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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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The Curve of Binding Energy, John McPhee’s 30-year-old exploration of the security risks of home-built nuclear weapons, was a most pleasant read. Using Ted Taylor’s oration on the topic as a frame, the book moves smoothly and pleasantly. Just as relevant today, there is much discussion of how dangerous plutonium can be, in a dirty bomb, and just how trivial it may well be to construct a small low-yield nuke. The chilling phrase that repeats through the work is “enough to bring down the world trade center.” Especially if you’ve never read about Los Alamos, this is a great introduction to a little bit of the science (at a very high level), and a lot of the clandestine risks and politics of ubiquituous nuclear energy. 8/10.