Category Archives: weapon

bunker buster

via WIRED

U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency is creating a tool to bore through the earth to reach underground facilities. The Massive Ordinance Penetrator (MOP) can bore through up to 60 feet of concrete (depending on the type).  But it is rumored that Iran is developing an ultra-hard concrete, challenging the Pentagon to develope a stronger tool.

Using some German engineering, these tools are able to detect voids and soil densities. Additionally, the Strategic Technology Office of DARPA is investing in sensor technologies “that find, characterize and identify facility function, pace of activity, and activities in conjunction with their pre and post attack status.”

-le

Advertisements

historical (hyper) fiction

Walid Raad is a Lebanese artist who, under the name “The Atlas Group” exhibits a collection of documents related to the wars in Lebanon from 1975 to 1991. The documents range in format from photography to video, and each more or less addresses some aspect of effect of the wars. Each set of documents is also accompanied by a story. In the collection titled “The Thin Neck Files,” Raad produces a series of 50 photographs of engine blocks surrounded by a group of people. The story goes that when a car bomb explodes, the only piece remaining intact is the engine block, which is often thrown hunders of feet in any direction. With the more than 3,600 bombs detonated over the course of the wars, there developed a competition between reporters to be the first to photograph the scene when the engine was found.

Another file catalogs the notebooks of a Dr. Fakhouri, one of which is esplained as such:

“Each of the notebook pages includes a cutout photograph of a car that matches the make, model, and color of a car that was used as a car bomb, as well as text written in Arabic that details the place, time, and date of the explosion, the number of casualties, the perimeter of destruction, the exploded car’s engine and axle numbers, and the weight and type of the explosives used.”

While some of the documents are related directly to the war others are more tangential, such as another notebook of Dr. Fakhouri, which provides detailed accounts of a gambling scheme set up by historians of the Lebanese wars involving a racetrack. From the files:

“It is a little known fact that the major historians of the Lebanese wars were avid gamblers. It is said that they met every Sunday at the race track — Marxists and Islamists bet on races one through seven, Maronite nationalists and socialists on races eight through fifteen.

Race after race, the historians stood behind the track photographer, whose job was to image the winning horse as it crossed the finish line, to record the photo-finish. It is also said that they convinced (some say bribed) the photographer to snap only one picture as the winning horse arrived. Each historian wagered on precisely when — how many fractions of a second before or after the horse crossed the finish line — the photographer would expose his frame.”

The documents presented by Raad serve to show the different aspects of the wars, and how they affected the city of Beirut and the national psyche. Although not at first apparent, all the documents are completely fake. Raad’s explanation is that the wars, now 20 years past, are still completely denied by the government, and no official accounts exist of what actually happened. Thus, a fictional archive such as that of the Atlas Group is actually a more realistic portrayal of the wars than the official history.

This is very interesting for our project because it shows how fiction can serve to create a deeper understanding of a situation, especially when dealing with sensitive issues like war. It also uses formats typically reserved for factual accounts to create alternate scenarios of the past. We can use similar techniques of fictional documents, news reports, documentaries, etc., to produce a vision or representation of our scenarios for the future. It would also be interesting to use the same tools to critically examine the past and highlight those aspects that have an affect on our future scenarios.

I highly recommend checking out the complete archives online or checking out the show if it comes around.

-dn

Energy from Chile’s Earthquake

“This morning’s devastating earthquake in Chile (8.8 on the Richter scale) had an energy equivalent of approximately 15.8 gigatons of TNT (31,600,000,000,000 lbs). To put that in perspective, it is about as much energy as would be released by 300 of the largest thermonuclear bombs ever built (the USSR’s Tsar Bomba, detonated in Novaya Zemlya in 1961).”

Someone’s post about today’s earthquake.  I just thought it would be interesting to keep exploring the energy aspect of these natural disasters, especially in terms of man-made bombs.  Check out how small Hiroshima is in comparison.

-yb

Nonlethal Weapon

95 GHz-millimeter-wave directed energy

A new nonlethal weapon developed by the military has been certified for use in Iraq. It uses a 94GHz (=3mm wavelength) to create a burning sensation on the skin, so unbearable that it makes its victims runaway.

“The crowd is getting ugly. Soldiers roll up in a Hummer. Suddenly, the whole right half of your body is screaming in agony. You feel like you’ve been dipped in molten lava. You almost faint from shock and pain, but instead you stumble backwards — and then start running. To your surprise, everyone else is running too. In a few seconds, the street is completely empty.”

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2006/12/72134