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US Military seeks new non-lethal weapon; the prototype of the phaser?

By deepsand ·
Well, boys and girls, once again our tax dollars are hard at work, seeking to use research on using lasers to control pain instead as a means to inflict it!

Below is fill text of article from "New Scientist."


Maximum pain is aim of new US weapon
19:00 02 March 2005
Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition
David Hambling

The US military is funding development of a weapon that delivers a bout of excruciating pain from up to 2 kilometres away. Intended for use against rioters, it is meant to leave victims unharmed. But pain researchers are furious that work aimed at controlling pain has been used to develop a weapon. And they fear that the technology will be used for torture.

"I am deeply concerned about the ethical aspects of this research," says Andrew Rice, a consultant in pain medicine at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London, UK. "Even if the use of temporary severe pain can be justified as a restraining measure, which I do not believe it can, the long-term physical and psychological effects are unknown."

The research came to light in documents unearthed by the Sunshine Project, an organisation based in Texas and in Hamburg, Germany, that exposes biological weapons research. The papers were released under the US's Freedom of Information Act.

One document, a research contract between the Office of Naval Research and the University of Florida in Gainesville, US, is entitled "Sensory consequences of electromagnetic pulses emitted by laser induced plasmas".

It concerns so-called Pulsed Energy Projectiles (PEPs), which fire a laser pulse that generates a burst of expanding plasma when it hits something solid, like a person (New Scientist print edition, 12 October 2002). The weapon, destined for use in 2007, could literally knock rioters off their feet.

Pain trigger
According to a 2003 review of non-lethal weapons by the US Naval Studies Board, which advises the navy and marine corps, PEPs produced "pain and temporary paralysis" in tests on animals. This appears to be the result of an electromagnetic pulse produced by the expanding plasma which triggers impulses in nerve cells.

The new study, which runs until July and will be carried out with researchers at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, aims to optimise this effect. The idea is to work out how to generate a pulse which triggers pain neurons without damaging tissue.

The contract, heavily censored before release, asks researchers to look for "optimal pulse parameters to evoke peak nociceptor activation" - in other words, cause the maximum pain possible. Studies on cells grown in the lab will identify how much pain can be inflicted on someone before causing injury or death.

Long-term risk
New Scientist contacted two researchers working on the project. Martin Richardson, a laser expert at the University of Central Florida, US, refused to comment. Brian Cooper, an expert in dental pain at the University of Florida, distanced himself from the work, saying "I don't have anything interesting to convey. I was just providing some background for the group." His name appears on a public list of the university's research projects next to the $500,000-plus grant.

John Wood of University College London, UK, an expert in how the brain perceives pain, says the researchers involved in the project should face censure. "It could be used for torture," he says, "the [researchers] must be aware of this."

Amanda Williams, a clinical psychologist at University College London, fears that victims risk long-term harm. "Persistent pain can result from a range of supposedly non-destructive stimuli which nevertheless change the functioning of the nervous system," she says. She is concerned that studies of cultured cells will fall short of demonstrating a safe level for a plasma burst. "They cannot tell us about the pain and psychological consequences of such a painful experience."

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Sunshine Project

Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in London

Office of Naval Research

Neuroscience, Univ. of Florida

Dept. of Physiology, Univ. College London

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Now if the Evil Empire had this weapon...

by Hockeyist In reply to US Military seeks new non ...

...first then the U.S. will be up in arms over it (probably because they didn't possess the technology first).
If the U.S. redirected money from these useless weapons to helping their citizens (helping the homeless, improving social services etc.) then the U.S. will be in a better position both socially and economically.
I was in Chicago recently visiting my sister in law. I couldn'y believe how many people were living on the streets. My sister in law told me this was nothing compared to other cities in the U.S. I ended up visiting 6 states and going up into Canada. Crossing the border into Canada was like a breath of fresh air. It was completely different, sort of reminded me of Sydney. Then I crossed back into the U.S. again and it was another world.
Governments should spend more on their people than useless weaponry.

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Compassionate Conservatism

by deepsand In reply to Now if the Evil Empire ha ...

That's what President Bush likes to call it.

As for Canada, my experience there seems to mirror your's.

I am a direct descendant of Daniel Boone; and, whle growing up in the Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania, was accordingly raised to hold a great reverence for Nature and all its wonders.

That Canadian's seem to appreciate such to a far greater degree than do most American's, along with what I observed to be a far more civil manner in their dealings with their brethren, made a marked impression on me.

Were it not for the fact that I physically have a very low tolerance for cold weather, owing to Raynoud's syndrome, I would long ago have moved there.

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by JamesRL In reply to Compassionate Conservatis ...

I would suggest that Southern Ontario and central Pensylvania aren't that different in terms of climate. Anything near the Great Lakes gets a moderating climatic effect. Ottawa is only one hundred kilometres north of Toronto(and about 400 Kms east) but is much colder, because it isn't near the Great Lakes.

But if you want something milder than Apalachia, try Vancouver. Very little snow in winter(but a lot of rain), ocean breeze to cool you in summer.


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by Oz_Media In reply to Vancouver

Normally yes, rainy fall and spring, THIS year, sun through NOvember, a few days of scattered showers and sunnshine the rest of the time.

It's geberally quite grey if not raining this time of year, the other day it was 18 degrees at the track. We were wearing t-shirts outside and it was warm enough to be quite confortable and enjoy a frosty one.

Had one or two days of spot showers this weekend but supposeed to be sunny and warm again tomorrow. The summer didn't end and the winter never came in '04. It was just a little cooler for a week or so, a few days of snow from ONE little sprinkle and then it was New Years and sunny again.

Yay,though a little more rain would help the forests out a bit though.

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Thanks for the climate info.

by deepsand In reply to Vancouver

What about the maritime provinces?

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by Oz_Media In reply to Thanks for the climate in ...

I lived in Sydney, NS for a while and it was fun for a kid but horrible for anyone else. TOOO DAMN SNOWY!!!!

We used to get EASILY 4'+ of snow a good 5 or 6 month a year, at least.

Summer was nice, and the people are some of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. But the winter was COLD and SNOWY, definitely a good example of the Great White North.

It's kinda like Winterpeg on an island. :)

Alberta is stunningly beautiful, but they also get a fair bit of snow and really wierd weather due to the mountains and flats in between. You can have stifling heat one minute and 1" hailstones the next. But certainly a breathtaking landscape.

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So, my choices are ...

by deepsand In reply to BRRRRRRRRRRRR

1) Freeze my keister off; or,
2) Get jungle rot?

Perhaps I'll consider North Carolina; moderate climate, mountains, & ocean.

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Jungle rot?

by Oz_Media In reply to So, my choices are ...

Moderate climate, mountains, and ocean.....B.C.

Google these when you get time.

Okanagan BC interior, Vancouver Island, Victoria, Richmond, Vancouver, Kamloops, Kelowna, Abbotsford, Whistler. That should give you a pretty good idea of the different areas in BC and their economies.

Pretty much have it all here, also with the 2010 games there is SO muvch going on already. Piles of opporunity for entrepeneurs and market share!

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A reference only to the rainfall, ...

by deepsand In reply to So, my choices are ...

not the temperatures.

And, yes, BC is still on my list of possibles.

Sorry to have given the wrong impression.

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NO, I just wasn't sure if you had the right info

by Oz_Media In reply to So, my choices are ...

It seemed as if you were mislead that's all.

ACtually on the idland here it is a rainforest, full of life and color. I can spend all day just taking it all in sometimes.

But as for a bit of everything but no extremes either way, BC has it all. As for recreation, we have it all twice and then some. The old expression that in BC you can go swimming, skiing and clubbing in the same day is a completely normal and realistic.

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