Test subjects can't see the invisible beam from the Pentagon's new, Star Trek-like weapon, but no one has withstood the pain it produces for more than three seconds. People who volunteered to stand in front of the directed energy beam say they felt as if they were on fire. When they stepped aside, the pain disappeared instantly.Link (Via Warren)
The long-range column of millimeter-wave energy is known as the "Active Denial System" for its ability to prevent an aggressor from advancing. Senior military officials, who plan to deliver the device for troop evaluation this fall, say years of testing has produced no sign it will lead to health effects beyond perhaps causing skin to temporarily redden.(...)
But in an era of secret interrogations of al-Qaida suspects and revelations of U.S. abuse of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, Executive Director Doug Johnson of the Minneapolis-based Center for Torture Victims is skeptical. "It seems fundamentally a weapon that's designed to create a great deal of pain and fear," Johnson said. "The concern I would have is ... once this kind of technology is available and there's a perception that it's safe and nonlethal, it seems like a natural device to be used in interrogations.
Update: Popular Science Michael Moyer says, "We did a feature last year on a bunch of nonlethal weapons that the military is developing. The writer actually got shot by the beam in question for the story. His verdict: It hurts really, really bad." Link
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: email@example.com.