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Fry me with a nuke
January 25, 2007 5:21 AM   Subscribe

Wanna get nuked? the Active Denial System [just say no?] was launched yesterday - its a microwave ray gun that makes people feel like they're going to catch fire. Wasn't there a ray gun at a certain point in a book we trashed a while earlier?
posted by infini (46 comments total)

 
If production won't be online until 2010 for battlefeild use, I have to think the thing must have serious power or other problems which make it useless as a real weapon.
posted by humanfont at 5:45 AM on January 25, 2007


These kinds of non lethal weapons are the perfect for totalitarian governments. Raytheon will make a mint from China alone. It's funny that it makes you feel like you're going to ignite because the thought of the Bush administration having this to use against Americans and their no you see them, now you don't constitutional rights, makes my blood run cold. Let's hope he and his minions are nowhere near the White House.
posted by Skygazer at 6:05 AM on January 25, 2007


A little reflective shielding and you can microwave pong.
posted by srboisvert at 6:12 AM on January 25, 2007


Can I wear a tinfoil suit and hat? Or will that amplify the effect?
posted by exlotuseater at 6:13 AM on January 25, 2007


I believe the type tested yesterday was 'Silent Guardian', built by Raytheon for domestic and short-range military use. The larger model will not be ready for some time (built by CPI?) - it may be that there are problems with delivering 2-2.5MW in a mobile scenario. They are designed to be truck-mounted however.

There are also legal/ethical problems - is this a torture device?, etc - and I suspect the burn and blister symptoms have not quite been evened out to the degree we have been led to believe. I can't see either of those proving too much of a barrier to implementation by the US military though.
posted by KuiperCliff at 6:13 AM on January 25, 2007


This is a terror weapon, and i think it will work out very badly. The "Denial" part makes reference to the common denial everybody is in by expecting it will only be used on brown people. Within a year of deployment it will be used on american civilian demonstrators. People won't like getting burned, i assure you that. One future day of war, ogrish will carry a video of an american soldier roasting for hours in front of one of these things, at the hands of insurgents (?) but hey - its non lethal.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 6:16 AM on January 25, 2007


What happens if the crowd you're trying to disperse have thin sheets of rigid metal, or metalized foamcore boards, pointing back at the operators?

How hard would it be to make lightweight parabolic dishes to bounce the microwaves back at a specific focus intended to cause the operators or their forces harm?

In a place like Iraq, if you're trying to disperse a Sunni crowd, how hard would it be for a few Shia to get some satellite dishes to bounce the microwaves back into the crowd as moving pinpoints of lethal intensity?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:31 AM on January 25, 2007


I thought that said "Wanna get naked?" and I was all "Hell, yeah!"

Nuked, not so much.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:36 AM on January 25, 2007


I love how the BBC or Reuters or someone finagled a reporter into letting him- or herself be exposed to this beam. I'm all like, no way - Raytheon's assurances of the longterm harmlessness of exposure I find incrementally less convincing than the "atomic blasts are perfectly healthy" noise the Army put out circa 1956.
posted by adamgreenfield at 6:53 AM on January 25, 2007


Also, infini, it would appear that you beat me to the punch(line) by about half an hour. Heh.
posted by adamgreenfield at 6:54 AM on January 25, 2007


The purpose of this weapon is to exact more control on people who already have a legitimate point that the US establishment exacts too much control on their lives. Am I wrong?
posted by alizarin at 7:02 AM on January 25, 2007


Can I wear a tinfoil suit and hat?

Yep. You don't even need to go that far. A loose wire mesh will reflect microwave wavelengths quite nicely.
posted by three blind mice at 7:15 AM on January 25, 2007


so instead of protesting and rioting, people will just have to commit sabotage and acts of terror to get their point across
posted by pyramid termite at 7:22 AM on January 25, 2007


wouldn't foil shielding burn you instead. Foil in a microwave oven shoots jets of flame.
posted by subtle_squid at 7:23 AM on January 25, 2007


I feel like this represents a real low point for us as a society, maybe as a civilization.
posted by crackingdes at 7:34 AM on January 25, 2007


is this a torture device?

It will be.
posted by Artw at 7:38 AM on January 25, 2007


ROU_Xenophobe: you could probably deflect the radiation away from you or at least block it. Refocusing the energy seems problematic. Even with sun beams, which provide a convenient bright spot where they're being deflected at MythBusters had trouble getting a group of people all pointed in the same direction. Invisible radiation would only make it orders of magnitude harder.
posted by substrate at 7:39 AM on January 25, 2007


. . . a boot stamping on a human face -- forever.
posted by four panels at 7:51 AM on January 25, 2007


Fry me with a nuke,
Oh turn me gray and full of scars
Let me see what life is like
As my skin smolders and chars.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:57 AM on January 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


Between this discussion and this other concerning the Bush admin's arbitrary murky self serving understanding of habeas corpus, things aren't looking so good...
posted by Skygazer at 8:27 AM on January 25, 2007


Yep. You don't even need to go that far. A loose wire mesh will reflect microwave wavelengths quite nicely.

So to avoid 21st C. fascist oppression we'll need 13th C. feudal attire like chain mail?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:28 AM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


adamgreenfield: terribly sorry and all that

these are the kinds of innovations, hah, technological advances, that could be better put to use creating alternate energy sources or saving the fishes or some such thing. you know?

nice poem astro zombie
posted by infini at 8:31 AM on January 25, 2007


I meant the money put into developing that thing... of course it will probably put us in jupiter one day yadda yadda
posted by infini at 8:33 AM on January 25, 2007


Is this the long rumored Maser or something completely different?
posted by smackwich at 8:43 AM on January 25, 2007


All the protest-busting of a firehose, with none of the messy cleanup!
posted by Optamystic at 8:47 AM on January 25, 2007


ADS
... 'cause killing's too good for you dirty f*cking hippies!
posted by nofundy at 8:48 AM on January 25, 2007


smackwich: the 'maser tank' is employed on the western Pacific Rim as we speak.
posted by KuiperCliff at 8:52 AM on January 25, 2007


Excluding make-believe, I'd focus on how thermal receptors on skin work.
The system uses tiny waves, which only penetrates 0.4mm of the skin, just enough to cause discomfort. By comparison, common kitchen microwaves penetrate several centimetres of skin. The system was developed by the military, but the two devices currently being evaluated were built by defence contractor Raytheon.
So it is physically overheating people, plain and simple ! No fucking way this thing doesn't produce consequences. I wonder what could happen with reflections and other phenomenons of radiation. What if it goes off scale going deeper then 0.4 and producing permanent, but hardly visible damage ?

I bet all the cryptofascist out there are creaming their pants at the tought of a portable version, these fucktards never think it will be used on them.
so instead of protesting and rioting, people will just have to commit sabotage and acts of terror to get their point across
Of course not, you will be able to protest and riot in "protest and riot zones" convenienty located in some prison or in the desert, for YOUR security. There is no right in the Constitution to protest organizedly...alas, it's a reason for suspension of habeas.

That, or it means your are teh terrorist ! Also, there is nothing to protest, peace is war, sex is bad, work is love , 2007 is 1984.

Which is scary, which induces fear in the government...with elicits irrational obedience...the mere mentioning that ray gun "works" is a deterrent.

Which solicits a demand for countermeasure ! Even if it is found people may not be aware of its existence or how to get some, somebody may also decide it is a wise idea to attack the truck and destroy it, justifying an escalation of violence.

It's use in police operation should be forbidden at once nad military aren't interested, but in killing swiftly. So why produce it, to bring democracy to Iraq the U.S. style ?
posted by elpapacito at 8:59 AM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's going to have to get a lot hotter than 54 degrees- I've been in saunas that hot.

From the first link, describing another program to create an artificial "black ice" to deter pursuing vehicles:

It is hoped that the same programme will come up with a "reversal agent" that will stop US military vehicles from slipping on the ice.

For some reason that sentence actually made me feel better about the whole thing.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:24 AM on January 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


How much you want to bet that in 15-20 years and with the usual trend towards miniaturization, that these start trickling into the hands of the general public? I'm picturing gangstas and dirtbags driving by malls, random crowds, and so forth having a field day. It's silent and can be invisible. And of course ways will be found to jack up the power.
posted by calhound at 10:25 AM on January 25, 2007


Also yeah, it penetrates only 0.4 mm of skin, but what about the eyes? This sounds like a great way to get cataracts.
posted by calhound at 10:26 AM on January 25, 2007


Even if the military's claims of non-lethality of the ray gun itself are 100% true, won't many people die by trampling if this thing is used on a crowd? If the exits are constricted, you could be talking about dozens or even hundreds of people getting crushed in the panic and confusion that is sure to occur. Especially if people can't see where they or going or think clearly because, well, it feels like their clothes are about to catch on fire.
posted by SBMike at 10:42 AM on January 25, 2007


Previously on Mefi.
posted by quin at 10:52 AM on January 25, 2007


If it can happen to chickens it can happen to you.
This is why a good exit strategy is important in any situation.
posted by isopraxis at 11:09 AM on January 25, 2007


aw crap.
posted by isopraxis at 11:10 AM on January 25, 2007


try this instead.
posted by isopraxis at 11:12 AM on January 25, 2007


I'm picturing gangstas and dirtbags driving by malls, random crowds, and so forth having a field day. It's silent and can be invisible. And of course ways will be found to jack up the power.

You won't even need miniaturization for this to happen; it'll take the place of loud stereo systems as the antisocial abusive tactic du jour.
posted by davejay at 1:12 PM on January 25, 2007


Science marches on.
posted by vronsky at 1:17 PM on January 25, 2007


To the "oh, I'll just carry a parabolic mirror around" crowd: yeah, sure, I'm sure we can all afford a 2 meter high micro-wave reflective surface. AND remember to carry around with you every time you go out in public.

Oh, and, uh, they stopped making hand grenades, because we realized that they can totally just throw them back at you.
posted by tehloki at 5:26 PM on January 25, 2007


I feel like I'm about to catch fire *all the time*. Does that mean the Active Denial System will have no effect on me?

And if you want a torture device, a better idea might be the Proactiv Denial System, in which the interrogator forces the interrogatee to watch Jessica Simpson's skin-care commercials until the detainee Gives It Up.
posted by diddlegnome at 8:48 PM on January 25, 2007


Will it still be effective if I actively deny that it exists?
posted by NaturalScinema at 9:29 PM on January 25, 2007


Yeah, this should go great beside insistance of a very narrow definition of torture.

Looking forward to a future where every cop carries a gom jabbar.
posted by dreamsign at 1:32 AM on January 26, 2007


And wtf is this supposed to mean:

By comparison, common kitchen microwaves penetrate several centimetres of skin.

Oh well then, that's alright. Cause I've rigged my mw to work with the door open and regularly bathe in the radiation.
posted by dreamsign at 1:35 AM on January 26, 2007


I wonder how civil rights lawyers are going to conclusively link the slow rise in skin cancer rates after they deploy this thing into the American heartland.

Horribly inhumane weapons of pain: not just for herding brown people anymore.
posted by tehloki at 7:17 AM on January 26, 2007


Does it violate international law, and could it be used for torture? Retired Marine Col. Gary Anderson says: “Why would I want to use an $8 million weapon [when I can use] a 25-cent pen knife?”
posted by homunculus at 3:40 PM on January 26, 2007


'cause this is legal and leaves no mark? I'm sure there are bucketloads of people who would give upwards of that to torture people in an effective, legal, undeniably painful and untraceable manner; quite a few of them in this administration to be sure.
posted by tehloki at 8:56 AM on January 29, 2007


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