Monday, 13 May 2013

If I Needed Proof to Suspect We Were Living in a Video Game ... Mothafuckin' Pain Rays.

I am beginning to think that the Americans are the bad guys.

Alright, I'm not. They might be a bit slow sometimes, but they're not evil.

But they do have the kinds of weapons you would expect of Darth Vader and his dark side ilk. Over the past few decades, for instance, the US military has spent $120 million developing a pain ray.

And the fucker works.

Every aspect of the pain ray - officially titled the Active Denial - feels like it has stepped right out of some shithot sci fi. The key bit of hardware required to make it work is even called a 'gyrotron', which amplifies microwaves by rotating a ring of electrons held in place by cryogenically cooled superconducting magnets. The electrons and the microwaves resonate, and the resulting waves are passed to an antenna, which shoots the beam at the target.

That just sounds cool, doesn't it? In fact, it sounds so cool that I'm not entirely convinced it wasn't mashed together out of sciencey-sounding works by the writers of Futurama.

Actually, since the late 1980s, the Air Force Research Laboratory has been working with military contractor Raytheon Company to develop this beast of a machine.

The Active Denial target pain receptors called thermal nociceptors, which are less than 0.4mm beneath the skin. In a matter of seconds, the target feels as if the surface of their skin is being roasted. The sensation begins with a tingly warmth which rapidly becomes excruciating, a fiery torture encompassing the whole body until either the beam is switched off or you get the hell out of its way.

And then you feel fine again.

The intensity of the pain is such that the body's natural instinct will be to flee. Once said body is out of the line of fire, it just goes away. The pain subsides and you feel better. There are no measurable side effects yet seen, and research done on this gun has been exemplary in its depth and thoroughness. In more than 11,000 tests, less than ten people received any injuries from the Active Denial at all. Six of the injuries were blisters, none larger than a pea; the worst of the injuries were small burns, none more dangerous than a bad sun burn, easily dealt with and free of complications.

The Active Denial has been designed for use in prisons, war zones and riot situations. It causes less damage than current methods of subduing those who get violent, such as batons and tasers. Those currently in use have to be carted around on the back of huge trucks, but the developers have managed to scale them down to the size of a large rifle. They are working on making them more portable still, but the authorities are reluctant to use them.

All the research suggests that this thing is safe. Various experts support it. Its flawless performance is almost what makes it so scary that something with go terribly wrong. But, as far as non-lethal weaponry goes, this is some of the most advanced technology going.

And it is kind of mind-blowing.

It's a motherfucking pain ray.

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