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Author Topic: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)  (Read 6848 times)

vrgrrl

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State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« on: April 28, 2014, 09:20:29 AM »
This is a pretty crazy look at how out of date our nuclear silos are here in the US. It was a story on 60 Minutes last night. 8' floppies? From the 1960s!?!

http://gizmodo.com/inside-the-us-nuclear-silos-where-floppy-disk-are-still-1568609439

feu8ttnuqjunwtrdje3s.png

wraith808

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Re: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2014, 10:42:57 AM »
They're supposed to do one thing, and do it well.  If something is using time-tested tech to manage weapons that could end the world a few times over, I don't call that out of date- I call it reliable. ;)

Quote from the comments that states it better:

Quote
Not quite as terrifying, but the Shuttle and the Hubble telescope use 486 computers in them. And the reason for is simple...if it isn't broke, then fixing it just adds risk of introducing new bugs or new vulnerabilities for not a whole lot of new capability. Maybe you get a cost reduction, but those kind of programs aren't run to minimize costs, they are run to minimize risk.

Now, those are extreme cases, but in general the defense industry prefers to design with older, proven technologies for new designs. They can't get 5 years into a 20 year program and discover that the state-of-the-art processor they are using has a caching issue or a bus deadlocking bug in it.

So you start with a brand new missile silo or airplane and it already has 10 year old electronics in it. Fast forward 20 years and it looks totally ludicrous.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2014, 11:35:31 AM by wraith808 »

MilesAhead

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Re: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2014, 11:16:53 AM »
I wonder.  Do they still make 8" floppies under contract?

I guess it does make it harder for somebody to put a virus on a USB stick and contaminate the computers.  No USB ports!!  :)

Ah the good old nuclear silo!!  Home of The Whopper:)

Stoic Joker

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Re: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2014, 11:38:11 AM »
It looks like you're trying to launch a nuclear missile, would you like to:
1. spellcheck the launch codes.
2. Specify where it lands.
3. Reboot now to increase the odds of it going where you tell it to.

-Clippy

Shades

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Re: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2014, 11:39:39 AM »
On another website I learned that the way data is written to these floppies allows for reliable storing of data. Even better than tape, if kept in conditioned rooms (without too much humidity).

I worked for a company that still used 286 processor based computers in certain parts of the company. Actually, only in the rooms that were kept permanently below -20 degrees Celsius.
The reason was that newer processors get too hot too quickly and the condensation would kill the machine.

Although condensation is less of a problem in space, temperature differences are not. The bombardment of solar rays isn't helping either. These affect faster working processors more dramatically then the old clunkers of yesteryear. And as you you want as much reliability as possible in space, you'll deploy what you know

40hz

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Re: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2014, 12:02:53 PM »
Would we really be happier if they decided to update it? Maybe even make it web enabled...with a GUI. ("It's really quite user friendly Sir and Madam Senators. You just mouse over and double click on the region of the world you wish to destroy, enter a PIN, and voila! - it's Armageddon time!")

Silos are obsolete from a strategic perspective anyway. And military planners on all sides have known this for decades. Missile silos are kept around mainly for their symbolic value. That, and to have something to put on the table during strategic arms negotiation talks.

Because something like 90% of the world's active duty nuclear arsenals are now located onboard submarines and other naval vessels. And those weapon systems never seem to get included in arms limitation discussions.

Now what does that tell you? :tellme:

(Go Navy!) :'(
« Last Edit: April 28, 2014, 12:09:41 PM by 40hz »

MilesAhead

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Re: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2014, 02:15:34 PM »
Quote
Because something like 90% of the world's active duty nuclear arsenals are now located onboard submarines and other naval vessels. And those weapon systems never seem to get included in arms limitation discussions.

Now what does that tell you?


I'd say it looks promising we can ban derringers as siege weapons. 



Renegade

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Re: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2014, 08:38:29 PM »
If you want to dive down the rabbit hole... look into US generals that got fired in the last few years. ;) Make sure to bring a clean set of underwear. (That actually is on topic.)
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SeraphimLabs

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Re: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2014, 01:01:05 PM »
Those Nuclear attack submarines also get pulled into the workshop every 10-20 years for refurbishment, just as a fact of life for an oceangoing vessel. Among the upgrades usually are weaponry-related system improvements.

I'm actually surprised that they still have 8" floppies in service. I expected the silos to be controlled by punchtape or punchcard. That way the control system would be totally immune to enemy magnetic or EMP attacks.

But the old iron is really hard to beat. Technology that put a man on the moon is still perfectly functional to this day, especially when paired with a talented maintenance team and a supply of either new old stock or remanufactured parts to fit.

And then you get to craft like Voyager, which is beyond any hope of ever being touched by a human being again, and yet is still -almost- fully functional more than 40 years after launch. The biggest hinderance to its current operational status is that its radioisotope thermal generator is decaying as it was expected to do, and the available electrical power is no longer sufficient to operate all of its functionality. I don't think anyone who built it expected it to last that long, but there it goes.

Renegade

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Re: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2014, 09:11:23 AM »
But the old iron is really hard to beat. Technology that put a man on the moon is still perfectly functional to this day, especially when paired with a talented maintenance team and a supply of either new old stock or remanufactured parts to fit.

And then you get to craft like Voyager, which is beyond any hope of ever being touched by a human being again, and yet is still -almost- fully functional more than 40 years after launch. The biggest hinderance to its current operational status is that its radioisotope thermal generator is decaying as it was expected to do, and the available electrical power is no longer sufficient to operate all of its functionality. I don't think anyone who built it expected it to last that long, but there it goes.

Yeah, but that's because the engineers weren't very good and hasn't mastered planned obsolescence. :P (Lightbulb Conspiracy [FACT])

There's a big difference when you build something for a purpose vs. build for a buck.
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Stoic Joker

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Re: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2014, 11:44:07 AM »
There's a big difference when you build something for a purpose vs. build for a buck.

Damn Straight! That's why after 50 years of technological "advancement" the cars we have now are shit compared to what was available in the late 60s and early 70s. Yeah they're all child safe and cuddly and "Eco Friendly" and squirt butterflies out the tailpipe ... but performance???

1968 Dodge Charger (Auto)         0-60 mph 4.7   Quarter mile 13.3
2013 Dodge Charger Police Car    0-60 mph 5.1   Quarter Mile 13.7
2013 Dodge Charger SXT             0-60 mph 6.5   Quarter Mile 14.9

...What's up with ^that^

SeraphimLabs

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Re: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2014, 12:56:34 PM »
There's a big difference when you build something for a purpose vs. build for a buck.

Damn Straight! That's why after 50 years of technological "advancement" the cars we have now are shit compared to what was available in the late 60s and early 70s. Yeah they're all child safe and cuddly and "Eco Friendly" and squirt butterflies out the tailpipe ... but performance???

1968 Dodge Charger (Auto)         0-60 mph 4.7   Quarter mile 13.3
2013 Dodge Charger Police Car    0-60 mph 5.1   Quarter Mile 13.7
2013 Dodge Charger SXT             0-60 mph 6.5   Quarter Mile 14.9

...What's up with ^that^


They're not even eco-friendly.

1988 Chevy Nova. (1.6L 2bbl carb, ~70 horsepower curb rating)
I measured 38-40 MPG consistently with this as long as I stayed away from E10 gasoline, it absolutely hated that E10 crap.

The 2011 Ford Fiesta Hybrid- state of the art when I was driving that old Nova, was making a mere 35 MPG... on a HYBRID.

Where have we gone so wrong?

Oh and the E10 thing is a load of crap too. How exactly am I protecting the environment when I have to burn significantly more fuel to get from point A to point B when using E10 compared to straight gas.

That Nova I mentioned in my earlier example, the measured MPG dropped into the low 30s when using E10 instead of the straight gas it was designed for.

MilesAhead

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Re: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2014, 02:31:57 PM »
I used to do auto inspections in Massachusetts back in my mechanic days.  It was almost like something out of Kurt Vonnegut when we would hook up the emissions tester and detune the carburetor fuel mixture to get the car to pass.  Then we'd adjust the fuel mixture to get it to run right and charge the customer for a carburetor adjustment.  :)

What surprised me almost as much as South Africa ending Apartheid was that Florida realized people queuing up to get their emissions tested created more pollution than compliance prevented.  They did away with the testing stations altogether.  



btw I used to have a '68 charger.  But it only had a 318 2 bbl.  No sub 5 second 0-60s for me.  :)


Stoic Joker

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Re: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2014, 03:31:48 PM »
Where have we gone so wrong?

Oh and the E10 thing is a load of crap too. How exactly am I protecting the environment when I have to burn significantly more fuel to get from point A to point B when using E10 compared to straight gas.

Amen to that one brother. I had to replace the float needle every 3 months on my old FL because of the freaking Ethanol drying it out so it was to hard to seal. Christ I had more gas on the ground than went through the engine.

btw I used to have a '68 charger.  But it only had a 318 2 bbl.  No sub 5 second 0-60s for me.

My first car was a 74 Plymouth Satellite with the same engine, a 4 barrel, and a broken (read no) choke ... Now that was a cold blooded bitch. I bought the car off a friend for $400, but that was back in the early 80s (when I was 16 or 17). It left the ground in a drag race and went through the middle (e.g. 6' off the ground) of a security fence - backwards at 80mph - which wrinkled up the sheet metal a bit. I walked away, but the car didn't quite fair as well (Ah! The good Ol' days).

MilesAhead

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Re: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2014, 04:29:27 PM »
Quote
(Ah! The good Ol' days)
When I was a mechanic I think the customer car I test drove I wanted to own the most was a '71 Camaro LT.  That thing was nice.  Really deep bucket seats.  Sharp body styling.  Big engine.  And of course rack & pinion steering.  I didn't get to drive it very far.  But I could tell it handled flat as well as looked cool.  Just taking it around the block was fun.  :)

Stoic Joker

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Re: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2014, 05:25:56 PM »
Quote
(Ah! The good Ol' days)
When I was a mechanic I think the customer car I test drove I wanted to own the most was a '71 Camaro LT.  That thing was nice.  Really deep bucket seats.  Sharp body styling.  Big engine.  And of course rack & pinion steering.  I didn't get to drive it very far.  But I could tell it handled flat as well as looked cool.  Just taking it around the block was fun.  :)

All right now, don't get me started on back when I turned wrenches for the local Harley dealership ...(I did the Jap's and Britt's back then too - for a different shop)... We'll never get this thread back on topic.. ;) :D

MilesAhead

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Re: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2014, 06:30:09 PM »
^^^^^
|||||||||

he heh heh   :)

Renegade

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Re: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2014, 04:21:24 PM »
On the topic of ethanol in fuel... some new studies have shown conclusively that it costs MORE in terms of energy to burn ethanol than regular gasoline.
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tomos

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Re: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2014, 05:48:57 PM »
On the topic of ethanol in fuel... some new studies have shown conclusively that it costs MORE in terms of energy to burn ethanol than regular gasoline.

Got a lot of bad press here. They grow a lot of maize/corn here for it, and there's very relaxed rules about use of pesticides and fertilizers as it's not for food use. Which'll all go into the watertable, and there were other objections but I cant remember the details atm.

Initially (it's only available here a couple of years) anyway the majority of Germans avoided it as it's supposed to be a bit rougher on your car. Dont know if uptake has increased since - with the price of petrol here I wouldnt be suprised: it's been over 8 US dollars a gallon for 'super' (98 I think 'super' is only 95) a long time now...
Tom
« Last Edit: May 06, 2014, 05:54:31 PM by tomos »

Stoic Joker

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Re: State of US Nuclear Silos (60 Minutes)
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2014, 06:35:17 AM »
On the topic of ethanol in fuel... some new studies have shown conclusively that it costs MORE in terms of energy to burn ethanol than regular gasoline.

Sure it costs more to burn, and it costs more to make too. But the kickbacks revenue stream on top of the increase in both volume and profit margin make it all worth while. Okay, sure, the little guy takes a beating...but who really cares about that? Certainly nobody (in the upper 1% royalty class) important.