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Date:      Tue, 22 May 2001 03:31:32 -0700
From:      Terry Lambert <>
To:        Ted Mittelstaedt <>
Cc:        Rahul Siddharthan <>, Greg Lehey <>, Don Wilde <>, Anders Nordby <>, freebsd-advocacy@FreeBSD.ORG,
Subject:   Re: [dn-core] Re: Perens' "Free Software Leaders Stand Together"
Message-ID:  <>
References:  <000001c0e177$c3efbbc0$>

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Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:
> Similar issues have happened with, for example, the Physics
> student who several years ago wrote a thesis explaining how
> to make a crude atomic bomb, based completely on unclassified
> materials.  It pissed off the DoA, (who promptly reclassifed
> a few key items) but they couldn't go after him, although if
> anyone had actually tied to _make_ a bomb, then there would
> have been a variety of laws to use to go after them.

I think this is an urban legend.  One of the things we
H.E. physics geeks used to do in college was sit around
the Union building designing really high yield, or really
dirty, or really clean, or really small fission devices,
and then critique each other's designs.

At the time, SDI seemed to be very realizable (an EMP
powered X-ray laser, using a tin wire in a lead rod was
the design of one of the people in the group; needless
to say, it was a one-time-use-only design).  This was
back before the bottom fell out of the weapons design
market, and most of us ended up becoming professional
computer scientists, instead.  I still think SDI could be
made to work...

It hasn't been a design problem for a very long time; it's
a materials availability problem, which is one of the main
reasons nuclear materials are so highly regulated in the
U.S. -- surprising, actually, given the number of fast
breeder reactors in Japan and France.

You might want to read:

	The Curve of Binding Energy
	John A. McPhee
	Noonday Printing
	ISBN: 0374515980

-- Terry

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