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2018-07-06 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 173 references Ignore this thread
Something To Contemplate This Weekend
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So let's put forward the following brief scenario.

The government in a "bipartisan" fashion decides that every day it will pay people to mine and refine one gram of Uranium 235, and will stack it on top of all the others it has mined thus far.  It says this will provide jobs.  The place where it does so is heavily guarded, but in the middle of the city, and the place in which these grams are to be placed is approximately 2' on a side.

It will do this forever, it claims.

The eventual outcome of this course of action is a matter of mathematics (physics being determined, of course,  by same.)  It WILL occur, although exactly when is the matter of some debate.

Your exercise for the comment section is when do you get alarmed enough to stop this from continuing and what will you do if the government refuses to stop upon a mere request, claiming bipartisan consensus that this is a good program, a good idea, and that it simply refuses to stop the mining and placement of each additional gram.

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Snowmizuh
Posts: 1755
Incept: 2009-03-18

Alabama
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Karl, I detected a disturbance in the force I think.

I just got here intending to post in the Bar, and noticed this post on just the topic I had on my mind. I was explaining exponential growth to some folks (GDP vs. total debt) recently and was thinking about your doubling times calculations and posts since the GFC. We now have more debt and more moral hazard since the GFC. How many more times do you think the crank can be turned? Also, have you updated that chart recently that shows how additional debt is actually deleterious to GDP?

I like your fissile metaphor. Quick question: are you saying the contained is 2' square box, in other words: contained? Implying that the U-235 would need to be compressed as more and more grams are added? We'll leave the 'how' to the engineers...
Tickerguy
Posts: 153516
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Oh no, it's just a walled container open on the top so you can add the next gram. But the eventual outcome is not in doubt even though the EXACT time, given that there is no special attention being paid to configuration, is quite open to question.

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Winding it down.
Redjack
Posts: 74
Incept: 2018-01-29

Iowa
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33 lbs, or just under 15,000 grams, and you hit critical mass.

You start making some rather deadly issues well before that, and then the nice blue glow and "pop" your dead.

Not in my field, but I do know they don't typically store more more than a pound together, if that. That is why you have control rods in reactors to limit the amount of contact between the fuel rods.

In short, you start screaming the second this is proposed. And if that doesn't work, you move somewhere upwind that gets its water from a different source. With luck, the melt down just takes out the local area.
Max_planck
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Southern Arizona
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Might there be a critical mass issue with a two foot cube of highly enriched U235?
Oliver1655
Posts: 114
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Another example that is good to drive the exponential growth example into folks addled brains is linked below.

Essentially you have a magical eyedropper to deposit one drop of water and every minute that 1 drop doubles.

If at 12 noon you handcuffed people to the top row of seats in a water tight stadium.......

A)How long do they have to escape because the stadium is filled with water ?

B)At what point do those handcuffed understand there is a problem ?

C)At what point is the stadium still 97% empty ?

And just remember even if you grossly underestimated the stadium's volume by 100% that only buys you 1 more minute (1 additional doubling period.)

This along with Karl's lilly pad colored square graphic are the 2 clearest and most concise illustrations of the exponential function that I have seen.

I have shared them both multiple times and in multiple places but people still seem to glaze over at the realities and fail to connect the illustrations with our current situations.

We are in or very near to the last doubling period


A)50 minutes
B)Some will never grasp the seriousness of the situation
C)45 minutes in with only 5 minutes until you drown.

Start at around 1:40 in




Also search for Al Bartlett and doubling the grains of wheat on a chess board as well.



Bagbalm
Posts: 5464
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Just North of Detroit
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Feels side of box... Is warm already. Time to get out of Dodge.
Tickerguy
Posts: 153516
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I see nobody wants to actually take the question on ...

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Winding it down.
Whitehat
Posts: 549
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The People's Republic of New York
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Quote:
Your exercise for the comment section is when do you get alarmed enough to stop this from continuing and what will you do if the government refuses to stop upon a mere request, claiming bipartisan consensus that this is a good program, a good idea, and that it simply refuses to stop the mining and placement of each additional gram.


my answer is to put a minimum safe distance plus feasible additional distance away from the certain event with uncertain event timing. in layman's terms, it will happen, the time frame can be estimated, the exact timing has a degree of randomness and is subject to unknowable triggers and it will really suck to be within it borders. move away as in run like hell as soon as possible.

some of us have been alarmed for a very long time and expended a lot of energy trying to inform and reform. absent a concerned and committed group of individuals to enjoin there is no feasible way to stop the process. it is now time to take the selfish approach and save yourself and those worthy of your efforts.

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There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.
snow, seasons, distance and dirt roads: SSDD
"Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap" (Gal. 6:7)
Smacktle
Posts: 1867
Incept: 2009-01-20

Texas
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So, people answer the question by giving more examples of what Karl just posted. SMH.

I'll tell you this, I'm ready to do some things, but I'm not willing to do it alone. Fly a plane into the IRS? Nope. Blow something up. Nope. Go shoot some place up? Nope. There are plenty of things I can do without resorting to extreme violence.

Everyone I talk to has no answer when I bring this up. NO ANSWER! Just silence and on to the next subject.

Maybe if I call my rep Kevin Brady...that worthless POS.

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The faults of the burglar are the qualities of the financier.
- George Bernard Shaw
Jduwaldt
Posts: 669
Incept: 2010-06-10

Orange County, CA
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You can try warning everyone immediately. I tried doing this on budget deficits in Dec 1975 but I never thought to bring expoentials into it. (For one thing it wasn't growing much at all: my recollection is that it was at about 10B for a couple of years running). Needless to say I was called cruel, stupid, miserly, unwilling to help the poor, etc. Words hurt a bit more back then; my error.
Reagan cut me off at the knees (throat?) and confirmed the practice, to the joy of those who wanted it. Can't understand why they didn't love him more.

Ultimately you run away from the 2' cube of death but no one can run from the national deficit, unless you leave the country entirely. And renounce your citizenship. But if the collapse reaches your location you become the local Evil Yanqui (which is less disrespectful, Yanqui or Yankee? Sigh).

As far as going against .gov goes, Chomsky always said to anyone who would listen that you had to get involved at the primary level. That seems to work in fits and starts but the Main Parties do such a good job at subsuming them, witness the Tea Party.

Taking on the government troops? I guess in the middle of the city you can get close, until they call the flying artillery (Cobras/Apaches), which is pretty precise stuff. They have to guard a fixed position and let people through; they have plumbing inside the building and can resupply by armored vehicle or helo. You could try knocking out the sewer system but they'll bring in porta potties and ship the waste out the same way they bring supplies in.

Leaflet the troops with Smedley Butler quotes?

Maybe your best bet is interdicting the people mining the uranium, preferably with persuasion. But if there are too many useful idiots (school system) then you are back to running away.

Unless you can sneak in something to "poison" the uranium but that only works if the TSA is handling the screening... And you'd need a lot of that material, I'll bet.

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It's not an issue of "cooperation" vs "go it alone": it's a question of involuntary vs voluntary relationships.
Budget-racer
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Virginia
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I'll bite...
Inline
Weezie
Posts: 6913
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Caution: Congress at Work
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No time to answer. Running for the exits...

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jihad pressure cooker tea party guns Constitution Bill of Rights play doh squiggly line prepper home garden cluster****
Darcane
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Washington
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I don't know a lot about nuclear reactions, but I know enough to not want to be anywhere near it when it goes critical.

I would be alarmed as soon as I heard of the plan, and would take steps to stop it, hopefully before it is enacted. Knowing myself, this would not be terribly effective; I never feel like I know effective ways to change minds of people in government.

If (When) the government refuses to stop, I would move away to a safe distance and tell everyone I know to do the same.

Maybe not a good answer, but an honest one.
Daninkansas
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Manhattan, kansas
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I first thought about 4.3 million grams of uranium, and 11,815 years minus x, but that is not the question. If there is no lid on the box, can you add grams forever? No. Configuration. Anyway, I become concerned when, if memory serves, some big New York banker tells Teddy Roosevelt to print money to solve a long forgotten solvency problem of the big New York banker. Hence finance goes critical. Doom. The sound of the far waterfall.
Mangymutt
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Vancouver WA
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I see nobody wants to actually take the question on ...

HA!
Although I can certainly justify in my mind reading Market-Ticker while at work, I find difficulty in justifying using company time to reply, so I never have. And have been itching to reply since this morning.

Your exercise for the comment section is when do you get alarmed enough to stop this from continuing and what will you do if the government refuses to stop upon a mere request, claiming bipartisan consensus that this is a good program, a good idea, and that it simply refuses to stop the mining and placement of each additional gram.

Questions that need answering:

1)when do you get alarmed enough to stop this from continuing.

2)what will you do if the government refuses to stop upon a mere request.

Not really a question, but an addition parameter:

3)claiming bipartisan consensus that this is a good program, a good idea, and that it simply refuses to stop the mining and placement of each additional gram.

The brief scenario:

The government in a "bipartisan" fashion decides that every day it will pay people to mine and refine one gram of Uranium 235, and will stack it on top of all the others it has mined thus far. It says this will provide jobs. The place where it does so is heavily guarded, but in the middle of the city, and the place in which these grams are to be placed is approximately 2' on a side.
It will do this forever, it claims.

Parameters:

1)Pay every day to mine, refine, store and guard a product.

2)Product. Uranium 235

3)2 foot on a side, so assuming height also, a cube 2x2x2

4)Bipartisan Everyone In Power agrees.

5)Stored in a populated area.

6)Will never end.

First, sorry to all those who are saying exponential, this is lineal, It will eventually get to any point the exponent does, it will just take much longer.

Given the parameters, I am making assumptions here. The Uranium 235, is to indicate something that is very dangerous, but it could be anything. Whatever it is it has a dire impact on the population.

There is no outflow, only additions so even if it were not dangerous, there is a physical limitation to how much can be acquired. And the powers that be say they will always make sure it is added to no matter what you say or do.

Since I am assuming Uranium 235 is only a place holder to indicate something dangerous, I will change it from Uranium to illegals, or undocumented residents for the precious snowflakes.

Question 1 When do I become alarmed? Myself, about 25 years ago.

Question 2 What will I do when they refuse to put an end to it? Damn good question. I have tried to reason with people, but I have come to the conclusion that the masses are willfully ignorant and willing to listen to the lies.

Question 3 Claiming they know best they are unwilling to prevent the impending disaster from happening. Given my answers to questions 1&2 I have taken steps to protect me and mine and pray to God they work out.

The problem is unsolvable without a mass of like minded people standing up and refusing to put themselves, their families and people they care for in harms way. But if the general population chooses through willful ignorance to believe the government has their back - Why heck both sides think it is a good idea, so it most be best for us. - There is little a far sighted and correct minded person can do.

You claim danger too soon, you are a crack pot.

You claim this is a bad thing for everyone, you are a denier or a hater.

You cannot shoot the government workers to protect those around you, you become a terrorist.

So to give an answer in short: I havent the slightest clue, other than protect those that I can.
Vineyardmh
Posts: 25
Incept: 2010-02-12

Bremerton, WA
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Good thought experiment. But - there are a variety of factors that will determine what the ultimate outcome will be. [This is where my nuclear engineering, courtesy the US Navy, comes into play...]

If we assume that grams of enriched U235 are added slowly - like slower than 1 gram per second - we have the potential of a criticality accident eventually. This is where a reactor goes 'super-critical' briefly - generates a lot of heat and radiation - and the 'pile' probably gets destroyed - and it might get 'distributed' like a small Conventional bomb. It will not go super critical where the assembly acts like a nuclear bomb.

The US had a criticality accident in 1961 - when workers on an Army reactor created a 'prompt critical' event - and the 3 workers were killed.
[ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SL-1 ]

Japan has had two criticality accidents at their research facility (Tokaimura) - 2 workers killed in 1999. Too much fissile material in a small space allows a sudden output of power...high enough to destroy stuff, irradiate people near by...but it doesn't explode like an atom bomb. However - the criticality event at Tokaimura is the likely outcome of Karl's thought experiment based on bringing more and more U235 together - but not at 'near instantaneous' speeds.

For Karl's thought experiment - the level of criticality would also depend on the side walls of the box and the bottom...whether they would act as a 'reflector' to 'bounce' neutrons back into the box - or if they didn't reflect neutrons back. As grams are added - the 'pile' would approach criticality - where k(effective) approaches unity - and maybe goes slightly above it. The pile starts having more and more fissions; k-eff of 1 - the power stays constant. k-eff>1 - it ramps up and up and up - each 'generation' - more fissions than the previous. All the fissions release heat. The uranium will get hotter - the 'pile' expands....more and more radiation is released...and the heat might destroy the box sides if they are not resistant to extremely high temperatures.

OTOH - if you wanted to make this a bomb - you would create 2 'piles' of subcritical mass - and bring them together extremely rapidly - [like the bomb used in Hiroshima - August 6, 1945, which had 141 pounds of highly enriched Uranium.] If you tried to bring them together but the speed was not great enough - the pieces would start heating up - and the pieces might not fit together - and the likelihood of a getting a high yield nuclear explosion is much lower. [Plutonium bombs can't be built to explode in the same way - bringing 2 pieces together rapidly to create a super-critical nuclear yield explosion can't be done practically - the required speeds are too great; Plutonium bombs use 'implosion' to squeeze a sub-critical mass to a higher density that makes it super-critical.]

AND - for those not yet bored by looking at the science of reactors - consider that the earth has evidence of a natural reactor - one that operated about 2 billion years ago - in Gabon Africa. (Google Okla natural reactor for more details.) When uranium mined from an area 'rich' in uranium in the Okla region, the uranium had a much lower than expected content of U235. (Normally - natural uranium - only 0.7% is U235, the rest is U238. What was found in that region was MUCH lower...)

AND- with the engineering discussion over- the idea of a government doing something absurdly stupid that will result in a high level of danger to people - the government must be stopped. Somehow. It must be stopped - or people near the stupidity must get far far away...while warning people that this is a dangerous situation and they too should try to pitch in and stop the government - or they too should flee the area.
Tickerguy
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And still the point hasn't sunk in....

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Winding it down.

Dennisglover
Posts: 1038
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Huntsville, AL
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I'm not finished thinking this through, not by a long shot. Here's where I am at this point.

Government is going to pay people to mine U-235, up to 1 gm per day. Forget about the fact that there is not one actual source of U-235 in its pure form anywhere on the planet. No, that stuff has to be refined from actual uranium ore, and it has a presentation of about 0.7% with respect to U-238, which is not fissionable. Okay, say we have a way to produce a gram a day, and we have a place to store it.

The fact is that, if it goes on forever, then at some point a critical mass will be co-located. At that point things go rapidly downhill.

"Forever" means just that, but it's going to be long before "forever" that a fissionable mass is collected in one "place". At that point in time, something goes "BOOM", and not nicely.

Thank you, I care not to support such foolishness by voting, or by working on the project, or by paying taxes, or in any other way.

When will the madness (and the innumeracy) end? In my lifetime? I hope so.

Sorry if this misses the mark of what was asked. These are my thoughts.

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TANSTAAFL
Flashy
Posts: 3
Incept: 2018-07-07

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A1. Day 1
A2. Re-locate

Qualifications for A2.
Collective action is required and isn't going to happen until far too late, therefore the choices are:
a) Continue expending time, energy and resources on trying to get collective action (in vain in my opinion).
b) Sit back and try to enjoy the best years remaining (I am too young for this).
c) Relocate to a country where multiculturalrism is weak (it's divisive) and peoples' willingness to engage is still strong (a functioning democracy is not one vote every 5 years, it has a daily requirement to engage).

I'm English, have travelled extensively around Europe, financially able to try to set up something simple and sustainable before my "wealth" dissappears in a cloud of dust, and I'm heading for Hungary.

Love your blog Karl, you have my complete respect.

Snowmizuh
Posts: 1755
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Alabama
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The metaphor is for the national debt. Bipartisan agreement has led to a deficit since about 1980, with national debt increasing at about 9% per year. The U-235 maps to the debt itself, and the radiation maps to interest on the debt. Eventually, criticality will be reached, and the column goes boom. But, the exact moment is not known, only that the probability of criticality increases as the stack gets higher. Given Karl's love of exponents, I suspect radiation increases exponentially, but I'd have to think more about that to prove it.

When do I get alarmed? When it is clear the radiation is getting intense enough to harm a lot of folks. By analogy, when it is clear that if rate on national debt increase slightly it will consume 20%+ of the budget. When the markets recognize this, game over.

What do I do? Educate folks, teach the next generation, and prepare for detonation. (I bought a 60s era CD V-700 geiger counter recently. Really! I love engineering from the 60s. American-made (Lionel!) and you can work on it yourself!)
Bluebird
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SW Ohio
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I have a simple explanation. The time to get alarmed is NOW. For as long as I have been reading Tickers, the main message is that the fraud must be stopped. Whether it is fraud in government, fraud in healthcare, fraud in pharma, fraud in retail, fraud is everywhere. Just stop.

How? Stop participating in the fraud. Get healthy by eating HFLC. Don't buy so much stuff. Don't use credit cards, pay cash. Get out of debt. Do it now, while there are choices that you can control. Otherwise it all detonates and we will be forced into very bad situation that we will certainly die.
Supertruckertom
Posts: 2066
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USA
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U235 = Yearly budget deficit
Box = Federal Debt and Value of US Treasuries and the Dollar


It doesn't stop until it kills the people putting the U235 in the box.

The Union will collapse .

Don't let the next government do that.

Have a useful skill and lots of trusted associates with similar morals.

Venezuela or Argentina or Mexico is where this is going.

Worst case is Zimbabwe.

Or Chinese troops show up on the West Coast.

That would be after the Mexican border becomes irrelevant, which it arguably already has.




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Preparing to go Hunting.
Wifi
Posts: 681
Incept: 2013-02-13

Seagrove Beach
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Karl,

I do not see, the government stopping, the health care issue is going to blow this county to smithereens, alarmed, yep, now, been that way for a while.I Am doing all I can to boycott, all health care related "anything", changing eating habits, etc.

A friend was just charged $7000.00, for his son's (6 month old) circumcision, of course on Medicaid!

Folks the wheel is getting bigger, turning faster, and we're running out of hamsters.

The current miscreants occupying the white house is a the latest puppet on strings being controlled by the healthcare industry.

Freedom Of Choice, wishful thinking!

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Hurricane Evacuation Plan
1.Grab Beer
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Blow_off_top
Posts: 51
Incept: 2010-11-10

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-> Government is immortal and can't be reasoned with.

-> The IQ of the average US citizen is below the level needed to comprehend what's actually happening around them. Further, for those above the average IQ, the constant barrage from media, internet, smart phones, etc has "zombified" them.

-> Politicians, so called "leaders", is the biggest oxymoron. They don't give a **** about you, your family or your country.

This has been going on for generations over the course of "advanced" civilizations, and there is nothing you can do about it. Nature must inevitably take its course. You can't change the outcome just like you can't change the seasons.

What you can do is use all the available evidence to recognize the trend, and take action.

-> Move the hell out of highly populated areas
-> Minimize your spending on frivolous items and direct it towards necessities.
-> Surround yourself with like-minded individuals.

Pretty much, just cash out of this "society" we live in, let the SHTF, and move forward with whatever remaining pieces stand.

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