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50 Years of Research and Still No Microwave Weapons

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the feeling-hot-hot-hot dept.

The Military 154

DevotedSkeptic writes in with a story about the lack of usable microwave technology to come from 50 years of military research. "For some Pentagon officials, the demonstration in October 2007 must have seemed like a dream come true — an opportunity to blast reporters with a beam of energy that causes searing pain. The event in Quantico, Virginia, was to be a rare public showing for the US Air Force's Active Denial System: a prototype non-lethal crowd-control weapon that emits a beam of microwaves at 95 gigahertz. Radiation at that frequency penetrates less than half a millimetre into the skin, so the beam was supposed to deliver an intense burning sensation to anyone in its path, forcing them to move away, but without, in theory, causing permanent damage. However, the day of the test was cold and rainy. The water droplets in the air did what moisture always does: they absorbed the microwaves. And when some of the reporters volunteered to expose themselves to the attenuated beam, they found that on such a raw day, the warmth was very pleasant. The story is much the same in other areas of HPM weapons development, which began as an East–West technology race nearly 50 years ago. In the United States, where spending on electromagnetic weapons is down from cold-war levels, but remains at some US$47 million per year, progress is elusive. 'There's lots of smoke and mirrors,' says Peter Zimmerman, an emeritus nuclear physicist at King's College London and former chief scientist of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in Washington DC. Although future research may yield scientific progress, he adds, 'I cannot see they will build a useful, deployable weapon.'"

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You say it like it is a bad thing. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41356425)

I say we have enough weapons already, how about drooling over something that doesn't kill or maim for a change?

Re:You say it like it is a bad thing. (3, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 years ago | (#41356495)

RTFA. This is a tool to stop an assailant without doing permanent damage.

Re:You say it like it is a bad thing. (5, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41356697)

More likely it is a tool to disperse protesters without those incriminating head cracking videos.

Re:You say it like it is a bad thing. (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about 2 years ago | (#41357613)

More likely it is a tool to disperse protesters without those incriminating head cracking videos.

So, there is no value in dispersing protesters without having to crack heads? [thenational.ae]

Re:You say it like it is a bad thing. (5, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41357691)

It makes it way too easy to disperse peaceful protestors when their message is politically inconvenient. The people you linked to were not protesters, they were rioters and anything but peaceful. A water cannon would have done a better job than the microwave weapon anyway.

Re:You say it like it is a bad thing. (3, Interesting)

cold fjord (826450) | about 2 years ago | (#41358279)

A water cannon would have done a better job than the microwave weapon anyway.

Especially in desert countries with primitive plumbing and sewer systems.

The people you linked to were not protesters, they were rioters and anything but peaceful.

So you wouldn't object to using it on them then?

It makes it way too easy to disperse peaceful protestors when their message is politically inconvenient.

They can already be dispersed with ultrasonics or chemicals which would leave no photos and limited trace. If the government is going to cross the line to coercion it is going to cross the line. The problem isn't the nature of the weapon so much as the nature of the government. Totalitarian countries are totalitarian due to the behavior of the government, not because of the weapons they have.

Re:You say it like it is a bad thing. (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41358921)

When you design a weapon that is inferior in every way except that it's use leaves no obvious traces, it has only bad uses.

That applies to ultrasonics as well.

Re:You say it like it is a bad thing. (3, Insightful)

cold fjord (826450) | about 2 years ago | (#41359075)

When you design a weapon that is inferior in every way except that it's use leaves no obvious traces, it has only bad uses.

So, having an effect while being less likely to kill, maim, or injure, than rubber bullets, baton rounds, riot batons, etc., is essentially a design flaw then. Don't you think that democratic governments have a responsibility to minimize the harm to its citizens, if possible, even when coercion is necessary?

Re:You say it like it is a bad thing. (1, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41359247)

It is far more likely to torture or maim (when it works at all) than a water cannon all without risking the backlash of photojournalism. The latter part makes it more likely to be used when, in fact, a legitimate government would respect the right to peaceably assemble and a less legitimate one would otherwise tolerate it in order to avoid making the protesters into media heroes.

When I say inferior in every way, I mean that it is less likely to actually work in real world conditions than a fire hose while costing more. As for the liklihood to injure or maim, we don't actually know how harmful it might be. If it causes pain, it is quite likely to be doing damage. Once it's out of the hands of researchers and being operated by pigs, what reason do we have to believe people won't be tortured until they have long term nerve damage? In contrast, a riot shield or a hose just pushes you down.

Re:You say it like it is a bad thing. (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 2 years ago | (#41358297)

Taser guns, taser rounds, bean bags, rubber bullets, gas grenades, chemical mace, fire hoses, LRAD... the list goes on. I think we can let one bad tech fall by the wayside and rely on what already exists.

Re:You say it like it is a bad thing. (0)

cold fjord (826450) | about 2 years ago | (#41358463)

If it happens to be effective and less lethal than others, such as rubber bullets, why would you prefer the others?

Re:You say it like it is a bad thing. (1)

tolkienfan (892463) | about 2 years ago | (#41358535)

But it's not better.
After 50 years of research they've developed a weapon that's useless in moist air.

Re:You say it like it is a bad thing. (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 2 years ago | (#41358615)

So far.

Re:You say it like it is a bad thing. (1)

tolkienfan (892463) | about 2 years ago | (#41358869)

Yeah maybe another 50 years and 3 billion dollars and we'll have something almost as useful as other existing technologies.
Microwaves are absorbed by water. Additional research isn't needed.

Re:You say it like it is a bad thing. (2)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41358933)

It happens to be less effective than those other options by far and more expensive. The only 'advantage' (other than lining defense contractor pockets) is that it doesn't create photos of obvious government oppression.

Re:You say it like it is a bad thing. (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 2 years ago | (#41359263)

It would seem to be more effective as long as environmental conditions enable it to be used. There are a variety of weapons that are more or less effective depending upon the weather.

Another advantage is that is it less likely to kill or seriously injure, which is no small advantage when dealing with one's own citizens even if they are rioting.

Re:You say it like it is a bad thing. (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41359285)

A weapon that only works on sunny days seems to be a bit to finicky to rely on. I have doubts that it is less harmful than a fire hose. The one 'advantage' it clearly has is no opportunity to take clear pictures of peaceful protestors being unconstitutionally suppressed.

Re:You say it like it is a bad thing. (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | about 2 years ago | (#41359325)

It happens to be less effective than those other options by far and more expensive. The only 'advantage' (other than lining defense contractor pockets) is that it doesn't create photos of obvious government oppression.

Honestly, $47 million a year is not exactly "lining defense contractor pockets" but American standards. Call me when we're half way to a billion a year...

Re:You say it like it is a bad thing. (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41359393)

Compared to riot shields and firehoses, it is. Especially since a working unit has yet to be delivered. Tell you what, I'll produce nothing for only $20mil a year, what a bargain!

Re:You say it like it is a bad thing. (1)

tobiah (308208) | about 2 years ago | (#41358509)

And apparently water hose beats microwave gun.

No new weapons? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41356427)

What a tragedy.

Re:No new weapons? (4, Interesting)

schnell (163007) | about 2 years ago | (#41359145)

No new weapons? What a tragedy.

I prefer living in a country that wastes money trying to find non-lethal weapons that don't work out vs. countries that take the cost-effective, pragmatic approach of "f**k em, bullets are nice and cheap."

There are plenty of reasons to criticize the US Department of Defense, no question. But the fact that they are spending money on non-lethal weapons means they at least care about a future war where not everyone has to get killed. Or even if you want to indulge your most Reynolds-wrapped tinfoil-clad conspiracy theories, a future where US domestic political protestors don't meet the same fate as those in the Prague Spring, Tienanmen Square or Syria.

Re:No new weapons? (2)

zarlino (985890) | about 2 years ago | (#41359805)

they at least care about a future war where not everyone has to get killed.

And what about working towards not having a future war at all?

Late Summer Rainfall in Beghazi (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41356501)

0 inches. [climatemps.com]

No flying monkeys either! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41356505)

That would be worth paying taxes for.

Are There Any Alternatives (4, Insightful)

rueger (210566) | about 2 years ago | (#41356507)

Sigh, if only there were other ways to control peaceful pro... ah mobs of anarchists.

Like pepper spray, water cannons, clubs, horses, dogs, sonic weapons, machine guns, truncheons, whips, tear gas.....

$47 million. You could make a good start at buying an election with that kind of money.

Re:Are There Any Alternatives (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41356545)

Buy an election with $47m? Perhaps in Tonga, but as the comparison is research spend in the US...

http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/campaign-finance

Re:Are There Any Alternatives (2)

MimeticLie (1866406) | about 2 years ago | (#41357331)

Not all elections are presidential.

Re:Are There Any Alternatives (4, Informative)

godel_56 (1287256) | about 2 years ago | (#41356663)

Sigh, if only there were other ways to control peaceful pro... ah mobs of anarchists. Like pepper spray, water cannons, clubs, horses, dogs, sonic weapons, machine guns, truncheons, whips, tear gas.....

There are some excellent non-lethal possibilities that the authorities are not using, such as laser dazzlers. My favorite unused method is the foam generator. You cover the entire ravening mob in a layer of soapy foam about 3 meters thick, so they stumble around saying "where'd every body go?", and the cops pluck them out from the front end of the mob at their leisure. You can also include orange or green skin dyes or capsaicin in the foam if you're feeling nasty.

Re:Are There Any Alternatives (5, Funny)

strength_of_10_men (967050) | about 2 years ago | (#41357457)

But then they'll all be clean and we can't call them dirty hippies anymore. :)

Re:Are There Any Alternatives (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 2 years ago | (#41358315)

You spray hippies in 3 meters of foam and you've got a party on your hands, not a riot. ;)

Re:Are There Any Alternatives (1)

memnock (466995) | about 2 years ago | (#41357789)

Not sure who decided to use the term "weapon" with "crowd-control" intentions, but doesn't the combination of the two words seem wrong? Merriam-Webster or whomever might define weapon definitely, but when I think of weapon, I think something intended to injure or kill. If you're attempting to control a crowd, especially of mostly non-violent protesters, injury or death is not the goal.

Of course those in power get to decide the terms of the engagement and seem to think an excess of force is the most appropriate response most of the time. From their point of view, I suppose weapon is the correct term.

Re:Are There Any Alternatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41358981)

We had a peaceful protest locally. If the protesters had staying power they could have bankrupted the local police. The protesters stayed in their neighborhood and burned and looted businesses owned by ... neighbors. They finally were drunk enough to slow down and tired enough to sleep it off but that was before they bankrupted to police overtime budget or scared the 'good areas'.

Had they done that...I dunno, I don't think it's called urban renewal if a bunch of white folk burn down the ghetto.

Re:Are There Any Alternatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41359305)

Better alternative yet - surrender to the anarchists! They are a smart and friendly bunch with good ideas once you get to know them.

Why are we fronting the cash? (2)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about 2 years ago | (#41356515)

If a company has an idea for a weapon they think will be super-awesomes why don't they spend the cash to R&D it and when/if it is successful they can start offering it out. Can we stop blowing cash on stupid crap that won't work like jet packs and laser rifles?

Re:Why are we fronting the cash? (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | about 2 years ago | (#41356571)

Because then they might sell the weapon to somebody else.

Re:Why are we fronting the cash? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41356731)

Given the track record thus far, GOOD! I can think of no better advantage for U.S. forces.

Re:Why are we fronting the cash? (2)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#41356749)

If a company has an idea for a weapon they think will be super-awesomes why don't they spend the cash to R&D it and when/if it is successful they can start offering it out.

It's been tried. See the F-20 [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Why are we fronting the cash? (1)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about 2 years ago | (#41356789)

Thanks. Reminds me of Macross2 =P

Still, reading through it the idea still seems sound so long as the government doesnt go and sabotage the whole thing 10 years in.

Re:Why are we fronting the cash? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41358641)

Yeah, and if that sad story doesn't sour you on the military-industrial complex, nothing will.

Government regulation of weapons (2)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#41356935)

If a company has an idea for a weapon they think will be super-awesomes why don't they spend the cash to R&D it

Government regulation of weapons, for one.

So let's see (4, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#41356521)

We have a very expensive crowd control weapon that likely could be rendered ineffective as long as enough of the protesters brought 99-cent spray bottles full of water along with them.

Got it.

Re:So let's see (1)

The_Rook (136658) | about 2 years ago | (#41356673)

you can also effectively shield against microwaves with the wire mesh cut out from a screen door.

Re:So let's see (4, Funny)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#41356743)

With the right rectifier you might even be able to recharge your cellphone.

Re:So let's see (1)

macraig (621737) | about 2 years ago | (#41357311)

Except most of the "wire" in screening isn't actually wire anymore, it's stranded synthetics with a vinyl coating.

Re:So let's see (1)

jc42 (318812) | about 2 years ago | (#41358295)

Except most of the "wire" in screening isn't actually wire anymore, it's stranded synthetics with a vinyl coating.

Yeah, we just discovered this in the window screens that were installed in an enclosed porch that we had built recently. One day we had a window open, with the screen keeping the bugs out, and we left the porch for a while with some food sitting on a small table. When we went back to the porch, we saw a squirrel dashing back through the gash it had torn in the "screen" to get at the food.

Now we have a new project, of finding a real screen that will keep those cute little critters out the way we thought the fake screens would. But it's not easy to get an honest answer about the materials in screens. The folks at the hardware stores (and the dealers' web sites) will tell you whatever they think will make the sale, knowing full well that it won't be worth your while to sue them over such a small purchase.

Re:So let's see (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 2 years ago | (#41358769)

Go to the hardware store, find the rolls of screen material. Pinch the corner of the material.

If it stays pinched, it's "metal." If it doesn't stay pinched, it's the other stuff.

I'm not sure it's worth it, though. The metal screens are harder to install - they pinch and fray way more easily - and I'm not convinced you'd get much benefit from it. They tear pretty easily, too - they're really fine wires, after all. I don't think the squirrel would have had too much trouble.

Re:So let's see (2)

AJWM (19027) | about 2 years ago | (#41359335)

To defeat the squirrels, just reinforce the layer of bug screen (whether fiber or metal) with a layer of chicken wire. Then reinforce that with a layer of chain-link fencing if you're worried about the zombie apocalypse.

Re:So let's see (4, Funny)

number11 (129686) | about 2 years ago | (#41357109)

We have a very expensive crowd control weapon that likely could be rendered ineffective as long as enough of the protesters brought 99-cent spray bottles full of water along with them.

But it's the very first weapon that a tinfoil hat is actually documented to protect against.

The spray bottles are good. But arty foil-backed protest signs that just happen to be shaped like corner reflectors would be fun for the people in the front.

Really? (4, Interesting)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 years ago | (#41356537)

The anti-terror guys have warned us for years that a microwave cannon could be built with parts ordered from the web, capable of frying a plane's electronics when it tries to land.

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-196971883.html [highbeam.com]

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1166499/Terrorists-bring-jumbo-jet-using-microwave-cannon-built-internet.html [dailymail.co.uk]

So I guess Mythbusters didn't get an authorization to test that either.

It's not really a weapon, (2)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about 2 years ago | (#41356607)

You can't way they have no microwave weapons. They have an inefficient crowd control device. We don't know what they have in the lethal range. Probably because they chose not to show it. What's to stop them 'taking the safety' off and cranking out a much higher power version?

Re:It's not really a weapon, (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41357225)

It's pointless. A machine gun is much cheaper and easier to use.

Re:It's not really a weapon, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41358741)

Because a much higher power version requires more power and therefore becomes so large/bulky/cumbersome that it becomes (at best) stationary weapon, which defeats the purpose of the whole thing. One of the key points is to make a single-man operated weapon that can combine the non-lethal uses of a water hose without the water with the long term goal being a "heat ray" gun that can incinerate targets without the use of incendiary ammo.

Until recently (2)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about 2 years ago | (#41356621)

Until very recently no one could get microwave lasers at room temperature. How ever that is no longer the case, I don't remember the specific article but it was posted either here on Slashdot or Reddit.

Some lab had been working on it, with some old papers from the Japanese. Basically it was done with specially doped ruby emitters if I remember correct.

Now that we have at least the general knowledge of one method to create microwave laser emitters at room temperate I expect to see progress on this in the next five to ten years. Though I myself much prefer the nonmilitary uses of microwave lasers, such as communication and wireless power emission.

Re:Until recently (0)

hawkingradiation (1526209) | about 2 years ago | (#41357845)

In fact if I recall correctly, Microwave weapons were used quite successfully in Iraq during the assault on the airport when the coalition invaded in 2003. They apparently "shrank" the bodies of the victims although the place where they were buried was dug up and the bodies taken away. They were being deployed to soldiers against crowd control and there have been many tests on willing subjects. So I would say they are ready. Have link for the second claim [bilderberg.org] .

Re:Until recently (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41358801)

Not quite. Solid state room temperature masers are a recent development, but gas phase room temperature masers based on ammonia were developed in the 50s.

Not complaining.. (0)

gallondr00nk (868673) | about 2 years ago | (#41356641)

The bastards have enough weapons, nothing good can come from giving them more.

I hope the enemy's patient... (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about 2 years ago | (#41356681)

...cause it sounds like we're just going to have to slow-roast him the old-fashioned way.

They found the warmth pleasant. (4, Funny)

Anarchduke (1551707) | about 2 years ago | (#41356719)

Put him in The Comfy Chair!!!!

Re:They found the warmth pleasant. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41358817)

Put him in The Comfy Chair!!!!

I confess!! [youtube.com]

Re:They found the warmth pleasant. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41360113)

It may suck as a weapon, but there are some killer applications (no pun intended) for this thing, if there are no bad effects from long term exposure.

Dialed down this could revolutionize winter indoors (and even outdoors, e.g for winter sports) heating.

Microwave weapons have been in use for 30 years. (2)

dicobalt (1536225) | about 2 years ago | (#41356809)

They're called HotPockets.

Doing it wrong (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41356865)

The way to use a microwave to control a crowd is to threaten to turn it it on with a kitten inside of it.

Funny how easily they can be foiled (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#41356939)

Some smart weapon systems have the same limitations when it comes to rain or cloud cover. Also they tend to use water cannons for crowd control which would act as a defensive system for the crowds. Microwave weapons are expensive, have limited range and focus and it's difficult to avoid injuries and death while maintaining effectiveness. I'd think audio weapons would be just as effective without the limitations and potential for serious injuries. Yes it's easy to protect against most of them but we are talking about crowd use and not foot soldiers. For soldiers even microwave weapons can be foiled if they are non lethal. Even a small amount of metal can block them so metal fibers in uniforms and head gear would counter crowd control kinds of weapons. They are utterly useless against tanks. I know there has been a lot of reports of low frequency weapons that wouldn't be noticeable to the mob but would provide enough discomfort to break them up. High frequency weapons are obviously effective. I set off a building alarm at work because they deactivated a the keypad at one entrance without telling us. It had an audio deterrent and I guarantee you I was thrilled when I got the alarm off. Without hearing protection a crowd wouldn't be very dangerous. Hard to throw rocks with your fingers in your ears. With a weaponized system even that wouldn't stop it you'd need professional grade or better protection.

Frisbies: no weapon potential (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41357061)

I was happy to read many years go that the Pentagon (well, someones who worked their or for or the...you get the idea) looked into any weapon potential for the Frisbee.

Conclusion: not enough payload capacity (hardly any, really).

Something is sacred!

On the other had, I can see some jar head soldiers flinging them at occupy or anarchist protestors. Anarchists and occupy protesters, who by definition are much better Frisbee players than the soldiers, simply catch them and fling them back. Oh no! Fido is going after one! The horror!

Okay, I'll give this thread back to microwaves.

I suppose for a microwave detector device you could tape some kernels of microwave popcorn to you clothing, eh?

On a serious level, the difference between merely causing pain and causing severe burns, burns to corneas or inside the eye, or lips, nose, heating liquid saliva or phlegm to burning temps....in other words, being effecting but never causing an injury is tricky.
Also, any weaponry aimed at the masses has to contend with the issue:
being effective against a 20 year old male excellent physical condition marine, who the device is tested on, and on the other hand, not killing grandma. Or someone with asthma, or Lupus, or a heart condition.
That may be something in favor of traditional guns and clubs. When used they are used with the intent to stop quickly the target, and everyone knows there is a high risk or death or injury. This tends to limit their use. Just not enough.

Re:Frisbies: no weapon potential (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#41358005)

Also, any weaponry aimed at the masses has to contend with the issue:
being effective against a 20 year old male excellent physical condition marine, who the device is tested on, and on the other hand, not killing grandma. Or someone with asthma, or Lupus, or a heart condition. That may be something in favor of traditional guns and clubs. When used they are used with the intent to stop quickly the target, and everyone knows there is a high risk or death or injury. This tends to limit their use. Just not enough.

They could do what they do with tasers. Lie. Tasers kill. Yet, in the US, they are still non-lethal. Tasing someone is on the same violence level as grabbing them by the wrist. And it kills, regularly. Other countries treat them as lethal. The police have to go through the steps with them as if they fired their firearm. In fact, I was talking with an NZ cop who talked about not being allowed to carry a taser, as they are a firearm replacement, and he chooses to be firearm-less, so, even if he were to qualify with the gun and the taser, he couldn't carry the taser unless he also carried the gun. So he carries neither. In the US, they pepper spray seated people, and tase non-violent pricks shouting "don't tase me, bro."

Still no microwave weapons? (1)

Cute and Cuddly (2646619) | about 2 years ago | (#41356943)

I would say that it is a good thing......

Hot Pockets (1)

k31bang (672440) | about 2 years ago | (#41357001)

I thought that Hot Pockets were classed as microwave WMDs.

Fox news (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41357009)

For some Pentagon officials, the demonstration in October 2007 must have seemed like a dream come true - an opportunity to blast reporters with a beam of energy that causes searing pain.

Re:Fox news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41357823)

LLOLOOOLLLLLL you must be famous comedian no?

Radiation at that frequency penetrates less than.. (2)

taxman_10m (41083) | about 2 years ago | (#41357041)

So what happens if you get it in the eye?

Re:Radiation at that frequency penetrates less tha (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41357839)

I took a microwave to the knee!

Plenty of non-lethal Microwave weapons (1)

mridion (2731595) | about 2 years ago | (#41357085)

If you are not familiar with microwave weapons associated with Covert Harassment of political dissidents then try searching for "Targeted Individuals" on YouTube of search for "Electronic Harassment" on youtube or Google and get ready to step into a real twilight zone. You could also check out these sites: http://www.mindjustice.com/ [mindjustice.com] http://www.areyoutargeted.com/ [areyoutargeted.com]

Re:Plenty of non-lethal Microwave weapons (1)

mridion (2731595) | about 2 years ago | (#41357103)

Sorry.. http://www.mindjustice.org/ [mindjustice.org] not .com

Tin foil (1)

nagasrinivas (1700232) | about 2 years ago | (#41357105)

So in the future the protesters will wear tin foil. Sounds better than enduring rubber bullets. Why should they even pursue this stuff?

Invest in Rain-Rain-Go-A-Way Gun (1)

retroworks (652802) | about 2 years ago | (#41357183)

You don't make your second billion developing a weapon that works the first time, sillies.

They're just deployed differently (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41357211)

The TSA has had crowd-control microwave "weapons" for a couple years now. They just don't operate in the realm of "obvious weapon" like everyone is looking for.

the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41357357)

the money went into a big fat pot of coke and LSD and a few scientists making microwave laser sounds (PEW, PEW, PEW)

FOTMHP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41357499)

Maybe they can put more funding for R&D in the FOTMHP (Fresh Out of the Microwave Hot Pocket) Division.

'There's lots of smoke and mirrors,' says... (1)

metrometro (1092237) | about 2 years ago | (#41357781)

Well there's your problem right there! Try it someplace less smokey.

Hah! (1)

Shaman (1148) | about 2 years ago | (#41357827)

.... that the public knows of!

We Are Not There And Not For A Long Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41358019)

The USA economy like the other 'advanced' economies of our world is based on the Coal-Oil energy cycle.

The Plutonium-Thorium energy cycle technologies were initiated in the 1950s but alas have foundered for
lack of 'political backbone' evidenced and personified most recently by the 'death' of the 'most recently
anointed Japanese 'Ambassador' to China during 'festivities' condemning Japan's annexation 'for lack of
intelligent reason' of the small group of Islands that shall not be named is so perplexing indeed.

1) I find it with high dubiousness that a 'Family' in Japan owns 'legally' the said islands.

2) Tokyo's Fascist Governor is vert well known for all sorts of 'Tom Foolery'.

3) The Japan National Government's 'Buying" the said islands from the 'Family' speaks of Collusion given the
undeterminable state of the nationality of the islands.

What a Theater of the Absurd.

Oh ber in mind that the Japanese PM Noda is disparate for re-election and will pay 'in his mind' any price to
subjugate the peoples of Japan to his PAX JAPAN.

Sorry Noda Old Boy.

The China Tsunami is crashing at your feet and soon to over take your head.

Bubble Bubble Toil And Trouble [For YOU in particular Old Boy]

8D

millimeter wave devices operational (1)

technosaurus (1704630) | about 2 years ago | (#41358063)

_Millimeter_ wave technology _has_ been deployed in theater, so successfully that it never _needed_ to be used. It is to localized unrest, what nukes are to global wafare - only a deterrent. Combined with a bit of counter intelligence, it _can_ put enough fear and uncertainty in would-be adversaries to make itself unnecessary.

        That being said it _is_ possible to build your own using about $100 worth of ordinary household items and to defend against with about $5 of household items.

        We only have to recall how much money was spent on the star wars program that rediscovered Tesla's nearly 100 year old patents to realize that defense industry contractors have a financial incentive to have "not invented here" syndrome. If they have the patent, they don't have to compete until better technology exists. ... Yes if another (cheaper/better) way was (re)discovered, a smaller company _should_ be able to compete, but recent software patent litigation should illuminate the fallacy in that assumption.

No Wonder! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#41358119)

No wonder there's no flying cars; they wasted all the research money on microwave crap.

One use for microwaves (1)

kilodelta (843627) | about 2 years ago | (#41358161)

At 1,500W a 2.4GHz microwave driven by a high capacitance array, steered into place with say a dish antenna will fry electronics. I mean fry! It's just about the right wavelength to do so. Of course anyone standing in the way will get that section within the beam cooked almost immediately but that's just a collateral problem.

Not Surprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41358215)

All the useful stuff is below 1Ghz anyway...

So disappointing (1)

musth (901919) | about 2 years ago | (#41358487)

Yes, it's just so damned disappointing that the US hasn't been able to perfect yet ANOTHER tool of violence to add to its arsenal; and the military spends relatively little on the technology, as is cited with barely concealed disdain - sadness, almost - for a technology not properly developed.

Stories like this really reveal Slashdot editorial ideology.

Lasers, though, are getting close. (1)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#41358541)

Progress in laser weapons has been slow, but steady. Each generation of laser weapon has more power in a smaller package. Shooting down small rockets and artillery shells has been demonstrated, but the laser system takes three semitrailers. Another two generations of that and it will be useful.

Re:Lasers, though, are getting close. (1)

dkf (304284) | about 2 years ago | (#41359831)

Shooting down small rockets and artillery shells has been demonstrated, but the laser system takes three semitrailers.

So, somewhat practical for mounting on a warship at the moment, but not on anything much smaller?

Re:Lasers, though, are getting close. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41360013)

For a while I've thought that using lasers in counterinsurgency would be valuable it they were capable of rapidly burning markings into an insurgent's skin at ranges typically encountered in infantry combat. Since it is difficult to identify insurgents a laser system capable of rapidly burning skin could be used to facilitate identification. Suddenly the formerly anonymous insurgent now bears binary coding branded into his hide and he may possibly be on fire to boot.

After 50 Yrs of Research.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41358623)

Really..I mean, is this what we want after the 2 world wars? :| That spent research time could've been used for more better outcomes.

not necessarily, I know of 1 microwave weapon (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#41358809)

I'm fairly certain that microwaves can be used as a weapon. There are many documented cases of people unplugging microwaves and throwing them at other people, be it a domestic dispute or even to stop a robbery.

The simplest way to weaponize microwaves... (1)

John R. Isidore (2330334) | about 2 years ago | (#41358875)

...is still with catapults.

Not true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41359191)

Steven Seagal has used the microwave as a weapon in all of the Undersiege [1..x] movies. That along with some coconut oil (wonder how he manages to get coconut oil in the strangest of locations)

Did they hope to send a "message" to reporters? (1)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | about 2 years ago | (#41359487)

I wouldn't be at all surprised if our government intended the first reporter to feel mind-searing pain in order to subtly warn the rest to avoid covering, photographing, or publishing live public events the government would rather keep quiet. It wouldn't be a big surprise, considering recent cases of citizens/journalists being arrested, assaulted or deprived of their equipment for legally recording or clearly keeping note during peaceful protests where the police became aggressive.

If I was a reporter and saw a colleague (voluntarily) in severe pain, then the government guys demonstrating the device said "this is what we will be using on groups of citizens refusing to obey authorities, we cannot promise you won't be hit if you are in the area," it would certainly make me think twice about whether I wanted to show up with a recording device or stick around once the police showed up.

So personally, I'm glad the research failed. Best money we've let go to waste in a long time, if you ask me. Shame our military researchers can't manage to replicate their success more often. (Not that I wouldn't rather have the money go towards improving society so far fewer people would have reason to join in protests, but at least it's better than the weapon existing.)

Non-obligatory Futurama (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41359571)

[Zap]
Fry: Ow! My sperm!
Bender: Wow! Neat! Mind if I try that again?
[Zap]
Fry: Huh, didn't hurt that time.

Come on (1)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#41360019)

If you want to make beam / ray weapons take a physics course first.

I can push a plane at hundreds of miles per hour through the air quite "easily" and put some destructive force on the end of it. Hell, you can do similar with a model plane if you really want to test the concept. This is what bullets, missiles and grenades rely on to work, and it's successful.

But to make a beam or ray that has an effect over that same flying-distance of any of the above, I have to overcome the inverse-square law and line-of-sight before I can even hurt someone reliably, let alone use it as a weapon. Hell, I could probably throw a yo-yo or boomerang further than any handheld "directed energy" weapon could beam something, and probably end up with a greater effect to the target. This is why Tasers are literally normal harpoon-style weapons with cables.

Sure, you can buy a laser that will cut through steel, and you can cook your food in a microwave but all of those "ordinary" uses happen at stupidly small distances for a reason. It's actually cheaper and easier to fire MILLIONS of bullets at an incoming missile than it is to set up an energy beam of any significant energy enough to take it down.

It's a complete misunderstanding of simple physics. Of course you *can* do it, but the power required to burn through that much atmosphere and other obstacles and still provide any useful energy at the other end is something that's completely impractical to provide. You will need HUGE power sources, one-shot weapons, or stupidly small distances to manage it.

And then you discover that a simple handgun from off-the-shelf (at least in the US) or some form of propelled warhead is infinitely easier and cheaper and less prone to collateral damage (just how wide do you think that beam will be once it hits the target?).

Save your Star Trek / Star Wars fantasy weapons for space where there is no atmosphere and the inverse-square law might be overcome with a sufficiently powerful power source (i.e. like something that could run a star-ship and provide energy enough to do EVERYTHING without struggling). On Earth, we use propellants and explosives for a reason, even in the top-end of military hardware.

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