Fringe Science Yields 'Gay Bombs' and Psychic Teleportation
2007 06 24
By Susan Donaldson James abcnews.go.com
Creating armor that renders a soldier invisible. Stimulating the brain to suppress sleep for days. Arming sharks with chemical implants and cameras to work as spies.
This year the Pentagon will spend $78 billion about half of all government research and development dollars on a variety of projects, according to the American Association for the Advancement for Science (AAAS).
The vast majority - about $68 billion - goes to traditional spending, like weapons development and space systems. But some fringe research mimics the best of science fiction.
There seems to be no failure of imagination in advancing warfare, but some experts fear these farfetched projects show a little too much imagination.
Just this month, the government confirmed that an Ohio Air Force laboratory had asked for $7.5 million to build a nonlethal "gay bomb," a weapon that would encourage enemies to make love, not war. The weapon would use strong aphrodisiacs to make enemy troops so sexually attracted to each other that they'd lose interest in fighting.
Last year, scientists at Boston University developed brain implants that could steer sharklike dog fish with a phantom odor.
Just three years ago, the military funded a specious study of psychic teleportation, according to the Federation of American Scientists. An 88-page report prepared by the Air Force Research Lab contended that moving through mind powers is "quite real and can be controlled."
"The military has a lot of crazy ideas," said Noah Shactman, editor of the Wired blog Danger Room. "But it's hard to turn these ideas into action."
In her book "Imaginary Weapons," military expert Sharon Weinberger writes that the federal government is spending taxpayer money on war technology at a pace of about $50,000 per second.
"If you don't support long-term investment in funding risky science and technology, you won't get breakthroughs," Weinberger told ABC News.
But investing in wacky weaponry can also have the opposite effect.
"There is more pressure to fund fringy things, much the same way a bankrupted person will be tempted to play the lottery," said Weinberger. "There is the risk that agencies starved of funding will invest in schemes that promise high payoff, but aren't a sound investment," she added.
The Spark Behind New Medicines and the Internet
Scientists are exploring beamed speaker systems that only one person can hear and foam that makes the enemy slip and fall. And they are using something akin to microwaves to penetrate the skin and make the enemy feel as if they're on fire, according to Shactman.
The controversial hafnium bomb originally a $30 million project to build a nuclear grenade never got off the ground. The idea was either "the beginning of a new superbomb, or the biggest fizzle since cold fusion," Weinberg wrote in a 1998 article in the Washington Post.
"When it comes to Pentagon funding it's important that imagination is tempered by two things: the laws of nature and the laws of the budget," said Weinberger.
Some of the military's most fantastical ideas come from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The $3 billion agency which laid the foundation for today's Internet says it is the "technological engine" for the Department of Defense.
Inspired by the U.S.-Soviet space race during the Cold War, DARPA's mantra is "to prevent technological surprise for us and to create technological surprise for our adversaries."
"We focus on research that has a high risk of failure, but if it succeeds, it makes a revolutionary difference in national security," said spokesman Jan Walker. "We spend a lot of time talking to the senior leadership to ask them, 'What are the things that keep you up at night?'"
DARPA is spending $15 million to use "megamaterials" developed by Duke University scientists to build shoot-through, invisible, one-way, self-healing shields for soldiers in urban battlefields. By bending light the wrong way, an optical trick can make objects disappear.
The agency created Stealth, Global Hawk, Predator and command and control systems that are being used today in Iraq. They also funded water purification systems and translation devices.
"We have a robust investment in urban warfare," said Walker. "We worried well before 9/11 about biological defense before the anthrax threats."
But Alexis Debat, senior fellow for national security and terrorism at the Nixon Center in Washington, D.C., told ABC News that many of these inventions have had "little value in the fight against terrorism."
"It's a very American thing to think that everything and anything can be solved by technology," said Debat, a consultant for ABC News. He said the military needs to focus more on human resources, recruiting more Arabic speakers and using old-fashioned police work in communities in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Military writer Weinberger agrees that weapons research is still dominated by projects more appropriate for the Cold War like the F-22 aircraft.
"It's a really fine aircraft with some great technology, but not of much use for the war on terror," said Weinberger. "It was proposed at one point that it could help hunt down IEDs (improvised explosive devices). But the idea of using an aircraft that costs in the tens of millions of dollars to defeat a homemade bomb that costs a few hundred dollars is a bit absurd."
Much of the focus of the latest research is in neuroscience. Researchers at Stanford and Columbia universities are exploring the use of magnetic stimulation to keep soldiers in battle awake for days while preserving their cognitive function.
The military industrial complex, coined in the age of President Dwight Eisenhower, is alive and well today, according to Debat, whose research into how Muslims fight is partially funded by the Department of Defense.
"It's an unwritten rule in the U.S. economy that defense companies play an important role in the stock market as anchors of stability," he said.
"Living here in Washington, you have no idea how we are inventing enemies," said Debat. "Hundreds of people are trying to figure out how to make China our enemy because there is so much money and power in the Pentagon."
Still, "risky" research can offer advances that have ramifications far beyond the battlefield.
DARPA is funding research to create a prosthetics arm that can function like a real hand. The device gives sensory perception back to the fingers through nervous system signals.
Researchers at MIT are developing an artificial "exoskeleton" that will not only diagnose a soldier's injury, but treat it.
Drugs have been developed to enhance aerobic function without lung injury.
Global positioning systems, composite materials for aircraft and many medical advances owe the military for their entry into the civilian world.
"Much has carried over into the economy, so if you put it all together, it's worth it," said Kei Koizumi, research and development policy director at AAAS.
"The technology was built on years of earlier science and development," Weinstein said. "No one woke up one day and said, 'I'm going to build a stealth aircraft.' So when you ask: Do we take national security risks if we don't try crazy things, my answer is, 'No.' Should we try risky things? Absolutely."
"Let's let U.S. enemies do crazy things," she said. "And let's make sure the U.S. government does smart things."
Article from: http://abcnews.go.com/US/
DARPA's ISIS Project Seeks Slow, Soaring Surveillance Superiority
Pentagon Prepares To Build $130bn Robot Army
Pentagon plans cyber-insect army
Pentagon to Global Cities -- Drop Dead
Warbots to Replace Human Soldiers?
Beam weapons almost ready for battle
Radio Frequency, Active Denial & Psych Weapons
Vehicle-Mounted Active Denial System (V-MADS)
Electromagnetic Weapons, Mind Control & New Technology
Latest News from our Front Page
Why Cant We Publish Addresses Of New York Times Reporters?
2014 11 28
New York Times reporters Julie Bosman and Campbell Robertson published the address of Darren Wilson in the New York Times so here are their addresses.
GotNews.com strenuously objects to publishing the addresses of individuals who are being targeted with death threats.
GotNews.com published the address of Ebola patient Nina Pham so that people could avoid going to her Dallas apartment.
But it would ...
Terrorists? Interview with Varg Vikernes and Marie Cachet
2014 11 28
Marie Cachet and Varg Vikernes are what we call commonly ordinary people. However, for motives meanly political, the Ministry of the Interior decided to abuse its power to damage them ; "there is nothing more annoying than a low man placed in high position." (Roman saying) Today, Varg risks the eviction of the French territory without valid ground. Three very ...
The Coudenhove-Kalergi Plan - The Genocide Of The People Of Europe
2014 11 28
Mass immigration is a phenomenon, the causes of which are still cleverly concealed by the system, and the multicultural propaganda is trying to falsely portray it as inevitable. With this article we intend to prove once and for all, that this is not a spontaneous phenomenon. What they want to present as an inevitable outcome of modern life, is actually ...
Starbucks Supports Pro-GMO Company
2014 11 26
Another reason why you should not go to Starbucks.
Starbucks has an image of being a socially responsible, environmentally friendly company (Really?). In 2013, 95 percent of their coffee was ethically sourced, and their goal is to reach 100 percent by 2015.1
Other goals include reducing water consumption by 25 percent in their company-operated stores by 20152 and mobilizing their employees and ...
Group Polarization and the Fad of Ethno-masochism
2014 11 26
From "Group polarization: A critical review and meta-analysis". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 6 50 (6): 1141--1151
The psychology of White self hatred. Political correctness IS a mental disorder.
Group polarization: A critical review and meta-analysis.
Isenberg, Daniel J. the paper
Harvard Professor Noel Ignatiev talks about how to end the White race
The History of Political Correctness
The Narrative: The origins of Political ...
|More News » |