Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Thu, Jan 25 2007

Is it about to get even hotter in desert conflicts?

When I read about the new "heat ray" weapon my first thought was a tongue in cheek question, similar to the headline from the Chicago Tribune. Will the heat beam even phase menopausal females, many of whom are already accustomed to a sudden rush of heat? One article said that the heat was about 130 degrees Fahrenheit. This is probably quite a bit higher than the skin temperature of a woman experiencing a hot flash. Also, it may be the fact that the heat source comes from outside, rather than from within, that makes it so uncomfortable.

At least a hot flash does pass after awhile. I wonder what the effects of a long-term exposure to the heat ray weapon might be. I'm thinking particularly of a situation in which the rays might be used to control a violent crowd. If someone was knocked down by the crowd's rush and was hurt too badly to move from the direct path of the heat rays would they suffer tissue burns if the weapon kept firing? (I have not yet been able to learn how wide or how narrow the weapon's range can be.)

I also wonder if the heat can penetrate through one person's body into another body standing behind it. If not, enemies in combat situations would probably just tie up a front line of innocent bystanders as a literal human shield and let them take the discomfort. Even if the human shield didn't keep the beam from the enemy, the enemy might place innocents or captured soldiers in the path of the beam to discourage its use. And if they manage to get their hands on the weapon itself and have torture or terror on their minds, safe use will be the last thing on their minds. So I have some reservations about the system being the wonderful thing that some believe it is.

We've actually been hearing about this non-lethal weapon for several years. I'm sure the testing is done under the best of circumstances, but I still read that the weapon, though non-lethal in controlled conditions and when used properly, is capable of producing corneal damage when used indiscriminately. Let's not kid ourselvses. A non-lethal weapon may be preferable to a missile launcher, but it's not without risks. I hope the developers and the intended end-users proceeds with that in mind.

posted at: 08:55 | category: /Health and Fitness | link to this entry

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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
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