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Military Tech for Daily Life 234

Posted by samzenpus
from the still-no-wave-motion-gun dept.
PreacherTom writes "It is nothing new to see technology from military and governmental endeavors change daily life profoundly. One only has to look at the fruits of the space program (from computers to microwave ovens to Tang). New military gear is on the horizon that promises to do the same, including biosensors, bandages that clot blood using soundwaves, and the ubiquitous Swiss Army Pen."
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Military Tech for Daily Life

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  • by Asshat Canada (804093) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:07PM (#17320910)
    Books don't burn themselves ya know
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cashman73 (855518)
      I thought Yogurt released this years ago when he introduced, "Spaceballs: The Flame Thrower?" After all, the kids really loved that one,... ;-)

    • Just to name a few.

      Not only that, if you live in a dorm made of blocks, you can write stuff on the wall in lysol and then light it on fire. Flaming messages from hell!
      Well, that's what one of my friends told me, anyhow.
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:08PM (#17320912)
    The obvious examples are the internet, GPS devices, super-glue, etc... (Incidentally, speaking of super-glue, it works very well for what the military originally had in mind for it, which is closing wounds: next time you have a bad cut, try it, it works wonders.)
    • Yes yes yes, but what have the Romans ever done for us?
    • Actually, I seem to remember that the original military use was an attempt to replace spider silk for crosshairs in weapon sights. Didn't work worth a damn for that (just stuck all the parts together), but it's found a lot of uses since then.
    • by kfg (145172) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @04:31AM (#17322820)
      The obvious examples are. . .

      Are often wrong, at least when attributed to the space program. Take Tang, for instance. I was born before Sputnik, but I drank Tang as a child. It is the product of General Foods, invented by the same man who brought us Cool Whip and Pop Rocks (died, 2004). The motivation for inventing all of these was purely civilian profit.

      Other things that didn't come out of the space program, Velcro (invented by a Frenchman picking burrs off his dog, circa 1940) and Teflon (invented at Dupont in 1938 while researching refrigeration units).

      Electronic computers got a kick in the pants from the Manhatten Project (not the space program), but this came mainly in the form of money and a deadline for machines already in development for use in civilian business (it's IBM, afterall).

      Gunpowder, invented for toys (like rockets). High explosives, invented for civilian tunneling/mining operations.

      For the most part (there are exceptions) the military takes preexisting civilian technology and spurs its development a bit by adding funding and pressure. We'd still have the stuff without it, it would just take a little longer for the market to provide the capital. They actually refused funding for the development of the automobile and airplane. Even guns have mostly been developed purely in the private sector in the hopes of selling them to the military at some later date. Napoleon and Thomas Jefferson were big players in providing actual government funding to spur the development of existing gun technologies, creating the market for inventing on speculation.

      Overall, prizes are often the most effective means the military uses to spur development. Civilians will spend their entire lives inventing to collect a prize of lower value than they simply could have made working in an office somewhere; without all the capital outlay - but inventors aren't that sort of person, are they?

      The military/space program is a good customer, but only rarely do anything directly and it's even rarer for them to prompt the discovery of something we wouldn't have gotten in time anyway.

      Maybe the microwave oven (invented by accident while working on radar) - maybe.

      They have certainly provided a good practicum for accelerated development of treatments/surguries of catastrophic injuries though; ya gotta hand it to the military for that.

      KFG
      • by Fred_A (10934) <fred.fredshome@org> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @05:21AM (#17323014) Homepage
        Velcro (invented by a Frenchman picking burrs off his dog, circa 1940)
        A Swiss actually, although the industrial design was indeed made with a French weaver. Did you know that Velcro stood for velours et crochets (velvet and hooks) ?
        • by kfg (145172)
          Hey, if he spoke French, he was a Frenchman.

          And we want Flanders back, dammit, it's ours. And Navarre; and Aragon; and the Sudetenland, no, wait, oooooooooh nevermind, we'll take that too. We can teach them French. Ave Carolus Magnus!

          Those people who warned you that the metric system was a plot? Well, they were right!

          KFG
      • ...which is a bit early to be a space program spin-off.

        "Cooking food with microwaves was discovered by Percy Spencer while building magnetrons for radar sets at Raytheon [a major United States military contractor]. He was working on an active radar set when he noticed a strange sensation, and saw that a peanut candy bar he had in his pocket started to melt." - Microwave oven [wikipedia.org]

        Does anyone know whether he had kids?
        • ...which is a bit early to be a space program spin-off.

          Yes. I did not make it terribly clear when I was talking about the space age stuff and just plain old military stuff.

          Much of what we think of as space age stuff is really air age stuff, circa WWII, most of which was at least already on the drawing boards before WWII.

          You can tell the true space age stuff by its use of, well, space, and its use semiconductors (a civilian invention) to make it possible/practical. A "portable" radio used to be the size of a
    • Actually, I think the obvious examples would be bullets, bombs, chemical and nuclear weapons, land mines, and so on. It's true that as they got better at killing large numbers of people, beneficient discoveries were also made along the way. Lest we forget, the Nazis made some significant medical breakthroughs. But all told, I think we could've done with a little less of this sort of help, and a little more investment directed at helping humanity, rather than relying on the occasional non-lethal by-produ
  • by creimer (824291) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:08PM (#17320920) Homepage
    That would be a laser to cut through doors, a satellite dish and viewscreen for watching the news, and a blade for slicing and dicing out of the most difficult situations. But does it still write?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jpardey (569633)
      That would be an improvement over the Swiss Army Knife. I don't think I have ever cut much of anything with one of those.
      • Re:Swiss Army Pen (Score:4, Informative)

        by bladesjester (774793) <slashdot@COMMAja ... .com minus punct> on Thursday December 21, 2006 @12:42AM (#17321934) Homepage Journal
        Only the cheaply made ones are pieces of crap. I had a well made Vic that I used heavily for years. They made them to be useful instead of having a bunch of things on it (mine only had a blade, small and large screw drivers, punch, can opener, and bottle opener).

        As a general rule, your best bets in my experience for swiss army knives are Victrinox and Gerber.
      • yeah, but you can use a real swiss army knife instead of the ignition key of the swiss army armoured personnel carrier by design.
        • by bhiestand (157373)

          yeah, but you can use a real swiss army knife instead of the ignition key of the swiss army armoured personnel carrier by design.
          Why would you even HAVE an ignition key for a tactical vehicle? That doesn't make any sense. If you're worried about someone stealing your armored personnel carriers, you've got bigger issues.
          • by Fred_A (10934)
            If you're worried about someone stealing your armored personnel carriers, you've got bigger issues.
            The injuns used to steal them horses off the cavl'ry. I saw it in them movies ! Wouldn't have happened with an ignition key.
          • Why doesn't it make sense? I understand that a military facility would have guards and other security in place, but surely it's only sensible to make it more difficult for someone to drive off with a vehicle without proper authority?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by cashman73 (855518)
      When I saw this, the first thing I thought was, "when will ThinkGeek [thinkgeek.com] stock it? ;-)

  • QuikClot (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GigsVT (208848) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:15PM (#17320982) Journal
    You can get some of that military technology today, and it's not vaporware... Quikclot powder, comes in a packet designed to be large enough to quickly stop the bleeding from a severed femoral artery.

    Useful stuff, stops bleeding very quickly. Expensive as hell though.
    • Re:QuikClot (Score:5, Informative)

      by twiddlingbits (707452) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:50PM (#17321248)
      Not that expensive compared with bleeding out. I'd gladly pay a few 100 bucks to live but fortunately it's not that expensive. Check out the prices on QuickClot at: http://www.z-medica.com/ordering/ordering.asp [z-medica.com]
      • by (H)elix1 (231155)
        Yup. This stuff costs about the same as a nice titanium bowl. Well worth adding it to your hunting/camping equipment. (Strong hint for those doing some Christmas shopping)

        Got some of the sample trials they sent EMT's as a gift a few years back and unfortunately had the chance to use it when one of the guys cut their hand up doing something stupid with knife. Did an amazing job of stopping the bleeding while we paddled the guy out of the BWCA - I can't even imagine trying to stop that sort of bleeding wit
    • Re:QuikClot (Score:4, Informative)

      by crowbarsarefornerdyg (1021537) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @11:18PM (#17321440)
      My EMS agency allowed us a trial run of the QuikClot, and you're right. It's amazing, especially on oozing wounds. The other device to come from the military is the Asherman Chest Seal, which is a one way valve with a large sticky surface for sucking chest wounds.
      • by Dun Malg (230075)

        My EMS agency allowed us a trial run of the QuikClot, and you're right. It's amazing, especially on oozing wounds. The other device to come from the military is the Asherman Chest Seal, which is a one way valve with a large sticky surface for sucking chest wounds.

        Yes, much better than what we were taught to do in basic training 20 years ago: "find a piece of plastic, like the dressing wrapper or the cellophane off a cigarette pack" and put that over the wound under the pressure dressing. Yeah, sure. Sorry man, i tore the pressure dressing wrapper down the middle and it won't cover the wound. Hold on a minute while I find someone who smokes.

    • by bhiestand (157373)

      You can get some of that military technology today, and it's not vaporware... Quikclot powder, comes in a packet designed to be large enough to quickly stop the bleeding from a severed femoral artery.

      Useful stuff, stops bleeding very quickly. Expensive as hell though.

      It is amazing to see in action. Works a hell of a lot better than tampons, too. The price is obviously worth it, but the damage done to the limb is pretty ugly too. Do you know of anyone keeping a limb after using quickclot?

      Also, there's a great splint that's basically a thin sheet of metal wrapped in foam, but I can't remember the name of it. Was that military in origin?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        It is amazing to see in action. Works a hell of a lot better than tampons, too. The price is obviously worth it, but the damage done to the limb is pretty ugly too. Do you know of anyone keeping a limb after using quickclot? Also, there's a great splint that's basically a thin sheet of metal wrapped in foam, but I can't remember the name of it. Was that military in origin?
        You're thinking of the SAM Splint. Good tool, when you can get them.
      • It is amazing to see in action. Works a hell of a lot better than tampons, too. The price is obviously worth it, but the damage done to the limb is pretty ugly too. Do you know of anyone keeping a limb after using quickclot?

        Do you see many people living whose femoral arteries get slashed?

        I'd take a missing leg over dead.

        • by bhiestand (157373)

          It is amazing to see in action. Works a hell of a lot better than tampons, too. The price is obviously worth it, but the damage done to the limb is pretty ugly too. Do you know of anyone keeping a limb after using quickclot?

          Do you see many people living whose femoral arteries get slashed?

          I'd take a missing leg over dead.

          I agree entirely. I wish everyone had a packet in their glove compartments. There's only one extremity I would rather die than lose. I was just curious if anyone knew if there was anything that could be done to save the limb after quickclot was used. I haven't seen any data on it either way, but have been told that "you'll pretty much lose it." Of course that beats dying any day of the week.

  • by User 956 (568564) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:18PM (#17321016) Homepage
    New military gear is on the horizon that promises to do the same, including biosensors, bandages that clot blood using soundwaves

    Ok, since they have a bandage that clots blood using soundwaves, you can pretty much guess that they have a weapon that clots blood using soundwaves. Which is pretty fucking scary.
    • by Guinness Pig (1042288) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:39PM (#17321150)
      Okay, let's not get carried away with paranoia about what the military is capable of. Do you really think they need to create something to send concentrated ultrasonic waves to cause a lethal blood clot? What, are you expecting Corollas with big ass woofers blaring Ludacris to make an appearance on the battlefield? They don't need to make blood clots to kill people. Perfectly mundane things like bullets, missiles and various projectile explosives work perfectly fine to mess up someone's day. I spent six years in the military, and you give them far too much credit. They ain't that clever.
      • by dingDaShan (818817) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @11:02PM (#17321322)
        Our secret blood clot weapon has been slowly invading other countries. A few years back they just opened one in China. I'm lovin it
        • I thought the secret weapon to kill off the Chinese was Marlboro's and Camels. They all die of lung cancer in 30 years and we walk right in and take over. Either that or we open a bunch of Wal-Marts and sell them Made in the USA stuff ;)
      • by KillerBob (217953) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @12:04AM (#17321734)
        I draw your attention to the big yellow arrow on rocket launchers that you point at the enemy?

        We get some pretty cool toys in the army, but it's all designed so that you can use it when you're being shot at after having had 15 minutes of sleep in the last week. Just because it's designed for idiots doesn't mean that the folks designing it are idiots. Actually, they're pretty brilliant, IMO... why bother developing a super-expensive way to kill somebody that centralizes your killing power in one spot when a 5.56x45 FMJ round costs less than $0.30 and kills them just as dead? When the bad guys develop armour that can safely protect them from everything we use on the battlefield, you'll start seeing new ways of killing people being developed. Until then, it's a waste of money.
      • by User 956 (568564)
        They don't need to make blood clots to kill people. Perfectly mundane things like bullets, missiles and various projectile explosives work perfectly fine to mess up someone's day.

        Except that a bullet needs you to aim, and you need line-of-sight. An ultrasonic blood-clotting weapon could surely be made to work through walls, if the army threw enough money at it. And beyond the battlefield, an ultrasonic blood-clotting weapon is a great way to cause a seemingly "natural" death through stroke.
        • by Dun Malg (230075)

          An ultrasonic blood-clotting weapon could surely be made to work through walls, if the army threw enough money at it.
          Yes, because by simply spending enough money you can repeal the laws of physics. The government doesn't need to use secret spy weapons. They have bullets and bombs.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Yes, because by simply spending enough money you can repeal the laws of physics.
            Well, that was the theory behind the Strategic Defense Initiative, wasn't it? ; )
        • by networkBoy (774728) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @02:19AM (#17322378) Homepage Journal
          you are obviously not an acoustical engineer...
          not even an advanced amateur.

          Example:
          Take an untrasound of a pregnant woman, pretty cool. move the transducer 1mm away from her abdomen, nothing.
          This cuff works basically the same way. A weapon would have to work in a predominately similar way.
          -nB

          Oh, and even if it would work all cool like you speculate, you'd still need to aim it, else the freindly fire aspect will *suck*.
        • by Detritus (11846)
          As someone once said, "I'm not worried about the bullet with my name on it, I'm worried about the bullet addressed to 'to whom it may concern'". A great deal of small arms fire is targeted at areas, not individually identifiable targets.
        • by Ihlosi (895663)
          Except that a bullet needs you to aim, and you need line-of-sight.

          For the ultrasonic thingie, you'll need skin contact, preferably improved by contact gel. It also takes a while to work, and requires the blood to be stagnant to work best (as in an internal injury. Intact veins are bad, on arteries it's pretty much impossible without frying the victim). "Hold still while I kill you." ?

          Remember, this thing doesn't clot blood by ultrasound magic. It clots blood by heating it with focused ultrasound.

          An ultrason

    • by wik (10258)
      Nah, that product got stuck in the pipeline.
    • I don't know about a military weapon to create bloodclots, but we already have medical machines that use soundwaves to kill cancer. Apparently they use three or more different soundwaves, aimed in such a way as to have them cross at the point you want to kill (the cancer), and when they cross they amplify to a lethal degree. Not only non-invasive but also nerd-errific!

      Linky: High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound [google.com]

    • by mrmeval (662166)
      The don't need it. Conventional munitions are good enough for clotting blood. Here is some information on small arms wounding capability. http://www.firearmstactical.com/tactical.htm [firearmstactical.com]

      Some information on overpressure from google http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=overpressure+ lethality&btnG=Google+Search [google.com]

      The military at one time had enough VX nerve gas to kill a whole country and enough nukes to cook the bodies in their skin and ... nothing happened.
    • Hmmmm, I wonder how hard it would be to prove that somebody *didn't* die from a fatal blood clot, aneurism, etc when it could actually have been caused by a device like this. You don't need to shoot it from a distance, just use it to take somebody out and make it appear like natural causes. I'm not stating that the military will, but that's it's possible. Even the most benevolent technologies have been made into weapons in the past...
  • by Martin Blank (154261) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:20PM (#17321028) Journal
    I need all of these.

    I'll tie my smartshirt (worn under the bodysuit made of liquid body armor) into the HUD on the powered exoskeleton, which I can use to assist a long and high launch of my micro spy planes as I wait for resupply by my GT Max Mini Helicopter. When I have picked out my target, I'll glide in (again wearing liquid body armor) using my Gryphon flying wing, pick off the guards using my Cornershot rifle, rescue the hostage using my Swiss Army Pen, slap an ultrasonic bandage over his wounds, and then...

    Erm...

    OK, I'm out of gadgets. Someone wanna find me a personal rocket pack capable of carrying two?
  • That word. I do not think it means, what you think it means.

  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:29PM (#17321094)
    The "Powered Exoskeleton: The real bionic man" entry brought to you by none other than Robert A. Heinlein [wikipedia.org], the inventor of the Waldo, the waterbed and I don't know what else...

    The main thing that was missing from Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers [imdb.com] was the powered exoskeletons, courtesy R.A.H. [wikipedia.org], circa 1959. Not that I didn't adore the "Doogie Howser, S.S.", "Klendathu 90210" aspects of the film, but the only really good example of the notion we've had in film is Ripley's "Get away from her, you bitch!" from Aliens [imdb.com].
  • by iliketrash (624051) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:32PM (#17321110)
    "One only has to look at the fruits of the space program (from computers to microwave ovens to Tang)."

    Presumably the author refers the the tube in a microwave oven called a magnetron. If so, then this was developed in World War II for use in radars. Incidentally, the invention of the transistor was a direct follow-on to WWII efforts to build crystal detectors. See the book, "The Invention that Changed the World" by Robert Buderi, a history of the development and aftermath of the invention of radar. It is said that the atomic bomb ended the war but radar won the war.
  • by Upaut (670171) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:32PM (#17321112) Homepage Journal
    Man, I hope this trickles down (Affordably) to the masses. Anything that hardens on impact would be great for those of us that attend protests. Its not so much the bullets and stabbing that worries me, but the savage beatings that we recieve. Though having protection is good when some rookie decides to fire rubber bullets into the crowd. Hasn't happened to me yet, but with how peacful protesters are being treated, its only a matter of time.
    • by Upaut (670171)
      The parent is not a joke. Please do not moderate it as funny.

      If I have offended your sensibilities, then rate me as a troll.

      If you have worn a bandana soaked in apple cider vinegar, have a friend who has broken ribs at a protest, or the like, then please moderate insightful.

      I was/am excited about this technology, and have been for a while, for one reason: Protection. I see my nation enacting laws that truly frighten me. I want to be able to protect myself and my family if/when the offal hits the fan.
  • by st0rmshad0w (412661) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:51PM (#17321254)
    What about something to keep those damn kids off my lawn?
  • by docinthemachine (1031976) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @10:57PM (#17321290) Homepage
    Several of these technologies are part of the FCS (future combat system) including the soldier of the future - Landwarrior program. However the government has just cut this program. You can read more about it -- and all of the future medical devices lost in the shuffle-- here: http://docinthemachine.com/2006/12/08/army-axing-h igh-tech-soldier-of-tomorrow-medtech-losses-predic ted/ [docinthemachine.com]
  • by StikyPad (445176) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @11:18PM (#17321438) Homepage
    Shear Thickening Fluid (STF) [scifi.com] is a liquid armor that turns extremely hard and spreads itself out when punctured or struck with a high-velocity object, such as a bullet.

    Making it only a matter of time before the phrase "Gear up" is replaced by "STF up!"
    • How about for vehicles? I wonder if you could put this stuff in the doors etc of a car body, resulting in more resiliance against point impacts (if done right)?
  • With this set [scifi.com] of personal flying wings strapped to your back, you'll be able to bail out of a plane miles from your target, glide to a landing area while staying virtually undetectable by radar, and then pull the rip cord on your 'chute for a soft landing

    The key thing I think they've failed to account for in all of this is that, if they're even a little smarter than the guards in Splinter Cell, people are somewhat likely to be alarmed enough by falling wings that they don't just go back to patrolling while
  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @11:27PM (#17321508)
    Waiting for the ideologue posts about how big government spending can never do any good, and never any better than private industry...
  • Microwave ovens??? (Score:4, Informative)

    by flyingfsck (986395) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @11:32PM (#17321536)
    Magnetrons were invented before the 2nd world war and perfected during the war by the Brits for use in Radar. No space program back then - not on this planet anyway.
  • by 2ms (232331) on Wednesday December 20, 2006 @11:38PM (#17321564)
    The good side of military spending is that, other than during times of war, the fraction of the money that goes to the military for having troops around and building few hundred tanks every once in a while is tiny compared to the amount of money that goes toward science, research, technology. For every troop that is getting paid to be on base, the military is probably putting food on the tables of 30 researchers or engineers to develop new technologies. For example, lets say the military gets a new model of tank. Well, the cost of actual steel, plastic, computer chips, etc that constitute the tanks that are produced themselves are really nothing compared to the amount of money that went into advancing technologies and employing engineers. A B2 bomber costs a couple billion because incredible science and technology had to be realized in order to make the plane possible. Like 20 of them or something were ever to be actually made. That price doesn't reflect the sum of the physical components and labor of assembling them, but rather, the price tag reflects the amount of engineering and science work that had to be done to realize the level of technology necessary for the existence of such a plane.

    The bright side of military spending is that most of that money basically goes to putting food on the tables of tens of thousands of engineers in our country. With labor costs so high and manufacturing going to everywhere in the world other than our own country, technology is our stock-in-trade. As it turns out, the structure of the govt sponsoring military technology programs with a long-term and unified approach in contrast to the much more duplicative and reactive, smaller investments for shorter-term results, approach seen in the development of technology only in the hands of individual companies reacting to market pressures method, has been very fruitful indeed.
    • ...if they could do the same thing without the whole "killing" part?

      I read something about how wonderful the advancements in prosthetics the past few years have been. I even saw a kid of 20 or 22 at the airport carrying a big green duffle bag unassisted, though he had artificial legs and a prosthetic arm and the unmistakable look of a soldier.

      Just spend the money. Declare it to be a National Technological Development Something-or-other and so and spend the money on research that doesn't come at such a high
      • by Dun Malg (230075) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:52AM (#17322238) Homepage

        ...if they could do the same thing without the whole "killing" part?

        I read something about how wonderful the advancements in prosthetics the past few years have been. I even saw a kid of 20 or 22 at the airport carrying a big green duffle bag unassisted, though he had artificial legs and a prosthetic arm and the unmistakable look of a soldier.

        Just spend the money. Declare it to be a National Technological Development Something-or-other and so and spend the money on research that doesn't come at such a high cost.

        Honestly, that shit is heartbreaking.
        The money gets spent on research whether there's a war on or not. The difference is that war provides real-life test cases to advance and refine things beyond the theoretical. War is the dark cloud, advancements in prosthetics and lifesaving technology are the silver lining. Progress in handling unpleasant things like dismemberment comes from experience handling unpleasant things like dismemberment. Like it or not, humans are vicious. We always have been. You don't get to the top of the food chain by being a a bunch of happy fluffy bunnies.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by bagsc (254194)
      Personnel still get most of the money.
      "The nearly $440 billion defense budget contains $110.8 billion for military personnel, including a modest 2.2 percent pay increase, as well as $84.2 billion for weapons systems and $73.2 billion for research and development." [washingtonpost.com]

      Considering how little soldiers get paid (starting at $1,204 per month [dod.mil]), and how much engineers get paid (~$3,500 per month starting), you start wondering who the Defense Department's priorities are...
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)
        Considering how little soldiers get paid (starting at $1,204 per month), and how much engineers get paid (~$3,500 per month starting), you start wondering who the Defense Department's priorities are...

        Most of my clients are defense contractors, which, I guess makes me a defense contractor. Anyway, around this time of year they like to put on a show of doing donation-drives "for the troops." They tend to fall into two categories - getting "comfort items" (like tons of instant coffee and phone card minutes
    • by 2short (466733) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:19AM (#17322088)
      "For every troop that is getting paid to be on base, the military is probably putting food on the tables of 30 researchers or engineers to develop new technologies"

      Active troop strength is something like 1.5 million, so by your estimate that's 45 million researchers bettering the world on the militaries dime. Almost 1 in 6 Americans are military funded scientists! Wow, I had no idea.

      You'll forgive me if I take the rest of your rosy assesment with a little grain of salt?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Profound (50789)
      But what about all of the cool things we miss out on that those "tens of thousands of engineers" could make or invent if they weren't coming up with new ways to kill people?
  • by docinthemachine (1031976) on Thursday December 21, 2006 @01:31AM (#17322142) Homepage
    There is so much argument about whether the civilian pay-off from military research makes sense. Here is a bit of research on the medical end and some reasons why private industry does not take the risks DARPA does. http://docinthemachine.com/2006/12/21/darpamedtech / [docinthemachine.com]
  • ..with the militray knockoffs some nitwits in Richmond, CA used to pump 50 rounds into a car last night.

    Lets face it, all of this could have been developed faster and cheaper if we'd put the $350,000,000,000 spent in Iraq on civilian research.
  • I'm waiting for those tongue-connected vision overlay devices. Only thing is, I want it to project hearing instead of vision. I'll also work on the back as I understand it, easier to talk that way. :-)
  • Call me... (Score:2, Funny)

    by gmby (205626)
    when I can have a Sonic Screwdriver!
  • Tang (Score:2, Funny)

    by timster121 (820967)
    Whats the difference between the Chinese space program and the US space program?

    On a Chinese space shuttle, Tang is an astronaut.
  • I once had a very long discussion with a freind on this very subject and we came to the same conclusion: Military doesn't innovate, it invests.

    Take an advancement and trace it's roots. It may have gone through the military's hands, but it will invariable have started either as a hobby (like flight) or in scientific academia (teh intarwebs). If a technology looks promising enough, the "military" (or the governing body that controls it) will invest heavily in it and advance it, but hardly, if ever, will it

[Crash programs] fail because they are based on the theory that, with nine women pregnant, you can get a baby a month. -- Wernher von Braun

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