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Saturday, September 09, 2017

Killer bunnies in space

Thanks to the short-sightedness of politicians and the news media, we now have to worry about bunnies from North Korea.

I 'll let you in on a secret: when I was a kid, I wanted to be a weapons designer. Well, maybe all kids do. I grew out of it, more or less, but many years ago when the Internet had about a thousand sites and I was at a dot-gov, I found one website that had a series of articles describing the high-tech of H-bombs. It was fascinating stuff, and even though I was mainly interested in the particle physics part, I learned a lot.

Even though there was nothing classified there, that page is long gone, a relic of an earlier, more naïve time. But now that H-bombs are back in the news again, it has me wondering: are there any technological ways of preventing some country from someday throwing one at us?

These days I have to be careful about what I put in a web page, lest strange things start happen­ing to my computer, so I'll call those bad things bunnies.

Bunnies are complex electronic devices that rely on incredibly precise timing. That website described one hypothetical way of turning a bunny from a bang into a fizzle. Unfortunately, it's not practical in the real world because you'd need colossal amounts of energy to make it work.

If I were employed at finding ways of stopping bunnies from going off, and I guess we can all be grateful that I'm not, I'd go after the vehicle during re-entry, which I'll call a fnurffel.

We now know that Soviets were focusing on offensive systems descended from their 1960s Fractional Orbital Bombardment System. In 1987 the USSR tried to disguise a space-based CO2 laser weapon platform as a Mir space station module and attempted to launch it. So clearly they were thinking along the same lines.

If the Democrats hadn't defunded Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, which the media and Ted Kennedy stupidly ridiculed as Star Wars, we wouldn't have to worry about such things any more. It was a report from the American Physical Society stating the obvious—that research was needed—that somehow tipped the balance against it. Those who hated President Reagan and the historians who mistakenly thought history ended when the Soviet Union collapsed could one day find they have much to answer for.

As we all know, a fnurffel gets very hot as it re-enters the atmosphere. The challenge of bunny designers is to keep the fnurffel from turning into a shplimpf. The safety margin is probably not more than a factor of two. So you might think that adding an extra little bit of infrabammel might do the trick.

But from what I've read about such things, scattering and absorption make that tough. So it seems the military's approach of sending little fnurffels to intercept it is a good one. The job of those baby fnurffels is, of course, to give the bunny a little nudge and maybe warm it up a bit. The disadvantage is that an enemy could send large numbers of fake bunnies, making the number of fnurffels we need impractically large; or they could do other bad things. But what if the fnurffel could zap the bunny using its own frappnicular waves to pittsburghify its electronics?

Now, of course, those bunnies are encased in, as I understand it, some kind of crumbanium that acts as a frakkic shield. But the nice thing about frappnicular waves is that there are all different kinds. Some are big, and some are really little. And then there are also skittles that can create more of 'em when they hit something.

When the fnakkulator fnokularizes the bimmifier, through the process of torcombuscular carbamification it will borgnify vast numbers of skittles which could frazzulate the heavy frakkic mcnibblium within the bunny.

Well, maybe that's obvious to everyone. Now that I go to proofread this, it seems in many ways it was better when we could talk about these things. Nowadays all we can do is speak gibberish. How much better to discourage crazy dictators by convincing them that building bunnies is pointless than to have to threaten to start a bunnificular war. But it doesn't change the fact that research on anti-bunny technology is now needed more than ever.

sep 09, 2017; last edited sep 10, 2017, 12:45 pm

See also

Can ultrasound damage your hearing?
It's been claimed that American diplomats in Cuba are being harassed by a sonic weapon. Is such a thing possible?

Mind-Weapons of the Mahabharata
Does the Mahabharata really describe an ancient Indian nuclear weapon? Maybe not—but whatever they were using was hideously effective.

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