Things of Your Day


Hey remember these videos?

I just learned he is back doing these kinds of videos.





Long story short, in the 60s, 3 fresh phd kids developed something between a gun-bomb and a thermonuke design (something called an implosion style design), using just public info. It’s probably easier today to do the same. Though I’m gonna guess the thermonuke still lives in the realm of really really challenging. Interesting story though.


The basic mechanism of mashing two subcritical masses of fissile material together into a critical mass is well known. The only real challenge is obtaining fissile material of sufficient purity and the engineering challenges of reliably fusing the masses, miniaturization and creating a delivery system. If North Korea can somewhat reliably create functional devices despite crushing sanctions and lack of access to first world expertise, almost any state could conceivably create nuclear weapons.


It’s mentioned in the article that generally the bigger challenge with ‘gun-bombs’ is procurement. That wasn’t the challenge. The challenge here was an engineering challenge to make designs for something more powerful than just smashing two subcritical masses together.

More than that I’m not prepared to state with confidence.


That kind of nuke is trivial to engineer with publicly available knowledge. Also relatively easy to get the materials and build if you have facilities and a budget. South Africa even made a bunch of them.

It’s a lot harder to boost it or miniaturize it. So congrats, you’ve made an unwieldy gravity bomb or mine that has a yield of at most 5-15kt.

The design is utterly alien to how thermonukes work. It’s not even a step torward a thermonuke. At best, you’ve designed the precursor to the first (non-thermonuclear) phase of a thermonoke.

The thermonuke part of a modern nuclear weapon (the second stage) may not be able to be derived from research alone. It required direct experimentation, the likes of which is beyond the capabilities of almost any nation on Earth.


One for the blacks and one for the whites!





Is anyone hungry for some WacDonald’s?




I’m amused that he went on a tangent about reading the controller inputs. I wrote FPGA code in college to read off those same inputs. We wrote a TTL version of Dr. Mario and wanted a to use a real NES controller. I knew the SNES controller has the exact same order/prefix as the original NES and anticipated his same conclusion: laziness. :grin:


IIRC early in development the SNES was going to be backward compatible, and a lot of the hardware design reflects this.

I’m not sure “reverse emulation” means anything. It’s more of a hack to give the NES digital video input. Which is super cool but might’ve been better implemented with some dual port RAM if I understand things correctly.


The leaked cancelled Pokémon.


Cartridge emulation.

This also explains why (or, at least, how) there’s 8-pixel-wide strips of “noise” in some games, most obviously the space between the level and the status footer in SMB3.


Get super nerdy on pasta machines.


Basically every This Old Tony video is worth watching. He’s fucking great. And without the whining about social justice and repping Jordan Peterson that AVE occasionally engages in.