Links – December 9, 2016

Donald Trump continues to insist that hacking before the election could not have been by Russia. Germany, with an election in the near future, is seeing a similar pattern of hacking. Republicans in Congress are asking for an investigation. Republicans!

This is a good explanation of what the problem may be with Mike Flynn, Trump’s designated National Security Advisor. But the National Security Advisor is supposed to help in distinguishing bad information from good.

Fact sheet from the State Department: U.S. Nuclear Force Posture and De-Alerting.  From 2015, but some interesting things here.

Trump’s fatalistic attitude toward nuclear war. David Corn has done a good job of assembling Trump statements on nuclear war, but, like so many other things, it’s hard to trust that Trump has anything behind them. There is a theme of fatalism, though.

Some Germans are musing about acquiring nuclear weapons. Not enough to be worried about, and it may be a way of attracting more attention from the United States and clarification of Trump’s statements about NATO.

You can see the structures being built to house Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad. Long read: social and historical context of this Russian enclave on the Baltic.

Russia may not be able to keep up its military spending.

Long read: A Syria policy for Trump’s America. I usually don’t like “the next president should do this” pieces, but this one contains a lot of analysis of the many factors affecting the US role in Syria.

The US is asking the IAEA to monitor its plutonium disposition. The method discussed is the WIPP storage option put forward to substitute for fabrication into mixed-oxide fuel. When I was in the program in the 1990s, we planned for IAEA oversight. The conceptual design for the plant even had a special room that would be given over to the IAEA for inspection, so that they could bring in instrumentation. I don’t know where along the line that dropped out of the plans. Further background here.

Last Friday was the anniversary of the first controlled, man-made fission reaction. Here’s a video of two participants recalling the event.

Original footage of John Glenn’s launch on February 20, 1962.

More material has been declassified on the event detected by a Vela satellite in September 1979. Full material here, a shorter article here. The new material leans toward the conclusion that the event was an Israeli/South African nuclear test. But still much more material to be declassified. Top image is an artist’s conception of a Vela satellite.

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