Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Nuclear Firecrackers

Perhaps the most ill-advised idea on the HB.
(+2, -2)
  [vote for,

Very small nuclear bombs, the size of a regular firecracker with the fissionable material the size of grains of rice. "Look everybody, I have a nuclear bomb!" POP!!! "HAHAHAH!".

Any physics guys out there know if this would work? Can you get a chain reaction out of something that small?

doctorremulac3, Jul 19 2020

M-29 Davy Crockett Weapon System https://en.wikipedi...tt_(nuclear_device)
" ... one of the smallest nuclear weapon systems ever built ..." [8th of 7, Jul 19 2020]

Critical size https://en.wikipedi..._mass#Critical_size
[kdf, Jul 19 2020]

Allotropes of plutonium https://en.wikipedi...tropes_of_plutonium
Significant density changes with temperature. [8th of 7, Jul 19 2020]

Nuke Map https://nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/
Blast radius, casualty, fallout estimates [kdf, Jul 20 2020]

Another place to ask questions like these ... https://www.quora.c...scopic-nuclear-bomb
[kdf, Jul 20 2020]

Fallout mini nuke https://fallout.fan...ni_nuke_(Fallout_4)
[bs0u0155, Jul 20 2020]

Bullseye on Washington http://blog.nuclear...on-washington-1953/
Trying to explain reality to politicians [kdf, Jul 24 2020]

Flying nuclear manhole cover https://io9.gizmodo...le-cover-1715340946
[doctorremulac3, Jul 25 2020]

This is the way the world ends. https://msu.edu/~ju...the-hollow-men.html
Not nearly as good as it's cracked up to be IMO [Voice, Jul 25 2020]

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       // Can you get a chain reaction out of something that small? //   


       You can get supercriticality by imploding a small subcritical mass of Pu, but the yield is very poor. Have a look at the Davy Crockett .... <link>. That's about as small as you can go, and very dirty. You wouldn't want to be anywhere near Ground Zero for a long time afterwards without serious protective gear (the risk is airborne nuclides, not radiation).   

       We would suggest this for deletion, but it gives us a chance to enthuse over a favourite little gadget.
8th of 7, Jul 19 2020

       Assuming that this is a bad idea, could you get a pop out of it that was technically a nuclear explosion?   

       Let me re-phrase that. I know they can make suitcase nukes. Could you make a pencil eraser sized nuke?   

       Not "Would it be a good idea?". Could you?
doctorremulac3, Jul 19 2020

       “Pencil eraser sized nuke?”

       Not with any known or even theorized material. A critical mass of Californium-252 would be a sphere 6.9cm in diameter and it would weigh 2.73kg - and you’d still need quite a bit of kit around that to make it pop.   

       That’s the smallest notional volume for any critical mass listed on Wikipedia (linked). Even allowing for unpublished or classified research I doubt you’d get it much smaller. I’ll leave it to the borg (if he feels like it) to expound on imaginaries like red mercury, metastable nuclear isomers, or other ways to induce nuclear explosions.
kdf, Jul 19 2020

       // Really dude, you're obnoxious. // ... but with a working knowledge of physics, which is good.
8th of 7, Jul 19 2020

       //Everybody needs a hobby// Ouch! From the halfbakery to the hobbybakery. My hobby is making detailed models of famous bridges using chewing gum and pringles.
xenzag, Jul 19 2020

       Not an expert by any means, but the smaller you go, the less of a chance an ejected neutron will nail another atom and continue the reaction.   

       This is somewhat, I believe, mitigated by driving pieces of the reactive substance together at high speed, but eventually you'd get to the point where modern explosives can't produce the necessary force.
FlyingToaster, Jul 19 2020

       Sticks and stone, and all that jazz. Got anything original? Oh wait, we already covered that...   

       8th and I are both obnoxious in different ways. But he’s pretty smart and can be genuinely funny, and I can fake charming if I really put my mind to it.
kdf, Jul 19 2020

       //My hobby is making detailed models of famous bridges using chewing gum and pringles.//   

       I don't know, is that allowed? Sounds like you might be having too much fun.   

       FT! THANK YOU for making an interesting comment without being nasty! (Not that you've ever been that.) I did bend the rules by asking a question, but that's one thing that makes this site awesome. We cut each other some slack and are nice to each other.   

       Well, sometimes anyway.
doctorremulac3, Jul 19 2020

       Yeah, weird thing (until you think about it) is the higher the initial temperature the less a chance of a supercritical event.
FlyingToaster, Jul 19 2020

       Does getting the fissile material as far below zero as possible do anything?
doctorremulac3, Jul 19 2020

       Hold on.... if he fakes going away, he'll still be here and you two can keep hosing each other down with mud. Will miniature nuclear weapons be deployed? (or "nuculer weapons" as they are known in the plague colony)
xenzag, Jul 19 2020

       Backs slowly away, behind thick green lead glass shield.
xenzag, Jul 19 2020

       Nah, I’ll still call out good or bad ideas as I see them, yours or anyone else. But good to my word, I’ll stick just to commenting on your ideas‘ intrinsic merits (or lack thereof), without reference to HB guidelines.
kdf, Jul 19 2020

doctorremulac3, Jul 19 2020

       /Does getting the fissile material as far below zero as possible do anything?/   

       You'd get about 5% additional density down at deep cryogenic temps. You could use that as an additional safeguard, i.e. the core would need pre-chilling before the explosive trigger, could save some material.
bs0u0155, Jul 19 2020


       Allotropic forms ... self-heating effects ... differential expansion ... crystal boundaries ... pusher-plate distortion ...   


8th of 7, Jul 19 2020

       Aren't you an allotrope of cat dandruff?
xenzag, Jul 19 2020

       //Does getting the fissile material as far below zero as possible do anything?//   

       Not really a matter of trying to stop the atoms, just packing them closer together.
FlyingToaster, Jul 19 2020

       //assuming this is a bad idea//   

theircompetitor, Jul 19 2020

       What a great idea to try to figure out how to make smaller nuclear weapons in a public forum. What could go wrong?   

       Just because it's not possible [doc3] doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.
tatterdemalion, Jul 19 2020

       // What could go wrong? //   

       Massive destruction and the deaths of millions of people, an environmental catastrophe, famine, war and pestilence and the utter collapse of civilization, plunging your planet into a new Stone Age but with the added factors of radiogenic mutations and a nuclear winter ?
8th of 7, Jul 19 2020

       Nuclear winter sounds depressing. Let's call it nuclear spring. See? Already sounds nicer.
doctorremulac3, Jul 19 2020

       I think this his hysterical and have the perfect use for one. I want to toss one as far as I cab in the direction of the assholes who set off cherry bombs every night, all night for 3 weeks prior to July 4th. This kept me up all night and my cat terrified, Assholes is being kind. Kaboom bastards. Wait till next year. I got something for ya from doc at the bakery. hahahaha
blissmiss, Jul 19 2020

       I hear ya. In the town where I grew up, some friends of ours were living a horror story of that same firecracker terrorism every night leading up to the 4th.   

       Nobody's sleeping the full night because if one wakes you up, you can't get back to sleep due to the "waiting for the other shoe to drop" syndrome. When's the next one going off?   

       Didn't somebody say civilization will end with a whimper and not a bang? I think they got that backwards. The brits gotta be laughing their asses off at this little development. If I ever become emperor (the next step in our political evolution I fear) I'll decree "No massive explosions after 9:00 PM."   

       That'll be my only rule.
doctorremulac3, Jul 20 2020

       “I want to toss one as far as I can ...”   

       How far would that be? Might wanna check blast radius first... Handy nuke map tool linked.
kdf, Jul 20 2020

       //the risk is airborne nuclides, not radiation//   

       Wait a minute: aren't those airborne nuclides risky *precisely because* they're likely to decay, thereby radiating some ionizing radiation? Or do they present some other type of hazard - I dunno, a trip hazard? a project scoping risk?
pertinax, Jul 20 2020

       I'm just a Pu boy, I need no sympathy...
AusCan531, Jul 20 2020

       Scarynukes, scarynukes will you do the flamdango?   

       Could be dropped from scale model aeroplanes manned by genetically engineered tiny humans
pocmloc, Jul 20 2020

       Occurs to me, ideas that don't pass the science test, like eraser sized nuclear bombs dropped from little planes flown by genetically modified humans, might be reprocessed into science fiction stories. Sort of like the unusable scraps from a meat factory being used to make dog food. There can be utility, or at least entertainment value in scientifically shaky what ifs.   

       Would the "Little Nukes" short story be interesting? Dunno, but the premise might be something to start from.   

       Plus, what if somebody considered the idea, looked at the issue and came up with a solution? Not that we need mini nukes, but there's nothing wrong with stepping away from the rule book for a moment. Sometimes that's where new paths forward are imagined.
doctorremulac3, Jul 20 2020

       /Would the "Little Nukes" short story/   

       <Link> you're aware of the Fallout universe Shirley? The interesting part of that alternate timeline is that they press full ahead with technology nuclear/turbine etc. But microelectronics never really make it.
bs0u0155, Jul 20 2020

       // manned by genetically engineered tiny humans   

       I'll get my team on that right away. We've made some advances in reverse lycanthropy.
tatterdemalion, Jul 20 2020

       I think "Lil Bastard" would be a good name for the mini nuke in the link.
doctorremulac3, Jul 20 2020

       //How far would that be? Might wanna check blast radius first... Handy nuke map tool linked. — kdf, Jul 20 2020//   

       Omg, I loved that map. I just spent a few hours playing with it. Definitely have to up my weights and do some more bicep and tricep spot training. Oh yeah.
blissmiss, Jul 20 2020

       There's an idea in there someplace.   

       Hand grenade toy that says "You didn't throw me far enough, you're dead!" or something?
doctorremulac3, Jul 20 2020


       I'd just like to point out this a weapon of mass destruction idea
pocmloc, Jul 20 2020

       Well, technically, nuclear weapons can bring about a KIND of peace no?
doctorremulac3, Jul 20 2020

       “A kind of peace?” Depends how close you are to ground zero.
kdf, Jul 21 2020

       Well, if you’re AT ground zero you’re assured eternal peace. Unless that whole hell thing’s for real. In that case, talk about a bad day.
doctorremulac3, Jul 21 2020

Idea: tiny nukes.
Problem: fissile materials have a minimum critical mass, required to go "boom".
Solution: tiny nukes are delivered individually en masse by tiny delivery system (drones, smart bullets, trained bees, whatever...); then they all clump together at the target, creating critical mass. Boom.
neutrinos_shadow, Jul 21 2020

       if you don’t hold those drones, bullets, bees, whatevers together tight enough for a long enough ... no boom. Not even a pffft.
kdf, Jul 21 2020

       As insufficient critical mass seems to be an issue why not build to current DoD specs and insert a pre-deployable cheery fireworks package? As nukes are so seldom appreciated by the receiving country this package will get their attention, make them look up at the sky, ooing and ahhing in grand appreciation of the wonderful show and all the trouble you went to.   

       Then there's the finale...
whatrock, Jul 21 2020

       Doc, I really knew without checking, but you had to delete the anti-Trump sentence, which had nothing to do with you or me, didn't you? You're still not much of a man, are you?
4and20, Jul 21 2020

       If you want to debate politics, that's fine, but name calling is pretty pointless. Debate is getting into the ring like a man, name calling is throwing a rock and running away.   

       Wanna debate? Let's go. Otherwise I'm not particularly interested in seeing who can fling the most insults. Very boring, makes us both look stupid.
doctorremulac3, Jul 21 2020

       Please don't arm these two, I fear deletion coming. Let it go...opinions, etc. We are not in a war with each other unless we create a war to be in.
blissmiss, Jul 22 2020

       In total agreement.   

       Let's show some real strength and be civil to each other even though we may disagree about this complicated world. Debate and even a bit of head butting is fine, but name calling and vicious, hateful attacks aren't. Like I said before, peace.   

       Now let's get back to posting clever, entertaining even silly ideas. That's what this website is about.
doctorremulac3, Jul 22 2020

       // We are not in a war with each other unless we create a war to be in. //   

       No problem; we can create it for you wholesale. All major credit cards accepted; easy terms for regular customers. Special offer; start two, get third war for free !
8th of 7, Jul 22 2020

       //No problem; we can create it for you wholesale. All major credit cards accepted;//   

       I've just worked out that the Borg are the inevitable endpoint of the military-industrial complex.
bs0u0155, Jul 22 2020

       You just now worked that out? I thought it was implicit from very early in their story arcs.
kdf, Jul 22 2020

       More tea, vicar?
pertinax, Jul 22 2020

       Why did you need to "work it out" ? It's in our Standard Terms & Conditions - it's not even in small print or anything.   

       After all, what could possibly be the alternative ? It's hard to reconcile the reality of an Aggressive, Hegemonizing, Ruthless Cybernetic Swarm with - for example - selling cookies from door to door to raise money for charity, or exhorting the populace to recycle more, reduce their carbon footprint, and avoid products containing microplastics.   

       Nowhere in "You Will Be Assimilated. Resistance Is Futile" does it imply in the slightest way "... if you don't mind, that is ... entirely up to you".
8th of 7, Jul 22 2020

       //the reality of an Aggressive, Hegemonizing, Ruthless Cybernetic Swarm// I thought that was to do with breeding kittens, taking in stray cats and looking after them, and enjoying long bubble-baths whilst browsing the internet for cat pictures to admire.
pocmloc, Jul 22 2020

       That was just a rough layout made by a marketing agency touting for business ... it somehow ended up on the web.   

       They didn't get hired; if you like, we can send you pictures of the crater where their offices used to be.
8th of 7, Jul 22 2020

       <reads anno/>   


       <Nudges [xen]/>   


       The // thick green lead glass shield // is a good idea, but another layer of sandbags stacked around the bunker can't do any harm, can it ? If you hold them, we'll fill and stack them ...   

8th of 7, Jul 22 2020

       I'll put the kettle on.
pertinax, Jul 22 2020

       < squares up sandbags, dons protective gear, checks bourbon cache>   

       <grabs another case>
whatrock, Jul 22 2020

       Naa, I'm done. Show's over.
doctorremulac3, Jul 22 2020

       Oh no. I've come up with another way to use/make tiny nukes...
I'm sure everyone is familiar with the NIF, which creates fusion explosions using lots of lasers and a very small sample of hydrogen. But what if the lasers and the tiny nuke were different locations? Tiny nukes over target (obviously); some lasers on mobile ground- or ship-based platforms, some on aircraft or in LEO (to get the "all around the target" condition). It would require some SERIOUSLY precise aiming, but it might work...
neutrinos_shadow, Jul 22 2020

       That's done in vacuum; atmospheric scattering will diffuse the beams too much at any significant range. Dust, water droplets, pigeons, kittens taped to tall poles and held up so as to intercept high-power laser beams ... <coughing/> ... any number of things can interfere. Even thermal shimmer will be damaging to the focus - vide the effect on terrestrial astronomy in the visible band.   

       It depends on the emission mode, and the divergence angle of the laser, but you're looking at a maximum range in metres, not kilometres. This has been very thoroughly researched, in the process of developing airborne laser weapons.
8th of 7, Jul 22 2020

       You could do it in space. Not sure what the point would be if you can't blow stuff up though.
doctorremulac3, Jul 22 2020

       "Not sure what the point would be if you can't blow stuff up though." — doctorremulac3, Jul 22 2020"

       You're too invested in explosions. Radiation poisoning can be as deadly with much less material. A thimble full of the right kind of dust could kill a city. Though if you suggest this as a half baked idea you'll get me and others pointing out it's not original at all. Heinlein used it as a story idea in 1941, and it might be even older than that.
kdf, Jul 22 2020

       Can't be too invested in explosions.   

       An explosion created us all with the big bang. That's why we all love them so much.   

       Fact: The slang term for sex: "banging" (that leads to the creation of life) is called that in homage to the big bang that led to the creation of ALL life. It's in the bible, look it up.
doctorremulac3, Jul 22 2020

       Emphasis on "might"... er, or "might not".
Pesky atmosphere, spoiling all my fun...
neutrinos_shadow, Jul 22 2020

       Evacuated tubes in the atmosphere
pocmloc, Jul 23 2020

       Just because our current knowledge of space-time rules doesn't make this idea possible now, there aren't possible conditions, out there in the darkness of universal scope, that makes it probable.
wjt, Jul 24 2020

       Blissmiss - for your reading pleasure, I’ve linked a very early ancestor of the nuke map page (Bullseye on Washington). Hope you and others enjoy it, especially the reflective part.
kdf, Jul 24 2020

       I'd be content with the last one, 5mil tons seems about right. Gotta smush all those asshole senators who have their heads up his ass, but that should do it.   

       Just warn me first cause my daughter and grandkiddos live close by the White House.
blissmiss, Jul 24 2020

       Re: Nuke map link.   

       Fun to put this in the center of your city and see if you'd survive the various bombs.   

       Thought I was in good shape up to a W-76 until I realized they center the blast on the name of the city so be sure to put ground zero at city central.   

       Now if you want to get realistic, put ground zero at the nearest strategic target. Military base, satellite control complex that sort of thing.   

       Good luck playing "Would I Evaporate?!".
doctorremulac3, Jul 24 2020

       // Fun to put this in the center of your city and see if you'd survive the various bombs. //   

       I'd definitely survive the Hiroshima bomb if at home, now work is a lot closer, but a 1960's concrete structure that clearly had "bunker" in the design considerations.
bs0u0155, Jul 25 2020

       Tiny pistons with tiny nukes. Really fast cars.
wjt, Jul 25 2020

       That'd be cool.   

       I read someplace that the fastest man made object was a manhole cover turned into a projectile by a nuke. 150,000 mph or something. I did't read any more about this because it sounded implausible. Maybe I'll look it up. Good Saturday morning thing to do. Google "Nuked manhole cover".
doctorremulac3, Jul 25 2020

       Yea, like I figured, urban legend. (link)
doctorremulac3, Jul 25 2020

       Tiny nukes with any atom, fuel forever.
wjt, Jul 25 2020

       //Yea, like I figured, urban legend// The UL bit would be that it got as far as outer space, but the lid did pop off the pipe, and was going fast enough that it only appeared in one frame of the monitoring camera.
FlyingToaster, Jul 25 2020

       Oh yea, it’s actually an interesting story. Not sure why somebody felt the need to embellish it.
doctorremulac3, Jul 25 2020


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