The World’s Creepiest Weapons (Nearly Ten Years Ago)
by Melissa Dykes, The Daily Sheeple
People always say that whatever technology The Powers That (Shouldn’t) Be are flaunting, whatever they keep all to themselves away from public consumption is likely decades into the future… and much, much worse.
So if these are the futuristic police state horrors they were talking about nearly a decade ago, can you even imagine what lovely little goodies they’ve got tucked away now?
Here are just a few examples via a Popular Science piece published May 9, 2008:
The Puke Flashlight
No, it’s not a rave toy gone horribly wrong, it’s another spooky tool making its way into the hands of law enforcement and the military. Designed as one of a growing body of non-lethal incapacitating devices, the flashlight uses ultra bright, rapidly pulsating LEDs to first temporarily blind and then induce nausea and sometimes vomiting. The pulses quickly change color and duration, which can cause psychophysical effects in many people (although to what extent varies significantly). The same effect is sometimes inadvertently seen by helicopter pilots when sunlight rapidly flashes through their rotors, disorienting them in mid-flight. The flashlight has obvious downsides—the victim must be in front of the light and must not think quickly enough to look away—but is a promising tool for non-violent enforcement.
The Israeli Army has developed a device they’re calling “The Scream,” which issues short bursts of highly tuned sound designed to get in someone’s head and stay there most uncomfortably until they leave the device’s range. The noise isn’t particularly loud and the effect is nothing like standing too close to the speakers at a rock show. Instead, it’s tuned to a specific frequency that targets the inner ear and disrupts a person’s equilibrium. The result is nausea and dizziness even after the sound is no longer broadcast. It is an unbearable sensation, and covering your ears is no defense.
Active Denial System
The U.S. Air Force has borrowed a page out of the Marine’s naming conventions book (see: Mobility Denial System) with a device more commonly known as the “heat ray.” The heat ray looks like a nondescript satellite dish, mounted on the back of a military-grade news truck. But instead of gathering and focusing radio waves coming in, the weapon focuses millimeter waves (similar to microwaves, but shorter) and sends them out. The effect of those waves against human skin produces a sensation of intense burning which people are reportedly only able to stand for a few seconds. The military claims the waves penetrate the skin by only one sixty-fourth of an inch and cause no lasting damage, but the system is still in the early stages and is as yet unproven in the field.
William Prescott readied his men at the Battle of Bunker Hill with the now famous words, “do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes!” Fortunately, his men were fighting in the American Revolution and not on the modern battlefield against the CornerShot, a weapon designed specifically so that the enemy will never see your eyes. A miniature camera and LCD screen sub in for the gunner’s “eyes” as the front half of the rifle bends around corners in order to shoot targets without the operator having to come into the open. It works by mounting a semi-automatic pistol to the hinged front half with remote linkage to the trigger at the rear and can swivel through a 120-degree range.
Just as “overactive bladder” replaced “incontinence” and “habit-forming” took the place of “addictive” in drug ads and pharmacies across the country, so too has the Pentagon obfuscated “chemical weapons” with the positively delightful-sounding moniker of “calmatives.” Only these aren’t anything you want to take into your bubble bath. The most recent developments in calmative weapons come from Fentanyl derivatives. They are massively powerful opiates—Carfentanil is a commercially available analogue used to tranquilize elephants—which are also highly dangerous. It is widely believed to have been the variant used by the Russian police against the Chechen rebels who held 850 people hostage in a Moscow theatre in 2002. Over a hundred of the hostages died from respiratory depression as a result of the exposure. Although these weapons are classified as “non-lethal” by the American military, it is clear they can very easily have dire consequences.
The Rods from God
This one would be the hands down winner for spookiest name if the award weren’t just a consolation prize—the Rods from God will do just fine competing for the spookiest weapon, regardless of name, thank you very much. They are a kinetic energy device like the railgun, but instead of using electricity to achieve destructive velocities, they use gravity. The still-hypothetical system would be comprised of two satellites in orbit around the Earth. One would house the communications and targeting hardware, while the other would house the rods themselves, each up to a foot in diameter and twenty feet long. To fire, they would simply be released and allowed to fall back to Earth (with a bit of remote guidance). By the time they reached the surface, they’d be traveling at a speed of 36,000 feet per second and carry the destructive force of a nuclear warhead, only with none of the radioactive fallout.
Modular Disc-Wing Urban Cruise Munition
Again, we’re fans of the colloquial name: robotic frisbees of death. Currently in development under the auspices of the Air Force, the frisbees of death are robotic drones in the shape of flying discs and are designed for short flights into difficult to reach areas, like the upper stories of tall buildings or behind unnavigable obstacles. Sent airborne from a modified skeet launcher, the drones can either fly automatically or be piloted remotely from the ground. They’ll be packed with armor-piercing explosives and can be set to detonate all at once or to disperse their payload over a range.
While the Pentagon continues to fund a woefully unsuccessful Star Wars project dedicated to shooting down missiles from space, the Air Force is on its way to having a modified 747 ready as early as 2009 to shoot down missiles from the sky with—you guessed it—a massive laser. Known as the Airborne Laser, the craft will house a multi-megawatt chemical oxygen iodine laser capable of hitting a target many hundreds of miles away. At its core, it’s the same basic technology as found in a drugstore laser pointer, only a billion times more powerful. While the craft is scheduled for its first live target test in 2009, the laser and the airplane have yet to be tested together.
The Gay Bomb
We return to the subject of spooky bombs with a device that never got any further than a three-page report. In the document, issued by a U.S. Air Force research laboratory in Ohio in 1994, the proposal was to develop a variety of bombs of uncommon ordinance (at a cost of $7.5 million), including: a flatulence bomb, which would stink so badly as to drive the enemy out of its hiding places; a bomb which would make the enemy sweat profusely; and a “halitosis bomb,” which would plague soldiers with bad breath. But the coup de grâce was the bomb now colloquially referred to as the “gay bomb.” Using a hypothetical aphrodisiac of remarkable potency, the bomb would spray the enemy with a substance that would quite literally turn them gay, causing the soldiers to become “irresistibly attracted to one another” and, we can only assume, forget that they were in the process of being bombed.
Never got any further than the little report, huh? So they claim…
(Read about even more future weapons of 2008 at Pop Sci)