Fail-deadly, largest explosions, Soviets on the moon, and a roundhouse kick to the face

Sorry for the delay, folks. I know that my total of zero followers were riveted by my lack of posting over the MLK holiday. Today, we discuss Chuck Norris, secret Soviet moonshots, non-nuclear explosions, and the concept of fail-deadly.

Most people know what a fail-safe is: a feature built into a system that is designed to activate in the event of a failure, and will perform some action to ensure the safety of people and the system, usually by shutting it down. An example is a trigger safety on a Glock pistol: if the safety isn't depressed by a finger on the trigger, the firearm won't discharge. The opposite of that would be a fail-deadly, which is a control that will activate in the event of a failure and try to kill something. This is usually used in the context of nuclear deterrence, wherein an activated fail-deadly assumes a first strike has occurred and that retaliation is necessary. For example, a ballistic missile submarine may be ordered to fire a massive retaliation strike if it has not been contacted by a higher command at specified intervals, under the assumption that a nuclear strike has occurred and prevent command from sending that contact message. Another example is from the TV show Burn Notice, where a character has insurance against murder and kidnapping in the form of a blackmail document that will be leaked in the event the character does not notify an accomplice at a certain time. It can also be associated with a dead man's switch.

Everyone likes explosions. The exception is anyone hurt by them, which is what makes nukes more scary than cool for the vast majority of sane people. Unfortunately, it appears that most of the list of the largest artificial non-nuclear explosions do involve injuries and fatalities, though some of the largest examples were military tests rather than disasters. For example, the second largest detonation was Minor Scale, a simulation of a nuclear blast in Nevada in 1985, yielded 4.2 kilotons of TNT equivalent, or about 17 terajoules, with 4,800 tons of ANFO. The launchpad explosion of a Soviet N1 rocket in 1969 was probably the largest, yielding about 7 kilotons (29 terajoules) when a stall detonated 2,600 tons of a kerosene-based fuel.
The Minor Scale fireball; the aircraft in the foreground is about 63 ft long.

Speaking of the N1, the Soviet lunar landing program was the competition to the American Apollo program. In fact, the moon program was supposed to be a mere stepping stone to the TMK program, which envisioned manned flights to Mars by 1971 and Venus after that, each lasting about three years for the round trip. The Zond program used a Soyuz 7K-L1 craft, and was designed as a circumlunar craft, with manned missions cancelled after Apollo 8 (luckily enough, because each of the unmanned Zond missions proved to be dangerous, if not fatal, to any potential crew). The actual lander was the LK Lander, which would have been coupled to a Soyuz 7K-L3 "LOK" mother ship, much like the Apollo Lular Module mated with the Command and Service Modules. However, with the failure of the N1 rocket and the landings during Apollo 11, the Soviets abandoned the project and shifted to other areas, like orbital space stations.

The LK and LM (left), with the CSM above the LOK (right)

If you've never heard of Chuck Norris facts before, stop reading this and go find some! They all revolve around the theme that Chuck Norris is the most awesome, bad ass, virile, manly, and powerful entity on the planet (and occasionally beyond), emphasizing his beard, roundhouse kicks to the face, and Walker, Texas Ranger. Some of my favorites:
  • Chuck Norris can divide by zero.
  • Handicapped spaces are not for handicapped people to park in; they are warnings of what will happen to you if you park in Chuck Norris's parking spot.
  • Chuck Norris's tears can cure cancer; too bad he has never cried.
  • There is no chin under Chuck Norris's beard, only another fist.
  • If Chuck Norris is late, time better slow the fuck down.
  • After Chuck Norris visited the Virgin Islands, they were renamed to "the Islands".
  • Chuck Norris puts the laughter in "manslaughter".
  • Chuck Norris doesn't read books, he merely stares them down until they give him the information he wants.
  • If you can see Chuck Norris, he can see you. If you cannot see Chuck Norris, you are moments away from death by a roundhouse kick to the face.
Here's hoping you never find yourself in danger of a roundhouse kick to the face. Happy reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment