Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Firing blanks?

Speculation on the suspiciously low-magnitude explosion in North Korea.

North Korea’s provocative weapons test Monday was either an unusually small nuclear bomb, only partially successful, or possibly even a faked test done with conventional explosives, say seismologists studying the latest freely available seismic data from South Korea and China.

Of the three, I'd probably lean more toward the first option. While the other two are entirely possible, I think it best to assume the worst. One of the best deceptions is to make an enemy think you're incompetent. Of course, I may be crediting Kim Jong Il with entirely too much Machiavellian skill on that count. He doesn't actually present himself as that shrewd of an operator --but of course that may be his point (cue dramatic bad-guy music)

One of the reasons I think option one is most likely, is I believe that they probably have a very limited amount of fissile material. They most likely used just enough mass to create the supercritical reaction necessary for an explosion.