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Set PHASRs On Stun

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the science-follows-science-fiction dept.

Technology 380

brianber writes to tell us NewScientist is reporting that the US Government has unveiled a new weapon in their non-lethal arsenal. The Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response (PHASR) laser rifle has many potential applications such as temporarily blinding a suspect who drives through a roadblock. So far, however, the DoD has declined to comment on the specific details of how it works.

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380 comments

how'd you like that shoved up your ass : ) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986503)



bong on dude!

Can't blind on purpose (3, Informative)

ReformedExCon (897248) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986504)

Geneva conventions bar the use of maiming weapons, and one that would blind the enemy combatant is right out.

Re:Can't blind on purpose (3, Informative)

yamum (893083) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986511)

Isn't the Geneva Convention only for war? Use within a country would bypass this rule, no?

Re:Can't blind on purpose (1, Troll)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986594)

Good point.

So I guess the only use for a maiming laser device would be for maiming fellow Americans...

Re:Can't blind on purpose (1)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986641)

Exactly.

That's why we can use tear gas to disperse rioters.

Re:Can't blind on purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986512)

As the article says about 8 times, but thanks for pointing that out.

Re:Can't blind on purpose (5, Informative)

Hard_Rock_2 (804967) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986521)

From TFA " But the device will require close scrutiny to ensure compliance with a United Nations protocol on blinding laser weapons." "Laser weapons capable of blinding enemies have been developed in the past but were banned under a 1995 UN convention called the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons. The wording of this protocol, however, does not prohibit lasers that temporarily dazzle a foe."

Re:Can't blind on purpose (2, Insightful)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986565)

I'm just wondering how many times you can saftly "temporarily" blind someone with a laser.

Re:Can't blind on purpose (5, Funny)

aaron_ds (711489) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986678)

Just once. Don't look into laser with remaining eye.

Re:Can't blind on purpose (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986684)

I'm just wondering how many times you can saftly "temporarily" blind someone with a laser.

Well, the fine print warning on the back of the rifle does say

"Do not stare at the rampaging laser rifle firing militia with your remaining good eye"

Re:Can't blind on purpose (5, Insightful)

SupremeTaco (844794) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986747)

Also, is it such a good idea to blind someone driving a moving vehicle. Couldn't that increase the potential for damage somewhat?

Re:Can't blind on purpose (1)

AnonymousBystander (927218) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986979)

I don't get it, why would 'Blinding Laser Weapons' be banned? There are tons of more dangerous weapons out there.

Re:Can't blind on purpose (0, Troll)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986986)

Ah.... UN..... I don;t that is a *very* important requirement to be approved by UN for US to arm its forces...

Hell, if US had to wait for UN approval, this devastating Bush War would never have been waged at all.!

Sorry, we the United States of America. We don't bow to UN.

Re:Can't blind on purpose (3, Insightful)

drivekiller (926247) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986552)

Not only that. Driving blind has a high probability of lethality.

Re:Can't blind on purpose (1)

druschc01 (926751) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986741)

Boy, driving blind in the middle of a dessert... Or having 500 rounds of .50 cal tear through my car... Decisions, decisions....

Re:Can't blind on purpose (1)

jbNet (65846) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986756)

And the same US military research lab developed another laser weapon more than a decade ago, called the Sabre 203. This device attached beneath the barrel of a normal rifle and emitted a low-power laser light over a range of 300 metres. It was used by US forces in Somalia in 1995 but later shelved because of concerns over safety

They ducktape a "low-power laser" to a gun, and they're worried that the laser might hurt somebody?

Re:Can't blind on purpose (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986564)

Don't -all- weapons have the potential to maim or blind?

I mean, i can just as easily blind an enemy combatant by poking him in the eye with a stick as i can with an assault rifle.

why doesn't the geneva convention just ban all pain inducing weapons straight out? that right there would prevent lots of war.

Re:Can't blind on purpose (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986651)

why doesn't the geneva convention just ban all pain inducing weapons straight out? that right there would prevent lots of war.

No, it would just prevent Geneva conventions.

Re:Can't blind on purpose (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986578)

Geneva conventions bar the use of maiming weapons, and one that would blind the enemy combatant is right out.

Since when has the US ever obeyed the Geneva convention? [washingtonpost.com]

Re:Can't blind on purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986824)

Since when have those being detained worn uniforms or done anything else to suggest they are enemy combatants as defined by the Geneva Convention? So if they don't even come close to the Geneva Convention definition of an enemy combatant, then how, exactly, are we violating the aforementioned Convention?

If you don't like the way we're treating suspected (or known) terrorists, by all means, get the GC changed. Until then, for fuck's sake, stop saying we're violating it when any sane person can see we're not. Or, better yet, fight it on moral grounds instead of legal ones. Obeying an unjust law is just as immoral as breaking a just one. So why not shift your argument slightly to say "The GC is fundamentally flawed and needs to be updated to fit the modern world?" Cause if you said that, I'd be with you 100%.

Also, as something of a tangent: Secret detention centers could turn the world against us. Fear: check. They won't say exactly what they're doing. Uncertainty: check. We can't prove they're doing anything wrong, but they can't (or won't) prove they're not. Doubt: check. Yep, this is bona fide, grade-A FUD.

Posting as an AC because this is well off-topic. (Not that it stopped the parent from being modded up...) ctr2sprt [slashdot.org] if you want to add me to your shit list.

Re:Can't blind on purpose (1)

Flendon (857337) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986863)

We do unless our opponents stop following [wikipedia.org] it first.

ah, who cares about geneva conventions. (4, Interesting)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986658)

They're most important for enemy combatants.

Have you seen this [independent.co.uk] ?
We're napalming civilians, now. But we didn't sign the 1980 UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, so it's okay.

COOL!! (2, Funny)

ksheff (2406) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986893)

but what smells better in the morning? white phosphorous or napalm?

Re:Can't blind on purpose (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986665)

The Geneva Convention also frowns on hosing down civilians with Willie Pete, but that apparently didn't stop the present gang of psychotics from doing just that [reuters.com] .

Can Jesus just like, hurry up and take these people into heaven, so we can have our country back?

I swear, if the My Lai massacre happened today, it wouldn't even merit a raised eyebrow, because hey, the gooks do even more of that kind of stuff, don't they? And Watergate might earn its own Fark headline before disappearing in the noise floor of photo-ops scheduled by Tom Cruise's new publicist.

How is that a problem for America? (4, Insightful)

katharsis83 (581371) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986798)

I fail to see how that's a problem for the US Dept. of Defense.

Senator McCain just led a passage of a bill that would expressly condemn torture and lifts language from the Geneva Conventions. Guess what the White House reaction has been... Cheney is now working hard behind the scenes to make sure that it dies when in the House or during committee, and Bush has vowed to veto any such bill. The official stance is that such language would "hinder the US's ability to defend itself."

Given recent news reports of the US using white phosphorus on civilians and napalm when taking Falluja, it's doubtful that Geneva conventions were even considered when this prototype was developed.

It's a good thing that America stands for freedom, democracy, and human rights, otherwise I'd be worried...

Re:How is that a problem for America? (4, Interesting)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986925)

There was a good piece in the Atlantic I read last night about Torture and it's place in fighting terrorism.

The Dark Art Of Interrogation By Mark Bowden in the Oct 2003 Atlantic
http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200310/bowden [theatlantic.com]

It closes with the following, which I agree with.

"The Bush Administration has adopted exactly the right posture on the matter. Candor and consistency
are not always public virtues. Torture is a crime against humanity, but coercion is an issue that is
rightly handled with a wink, or even a touch of hypocrisy; it should be banned but also quietly
practiced. Those who protest coercive methods will exaggerate their horrors, which is good: it
generates a useful climate of fear. It is wise of the President to reiterate U.S. support for international
agreements banning torture, and it is wise for American interrogators to employ whatever coercive methods
work. It is also smart not to discuss the matter with anyone.
If interrogators step over the line from coercion to outright torture, they should be held personally
responsible. But no interrogator is ever going to be prosecuted for keeping Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
awake, cold, alone, and uncomfortable. Nor should he be."

Re:How is that a problem for America? (3, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986948)

Now, as for the dig against the DoD, as a Military Historian whose been doing alot of research on the US military and the conflict with Iraq, I would like to point out that no nation on Earth has spent and spends as much time, lives and money to insure that conflicts are carried out as "legally" as they can be.

For example, during the March Up to Baghdad in 2003, JAG groups were embeded in the main force and follow-on forces and anything taken, down to the knock-off Pepsi in one of the factories owned by Uday, were paid for or people who owned it were paid for things taken or damaged.

It's not perfect and 100% "clean", but its not really accurate to critize the DoD, a War is a War and it is violent and unfair, but the US and other NATO militaries try much harder than anyone ever has to mitigate the impact on civilians and non-combatants.

Re:Can't blind on purpose (1)

donaldm (919619) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986823)

I suppose we can call this the use of "non-lethal force", however this type of action opens the flood gates for litigation.

Some things the military/police have to consider when using force to incapacitate a person who is threatening you or a another persons life and cannot be calmed (try to define this??) down.

You cannot stab a person with a rusty bayonet, however a clean one is ok.

It is illegal to fire a 0.222 bullet with a cross tip (dum-dum) but there is no problem if you use a 50 cal machine gun.

The use of a tazer can kill a person with a heart issue, but its ok to fire bullets at him.

Now the latest. If you blind a person with your laser weapon you will most likely face litigation, so you better make sure the selection switch is changed from "stun/blind" to "crispy".

I am sure most people can add to this.

 

Re:Can't blind on purpose (1)

ksheff (2406) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986922)

I think I read somewhere that 50 cal machine guns aren't supposed to be used directly against ground troops, but you can use it against vehicles. But 50 cal sniper rifles are OK. Who comes up with this???

Re:Can't blind on purpose (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986962)

I think thats an urban legend as you can see tons of references to the use of .50 caliber (12.7mm) machine guns used against infantry from Vietnam on with large caliber guns being used all the time in urban combat in fights like Fallujah now.

Re:Can't blind on purpose (1)

BrokenStructure (793578) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986960)

it only temporarily blinds them... I'm pretty sure maiming necessitates permanent damage.

W00t, PHASRs (0, Redundant)

920714 (920714) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986505)

Beam me up Scotty!

Re:W00t, PHASRs (1)

coolidk (920131) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986663)

And FTA: US military sets laser PHASRs to stun, this is mad! According to my tricorder readings no such thing is not to be invented in another 300 years!

Re:W00t, PHASRs (4, Funny)

eobanb (823187) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986682)

The PHASR, now with a 1.3 MP camera and iTunes

Re:W00t, PHASRs (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986692)

More like "Beat me up, Scotty!"...

Is it just me.. (3, Funny)

Daxster (854610) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986509)

Or haven't they already told us how it works? It's a laser rifle, and it halts them with a bright flash ;-)
"Ow my eyes".

Re:Is it just me.. (1)

Browncoat (928784) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986531)

A low-cost solution would just be to mount a Maglite [maglite.com] onto a rifle.

Re:Is it just me.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986555)

with a bright flash ;-) Don't you mean ;-( ?

Re:Is it just me.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986566)

Ze goggles! Zey do nothing!

Re:And the defence is... (4, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986571)

It's a laser rifle, and it halts them with a bright flash ;-)

Stop by your local welding supply store and pick up an arc welders helment with the fast response LCD lens. If it's a green laser, pick up a pair of laser safety goggles from your industrial safety supply.

Sometimes not telling how it works is an advantage. You need to be a step ahead, not fill the public in on the details. Remember the riots of the 1960's. Many rioters came with gas masks. Teargas was just part of the scene.

Lets not tell them what to expect ahead of time, just like the cruise ship with the sonic defense. That was a suprise and as such it was effective. Now the cat's out of the bag. Next attack may come with motorcycle helments with proper hearing protection...

Why warn them ahead of time?

Re:And the defence is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986801)

Lets not tell them what to expect ahead of time, just like the cruise ship with the sonic defense. That was a suprise and as such it was effective. Now the cat's out of the bag. Next attack may come with motorcycle helments with proper hearing protection.

Too bad they didn't have a Bofors 40 mm [navweaps.com] cannon. There wouldn't be a next attack.

Re:And the defence is... (1)

danharan (714822) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986810)

Yay! More security through ...er, we're talking lasers here. Ok, two problems with your theory.

1- Do you trust the government to test weapons on the public without us knowing what they are? (And if you answered yes, what the FUCK are you doing here?)

2- People that steal cars are NOT going to wear anti-laser or welding helmets. Talk about not looking cool and making yourself conspicuous.

Re:And the defence is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986865)

They aren't going to test weapons on the public. They will USE weapons on the public after testing them on volunteers. Blind hippies! Yay!

Who said anything about stealing cars?

Cue new fashion trend (2, Funny)

Attaturk (695988) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986597)

Now you know why the men in black wear shades.

But will it be able to defend against... (5, Funny)

FF8Jake (929704) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986519)

sharks with frickin lasers on their heads?

is it just me? (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986530)

or does that PHASr look like it came directly from the set of Farscape?

So this is why Homeland Security is so worried about people blinding pilots?

Re:is it just me? (1)

Browncoat (928784) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986547)

It really does look like a Peacekeeper rifle. Wow. At least it's not the rifle that looks like a potato cannon.

The bright side: at least it doesn't look like a remote control like the phasers on Star Trek did.

Re:is it just me? (1)

sTalking_Goat (670565) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986762)

Now we really know why Farscape got cancelled.

They knew too much...

The next-gen infantry weapon will of course be built into large swords...

Yeah: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986533)

Let's blind the guy who's driving.

vehicle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986534)

blind a person who drives through a road block and turn his vehicle into a lethal weapon

Nice acronym (5, Funny)

Guysmiley777 (880063) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986551)

I love acronyms that are stretched to fit a word. "Stimulation response"? It sounds like they're tickling a target's balls or something.

Re:Nice acronym (2, Informative)

cryptoz (878581) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986562)

That's not an acronym. It's a backronym [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Nice acronym (1)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986916)

Is it just me, or are "backronyms" a sign that the marketroids are running the show.

I hate them. They turn my stomach. They just make the people who push that crap sound idiotic.

And in this case, they are missing the 'e' in "phaser". So they are backronym creators who can't even spell.

Star trek paving the way yet again (0, Redundant)

oztiks (921504) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986560)

Is it just me or are these over paid trekkers pushing it a bit to far to make the word phaser to name this weapon.

Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response (PHASR)

I recon it looks more like a BGF or Bio Force Cannon.

Re:Star trek paving the way yet again (1)

oztiks (921504) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986569)

I mean BFG, Bio Force Gun .. (late afternoon for poor old me)

Re:Star trek paving the way yet again (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986654)


Is it just me or are these over paid trekkers pushing it a bit to far to make the word phaser to name this weapon.

Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response (PHASR)

I recon it looks more like a BGF or Bio Force Cannon.


Ahhh, marketing. It makes the world go round.

Blinding a driver that drives through a roadblock (4, Insightful)

Jim_Callahan (831353) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986567)

Because what you really want to do to the speeding 3-ton SUV is blind the driver... yup, definitely makes things safer for everyone.

I'm just going to not RTFA: If I found out that this suggested use was actually in the documentation rather than a stupid comment of an article submitter, I'd lose the last remaining scraps of faith I had in the existence of intelligent life in the universe.

Re:Blinding a driver that drives through a roadblo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986885)

It's talking about roadblocks in Iraq, where vehicles are approaching too fast.

Preferable to just blasting the heck out of them with assault rifles, no? If the driver's intentions are not to ram them and detonate a bomb, they're most likely slam on the brakes. If they don't have bad intentions and don't slam on the breaks... tough luck. There's nothing that can be done about that at that point.

Best quote from article (0)

aztektum (170569) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986570)

But the device will require close scrutiny to ensure compliance with a United Nations protocol on blinding laser weapons.

It would be nice if the UN would also regulate the use of traditional weaponary with regards to murdering people with them. Although I would rather be killed in battle than come home eating out a straw with a few parts missing.

Re:Best quote from article (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986712)

It would be nice if the UN would also regulate the use of traditional weaponary with regards to murdering people with them.

They are; there's a lot of traditional weapons and ammunition that is perfectly fine to use for hunting or somesuch, but not allowed by the convention. The reason is usually because they cause more suffering than necessary, like flechettes or hail that give the target lots of small, hard to remove fragments; or plastic ammo that isn't visible on x-rays. It is of course a balancing act - the harm is weighed against the military utility, thus hand grenades, for instance, are not banned.

nitpicking (3, Insightful)

cryptoz (878581) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986573)

"(PHASR) laser"

So now it's a Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radation?

/me is confused.

Re:nitpicking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986603)

What's even better is that "laser" was not in TFA, but added just for the summary! Yay!

over the top (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986574)

how many non lethal devices does the government need in its arsenal? it seems we get a new story on these every month lately. is "our" government just gearing up for complete control of us?

don't bother taking to the streets for necessary social upheaval! they will just laser, brown note, lrad, deathray us. i think i would rather die.

Re:over the top (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986717)

how many non lethal devices does the government need in its arsenal?

Just one, but it has to work. Most of them don't.

Re:over the top (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986959)

(Anonymous because my usual name is taken, dont feel like trying for now)

I have lived on military bases, and one thing they have not put in the news, is that if they get past the first barricade at the gate. They have another barricade just a bit farther in that is the road itself. It is a hydraulic lift that actually pushes the road up a good 3 to 4 feet. I have seen the test video's done on these and they can stop a Semi-Truck going around 30 miles an hour. That does not sound very fast, but the barricades at the front of the gates tend to be made ina swerve pattern, and it is impossible not to be slowed down by them (at my current base they are solid steel poles dug down a good 3 feet into the ground with concrete holding them in place. Anything that hits them and keeps going will be slowed down to a crawl. And then with the blindness and the road spring, it will actually make for a good defense as far as defences can go without getting extreme.

Blinding the driver (3, Insightful)

lorcha (464930) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986576)

Could somebody please explain to me how blinding the driver of a moving vehicle can be considered a "non-lethal weapon"?

Re:Blinding the driver (5, Informative)

daraf (739813) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986679)

Sure. Situation 1: Driver runs initial checkpoint. Checkpoint team attempts to fill car with bullets before car closes to effective suicide blast range. Situation 2: Driver runs initial checkpoint. Checkpoint team blinds driver. Driver is unable to navigate serpentine blast barriers and crashes. The (notional) probability of somebody dying in situation 2 is less than in situation 1.

Remember folks. (5, Insightful)

hobotron (891379) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986583)


It's Less-Lethal, not Non-Lethal

Re:Remember folks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986630)

So True. Mod Up. Or wait .. this is Slashdot...

Re:Remember folks. (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986807)

Hard to find anything that's totally non-lethal if you get down to it. A pillow is lethal, if operated in a certian way.

I think the cutoff is mainly the design of the weapon.

A gun is designed to kill and thus a lethal weapon. It's not guarenteed to kill, of course, if you miss your target, or hit them in an extremity or an area they are wearing enough armour it won't work. However it is very often lethal and really, that's it's function, at least when fired at a person.

A taser is designed to incapacitate you and thus a non-lethal weapon. In all likelyhood, you'll be fine after a tasering. Plenty of people are tasered each year, in training as well as the field, and maybe one or two die. Generally it's also a case where it's not clear the taser was at fault. Like guy high on multiple drugs has heart attack. Well sure, maybe the taser did contribute, but I think the "lots of drugs" was a major factor too.

I guess you can play the semantics game if you like but, generally speaking, when you operate a non-lethal weapon correcly and as intented, nobody dies. When you operate a lethal weapon correctly and as intended, your target dies. PLaying the name-game doesn't really change anything.

Re:Remember folks. (1)

tewmten (608383) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986809)

How can something be less-lethal?
Either it's lethal, or it's not.

Re:Remember folks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986975)

Hah! Out-pedanted!

Harder to revolt (5, Insightful)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986585)

All this military spending in name of "national security"....meh I couldn't care less about national security. The harder it becomes to take over America, the harder it becomes for us to exercise our rights and overthrow our current form of government, should we see fit. I'd rather live my life and chance dying than be dead my whole life without a chance to live as a free man.

Re:Harder to revolt (2)

grogdamighty (884570) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986758)

Tyranny of the people is not an effective form of government. Neither is a government effective when its chief goal is to be easily dismantled rather than being effective at serving its constituents.

Personally, I am glad that non-lethal countermeasures are being explored: it means less likelihood of international disputes (people are more willing to forgive you temporarily incapacitating rather than slaughtering the enemy in a skirmish) and greater likelihood that people will be able to live safer lives domestically. Not only will we be protected from criminals, but it is far better to have this available at a protest than to kill protestors. Yes, there's still the matter of allowing people their right to demonstrate, but that is far easier to work out when people aren't dying.

For an example of the alternative: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_State_shootings [wikipedia.org]

Re:Harder to revolt (2, Insightful)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986819)

I believe my fear is that this will take away some of the reasons why public protesting has not been regulated most of the time...simply because the only real method of regulating it involved causing direct harm to someone. When there is no harm caused, but only discomfort, then there will much less reason to not regulate...hence it could become more difficult to protest without some form of governmental regulation. If we fuss and say they made is go come cause we all were blinded for 20 minutes, everyone else can say "Meh, you're not harmed, I don't care about what you're protesting about, so I'm not going to bother that your rights were infringed."

I'm thinking that when there are fewer repercussions for "regulating" then the government will get used to doing it, and then those harmless regulations will ever so slowly turn into more harmful ones.

Re:Harder to revolt (1)

ksheff (2406) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986974)

so which would you rather have? temporary blindness caused by this or blasted by high pressure liquid manure?

Sounds like things aren't going as planned (2, Interesting)

core plexus (599119) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986591)

FTA: "Neil Davison, another expert at Bradford University, says the situation in Iraq may encourage the US to push for the development of less-than-lethal laser weapons."

Innovation, or desperation?

Re:Sounds like things aren't going as planned (2, Interesting)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986643)

Innovation, or desperation?

Desperation would imply that current methods are ineffective. As certain italian secret agents have discovered, the current method of "shoot first, and a lot" is quite effective. This is more of an innovation, as it gives reckless friendlies with no better escape plan than "drive towards the americans, at night, very fast" at least SOME chance of survival.

Re:Sounds like things aren't going as planned (1)

dogolopee (886299) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986936)

It seems more like a responce to public pressure to not kill the enemy. If we would just let our troops do their job and use lethal force at their discretion (rather than the discretion of the media/public) maybe they would have been back by now. War is a bloody, violent, horrible thing. There is no honor is war, and when you attempt to interject civility into blood shed you simply shed more of your own blood. Perhaps all the people who don't have years of political experience, military experience, experience with world cultures, and access to all the data (including classified info) on the war should be quiet and let the experts do their job without uninformed, non-constructive critisism. You would think people in the tech fields would understand how difficult it is to do a job while being criticised by those who know little to nothing of your job (but often seem to think they know what is best).

WHAT??? (3, Funny)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986599)

...has many potential applications such as temporarily blinding a suspect who drives through a roadblock.

Yeah, that's a GREAT idea! I sure hope I'm somewhere near that roadblock so I can see it used, too! I mean, so long as they just temporarily blind the driver of a moving vehicle, no one will get hurt!

US Gov Laser rifle (1)

Bubble666 (771901) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986609)

I wonder if it's anything bigger then this
http://www.engadget.com/entry/1234000253066406/ [engadget.com]
...

Easy to beat (1)

iced_tea (588173) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986644)

Great. Now all the terrorists will be wearing sunglasses. 8-)

Non-lethal weapons do not exist (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986640)

"...the US Government has unveiled a new weapon in their non-lethal arsenal."

There is no such thing as non-lethal weapon. What's non-lethal to you may be lethal to a person with a lesser tolerance to the stimuli, existing health condition and many other factors.

Non-lethal weapons do not exist.

Re:Non-lethal weapons do not exist (1)

grogdamighty (884570) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986786)

That's like saying that Penicillin is a biological warfare agent simply because there are people who are allergic to it. Just as healing the many sick takes precedence over anaphylactic shock in the few, it is inane to fight the innovation of non-lethal weaponry simply because it has drawbacks to very few.

Of course, it is still important to find out what those drawbacks are so that we can put all effort into avoiding them.

What are the applications... (1)

Browncoat (928784) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986657)

For things like the PHASR (couldn't find anything for the E I guess) or rail gun technology?

What? (1)

CriminalNerd (882826) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986680)

The US government is developing NON-LETHAL weapons? Hmm...Something's not right here...Who or what is the US president and what has he/she done with George W?

Selling it to the media? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986687)

Depends on what they can say about it ie use of laser dazzler in the Falklands War (1982). One flash and the pilots retina is ash? Sold to the public: 'only' for use with electro-optical systems? Is it 'only' for use with a set distace for a short time? Will it be like an instant bright light at a distance- you stop for a few seconds and then get your sight back? But afer click, click, click .....?

Does it include....? (2, Funny)

mindstorms (788968) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986697)

Does this have Laser sights? I always wanted a Laser gun with Laser sights, how else would I know what I am shooting at?

Am i the only one... (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986716)

...who was expecting a high-powered pulse laser weapon, you know, a-la-Akira [iddeo.es] ?

Ridiculously Contrived Acronym of the Month Award (5, Funny)

serutan (259622) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986726)

Personnel Halting And Stimulation Response???

I can see why they made up that acronym though, because RBFTSOLLAF (Really Bright Flashlight That Sort of Looks Like a Fish) is way too long, hard to pronounce, and not as cool.

Temporarily blind guys ? (3, Funny)

this great guy (922511) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986736)

Hot girls have this feature built-in.

Re:Temporarily blind guys ? (4, Funny)

Toxicgonzo (904975) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986818)

Only if they FLASH you, that's when you go blind.

Re: And make your palms hairy too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986898)

Let's not forget that stimulation caused by pictures of hot girls can make you go blind too...

Non lethal, more dangerous to liberty (3, Insightful)

letdinosaursdie (809029) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986766)

When they can control a protesting crowd by incapacitating everyone in it, they have another tool of control that won't bring the backlash of actually killing people. I'd almost prefer that their only option was a lethal one.

great move (5, Insightful)

Xaggroth (851428) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986788)

oh yeah, real smart. Anyone who drives through a road block is probably going fast. Mix that in with the fact that you're dealing with a multi ton object. Instant blindness to whomever is driving.. yeah good move If you don't understand that well enough here is another example: A person intent on causing harm is blinded.. he has a gun. Does he A: Sit there like a fool? or B: Spray as much ammo around as possible? Don't make me answer that for you

Problem Solved: (2, Funny)

karlfr (897006) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986857)

Sunglasses.

Lethality 0 (2, Insightful)

Wantok (68892) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986869)

Blinding someone driving at high speed through a roadblock... oh yeah, that sounds non-lethal.

mix that with... (1)

where's alderaan (880637) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986883)

....LRAD and you can give terrorists the ultimate hellen keller experience (now dodging heavinly lightening bolts)

MAX POWER (1)

csulu (886582) | more than 8 years ago | (#13986892)

I bet that thing is set on lowest setting , and that if ppl whant they can switch between SAFE-STUN-KILL-DISITIGRATE. It has to be the thing as no one would make a kick-ass gun to just stun ppl.

nice to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13986968)

more non-lethal weapons being developed as an alternative to mr. bullit.

then the next step would be total disintegration for mortuary purposes. besides cremation we would have the disintergration option.

isn't that "logan's run"?

but....the gov't would give us a bonus for opting out early instead of by force
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