Aaron SteinKim Jong Un’s Bomb

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un visited a missile factory and posed with a nuclear weapon promoting the obvious question: Which one is Fat Man and which one is Little Boy? Aaron and Jeffrey discuss.

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  1. Matt (History)

    Great show guys. Would it be possible to link the pictures you talk about on the show page?

  2. Sean (History)

    Although both my wife and myself are avid readers/listeners to your site, Personally I feel that chemical agents are under-represented. The Novichock agents fall outside the CWC for 2 good reasons. To begin with, the document begins by limiting itself to liquids and gasses (without mentioning STP) and listed a specific list of controlled precursors. The Russians, therefore, made damn SURE that the weapon fell outside the convention by a large margin. Meanwhile, it appears that IS may be producing vesicants. Some of these are both Schedule 1 CWC chemicals while still being in use as a treatment for cancer i.e. mustagen AKA Bis(2-chloroethyl)methylamine. While only an informed outsider on nuclear and biological agents, I feel that I have sufficient qualification to discuss the chemical agents. I mean – the CAS numbers, IUPAC name & synthesis of Novichok 5 & 7 (each an order of magnitude more toxic than VX (courtesy of ICI and swapped for a working H-bomb design with my home, England!) Detection is no longer an issue but the Russian Federation now has a WMD covered by no convention and Putin’s opening words for the ‘problems’ in Syria were ‘we probably won’t need to use atomic weapons’. Now, I certainly don’t like ex-KGB staff running a ‘democracy’ as they are pleased to call it, but this would be within a lot less of an issue THAN nuclear weapons and from the look of the chemicals and their imine moiety which suggests that simple lye will decontaminate them. I know it isn’t new but I’ve not seen these issues tackled before. I hoped you could at least comment on your thoughts on these agents.

  3. Uban Singh (History)

    Hi Guys,

    Great podcast, didn’t know Jeffrey was that into CHIC stuff. If what I have seen is anything to go by, that is very solid work Jeffrey!

    I get the sense that Kim’s getting real desperate. It is possible people inside DPRK don’t think he is good enough to be supreme leader.

    Jeffrey’s suggestion on accepting this prowess amounts to throwing him a bone. I am not sure anyone else is real happy about that. It is tempting to believe that this is the last gasp of the Kim dynasty in the North.

    The likely trajectory now is an accident followed by a coup by DPRK military leadership. New faces will bring with them new ideas and new attitudes.

    Maybe it is best to wait for change to occur before any claims of DPRK capabilities are accepted….

    Just thinking out loud…

  4. Anon2 (History)


    Can you transcribe these. 38 minutes is really long to try to get something significant from a podcast.

  5. Anon2 (History)

    (Especially when you an Jeffrey joke around half the time.)
    You (Stein) would be better off writing up your own version of an interview with Jeffrey where you discuss. In the old days there was lively discussion here on the blog. The physics package photo is interesting for what it is or is not — but there is no wonky discussion going on to help us decide if it is real or not. For example, the burnished circular disks, about 3 inches in diameter around the sphere. Could these be explosive plugs, or just mock-ups to make us think (imagine) what a 2016 version of Fat Man might look like with a booster in the center.