The Zombification of Academia and Blowing Up the Sun

Serena Golden has an interview at The Chronicle of Higher Education with the authors of Zombies in the Academy: Living Death of Higher Education, Andrew Whelan, Ruth Walker, and Christopher Moore. She writes:

The book’s contributors find zombies lurking around every corner: students concerned solely with getting through and making the grade; faculty members deadened by the corporatization of the university and the erosion of traditional faculty jobs; systems and processes within the university that have long since outlived their original purpose but that endlessly perpetuate themselves. What does it mean, the editors wonder, if the zombie apocalypse has already taken place, and we are living — or undead — within it?

And in the latest in eschatology from the scientific front, Alexander Bolonkin and Joseph Friedlander have published a paper, “Explosion of the Sun,” which details how you could blow up the sun. A link to the abstract here and a link to the full paper here. Here is the abstract of the paper, which really needs to be quoted in full:

The Sun contains ~74% hydrogen by weight. The isotope hydrogen-1 (99.985% of hydrogen in nature) is a usable fuel for fusion thermonuclear reactions. This reaction runs slowly within the Sun because its temperature is low (relative to the needs of nuclear reactions). If we create higher temperature and density in a limited region of the solar interior, we may be able to produce self-supporting detonation thermonuclear reactions that spread to the full solar volume. This is analogous to the triggering mechanisms in a thermonuclear bomb. Conditions within the bomb can be optimized in a small area to initiate ignition, then spread to a larger area, allowing producing a hydrogen bomb of any power. In the case of the Sun certain targeting practices may greatly increase the chances of an artificial explosion of the Sun. This explosion would annihilate the Earth and the Solar System, as we know them today. The reader naturally asks: Why even contemplate such a horrible scenario? It is necessary because as thermonuclear and space technology spreads to even the least powerful nations in the centuries ahead, a dying dictator having thermonuclear missile weapons can pro[duce] (with some considerable mobilization of his military/industrial complex) an artificial explosion of the Sun and take into his grave the whole of humanity. It might take tens of thousands of people to make and launch the hardware, but only a very few need know the final targeting data of what might be otherwise a weapon purely thought of (within the dictator’s defense industry) as being built for peaceful, deterrent use. Those concerned about Man’s future must know about this possibility and create some protective system—or ascertain on theoretical grounds that it is entirely impossi[ble]. Humanity has fears, justified to greater or lesser degrees, about asteroids, warming of Earthly climate, extinctions, etc. which have very small probability. But all these would leave survivors—nobody thinks that the terrible annihilation of the Solar System would leave a single person alive. That explosion appears possible at the present time. In this paper is derived the “AB-Criterion” which shows conditions wherein the artificial explosion of Sun is possible. The author urges detailed investigation and proving or disproving of this rather horrifying possibility, so that it may be dismissed from mind—or defended against.[1]

The keywords for the paper also need to be quoted: Artificial Explosion of Sun; Annihilation of Solar System; Criterion of Nuclear Detonation; Nuclear Detonation Wave; Detonate Sun; Artificial Supernova.[2]

Didn’t we already think of such silly things like blowing up heavenly bodies? This is absurd.


[1] Alexander Bolonkin and Joseph Friedlander, “Explosion of the Sun,” Computational Water, Energy, and Environmental Engineering 2 (July 2013): 83, emphases mine. . . . The reader will also note the many typos even in the first paragraph.

[2] Ibid.

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