Monday, November 30, 2015


The USSR had its imposing aspects, though behind the curtain one could find some sloppiness. But if the NYT article on red mercury is correct in its surmise, this scam was pure genius. A miracle material, vouched to draw on the same energies as ordinary nuclear materials but which doesn't require large teams of engineers and scientists and machinists to make a bomb out of--what's not to like? And so those looking for WMDs go haring after red mercury instead of trying to break/buy their way into the not-always perfectly guarded nuclear facilities.

Of course the story expanded with time: "‘‘Red mercury has a red color, and there is mercury that has the color of dark blood,’’ he said. ‘‘And there is green mercury, which is used for sexual enhancement, and silver mercury is used for medical purposes. The most expensive type is called Blood of the Slaves, which is the darkest type. Magicians use it to summon jinni.’’ And who knows how this one developed:

"According to a regional and especially cruel variation of the legend, the substance is found in conventional military munitions, particularly land mines, there to be claimed by anyone daring enough to take them apart and extract the goods."

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