If you're standing near Sharon Weinberger, be careful. Her head may explode, after reading this post.Despite her best efforts -- including a whole freakin' book -- to explain to folks that a nuclear hand grenade violates science's most basic principles, the idea just won't die. The latest example: OK, OK... it's from Maxim, not the New Republic or Foreign Policy. But still, the fact that the nuke grenade (also known as the "hafnium bomb") survives a basic fact-check -- from any magazine -- says something about the imaginary weapon's durability.
Get ready for an adrenaline-pumping international game of dodgeball. For years - and to the tune of $10 million so far - the Department of Energy has been pursuing the idea of nuclear grenades, handheld weapons that could yield kilotons of destructive power thanks to one central ingredient: superexcited elements called isomers. A golf ball holding the energy of just one halfnium 178 isomer- the element being considered for use in the weapon - would contain the equivalent of 10 tons of explosives. The moment researchers discover the best way to trigger the release of that energy...we're all screwed!(Big ups: JH)