."

 

8000 megaton

 

"Currently, the total destructive power of the world's

known nuclear arsenals is equal to approximately five

billion tons of TNT--or 5000 Megatons."

 

Yeah, but 10,000 half megaton bombs can destroy a much larger surface area than a single 5000 megaton device. Although a 5 gigger would likely erase a nice little chunk of upper atmosphere, generate massive tidal waves if exploded underwater, and dig pretty deep into the planet, too.

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

Volcano Guy is not crazy. At least not that crazy. The problem is, he's already made and delivered the weapons to the military so they are now in the hands of people who will not understand the explanation.

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

Volcano Guy is not crazy. At least not that crazy. The problem is' date=' he's already made and delivered the weapons to the military so they are now in the hands of people who will not understand the explanation.[/quote']BS.

 

The military is not filled with a bunch of knuckle dragging post-op lobotomites.

 

The scenario is crap as currently framed and as a player would piss me off to no end.

 

Now, if the weapon somehow fell into the wrong hands, that would be something else entirely.

 

But barring such an eventuality, no one on the allies side would go through with this and there were several dozen prominent physicists in the USA at that time who would see the blatant stupidity of this weapon, not even counting, again, that those at the top of the government are not universally and intractably idiotic.

 

TB

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

BS.

 

The military is not filled with a bunch of knuckle dragging post-op lobotomites.

 

The scenario is crap as currently framed and as a player would piss me off to no end.

 

Now, if the weapon somehow fell into the wrong hands, that would be something else entirely.

 

But barring such an eventuality, no one on the allies side would go through with this and there were several dozen prominent physicists in the USA at that time who would see the blatant stupidity of this weapon,

 

TB

 

Hm. Well that's the real point of these threads. To get a feel how people would react to them. Isn't that a little out of the sphere of physicists though?

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

Hm. Well that's the real point of these threads. To get a feel how people would react to them. Isn't that a little out of the sphere of physicists though?
The after effects of all those volcanoes going off is a fully natural phenomenon? Then yes, it is perfectly within the sphere of Physicists/Geologists/Chemists to scratch there head when told of the weapon's effects and go "Hey, what about..."

 

How the weapon does what it does, doesn't matter, the scenario is predicated on the after effects being the problem, and those are purely mundane physical effects.

 

TB

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

Volcano Guy is not crazy. At least not that crazy. The problem is' date=' he's already made and delivered the weapons to the military so they are now in the hands of people who will not understand the explanation.[/quote']

 

OK, that's just offensive to the intelligence of everybody who ever served in uniform. Which includes me.

 

It also entirely fails the basic common sense test. I am able to successfully convince the inventor, yes? OK, fine. The military now has the very same guy who built their weapon for them telling them that he made a design error and the version they have is not safe to use, please wait for the bug-fix.

 

Why, oh why, would anybody of the intelligence level sufficient to tell their left foot from their right foot, given three tries, not stop at this point? Its not like the military is entirely unfamiliar with the concept that untested prototype weapons sometimes don't work right the first time, and/or that grave loss of human life -- especially their own -- can result from ignoring manufacturer safety recalls on blockbuster weapons, let alone WMDs, and pulling the pin in defiance of the very engineers who built it yelling "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP, YOU'RE GOING TO KILL US ALL!".

 

For obvious reasons military ordnance engineers tend to be selected for safety-consciousness.

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

OK, that's just offensive to the intelligence of everybody who ever served in uniform. Which includes me.

 

It also entirely fails the basic common sense test. I am able to successfully convince the inventor, yes? OK, fine. The military now has the very same guy who built their weapon for them telling them that he made a design error and the version they have is not safe to use, please wait for the bug-fix.

 

Why, oh why, would anybody of the intelligence level sufficient to tell their left foot from their right foot, given three tries, not stop at this point? Its not like the military is entirely unfamiliar with the concept that untested prototype weapons sometimes don't work right the first time, and/or that grave loss of human life -- especially their own -- can result from ignoring manufacturer safety recalls on blockbuster weapons, let alone WMDs, and pulling the pin in defiance of the very engineers who built it yelling "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP, YOU'RE GOING TO KILL US ALL!".

 

For obvious reasons military ordnance engineers tend to be selected for safety-consciousness.

 

Agreed. The idea of 'Let's go ahead and set the thing off to see what it does' is pure Hollywood schlock on a Roland Emmerich scale!

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

:idjit:

OK, that's just offensive to the intelligence of everybody who ever served in uniform. Which includes me.

 

It also entirely fails the basic common sense test. I am able to successfully convince the inventor, yes? OK, fine. The military now has the very same guy who built their weapon for them telling them that he made a design error and the version they have is not safe to use, please wait for the bug-fix.

 

Why, oh why, would anybody of the intelligence level sufficient to tell their left foot from their right foot, given three tries, not stop at this point? Its not like the military is entirely unfamiliar with the concept that untested prototype weapons sometimes don't work right the first time, and/or that grave loss of human life -- especially their own -- can result from ignoring manufacturer safety recalls on blockbuster weapons, let alone WMDs, and pulling the pin in defiance of the very engineers who built it yelling "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP, YOU'RE GOING TO KILL US ALL!".

 

For obvious reasons military ordnance engineers tend to be selected for safety-consciousness.

 

Agreed. The idea of 'Let's go ahead and set the thing off to see what it does' is pure Hollywood schlock on a Roland Emmerich scale!

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

OK, that's just offensive to the intelligence of everybody who ever served in uniform. Which includes me.

 

It also entirely fails the basic common sense test. I am able to successfully convince the inventor, yes? OK, fine. The military now has the very same guy who built their weapon for them telling them that he made a design error and the version they have is not safe to use, please wait for the bug-fix.

 

Why, oh why, would anybody of the intelligence level sufficient to tell their left foot from their right foot, given three tries, not stop at this point? Its not like the military is entirely unfamiliar with the concept that untested prototype weapons sometimes don't work right the first time, and/or that grave loss of human life -- especially their own -- can result from ignoring manufacturer safety recalls on blockbuster weapons, let alone WMDs, and pulling the pin in defiance of the very engineers who built it yelling "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP, YOU'RE GOING TO KILL US ALL!".

 

For obvious reasons military ordnance engineers tend to be selected for safety-consciousness.

 

Then I assume they are well rested and alert

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

Yes, because the people who make decisions to fire WMDs (hint: its this guy who has this oblong round office in this white building, kinda famous) traditionally order entire countries nuked off the map on impulse, while exhausted and mentally strung out. Instead of, y'know, conference rooms, lots of people around the table, plans discussed in detail, multiple people turning keys, etc.

 

Really.

 

Seriously, the only way this plot works is if you fire a Stupid Ray at most of the main actors in it. TVTropes has a page for that -- "Idiot Plot". So, how's about we just not go to Camelot, it is a silly place.

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

Chuck is right. If a sitting President even started talking like he was going to nuke another country without a damned good reason (and I mean damn good), there are other people who would immediately try to get him declared mentally unfit, put the VP in charge, and put President Nutjob in a padded room.

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

There were some scientists in the Manhattan project that thaought that there was a chance the nuclear chain reaction could spread to the atmosphere igniting it. They tested it anyways and then dropped a few more on Japan.

 

Nuclear energy at the time was in its infancy and so was understanding. Knowing what we know now about the long term effects of radiation I think that the men of the time would have not dropped the bombs on main land Japan.Generations later there are still cases of genetic damage caused from the A-bombs in the Japanese survivors.

 

Now put this in light of the volcano weapon. Even Vulcanists and Geologists in the 1940's could have predicted the long term repercussions of massive volcanic activity. This weapon would be quickly catergorized as a Doomsday weapon. "Break Glass" in case of Japenese invasion and take over most of the U.S. and even then think twice. Certainly not while you are winning the war.

 

Also consider this, Japan was logistically defeated by the time we used the A bombs. Japan is an island and needed to be supplied with many rawmaterials via sea going vessels. Our submarines and other Navy assets deprived them of many of the raw materials needed to wage war. The Japanese civilians were being issued bamboo spears in case Japan was invaded. I am sure the U.S. would have followed this same strangulation strategy in alternate earth. in this case destroying the world to finish off a nearly defeated enemy is ..well, insane. The main reason to use the A-bomb was actually political..i.e... defeat Japan so that the Russians can't get a piece of the Japanese Empire when they surrender like they did in Germany.

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Re: Making nuclear weapons look like firecrackers

 

There were some scientists in the Manhattan project that thaought that there was a chance the nuclear chain reaction could spread to the atmosphere igniting it. They tested it anyways and then dropped a few more on Japan.

 

The whole "igniting the atmosphere" thing was a concern expressed by a few scientists prior to the first test. They re-did the math, and determined that this was "almost" impossible ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_%28nuclear_test%29 ). Certainly was not, as seems to be implied here, a case of "well, let's see what happens anyhow...".

 

Also consider this' date=' Japan was logistically defeated by the time we used the A bombs. Japan is an island and needed to be supplied with many rawmaterials via sea going vessels. Our submarines and other Navy assets deprived them of many of the raw materials needed to wage war. The Japanese civilians were being issued bamboo spears in case Japan was invaded. I am sure the U.S. would have followed this same strangulation strategy in alternate earth. in this case destroying the world to finish off a nearly defeated enemy is ..well, insane. The main reason to use the A-bomb was actually political..i.e... defeat Japan so that the Russians can't get a piece of the Japanese Empire when they surrender like they did in Germany.[/quote']

 

ALSO consider that the Allies already had a very clear picture of what to expect if they had to invade Japan - places like Iwo Jima and Okinawa had made that abundantly clear.

 

It is also worth considering that, battered as Japan was, its troops still occupied big swathes of Asia (from Manchuria to Singapore) and a whole bunch of islands (Taiwan, Sumatra, Java and others). There would have been maybe millions of civilians, and certainly thousands of Allied POWs, held in those areas. Add to that, Japan's High Command had ALREADY begun issuing orders for the slaughter of all Allied POWs and concealment of all evidence regarding their existance. Without a "top-down" surrender order in effect, those Japanese troops would have had to be dealt with - and how many more lives would THAT have cost?

 

Plus, whilst this is downplayed a lot in most histories, Japan had its own weapons of mass destruction, thanks to Unit 731 ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731 ) amongst others, and had repeatedly demonstrated willingness to use them. Not to mention having their own nuclear weapons program ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_nuclear_weapon_program ), which may not have been advanced as the Allied effort, but would still have been a worry.

 

As regards delivery of such weapons to their target, Japan still had a lot of submarines, including two brand-new I-400s ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-400_class_submarine ) and balloon bombs ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balloon_bombs ). The latter may not have been that effective but if (hypothetically) I wanted a cheap way to drop a very nasty bug someplace and incidentally cause major panic (which is why these things were covered up), this would be a way to go.

 

And yes, concern about the Soviets moving in was a major factor - Stalin was not somebody to turn your back on, whatever else happened. At least one history of the conflict indicates that the Japanese government was far more appalled by the Soviet Union's declaration of war than that the Americans had destroyed two more of Japan's cities (massed raids had already caused a lot of damage and casualties).

 

As for the oft-expressed notion of using the first A-bomb attack as a "demonstration strike", this ignores the fact that the US only had an extremely limited number of those things, and production was still very slow. Every use had to count.

 

And even with all that happened, note that the Japanese government still kept trying to play 'Let's Make A Deal', and there were elements who STILL wanted to keep fighting ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_surrender ).

 

I don't have any problems with how the war was ended, and never have. Too many had already died, and WAY too many would have died if it had kept on going.

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