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Scientific uncertainty. H-bomb test in 1955. "Can we borrow

by Ziks511 / February 6, 2010 2:42 PM PST

your island for a little nuclear test". The test unfortunately turns out to be 4 times the yield calculated. End game, 1.2 mile water filled crater where it should have been less than .4 mile, lots of irradiated natives with nowhere to go back to, and a Japanese trawler covered in fall out. Good scientists who discover that calculations may be misleading, larger sometimes is unexpectedly super-sized, i.e a 4 Megaton device delivers over 15 Megatons of blast.

Scientists do their best and make the best calculations possible, but it isn't simple math, and the results aren't predictable every time, like when you up-size a nuke.

I am not pointing fingers, but science is as good as it can be without prior testing.


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we cannot accept your stated "facts"
by James Denison / February 6, 2010 7:16 PM PST

without a link to back them up.

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Try this on Wikipedia.
by Ziks511 / February 8, 2010 10:12 AM PST
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The Castle Bravo test
by Ziks511 / February 8, 2010 11:40 AM PST
In reply to: Try this on Wikipedia.

which seems to have been the one that caught people by surprise. I remember the furor over the Japanese trawler crew, and I think it was well covered in Life magazine, again assuming my memory is functioning as it is supposed to.

I miss Life magazine. It was the perfect learning tool for kids and adolescents. It wasn't deep but it was broad. Broad is good too.

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Could you be any more cryptic?
by Bill Osler / February 6, 2010 8:16 PM PST

I'm sure the post was apropos of SOMETHING that's been said here, but it is not at all clear what.

I'm not familiar with that nuclear test, but certainly that sort of scientific blunder does strengthen the case for skepticism of 'accepted science', whether you are talking about economics, climate, biology, medicine or whatever. Accepted scientific 'facts' are not always correct.

Does anybody still believe Piltdown Man is one of the missing links?
(Yeah, I know, Piltdown was a fraud, not an error, but as I understand it the find was 'accepted science' for a while and without Piltdown the Scopes trial might have gone very differently)

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You seek to find motivation in my posts as if they were the
by Ziks511 / February 8, 2010 10:03 AM PST

entrails of a sheep, or the flight of birds. While I enjoy the potential reference to the classical world, to seek a statement of confrontation or reply in this post won't be fruitful. The information came on the television as a little filler, and I happened to be watching. I was interested in it, and posted it for general enjoyment. As to James' post, one could likely find a news story about the contamination of the Japanese fishing boat, and find further info that way, but I certainly didn't make it up, and judging by the films accompanying the narration it wasn't any great secret. It does remind me of the situation at the time of the first nuclear explosion at Alamagordo New Mexico, where one of the scientists thought there was a possibility that the explosion might set the atmosphere of the world on fire (but let's try it anyway!!!??).

"Accepted science" is a popular term, not a scientific one. Effectively, all science is up for grabs all the time, and its acceptance rests on the ability of the "theory" to explain what we see both in the present world, and in the the fossil record, or in the behaviour of atoms in the various accelerators they use for research, or how chemical reactions work.

You're right about Piltdown Man, and thank you for the information regarding its influence on the Scopes trial. I did not know that, but it makes sense that it might have had an impact since it was a heavily publicized "discovery" about 15 years before.

I'll try Googling that nuclear test, and see if I can nail down some references.


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It's a great allegory for today.
by Desperado JC / February 6, 2010 11:00 PM PST

Overinflated claims are being made regarding global warming with many scientists backing them up. Unfortunately, it looks like the "science" is both wrong and deliberately cooked to arrive at a preconceived conclusion. Eventually, the real world intrudes and the scientific projections are seen for what they are. Fiction.

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No way! When the A Bomb was tested
by Angeline Booher / February 7, 2010 12:18 AM PST

..... they actually thought it would be enough for observers to be in a ditch. They were told to "look away" for a bit before watching the mushroom develop.

There were some goats (perhaps some other animals as well) near ground zero, so they must have thought there would be enough left of them to study.

It was new, and they did not know!

Even after Nagasaki and Hiroshima schoolchildren had drills in which they would "duck and cover", as if that would do any good. But that is what was known at the time.

Splitting atoms was in its infancy, and just as the pioneer nuclear physicists entered the unknown armed only with known equations, Though they learned the potential power from the A Bomb, one might say they made "educated guess" what a bigger bomb triggered by an A Bomb would do. They moved all of the people off of the test island, so they did predict there would be a cataclysmic effect.

That is what testing was for. "Simple math" would be impossible to consider.


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Which test...
by J. Vega / February 7, 2010 1:58 AM PST

To which test in 1955 do you refer? If you are talking about a U.S. one, did you mean 1956 at Enewetak and Bikini Atolls?

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(NT) The Soviets tested the H Bomb in '55
by Mike_Hanks / February 7, 2010 2:33 AM PST
In reply to: Which test...
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I think I've got it...
by J. Vega / February 7, 2010 2:47 AM PST

I think I've got it. Operation Castle, "Shrimp" device in 1954. Predicted yield (4-8 Mt). Actual yield 15 Mt. Target site was an artificial island 1 acre in size.
The 4x yield and crater size in the OP don't match, but the words "Japanese trawler covered in fall out" caused me to think that may be it.

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(NT) Sheesh !!!
by Mike_Hanks / February 8, 2010 10:06 AM PST
In reply to: I think I've got it...
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