The head of South Korean intelligence reports “unusual movements” this afternoon at another NK nuke site. Kim likes his provocations in bunches, as you’ll recall.

Japanese planes are monitoring radiation levels on the peninsula; I did some bomb math at the end of the previous thread and it seems to me the Russian figure of 5-15 kilotons is likelier than the South Korean pop-gun estimate of 550 tons. Meanwhile, the Australian has a primer on the nuttiness of the North Korean dictator for those who still need one.

Israel’s worried, but then Israel’s always worried.

Update: International condemnations: a round-up.

Update: Dorkafork thinks the yield was probably in the neighborhood of 2 kilotons:

I’d have to do more math to get the precise equation, but basically for every 0.2 on the Richter scale, you either double or halve the kilotons. So a 4.2 takes twice as much TNT as a 4.0, and a 3.8 takes half as much as a 4.0. That means theoretically if 4.0=1KT, then 550 tons would be about 3.8 on the Richter scale. (50 megatons would measure a little under 7.2, when it’s discussed people may just round it down to 7.0. If you look at that chart again, 50 megatons falls between 7.0 (32MT) and 7.5 (178MT)).

This depends on 1) how accurate the Richter reading is and 2) how accurately the Richter value can be used to determine the yield. From what I’ve read 1) would be pretty accurate, I have no idea on 2). Just from the chart I’d expect a 4.2 to be caused by a 2 kiloton bomb and expect a 550 ton bomb to generate a 3.8, but it’d be easy for me to be wrong on that.

Update: An all-too-relevant video clip. Content warning.

Update: North Korea’s ambassador to the UN wonders: where are all the congratulations?

Update: Next up for NK? Figuring out how to put the bomb on top of a missile.

Update: The Security Council has formally nominated Ban Ki-Moon of South Korea to succeed Kofi as Secretary-General.

Update: China received 20 minutes warning of the test from North Korea. Russia received two hours.

Update: Iranian state radio puts the NorK nuke test to good use by framing it as a logical response to economic sanctions:

“Not only did the United States not lift the sanctions it had imposed on North Korea, it even increased the diplomatic pressure. Such pressure finally led North Korea to conduct its nuclear test,” Iranian state radio said in a commentary.

“North Korea’s nuclear test was a reaction to America’s threats and humiliation,” it said.

Update: Defense Tech says the test was a major dud:

3.58-3.7 gives you a couple hundred tons (not kilotons), which is pretty close in this business unless you’re really math positive. The same equation, given the US estimate of 4.2, yields (pun intended) around a kiloton.

A plutonium device should produce a yield in the range of the 20 kilotons, like the one we dropped on Nagasaki. No one has ever dudded their first test of a simple fission device. North Korean nuclear scientists are now officially the worst ever.

Update: The Freepers remind us of yet another fabled set of Clintonian plans that were never acted upon.

Update: Just breaking on Fox News, a top U.S. official claims that the test produced a blast equivalent to several hundred tons of TNT — not even one full kiloton. That jibes with the South Korean estimate from last night and puts us back in the “implausibly low” box. What’s going on here? Are government officials lying to downplay the threat or did the NorKs really fail this badly? And if the latter, how do we know this was a nuclear test? I haven’t seen a single report confirming any radiation detection.

Update: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Darfur, Pakistan, Thailand, North Korea, and you can officially add Somalia to the list of the world’s “trouble spots”: the ruling Islamists have officially declared jihad on Ethiopia.

Update: Bolton’s submitted a resolution to the UN with 13 separate “elements.” I can’t find a copy yet, but topping the list is international cargo inspections of all ships coming and going from North Korea.

Update: Hastert lunges at his chance to change the subject.

Update: Bob Owens looks at the seismic data and says something seems odd.

Update: Chester’s on the same page as Bob and me.

Update: Dave from Garfield Ridge finds the moral of the story:

We are going to go to war with Iran.

If anyone cares to learn the lesson from the North Korean experience, it’s unavoidably this: any nation that is determined to acquire nuclear weapons will lie, cheat, and steal, for years and even decades, in order to get them, and no number of carrots will entice them to do otherwise. Iran’s intentions are precisely as clear as those of North Korea were ten years ago. Left unchecked, Iran *will* become a nuclear power. We either stop them now, or we repeat history again in the future. Only this time, rather than a nuclear-armed pariah state isolated by its neighbors and restrained by the most populous nation in the world, we’d face an unrestrained nuclear-armed state openly hostile to every single interest of America in the region, AND willing and eager to do something about it, including using terrorist groups to attack us and our interests.

Update: Jim Treacher e-mails re: Foley, “Remember Gary Condit? Remember how he paled in comparison? This is making me nervous.”