Nuclear Iran; Don’t Try This at Home

Chaos Manor View Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Larry and I seem to have caught mild colds over the weekend.


Russian Missiles for the Ayatollah

Vladimir Putin blows a raspberry at Obama. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS/ZUMA Wire

April 13, 2015 7:15 p.m. ET


· Vladimir Putin blew a geopolitical raspberry at the Obama Administration on Monday by authorizing the sale of Russia’s S-300 missile system to Iran. The Kremlin is offering the mullahs an air-defense capability so sophisticated that it would render Iran’s nuclear installations far more difficult and costly to attack should Tehran seek to build a bomb.

· Feeling better about that Iranian nuclear deal now?

· The origins of this Russian sideswipe go back to 2007, when Moscow and Tehran signed an $800 million contract for delivery of five S-300 squadrons. But in 2010 then-President Dmitry Medvedev stopped the sale under pressure from the U.S. and Israel. The United Nations Security Council the same year passed an arms-embargo resolution barring the sale of major conventional systems to the Tehran regime.

· That resolution is still in effect, but the Kremlin no longer feels like abiding by it. With the latest negotiating deadline passed and without any nuclear agreement in place, Moscow will dispatch the S-300s “promptly” to the Islamic Republic, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

· So much for the White House hope that the West could cordon off Russia’s aggression against Ukraine while working with Mr. Putin on other matters. Russia and the West could disagree about Crimea and eastern Ukraine, the thinking went, but Washington could still solicit the Kremlin’s cooperation on the Iranian nuclear crisis.

· State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki dismissed news in February that Russia’s state-run weapons conglomerate Rostec had offered Tehran the Antey-2500—an upgraded version of the S-300 system. “It’s just some reports,” she said. White House spokesman Josh Earnest similarly boasted in March of how “international unanimity of opinion has been critical to our ability to apply pressure to Iran.”

· Now Mr. Obama wants to delegate responsibility for enforcing his nuclear deal with Iran to the United Nations, which means that the Russians will have a say—and a veto—there, too. Think of this missile sale as a taste of what’s to come.

This actually changes little: by the time the systems are installed and Iranian SAM operators are trained, the window for an Israeli denuclearization strike will be passed or very nearly so. US countermeasures against the SAM S-300 are presumably operational and effective already. For that matter, IDF has already practiced SAM S-300 engagements unless they have taken leave of their senses, not a strongly probable event.

No US air action against the Iranian nuclear facilities is likely during the current administration – not likely is probably too mild a description – so this probably affects IDF only until after the January, 2017. By then, Iran may have a demonstration weapon and could have an operational weapon within months – depending of course on their definition of operational. A plutonium fission weapon – Little Boy – is easily constructed if you have ten kilos of weapons grade Pu. See the Smyth Report for further details.

One presumes that somewhere in the US establishment there is planning for living with a Nuclear Iran – a far different proposition from a Nuclear North Korea.


Amol Sarva: ‘Neurostimulation is the next mind-expanding idea’

Brent Clark

This article was taken from the December 2013 issue of Wired magazine. Be the first to read Wired’s articles in print before they’re posted online, and get your hands on loads of additional content by subscribing online.

The idea of stimulating brain performance seemed very plausible when I first heard about it, taking my PhD in cognitive science at Stanford. Your brain operates with electricity; why couldn’t electric current or waves boost it a bit? Gentlemen physicists such as Volta and Galvani were fiddling with frogs’ legs and cadavers back around the late 18th century. Another Italian wrote about curing melancholia with electricity in 1804. And today, everyone knows about the power of shock therapy.

But what appeared on my radar in 2003 was different: a headset that sent weak electromagnetic waves into your head. Lawrence Osborne, in The New York Times Magazine, reported that after his brain was electrically stimulated, he suddenly produced some incredible cat drawings. Admittedly, this was no peer-reviewed journal: in fact, no lab had been able to reproduce the findings of the man behind this and similar experiments, a University of Sydney physicist named Allan Snyder.

Last year, my latest startup, Peek, was acquired and I was considering my next move. I started thinking of the most amazing technologies I’d seen. Those cat drawings had stayed in my mind. Why not produce devices to enhance the brain?

I found a key paper: neurophysiologist Michael Nitsche in Göttingen published an actual measurement showing stimulation was affecting neurons. Meanwhile, some hardcore neuroscience companies were working on “pacemakers for the brain” to treat epilepsy or depression, and showing solid trials.

A marginal branch of neuroscience was now producing thousands of papers a year. Nature, the gold-standard journal, began cautiously surveying the research.

Peter Thiel once lamented: “They promised us flying cars and all we got was 140 characters.” This really was flying cars. I decided my next startup was going to make commercial neurostimulation real.

I hooked up with a cyberneticist, Lee Von Kraus, went to Radio Shack, bought a breadboard and a few components, and we built a gadget that sends electromagnetic waves. I put it on my head. And this is when I saw the light. Meaning, I was completely blinded by a blast of current that overwhelmed my optic nerve with stimulation.

Realising I wasn’t blind, I started looking for the boost. Singing songs, drawing dogs, memorising things. Nada. We started tinkering. The gadget was a little bundle of circuitry in a pill bottle, with batteries and electrodes. I tied them to my head with a shoelace. I put it on for 15 minutes, then played the iPhone running game Canabalt. I achieved five high scores in a row. Eureka.

We gathered up a dozen adventurers and put our homemade gadget on them, then ran a battery of standard cognitive psychology tests. They jumped a standard deviation in performance (the difference between a 20-year-old and a 60-year-old). Hard data.

Now things were getting exciting. A dinner-party conversation with an actor, and suddenly I was backstage with our gadget on Broadway. The actor put it on before show-time and delivered what he called the night of his life. A chat with one of the first investors to back our new company, Halo Neuroscience, led to his passion for racing. So we went to the race track, and he and his Porsche club tried our gadget. He set the track record.

It was becoming evident to me that neurostimulation can lift essentially any cognitive function: accelerate learning, enhance creativity, boost memory, juice linguistic fluidity. As a startup, we chose to target a medical condition.

We got off the race track and back into the lab, where we’ve just closed a successful 12-person controlled trial on fixing a particular brain impairment. We’re about to move to a 100-person trial — the largest ever done. In the super-human future, the potential of neurostimulation goes way beyond electro-doping Ferrari drivers: the real hope lies in treating brain damage, possibly from early next year.

Amol Sarva is an entrepreneur and cofounder of Virgin Mobile USA, Peek and Knotable. He blogs at

Don’t try this at home.  But if you do, please let me know what happens and describe the apparatus…


Subject: S-300 (missile) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Obama’s so called agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons program provoked speculation that Israel would be compelled to attack Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. The only question was when. The news that Russia has agreed to resume delivery of S-300 SAMs to Iran answers that question. To have any hope of being successful and not sacrificing it’s air force, Israel will have to attack before the new S-300 missiles become operational.

James Crawford=

That was more or less my conclusion.


Hi Jerry,
Just a minor correction to your 4/14 View: “A plutonium fission weapon – Little Boy – is easily constructed if you have ten kilos of weapons grade Pu.”
“Little Boy” was the name of the uranium gunbarrel design nuke as used on Hiroshima. The plutonium implosion design was called “Fat Man” due to the girth of the shaped high explosive charges surrounding the hollow plutonium core.
Regards, Peter

A “Fat Man” bomb was dropped over Nagasaki, Japan, on Aug. 9, 1945, near the end of World War II. Released by the B-29 Bockscar, the 10,000-pound weapon was detonated at an altitude of approximately 1,800 feet over the city. The bomb had an explosive force (yield) of about 20,000 tons of TNT, about the same as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Because of Nagasaki’s hilly terrain, however, the damage was somewhat less extensive than of the relatively flat Hiroshima.
“Fat Man” was an implosion-type weapon using plutonium. A subcritical sphere of plutonium was placed in the center of a hollow sphere of high explosive (HE). Numerous detonators located on the surface of the HE were fired simultaneously to produce a powerful inward pressure on the capsule, squeezing it and increasing its density. This resulted in a supercritical condition and a nuclear explosion.

I certainly mixed them up, and to make it worse, I know better; no one doubted that the Uranium bomb would work, but there was considerable concern about the Pu weapon. 




Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.




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