History Main / SovietSuperscience

2nd Sep '16 11:48:09 AM BiffJr
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** Also, there are on and off rumors in the media since [[TurnOfTheMillennium 2001]] that research was underway to create a small nuclear device able to destroy a large building, ship or installation while generating very little fallout and leaving surrounding buildings only slightly scorched on the outside. Like a version of the Davy Crockett W54 warhead, but cleaner. The political implications of having a nuke small and clean enough to '''not''' be a doomsday device are rather disturbing.



* There was a Soviet attempt to create [[HalfHumanHybrid man-chimpanzee hybrids]] for use as workers. Didn't work, but explains the weird science aspect they get in fiction. The precise details of that infamous experiment, which is usually considered (understandably) little more than an UrbanLegend, is that the Soviet scientist who did it worked more or less alone, only got a grant from Stalin due to red tape (and probably would have been shot if Stalin had discovered what he was actually doing), the experiment consisted of trying to use human sperm to artificially inseminate orangutans (because they didn't know about the close genetic relationship between humans and chimps), and his actual goal was to "prove" evolution and use that to stymie the political power of the Russian Orthodox Church, not to make {{Super Soldier}}s.
* There are rumors about Soviet low-frequency Sonic Weapon devices at their borders, threatening to instill depression and anxiety in the whole population. Some even argued that this was already taking place...

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* There was a Soviet attempt to create [[HalfHumanHybrid man-chimpanzee hybrids]] for use as workers. Didn't work, but explains the weird science aspect they get in fiction. The precise details of that infamous experiment, which is usually considered (understandably) little more than an UrbanLegend, is that the Soviet scientist who did it worked more or less alone, only got a grant from Stalin due to red tape (and [[note]]and probably would have been shot if Stalin had discovered what he was actually doing), doing. [[/note]], the experiment consisted of trying to use human sperm to artificially inseminate orangutans (because they [[note]]They didn't know about the close genetic relationship between humans and chimps), chimps [[/note]], and his actual goal was to "prove" evolution and use that to stymie the political power of the Russian Orthodox Church, not to make {{Super Soldier}}s.
* There are rumors about Soviet low-frequency Sonic Weapon devices at their borders, threatening to instill depression and anxiety in the whole population. Some even argued that this was already taking place...
Soldier}}s.



* Some conspiracy theorists believe that the Soviets developed "[[http://mindjustice.org/golgotha.htm psychotronic]]" weapons that could do tremendous damage (and other effects) at a great distance using technology that [[YouFailPhysicsForever violates the known laws of science]].
** DragonMagazine #204 had an article on Soviet psychotronic weapons.



** The US worked on flying submarines too. But the Soviets took it UpToEleven when they actually started cutting steel for a nuclear submarine aircraft carrier/amphibious warfare ship. Sadly, it was canceled immediately afterwards.



* Possibly worthy of mention is the use of supercavitation for torpedoes. Water creates quite a lot of drag and severely limits the top speed that a projectile travelling through it may achieve. With supercavitation, a bubble of water vapour forms around the projectile, greatly reducing drag. The Soviets started experimenting with the phenomenon in the 60s, and by 1972 a supercavitating torpedo, the VA-111 Shkval, was put into service. Its top speed is in excess of 370km/h (in comparison, 50km/h is at the top end of what a nuclear submarine may reach as of this writing; the US made Mk-54 torpedo achieves about 75km/h). Eventually other countries got in on the act: since the 90s the US Navy has also been developing its own roster of supercavitating projectiles, DARPA is thinking of supercavitating troop carriers, Germany has deployed the creatively named "Superkavitierender Unterwasserlaufkörper" in 2004, and even Iran claims to have tested a supercavitating torpedo in 2006. Superscience marches on.
** However, most supercavitating weapons fall into AwesomeButImpractical. The Shkval, for example, has virtually no way to guide itself (by virtue of being powered by [[CrazyAwesome a freaking solid-fuel rocket underwater]]) and is designed to be fired back down the bearing of an incoming torpedo, and initially had a ''nuclear warhead'' on it because that was the only way to guarantee hitting anything. Less insane weapons designers noticed that such speed was pretty unnecessary (as compared to the normal Soviet R&D doctrine of "bigger" followed by "more") and while it's unclear if Shkvals are still deployed on Russian ships, other weaponry has certainly surpassed it.
*** Currently the Shkval apparently has a guided version. It's hard to tell as the usual veil of secrets surrounding the Russian military seems to be darkest around this particular projectile.



** The stored NK-33 were refitted by Aerojet by getting rid of the old stock Soviet electronics, adapting the engines to US circuitry and modifying the steering systems. The result is called the AJ-26, and was used by Orbital Sciences in their Antares rocket. Emphasis on the past tense: in the great Soviet tradition AJ-26s soon began blowing up on test stands, and when one exploded in actual use - taking with it an Antares and a load of supplies for the International Space Station - Orbital Sciences had a change of mind and decided to leave this particular bit of Soviet Superscience most of them ''manufactured'' during the Moon Race - to the history books.
** ...Except they proceeded to purchase modern Russian engines of the RD-170 family, with the full-size RD-170 proper being the world's most powerful liquid-fuelled rocket motor. In fact, America's significant (and increasing) dependency on Russian-made rocket engines is a major source of political controversy.
* The US played this trope straight ''twice'' in the 50s and 60s. The military-industrial complex and "tough on Communism" politicians warned the American people about a "bomber gap" and then a "missile gap," saying that the US was falling behind the USSR in weapons production when in fact the reverse was true.
** These gaps were based on truly heinous intelligence gathering. In one example the USSR displayed a new strategic bomber by flying one formation of them over a military parade repeatedly; the US assumed each appearance was a different formation. A little later, US aerial reconnaissance photographed dozens of bombers at one Soviet airbase. Via reckless multiplication they assumed every airbase had a similar stock when in fact the group of bombers photographed was the ''entire'' production run at the time.
** US intelligence has a running history of making inflated evaluations of enemy capabilities. For example, the [=MiG=]-25 'Foxbat' interceptor (created in response to the US B-70 program, which was canceled after one of the two prototypes was lost) was monitored flying over Egypt at a speed of Mach 3.2, which was assumed to be the normal performance of the aircraft, and was believed to be an agile dogfighter (with the US F-15 being designed to counter it). Only after Lt. Belenko defected with a [=MiG=]-25 in 1976 was the plane discovered to be a relatively unmaneuverable high-altitude interceptor, and that its demonstrated speed capacity would require replacing the engines after the flight.
** It also worth noting that the US intelligence has a distinct tendency to ''intentionally'' overinflate the capabilities of its adversaries, to present a stronger case to the Congress in search of funding and additional powers to the Executive. Or at least ''accused'' of this.
2nd Sep '16 11:41:31 AM BiffJr
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** Not Soviet ''super''science, but related: [[ComicBook/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy Cosmo the Spacedog]], who got lost in space during a cosmonaut test flight. He got PsychicPowers while in space, but we don't know how it happened and it's likely not to involve the Soviets at all.
2nd Sep '16 5:29:24 AM ChronoLegion
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* The upcoming Russian superhero film ''Film/{{Guardians}}'' has the titular four-person team be composed of representatives of four of the former Soviet republics, all of which were subjects to experimentation by Soviet scientists not long before the collapse of the USSR. The team includes a [[EverythingIsWorseWithBears werebear]], a KnifeNut [[SuperSpeed speedster]], an [[DishingOutDirt earth elemental]], and a woman, who has {{Invisibility}}, flexibility, temperature resistance, and doesn't need air.

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* The upcoming Russian superhero film ''Film/{{Guardians}}'' has the titular four-person team be composed of representatives of four of the former Soviet republics, all of which were subjects to experimentation by Soviet scientists not long before the collapse of the USSR.USSR (a newspaper is shown with the headline "Genetics in service of the people"). The team includes a [[EverythingIsWorseWithBears werebear]], a KnifeNut [[SuperSpeed speedster]], an [[DishingOutDirt earth elemental]], and a woman, who has {{Invisibility}}, flexibility, temperature resistance, and doesn't need air.
2nd Sep '16 5:28:22 AM ChronoLegion
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Added DiffLines:

* The upcoming Russian superhero film ''Film/{{Guardians}}'' has the titular four-person team be composed of representatives of four of the former Soviet republics, all of which were subjects to experimentation by Soviet scientists not long before the collapse of the USSR. The team includes a [[EverythingIsWorseWithBears werebear]], a KnifeNut [[SuperSpeed speedster]], an [[DishingOutDirt earth elemental]], and a woman, who has {{Invisibility}}, flexibility, temperature resistance, and doesn't need air.
22nd Aug '16 5:24:40 PM TheRedRedKroovy
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Added DiffLines:

* ''VideoGame/HomefrontTheRevolution'' has a variant of this. Instead of the USSR, it's UsefulNotes/NorthKorea that instead becomes a high-tech powerhouse in TheSeventies, leading the computer revolution instead of America's Silicon Valley; by 2004, they're already bringing touch-screen smartphones and tablets onto the market. By the 2010s, they're branching out into selling high-tech weapons, which the Americans eagerly buy in order to fight their wars in the Middle East. Of course, all of this technology has a shutdown switch controlled from Pyongyang, and in 2025, with a bankrupt US defaulting on its debts, North Korea hits the off switch on all of that weaponry and gadgetry and launches an invasion.
15th Aug '16 10:15:52 AM SuperFeatherYoshi
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** Not only that, the [[HumongousMecha Arm Slave]] technology is canonically a product of SovietSuperscience [[spoiler: ... albeit accidentally. The Whispered, from which the technology to build Arm Slaves came from, were created from a certain Russian-funded lab-base involved in SovietSuperscience of all sorts. Specifically, the Whispered were people [[BizarreBabyBoom born around the world right around the few minutes one]] of the labs (of the Quantum "see into the future" variety) had an accident and went out of control]]

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** Not only that, the [[HumongousMecha Arm Slave]] technology is canonically a product of SovietSuperscience Soviet Superscience [[spoiler: ... albeit accidentally. The Whispered, from which the technology to build Arm Slaves came from, were created from a certain Russian-funded lab-base involved in SovietSuperscience of all sorts. Specifically, the Whispered were people [[BizarreBabyBoom born around the world right around the few minutes one]] of the labs (of the Quantum "see into the future" variety) had an accident and went out of control]]
13th Aug '16 7:09:32 PM SabresEdge
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* ''Red Plenty'' by Francis Spufford is an AlternateHistory novel in which the Soviet Union decides to outdo capitalism by creating a proper planned economy with the help of computers and cybernetics. The novel is based on actual work being done at the time behind the Iron Curtain but, as in real life,[[note]]Preliminary experiments in economy automation has shown nearly miraculous results in improving efficiency and fighting graft and corruption among management, but it turned out that in the informal favors-based economy of the late Soviet Union the ''real'' economic agents had little interest in that. In fact, when the computerized accounting has shown that the enterprise directors has amassed enormous stocks of highly sought-after resources (for the informal trade) that ostensibly had to be fairly distributed, and that fact alone blocked several imprtant projects, the Soviet police had moved in, and, few convictions later, the influential figures in the Government put political pressure to have the program scaled back and eventually cancelled.[[/note]] cynical realism triumphs over communist idealism and only token reforms are made.

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* ''Red Plenty'' by Francis Spufford is an AlternateHistory novel in which partly nonfictional, partly novelistic work, exploring how the Soviet Union decides tried to outdo capitalism by creating a proper planned economy with the help of harness computers and cybernetics. The novel is based on actual work being done at cybernetics which, coupled with central planning, seemed to offer a way for the time behind the Iron Curtain but, as country to catch up with and even surpass America in real life,[[note]]Preliminary providing its citizens with a good standard of living. [[note]]Preliminary experiments in economy automation has had shown nearly miraculous results in improving efficiency and fighting graft and corruption among management, but it turned out that in the informal favors-based economy of the late Soviet Union the ''real'' economic agents had little interest in that. In fact, when the computerized accounting has shown showed that the enterprise directors has amassed enormous stocks of highly sought-after resources (for the informal trade) that ostensibly had to be fairly distributed, and that fact alone blocked several imprtant important projects, the Soviet police had moved in, and, few convictions later, the influential figures in the Government put political pressure to have the program scaled back and eventually cancelled.[[/note]] The story ends when the idea died out in Brezhnev's day, when cynical realism triumphs triumphed over communist idealism and only token reforms are made.idealism; the USSR limped on through the Brezhnev era, coasting on petrodollars instead of actually putting its massive industrial potential to good use.
28th Jul '16 9:18:12 AM Synthesis
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* There are many abandoned Soviet installations whose purpose is known to neither Russia nor United States. Many are research facilities that were given last minute orders to sabotage their archives, and are so alien and different from other known buildings that we can only guess what they were meant for.
15th Jul '16 9:33:34 PM nombretomado
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It is worth noting that historically the most recognizable disciplines of any super science--genetics and cybernetics--received a poor start in the USSR as the Party proclaimed those "false sciences" for being "bourgeois" (which makes as much sense as Nazis dismissing [[AlbertEinstein Einsteinian relativity]] and the modern theory of the atom as "Jewish physics"). This stance wouldn't be lifted until Khruschev took power and USSR's first computer was finished in the mid-50s.

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It is worth noting that historically the most recognizable disciplines of any super science--genetics and cybernetics--received a poor start in the USSR as the Party proclaimed those "false sciences" for being "bourgeois" (which makes as much sense as Nazis dismissing [[AlbertEinstein [[UsefulNotes/AlbertEinstein Einsteinian relativity]] and the modern theory of the atom as "Jewish physics"). This stance wouldn't be lifted until Khruschev took power and USSR's first computer was finished in the mid-50s.
5th Jun '16 4:32:38 PM StrixObscuro
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** Soviet scientists trying to get a leg up on American engineering with bizarre creations like Mongu and the Titanium Man formed the glut of IronMan's original rogue's gallery.

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** Soviet scientists trying to get a leg up on American engineering with bizarre creations like Mongu and the Titanium Man formed the glut of IronMan's ComicBook/IronMan's original rogue's gallery.



* In DaleBrown's books, while the former-Soviets-now-Russians needed to reverse-engineer American tech for most of their new toys, they did come up with powerful anti-satellite lasers on their own.

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* In DaleBrown's Creator/DaleBrown's books, while the former-Soviets-now-Russians needed to reverse-engineer American tech for most of their new toys, they did come up with powerful anti-satellite lasers on their own.



* Creator/OlegDivov's ''Zombie Trail'' trilogy is all about Soviet "psychotronic" weapons and their GoneHorriblyWrong side effects. The original Project came to be after an American misinformation campagin led the Soviet leadership to believe that the US was experimenting with PsychicPowers. Unintentionally, the resulting Soviet psychic program bore fruit. A "psychotronic cannon" was built that could be used to MindControl people on a massive scale. However, it had to be operated by an extremely powerful psychic. In order to create one (or more), the Children's Program was set up that involved subjecting 1000 children to radiation, hoping the resulting mutation would be psychic in nature. It was a near-complete disaster, as all but 5 children died. Some of the survivors, though, did become the coveted super-psychics, although they refused to fire the cannon. Additional experiments were conducted on metropolitan scale by building powerful mind-control generators in major Soviet cities that would eliminate all dissent. They worked for a while, until interdimensional holes started opening, letting in EnergyBeings that took over humans and became so-called "zombies" (of the fast variety). You'd think the experiments would stop in a WhatHaveIDone fashion. No such luck. The third novel reveals that the modern-day Russian version of the Project succeeded in subliminaly influencing the world population into thinking that everything Russian is cool.
* ''Red Plenty'' by Francis Spufford is an AlternateHistory novel in which the Soviet Union decides to outdo capitalism by creating a proper planned economy with the help of computers and cybernetics. The novel is based on actual work being done at the time behind the Iron Curtain but, as in real life,[[note]]Preliminary experiments in economy automation has shown nearly miraculouis results in improving efficiency and fighting graft and corruption among management, but it turned out that in the informal favors-based economy of the late Soviet Union the ''real'' economic agents had little interest in that. In fact, when the computerized accounting has shown that the enterprize directors has amassed enormous stocks of highly sought-after resources (for the informal trade) that ostensibly had to be fairly distributed, and that fact alone blocked several imprtant projects, the Soviet police had moved in, and, few convictions later, the influential figures in the Government put political pressure to have the program scaled back and eventually cancelled.[[/note]] cynical realism triumphs over communist idealism and only token reforms are made.
* The Russian multi-writer series called ''Death Zone'' is about the aftermath of a strange event involving a NegativeSpaceWedgie that wipes out several major Russian cities and creates five anomalous areas roughtly 50 kilometers in diameter separated from the rest of the world by gravity bubbles. One of the novels eventually reveals that the so-called Catastrophe was, in fact, caused by the second activation of a device that was originally developed by a Soviet scientist to allow instantaneous hyperdimentional transportation. The first activation of the device on April 26, 1986, caused the 4th reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant to meltdown.

to:

* Creator/OlegDivov's ''Zombie Trail'' trilogy is all about Soviet "psychotronic" weapons and their GoneHorriblyWrong side effects. The original Project came to be after an American misinformation campagin campaign led the Soviet leadership to believe that the US was experimenting with PsychicPowers. Unintentionally, the resulting Soviet psychic program bore fruit. A "psychotronic cannon" was built that could be used to MindControl people on a massive scale. However, it had to be operated by an extremely powerful psychic. In order to create one (or more), the Children's Program was set up that involved subjecting 1000 children to radiation, hoping the resulting mutation would be psychic in nature. It was a near-complete disaster, as all but 5 children died. Some of the survivors, though, did become the coveted super-psychics, although they refused to fire the cannon. Additional experiments were conducted on metropolitan scale by building powerful mind-control generators in major Soviet cities that would eliminate all dissent. They worked for a while, until interdimensional holes started opening, letting in EnergyBeings that took over humans and became so-called "zombies" (of the fast variety). You'd think the experiments would stop in a WhatHaveIDone fashion. No such luck. The third novel reveals that the modern-day Russian version of the Project succeeded in subliminaly subliminally influencing the world population into thinking that everything Russian is cool.
* ''Red Plenty'' by Francis Spufford is an AlternateHistory novel in which the Soviet Union decides to outdo capitalism by creating a proper planned economy with the help of computers and cybernetics. The novel is based on actual work being done at the time behind the Iron Curtain but, as in real life,[[note]]Preliminary experiments in economy automation has shown nearly miraculouis miraculous results in improving efficiency and fighting graft and corruption among management, but it turned out that in the informal favors-based economy of the late Soviet Union the ''real'' economic agents had little interest in that. In fact, when the computerized accounting has shown that the enterprize enterprise directors has amassed enormous stocks of highly sought-after resources (for the informal trade) that ostensibly had to be fairly distributed, and that fact alone blocked several imprtant projects, the Soviet police had moved in, and, few convictions later, the influential figures in the Government put political pressure to have the program scaled back and eventually cancelled.[[/note]] cynical realism triumphs over communist idealism and only token reforms are made.
* The Russian multi-writer series called ''Death Zone'' is about the aftermath of a strange event involving a NegativeSpaceWedgie that wipes out several major Russian cities and creates five anomalous areas roughtly roughly 50 kilometers in diameter separated from the rest of the world by gravity bubbles. One of the novels eventually reveals that the so-called Catastrophe was, in fact, caused by the second activation of a device that was originally developed by a Soviet scientist to allow instantaneous hyperdimentional transportation. The first activation of the device on April 26, 1986, caused the 4th reactor of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant to meltdown.



* In the first episode of ''Series/TheTick'' live action TV series, the Tick and Arthur must thwart the Red Scare, a robot made in the 1970s by the Soviet Union, programed to destroy the US President. Unaware of the present year however, the Red Scare seeks to destroy ''former'' President Carter.
* The ''Series/{{JAG}}'' epispde "Iron Coffin" features the supercavitating Russian torpedo VA-111 Shkval (see real life below), which for an uninformed viewer might come across as pure fiction. However, [[spoiler: the Shkval in the episode has a serious design flaw as it retargets the submarine which launched it. The Americans have observed it before, but the Russians thinks the Americans are interfering.]]
** This example also counts on a ''meta'' level, as the real-life stock ''Shkval'' [[spoiler: is unguided and is physically unable to retarget itself, being in effect an underwater rocket]], but [[RuleOfDrama was given imaginary capabilities for the sake of drama]].

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* In the first episode of ''Series/TheTick'' live action TV series, the Tick and Arthur must thwart the Red Scare, a robot made in the 1970s by the Soviet Union, programed programmed to destroy the US President. Unaware of the present year however, the Red Scare seeks to destroy ''former'' President Carter.
* The ''Series/{{JAG}}'' epispde episode "Iron Coffin" features the supercavitating Russian torpedo VA-111 Shkval (see real life below), which for an uninformed viewer might come across as pure fiction. However, [[spoiler: the [[spoiler:the Shkval in the episode has a serious design flaw as it retargets re-targets the submarine which launched it. The Americans have observed it before, but the Russians thinks the Americans are interfering.]]
** This example also counts on a ''meta'' level, as the real-life stock ''Shkval'' [[spoiler: is [[spoiler:is unguided and is physically unable to retarget re-target itself, being in effect an underwater rocket]], but [[RuleOfDrama was given imaginary capabilities for the sake of drama]].drama]].
* Subverted in ''Series/TheAmericans'', where the Soviet scientists are clearly struggling to catch up to their American counterparts, to the point that they're resorting to industrial espionage, theft, kidnapping, and an extremely ill-advised venture into developing biological weapons (because they've realized that they'll never close the gap with the US when it comes to nuclear weapons.)



* ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri'' recycles this in space by bringing in a University of Planet faction, ostensibly just following a ForScience ideology, but actually being thoroughly Russian in terms of flavour.

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* ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri'' recycles this in space by bringing in a University of Planet faction, ostensibly just following a ForScience ideology, but actually being thoroughly Russian in terms of flavour.flavor.



* ''VideoGame/{{Awesomenauts}}'' has Yuri, a 1960s space race monkey shot into orbit with a jetpack. Disappearing into a warp field and turning into a radioactive genius, he gets lasers, builds a computer all while playing his Russian musical anthem and chatting with a deep accented voice. The American character? He's a cowboy!

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* ''VideoGame/{{Awesomenauts}}'' has Yuri, a 1960s 1960's space race monkey shot into orbit with a jetpack. Disappearing into a warp field and turning into a radioactive genius, he gets lasers, builds a computer all while playing his Russian musical anthem and chatting with a deep accented voice. The American character? He's a cowboy!



* ''TheTick'' had the Russians working on a sentient beard, so the US developed a mustache.

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* ''TheTick'' ''WesternAnimation/TheTick'' had the Russians working on a sentient beard, so the US developed a mustache.



* Played with in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'' in which Bill learns that he was unwittingly part of an experiment to create super-soldiers who could fight in the Arctic, and this might be the cause of his weight gain. While the experiment sounds idiotic, Hank insists that it probably made sense at the time, because the US government seriously thought the Soviet Union had secret weapons up their sleeves.



* In the end, we cannot forget the example of Soviet Superscience that quite possibly defined the latter half of the 20th century: The plutonium-implosion bomb that detonated at 7:00am on the 29th of August, 1949, at Semipalatinsk in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. The bomb, developed five years quicker than the Anglo-US intelligence services believed possible, turned out to be 50% more destructive than the Soviet scientists had believed possible, as it destroyed one of the most elaborate nuclear test sites (a small mockup city, complete with metro system and a "garrison" of heavy military equipment and animals, was annihilated). Notably, the Soviet science teams made little use of the data they received from the Manhattan Project; their "Prince of Science", Igor Kurchatov, restricted the team to using the US designs only to check their work. The Soviet detonation had many names: RDS-1. Article 501. Joe-1. But it was the name the science teams gave to the test that will live in history: ''Pervaya molniya - "First Lighting" ''.

to:

* In the end, we cannot forget the example of Soviet Superscience that quite possibly defined the latter half of the 20th century: The plutonium-implosion bomb that detonated at 7:00am 7:00 am on the 29th of August, 1949, at Semipalatinsk in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. The bomb, developed five years quicker than the Anglo-US intelligence services believed possible, turned out to be 50% more destructive than the Soviet scientists had believed possible, as it destroyed one of the most elaborate nuclear test sites (a small mockup city, complete with metro system and a "garrison" of heavy military equipment and animals, was annihilated). Notably, the Soviet science teams made little use of the data they received from the Manhattan Project; their "Prince of Science", Igor Kurchatov, restricted the team to using the US designs only to check their work. The Soviet detonation had many names: RDS-1. Article 501. Joe-1. But it was the name the science teams gave to the test that will live in history: ''Pervaya molniya - "First Lighting" ''.
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