History Main / ThePoorMansAtomicBomb

10th Jun '16 7:18:14 AM morane
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Other weapons of mass destruction. In other words, chemical and biological. Although they're not quite as [[LamePun flashy]] as nuclear weapons, they are classified as weapons of mass destruction for a reason. In fact biological weapons are actually deadlier that nuclear ones, pound for pound, if only they could be made reliable and safe ''for their user''. [[http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/an253stc.htm See stats here]] The title of the article comes from a quote from the Iranian speaker of parliament in TheEighties, perhaps best capturing in this phrase what they are: very destructive weapons that are much cheaper and easier to produce than nuclear weapons.

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Other weapons of mass destruction. In other words, chemical words,chemical, biological and biological.radiological. Although they're not quite as [[LamePun flashy]] as nuclear weapons, they are classified as weapons of mass destruction for a reason. In fact biological weapons are actually deadlier that nuclear ones, pound for pound, if only they could be made reliable and safe ''for their user''. [[http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/an253stc.htm See stats here]] The title of the article comes from a quote from the Iranian speaker of parliament in TheEighties, perhaps best capturing in this phrase what they are: very destructive weapons that are much cheaper and easier to produce than nuclear weapons.



!Radiological Warfare

Nuclear physics can be used not only to create nuclear bombs themselves, but also radiological weapons. A '''radiological dispersal device''' (RDD), also called '''dirty bomb''' is basically an ordinary bomb "salted" with radioactive material. The purpose of the weapon is to contaminate the area around the dispersal agent/conventional explosion with radioactive material, serving primarily as an area denial device against civilians. It is however not to be confused with a nuclear explosion, such as a fission bomb, which by releasing nuclear energy produces blast effects far in excess of what is achievable by the use of conventional explosives. The "father" of dirty bomb is often considered to be IanFleming, who presented such device in his book Goldfinger.

Though a RDD would be designed to disperse radioactive material over a large area, a bomb that uses conventional explosives and produces a blast wave is likely to be far more lethal to people than the hazard posed by radioactive material that may be mixed with the explosive. Yet if there is sufficient amounts of the radioactive substance, there will be enough radiation present to cause severe illness or death for anyone residing at the contaminated area. A test explosion and subsequent calculations done by the United States Department of Energy found that assuming nothing is done to clean up the affected area and everyone stays in the affected area for one year, the radiation exposure would be "fairly high", but not fatal.

A radiological dispersal devide is more likely to be a "weapon of mass distraction" than a weapon of mass destruction. Its purpose would presumably be to create psychological, not physical, harm through ignorance, mass panic, and terror. In addition, it would be an area denial weapon, making land areas inhospitable, inhabitable and incultivable. Additionally, containment and decontamination of thousands of victims, as well as decontamination of the affected area might require considerable time and expense, rendering areas partly unusable and causing economic damage. Using a radiological dispersal device against enemy logistics or military production could severly cripple his war effort.

So far no radiological weapons have been used in hostilities, but radiological accidents have happened. One example is the radiological accident occurring in Goiânia, Brazil, between September 1987 and March 1988: Two metal scavengers broke into an abandoned radiotherapy clinic and removed a teletherapy source capsule containing powdered caesium-137 with an activity of 50 TBq. They brought it back to the home of one of the men to take it apart and sell as scrap metal. Later that day both men were showing acute signs of radiation illness with vomiting and one of the men had a swollen hand and diarrhea. A few days later one of the men punctured the 1 mm thick window of the capsule, allowing the caesium chloride powder to leak out and when realizing the powder glowed blue in the dark, brought it back home to his family and friends to show it off. After 2 weeks of spread by contact contamination causing an increasing number of adverse health effects, the correct diagnosis of acute radiation sickness was made at a hospital and proper precautions could be put into procedure. By this time 249 people were contaminated, 151 exhibited both external and internal contamination of which 20 people were seriously ill and 5 people died.

The Goiânia incident to some extent predicts the contamination pattern if it is not immediately realized that the explosion spread radioactive material, but also how fatal even very small amounts of ingested radioactive powder can be. This raises worries of terrorists using powdered alpha emitting material, that if ingested can pose a serious health risk, as in the case of deceased former K.G.B. spy Alexander Litvinenko, who either ate, drank or inhaled polonium-210. "Smoky bombs" based on alpha emitters might easily be just as dangerous as beta or gamma emitting dirty bombs.

Needless to say, military use of radiological weapons is prohibited by international law.



These weapons have unlike their nuclear big brother; been employed many times in history. The use of sulphur fumes and diseased items was a major of ancient warfare.

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These weapons have have, unlike their nuclear big brother; brother, been employed many times in history. The use of sulphur fumes and diseased items was a major of ancient warfare.



Countries are very reluctant to use these kinds of weapons. For the simple reason that while a nuclear warhead will only directly harm the enemy and a chemical warhead will not harm you if you take sufficient precautions, ts pretty much impossible with current technology to develop pathogens where you can have high confidence that they will not spread to your own people or to neutral third parties who will find this a good reason to become NeutralNoLonger.

to:

Countries are very reluctant to use these kinds of weapons. For the simple reason that while a nuclear warhead will only directly harm the enemy and a chemical warhead will not harm you if you take sufficient precautions, ts it is pretty much impossible with current technology to develop pathogens where you can have high confidence that they will not spread to your own people or to neutral third parties who will find this a good reason to become NeutralNoLonger.
2nd Feb '16 3:36:34 PM AgProv
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Like chemical warfare, this one is very old. Medieval would throw corpses at each other during sieges. Black death in Europe started when the Tartars besieging Caffa in modern day Ukraine catapulted their plague infected corpses over the wall. When people fled the city, they took the disease with them. The British, meanwhile, committed one of the world's most lethal genocides against the Native American tribes by spreading smallpox, syphilis, and other diseases among other acts of war - killing, according to some figures, 90% of the Native population of North America (although how intentional this was is disputed; much if not most of the dying happened long before the English reached Jamestown, with the plagues coming accidentally from contact with the Spanish in Mexico and Florida). In modern times, we have only started to have the technology to grow pathogens in the 20th century. During World War 2, the infamous Unit 731 experimented with live human subjects. After Japan's surrender, [[KarmaHoudini the unit was given full immunity in exchange for its information]]. The US and the Soviet Union engaged in an arms race over biological warfare, at a time when the nuclear arms race was more noticeable. Eventually Nixon signed a treaty with the Soviet Union pledging to destroy their arsenals. Still the danger remains as the anthrax attacks after 9/11 show.

to:

Like chemical warfare, this one is very old. Medieval would throw corpses at each other during sieges. Black death in Europe started when the Tartars besieging Caffa in modern day Ukraine catapulted their plague infected corpses over the wall. When people fled the city, they took the disease with them. The British, Spanish in South and Central America and the British in the north, meanwhile, committed one of the world's most lethal genocides against the Native American tribes by spreading smallpox, syphilis, and other diseases among other acts of war - killing, according to some figures, 90% of the Native population of North America (although how intentional this was is disputed; much if not most of the dying happened long before the English reached Jamestown, with the plagues coming accidentally from contact with the Spanish in Mexico and Florida). In modern times, we have only started to have the technology to grow pathogens in the 20th century. During World War 2, the infamous Unit 731 experimented with live human subjects. After Japan's surrender, [[KarmaHoudini the unit was given full immunity in exchange for its information]]. The US and the Soviet Union engaged in an arms race over biological warfare, at a time when the nuclear arms race was more noticeable. Eventually Nixon signed a treaty with the Soviet Union pledging to destroy their arsenals. Still the danger remains as the anthrax attacks after 9/11 show.
27th Nov '15 10:42:44 AM lvthn13
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Like chemical warfare, this one is very old. Medieval would throw corpses at each other during sieges. Black death in Europe started when the Tartars besieging Caffa in modern day Ukraine catapulted their plague infected corpses over the wall. When people fled the city, they took the disease with them. The US, meanwhile, committed one of the world's most lethal genocides against the Native American tribes by spreading smallpox, syphilis, and other diseases among other acts of war - killing, according to some figures, 90% of the Native population of North America (although how intentional this was is disputed; much if not most of the dying happened long before the English reached Jamestown, with the plagues coming accidentally from contact with the Spanish in Mexico and Florida). In modern times, we have only started to have the technology to grow pathogens in the 20th century. During World War 2, the infamous Unit 731 experimented with live human subjects. After Japan's surrender, [[KarmaHoudini the unit was given full immunity in exchange for its information]]. The US and the Soviet Union engaged in an arms race over biological warfare, at a time when the nuclear arms race was more noticeable. Eventually Nixon signed a treaty with the Soviet Union pledging to destroy their arsenals. Still the danger remains as the anthrax attacks after 9/11 show.

to:

Like chemical warfare, this one is very old. Medieval would throw corpses at each other during sieges. Black death in Europe started when the Tartars besieging Caffa in modern day Ukraine catapulted their plague infected corpses over the wall. When people fled the city, they took the disease with them. The US, British, meanwhile, committed one of the world's most lethal genocides against the Native American tribes by spreading smallpox, syphilis, and other diseases among other acts of war - killing, according to some figures, 90% of the Native population of North America (although how intentional this was is disputed; much if not most of the dying happened long before the English reached Jamestown, with the plagues coming accidentally from contact with the Spanish in Mexico and Florida). In modern times, we have only started to have the technology to grow pathogens in the 20th century. During World War 2, the infamous Unit 731 experimented with live human subjects. After Japan's surrender, [[KarmaHoudini the unit was given full immunity in exchange for its information]]. The US and the Soviet Union engaged in an arms race over biological warfare, at a time when the nuclear arms race was more noticeable. Eventually Nixon signed a treaty with the Soviet Union pledging to destroy their arsenals. Still the danger remains as the anthrax attacks after 9/11 show.
3rd Nov '15 6:59:46 PM Specialist290
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Countries are very reluctant to use these kinds of weapons. For the simple reason that while a nuclear warhead will only directly harm the enemy and a chemical warhead will not harm you if you take sufficient precautions, ts pretty much impossible with current technology to develop pathogens where you can have high confidence that they will not spread to your own people.

to:

Countries are very reluctant to use these kinds of weapons. For the simple reason that while a nuclear warhead will only directly harm the enemy and a chemical warhead will not harm you if you take sufficient precautions, ts pretty much impossible with current technology to develop pathogens where you can have high confidence that they will not spread to your own people.
people or to neutral third parties who will find this a good reason to become NeutralNoLonger.
29th Oct '15 2:29:17 PM samanato
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** Mustard Gas, a yellow gas hence the name, was an agent used in World War I and in the Iran-Iraq war among other places, is one such agent. It is extremely carcinogenic, and causes severe burns to a person.

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** Mustard Gas, a yellow gas with an overpoweringly pungent smell, hence the name, name. It is distinguished between "sulphur mustard" and "nitrogen mustard", though only the first was an agent used in combat. It was used in World War I and in the Iran-Iraq war among other places, is one such agent.places. It is extremely carcinogenic, and causes severe burns to a person.



* Blood agents work by interfering with oxygen use of the blood. The victims blood is bright red because of this.
** One such example is Hydrogen cyanide, also known as Prussic acid or bluing acid, an agent which is toxic at concentration of 300 mg/m3. It found a widespread use as a pesticide in Europe before the WWII, under the trade mark "Zyklon B". Yes, ''that'' Zyklon B -- the Nazis used it to murder people in concentration camps. While it was allegedy a pesiticide used to disinfect prisoners' clothes, the concentrations of Zyklon B needed to kill humans are much lower than the concentrations needed to kill insects... And despite being handled in considerable amounts, it apparently did not cause a single ''accidental'' death.

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* Blood agents work by interfering with oxygen use of the blood. The victims blood is bright red because of this.
this, which can mask the signs of oxygen deprivations.
** One such example is Hydrogen cyanide, also known as Prussic acid or bluing acid, blue acid ''("Blausäure")'', an agent which is toxic at concentration of 300 mg/m3. It found a widespread use as a pesticide in Europe before the WWII, under the trade mark "Zyklon B". Yes, ''that'' Zyklon B -- the same one that the Nazis used it to murder people in concentration camps. While it was allegedy allegedly a pesiticide pesticide used to disinfect prisoners' clothes, the concentrations of Zyklon B needed to kill humans are much lower than the concentrations needed to kill insects... And despite being handled in considerable amounts, it apparently did not cause a single ''accidental'' death.



** Chlorine, one of the first agents used in chemical warfare works like this. It reacts with water in the lungs to form hydrochloric acid, which can be deadly. This agent, however was easily defeated by gas masks, and subsequently hasn't really been used. The only exception was by insurgents in the Iraq War, perhaps because they can't get their hands on anything deadlier. Your average housewife, maid, or other person who has cleaned up a bathroom in the U.S. has probably accidentally manufactured chlorine gas simply by mixing bleach and ammonia, it is extremely easy to produce, and making it by mistake is something you only do once, after you finish coughing.
** Phosgene, a colorless gas was also used, in World War I, as well as in World War II.
*** It is an industrial accident, not a wartime military use, but most of the deaths in the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhopal_disaster Bhopal disaster]] were caused by phosgene, which is generated when the methylisocyanate (the escaped chemical, thoroughly nasty by itself) reacts with water.

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** Chlorine, one of the first agents used in chemical warfare works like this. It reacts with water in the lungs to form highly corrosive hydrochloric acid, which can be deadly.leading to pulmonary oedema and death. This agent, however was easily defeated by gas masks, and subsequently hasn't really been used. The only exception was by insurgents in the Iraq War, perhaps because they can't get their hands on anything deadlier. Your average housewife, maid, or other person who has cleaned up a bathroom in the U.S. has probably accidentally manufactured chlorine gas simply by mixing bleach and ammonia, it is extremely easy to produce, and making it by mistake is something you only do once, after you finish violently coughing.
** Phosgene, a colorless gas was also used, in World War I, as well as in World War II.
*** It is an industrial accident, not a wartime military use, but most
II. Most of the deaths in the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhopal_disaster Bhopal disaster]] (though it was an industrial accident, not wartime use) were caused by phosgene, which is generated when the methylisocyanate (the escaped chemical, thoroughly nasty by itself) reacts with water.



** V agents are very persistent, meaning they last a long time in the environment; VX is the deadliest agent in this category. Its only confirmed use was by the Japanese death cult [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aum_Shinrikyo Aum Shinrikyou]], although many suspect the attack on Halabja used this. 10 mg can kill a person; to put this in perspective, this is about the mass of a mosquito.
** G agents are less persistent; the most famous are Tabun--the first to be discovered--and Sarin. Saddam used both, and Sarin was also used by the Aum Shinrikyo cult against the Tokyo subway.

to:

** V agents are very persistent, meaning they last a long time in the environment; VX is the deadliest agent in this category. Its only confirmed use was by the Japanese death cult [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aum_Shinrikyo Aum Shinrikyou]], Shinrikyo]], although many suspect the attack on Halabja used this. 10 mg can kill a person; to put this in perspective, this is about the mass of a mosquito.
** G agents are less persistent; the most famous are Tabun--the first to be discovered--and Sarin. Saddam used both, and Sarin was also infamously used by the Aum Shinrikyo cult against the Tokyo subway.



** WP (White Phosphorus): Highly poisonous and extremely pyrophoric, to the point that a WP fire [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMlXhJevCV0 will re-ignite spontaneously after being put out]]. Its intense, fast-acting, and virulent toxicity leads the ICRC and many international [=NGOs=] to rule it a chemical weapon. Due to the fact that it is pyrophoric, the United States military designates it an [[InsistentTerminology incendiary]], and '''not''' a chemical weapon. Evidence that it may have been used by the 'States during the 2nd Gulf War has led to considerable controversy.
*** White phosphorus is basically in a legal gray area - according to the UN it has both legal and illegal military uses. In modern asymmetric warfare where well-equipped militaries engage targets in urban environments with a civilian presence, it can be easy to expose civilians to WP. This has cropped up repeatedly in the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, Israeli operations in Gaza and Palestine, and the conflict in the Ukraine.

to:

** WP (White Phosphorus): Highly poisonous and extremely pyrophoric, to the point that a WP fire [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMlXhJevCV0 will re-ignite spontaneously after being put out]]. Its intense, fast-acting, and virulent toxicity leads the ICRC and many international [=NGOs=] to rule it a chemical weapon. Due to the fact that it is pyrophoric, the United States military designates it an [[InsistentTerminology incendiary]], and '''not''' a chemical weapon. Evidence that it may have been used by the 'States during the 2nd Gulf War has led to considerable controversy.
***
controversy.\\
\\
White phosphorus is basically in a legal gray area - according to the UN it has both legal and illegal military uses. In modern asymmetric warfare where well-equipped militaries engage targets in urban environments with a civilian presence, it can be easy to expose civilians to WP. This has cropped up repeatedly in the Iraq war, the Afghanistan war, Israeli operations in Gaza and Palestine, and the conflict in the Ukraine.
29th Oct '15 2:13:27 PM samanato
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** V agents are very persistent, meaning they last a long time in the environment; VX is the deadliest agent in this category. It has no confirmed use, although many suspect the attack on Halabja used this. 10 mg can kill a person; to put this in perspective, this is about the mass of a mosquito.

to:

** V agents are very persistent, meaning they last a long time in the environment; VX is the deadliest agent in this category. It has no Its only confirmed use, use was by the Japanese death cult [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aum_Shinrikyo Aum Shinrikyou]], although many suspect the attack on Halabja used this. 10 mg can kill a person; to put this in perspective, this is about the mass of a mosquito.



** WP (White Phosphorus): Highly poisonous and extremely pyrophoric, to the point that a WP fire [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMlXhJevCV0 will re-ignite after being put out]]. Its intense, fast-acting, and virulent toxicity leads the ICRC and many international [=NGOs=] to rule it a chemical weapon. Due to the fact that it is pyrophoric, the United States military designates it an [[InsistentTerminology incendiary]], and '''not''' a chemical weapon. Evidence that it may have been used by the 'States during the 2nd Gulf War has led to considerable controversy.

to:

** WP (White Phosphorus): Highly poisonous and extremely pyrophoric, to the point that a WP fire [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMlXhJevCV0 will re-ignite spontaneously after being put out]]. Its intense, fast-acting, and virulent toxicity leads the ICRC and many international [=NGOs=] to rule it a chemical weapon. Due to the fact that it is pyrophoric, the United States military designates it an [[InsistentTerminology incendiary]], and '''not''' a chemical weapon. Evidence that it may have been used by the 'States during the 2nd Gulf War has led to considerable controversy.
17th Oct '15 9:53:03 PM samanato
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** WP (White Phosphorus): Highly poisonous, and also extremely pyrophoric. Its intense, fast-acting, and virulent toxicity leads the ICRC and many international [=NGOs=] to rule it a chemical weapon. Due to the fact that it is pyrophoric, the United States military designates it an [[InsistentTerminology incendiary]], and '''not''' a chemical weapon. Evidence that it may have been used by the 'States during the 2nd Gulf War has led to considerable controversy.

to:

** WP (White Phosphorus): Highly poisonous, poisonous and also extremely pyrophoric.pyrophoric, to the point that a WP fire [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMlXhJevCV0 will re-ignite after being put out]]. Its intense, fast-acting, and virulent toxicity leads the ICRC and many international [=NGOs=] to rule it a chemical weapon. Due to the fact that it is pyrophoric, the United States military designates it an [[InsistentTerminology incendiary]], and '''not''' a chemical weapon. Evidence that it may have been used by the 'States during the 2nd Gulf War has led to considerable controversy.
17th Oct '15 9:42:42 PM samanato
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!!Agents: There are two types of "less lethal" agents: Tear gas (with various subtypes) and pepper spray. There are four main types of lethal agents, Blister, Blood, Nerve and Choking

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!!Agents: !!Agents
There are two types of "less lethal" agents: Tear gas (with various subtypes) and pepper spray. There are four main types of lethal agents, Blister, Blood, Nerve and ChokingChoking.
5th Sep '15 9:25:18 PM Korval
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The biggest risk chemical and biological weapons pose, unlike nuclear weapons, ''is'' use by terrorists or criminals or truly deranged people. Unlike nuclear weapons, which are by their very nature difficult and dangerous to build and use for most non-states and which are, to this point, thankfully SelfGuardingPhlebotonium, biological and chemical weapons ''have'' been used already by various dangerous groups, and there's no reason to assume that others ''can't'' develop them or put them to use. It also doesn't help that at least two of the chemicals with a weapon effect (chlorine and pesticides) do have civilian usage and are often transported in large quantities - making them candidates for accidents, which can be just as (if not more) dangerous than attacks.

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The biggest risk chemical and biological weapons pose, unlike nuclear weapons, ''is'' use by terrorists or criminals or truly deranged people. Unlike nuclear weapons, which are by their very nature difficult and dangerous to build and use for most non-states and which are, to this point, thankfully SelfGuardingPhlebotonium, SelfGuardingPhlebotinum, biological and chemical weapons ''have'' been used already by various dangerous groups, and there's no reason to assume that others ''can't'' develop them or put them to use. It also doesn't help that at least two of the chemicals with a weapon effect (chlorine and pesticides) do have civilian usage and are often transported in large quantities - making them candidates for accidents, which can be just as (if not more) dangerous than attacks.
25th Jul '15 9:58:07 PM StevieC
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* As for protection, having a military surplus gas mask on your person will likely get you some funny looks, and could result in being mistaken for the perpetrators of the attack. Concerning commercial respirators, most do not incorporate eye protection, so a respirator alone isn't enough even against the types of chemical and biological agents that a gas mask would protect fully against. For the CrazyPrepared out there, researching what a given model of respirator or filter is designed to protect against is a good idea, in addition to paying attention to what its rating is, along with the highest available rate of filtration regardless of classification (NIOSH N100, R100, or P100 in case of American standards, P3 or [=FFP3=] for European standards, etc).

to:

* As for protection, having a military surplus gas mask on your person will likely get you some funny looks, and could result in being mistaken for the perpetrators of the attack. Concerning commercial respirators, most do not incorporate eye protection, so a respirator alone isn't enough even against the types of chemical and biological agents that a gas mask would protect fully against. For the CrazyPrepared out there, researching what a given model of respirator or filter is designed to protect against is a good idea, in addition to paying attention to what its rating is, along with the highest available rate of filtration regardless of classification (NIOSH N100, R100, or P100 in case of American standards, P3 or [=FFP3=] for European standards, etc). Be especially careful about make and model of protective mask and ensure that its filters do '''not''' contain asbestos.
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