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+ - How nuclear weapon modernization makes it more likely that nukes will be used-> 2

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "John Mecklin has an astonishingly good piece detailing exactly how nuclear weapons modernization is kick-starting a new arms race, and how modernizing these weapons to make them more accurate and stealthy puts the world at even greater risk of nuclear war: 'Their very accuracy increases the temptation to use them.' The issue is not getting very much attention, but the patience of the non-nuclear states is wearing thin, and a breakthrough in public awareness may be on the horizon: 'The disarmament debate is likely to make this spring’s NPT conference a contentious one and just might be loud enough to make the public aware that a new type of nuclear arms race is unfolding around the world.' If you read nothing else on nuclear weapons, read this."
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+ - The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists introduces the Doomsday Dashboard->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "You probably know the hand on the Doomsday Clock now rests at 3 minutes to midnight. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has launched a pretty cool little interactive Dashboard that lets you see data that the Bulletin's Science and Security Board considers when making the decision on the Clock's time each year. There are interactive graphs that show global nuclear arsenals, nuclear material security breaches, and how much weapons-grade plutonium and uranium is stored (and where). The climate change section features graphs of global sea level rise over time, Arctic sea ice minimums. atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and differences in global temperature. There's also a section for research on biosecurity and emerging technologies. A fun little interactive feature."
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+ - Don't let fears of a "bad" nuclear deal with Iran kill a good one->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Ariane Tabatabai has been in Lausanne for the Iran Talks and posts a column that wonders what critics of a deal with Iran mean when they talk about the US accepting a "bad" deal: 'They accuse the White House of pursuing a “bad deal,” but have little concrete to say about what they find problematic with the agreement under discussion.' Good overview of what is known so far about the proposed agreement and what it all means."
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+ - Top-secret U.S. replica of Iran nuclear sites key to weapons deal->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Paul Richter at the LA Times has a very cool article describing replicas of Iran's nuclear facilities that the US operates in order to study what Iran's technical capabilities are. 'Using centrifuges acquired when Libya abandoned its nuclear program in 2003, as well as American-built equipment, the government has spent millions of dollars over more than a decade to build replicas of the enrichment facilities that are the pride of Iran's nuclear program.' Fascinating stuff."
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+ - US Asks Vietnam To Stop Russian Bomber Refueling Flights From Cam Ranh Air Base 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Reuters reports that the United States has asked Vietnam to stop letting Russia use its former US base at Cam Ranh Bay to refuel nuclear-capable bombers engaged in shows of strength over the Asia-Pacific region. General Vincent Brooks, commander of the U.S. Army in the Pacific, says the Russian bombers have conducted "provocative" flights, including around the U.S. Pacific Ocean territory of Guam, home to a major American air base. Brooks said the planes that circled Guam were refueled by Russian tankers flying from the strategic bay, which was transformed by the Americans during the Vietnam War into a massive air and naval base. Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed that the airport at Cam Ranh was first used for staging Il-78 tankers for aerial refueling of Tu-95MS bombers in January 2014. Asked about the Russian flights in the region, the State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Washington respected Hanoi's right to enter agreements with other countries but added that "we have urged Vietnamese officials to ensure that Russia is not able to use its access to Cam Ranh Bay to conduct activities that could raise tensions in the region."

Cam Ranh is considered the finest deepwater shelter in Southeast Asia. North Vietnamese forces captured Cam Ranh Bay and all of its remaining facilities in 1975. Vietnam’s dependence on Russia as the main source of military platforms, equipment, and armaments, has now put Hanoi in a difficult spot. Russia has pressed for special access to Cam Ranh Bay ever since it began delivering enhanced Kilo-class submarines to Vietnam. "Hanoi is invariably cautious and risk adverse in its relations with the major powers," says Carl Thayer. "The current issue of Russian tankers staging out of Cam Ranh pits Russia and China on one side and the United States on the other. There is no easy solution for Vietnam.""

+ - Here's what will happen if Putin actually dies Read more: http://tomnichols.net->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Tom Nichols, a Russia expert at the Naval War College, covers the wild rumors about Vladimir Putin's strange disappearance over the last week. A terrific read: 'Is Vladimir Putin dead? Who knows? What’s clear is that something has been going on in Moscow for at least a week, and whatever it is, the Kremlin prefers that it remain a secret. Russian reporters — a vastly more intrepid and courageous group than their colleagues in most countries — have been razzing Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov by alluding to Boris Yeltsin’s famous disappearances, and Peskov, usually an able front man, seems a bit wrong-footed at the moment.'"
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+ - How about some humor to go with your Iran negotiations?-> 1

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "In a worldwide news exclusive, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists can report that Iranian nuclear negotiators have shocked their American counterparts by announcing—after months of haggling over the minutiae of uranium enrichment—a 180-degree change in their negotiating position...'"We have thrown in the towel. All the Americans have to do is follow a treaty they helped write back in the Beatles era. It should be simple."'"
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+ - Limit the total number of nuclear weapons to 50->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Seth Baum has a provocative column in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that calls for limiting the total number of nuclear weapons in the world to 50. Baum points out that the greatest threat from nuclear weapons is nuclear winter, which has the potential to destroy civilization after even a limited nuclear exchange. Baum is looking for a way to give nations "deterrence" without the risk of nuclear winter, and he points to several weapons in development that could provide nuclear winter-free deterrence: 'The ideal weapon would have a suite of attractive properties. It would not pose a significant proliferation risk. It would be affordable, technologically feasible, and politically acceptable. It would not significantly shift geopolitical power or destabilize the international system. And it could be used as a retaliatory second-strike weapon, which is crucial for deterrence.' Baum calls the feasibility of such a weapon 'good news,' but points out that until such a weapon is developed, limiting the very real possibility of nuclear winter should be a priority."
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+ - Clintons' Private Email System Gets A Security "F" Rating

Submitted by Penguinisto
Penguinisto (415985) writes "According to a scan by Qualys, Hillary Clinton's personal e-mail server, which has lately generated more than a little controversy in US political circles, has earned an "F" rating for security from the security vendor. Problems include SSL2 support, a weak signature, and only having support for older TLS protocols, among numerous other problems.

Note that there are allegations that the email server was possibly already hacked in 2013.

(Note: Mrs. Clinton plans on Giving a press conference to the public today on the issue.)"

+ - Engine Running on Frozen Carbon Dioxide May Power Mission to Mars->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Future missions to Mars may well be powered by carbon dioxide fueled engines, thanks to a recent prototype developed by Northumbria and Edinburgh Universities. Exploiting a phenomenon known as the Leidenfrost effect, researchers hope that their engine could be powered by the vast amount of dry-ice deposits found on the red planet, thereby reducing the need to transport fuel on interplanetary missions."
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+ - The Doomsday Clock, Explained->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Over the last 68 years, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has reset the minute hand on the Doomsday Clock 21 times, most recently this year when they moved it from five minutes to midnight to three. Every time it is reset, the Internet is flooded with questions about the internationally recognized symbol. Former executive director Kennette Benedict explains the history of the Clock and how the decision is made about moving the minute hand."
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+ - Cool Interactive Edition of the Nuclear Notebook->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has just launched a very cool interactive graphic to go with their famed Nuclear Notebook, the feature that tracks the world's nuclear arsenals. Now you can see at a glance who has nuclear weapons, when they got them, and how those numbers compare to each other. A short introductory video gives some background on the success of the Notebook, which has been tracking nukes since 1987."
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+ - We stopped at two nuclear bombs. We can stop at two degrees.->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Dawn Stover writes in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that climate change is irreversible but not unstoppable. She describes the changes that are happening already and also those likely to happen, and compares what is coming to the climate of the Pliocene: 'Even if countries reduce emissions enough to keep temperatures from rising much above the internationally agreed-upon “danger” threshold of 2 degrees Celsius (which seems increasingly unlikely), we can still look forward to conditions similar to those of the mid-Pliocene epoch of 3 million years ago. At that time, the continents were in much the same positions that they are today, carbon dioxide levels ranged between 350 and 400 ppm, the global average temperature was 2 to 3 degrees Celsius higher than it is today (but up to 20 degrees higher than today at the northernmost latitudes), the global sea level was about 25 meters higher, and most of today’s North American forests were grasslands and savanna.' Stover agrees with two scientists published in Nature Geoscience that 'Future warming is therefore driven by socio-economic inertia," and points the way toward changing a Pliocene future."
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+ - Will Machine Intelligence Be So Human That It Will Get Religion?-> 1

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Earlier this month Reverend Dr. Christopher J. Benek raised eyebrows on the Internet by stating his belief that Christians should seek to convert Artificial Intelligences to Christianity if and when they become autonomous. Of course that's assuming that robots are born atheists, not to mention that there's still a vast difference between what it means to be autonomous and what it means to be human."
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Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. -- Albert Einstein

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