a Someone should care, maybe not you....: Mad Science! .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Someone should care, maybe not you....

My thoughts on many things including the army, war, politics, the military corrections system, chaos, life, books, movies, and why there is no blue food. Feel free to comment on what I say. Feedback is nice.

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

25 March 2008

Mad Science!

Awhile back I got a link in my email from an old friend, you know him as Anonymous, to an article about some Pentagon non lethal weapons systems. The one that was REALLY interesting was one called Microwave Hearing. In this buzzing, clicking, or knocking noises are heard within or immediately behind the subjects head. When microwaves are beamed at a person with just the right frequency a phenomena called thermoelastic expansion takes place in the brain which our cochlear system picks up as sound. Since the phenomena was first discovered over thirty years ago much research has been done to discover how it works, why it works and what side effects there may be. Also of course to see if it could be made useful somehow. Exact details of how it works involved math so I am not going to go into it. Why it works is obvious, temperature changes cause expansion and things make noise when they move. The scientist who did the studies say that the amount of energy used to produce the effect is so small that there are no side effects. As for useful? Well there was work done on tuning the microwaves so as to transmit understandable words. In one experiment mentioned in the Freedom of Information release the sounds of a person counting from 1 to 10 were beamed to a subject who heard them while microphones placed around the subject picked up no sounds. They say it has an effective range of hundreds of meters. Possible uses include sending instructions to someone or disrupting or confusing others by putting voices in their head. the effect is almost instantaneous so it is feasible. I am not sure how man portable such a system would be. I suspect it would take a fair amount of poser to work so I suspect not very. but who knows, we keep coming up with better batteries all the time. So the next time someone says "The voices in my head told me to do it!" Perhaps, just perhaps, they really did.

The article that my friend linked to me was written by Lisa Zyga on Physorg.com. I was less than impressed by her reporting since she describes this and other projects mentioned as "non lethal torture" Now I personally don't think non lethal weapon systems are torture. Given a choice between making someone very uncomfortable or killing them I vote for uncomfortable in most cases. Ms Zyga should rein in her biases just a bit.
Here is the link to her article. Article

And here is the link to the D.O.A. Freedom of Information release dated Dec 13, 2006.
It is a PDF file. F.O.I. pdf file

There are several other non lethal systems mentioned in the file including using microwaves to raise body temp to simulate a fever. (I hate to walk around with a fever, let alone riot.) Using electromagnetic pulses to scramble the nervous system, sort of like inducing an epileptic fit. (that one was still strictly theoretical as of 2006) Using sound to induce nausea. And some talk of using lasers to induce temporary blindness. I still think the voices in your head is the coolest though.

One thing I did notice is a mention in the part about inducing a fever like state via microwaves of something called the Pound Proposal in which it is proposed that instead of heating the air in our houses we should just use microwaves to heat us instead. Interesting no?

As long as were are talking about "Mad Science" I would like to direct you to the Web Comic Girl Genius by Phil and Kaja Foglio. Pretty much anyone who played Dungeons and Dragons in the 80's should recognize that name from the comic strip he rna in Dragon magazine. Girl Genius is not at all related but is instead a "gaslamp fantasy" which is defines by the authors as "The genre is popularly called "steampunk." Expect big, clanking Victorian-style tech, old-fashioned clothes, Frankenstein monsters and airships. Lots and lots of airships. Is it magic? Is it science? A little of both, I supposeā€“it's Mad Science."

It is quite fun. Go, and read it from the beginning.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mean me?

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, I'm the one that sent that mail.

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, you two sort it out.

9:18 PM  
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3:20 PM  
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3:58 PM  

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