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Radiofrequency Weapons

Hemos posted more than 10 years ago | from the destroy-the-records dept.

Science 377

BWJones writes "Global security is running a fairly detailed and interesting story on E-bombs (not email bombs, rather electronic microwave weapons) taken from the IEEE Spectrum Online. We have long known (since the 1940's) about the effects that high energy weapons can have on electronic components from nuclear blasts, but this class of weapons is designed to exclusively attack electronic infrastructure. "

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hello (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388839)

"Ugh... UGH!" Chris Pirillo moaned as he squatted
over the ThumbDrive. He eyes darted back and
forth like a stone man and he sighed gay breaths
as he attempted to shove the device filled with the
entire line of eBooks into his anus. His geek house
trembled with fag vibrations coming from his crack
but then- his doorbell rang, whistling the tune
from "Matlock" throughout his hovel.

"Damn" he howled in a gay, sepulchral voice and
slipped on a pair of pastel slacks. He trapsed to
the threshold of his cold abode and grabbed the
greasy doorknob that was shaped like Birdman.
With a slavish sigh, he opened the door to see
none other than Adam Sessler himself!

A gay gasp escaped from Chris's dork lips and
Adam began to speak. Quickly, Chris snapped at him.
"Damnit for the last time you vagabond, you're not
supposed to be here!" The revolting nerd slammed
the door in Adam's face, but the Game Master
quickly shoved his iron boot inbetween the door
and the wall, wedging it open. "I have come for you,"
he spoke in a cold tone; electric arcs coursed
between the spikes in his cockneyed bleached hair.

Adam howled as a blast of mystic Boohbahs
emanated from his busy shirt and slammed
Chris down the hall and into a Microsoft Digital
Picture Frame. Chris grunted and swiped nerd
dust and sheetrock from his arms. He rose to
his feet and watched in horror as Adam brandished
a weapon made from 3 Xbox controllers tied
at the ends. "Oh my word! Game peripherals!"
the dork bellowed; the stench of Cheetos and
Diet Dr. Pepper wafted from his geek teeth.
Instantly his palms began to sweat at the very
sight of them, as if the grease from his McGriddle
hadn't slicked them up enough.

Chris tried to run from his game-playin' adversary,
but it was too late. Adam swung the weapon above
his head and threw it at the King of Nerds,
entangling his legs and forcing him to the floor.
Adam pulled a cestus made from PS2 DVDs
out of his Spice Girls backpack and rushed Chris.
He swiped at his turdly back over and over, causing
streams of cold blood to squirt from his flesh.
"Oh god, the horror, the HORROR!" Chris moaned
as Adam butchered him relentlessly. A old Brit with
one eye and a cockneyed accent burst into the
room and started kicking Chris in the side.

Chris was just about do die when... he rose from
his bed. It was just a dream! He laughed and
took a sip of more Brawls Guarana, hoping he
wouldn't fall asleep again. "Time to plot..." he
grumbled and shoved yet another pin into his
Leo Laporte voodoo doll.

EMP Weapons of Mass Destruction: +1, Patriotic (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388840)

Are posing as solar flares.

frost (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388841)

FROST, ya weak ass bitches

Test range (3, Funny)

i_r_sensitive (697893) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388846)

All in favor of using Lindon, UT as the test range, say aye. AYE!

Re:Test range (-1)

webtre (717698) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388863)

AYE!

Troll? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388951)

I think someone forgot SCO is based in Lindon...

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388850)

Frog Poop? Frost Piss?

Re:Give Joseph Black his due credit! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388852)

uway triple p up i this bia bia yeah man!

sec (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388856)

second post!!

The Oracle at Delphi was a huffer. (-1, Troll)

Genghis Troll (158585) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388858)

For at least 12 centuries, the oracle at Delphi spoke on behalf of the gods, advising rulers, citizens and philosophers on everything from their sex lives to affairs of state. The oracle was always a woman, her divine utterances made in response to a petitioner's request. In a trance, at times in a frenzy, she would answer questions, give orders and make prophecies.

Modern scholarship long ago dismissed as false the explanation that the ancient Greeks gave for the oracle's inspiration, vapors rising from the temple's floor. They found no underlying fissure or possible source of intoxicants. Experts concluded that the vapors were mythical, like much else about the site.

Now, however, a geologist, an archaeologist, a chemist and a toxicologist have teamed up to produce a wealth of evidence suggesting the ancients had it exactly right. The region's underlying rocks turn out to be composed of oily limestone fractured by two hidden faults that cross exactly under the ruined temple, creating a path by which petrochemical fumes could rise to the surface to help induce visions.

In particular, the team found that the oracle probably came under the influence of ethylene -- a sweet-smelling gas once used as an anesthetic. In light doses, it produces feelings of aloof euphoria.

"What we set out to do was simple: to see if there was geological truth to the testimony of Plutarch and the others," said Dr. Jelle Zeilinga de Boer, a geologist at Wesleyan University, who began the Delphic investigations more than two decades ago.

As is often the case in science, the find was rooted in serendipity, hard work and productive dreaming. At one point, not unlike the oracle herself, the scientists were stimulated in their musings by a bottle of Dao, a Portuguese red wine.

The team's work was described last year in Geology, a publication of the Geological Society of America, and at the annual meeting in January of the Archaeological Institute of America. It will also be reported in the April issue of Clinical Toxicology.

Over the years, scholarly doubt about the thesis has given way to wide acceptance and praise.

"I was very, very skeptical at first," said Dr. Andrew Szegedy- Maszak, a Wesleyan colleague and classicist, who specializes in Greek studies. "But they seem to have it nailed. I came to scoff but stayed to pray."

Near the Gulf of Corinth on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, the religious shrine was founded before 1200 B.C. and the temple eventually built there became the most sacred sanctuary for the ancient Greeks. They considered it the center of the world, marking the site with a large conical stone, the omphalos (meaning navel or center).

Originally a shrine to Gaea, the earth goddess, the temple at Delphi by the eighth century B.C. was dedicated to Apollo, the god of prophecy. His oracle spoke out, often deliriously, and exerted wide influence. One of her admired pronouncements named Socrates the wisest of men.

Before a prophetic session, the oracle would descend into a basement cell and breathe in the sacred fumes. Some scholars say her divine communications were then interpreted and written down by male priests, often in ambiguous verse. But others say the oracle communicated directly with petitioners.

With the rise of Christianity, the temple decayed. The Roman emperor Julian the Apostate tried to restore it in the fourth century A.D., but the oracle wailed that her powers had vanished.

French archaeologists began excavating the ruins in 1892, in time digging down to the temple's foundations. No cleft or large fissure was found. By 1904, a visiting English scholar, A. P. Oppe, declared that ancient beliefs in temple fumes were the result of myth, mistake or fraud.

The Oxford Classical Dictionary in 1948 voiced the prevailing view: "Excavation has rendered improbable the postclassical theory of a chasm with mephitic vapours."

Another round of myth-busting came in 1950 when Pierre Amandry, the French archaeologist who helped lead the temple excavations, declared in a book on Delphi that the region had no volcanism and that the ground was thus unable to produce intoxicating vapors.

Three decades later, in 1981, Dr. de Boer went to Delphi not to study old puzzles but to help the Greek government assess the region's suitability for building nuclear reactors. His main work was searching out hidden faults and judging the likelihood of tremors and earthquakes.

"A lucky thing happened," he recalled. Heavy tour traffic had prompted the government to carve in the hills east of Delphi a wide spot in the road where buses could turn around, exposing "a beautiful fault," he said. It looked young and active.

On foot, Dr. de Boer traced it for days, moving east to west over miles of mountainous terrain, around thorny bushes. The fault was plainly visible, rising as much as 30 feet. West of Delphi, he found that it linked up to a known fault. In the middle, however, it was hidden by rocky debris. Yet the fault appeared to run right under the temple.

"I had read Plutarch and the Greek stories," Dr. de Boer recalled. "And I started thinking, `Hey, this could have been the fracture along which these fumes rose.' "

Dr. de Boer put the idea aside. Knowing little of the archaeological literature, he assumed that someone else must have made the same observation years earlier and come to the same conclusion.

In 1995, he discovered his mistake. While visiting a Roman ruin in Portugal, he met Dr. John R. Hale, an archaeologist from the University of Louisville, who was studying the Portuguese site. At sunset, the two men shared a bottle of wine, and the geologist began telling the archaeologist of the Delphi fault.

"I said, `There is no such fault,' " Dr. Hale recalled. But Dr. de Boer convinced him otherwise. He cited both Plutarch, a Greek philosopher who served as a priest at Delphi, and Strabo, an ancient geographer. Each told of geologic fumes that inspired divine frenzies, with Plutarch noting that the gases had a sweet smell. By the end of the evening, the geologist and archaeologist had decided to work together to find the truth.

Back in the United States, Dr. Hale tracked down the original French reports on the temple excavation and discovered to his surprise notations that the bedrock on which the temple was built was "fissured by the action of the waters."

The French archaeologists, expecting a yawning chasm, had apparently overlooked the importance of the small cracks.

"What I had been taught was wrong," Dr. Hale recalled. "The French had not ruled it out."

By 1996, the two men had traveled to Greece to resurvey the fault at Delphi and study the regional maps of Greek geologists. These revealed that underlying strata were bituminous limestone containing up to 20 percent blackish oils.

"I remember him throwing the map at me," Dr. Hale said of Dr. de Boer. " `It's petrochemicals!' " No volcanism was needed, contrary to the previous speculation. Simple geologic action, Dr. de Boer insisted, could heat the bitumen, releasing chemicals into temple ground waters.

During a field trip in 1998, the vent notion grew more plausible still as the two men discovered a second fault, which they named Kerna after a well-known spring, going north- south under the temple. The intersecting faults now marked a provocative X.

As intriguing, the second fault appeared to be aligned with a series of ancient dry and modern wet springs, one directly beneath the temple.

The scientists found that the dry springs were coated with travertine, a rocky clue suggesting that the waters had come from deep below. When hot water seeps through limestone, it leaches out calcium carbonate that stays in solution until it rises to the surface and cools quickly. The calcium carbonate can then precipitate to form rocky layers of travertine.

Increasingly excited, the two men won permission from the Greek authorities to sample the travertine.

At this point, Dr. Jeffrey P. Chanton, a geochemist at Florida State University, joined the team. He analyzed the travertine samples gathered from dry springs near the temple and in its foundation, finding methane and ethane. Each can produce altered mental states. But a better candidate soon arose.

"A small light went off in my mind," Dr. de Boer recalled. Perhaps, he speculated, ethylene had been there as well.

Ethylene is significantly less stable than ethane and methane, so its absence in old rocks was understandable. Yet psychoactively, ethylene is quite potent, more so than ethane, methane or even nitrous oxide. From the 1930's to the 1970's, it was used for general anesthesia.

Dr. Chanton went to Greece, sampling an active spring near the temple.

The team waited. Days passed. Then his call came in. He had found ethylene, as well as methane and ethane. To all appearances, the ancient riddle had been solved.

In late 2000, Dr. Henry A. Spiller, the toxicologist who directs the Kentucky Regional Poison Center, joined the team to help with the pharmacological analysis.

"There's a fair amount of data on the effects of ethylene," Dr. Spiller said. "In the first stages, it produces disembodied euphoria, an altered mental status and a pleasant sensation. It's what street people would call getting high. The greater the dose, the deeper you go." Once a person stops breathing ethylene, he added, the effects wear off quickly.

Modern teenagers know of such intoxicants, including ones that in overdoses can kill. Experts say that youths who breathe fumes from gas, glue, paint thinner and other petrochemicals are toying with hydrocarbon gases.

Of late, Dr. Hale has been widening his focus, investigating other ancient Greek temples that he believes were built intentionally on geologically active sites.

And Dr. de Boer, now 67, is still concentrating on Delphi. On March 9, he and some students left for Greece to drill out rocky samples from the fault zones and illuminate them under a special light to try to establish dates of seismic activity.

Such geologic shocks, he said, may have influenced fume production over the ages, causing the intoxicating gases to wax and wane.

"You never know if it will work," he said of any research project shortly before the Delphi trip. "With the fumes, it did. With this, we don't know. But it's worth a try."

Yay... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388865)

To celebrate, let's rob a high-profile casino using the most convoluted scheme possible. Plan should ideally include witty banter and excessively smug con-men.

Re:Yay... (1)

valkraider (611225) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389085)

Why does the EMP device cause the roof of the van to explode?

Don't they have these in the Matrix? (1)

djhankb (254226) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388866)

The EMP Bombs?

Is this Keyboard real?

Re:Don't they have these in the Matrix? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388891)

Where are those sentinels things?

Re:Don't they have these in the Matrix? (1)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388903)

EMP weapon was in the real world, nice try though.

Re:Don't they have these in the Matrix? (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389052)

EMP weapon was in the real world, nice try though.

You think so, eh?

Re:Don't they have these in the Matrix? (0)

wo1verin3 (473094) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389109)

touche.

Re:Don't they have these in the Matrix? (5, Informative)

missing000 (602285) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388971)

Yep. And in numerous other movies.

And here is another nice article [popularmechanics.com] on the threat they really are.

~$400 to take out a small city? Scary.

Re:Don't they have these in the Matrix? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7389061)

I wonder why it hasn't happened, if it's truly that effective.

I don't buy it. Something's missing.

Humor....not so easy, is it? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7389037)

Keep on trying...one day you'll get it.

Mirror (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388867)

Mirror [anti-slash.org]

Mod This Up!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388929)

Thank you for the kind mirroring, dear sir, fellow jihadi.

Re:Mirror (1)

sahonen (680948) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389002)

This is going to be a goatse link in about 15 minutes.

Nice try, anti-slash trolls.

What happens.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388872)

when Islamic Terrorists get a hold of these weapons?

I shudder at the prospect that these lunatic murderers could kill more innocent lives, and disrupt the civilized world.

first (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388878)

fast post

Similar technology? (1)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388880)

I remember a while back hearing about planes that could fly over and disrupt electronic devices. Are those planes using some of this kind of EMP technology or do they use something else that just performs similar actions?

Re:Similar technology? (1)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388921)

Radar, when fired in a strong pulse, can do that. But I think you're thinking about Black-out bombs. They use carbon filaments to short powerlines to the ground. Instant linghtning bolt anyone?

Re:Similar technology? (1)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389120)

The EA-6B Prowler does this.

The Navy Fact File is here

There are not any details on how the jamming/interference is achieved- but this would be a good starting point in investigating what portions of the system are not classified.

World first non-lethal weapon of mass destruction (4, Interesting)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388881)

Nice, now we got weapons that can destroy everything electronic (tank control system, missile guidance, radio, powerlines, etc.) without killing people (other than those with pace-maker). This shall revolutionize warfare, disintegrating it into one side with big guns fighting the other side who just got knocked into the stone age (maybe iron age if they're lucky).

Re:World first non-lethal weapon of mass destructi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388988)

Microwaves with enough power *ARE* very much lethal. A lot of people suffered various levels of injury, or even death with conventional radar systems. The proposed weapon will have much larger output, than any radar ( remember, it supposed to destroy it).

Re:World first non-lethal weapon of mass destructi (1)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389086)

Microwave with enough power AND sustained period of time is lethal. But what I meant by powerful, I meant compare to the energy needed to blow up a CPU, which doesn't take a lot.

Irregular armies (4, Insightful)

poszi (698272) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388996)

Modern wars are fought mainly between irregulars armed with AK-47 and mortars. No, it won't revolutionize these conflicts and it doesn't matter against partisants.

Re:World first non-lethal weapon of mass destructi (2, Insightful)

obsidianpreacher (316585) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389081)

I wouldn't be calling this very non-lethal if it managed to get aboard a plane at 20,000 feet ... or in an air-traffic-control room ... or on an ocean liner several hundred miles from land ... or in a subway ...

I'm not worried about the military aspects of this device ... it's the civilian ramifications that are scary.

Microsoft works for me! (-1)

cerskine (202611) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388889)

I've been running Windows XP since beta2, and it really kicks ass. I don't have to recompile my kernel when I want to install an ethernet card, it automatically detects it and installs the drivers no matter who the manufacturer is. Dual monitors? No chore with windows, get two video cards, two monitors and it's set up! I don't need to edit config files with editors that are 20 years old, and show it. Intellimouse custom buttons? Piece of cake, with my Intellimouse software.

You want to run games? Great! Choose from an array of tens of thousands of games that run great under DirectX and the NT subsystem. Stability got you down? Not in this version, I have had uptimes of over a month (and then the damn power goes out). Good internet browser? No need for Kommunist shit, you've got the great Internet Explorer 6 a click away.

Doing some development? Nothing but the best for Windows users, choose from a suite of Visual Studio products that suits your needs, with one killer IDE. Or, pick up a beta edition of Visual Studio.NET if you have 200 megs of RAM to spare! You Linux faggots can keep rooting for your piece of shit operating system that Windows 3.1 tops in terms of compatibility, all the while hindering your experience for something else you could be doing, while I use the operating system of choice (or by default) for over 200 million others in the world.

Anti-Microsoft zealots piss and moan all you want, but your queer little OS won't be the reigning desktop champion anytime soon.

Re:Microsoft works for me! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388928)

You're cool dude!!! Did you learnt all this alone or got some teacher?

Microwave Gun (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388897)

In high school, I took a magnetron and a bunch of other crap (ahh, memories) and made a microwave gun. I demonstrated its effectiveness vs computers by proving that it could take a perfectly working, normal PC and make it display flashing ASCII characters on the screen. Turning the computer off and then on again would display a different arrangement of flashing ASCII characters.

Now that is some repugnant shit. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388899)

Now that is some repugnant shit.

What about Sonic weapons (1)

Jesrad (716567) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388904)

Infrasound weapons [borderlands.com] anyone ?

Re:What about Sonic weapons (2, Interesting)

LittleGuy (267282) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388985)

Alfred Bester envisioned the same in "The Demolished Man", calling his weapon a 'harmonic gun'.

Essentially, sound wave would hit mass, causing it to vibrate at a certain point to cause molecular instability and breakdown.

Quite nasty effect on organic material, moreso if the material was still alive. Bester was very graphic and detailed in that area.

What about Sonic weapons (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7389060)

Nintendo has a patent on them.

Re:What about Sonic weapons (2, Interesting)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389117)

Underwater Sonar used by submarines (ultra low frequency one) can already harm marine life.

microwave of death? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388907)

<i>microwave weapons</i>

Microwave weapons? Do they mean Hot Pockets?

The New WMD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388911)

All the government has to do is get a story posted on a particular "enemy" webserver -- and BAM!!! Slashdot Effect!

Instant infrastructure destruction.

Mmmm.... microwave tazer.... (0, Funny)

LittleGuy (267282) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388924)

From the article:

(There is, however, an effort to build a microwave weapon for controlling crowds; a person subjected to it definitely feels pain and is forced to retreat.)

Mass-tazering unruly crowds. Interesting concept.

Unless it's just overcooking a semi-rancid Hot Pocket into a portable microwave. Then I'm not so impressed.

skin color (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7389017)

is skin color relevant? I dunno the melanin absorbance spectrum in the microwave range, but I'm thinking certain authorities would have entirely too much fun with a race-selective crowd control weapon...

Re:Mmmm.... microwave tazer.... (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389082)

Mass-tazering unruly crowds. Interesting concept.

If there was a high enough setting it might even be able to repel mobs of looting CEOs.

rocket launcher (1)

avandesande (143899) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388927)

might be a cheap effictive way to obsolete all those old rocket launchers that are in the hands of terrorists.

Neutron Bombs are better (1, Insightful)

eadint (156250) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388931)

Call me morbid and i haven't read the article yet. but i think we would want neutron bombs. those kill all the people and leave the machinery intact. i would think from a military perspective that would be the better option. morals aside isn't it better to wipe out the enemy and use their weapons to attack the remaining soldiers.

OLD NEWS (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388932)

Weapons like these were already used in Iraq [rense.com] by our own military. It is truly shameful what some people will do in the name of patriotism. This sounds like something the Nazis would have done in WW II.

Hmm... (3, Interesting)

mgcsinc (681597) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388933)

Not so sure if this is going to work in any of the situations we seem to have the idea of putting ourself into anytime soon... Destroying mass amounts of electronic infrastructure seemes counter-productive to rebuilding efforts in urban environments.

Re:Hmm... (4, Insightful)

valkraider (611225) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389038)

Unless the people building the "destroy" device also have the contract to "rebuild". Then it makes perfect sense!

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7389053)

uhh, it's still easier than rebuilding bombed out infrastructure.

military use? (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388934)

Hmm.. maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree on a subject that I'm not too familiar with, but as I recall most military applications are shielded against EM pulses (to protect against the EMP effects of nuclear weapons). Wouldn't it then stand to reason that "e-bombs" would be more useful on civilian infrastructure/targets? I.e: You can take out that TV station (like we may have done in Iraq?), but you (probably) won't be able to fry the radar on that MIG-29.

With that in mind, could these weapons then become like chemical or biological weapons? Deadly to civilian populations but mostly useless against modern first-world military forces? If Saddam had gassed our troops it might have caused a few casualties and slowed us down... but it wouldn't have stopped us. If he had gassed the NYC subway system.....

Re:military use? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7389029)

read the article for the answer to this

Re:military use? (1)

adamruck (638131) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389042)

its true, I went on a trip with a guy who worked at designing circuits to resist nuetron bombs

Re:military use? (2, Informative)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389044)

maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree on a subject that I'm not too familiar with, but as I recall most military applications are shielded against EM pulses (to protect against the EMP effects of nuclear weapons).

No, most military applications are *not* shielded against EM pulses. This tends to be quite expensive. For instance, I remember when we got a couple shielded Macs. They were hyper expensive (but also TEMPEST sheilded as well).

Wouldn't it then stand to reason that "e-bombs" would be more useful on civilian infrastructure/targets?

That is mostly the idea.

Re:military use? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389095)

That is mostly the idea.

Then it's more useful as a terrorist weapon (and Terrorists don't have a very big R&D budget) then a military one. I don't see us deploying these weapons on a wide scale, only to pay rebuild the destroyed infrastructure after the war.

Of course, I could be wrong, because we did rebuild Germany and Japan's industrial bases after bombing them into non-existence during WW2.

Re:military use? (5, Interesting)

Bios_Hakr (68586) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389114)

Psst, let me let you in on a little secret...

90% of the military tech is commercial off the shelf (COTS).

It's cheaper and more reliable to use COTS vice a propritary tech.

I'm not worried... (0, Funny)

Webtommy88 (515386) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388937)

I remember one of my Econ profs made the joke in class that if did they detonate a nuke in the atmostsphere back in the cold war days, the Canadian army would still function because their radio equipment ran vacuum tubes.

I guess its time to bring back the vaccuum tubes!

Any time the Canadian Army can dominate is pretty funny to me :P, and I am a Canadian

Re:I'm not worried... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388984)

Are you referring to Harry Chartrand at the University of Saskatchewan? Sounds like something he would say, and he rocks hardcore!

Re:I'm not worried... (1)

evilpenguin (18720) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389118)

Whilst I admit I have only a ham radio/computer geek knowledge of EE, it seems to me that vacuum tube equipment would be disrupted by an EMP from a nuke or a E-weapon. The difference is the hardware would not be destroyed. But the pulse would mess with the plate voltage of a tube too. The disruption would be temporary, but it would still happen.

The problem with semiconductors is that high voltage transients actually destroy them.

Prior Art (2, Funny)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388940)

E-bombs (not email bombs, rather electronic microwave weapons)

Every time our early-80's GE microwave kicks in, the TV goes all fuzzy. TV's infrastructure. I smell prior art...or is that burning popcorn...

Civilian uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388944)

We could have wireless APs that provide super-long range with no Pringles cans and double as home heating units.

Hail to Trollcore! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388945)

______
.-" "-.
/ \
| | < FROM THIS DISEASED MOUTH
|, .-. .-. ,| SPREADS THE WORD OF TROLLKORE.
| )(__/ \__)( | AWRY BE THE WORDS AND OPINIONS
|/ /\ \| OF THOSE WHO POST HERE. TAKE
(_ ^^ _) NO HEED OF THEM.>
\__|IIIIII|__/
|-\IIIIII/-|
\ /
`--------`

Radiofrequency WMDs already exist (1)

mabu (178417) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388950)

There's been a technology in place for decades that has been used to render a population incapable and uninterested in resisting an authoritative force.

It's called television. It's very effective. What else would you need? If the government were smart, they'd start cloning Bill O'Reillys and deploy them throughout the world.

It's already begun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7389030)

Have you seen Scarborough country on MSNBC?

Psychological Warfare! (1)

Squeebee (719115) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388952)

Now we can demoralize the enemy into surrendering by taking away their ability to surf porn!

In all honesty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7388956)

I'd prefer they create these bombs then classic ones. (Of course, they will do both).

I'd rather have my puter die then little me. (I know, this is blasphemy for a ./er).

Point worth noting, though: these sort of bombs are most efficient in higly modernised countries, such as...hmm...well, those of europe.

Makes one wonder why they are pursuing this with such zeal.

Re:In all honesty (1)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389019)

Actually it's much more. In combat situation, this kinda of bomb could wipe out anything that remotely have a piece of electronic in them. Example tanks and high explosive ammunition that uses electronics to detonate them (I wonder if RPG is electronic detonated). Talk about having to fight someone who's going to resort to pre-WW2 weapons.

Can you see it? (2, Funny)

newyhouse (655438) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388963)

I can see the yuppies kneeling over their
deceased iPods and Clies with tears in their
eyes and a look of utter despair on their faces.
Why!!!! Whyyyyyyy!!!!

Re:Can you see it? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389006)

I can see the yuppies kneeling over their deceased iPods and Clies with tears in their eyes and a look of utter despair on their faces

Nah, it would be like Pearl Harbor Part II. All the Yuppies would enlist in the Armed Forces to seek revenge. Instead of "The Japs killed my brother", it would be "The [insert foe of choice] killed my brother's iPod".

And then there would be the /.'ers in their tinfoil surrounded-houses still surfing away, completely oblivious to what was going on, at least until the real bombs started to fall :)

Idea for a patent (1)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388969)

Patent (A) 7637487234023407278462837:

Hard disk and microprocessor high-power microwave (HPM) weapons shielding device. A lead protective cover surrounds electronic computer components which are susceptible to HPM damage.

so now... (2, Funny)

spammyy (303116) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388974)

we have phasers (not handheld versions yet but i'm sure there'll be a time) where's my photon torpedoes and warp drives? *_*

hang on Mr Abrams (1)

mantera (685223) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388990)


In these media-fueled times, when war is a television spectacle and wiping out large numbers of civilians is generally frowned upon, ...

Am I reading too much into this or does the literary style of Mr Abrams make sound as he might be nostalgic for the good ol' times when "wiping out large numbers of civilians" wasn't something the media would be interested in or it'd be "generally frowned upon"

what a poor phrasing to start an article...

Already cornered the market: (1)

dameron (307970) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388995)

Clearchannel.

-dameron

Same as net security (1)

valkraider (611225) | more than 10 years ago | (#7388997)

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy no longer requires that all its hardware be hardened against nuclear electromagnetic pulses. It deemed that maintaining those standards was too costly and slowed down the integration of new technology. The presumption was that after the Cold War, nobody would be using nuclear bombs, says the Lexington Institute's Thompson. "Whenever I ask the admirals, 'Well, what if someone did use a nuclear bomb?,' I just get this kind of blank I-don't-have-an-answer-for-that sort of look."

I get that same response when I ask managers why we are not defending against some attack... "Because the likelyhood of that kind of attack is very low." "But what if it DID happen?" - blank stare -.

shielding against emp, gauss? (1)

Speare (84249) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389001)

What is the kind of physical shielding that one can install to shield against EMP (such as produced by nuclear detonation)? This should avoid most of the damage from the indiscriminate E-bombs, as the article mentions.

Secondly, the article wafts past the issue of shielding against the harder "laser-like" weaponry's effects. Whether they skip it for security's sake or limited knowledge sake, they just avoid the whole issue.

HERF Gun (4, Informative)

phorm (591458) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389003)

Are these much different from the HERF gun [slashdot.org] previously described on slashdot?

The main difference I see is ina HERF gun is a focused blast (like narrowband), whilst an EMP bomb will likely be area damage (ultrawideband).

A cool thing, and perhaps a balance to the technology wars (what good is a tank/fighter when one guy with a laser 10km away can down it?), but can't we already assembly things like these in a our basements (if not, somebody please point out the different, other than power)

Re:HERF Gun (1)

dknight (202308) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389087)

I was going to post a similar comment after reading the article, but you beat me to it.

The primary difference seems to be that a HERF gun simple interferes with electronic equipment, rather than destroying it. Even still though, I'm surprised it didnt get a mention, as even temporarily disabling an enemies electronics would seem like a great advantage, and HERF guns are fairly compact and easy to build.

Really? (2, Insightful)

stephenry (648792) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389008)

Really? I'd like to see how millions of dollars of hightech electronic equipment can defend agaist people who are willing strap bombs to themselves and bomb just about anything that get in their way.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7389113)

Kill the propoganda, keep Osama and all those other mugs off the TV, and all of a sudden those people aren't so willing to strap the bombs on.

Not arming ourselves for the real fight (3, Insightful)

swb (14022) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389011)

The real fight the US faces is NOT relatively high-tech foes like the Soviet Union, but low-tech guys armed with home-made bombs scavanged from artillery rounds and AK-47s.

What good is this kind of technology against these foes? It's almost impossible to think we even face an enemy capable of fielding a large force for a stand-up battle, let alone one easily immobilized by EM. Even the North Koreans, on anyone's short list for potential combat, likely rely heavily on WWII-era or older combat communications unaffected by EMP.

Re:Not arming ourselves for the real fight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7389073)

PEOPLE are affected by e.m radiation. Research into currently very much underutilised e.m. effects could mean pressing a shirt button and electrocuting/microwaving everyone in a 100 metre radius, say (the trick would be to not be electrocuted/microwaved yourself, for that you need very good knowledge and probably realtime solving of 3-d e.m field problems based on scanned environmental geometry...)

EMP bombs have been around a while (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7389021)

I recall reading about them in some very stupid news-magazine (Time or something) back during the (first) Gulf War (along with another story about the Air Force's spaceplanes, which I thought was a much more interesting topic). It discussed the idea of dropping troops with one into a city right before a raid or assault, taking out all of the enemy comm systems without any warning.

Actually, that gives me a thought. The US has got to have at least a few lying around. Did the Soviets? What happened to them? As most of them weren't actually nukes*, that maybe they slipped away without anyone noticing, eh?

* I believe the early ones _were_ nukes, just 'toned down' so they produced a lot of electomagnetic energy and not that much 'nukage'. OK, nukage probably isn't a word. But you know what I mean.

Holy Cow (2, Funny)

jlechem (613317) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389023)

Some of those bombs could give new meaning to "slashdotting a server".

Power radar (1)

thorgil (455385) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389024)

There are radars (target radars on surface to air missile launchers) that can render a pilot in a plane a couple of thousand feets up sterile in just a couple of seconds...

A couple of thousand watts in a nice beam seems to do the trick..

Does that count as a electromagnetic wave weapon?

Further reading (1)

wfmcwalter (124904) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389040)

Further reading:

Information Warfare: Cyberterrorism: Protecting Your Personal Security in the Electronic Age
by Winn L Schwartau, ISBN 1560251328

weapons.... (-1, Troll)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389043)

why can't they invent smarter, more tolerant, more enlightened people. Now that would truly be an invention worthy of mention.

Killing people is easy [turns around and breaks neck of loud sand nigger neighbour in lab]. But putting up with people [like lound sand nigger behind me] is truly an effort!

Tom

Old magazine articles... (1)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389051)

I remember reading in Popular Science, or Wired, or something, about 5 years back.

Some guy made an EMP gun with radio shack parts, and said if he drove up on some hill in California, with his van full of car batteries, he could shoot an EMP at Sun or something and ruin the economy...

Re:Old magazine articles... (1)

bandy (99800) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389084)

Nah, too sci-fi. Better to manipulate energy prices to suck the boom-money out of California, and at the same time generate random blackouts to screw the companies still in operation.

Don't give those terrorists any ideas... (-1)

precogpunk (448371) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389056)

I'd riot if Al Queda used one to take down my p0rn pipeline.

Cool (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389066)


Every day on the freeway will be a classic auto show day.

I have my grandfather's tube radio. Will I have anything to listen to? Or electricity?

Yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7389069)

HERF guns again. HERF guns don't kill computers, people with HERF guns kill computers.

My wish for Ebomb use (1)

Randy Rathbun (18851) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389101)

That fuckin' advertisement that just showed up on the right side of the page.

Someone needs to be slapped....

Bomb waves (2, Insightful)

Gwobl (714841) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389108)

As I understand it, this technology got big when there was a need to simulate the Electromagnetic Pulse from little nukes, but treaties forbade it. There were four ways to simulate this discharge of energy, one used capacitors and coils, one used a chemical reaction, and I forget the other two. According to TV reports, some of the cruise missles Clinton used on Bagdhad between the two golf wars had originally been fitted with these warheads, and they had to be re-armed with conventional explosives prior to launch. So unless it was to scare the Iraqi's, why announce these weapons as news?

Defense? (1)

Thinkit3 (671998) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389115)

So what's the defense to this? Standard hardening seems unfeasible. Since the more advanced ones are very directed, wouldn't it be possible to determine which direction it's coming from, and fire back? That's the same defense that could be used against all directed, concentrated energy weapons (lasers).

Could you point it towards my computer please? (1)

cpopin (671433) | more than 10 years ago | (#7389135)

I just started a new job and I'm on a Windows NT loaner machine until they can get me my own system.

Do me, just do me!
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