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The Military

US Forgets How To Make Trident Missiles 922

Hugh Pickens writes "The US and the UK are trying to refurbish the aging W76 warheads that tip Trident missiles to prolong their life and ensure they are safe and reliable but plans have been put on hold because US scientists have forgotten how to manufacture a mysterious but very hazardous component of the warhead codenamed Fogbank. 'NNSA had lost knowledge of how to manufacture the material because it had kept few records of the process when the material was made in the 1980s, and almost all staff with expertise on production had retired or left the agency,' says the report by a US congressional committee. Fogbank is thought by some weapons experts to be a foam used between the fission and fusion stages of the thermonuclear bomb on the Trident Missile and US officials say that manufacturing Fogbank requires a solvent cleaning agent which is 'extremely flammable' and 'explosive,' and that the process involves dealing with 'toxic materials' hazardous to workers. 'This is like James Bond destroying his instructions as soon as he has read them,' says John Ainslie, the co-ordinator of the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, adding that 'perhaps the plans for making Fogbank were so secret that no copies were kept.' Thomas D'Agostino, administrator or the US National Nuclear Security Administration, told a congressional committee that the administration was spending 'a lot of money' trying to make 'Fogbank' at Y-12, but 'we're not out of the woods yet.'"

Oklahoma, Vatican Take Opposite Tacks On Evolution 1161

nizcolas writes "Notable evolutionary biologist, author, and speaker Richard Dawkins was recently invited to speak on the campus of the University of Oklahoma as part of the school's celebration of Charles Darwin. However, Oklahoma lawmakers are working to silence Dawkins with the passage of House Bill 1015 (RTF), which reads in part: '... the University of Oklahoma ... has invited as a public speaker on campus, Richard Dawkins of Oxford University, whose published opinions, as represented in his 2006 book "The God Delusion," and public statements on the theory of evolution demonstrate an intolerance for cultural diversity and diversity of thinking and are views that are not shared and are not representative of the thinking of a majority of the citizens of Oklahoma ...'" Pending legal action, Dawkins is set to speak tonight at 7 pm. (Luckily, we no longer live in the era of Bertrand Russell's court-ordered dismissal on moral grounds from the College of the City of New York.) And reader thms sends word of the Vatican's Darwin conference (program): "The conference, marking the 150th anniversary of the publication of "The Origin of Species," has been criticized by advocates of Creationism or Intelligent Design for not inviting them. The Muslim creationist Harun Yahya, most famous for his Atlas of Creation, also complained about not being invited."

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