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Sunday Comics


Artist: Patrick Chappatte

Artist: Randy Bish


Artist: Rachel Gold


Artist: David Fitzsimmons


Artist: Steve Breen


Artist: Unknown



Another Round of Iran Talks Ends

The deadline for this six-month extension of talks between Iran and the P5+1 (US, Russia, Britain, France, China, and Germany) looms on November 24. Vague optimism is being voiced by the US, but it’s clear that significant differences on a final deal still remain.

I haven’t posted much about the Iran negotiations for a while, because there hasn’t been enough information. Both sides make noises about how the other side needs to get real, but there are not many specifics. The speculations by onlookers settle into the kinds of things I would speculate: differences on enrichment capacity and [...]

Fusion – Vaporware and Otherwise (Maybe)

A couple of new projects in fusion and a reported confirmation of Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat device are in the news.

RT news should always be looked at critically. When you read the story “Russia develops hybrid fusion-fission reactor, offers China role,” about halfway through, you find that in fact no such reactor yet exists.

And building one is “a goal for tomorrow” rather than the distant future, as is the case for a fusion reactor like the famous France-based International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) that Russia collaborates on, Kovalchuk said.

That’s Mikhail Kovalchuk, director of the Kurchatov Institute. [...]

Personal Protective Equipment for Ebola Workers


A health-care worker in Dallas has been diagnosed with Ebola fever after having cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, the man who died there from the disease. It seems likely that this worker failed to deal properly with her personal protective equipment (PPE). It’s easy to do if you’re not accustomed to suiting up. I tweeted some of my thoughts, but they’re probably worth a post.

I’ve suited up for working with plutonium and other hazardous chemicals. There are some general things you learn.

Regard all outer surfaces of your PPE as contaminated. Remove them so [...]

Sunday Comics

Artist: Jack Ohman

Artist: Darrin Bell


Artist: Jack Ohman

Artist: Matt Wuerker

Artist: Cameron Cardow

Artist: John Cole


Artist: Graeme MacKay

James Jesus Angleton And Edward Snowden

In light of the latest Edward Snowden revelations, it’s worth looking back at the CIA career of James Jesus Angleton.

Angleton was a trusted figure in the CIA, the chief of counterintelligence from 1954 to his resignation in 1974. Counterintelligence deals with attempts of other intelligence agencies to mislead or subvert one’s own intelligence agency.

In the early 1960s, a Russian defector, Anatoli Golitsin, claimed that the KGB had infiltrated the CIA. Another defector, Yuri Nosenko, claimed that Golitsin was a KGB plant. A summary of the story can be found here.

One of the prizes of counterintelligence is [...]

The Media and WIPP

I’ve been trying to understand the situation at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico. They had a leak in February 2014 and have found a drum that appears to have heated up and blown its top in somewhat less than an explosion. People have gone into the area where the drum burst and experiments have been done in labs, but there isn’t a full understanding of what happened. The records have been searched, and it appears that there is only one other drum like the one that burst.

That’s what I’ve reconstructed from several sources, along [...]

Exclusive: Reporters, We Know You Have Sources!

I keep wondering why I see headlines like this:

Exclusive: Libya asks chemical weapons watchdog to remove stockpile: sources

We know that reporters have sources. This is not headline news.

If the sources were not anonymous, they would be identified, say, as “The Libyan president asked today…” So the headline is proudly proclaiming another story based on unevaluatable, unknown sources who don’t want to put their names to their claims. Is this, then, a warning that the article is probably not worth reading and I can skip it?

I suspect that the headline writer feels a [...]

Nuclear Disarmament: Ain’t Gonna Happen Soon!

William Broad and David Sanger at the New York Times paint President Obama as a hypocrite or worse in an article about refurbishing nuclear weapons. They present an either/or choice: if the president is in favor of nuclear disarmament, as in his speech in Prague in 2009, then all his actions must move in one direction toward that goal.

Of course, that speech did not simplistically say that that was his only goal in office, and he called out qualifications, some of which are noted in the Broad and Sanger article. Obama talked about national security requirements and [...]

Links – September 21, 2014

A confusing variety of opinions on the Russian far right.

Ukrainian officials have claimed, and Russian officials have denied, that Russia used tactical nuclear weapons on the Lugansk airport. If nuclear weapons were used, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization’s International Monitoring System would pick up both seismic signals and radioisotopes in the air. They’ve said nothing, so the Ukrainian officials are wrong here.

Timothy Garton Ash on what Europe needs to do in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin’s officemate in Dresden tells all!


NewsWorksNJAlan Tu
Nuclear plant in Ocean County, NJ restarted after repairs http://t.co/IPtyY5lEw4 @Exelon @NEI http://t.co/No1LxkiYAr
5 hours ago
MalikSirajAkbarMalik Siraj Akbar
RT @armscontrolnow: Seats still available for our Oct. 20 Annual Meeting & evening reception. http://t.co/iQ3HFxnizB #armscontrol2014 http:…
8 hours ago
armscontrolnowArms Control Assoc
Attending our Oct. 20 annual meeting? What part of the day's agenda are you looking forward to? #armscontrol2014 http://t.co/iQ3HFxnizB
10 hours ago
traymay5Tracy Mason
Hello Atlanta! Looking forward to discussing the global #nuclear mkt @NEI Intl Uranium Fuel seminar w/my colleagues. http://t.co/ozjPaVPZxY
10 hours ago