Friday, March 23, 2007

Inside the Danger Room

Sorry for the absence, just extremely busy. But real quick, in case you haven’t found Noah Shachtman’s latest blog venture on your own – let me do the honors of pointing it out to you.
First, Noah started the ever metapresent Defense Tech back in the day, covering like no other resource I’ve found the monstrosity of the defense industry with all its associated technomilitaristic tentacles, but recently decided to shift camp to the Wired world of things. That space, with many of the same collaborators from Defense Tech, is now aptly titled -- the Danger Room.

Let me give you a quick tour:

Okay, so, suppose your city is hit with a dirty bomb and all your buildings are instantly radioactively infected, who you gonna call? Well, apparently there is a “superabsorbing hydrogel” in the works that may one day allow dudes to just simply spray and wipe all the radioactive materials away with a foam, kinda (hypothetically at least) like Lysol – as easy as scrubbing the tub; the architectural hazard of post-war residue suddenly lathered out of existence.
Noah also spoke with Darpa’s top chief Tony Tether “about everything from bio-terrorists to zombie rodents to thinking machines to the golf courses in Iraq." Yup, just go read it.
Not a Darpa toy per se, but this should give you a little example of the Pentagon’s experimental war toy laboratory at work:
In addition to the Air Force’s ADS (Active Denial System), essentially a non-lethal lightwave gun that makes you feel as if you “have been dipped in molten lava”, there is a new full-scale crowd-stunning 7.5m candlepower flood light that can be mounted to an UAV which would fly over the mob and unleash a massive strobing lightbeam that will cause temporarily paralyzing effects on anyone standing within it. I know, nutty. Find out how it works, though, here.
And just to make sure the operators of such overhead weaponry are properly alert and neither overly nor under rested, the Air Force is also investigating sleep-fighting lights that could help do away with the current use of “go-pills” which keep soldiers amped to fight. Craziness. Lamps that deprive you of your sleep, stimulate hyper war vigilance, and optimize you for proper fighting frames of mind.
In case these guys are facing heavy attack, the Army has determined a new type of field armor for them. Let’s call it,……wood. Yes, wood. I quote: "Although tree wood may not seem like the most impenetrable defense for soldiers in tents and under attack, when combined with fiberglass and plastic it creates a sturdy shield against exploding mortar fragments."
There is something so poetic about that, wood in the face of full-on guerilla warfare. All that stands between life and death in Afghanistan, is wood. Wood! Start stacking your pile now.
How about armor on a more domestic scale, how about defending, say, cars from car thieves? Again, who you gonna call? Well Ghostbusters might not be that far off this time. Check out this fog machine that goes off when a car gets hijacked. Or better yet, check out this tesla coil forcefield?

Needless to say, Danger Room is one helluva resource. Keep your eyes on it, every day, go there, be blown away by the topics, the coverage. It’s crazy in there.

[The above image has nothing to do with anything related to this blog o post, except that I like its pristine plainess, its unrendered and unassuming banality, as if something vastly mysterious must take place inside. Nevertheless, it's a product as pictured on this site.]


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