Dr. Strangelove is dead

Edward Teller, 'Father of H-Bomb,' Dies

One of my favorite anecdotes about Teller is how disappointed he was when he realized that there is an upper limit on the yield of a nuke: above a certain megatonnage, and it doesn't produce greater destruction on the ground, because the explosion just punches out of the atmosphere and vents into space.


19 Responses:

  1. internebbish says:

    Yeah, what an opportunistic freakazoid. Helped destory Oppenheimer
    cause he was too pacifist and then there was that whole, "Brilliant Pebbles"
    thing back in the early nineties.

    So who's the nice young facist they're gonna replace him with so we
    can look forward to antother fifty years of thermonuclear fun?

  2. marm0t says:

    There are days when I, too, am disappointed that there is an upper limit to the destruction I can cause.

  3. rockit_grl says:

    he never got over that did he. Poor guy felt like a failure.

    lol I just saw a thing on the news about him.


  4. Ah well, at least we'll always have "Strangelove".

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  5. flipzagging says:

    I read a book on Teller once. What will be left out of the obituaries are how he went around Washington trying to obtain funding for his X-ray laser concept, Excalibur. The idea was to detonate a nuclear weapon aboard a satellite which had rods of special materials to focus some the gamma rays at incoming missiles.

    He was an old man by the 1980s and was a somewhat laughable figure on Capitol Hill, shuffling from office to office pulling a little model of the device in a wagon.

    Also, he was a great advocate of the peacetime use of nuclear weapons -- to create instant maritime harbors.

  6. mcfnord says:

    I was digging on your site and saw you worked on Netscape's Navigator or something like this. Way to go. I played a much smaller role on RealPlayer. Aren't media browsers interesting? Isn't information addictive?

    • jwz says:

      Hey, RealPlayer crashes at startup on my machine, will you fix it?

      • mcfnord says:

        Probably coudn't if I tried.

        I was a bit of a thorn in the RealPlayer team. I know it's not good to be the thorn. But core people (the hotshots who admittedly create pretty clever streaming implementations) would leave code like

        pfoo->moo() ;

        and I'd be trying to work, and their pointer would be null, so I'd write

        #ifdef _DEBUG
        if (pfoo)
        #endif // _DEBUG
        pfoo->moo() ;

        and they'd throw a tantrum cuz i wouldn't file no god damned paperwork.

      • jck says:

        Heh... not sure if you're actually serious, but if you're having this problem, you might try the icky-poo dirt magic of "export LD_ASSUME_KERNEL=2.2.5" before launching Real Player - that fixed it for me, anyway.

      • bwooce says:

        ...made my day.

  7. acpizza says:

    They're making nukes that burrow in to the ground now... "bunker busters".


  8. j0ni says:

    He was apparently a critic of government secrecy. The FAS secrecy newsletter said:

    "Let us pass a law requiring all secret documents to be
    published one year after their issuance," he proposed, to no
    visible effect.

    which is at least succinct.

    So far, what I've read about him reminds me of a friend of mine who works for the British government, and helped bring the THORP reprocessing plant into being in the early 90s - another raging success for the thriving hive of innovation that is BNFL.

    Needless to say this friend has built an impressive career on the back of this and other demonstrations of effectiveness.