Thursday, July 21, 2005

POP Goes the Weasel!

DewKid already e-mailed me a link to this same story on a different website, but I thought it would be a good idea to post it here, since that air car has been at the top of the list for waaaayyyyyyyyyyyyy too long.

In our (hopelessly bizarre) high school days, I, Seymour, and a few of our friends concocted a cartoon story scenario in which, in a very dark vision of the future, a nuclear accident results in the world being threatened by rapidly-reproducing, evil, communally intelligent, mutant babies.

Yes, you read that right. We were a twisted bunch, but made for some interesting cartoons (not to mention a reason not to pay attention during math class).

Anyway, the Mutant Baby War "series" was already well underway when I joined in, and perhaps my first contribution was the E-1 Babe-Burster, a futuristic strike-fighter equipped with, among other things, an ultra-high-energy microwave emitter on its belly. The plane would swoop low over a baby wave, cut loose with the "beamer", and voila! Pink, slimy popcorn!

Well, it made for some great, sick-humored laughs, but hey, that was high school.

Now, it turns out, the U.S. military is planning to deploy a spookily similar device in Iraq for mass slaughter riot control. I say spooky not only because the weapon works on a very similar, albeit lower-powered, principle to my E-1 Babe-Burster. I say it because of this:

But New Scientist magazine reported Wednesday that during tests carried out at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, participants playing the part of rioters were told to remove glasses and contact lenses to protect their eyes.

In another test they were also told to remove metal objects such as coins from their clothing to prevent local hot spots from developing on their skin.

They also said that the device causes "rioters" to feel intolerable heat within five seconds of exposure, forcing them to flee. That is, after all, the whole point.

But I ask you: if they use the thing for riot control, are they going to warn the people they beam to remove their glasses, watches, and pocket change? Are they all going to be able to get away within five seconds?



Vulgarius said...

I understand that it is tuned specifically for MEAT!

Catfish Johnny Redbeard said...

I had posted a similar notice over on Reload. Someone commented an interesting point - when US citizens descend on Washington DC to oust the current regime, expect to see a line of these machines ready to, er, disperse, American dissenters.

Anonymous said...

Eltigris growls: These will only be used for extreme circumstances for *cough*dissentingprotestors*cough* I mean... blatant terrorists seeking to tear down our way of democratic government - All hail the great leader *errk*. HUmmm wondering what idly what microwaves would act like going thru certain types of glass. Microwaves do weird things just ask a Microwave RF engineer.

Course in the old days they had guys stand out in front of a nuclear blast.. no worries wont hurt a bit... much ...just sign this waiver..

DewKid said...

They should hand out microwaveable popcorn bags before the riot, because that would be a fun way to make friends.

Corn Cob Bob said...

Don't even THINK about it.

DewKid said...

Think about what, Mr. Bob? Heeey.......

Corn Cob Bob said...


Vulgarius said...

Sorry Bob! But Im bringing lots of butter for the popcorn to watch those unwashed flee bitten granola crunching nihilistic hippie peace rioters combust in their own unwashed and overaccumulated body and cannabis oil from the comfort MY seat inside of that HUMMER!

Col. Harland Sanders said...

Our troops need these vehicles to keep back the crowds of appreciative Iraqis who continue to pelt our troops with flowers and candy everywhere they go.

With a little tinkering we can also use it to cook enough chicken to feed an entire town in a matter of seconds.

Freedom is on the march.

Vulgarius said...

I bet its got air conditioning also! :P

ladybug said...

"Soylent Green is people!"

Hmmmm, is that what Col. Sanders was refering too? Cooking up some good ol' Southern Fried PEOPLE!!!!????

I think I'm becoming a vegetarian....

Col. Harland Sanders said...

KFC stands for Kentucky Fried Colonel...
finger lickin' good

Pandabonium said...

Your "E-1 Babe Burner" is already under development using unmanned aircraft and returnable cruise missiles as this 2002 article discusses:

go to and
enter "microwave weapons" in the search box

Is that my neighbor flying his RC model again, or is it.... aaarrrrggg.... sizzle sizzle.....

Don Snabulus said...

I wouldn't touch that thing with a truck load of bowling balls.

Gack!!!!! said...

You rock, Vulgarius! Way to put those showerless traitors in their place...
which is as a fine layer of ash on the ground!

Corn Cob Bob said...

I am NOT amused.

Vulgarius said...

It has other good uses also!

Why bother packaging Pop corn when you can you can pop whole fields of it right off the cob whith this thing... Hmm a modified combine can scoop it and dust it with your favorite oils, cheeses and spices and bale... I mean...bag it for sale instantly...

Vulgarius said...

You rock, Vulgarius! Way to put those showerless traitors in their place...
which is as a fine layer of ash on the ground!

Thats rigth folks... violent nihilist revolutionaries who disguise themselves as noble dissenters can now realize their greatest w&t dream and become an instant flowerbed!

Annihilist said...

# The belief that destruction of existing political or social institutions is necessary for future improvement.

# A diffuse, revolutionary movement of mid 19th-century Russia that scorned authority and tradition and believed in reason, materialism, and radical change in society and government through terrorism and assassination.

Sounds more like the people in charge of the truck to me.

Perhaps the "ex-" in "ex-Trotskyite" is silent as applied to the PNAC crowd (as evinced by David Horowitz and much of the NRO crowd, and many now in charge of our foreign policy).

Ironies abound! Good call! Sound the grumpetus!

Annihilist said...


PNAC - Project for the New American Century: this group, in 1998, talked about a catalyzing event (such as 9/11) acting like a new Pearl Harbor to bring about a cultural change towards aggression. Members include Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz.

NRO - National Review Online: This publication attempts to warp the concept of constant aggression into a conservative framework. A number of the writers are "converted" Trotskyite Communists. The result is more Stalinist than Trotskyite and barely resembles true conservatism.

Vulgarius said...

"# The belief that destruction of existing political or social institutions is necessary for future improvement.

# A diffuse, revolutionary movement of mid 19th-century Russia that scorned authority and tradition and believed in reason, materialism, and radical change in society and government through terrorism and assassination."

Actually what you have described is this:

"when US citizens descend on Washington DC to oust the current regime, expect to see a line of these machines ready to, er, disperse, American dissenters"

Dissenters protest at worst and revolutionaries are violent with few exceptions. Two distinct things.

51% of the "The Current Social System" placed this government in Washington. I dare say reaffirmed it there. The truck as described is manned by people who are sworn to defend the descisions of that social system from enemies foriegn and DOMESTIC. They will uphold it Whether they agree with its conclusions or not. On both counts you lose.

You merely define yourself by chance as one who wants to violate that current social system by removing the government which that "Current Social System" elected of its own free will.

Do not confuse dissent with insurrection.

Duh? Cant you just wait for the next election when it leaves on it's own? Or do we have to make good people take sides in a shooting rebellion?

DewKid said...

In any event, I want one of those babies. I bet the drag alone triples the gas mileage!

Imagine using the ray gun to zap that BMW that just cut you off, and zipped past you. FAP! A whole new age of road rage....

Annihilist said...

I pusha de button and Pop Goes the Grumpetus!

I actually didn't care one way or the other ('cuz all sides suck). I just like to control people with artificial internet adrenaline.

Thanks for obliging me. ;)

Vulgarius said...

Pardon my vulgarity but revolting talk makes me .....MMMMBUUURP!

1:28 PM

Some Unwashed Hippie said...

51% of the "The Current Social System" placed this government in Washington. I dare say reaffirmed it there.

Yep. And for the first time in U.S. history, they all did it using the same model of voting machine, which was produced by one (Republican-owned) company. All of those machines were connected to the internet, and there is no reliable way to verify the results, not to mention accountability for the security thereof.

And even with such a "reliable" election system, the "the social system" (the) still only managed slightly more than half.

I think that's a good, sound "social system" that we should defend against dissenters with indiscriminate weapons, don't you?

Hmm - dissenters are evil. I guess we should all still be loyal to the British Crown, then, shouldn't we? After all, in the 18th century, the conservatives were against the idea of a revolution. Those evil liberals!

But what do I know? I obviously have long hair and smoke dope!


The Moody Minstrel said...

If I might part the bile a bit to chime in at this point, I have a very simple question that I noticed no one has bothered asking.

They say they are deploying these things to Iraq for "riot control". What riots are they talking about? The only serious riot in Iraq I remember was when the huge group of Shiites formed to keep the American military out of their most sacred shrine. I remember that the Colonel in charge of that operation advised the U.S. forces to back off with their weapons held over to their heads.

So just what are they really planning on using those scary rigs for, anyway?

Vulgarius said...

A common tactic used is to force civilians to block a road with people. Some or all of whom are terrorists and armed. At that point when the convoy stops an ambush is sprung causing many civilians and to get killed in the crossfire. US Soldiers are put in a no win situation. Thus creating a media frenzy like which has been all to common these days.
It is hoped that forcing the crowd to disperse before the main body of a convoy without gunfire will cause far less civilian fatalities and render one of the terrorists most deadly tactics useless.

There are other uses such as where the local davidia... I mean Mahdi Militia is concerned. They frequently drive protests where soldiers are forced into siuations where they must either defend themselves or get killed by Mahdi militiamen who mix with the crowds.

Of course that is better than just shooting them? Right?

Vulgarius said...

All Jokes aside Here is some more info:

New weapon may reduce
civilian deaths in Iraq

By Steven Komarow
USA Today

Troops in Iraq will soon be shooting an experimental weapon that fires an invisible beam of energy instead of bullets to repel insurgents without killing civilians.
Millimeter-length radiation fired by the Active Denial System penetrates just below the surface of the skin to cause an excruciating burning sensation until it is turned off. Extensive testing has shown no lasting damage, the military said.

The weapon will be demonstrated in public this summer and in Iraq within months. It is the first in what could become a catalog of energy beams that aim to ease one of the war’s toughest problems.

Troops guarding checkpoints, bases and convoys regularly face oncoming people or vehicles of uncertain intent. Troops open fire rather than risk a bomb attack.

Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari complained about mistaken shootings to U.S. officials, and the U.S. command in Iraq asked the Pentagon this spring to speed shipment of the non-lethal beam weapons.

The first prototype, developed for the Marines, sits atop a special Humvee that has a hybrid gasoline-electric drivetrain. The propulsion batteries double as a power source for the gun, which looks like a satellite dish and is aimed with a joystick.

“It is not a silver bullet, but it will help our Marines and soldiers from having to go lethal before it’s necessary,” said Sue Payton, deputy undersecretary of defense for advanced systems and concepts.

The ADS is one of a range of “directed-energy” weapons, some dating to president Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” programs. Already being tested in the field are low-power lasers that would temporarily blind opponents.

The ADS follows more than a decade and $50 million of research into millimeter-wave weapons. The Army plans a version for its Stryker vehicles, and the Air Force is developing an airborne variant.

One major concern is public acceptance of the weapon.

“We have tested this thing every way from Sunday” to make sure it’s safe, Payton said, adding that she had insisted scientists fire the gun on a raw egg to make sure the 95-gigahertz beam wouldn’t cook it like a microwave oven.

“Initially, it felt like someone had opened an oven door, and you felt a rush of heat,” said Rich Garcia, a spokesman for the Air Force Research Labs, who was one of hundreds of test subjects. “Within milliseconds, it became intolerable.”

Annihilist said...

Kidding aside, it looks like an RPG catcher that could cauterize watches to wrists and contact lenses to eyes for people who are knocked down in the chaos of using the device.

Expensive. Vulnerable. May not kill, but can still maim. Sounds like yet another path to problems to me. Pepper spray is cheaper and more effective for crowd control.

I'd like to own stock in the company that made it though.

DewKid said...

I don't see proof one way or the other that it can maim. Scientists say they are concerned (that's a good thing), so hopefully the military can proove their point.

... and now, the top 10 test candidates for the new weapon:

#10 - The Kurds (Saddam would approve)

#9 - Reality Show Audiences

#8 - Reality Show Producers

#7 - Ryan Seacrest

#6 - Anybody who thinks Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are a "cute" couple.

#5 - Janet Jackson's Wardrobe

#4 - The Red States

#3 - The Blue States

#2 - Just Florida

... and the number one test canidate for the microwave ray gun....

#1 - That guy who does the Verizon "Can you hear me now?" commercials.

DewKid said...

Speaking of riots:

Annihilist said...

I don't have evidence of how microwaving a human being could maim them either. I've never owned a microwave oven or seen what it does to chicken or bread or a fork, especially a fork. I apologize for my quick statements.

Well, back to the S & M lab to figure out more ways to hurt people...

Don Snabulus said...


Chill people. Yeah, it is a military device. Yeah, it is experimental. Yeah, it has potential to save lives. Yeah, it has potential to take lives (as do all experimental things).

Using it domestically would be a disaster for everyone involved.

However, the thing that is most true about it is that we know basically squat about the details. So much hot air has been spent over very little info.

(God, I hope they get that Verizon guy.)

DewKid said...

It's all a matter of level, my friend.

Think about the UV you take in every day walking around outside. Now, go inside, and turn on a long-wave UV lamp unprotected for about 2 minutes, and see how you fair (I've seen this, by the way - its not pretty)

All I was saying, is that I have no evidence one way or another that this device can maim - maybe it can, maybe it can't. Your microwave oven isn't proof that this device is deadly! Water can maim too, under the right circumstances.

As Snabby points out, there is sooooo little information in this one article, its impossible to know the truth.

I said that the scientists being concerned was a good thing. If there is concern, gather more data, and make some conclusions.

(grumpetus, grumpetus, grumpetus)

Don Snabulus said...

ptttttttttttt :P

The Moody Minstrel said...

Still, I guess I should thank Vulgarius for providing information that is a few steps closer to concrete than what we had before.

But that statement that they asked their test subjects to remove their coins, watches, metal buttons, glasses, and contacts to avoid unnecessary damage does make one cringe. Even if they use the device to disperse civilians that have been forced by terrorists to block a road, someone has already pointed out, pepper spray can do the same thing.

(Ha ha Verizon guy in Japan!!! Nyah nyah nyah!!!)

Pa've said...

I've heard about this weapon for quite some time.

It works by irradiating a very thin layer of your skin, causing it to heat just like a sunburn.

Like all dispersive ray devices, the closer you are to the source, the hotter you will get, so, if you see one of these barreling down your neighborhood, don't be in front of it.

Carry a refelctive foil emergency blanket, see if it refelcts the radiation or catches on fire.