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   Undertoad  Tuesday Dec 17 04:34 PM

12/17/2002: "Paradise", before and after

Some older news images, but the queue is light these days, just like I am late in posting today.

The above is a before and after of the Paradise Hotel in Kenya, which was the terrorist attack that happened a few weeks ago targeting Israelis outside of Israel. I thought the item was noteable because it shows a larger attack than was conveyed in the news otherwise - at least from my POV.

Part of it was the low death toll - only 17 killed. From the above photo, that's surprisingly low. I wonder if the terrorists goofed by attacking when people would be specifically away from the hotel.

The entire thing was done by one car bomb. Damn, that's how much one car bomb can do?

MaggieL  Tuesday Dec 17 07:17 PM

Re: 12/17/2002: "Paradise", before and after

Originally posted by Undertoad

The entire thing was done by one car bomb. Damn, that's how much one car bomb can do?
You can put a *lot* of explosives in a car.

coliano  Tuesday Dec 17 09:41 PM

"You can put a *lot* of explosives in a car."

Thats certainly correct; and speaking of explosive power/unit of volume, I really fear what may happen if/when these man portable nuclear devices get into the wrong hands. Didn't a few go missing during the breakup of the USSR?

and well, not to downplay the horriffic destruction that is evident in that photo, but we don't know how much of that was the result of the explosion or how much is due to incineration after the fact. I'd bet that these hodgepodge nitrate based 'explosives' they use have a wildly fluctuating rate of oxidation. I wouldn't be surprised if these bombs had a tendency to ignite unevenly and perhaps create localized conflagrations as often as spectacular explosions.

Also, I'd bet that emergency crews including whatever semblace of a fire department they have in Kenya would be reluctant to approach a bombsite for fear of secondary explosions opting instead to let the place burn.

still, terrible.

damn terrorists

Jacque Strapp  Wednesday Dec 18 09:20 AM

It was an SUV, if I remember correctly.

So they would have been able to pack in even more explosives than a normal passenger car.

Yet another reason to despise the SUV...

blowmeetheclown  Wednesday Dec 18 09:56 AM

Re: 12/17/2002: "Paradise", before and after

Originally posted by Undertoad
Some older news images...
Kinda funny - if you say it fast enough, it comes out, "Smolder news images..."
Nice phrasing.

headsplice  Wednesday Dec 18 01:34 PM

Originally posted by coliano
Thats certainly correct; and speaking of explosive power/unit of volume, I really fear what may happen if/when these man portable nuclear devices get into the wrong hands.
Are these actually possible? I had always heard that they would simply weigh too much to be feasible, and that was one of the reasons that they hadn't popped up as a terroristic (whether governmental or otherwise) device in the past.

Just curious.

ToastyKen  Wednesday Dec 18 03:20 PM

I've been under the impression that they exist but that their yields are typically less than Hiroshima, perhaps just a fraction. Still way more destructive than a car bomb, of course.

xoxoxoBruce  Wednesday Dec 18 04:36 PM

With the "suitcase" nukes the radiation is worse than the blast.

arz  Wednesday Dec 18 06:42 PM

Tactical Nukes

Tactical warhead yields are typically in the 10's or 100's of kilotons, not megatons as with strategic weapons.

The warheads on tactical nuclear missiles such as the now-retired US Air Force SRAM-A are surprisingly small. You could put one in a large duffel bag, although you probably couldn't get through airport security with it.

The rest of the system to enter the PAL codes or otherwise control the warhead are not very large and don't require a lot of electricity, either.

wolf  Wednesday Dec 18 07:59 PM

The psychological effect of a even a small nuke adds to the actual damage from the implosion and radiation.

Also, a lot of the weight on a nuke is shielding. If that's removed, it really does fit in a suitcase.

The weight of the hiroshima bomb was approximately 9,000 lbs., most of that casing, "shotgun" assembly, instrumentation and shielding. The weight of the uranium was 200 lbs.

coliano  Wednesday Dec 18 09:47 PM

yes, they do in exist. (suitcase nukes that is)

I saw a documentary recently that said the United States had produced about 200 of them during the cold war. No pictures were shown so I don't know if they're actually in a suitcase like format, but they refer to them as 'man portable' as in one man. It was also mentioned that a number had been produced by the USSR.

We're probably talking a couple of kilotons here. Not especially powerful, but psychologically devastating and you could get them places where conventional weapons cannot reach.

The documentary I got this from is called 'Trinity and Beyond.' I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the subject. It will frighten you though.

They spend a good deal of time discussing the technical aspects of nuclear devices and how they were developed. From the basic plutonium or uranium all the way to tritium/deuterium doping and the really big thermonuclear bombs. Interesting stuff.

wolf  Wednesday Dec 18 10:30 PM


I'll have to keep an eye out for that documentary. I'm surprised I don't already have a copy. The Manhattan Project has been an interest of mine since high school. I've got bucketloads of books and videos on the subject. (Richard Rhode's The Making of the Atomic Bomb is the best of the bunch. I also have Dark Sun (on the hydrogen bomb) but haven't started reading that one yet. I'm working my way through his new book on ths SS right now.)

Bitman  Wednesday Dec 18 11:41 PM

I believe critical mass for plutonium is around 40 Kg. That'll give you the 100 KT boom, but to hit the MT range I think you need a hydogen bomb. But even normal warheads are small enough to toss in a normal SUV and drive around with. I think. Heaven forbid I should do the research.

coliano  Thursday Dec 19 12:24 AM

it's okay, us geeks'll do it for ya.

You're pretty much right on. I just checked, it's about 35kg of plutonium oxide crystals or 13kg of plutonium metal for a sphere size of 18cm and 12cm respectively. I don't know how much HE it takes to get the sphere supercritical, but still thats a pretty small package.

Wolf, I had heard about the movie for some time but couldn't find it anywhere. Now you can order it from Amazon or download it from the net. Narrated by William Shatner. There's another good one called 'Broken Arrows - Nuclear 911' narrated by Leonard Nimoy.

wolf  Thursday Dec 19 12:58 AM

Thanks for the suggestions

Within reach of my computer I have The 3-D Atomic Bomb Movie (including extra pairs of 3-D Glasses for a special fun-filled evening experience), BIOGRAPHY: Robert J. Oppenheimer, and Enola Gay. I also, somewhere in the video cabinet downstairs have a copy of The Atomic Cafe.

(Obsessed? No, not quite. That would be a term reserved for my devotion to Star Trek (original series only), but I will admit to having a Trinity teeshirt and shot glasses commemorating Little Boy and Fat Man)

quzah  Thursday Dec 19 01:21 AM

Well it's been nice knowing all of you. All of you "suspicious persons", aka "persons of interest" will be rounded up now in the name of National Security, and we'll never hear from you again. You know, all that detaining you indefinately without ever charging you that the Military can do.

We'll hear a little blurb on the news on how "and they confiscated XX computers full of suspicious information", and news bites like "they had books on nuclear weapons". Then you'll all be forgotten in a week...

But then again, since I'm "onto" their little scheme, they'll probably round me up too, so hey, maybe we'll see eachother...


wolf  Thursday Dec 19 01:23 AM

It will be just like summer camp, however, without the added attractions of mosquitos, poison ivy, shortsheeting, and putting sleeping people's hands in bowls of warm water.

MaggieL  Thursday Dec 19 10:54 AM

Originally posted by wolf
I also, somewhere in the video cabinet downstairs have a copy of The Atomic Cafe.
Oh, man...haven't seen that in *ages*. No...wait...I'm thinking of <i><a href="">The Atomic Kid</a></i>.

Obsessed? No, not quite.
Then you probably know this link already:

wolf  Thursday Dec 19 12:31 PM

yep ...

Actually thanks for reminding me about that one. It was one of the things i lost in a computer crash a couple months back.

(I have to start remembering to save stuff like that to the palm pilot. )

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