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US Military Eyes the Glow of Fireflies

samzenpus posted about 4 years ago | from the get-some-glowing dept.

The Military 98

GarryFre writes "According to the AP: 'Someday, the secrets of fireflies or glowing sea plankton could save an American soldier in battle, a Navy SEAL on a dive, or a military pilot landing after a mission. That's the hope behind a growing field of military-sponsored research into bioluminescence, a phenomenon that's under the microscope in laboratories around the country. This phenomenon is noteworthy because this produces light without wasting energy because it does not generate any heat. A possible military use of bio-luminescence would be creating biodegradable landing zone markers that helicopters can spot even as wind from their rotors kicks up dirt.'"

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Wasn't this in GI Joe? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33549672)

Didn't Cobra do something similar?

Just cut out the middle man... (2, Funny)

Deathnerd (1734374) | about 4 years ago | (#33549680)

And give us glow-in-the-dark soldiers!

Re:Just cut out the middle man... (-1, Offtopic)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | about 4 years ago | (#33549980)

Or glow in the dark porn. It would be "A night in Paris." reimagined. :p

Re:Just cut out the middle man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33550182)

U.S. government: Any amount of taxpayer money for killing people and destroying property. So, yes, eventually any weird thing you can imagine.

Re:Just cut out the middle man... (4, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 4 years ago | (#33550428)

LOL Gay Bomb. [wikipedia.org]

Since when is the military "green"? (1)

Ruke (857276) | about 4 years ago | (#33549702)

Florescent lights also produce light without generating heat, as do LEDs. What makes them unsuitable for military applications?

Re:Since when is the military "green"? (4, Insightful)

caladine (1290184) | about 4 years ago | (#33549746)

I take it you haven't touched your CFLs/Fluorescents or LEDs in a while. Both generate heat, it's just considerably less than traditional incandescents.

Re:Since when is the military "green"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33552144)

Oh dear!

In WW2, lighting a cigarette could do you in, and in Vietnam, that lesson and Chewing gum did not exactly stick. A mobile phone screen display of 2010 screams 'Hit me'

Every EM spectrum is monitored for differences, including IR targeting lasers and the like, and the electronic signatures or night vision glasses. No exceptions. Car engine heat is easily spotted.

Often they will overlay one picture with the other and FFT changes. Captain - there is a marine electroluminescent glow 20 miles inland - response is quite guessable.
If they can 'see it' so can the enemy. If the enemy is poor and can't afford a $300 bolo whatever, then yeah, may have limited use. But OLED's and filters have a much brighter future.

Re:Since when is the military "green"? (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 4 years ago | (#33553466)

If they can 'see it' so can the enemy.

Not if the screens actually only appear in your mind. They are making some progress, not sure if they'll succeed that soon or at all in producing hires displays that you can see in your "mind's eye".

Re:Since when is the military "green"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33556628)

If you've read FreedomTM then you'll know of the 3rd eye technology depicted in that story. It's pretty sick. Still, the components may not use heat or light to display, but they give off signatures none the less.

Re:Since when is the military "green"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33550092)

The Air Force at least goes to considerable lengths to reduce our environmental impact and to be "green". Sometimes it's a pain in the butt.

Re:Since when is the military "green"? (1)

Vlado (817879) | about 4 years ago | (#33558598)

LEDs produce huge amounts of heat, if they're really bright.

I scuba dive and LED's are (as in most fields) the way that underwater flashlights are going to. For most of the LED-based underwater flashlights the rule is that you should not have them on for any extended amount of time (5 minutes or more) above water. If you do, you run risk of severely overheating and damaging them.

Re:Since when is the military "green"? (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | about 4 years ago | (#33560184)

No heat? Surely you jest. Maybe you me Cold cathode lights, but the last time I touched a flourescent when it was on it was plenty warm.

See through dirty wind (1)

DrugCheese (266151) | about 4 years ago | (#33549730)

Otherwise known as dust. What makes them think just because it's a biological source that somehow the light will penetrate places other light cannot?

Re:See through dirty wind (2, Informative)

catbutt (469582) | about 4 years ago | (#33549758)

That was never implied. All that was implied was that it could be a more convenient and biodegradable that other ways of putting luminous markers. As for seeing through the dust, it helps because it is luminous....doesn't matter that it is biological.

cocksucker.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33549858)

cocks matter.

Re:cocksucker.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33550004)

cocks matter.

if you're an AppleFag, an iQueer, or a MacCocksucker.

remember you purple triangle loving dicklickers, AIDS is the Anally Injected Death Sentence. lots of drug users have enough sense not to share needles but how can a faggot be a faggot without sharing the cock?

Re:See through dirty wind (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 4 years ago | (#33550074)

That was never implied. All that was implied was that it could be a more convenient and biodegradable that other ways of putting luminous markers. As for seeing through the dust, it helps because it is luminous....doesn't matter that it is biological.

No it wasn't implied, it was directly mentioned as a feature.
From the article:

A possible military use of bio-luminescence would be creating biodegradable landing zone markers that helicopters can spot even as wind from their rotors kicks up dirt.

emphasis mine. If the statement ended with "that helicopters can spot." I would agree, but they added the additional reason that they could be seen through the flying dirt. I'm pretty sure that regular markers are capable of being seen through flying dirt because they are 'luminous' as you mention. So the inclusion of the 'see through dirt' means it was a reason they want them. Which is a ridiculous statement for the reporter to make.

Re:See through dirty wind (1)

catbutt (469582) | about 4 years ago | (#33550138)

No, you are reading it wrong. (a tip might be the obviousness of the fact that being biological doesn't magically change the ability of light to penetrate dust)

Here, let's say that X = "landing zone markers that helicopters can spot even as wind from their rotors kicks up dirt"

Now, read the sentence with my emphasis:

A possible military use of bio-luminescence would be creating biodegradable X.

It's not ridiculous at all. It's just that you put the emphasis in the wrong place, and wrongly inferred the connection between "kicking up dirt" and the "bio" on "bioluminence". The kicking up dirt part is the reason they need luminecent things in the first place. The "bio" part just makes them biodegradable or otherwise practical.

Re:See through dirty wind (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 4 years ago | (#33550296)

You're saying the same thing I am. Which is that if the driving force was to create biodegradable landing lights the statement is fine.

It says that the goal is to create biodegradable landing lights that can be seen through flying dirt.

I see 3 possible reads of the statement:
1. It's quite redundant since as you say *any* luminenscence can be seen through the flying dirt.
2. It is implying that non-biodegradable lights can't be seen. Which we agree is false.
3. It actually means that one of the driving forces is to create biodegradable lights that somehow have 'additional' features of being seen through flying dirt.

Comments further down suggest that perhaps '3' is the answer in that the biodegradable lights might emit infrared light, which can be seen through the dirt, perhaps even better than visible light.

Re:See through dirty wind (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#33551616)

Existing landing lights can be seen through dust, that's not the problem. There are existing bioluminescent lights (at least in labs, probably not in military deployment), but in spite of their efficiency the overall output is quite low. They are two independent sets of constraints:
  1. The light must be bright enough to penetrate a certain amount of dust.
  2. The light must be biodegradable.

Re:See through dirty wind (1)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | about 4 years ago | (#33561186)

A fair reading, but I would still say that the original statement is misleading.

By your reasonable definition, they should have said "create biodegradable lights [that are strong enough] to be seen through flying dirt".

Re:See through dirty wind (1)

mpeskett (1221084) | about 4 years ago | (#33551878)

Contrast against markers that aren't lit at all; if you just painted a mark on the ground then it might easily be obscured by the dirt kicked up in landing. Add some lights and it becomes visible through a certain amount of dust. Add some biological whatever and it becomes biodegradable. You could probably also have a biodegradable marker that wasn't luminescent, but that would be easily obscured by dust.

Using some firefly-like biological light source is useful because it's both luminescent (an advantage over unlit markers) and also biodegradable (an advantage over other light sources).

You are so fucking stupid. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33549818)

Really. To degrees nearly beyond reckoning. But I will try and strike you with some quantum of sense. Mister Idiot (if I may address you so formally), nobody suggested this light would penetrate dust or other occlusions! Now, brace yourself for the shocking revelation! Rather, they believe these materials would, having been scattered on the landing surface, might be in the dust! Imagine that!

Re:You are so fucking stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33549922)

So making even a small percentage of the dust thrown up by the landing chopper GLOWING is supposed to make it EASIER to land?

There's someone who IS so fucking stupid, but it's not who you seem to think it is.

Re:You are so fucking stupid. (2, Interesting)

trum4n (982031) | about 4 years ago | (#33550232)

Current landing markers do not light up. They are basically colored sand bags.

Re:See through dirty wind (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33550098)

Also mentioned in TFA was that they want to modify the proteins to emit far red infrared. This spectrum of light has the capability to penetrate dust and smoke.

Re:See through dirty wind (3, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | about 4 years ago | (#33550338)

Even better, it's not visible without vision enhancing equipment, so it won't draw attention to the soldier using it.

Re:See through dirty wind (3, Informative)

RichiH (749257) | about 4 years ago | (#33552308)

Unless the enemy cheats and uses the US-exclusive infra-red spectrum.

Re:See through dirty wind (1)

PitaBred (632671) | about 4 years ago | (#33554072)

The enemy is typically nearly destitute any more, with minimal technology. They're lucky to have explosives and bullets for the most part, and everything else is scavenged from consumer level stuff.

Re:See through dirty wind (1)

RichiH (749257) | about 4 years ago | (#33554850)

1) Who tells you the enemy, whoever that might be, isn't well-funded?

2) IR night-vision goggles are cheap.

3) Take the filter out of any webcam, any point-and-shoot or just use a stock phone cam and you can see IR.

Re:See through dirty wind (1)

Lord_Byron (13168) | about 4 years ago | (#33580328)

Understood. However, the history is that we haven't fought a war against an opponent with that level of technical sophistication since Korea. They do other innovative stuff, and plenty of it, but things like night vision and computer-based situational awareness systems just don't seem to be happening very much.

And maybe the next fight is against someone who can see in the dark, in which case this just won't be as effective. That happens all the time, it's just the nature of war.

Re:See through dirty wind (1)

RichiH (749257) | about 4 years ago | (#33580458)

In an age when you can simply order military-grade night-vision goggles from ebay or build a working one from a cell phone and a cardboard box, "level of technical sophistication" is not a concern any more.

Cylumes (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33549736)

WTF is wrong w/ break and shake cylumes? Consumer versions are pretty small, but they could be made bigger.

Re:Cylumes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33549984)

They are non-biodegradable. Reading the summary is good. Reading and understanding is better. You represent the failures of the education system as you obviously neither read nor understood.

Re:Cylumes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33550172)

Ahh, I see now.
They want to leave biodegradeable cylumes behind, because the non degradeable ones fuck up the depleated uranium rounds, and all the other fun stuff they leave lying about. uhh huhh

Re:Cylumes (3, Interesting)

acnicklas (1740146) | about 4 years ago | (#33550018)

The military has them up to about three feet. Possibly larger, but those are the biggest I've personally used.

Re:Cylumes (1)

Taibhsear (1286214) | about 4 years ago | (#33562008)

They are sold commercially as well. We had them at a store I used to work at.

Your tax dollars at work, sposorng the next fad (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33549752)

Just as battleships were hot, then nukes were hot, then mind-reading and mind-control was hot, then IT was hot, now biotech and robotics are hot.

Lotsa money will go in on "strategic" grounds, and who will get what will, as usual, depend on how well connected they were before they left the army.

Welcome to the world of MIC. Want a piece of the pie too? Then join the service.

Would you like to know more?

Re:Your tax dollars at work, sposorng the next fad (5, Insightful)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | about 4 years ago | (#33549862)

now biotech and robotics are hot.

You know, of all the things the military could be spending money on, I really can't bring myself to complain about this... Funding science is pretty much the only nearly universally accepted upside to having a military.

Re:Your tax dollars at work, sposorng the next fad (-1, Offtopic)

causality (777677) | about 4 years ago | (#33550014)

now biotech and robotics are hot.

You know, of all the things the military could be spending money on, I really can't bring myself to complain about this... Funding science is pretty much the only nearly universally accepted upside to having a military.

Or more specifically, to having a standing army during a time when no war has been declared by Congress, the only entity authorized to do so by the Constitution.

Re:Your tax dollars at work, sposorng the next fad (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 years ago | (#33550204)

Well, that's why the US is continually in a state of war. Certain people and companies have a vested interest in making sure that the tax dollars keep getting shovelled into their pockets.

wait, wasn't this the kind of thing he was warning (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 4 years ago | (#33565946)

Dwight Eisenhower was a damn dirty, America-hating pinko!
Hell, he even has a foreign-sounding name!

mmmmm, I love the smell of cognitive dissonance in the morning. Smells like profit !

Re:Your tax dollars at work, sposorng the next fad (1, Interesting)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about 4 years ago | (#33550040)

You know, of all the things the military could be spending money on, I really can't bring myself to complain about this... Funding science is pretty much the only nearly universally accepted upside to having a military.

Even better is that our military isn't small, or underfunded. Having a military like Liberia's leaves you with no room for R&D, unlike the US military, which has more money going into R&D than active duty personnel in combat operations.

Re:Your tax dollars at work, sposorng the next fad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33550060)

This isn't "funding science". This is funding pet pork projects of former military brass, with the "results" kept under lids to spare those who profit. These are funneled into re-election campaigns and so on until the end of days.

That's why Slashdot learned about the millions spent on mind control several decades after the fact.

Donating this money randomly to public universities and letting them choose what research to do, instead of having them do various patent gimmicks would have worked million times better.

Re:Your tax dollars at work, sposorng the next fad (2, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#33551212)

ah, science, military style, what proportion of orange juice needs to be added to gasoline to make sure that the best results are obtained to burn people alive? They already figured that out of-course and found better additives than orange juice too, something glycerin based I suppose. Pulling rocks into space to drop them on heads of people who wear turbans with best precision, that's the more current stuff, isn't it?

Re:Your tax dollars at work, sposorng the next fad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33552150)

Actually I don't think Orange Juice would work well as a thickening agent for Gasoline. Haven't tried it.
Found this about the concept.

          "In the film Fight Club, the screenwriters were originally going to have Tyler Durden (played by Brad Pitt) recite a working recipe for napalm. However, after questions of safety were brought to the attention of the producers, they substituted his lines with a fake recipe claiming it to be equal parts of gasoline and orange juice concentrate. Contrary to popular belief, the original recipes in the Fight Club book were also modified by its publisher[needs proof]. The book's altered recipes claim that, in addition to orange juice, mixing equal parts gasoline and diet cola, or thickening gasoline with cat litter, will work."

Now here is an idea that I think that I will send to the MythBusters.
Gasoline, Diet Coke, and Mentos.

Re:Your tax dollars at work, sposorng the next fad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33565618)

This. I'm a little surprised this research isn't already being done by companies selling light bulbs. It's amazing some of the obvious research topics that are only delved into because of government research. I guess the adage holds true that corporations are there to make money with what they already have, not to come up with new ideas. And in the modern market of encouraging monopolies and discouraging government intervention in cases of corporate abuse, there's little chance for newcomers with research ideas to break large corporate strangeholds on the market.

Re:Your tax dollars at work, sposorng the next fad (1)

MachDelta (704883) | about 4 years ago | (#33549878)

+1 Starship Troopers reference.

Re:Your tax dollars at work, sposorng the next fad (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 4 years ago | (#33556632)

It's the wrong starship troopers, though.

Re:Your tax dollars at work, sposorng the next fad (1)

neo0983 (837728) | about 4 years ago | (#33549998)

We are researching how these bugs are able to adapt so quickly to our army stumbling around on klendathu. CENSORED Would you like to know more?

Re:Your tax dollars at work, sposorng the next fad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33550466)

Would you like to know more?

that made me chuckle... : P

The Office of Naval research has done this before (4, Interesting)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | about 4 years ago | (#33549774)

Back in the 1950s Johns Hopkins offered a penny a piece for each live firefly you gave them. Lots of kids got pocket money, but the population noticeably dropped for the next couple of years.

Re:The Office of Naval research has done this befo (4, Interesting)

grcumb (781340) | about 4 years ago | (#33549966)

Back in the 1950s Johns Hopkins offered a penny a piece for each live firefly you gave them. Lots of kids got pocket money, but the population noticeably dropped for the next couple of years.

They've not only researched it, they've used it in combat. I'm afraid I don't have an online reference, but I recall reading in a National Geographic magazine in the late 70s or early 80s that Japanese and Allied officers used bioluminescent plankton and mold to read maps and documents in the Pacific theatre during WWII.

Re:The Office of Naval research has done this befo (2, Funny)

pspahn (1175617) | about 4 years ago | (#33549996)

Sounds to me like a good way to get your battleship sunk by an enemy that had access to lightbulbs.

Re:The Office of Naval research has done this befo (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 4 years ago | (#33550284)

I don't know if it really happened, or was just in the script for Apollo 13, but the movie has a story about Lovell following a bioluminescent plankton trail to find his carrier at night.

Re:The Office of Naval research has done this befo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33561970)

That isnt even necessary. Put map on the ground or a surface, drape a blanket or jacket over your head over the map, and use a regular flashlight. The enemy won't see it and you see the map. I swear, the obvious is so non obvious to people today.

Re:The Office of Naval research has done this befo (1)

ian_from_brisbane (596121) | about 4 years ago | (#33550668)

Lots of kids got pocket money, but the population noticeably dropped for the next couple of years.

Fireflies or kids?

Re:The Office of Naval research has done this befo (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 4 years ago | (#33566328)

Back in the 1950s Johns Hopkins offered a penny a piece for each live firefly you gave them. Lots of kids got pocket money, but the population noticeably dropped for the next couple of years.

I think that probably has more to do with the prevalent overuse of DDT for everything, including as a potato salad additive.

See landing makers through dust? (3, Interesting)

Rejemy (78237) | about 4 years ago | (#33549810)

By the time the rotors are kicking up dust from the landing area, isn't it a little late to be looking down at landing markers anyway?

Re:See landing makers through dust? (1)

Moridin42 (219670) | about 4 years ago | (#33550028)

For the pilots, yeah probably. For the crew chief hanging out the door, not at all. And they have radios.

Re:See landing makers through dust? (4, Insightful)

SheeEttin (899897) | about 4 years ago | (#33550270)

Only if it's a single helicopter. If you've got several choppers coming and going in quick succession, then it could be a problem.
Although how biodegradable landing markers help visibility in clouds of dirt and dust is beyond me...

They've researched bioluminescence before (4, Interesting)

Plazmid (1132467) | about 4 years ago | (#33549814)

One of the reasons bioluminescence gets researched by the military so much is because bioluminescent plankton create flashes of light that interfere with submarine laser communication systems. As plankton and submarine laser communication systems like to use wavelengths of light that transmit furthest in water(blue-green).

Cheap solution: Kids in Iowa (2, Interesting)

RyoShin (610051) | about 4 years ago | (#33549832)

When I was a kid, we'd capture fireflies and put them in empty soda bottles. When we wanted them to light up, we'd shake the bottle real hard. I think the army can handle that.

One check please.

Re:Cheap solution: Kids in Iowa (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about 4 years ago | (#33550024)

What about animal welfare?

Bang bang, firefly! (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#33552010)

I don't know about Iowa because I don't live there. But at least the animal abuse section of the Indiana Code [in.gov] appears to apply only to vertebrates, which fireflies aren't. So feuer frei!

Re:Cheap solution: Kids in Iowa (1)

kaoshin (110328) | about 4 years ago | (#33550372)

When I was a kid we did the same thing but instead of shaking them in a bottle we would put them on the ground and smash them with a baseball bat to watch them explode in the dark like fireworks.

Re:Cheap solution: Kids in Iowa (1)

that IT girl (864406) | about 4 years ago | (#33552804)

Have you ever accidentally squished one with the windscreen wipers? It leaves a trail of glowyness across the glass that still lights up for like ten minutes. Gross but fascinating.

Light Without Heat? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33549846)

Doesn't that violate some law of physics?

Re:Light Without Heat? (1)

turbidostato (878842) | about 4 years ago | (#33549950)

"Doesn't that violate some law of physics?"

Hummm... gotta study on this...

Where's my DoD grant, now?

AP For Crying Out Loud (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33549894)

Slashdot has been beaten more than once in recent memory (2-3 months) with decent "News for Nerds" type stories by the likes of cnn.com and foxnews.com. Sure its an AP news feed but what makes slashdot special that it simply reposts AP articles with a summary?

Get relevant again. Stop catering to nerds who don't already pick up main stream media. You do that you're only segmenting yourself from relevancy even more. Besides that most of your readership understands a dip in relevant news stories. Statistically speaking you can't post X stories every day without averaging lower for a time. /More than a little disappointed and anonymous.....

Probably short term only, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33549934)

Why not use gps tracking or something similar. Aren't jets all HUD'd up anyway? Just add a minimap to that like in GTA or any other video game. Seems like that would be great until enemies just start targeting all gps transmitters (like they do with heat sources now).

Pukelitzer prize strikes again (1, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | about 4 years ago | (#33549962)

This phenomenon is noteworthy because this produces light without wasting energy because it does not generate any heat.

Oh, for Cthulu's sake! Of course it generates heat. It's a freaking irreversible chemical reaction happening at room temperature.

Just because it doesn't generate as much heat as a magnesium flare doesn't mean it doesn't generate any heat. Geniuses.

Re:Pukelitzer prize strikes again (1)

watermark (913726) | about 4 years ago | (#33550256)

This phenomenon is noteworthy because this produces light without wasting energy because it does not generate any heat.

Of course it generates heat. It's a freaking irreversible chemical reaction happening at room temperature.

In most cases, that's true. But it doesn't necessarily have to be true. If the increase in entropy is large enough, Gibb's free energy can still be negative at room temperature and therefore the reaction could happen spontaneously without generating heat.

Re:Pukelitzer prize strikes again (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33550320)

Actually, the efficiency of the firefly type of bio-luminescence is something on the order of 98%.

So, if you're not an entropy nazi, yeah, it is indeed a "cold light".

Dont let peta know :P (2, Interesting)

neo0983 (837728) | about 4 years ago | (#33549974)

Dont let Peta find out about this but fireflies in a glass jar work fairly well and I am sure are far cheaper than researching how they do it.

Re:Dont let peta know :P (1)

PitaBred (632671) | about 4 years ago | (#33550370)

They aren't terribly long-lived, though.

Re:Dont let peta know :P (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33550750)

With PETA's backing, we'll have genetically altered humans with the firefly "glow" gene that we can stick in a bottle and rattle around.

Fireflies (3, Funny)

siride (974284) | about 4 years ago | (#33549978)

Would this just attract a bunch of pubescent, emo girls? They could be more dangerous than terrorists.

Re:Fireflies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33550162)

Whats the difference between terrorists and a woman on her period?

You can negotiate with a terrorist.

Yea.. I posted anon, cause I know this joke will upset people.

Re:Fireflies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33550838)

I think you hit the nail on the head there. The landing zone thing is just a ruse, and the true purpose of the research is to create a truly terrible weapon...

Re:Fireflies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33574144)

what do u mean by dat

Supoena Bill Watterson (1)

rrognlie (79008) | about 4 years ago | (#33550036)

Calvin has been trying to figure out which muscle to flex for decades...

I do believe, I do! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33550052)

It's a well-established scientific fact that bioluminesence is produced by a simple mixture of faith, trust, and pixie dust.

Fireflies... (1)

David_Hart (1184661) | about 4 years ago | (#33550226)

I thought that these were called glow sticks... You'd just have to change the casing from plastic to some bio-degradable casing..

David

Looking for ways to spend money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33550248)

Is this kind of spending really needed? The US military already so wildly overpowered technically that it seems like just an excuse to spend tax payer's money.

Academia (1)

slasho81 (455509) | about 4 years ago | (#33550286)

This article demonstrates how researchers get grants from the military for research completely unrelated to warfare. It's all about the framing.

I'm all for this kind of behavior.

Does anyone else think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33550436)

the scientist pictured in the article is cute?

Re:Does anyone else think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33552488)

This is Slashdot. It's a picture of a girl in a labcoat holding glowing liquid in a test tube. Many keyboards have been made sticky because of this, and I don't mean Mountain Dew.

Re:Does anyone else think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33552630)

Come on, not all Slashdotters are that disgusting. There's also gonna be quite a few socks that can stand on their own now. Let's just hope their mom uses hot water to do laundry so we don't have too many brother dads running around with neckbeards.

time to cheap out (4, Funny)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | about 4 years ago | (#33550540)

Maybe I'm overthinking this but wouldn't it be A LOT cheaper on the research budget if they just develop a shatter resistant hampster ball that they can fill with actual fireflies? Then they could drop that out and make a landing zone marker with it.

Re:time to cheap out (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 4 years ago | (#33553240)

Seems about as plausible as the current government program training bees to sniff for explosives.

Game over? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33550562)

So long as they can't cut the power, we'll be alright?

GAME OVER MAN, GAME OVER!!!!

Don't Panic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33550688)

The universe is a rather large place, I'm sure somewhere in it bio-luminescence powered biodegradable landing beacons grow.

Mod Down This Is A Troll (3, Insightful)

tirefire (724526) | about 4 years ago | (#33551072)

Hey you know what else saves the lives of our beloved GIs?

Not fighting optional wars. (Rimshot) [instantrimshot.com]

Re:Mod Down This Is A Troll (1)

TheLink (130905) | about 4 years ago | (#33553522)

For my tiny country of 20+ million people, if our political leaders ever _starts_ a war against another country, it could actually be patriotic to kill those leaders.

Yes, depending on the border we could have more oil/fish or less. But many rich countries don't have that much in terms of natural resources.

In fact in many countries that have lots of oil or other natural resource, the leaders don't need the people, and so don't care at all - they just split the wealth between some foreigners and themselves.

Foxfire and the submarine Turtle (1)

dtmos (447842) | about 4 years ago | (#33551696)

As TFA states, soldiers have used bioluminescent creatures in battle for centuries. One of the first military submarines, the Turtle [wikipedia.org] , used foxfire [suite101.com] (a bioluminescent fungus) to light the controls for the operator during the US revolutionary war.

Fireflies are soooo 1950-ies.... (1)

Dr La (1342733) | about 4 years ago | (#33551792)

Back in the early '50-ies my dad was serving in (the then) Dutch New Guinea, at the time that the Indonesians started their commando infiltration campaigns.

My dad told me how on night patrols they used to put some fireflies in their breast pockets, shining through the fabric, so that they could identify each other in the dark without being obviously visible from afar.
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