Scientists first discovered invisible gamma-ray flashes in Earth's atmosphere in 1991. This year, the radiation burst, known as dark lightning
, was discovered to be linked to regular lightning flashes.
Will you get zapped by dark lightning when flying through a thunder cloud? A single burst can give an airline passenger a lifetime's safe dose of ionizing radiation. But it is rare enough that, for now, the risk is thought to be minimal. The US Naval Research Laboratory is rigging balloons and aircraft to further study the radiation burst threat
posted by eye of newt
on Aug 18, 2013 -
Did you hear the one about the KKK-member in NY who made a death ray?
In a weird twist, he targeted Jewish Groups--for sales. "An industrial mechanic with General Electric Co., who is also allegedly a member of the Ku Klux Klan, designed a deadly, mobile radiation device that he tried to sell to Jewish groups and then to a southern branch of the Ku Klux Klan, according to a federal complaint unsealed Wednesday in Albany" (found via TPM
posted by saulgoodman
on Jun 19, 2013 -
Solard Death Ray: Power of 5000 suns! [SLYT]
The R5800: made from an ordinary fiberglass satellite dish, it is covered in about 5800 3/8" (~1cm) mirror tiles. When properly aligned, it can generate a spot the size of a dime with an intensity of 5000 suns! This amount of power is more than enough to melt steel, vaporize aluminum, boil concrete, turn dirt into lava, and obliterate any organic material in an instant. It stands at 5'9" and is 42" across.
posted by Fizz
on Jan 30, 2011 -
Archimedes Death Ray: Idea Feasibility Testing.
Ancient Greek and Roman historians recorded that during the siege of Syracuse in 212 BC, Archimedes (a notably smart person) constructed a burning glass to set the Roman warships, anchored within bow and arrow range, afire. The story has been much debated
and oft dismissed as myth. TV's MythBusters
were not able to replicate the feat and “busted” the myth. MIT
posted by mrkredo
on Oct 11, 2005 -