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Technology Science

Set PHASRs On Stun 380

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the science-follows-science-fiction dept.
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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Set PHASRs On Stun

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  • by ReformedExCon (897248) <reformed.excon@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:29AM (#13986504)
    Geneva conventions bar the use of maiming weapons, and one that would blind the enemy combatant is right out.
    • by yamum (893083)
      Isn't the Geneva Convention only for war? Use within a country would bypass this rule, no?
      • Good point.

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

        That's why we can use tear gas to disperse rioters.
      • by baptiste (256004) * <<su.etsitpab> <ta> <ekim>> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @09:17AM (#13988496) Homepage Journal
        A 1995 UN Convention bans the sale of devices which have as one of their purposes, the intent to blind people. See http://www.un.org/millennium/law/xxvi-18-19.htm [un.org] So the whole war vs peace thing isn't really relevant. However, that convention seems easy to get around - if blinding someone is a SIDE effect - it seems like it would be allowed:

        Protocol IV on Blinding Laser Weapons prohibits the use of laser weapons specifically designed, as their sole combat function or as one of their combat functions, to cause permanent blindness to unenhanced vision, that is to the naked eye or to the eye with corrective eyesight devices. The High Contracting Parties shall not transfer such weapons to any State or non-State entity.

        I just happened to be finishing up an excellent, if a little dated, book on Laser Weapons called 'Laser Weapons - The Dawn of a New Military Age' Its out of print, but if you can find it [amazon.com], I highly recommend it. Co-authored by a military Major General and a Biomedical Engineering professor specializing in eye injuries, etc.

        One thing that is NOT in TFA, is this key fact about Low Energy Laser weapons:

        It is not possible to only flash blind a person with a laser for a sufficient time in broad daylight without simultaneously causing permanent changes to his eyes. Temproary flash blinding by a laser is only possible when eyes are more or less adapted to darkness.

        The key point here is that a laser weapon like this will only be 'safe' on the targets at night. During the day it won't work.

        If you really want to poke around and see whats out there, both experimental and deployed, try some of these searches (and since most stuff related to laser weapons is still highly classified, take what you read with a grain of salt):

        These are programs primarily from the late 1980's and 1990's, but it gives you an idea what they were looking at back then and some may still be in R&D today. Systems like Stingray and LDS were deployed at some point or came very close to it.

        One thing most people don't realize is that High Energy Laser weapons (HEL) like proposed for SDI, etc, are VERY difficult to deploy and run into serious problems with atmospheric distortion and interference (lookup Laser Thermal Blooming [google.com] on Google - its a neat effect) But Low Energy Laser (LEL) weapons can easily blind soldiers, destroy optics, and destory sensitive sensors on vehicles, aircraft, and missles, and aren't as severely impacted by the environment like HEL weapons are. Plus they are CHEAP to build and the technology is widely available - thus the weapons aren't limited to the G-8. If you think terrorists haven't considered using LELs you're kidding yourself. They may not have the dramatic effect - but imagine the psychological impact on a society (think DC Sniper) if numerous people started going blind just walking down the street. Why do you think the FAA freaked out so badly when people pointed handheld laser pointers at landing aircraft. I have a Class IIIa laser on my desk I bought for $50 - how hard would it

    • by Hard_Rock_2 (804967) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:32AM (#13986521) Homepage
      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."
      • I'm just wondering how many times you can saftly "temporarily" blind someone with a laser.
      • by SupremeTaco (844794) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:13AM (#13986747)
        Also, is it such a good idea to blind someone driving a moving vehicle. Couldn't that increase the potential for damage somewhat?
        • I believe the implication is that it's better than shooting them.

        • Good point; to avoid increasing the potential for damage, let's stick to the current procedure of shooting the driver.

          I kid! I kid because I love!
          • So shoot the @#$%ing tires!! Unless that's where Al-Qaida is hiding their explosives, now.....
            • Really bad idea. (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Kadin2048 (468275) <`ten.yxox' `ta' `nidak.todhsals'> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:45AM (#13988247) Homepage Journal
              That's idiotic.

              Go stand in front of a car sometime and try and figure out how you'd like to shoot the tires, especially if it was driving towards you at high speed. They're not exactly a huge target to begin with, plus they'd be turned end-on, and all but the very bottom is covered by the front fender in most vehicles. Now imagine trying to shoot them and only them, using a machine gun, probably mounted on another vehicle (putting it ~6' up in the air) so there's a downward angle, and you'll realize it's highly impractical. Furthermore, it would really suck to waste your last chance at stopping a car by shooting at its tires, only to realize the instant before whatever large amount of explosive that it's carrying detonates, that it had run-flats.

              This whole "shoot the tires" idea is pure Hollywood. If you're putting bullets into a car, chances are the situation has already degraded past the point where non-lethal force is appropriate anyway. Most of the time if you're trying to stop a car, you don't even aim for the driver, you'd be aiming for the engine block, which is unfortunately mounted in front of the driver. Cracking the block pretty much guarantees a quick disable of the vehicle, and is conveniently located "center mass" so it's not difficult to hit.

              Think about the real world practicality of your suggestions in the future. There's a reason soldiers aren't trained to aim for the tires when somebody is trying to ram a roadblock, and it's not because they get a sick thrill out of shooting people.
      • by Mad_Rain (674268) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @07:05AM (#13987746) Journal
        The wording of this protocol, however, does not prohibit lasers that temporarily dazzle a foe.

        That word, "dazzle"... damn, could they have picked a better word?

        "Dude, so there I was, driving home the bar, had a few drinks, and I'm driving up to a sobriety checkpoint, when suddenly WHAM! it was like a Pink Floyd show went off in my head! I just hit the brakes, and turned up 'Comfortably Numb' on the CD player...it was dazzling"
    • Not only that. Driving blind has a high probability of lethality.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      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]

    • by artifex2004 (766107) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:56AM (#13986658) Journal
      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!! (Score:3, Funny)

        by ksheff (2406)
        but what smells better in the morning? white phosphorous or napalm?
      • Have you seen this?
        We're napalming civilians, now.


        Not to sound condescending to the younger slashdotters amoung us, but this isn't in fact, as recent a development as you might think. There was this thing way back when called The Vietnam War [wikipedia.org], where US forces used napalm quite copiously on civilians.

        History inevitably repeats.
    • by katharsis83 (581371) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:24AM (#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...
      • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:50AM (#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."

      • 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 Uda
        • You're right (Score:5, Insightful)

          by katharsis83 (581371) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:29AM (#13987066)
          You're right. The US/NATO are one of the most consistently morally upright military forces during wartime; I have no argument with that. I'm also convinced that if say, China/Russia had invaded, we'd be seeing much more brutality and inhumane treatment stories.

          That's not the problem.

          The problem is that the US declares itself as a "City Upon a Hill," a force for freedom and democracy in the world - a perfectly noble and admirable goal, but one that invites criticism. A country that claims it fights for freedom, democracy, and human rights must hold itself up to the highest standard if it's to maintain moral authority in war. The reason America is criticized so harshly and is watched so closely is that few other countries in the world claim to invade other countries partially on the basis of bringing freedom and equality there. (Whether that was the original intent is irrelevant - the Administration has publicly shifted towards this new rationale). You cannot espouse the rule of law and human rights to other countries if you yourself fail to live up to that standard.

          A leader cannot make excuses for immoral behavior, only rectify the mistakes and never let them occur again.
          • Re:You're right (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Kadin2048 (468275)
            if say, China/Russia had invaded, we'd be seeing much more brutality and inhumane treatment stories.

            No, you wouldn't, because they'd be controlling the press so tightly that nothing negative would really get out, at least officially. All you'd have would be a lot of really disturbing rumors, and later on, a lot of hollow-eyed people mumbling about how they'd never been mistreated and had nothing to say. And maybe twenty or thirty years from now, once the perpetrators were nicely retired, there'd be a few no
          • The problem is there is NO NEED for additional language. Any violations of the Geneva convention (assuming guilty before convicted here of course as the media does) are jumped upon by our media and dealt with sternly by the military brass.

            An additional bill on the subject is a waste of time and money and simply adds fuel to the completely ridiculous comparisons of the United States to USSR/WW2 Germany by all the wackos out there.

            There is NOTHING to fix here.
    • by n54 (807502) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @03:05AM (#13986987) Homepage Journal
      Looking at it that way the Geneva conventions would prohibit the use of flashbangs. I'm very confident the mutually agreed definition of "maiming weapons" among the signatories does not include temporary sensory depravation etc. and even more certain that most people would agree that non-lethal warfare is better than lethal warfare.

      Continuing your thought one has to ask what weapon can't conceivably be used for maiming rather than killing? I know of no such weapon only which has such a "boolean value"-like use, not even weapons of mass destruction.
    • This is a weapon for temporary disable the suspect. Like mace. Like a flashbang. The previous methodology was called 'POONT' and involved lightly peppering the vehicle and its occupants with small gauge munitions, dare I say 9-11mm rounds. About 500 should do the trick, one of them is bound to miss an occupant and look like a warning shot, or hit the tyres.

      You are right, it is not illegal to shoot someone, or force a foot long metal blade into their vital organs, while they are looking at you in the eyes. H
  • by Daxster (854610) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:31AM (#13986509) Homepage
    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".
    • by Technician (215283) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:40AM (#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?
      • 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.
        • 2- People that steal cars are NOT going to wear anti-laser or welding helmets. Talk about not looking cool and making yourself conspicuous.

          We are not talking about a car thief. We are talking about terrorists. Having a gasmask or IED in a backpack until they reach their destination is SOP. They come prepared for action. If I were on the bad side (I'm not) and I knew what I had to defeat, and could carry a small portable device that would render it useless and ineffective.....

          People who try to crash a mi
          • Car theft was the first thing that came to mind when reading about police stopping cars that drive through roadblocks. Of course, it should have been obvious that you're thinking about those "terrorists". Blame it on an all-nighter and silly amounts of caffeine.

            You didn't try to refute my first point, and you make a fairly weak case as to this technology's use against terrorists. Even if we did surprise them, how long until someone figures it out? If we'll call that "security by surprise", you better be one
      • There was this episode in Star Trek NG (movie I think?) where they meet the Borg. So Picard is on the hollowdeck dancing in 1920's. The Borg come in and Picard starts shooting them using common bullets and oddly enough that kills the Borg! Yet time and time again we see the Borg adapting to the lasers!

        Where I get confused is if the 1) Borg is resistent to all "Laser" weapons 2) Not resistant to common bullets, why are they using lasers with futility. I will admit it makes for great action, but kind of s
    • Now you know why the men in black wear shades.
    • I wonder what will happen if opponents wear those shades with reflective glasses; you know, the ones that not only are black, but they also reflect photons.

      Would a pair of glasses like that render PHASRs obsolete?

      (by the way, it's cool they haven't named them phasers. You don't want Paramount after your tail. And real phasers may be developed in the future.)
  • by FF8Jake (929704) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:31AM (#13986519)
    sharks with frickin lasers on their heads?
  • 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?
  • by Guysmiley777 (880063) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:36AM (#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 (Score:2, Informative)

      by cryptoz (878581)
      That's not an acronym. It's a backronym [wikipedia.org].
    • 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.
    • And it works out nicely, too, since the weapon does make you go blind.

      /ducks
    • Re:Psyops (Score:3, Insightful)

      by warmcat (3545) *
      Once you realize you are looking at a "Psychological Operation" [wikipedia.org] elements of this story like the needless futuristic styling in the posed photograph, the issue of the story to the press before it is decided how the thing will be aimed, and coupling the bogodevice to the very specific usage scenario for it, make more sense. Betcha $10 there's nothing inside that pretty Quake-style weapon casing.
    • It is highly likely that the acronymn was specifically made to copy the one used in Star Trek.

      Star Trek fueld the minds of many young scientists and is the inspiration behind ideas like the cell phone (especially the flip phone!), the PET scan, the PDA (PADD), etc.

      And if you want some real fun, get yourself a real life tricorder [stim.com].

  • by Jim_Callahan (831353) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:40AM (#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.
    • Because what you really want to do to the speeding 3-ton SUV is blind the driver... yup, definitely makes things safer for everyone.

      They're referring to suicide bombers in Iraq.

      However, I agree the concept is yet another half-baked military weapon (see my comment history re the sonic weapon); what good is blinding a guy who just has to keep driving in a straight line and push a button to blow himself up? And by the time they figure out he's going to actually RUN the roadblock, he's well within the rang

    • Soccer Mom Wrath (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) <obsessivemathsfreak@nosPAm.eircom.net> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @04:51AM (#13987315) Homepage Journal
      Because what you really want to do to the speeding 3-ton SUV is blind the driver... yup, definitely makes things safer for everyone.


      This is especially the case if the driver is a professional soccer mom, ferrying her manicured offspring to the local mall. Her sunglasses will shield her from the glare, and what filters through will only cause her already strained mind to finally snap. In her rage, she will plough over the road blocks and escaping marines in her three ton death mobile, hunched over the steering wheel, hands circling wildly screaming; "Won't Anyone Please Think Of The Children!! How Am I Supposed Get Them To Soccer Practice With All The Porno On TV, Violet Video Games, And Now US Soldier FLASHING Me On The Roads!! I Have A God Given Right To Do Whatever I Want In My Car!!!"
    • Ignorant is more like it.

      That 3 ton SUV is already blowing your roadblock, anything you can do to prevent it from getting where the driver intends to put it is a viable solution.

      This is probably a better solution than killing the driver which is what is done now in war zones or at least attempted. It also has the potential to save lives instead of blindly firing into a moving vehicle.

      One example
      The French reporter killed because her driver was speeding into a roadblock may be alive to day if a non-lethal m
    • When the US first invaded Iraq, US soldiers killed hundreds of civilians. Why? A bunch of US soldiers would set up a roadblock. A scared civilian would see a bunch of soldiers in the road ordering them to stop, and promptly slam on the accelerator to try and speed through. Marines would fire into the air as a warning, but simply scare said civilian further into accelerating. Marines fearful that the accelerating car was going to attack them would then pump it full of bullets, generally killing the occu
  • nitpicking (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cryptoz (878581) <jns@jacobsheehy.com> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:41AM (#13986573) Homepage Journal
    "(PHASR) laser"

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

    /me is confused.
  • by lorcha (464930) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:41AM (#13986576)
    Could somebody please explain to me how blinding the driver of a moving vehicle can be considered a "non-lethal weapon"?
    • by daraf (739813) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:01AM (#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.
    • Could somebody please explain to me how you seem to be overly concerned with the welfare of a suicide bomber trying to run past an obstacle in order to explode in front of the hotel/HQ/school/legislature?
  • Remember folks. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hobotron (891379) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:42AM (#13986583)

    It's Less-Lethal, not Non-Lethal
    • Re:Remember folks. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:25AM (#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.
  • Harder to revolt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by electrosoccertux (874415) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:43AM (#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.
    • 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 do

      • 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 e
  • by core plexus (599119) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:44AM (#13986591) Homepage
    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?

    • 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.

      • "As certain italian secret agents have discovered...reckless friendlies with no better escape plan..."

        I see the point of the post and it is a god one but we will never know what happened until it no longer matters (30-50yrs). A complete fuck-up on both sides is no story, so like you, I have my own favorite theory. It links the headlines "Italy forged oil-for-food documents" to "Italy's top spook killed by friendly fire". Who needs fiction when you have the six-o-clock news.
    • It it just me or does it seem like Iraq and Palestine territories are a testing ground for riot control and city "cleansing"?

      Personaly I would like to see all violence removed from politics including the death penalty, ie: "the hippie dream", unfortunately violence is just part of our nature (ref: Clockwork Orange).

      A good example of the need to quell civil unrest is the current rioting in France. OTOH: A good reason to limit the power to quell civil unrest is given by the French revolution. I can't se
  • WHAT??? (Score:4, Funny)

    by laughingcoyote (762272) <barghesthowl@nOspaM.excite.com> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @01:45AM (#13986599) Journal

    ...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!

  • Does this have Laser sights? I always wanted a Laser gun with Laser sights, how else would I know what I am shooting at?
  • ...who was expecting a high-powered pulse laser weapon, you know, a-la-Akira [iddeo.es]?
  • 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.
  • by this great guy (922511) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:11AM (#13986736)
    Hot girls have this feature built-in.
  • by letdinosaursdie (809029) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:18AM (#13986766) Homepage
    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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Xaggroth (851428) <XaggrothNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @02:22AM (#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
  • by karlfr (897006)
    Sunglasses.
  • Lethality 0 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Wantok (68892)
    Blinding someone driving at high speed through a roadblock... oh yeah, that sounds non-lethal.
  • Some scientists are using a kind of paddle-wand [nationalgeographic.com] that can selectively, non-invasively, and according to them harmlessly deactivate portions of someone's brain. They're using it to run experiments in which someone's sense of sight is temporarily deactivated, to try to get information on the phenomonon of "blind-sight," a sort of rudimentary sense of the location and presence of objects not directly seen.

    This is a guess of course, and other than what's in this article I know nothing about it. But I thought
  • "goram alliance technology"
  • Remember the stun gun in the movie 'looker'?
  • by phasm42 (588479) on Wednesday November 09, 2005 @08:59AM (#13988345)
    I hope they rotate frequencies on their lasers; otherwise the Borg will adapt and wear sunglasses to block that frequency.

Our policy is, when in doubt, do the right thing. -- Roy L. Ash, ex-president, Litton Industries

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