Imaginary Weapons was authored by a careless and inexperienced  writer, Sharon Weinberger, an individual innocent of both the technical issues of which she tried to write and of the political manipulations of those in whose service she placed herself. As a book, Imaginary Weapons proved worthless in both style and content, sales were meager and customer reviews were harsh. Most of the book consists of a smear campaign against what she calls "an obscure Texas Professor" designed to discredit a surprising scientific discovery actually made in 1998 by an academic team of diverse, international dimensions. Carelessly written, but meticulously indexed, it served the needs of the politicians surrounding the writer as a source of quotable denigration, even though it was cited as "made-up nonsense" or often worse in blogs and customer reviews. Facile reference to the discredited nonsense penned by Sharon Weinberger destroyed careers, misled Congressional appropriations, and derailed promising technological advances. One could reasonably have wondered what it had all been about, but by the end of 2006 many of us thought that at least the media war against that "obscure" Texas professor had expired....and anyway, it had all been about money, not science.... But by the end of 2006 the science did not look so bad after all, and the scent of money was once more in the air. This time the Washington "Beltway Bandits" were not to miss out on the  ... John Gibbons

John Gibbons
Owns his own lobbying firm, Resource Strategies nearby Washington, DC

" ...real money...."

No one was buying the book before (or after) it was reviewed in Jan, 2007, but the prestigious news magazine for Physics allowed John Gibbons, a lobbyist and poseur, to write another slander of the early Hf triggering experiments claiming it to be a relevant "book review" of Imaginary Weapons. Among the considerable amount of venom was:

"...scientist Carl Collins, [the obscure one] who hyped the results of a bad 1998 experiment and, over the course of several years, doggedly sold his dream to people in the defense community for untold money. It was, at best, a case of selling "snake oil...."

Of course, John Gibbons never came to a scientific review nor did he talk to any of the scientists who succeeded in triggering hafnium isomers.
John Gibbon's scientific basis for his vicious review (of isomer triggering, not Imaginary Weapons) was stated as:

"In a nutshell, the Hf proponents urged federal officials in the Pentagon and the US Department of Energy to produce gram quantities of the isotope 182Hf and excite it into the high-spin isomer 178Hfm2, which has a relatively long half-life of about 30 years....little analysis is required to show that production of the needed quantities of the Hf  isomer would be horrendously expensive."

To every scientist, this statement is completely ridiculous. Stable isotopes from which isomers could be made are sold by the gram by ORNL However the isotope 182Hf is not stable and that is why no one ever considered or talked about making isomers from it.
So, how could a lobbyist write such scientific nonsense in a respected professional news magazine. In another paragraph he writes about:

"...real money [that] can be squandered beyond belief...."

Physics Today Cover


His motivation is clear
.
How did his "book" review get accepted for publication?

By reviewing the inaccurate contents of the book as opposed to reading the confirming research published in peer-reviewed professional journals during the nearly one decade since the "bad 1998 experiment," John H. Gibbons was able to further propagate the profitable political slant instead of providing scientific insight. The abstract of the publication of the most recent experiments conducted at higher powers, follows:

Proof of triggering

No mention of a Hf bomb here, nor was there ever any such mention or intent in the academic work.

It is standard politics when denigrating scientific work to snipe at the beginning of an investigation when results are small, "always near threshold," and can be believed only by the "snake oil" salesman producing them. Well, above in the published work there is a picture of "events" shown by peaks that could be likened to the heartbeats observed in popular ER dramas on the TV. Actually they are the numbers of gamma rays emitted by a sample of Hf-isomers, when a beam of X-rays from a sophisticated synchrotron source (the World's best one) is turned onto (black) and off of  (red) the sample of isomers. The big peak in both red and black data is for calibration of the horizontal scale. Most people seeing the data would agree that, except for the calibration peak, the red curve is "flatline" meaning the sample is "dead." On the other hand, the black curve shows that shining the X-rays on the isomers makes the sample "alive" and we see it emitting gamma rays in the peak at "2457" on the horizontal scale. 

Only part of the first page of the most recent article is shown above. The rest of the article can be found and read by anyone. It reports all of the details needed to reproduce the very same results. There's no "snake oil" in the work; the only "snake oil" is in the Gibbons review. 

Now we understand that Imaginary Weapons by Sharon Weinberger was all about the money; about keeping costs up and secured in the favored laboratories; and about developing a confusion between cost and value to suppress an open appraisal of the merits of the many Hf-isomer triggering results published in the peer-reviewed literature during the past decade.