August 26, 2019

Did Trump say he wants to nuke — literally nuke — hurricanes?


ADDED: I am reminded of this passage from "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid," Bill Bryson's memoir of growing up in the 1950s:
Edward Teller, the semi-crazed Hungarian-born physicist who was one of the presiding geniuses behind the development of the H-bomb... and his acolytes at the Atomic Energy Commission envisioned using H-bombs to enable massive civil engineering projects on a scale never before conceived—to create huge open-pit mines where mountains had once stood, to alter the courses of rivers in our favor (ensuring that the Danube, for instance, served only capitalist countries), to blow away irksome impediments to commerce and shipping like the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.... They even suggested that nuclear devices could be used to alter the Earth’s weather by adjusting the amount of dust in the atmosphere, forever banishing winters from the northern United States and sending them permanently to the Soviet Union instead.... In short, the creators of the hydrogen bomb wished to wrap the world in unpredictable levels of radiation, obliterate whole ecosystems, despoil the face of the planet, and provoke and antagonize our enemies at every opportunity—and these were their peacetime dreams.
AND: Is that an accurate account of Edward Teller? From his Wikipedia page, under the heading "Operation Plowshare and Project Chariot":
One of the Chariot schemes involved chaining five thermonuclear devices to create the artificial harbor. Teller was one of the strongest and best-known advocates for investigating non-military uses of nuclear explosives, which the United States explored under Operation Plowshare. One of the most controversial projects he proposed was a plan to use a multi-megaton hydrogen bomb to dig a deep-water harbor more than a mile long and half a mile wide to use for shipment of resources from coal and oil fields through Point Hope, Alaska. The Atomic Energy Commission accepted Teller's proposal in 1958 and it was designated Project Chariot. While the AEC was scouting out the Alaskan site, and having withdrawn the land from the public domain, Teller publicly advocated the economic benefits of the plan, but was unable to convince local government leaders that the plan was financially viable.

Other scientists criticized the project as being potentially unsafe for the local wildlife and the Inupiat people living near the designated area, who were not officially told of the plan until March 1960. Additionally, it turned out that the harbor would be ice-bound for nine months out of the year. In the end, due to the financial infeasibility of the project and the concerns over radiation-related health issues, the project was abandoned in 1962.

A related experiment which also had Teller's endorsement was a plan to extract oil from the tar sands in northern Alberta with nuclear explosions, titled Project Oilsands. The plan actually received the endorsement of the Alberta government, but was rejected by the Government of Canada under Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, who was opposed to having any nuclear weapons in Canada. After Diefenbaker was out of office, Canada went on to have nuclear weapons, from a US nuclear sharing agreement, from 1963 to 1984.
More on Operation Plowshare here. Excerpt:
Proposed uses for nuclear explosives under Project Plowshare included widening the Panama Canal, constructing a new sea-level waterway through Nicaragua nicknamed the Pan-Atomic Canal, cutting paths through mountainous areas for highways, and connecting inland river systems. Other proposals involved blasting underground caverns for water, natural gas, and petroleum storage. Serious consideration was also given to using these explosives for various mining operations. One proposal suggested using nuclear blasts to connect underground aquifers in Arizona. Another plan involved surface blasting on the western slope of California's Sacramento Valley for a water transport project....
More on Project Chariot here. Excerpt:
Project Chariot was a 1958 US Atomic Energy Commission proposal to construct an artificial harbor at Cape Thompson on the North Slope of the U.S. state of Alaska by burying and detonating a string of nuclear devices....

Alaskan political leaders, newspaper editors, the state university's president, even church groups all rallied in support of the massive detonation. Congress had passed the Alaskan Statehood Act just a few weeks before. An editorial in July 24, 1960 Fairbanks News-Miner said, "We think the holding of a huge nuclear blast in Alaska would be a fitting overture to the new era which is opening for our state."

91 comments:

Roost on the Moon said...

Trump’s tweet about the nuking hurricane story ends a difficult period for Trumpists, who were unsure whether to call the story fake news or insist that nuking hurricanes is brilliant.

-Adam Serwer

readering said...

He has a poor track record. Stories seem well-sourced and credible. Why can't he just ignore stuff like this?

tim maguire said...

The media has a pretty solid track record of portraying Trump’s words in the worst possible light, even passing off paraphrases as quotes if needed to achieve the proper tone.

pacwest said...

Nuke the bastards.

Drago said...

readering: "He has a poor track record."

LOL

Yeah, a lefty wrote that. Just now. Without irony.

mccullough said...

I think it was Crossfire Hurricane that he nuked. Comey, McCabe, Strzok, Page, and Baker.

Drago said...

readering: "Why can't he just ignore stuff like this?"

Why cant Team Hoax Dossier/Collusion/Gang Rape Accusations/White Supremacy/InfiniteGenders just stop lying?

readering said...

Automatic reflex.

chickelit said...

Who are you gonna believe — President Trump or Chuck?

Drago said...

readering: "Automatic reflex."

Like Stalin invading Poland from the East.....

Jim at said...

Axios?

Yeah. OK.

Whatever.

Drago said...

Did any of the lefties ever apologize for advancing the Trump is Putin's stooge lies?

Drago said...

Axios was a huge purveyor of the collusion hoax as well as the dossier lies.

readering said...

He acted like one this weekend

Drago said...

I guess that's why readering finds Axios so "credible"...

Darkisland said...

Sitting here in Puerto Rico watching the track of Dorian. Fingers crossed it passes south and/or doesn't become a hurricane.

Been through 5 major hurricanes in the past 48 years, most tracking right over my house. If nukes will stop them, I'm all for it!!! Just do it while they are way out over the Atlantic.

The PDJT seems like fake news. OTOH, he does seem like the kind of person who wants to know what all options, good and bad, are. So I think it is possible that he may have said in some meeting sometime "I remember reading that back in the LBJ/JFK days there was a proposal to stop hurricanes with nuclear explosions. Is that something that someone should be looking into?"

Sounds pretty reasonable to me for him to ask the question.

Now that I hear the idea, I wonder how terrible it would really be. We, the Russians and others used to set off enormous quantities of nukes in the atmosphere in the 50s and 60s. How much harm did they do?

Setting off a single nuke, designed to minimize radioactivity, in the middle of the Atlantic doesn't sound all that horrible. Assuming that doing so would actually stop a hurricane.

And if a massive explosion would snuff out a hurricane (If, If, If) might there be a non-nuclear alternative? Perhaps an array of massive air fuel bombs?

I do not like hurricanes. I've gotten accustomed to them but I have never grown to like them. If there is some way to stop them, I'd like the govt looking into it.

John Henry

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

To the Tangerine Tornado:
You are like a hurricane-- there's calm in your eye. And I'm gettin' blown away To somewhere safer where the feeling stays.

The Godfather said...

I used to live in south Florida when there were a lot of hurricanes. When a hurricane strike was predicted, you put the shutters on the windows and doors, filled the bathtub(s) with water, bought food and drink that could last a week or two without refrigeration -- but you didn't have to buy iodine tablets against radiation sickness.

If Trump didn't make this suggestion, I'd like to know who did. He or she should at least be shamed -- AT LEAST.

Drago said...

readering: "He acted like one this weekend"

LOL

So much stupidity coming off a week where Trump is again criticizing Germany for becoming Putin's energy vassal state as well as yanking the US out of the BS intermediate missile treaty farce that Putin was violating left and right and then Trump directs the Pentagon to go full speed ahead on missile development that will bury the russians.

readering knows absolutely nothing about any of that.

Which is par for the course for our resident history dullard.

narciso said...

a hurricane is just so massive, even a 50 megaton bomb, wouldn't do much, plus there is the fallout question,

Darkisland said...

Speaking of nukes, just watched a bio of my former boss, Admiral Rickover on Amazon Prime last night. Titled "Rickover: Father of Nuclear Power" or some such.

Helluva guy. Interesting character.

If you do watch it, bear in mind that in the dispute with General Dynamics he was right. They ripped off the taxpayer for half a billion dollars. Veliotis had to flee the country to avoid prison.

But Rickover got fired for complaining about it.

He was my boss in the sense that I was in the Navy's nuclear power program and he was on the top of the chain of command. Never met him but heard about him most every day while in the program. We did not do things the Navy way, unless they coincided with the Rickover way.

John Henry

Drago said...

Meanwhile, Trump continues to put the screws to Russia's little pal Iran!

If Trump acted any more as Putin's stooge Putin would be overthrown and tossed in an ice flow!!

So much for readerings "astute" and "on point" strategic and tactical geo-political "analysis"......

Ken B said...

Named source and date or bullshit.

Darkisland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
readering said...

I have my own Ignatz Mouse.

Ken B said...

There are two fake stories at once. The truth is he suggested nuking Greenland.

Darkisland said...

It is not a new idea. Here's an article from 2012

https://www.livescience.com/24383-can-you-stop-a-hurricane-by-nuking-it.html

Here's another from 2016 about Jack reed who proposed the idea in 1956

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/the-man-who-wanted-use-nuclear-weapons-stop-hurricane-17988

John Henry

traditionalguy said...

Trumpicane Warning. Miami must be saved. And the show goes on.

Drago said...

The lefties, like readering, are generating as many hoax lie tales as they are hoax white supremacy lies which surprises no one as those 2 items represent the entirety of the dem/left/LLR-left 2020 election strategy.

rhhardin said...

It's an entertainment choice, not lying. Half the population wants to live in an entertaining world.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

do we bring up HAARP for S's n G's? Or too early?

n.n said...

Perhaps not a nuclear bomb, but several well positioned MOABs before a hurricane becomes viable and a forward-looking burden.

tim maguire said...

John Henry said:...I think it is possible that he may have said in some meeting sometime "I remember reading that back in the LBJ/JFK days there was a proposal to stop hurricanes with nuclear explosions. Is that something that someone should be looking into?"

That was my first thought when I heard the story. The government has plans for everything. Somewhere in the Pentagon are plans for invading Canada. That doesn’t mean we ever considered it. If there are hurricanes and atom bombs in the world, somebody in government has looked in to putting the two together. There’s nothing odd or sinister about Trump musing about it.

Jason said...

Reminds me of Gorilla TV.

Ralph L said...

I've seen several headlines misinterpreting what that Congresscritter said about half of us having ancestors who were the product of rape. You have to think it's deliberate to make him look outrageous and stupid to headline skimmers, but several did quote what he actually said--eventually.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

If Trump didn't make this suggestion, I'd like to know who did.

Eisenhower.

steve uhr said...

A great site for tracking hurricanes this season is tropicaltidbits.com.

As for using nukes, hard to believe the media has the imagination to come up with that. Looks like trump thinking outside the box. Nothing wrong with that.

Ralph L said...

I worked for some nuclear weapons effects modelers in the mid 80's. If it explodes high enough above ground or sea, the radioactive fallout is minimal, and the hurricane would spread it over a wide area. We also once had tactical nukes which were much less powerful.

BTW, if the Soviets launch a nuclear attack, head for northern Maine the day before.

Mark said...

If it is such a dumb-shit idea, why have scientists already considered the question to determine if it would work or not?

Yancey Ward said...

I remember the comment where readering claimed she had never once in her life told a lie to anyone.

rcocean said...

MSM has been lying and misrepresenting what Trump said for 4 years now. If it doesn't have his EXACT and FULL words in CONTEXT - its a lie. Its a lie. Its a lie.

Only gullible fools believe the MSM, let alone some Left-wing site like Axios.

rcocean said...

I sincerely doubt that Teller said what Bryson said he did. Teller - if you remember - was a left-wing boogie man because he was an Anti-communist and attacked "the Great Man" Robert Oppenheimer and correctly stated his opposition to the H-bomb was politically inspired.

readering said...

I remember the comment when I said I was not a she.

Chuck said...

I'm surprised that Trump chose the "I never said it" lie, instead of the "the government has long explored options for bombing hurricanes" foolishness.

Judging by the Trumpist Althouse comments pages, I thought the latter notion was going over pretty well in TrumpWorld.

But more particularly, the Axios story seems well-sourced. Althouse didn't post a link to the actual Axios story. I don't understand why she didn't. Anyway, I'll do it. Here:

https://www.axios.com/trump-nuclear-bombs-hurricanes-97231f38-2394-4120-a3fa-8c9cf0e3f51c.html

Looks like they had at least three sources. At least one of whom had access to an NSC memo memorializing Trump talking about bombing hurricanes in a briefing and another who was a witness to a briefing where Trump said it.

Most convincingly to me, the Trump White House did not deny it earlier when given the opportunity. From the Axios story that I am linking you to:

White House response: A senior administration official said, "We don't comment on private discussions that the president may or may not have had with his national security team."
•A different senior administration official, who has been briefed on the president's hurricane bombing suggestion, defended Trump's idea and said it was no cause for alarm. "His goal — to keep a catastrophic hurricane from hitting the mainland — is not bad," the official said. "His objective is not bad."
•"What people near the president do is they say 'I love a president who asks questions like that, who’s willing to ask tough questions.' ... It takes strong people to respond to him in the right way when stuff like this comes up. For me, alarm bells weren't going off when I heard about it, but I did think somebody is going to use this to feed into 'the president is crazy' narrative."
•Trump called this story "ridiculous" in a Monday tweet from the G7 summit. He added, "I never said this. Just more FAKE NEWS!"


That last bullet point in the updated article was the new news that Trump denied ever saying it, suggesting it or asking about it.

I also see this from an earlier comment:
"...So I think it is possible that he may have said in some meeting sometime "I remember reading that back in the LBJ/JFK days there was a proposal to stop hurricanes with nuclear explosions. Is that something that someone should be looking into?"


Yup. That is possible. And if it were true, the way to handle it would be to have Trump say exactly that, in a detailed, cogent way in front of a highly competent, non-loyalist reporter, with as many independent, non-Trumpist witnesses as can be found. But that won't happen. Probably because the denial Tweet is probably a lie.

Yancey Ward said...

Prove it, readering.

readering said...

Good grief.

Drago said...

Obama gave us a "dream-perfect economy" "republican" Chuck: "Probably because the denial Tweet is probably a lie."

LOL

That's 2 "probably's" short of a fact!!

Suck it up buttercup. Your boy Biden is going down faster than a cheap LLR whore at a Democrat billionaires soiree!!

Yancey Ward said...

My statements are well sourced, readering.

readering said...

Am I allowed to hope Drago is right about a prediction when I don't understand what the hell his analogy is all about?

Drago said...

Yancey Ward: "My statements are well sourced, readering."

Thats because you have actual sources, unlike leftists readering and Obama Super Fanboy LLR Chuck.

Michael K said...

Another Chuck tantrum. Book is calling.

Drago said...

readering: "Am I allowed to hope Drago is right about a prediction when I don't understand what the hell his analogy is all about?"

Something tells me you've spent a lifetime embracing things you had no clue about.

Why should this be any different?

readering said...

Drago, Yancey Ward was making a joke.

Drago said...

Still waiting on LLR Chuck to provide the evidence for his hilariously over the top obama-worshipping claim that the "magnificent" obama delivered a "dream-perfect economy"!!

I guess we are also still waiting on proof of sasquatch and the Loch Ness Monster as well...

Drago said...

readering: "Drago, Yancey Ward was making a joke."

I wasn't.

readering said...

OMG you're Yancey Ward?

Chuck said...

Drago, I think that the best thing for you to do is to drive this page into a ditch by ranting about me personally, including my comment from another day and another page, on the economy that Trump inherited.

I like it, because it will almost certainly anger Althouse. But it's entirely up to you.



Drago said...

Obama's dream-perfect economy Chuck: "I like it, because it will almost certainly anger Althouse. But it's entirely up to you."

I wonder if she will be so upset with me that she will ask me to leave....

...any thoughts on how I might handle such an outcome?

LOLOLOLOL

As with Chuck's previous racist statements (something he shares with Joe Walsh), Chuck is backpedaling so fast on his prior nights drunk-posting he's likely to hurt himself!

narciso said...

Just more game of telephone, based on half remembered details of operation plowshares

phantommut said...

If nothing else I'd like to see the idea modeled. What would the projected costs of nuking a hurricane be against the cost of letting a Cat 5 hurricane roar up the Hudson river? Could a nuke take it down to Cat 2? (I'm not saying it's a good idea, I'm saying it's an idea that is actually interesting.)

gilbar said...

well,
CHUCK said it was TRUE; and CHUCK Never lies; except for Every Word he writes, including And and The

Fen said...

Chuck: I like it, because it will almost certainly anger Althouse.

I remember now, you said you are only here "to drive a wedge between Althouse and her commenters"

How is that going for ya?

Drago said...

Obama's dream-perfect economy Chuck also said he was only here to smear and lie about Trump to drive a wedge between Trump and his voters.

With an explicitly and proudly shouted agenda like that I think we can all safely assume Chuck would never misrepresent anything Trump ever said or did or intends.....

rhhardin said...

Jean Shepherd noticed the effect in the 60s. The women on the bus talking about Liz Taylor's divorce, as if it were their real lives.

Same with fake Trump stories.

Chuck said...

”Try to keep on topic and avoid personal back-and-forth with other commenters.”

LOL. Um, okay.

Fen said...

A NOAA spokesman said -

Ah, the people who massaged climate temp data are going to speak with authority on a related climate matter?

Zero credibility.

The wolf could really be coming this time, and no one will believe you aren't lying again.

Hope you are happy.


NASA: "We have 10 years to safe the planet before AX-1132 hits us!"

Uh huh. Riiiight.

narciso said...

The nsc memo, seems dodgy wouldnt it be defense department (in a different era it might have beem aec)

Fen said...

Althouse: Try to keep on topic and avoid personal back-and-forth with other commenters.

Chuck: LOL. Um, okay.

ALthouse: And Chuck, I have told you on multiple occasions that you are not welcome here. Please leave.

Chuck: ..... Um, no.

(funny how you only quote Althouse to use her)

bagoh20 said...

Lefties will believe absolutley anything negative you say about Trump, and I mean anything..

readering said...

Please say something negative about Trump so I can test your theory.

Drago said...

When obama fanboy Chuck knows he has been exposed as the hack he is he invariably skeedaddles as fast as his little feet can carry him to Althouses skirt.

Very unseemly and about as unmanly an act as one will find online.

Drago said...

readering: "Please say something negative about Trump so I can test your theory."

We already have a million data points. One more is unnecessary.

Bob said...

From an opinion piece in the Baltimore Sun, April 8, 2013:

"Now, the United States has an opportunity, even an obligation, to mobilize its resources and knowhow to achieve a more practical, and pressing, end. Increasingly under siege by destructive and deadly weather events — wrought, many scientists believe, by man-made climate change — we need to make a national commitment to weather research, including the fields of geo-engineering, weather modification and storm mitigation."

Nothing new about this idea. The piece mentions John von Neumann, the mathematician who, among other things, was a key figure in the development of the digital computer. von Neumann in the 1950's was convinced computers could improve weather prediction and eventually weather control.

JFK certainly anticipated weather modification.

Nothing about nukes here, but, personally, I think any such effort just screams of "unintended consequences" up one wall and down the other.

William said...

The historical record shows that FDR and LBJ said a lot of foolish shit in non-public settings. The historical record also shows that none of this foolish shit was ever leaked to the press.....I have no doubt that Trump is capable of making fatuous remarks and that the press takes delight in printing them. This doesn't prove that Trump is exceptionally stupid, but it does show that the press is exceptionally biased against him. It's a bank shot, but all this bad press does more to subvert the media than it does Trump. He's the original Covington kid.

Fen said...

. This doesn't prove that Trump is exceptionally stupid,

I think John Henry ended this silly thread when he said:

I think it is possible that he may have said in some meeting sometime "I remember reading that back in the LBJ/JFK days there was a proposal to stop hurricanes with nuclear explosions. Is that something that someone should be looking into?"

Everything else is just propaganda from the same crowd that "forgot" to report Climate Change Girl is adding 9 air flights to her carbon footprint as she makes her Righteous Cruise to the latest Climate Scam Conference.

chuck said...

Is good joke, no? I doubt Trump ever said such a thing seriously if he said it at all. Keep in mind that the world is full of humorless scolds, most of them Democrats. And I include Democrat humorists in that category.

RK said...

I don't believe Edward Teller advocated any of those things. I have that Bryson book on my Kindle (unfinished). I think I'll delete it. Don't need any more bullshit.

The Godfather said...

"Somewhere in the Pentagon are plans for invading Canada. That doesn’t mean we ever considered it."

Actually we did it in the War of 1812. It did not go well.

narciso said...

Thats when we horribly outmatched, there was an invasion strategy posited around 1940.

narciso said...

Well heres one scenatio:
https://io9.gizmodo.com/that-time-we-nearly-nuked-canada-with-their-permission-1493710630

Lewis Wetzel said...

Teller never dreamed that he could so alter the earth that sexual identity could be a choice. That a person born a man could become a woman, just by saying so. Modern liberals did that.
Nature does what it tells you to do. It is the domain of discrete problems. Why do some people believe that we do not have the wisdom to alter the course of rivers, but we have the wisdom to alter the definition of "gender."

brylun said...

Chuck appears again, and takes the focus to himself. Ban Chuck!

stlcdr said...

Maybe it’s a good talking point about how humans can not significantly change our climate. For those who actually do science, yeah, it’s a stupid idea, but I get the feeling (sic) that the leftists are treating this as another Trumpism, without even understanding why.

stlcdr said...

But, I’ll also add, the Trump comment was - because that’s how things go - from a bigger discussion. How many meetings have a lot of people attended? Just out-take a few of the comments from those meetings with no context and you’d wonder why any of those people were hired in the first place.

MikeR said...

"In short, the creators of the hydrogen bomb wished to wrap the world in unpredictable levels of radiation, obliterate whole ecosystems, despoil the face of the planet" Stupid. Those are the author's view of the consequences. He may have been right, in retrospect, but you can't say that a person wants something because you think that will happen. Did Teller think those were the consequences, or did he imagine that these could be done safely?

bbkingfish said...

Once again, Trump is willfully misunderstood by the left. He just asked if it would be possible to nuke Herman Cain, not hurricanes.

PM said...

President Trump was elected for two reasons:
1. Fix the Supreme Court
2. Nuke hurricanes
Let him do his job for God sakes.

Sam L. said...

I read "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid" yearrrrrs ago. Thought Bryson was too much into himself.

Sammy Finkelman said...

I don't think this idea goes back to the days of Peoject Ploeshare. I think someone else proposed it decades later, although now it has bene around awhile and gets so much attention that the federal government has apage debunking it.

It makes no sense, not only because of the radioactivity, and not only because there's no reason to suppose a nuclear bomb would break up a hurricane, but because nobody knows where a hurricane is going in the first place!

So supposing you could divert a hurricane, you wouldn't know if you were preventing it from hitting a populated area or causing it to go there.

How to get rid of hurricanes was explained in the book Superfreakonomics, pages 158 to 163.

Bilwick said...

Is that an accurate comment on Edmund Teller? I don't know; but if Bryson is a "liberal" (in the current bastardized sense of the term), I'd be inclined to doubt it. Those people just can't let up on disinformation.

Bilwick said...

By the way, I read "the Thunderbolt Kid" and loved it.