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AvBaeyer
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[*] posted on 2-5-2022 at 18:05
An Article for Thought and Discussion



https://www.wired.co.uk/article/making-science-more-open-is-...

I came across the above article today and after reading it I was offended (?) by its premise. Are some scientific results too dangerous to be available to the general public? Should only safe science be done to negate concerns about "security"? Though the focus of this essay is on the biological sciences I think that most of us on this forum already understand the general attitude toward home and/or amateur chemistry. Should certain results from scientific inquiry be restricted to a select few due to concerns about "security"? I just thought posting the link and asking for other's serious thoughts would make for some interesting discussion.

So take a look.

AvB
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clearly_not_atara
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[*] posted on 2-5-2022 at 19:39


Restrictions on weapons research are nothing new. It was applied to nuclear chain reaction research practically as soon as the phenomenon was discovered. Biowarfare looks like the next nuclear weapons, so this is a likely result.

The shitty thing is that the neoliberal nomenklatura are taking this as an opportunity to try to shut the public out of things that don't require the most absolute guarantees of security but might be inconvenient for the establishment if people found out. Again, this isn't entirely new. The Journal of Clandestine Laboratory Chemistry has long been closed not only to the public but to most researchers. Now it's okay if you use GPT-3 to push an establishment-approved viewpoint but not okay if you have some other viewpoint.

"O tempora! O mores!"




[Edited on 04-20-1969 by clearly_not_atara]
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katyushaslab
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[*] posted on 3-5-2022 at 11:07


Quote: Originally posted by clearly_not_atara  
The Journal of Clandestine Laboratory Chemistry has long been closed not only to the public but to most researchers.


Thankfully, their back catalogue appears to be on some file sharing site.

The below, base64 encoded string, is entirely unrelated.

aHR0cHM6Ly9nb2ZpbGUuaW8vZC8xOHJuRnE=
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karlos³
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[*] posted on 3-5-2022 at 15:53


Quote: Originally posted by katyushaslab  
Quote: Originally posted by clearly_not_atara  
The Journal of Clandestine Laboratory Chemistry has long been closed not only to the public but to most researchers.


Thankfully, their back catalogue appears to be on some file sharing site.

The below, base64 encoded string, is entirely unrelated.

aHR0cHM6Ly9nb2ZpbGUuaW8vZC8xOHJuRnE=

Uh what, really the "full" catalgoue?
Or is it the stuff which only goes till 2017?
Because yeah, that comes from the vesp, one of ours got it from a former workplace :D





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paulll
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[*] posted on 4-5-2022 at 16:24


Advocating for security through obscurity is a good way to tap out of any serious discussion about security.
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[*] posted on 4-5-2022 at 18:21


I am not anti government by any stretch, but boy am I against "hiding" and obfuscating science. Without science, we have no truth. Science is the search for the truth, and thus is imperative to a free and open science. It is much like free speech, which is also imperative to a free society.

Freedom and liberty, or none at all.

As a (in)famous man once said, "Id rather die on my feet than die on my knees". Im brutish about this, but its insulting to all of the scientists that have paved the way before our time.

This also is a red flag for me; it suggests a growing concern from ruling class regarding the lower classes knowing to much.




I am the one who boils to dryness, fear me...
H He Li B C(12,14) Na S Cl Mn Fe Cu Zn Ba Ag Sn I U(238)
"I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees" -Emiliano Zapata
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BromicAcid
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[*] posted on 4-5-2022 at 20:21


There have been a few times reading through old journals / literature where I read something and think "Woah, wait?" Then re-read it and think "Holy hell, it's that easy..." and finally I write it down thinking "better not let anyone else find out about this".



Shamelessly plugging my attempts at writing fiction: http://www.robvincent.org
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unionised
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[*] posted on 5-5-2022 at 00:37


I am fairly sure that anyone involved in IT or physical security will tell you that "security by obfuscation" will not work.
You have to design the system such that it is still "safe" even when your opponent is fully informed.

The information on "how to build the A bomb is available on wiki.
But you can't buy enriched uranium on eBay.


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SWIM
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[*] posted on 5-5-2022 at 09:12


Quote: Originally posted by unionised  


The information on "how to build the A bomb is available on wiki.
But you can't buy enriched uranium on eBay.




So so far , so good.
But if somebody figures out how to make an A-bomb out of lead, sodium chloride, and old condoms then we have a problem.

Controlling the materials has worked out well so far, but what if it stops working?

So would you hide the information if it makes it possible for half the posters on here (Just an example of a certain low level of competence and financial backing, not implying anybody here would nuke a city when pissed off.) to make an incurable plague disease, or a nuclear weapon with a minimal investment in time and effort?

I don't believe this is possible, but I have no damned idea what surprises future research may have in store for us.

Or what about something actually world-ending that's within the scope of a dedicated national program by a small country?

There are people who would happily destroy the world even if it meant their own deaths.

So should considerations like this be within the scope of this conversation, or are we just talking about currently known science, and assuming there isn't already something like this out there that is (for the time being) kept quiet?

I'm asking the OP, because this is his barbecue and I don't want to confuse matters by trying to get his guests to eat Lutefisk instead.

I'm all for scientific openness, but this subject reminds me of a story I heard of about a guy who jumped off a 20 story building.

They could hear him yelling all the way down.

As he passed each story he yelled, "So far, so good. So far, so good."





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[*] posted on 5-5-2022 at 09:36


Quote: Originally posted by SWIM  


So so far , so good.
But if somebody figures out how to make an A-bomb out of lead, sodium chloride, and old condoms then we have a problem.

Controlling the materials has worked out well so far, but what if it stops working?

So would you hide the information if it makes it possible for half the posters on here (Just an example of a certain low level of competence and financial backing, not implying anybody here would nuke a city when pissed off.) to make an incurable plague disease, or a nuclear weapon with a minimal investment in time and effort?

I don't believe this is possible, but I have no damned idea what surprises future research may have in store for us.

Or what about something actually world-ending that's within the scope of a dedicated national program by a small country?

There are people who would happily destroy the world even if it meant their own deaths.

So should considerations like this be within the scope of this conversation, or are we just talking about currently known science, and assuming there isn't already something like this out there that is (for the time being) kept quiet?

I'm asking the OP, because this is his barbecue and I don't want to confuse matters by trying to get his guests to eat Lutefisk instead.

I'm all for scientific openness, but this subject reminds me of a story I heard of about a guy who jumped off a 20 story building.

They could hear him yelling all the way down.

As he passed each story he yelled, "So far, so good. So far, so good."



The difference between an A bomb and a plague is that enriched uranium is not obtainable, but everything for a plague is. With enough knowledge (read; papers how to do it) I could build the next plague in my shed. You only need one smart idiot to build a virus, biology takes care of the rest.

[Edited on 5-5-2022 by Tsjerk]
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SWIM
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[*] posted on 6-5-2022 at 05:34


Making a plague in your shed would be facilitated by the ability to correctly interpret written communications.

Based on your above post, I think we're safe.




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[*] posted on 6-5-2022 at 10:46


Quote: Originally posted by SWIM  
Quote: Originally posted by unionised  


The information on "how to build the A bomb is available on wiki.
But you can't buy enriched uranium on eBay.




So so far , so good.
But if somebody figures out how to make an A-bomb out of lead, sodium chloride, and old condoms then we have a problem.

Controlling the materials has worked out well so far, but what if it stops working?

So would you hide the information if it makes it possible for half the posters on here (Just an example of a certain low level of competence and financial backing, not implying anybody here would nuke a city when pissed off.) to make an incurable plague disease, or a nuclear weapon with a minimal investment in time and effort?

I don't believe this is possible, but I have no damned idea what surprises future research may have in store for us.

Or what about something actually world-ending that's within the scope of a dedicated national program by a small country?

There are people who would happily destroy the world even if it meant their own deaths.

So should considerations like this be within the scope of this conversation, or are we just talking about currently known science, and assuming there isn't already something like this out there that is (for the time being) kept quiet?

I'm asking the OP, because this is his barbecue and I don't want to confuse matters by trying to get his guests to eat Lutefisk instead.

I'm all for scientific openness, but this subject reminds me of a story I heard of about a guy who jumped off a 20 story building.

They could hear him yelling all the way down.

As he passed each story he yelled, "So far, so good. So far, so good."



I think you vastly underestimate peoples ability to be ignorant and or stupid.

Just because we have a govt doesn't mean that they will do in our best interest. As much as Id love to believe that my govt is going to keep us safe by denying certain information to the public, doesn't mean it happens. One of my buddies was approached by the FBI at a job fair, and they asked him to be apart of a weaponized bacteria project. Their idea was to make a bacteria that would selectively eat the skin/flesh off of a human of their choosing. They are so dumb that they believe thats possible. That alone makes me shiver, and makes me less confident in that three letter agency. We have govt institutions full of rogue groups who abuse power. Id rather everyone know how to make a bomb than for only the group in power to know.




I am the one who boils to dryness, fear me...
H He Li B C(12,14) Na S Cl Mn Fe Cu Zn Ba Ag Sn I U(238)
"I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees" -Emiliano Zapata
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Tsjerk
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[*] posted on 6-5-2022 at 10:53


Quote: Originally posted by SWIM  
Making a plague in your shed would be facilitated by the ability to correctly interpret written communications.

Based on your above post, I think we're safe.


Please elaborate why you think I might be incapable of interpreting.
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karlos³
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[*] posted on 6-5-2022 at 18:14


Quote: Originally posted by aab18011  
Id rather everyone know how to make a bomb than for only the group in power to know.

This exactly.




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Metacelsus
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[*] posted on 7-5-2022 at 03:22


Home chemistry is harmless to society (even beneficial given its effects on scientific training).

Most home biology is also fine, it's just that these days training someone in biological lab techniques is equivalent to giving them a pile of enriched uranium.

But I think the greatest risk is from irresponsible academic labs trying to make an "exciting" paper for Cell/Nature/Science.




As below, so above.
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yobbo II
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[*] posted on 17-5-2022 at 10:16


Thanks for the link katyushaslab.

That's the BEST collection of short stories I have read in manys the day.

Attached is my favourite so far.

Lesson of the day:
K Chlorate is not the same as Ephedrine.


Yob

Attachment: chlor.pdf (639kB)
This file has been downloaded 44 times

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[*] posted on 1-6-2022 at 10:55


Yes you can read nuclear weapons construction and atomic physics from Wikipedia, but they do not tell the actual details how to do things. You as chemists know that everything is very specialized and exact sciences and a little can make lot wrong. The exact structure and physics of nuclear weapon is still classified, and until someone tests and publishes that data, it remains only well educated speculation of what it actually is. However, biggest inhibitor is still the fact that enriched uranium, plutonium and tritium are exceedingly difficult to source even if you had plenty of resources. Big nations of millions of people with billions of money and state of the art technology and professionals have had their challenges putting up those facilities. After everything this, even if someone managed to get their hands on some nuclear material, radiological weaponization of that would be the most likely scenario. Single stage gunbarrel bomb, which has physics pretty much of having big enough charge to bring two pieces of subcritical mass together before they repel each other, has quite low yield, and will cause major localized damage and pollution, but will suffer from low efficiency. Steps to actual strategic scale weapons are still high and numerous.

The basic people think home chemistry as what many young chemists start their career with, that is pyrotechnics of energetics, including myself. It can have also many other malicious uses, apart from offensive harmful compounds to passively harmful, including controlled substances. Still, you, as chemists, can see that restricting a selection of key reagents will make it very difficult for the average cook to make any controlled substances, and increases the risk of getting caught by the rest due to need to source pre-precursors and make them. One very good example for banning strong acids from public is acid attacks, which have been well prevented by this.

Still, I support freedom of information. Institutions have always been afraid of free access to information, threatening to undermine their special status as the sole possessors of that information. Every tyrannic state has restricted access to information and education in many ways. In middle ages it was religion that was threatened by science which step by step proved it to be a big bluff, behind the iron curtain it was illegal to learn foreign languages - because they obviously would have allowed people to access information of the free world and see the bluff.
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