Iron age sling bullets seem designed to make terrifying whistling noise

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Sling bullets, used by Roman soldiers in an attack on a fort in Scotland some 1800 years ago, appear designed to whistle in flight. A battery of them could be terrifying; or perhaps simply very loud and annoying.

These holes converted the bullets into a "terror weapon," said archaeologist John Reid of the Trimontium Trust, a Scottish historical society directing the first major archaeological investigation in 50 years of the Burnswark Hill site.

"You don't just have these silent but deadly bullets flying over; you've got a sound effect coming off them that would keep the defenders' heads down," Reid told Live Science. "Every army likes an edge over its opponents, so this was an ingenious edge on the permutation of sling bullets."

Archeology.co.uk conducted tests with replicas to see what it would have sounded like:

Two extraordinary facts concerning the small bullets with holes (now dubbed type IIIs) also emerged. First, they could be successfully slung in small groups of three or four to create a form of grapeshot. This had been independently confirmed by T Richardson in his work on Roman sling-bullets at the Royal Armouries. Even more intriguingly, the mysterious holes proved to confer an aerophonic quality: in flight, these lead shot whistled, or more accurately gave off a mechanical buzzing sound eerily reminiscent of an agitated wasp (click below to hear for yourself). Remarkable as it sounds, the simplest explanation for this design modification is that it represents an early form of psychological warfare. To put it another way, the Roman attackers valued the terror that hearing the incoming bullets would instil in the defenders.
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Ancient Greeks used snakes as projectile weapons

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People in ancient Greece used snakes as projectile weapons during sea battles, explains Gianni Insacco, a zoologist/paleontologist at Italy's Insacco Museo Civico di Storia Naturale.

Insacco's research team just reported that one of the weaponized species, the Javelin Sand Boa that was likely introduced to Italy by the Greeks during wartime, has survived in Sicily after not having been spotted for nearly 100 years.

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A peek inside Iraq's most notorious weapons market

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The fun-loving Chinese journalists in this segment manage to out-VICE VICE. 侣行 On the Road is billed as “a homemade outdoor reality show” featuring an "extreme couple" who love adventure. The pair and their team got some great footage of an open-air weapons market in Sadr City.

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Guns don't kill people, dogs with guns kill people

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Following up on their highly successful data-driven charticle about toddlers shooting people to death in America, the Washington Post publishes a new infographic about all the people being shot to death by dogs.

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Christian assault rifles now available

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Spike's Tactical in Florida is selling a $1,400 assault rifle called the Crusader. It's inscribed with Psalm 144:1, which says, “Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.” Read the rest

10 totally insane videos of handmade rubber band guns

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Some of the artisanal rubber band guns in these crazy videos are faithful replicas of real guns.

Coming soon: Space Wars. Really.

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China, Russia, and the United Sates are developing new weapons to wage war in space. It starts by knocking out satellites using missiles, lasers, microwave interference, or spacecraft that "could simply approach a satellite and spray paint over its optics, or manually snap off its communications antennas, or destabilize its orbit," writes Lee Billings in Scientific American. Read the rest

Unbelievable boy's toy gun ad from 1964: “Johnny Seven OMA (One Man Army)”

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TV ads for kids' toy weapons like this 1964 spot for “Johnny Seven OMA (One Man Army)” were so much more barbaric in the 1960s--but gun violence numbers in America were lower back then. Read the rest

Man builds impressively dangerous laser shotgun

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This fellow made a 40W laser shotgun that is quite powerful and, yes, ridiculously dangerous. Read the rest

Watch: 40 watt “LASER SHOTGUN!!!!!”

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The all-caps and the exclamation points are mandatory. Read the rest

Weaponized baseball cap

The GOTCHA Cap is a baseball cap with a removable hand weapon hidden under the brim. Watch the video demo below, complete with dramatic action hero music! Read the rest

TSA: "please verify that your used cane is not a sword before flying"

Kevin Underhill nails it: "Anyone who does not know their cane conceals a sword or dagger (almost certainly an elderly or disabled person with a second-hand cane) poses no threat, while anyone who does know it will not need, want, or follow this advice." Read the rest

Nerf zombie-hunter machete

The $20 Zombie Striker Nerf Foam Machete is just what you need for your little monster-hunters. Read the rest

TSA's Instagram

The TSA's Instagram continues to be a real hoot. Below, see a grenade-shaped vape, comb daggers, and Batarangs! Read the rest

Upside-down coffin filled with medieval weapons discovered in wooded area

A Deputy Sheriff from De Leon Springs, FL, responded to a report of an upside-down coffee in a wooded area. He arrived on the scene, overturned the coffin, and discovered that it was full of replica medieval weaponry, which News 13 enumerates in eye-watering detail: Read the rest

Wooden marshmallow catapaults, arbalests, and trebuchets

I'm at Penguicon -- a science fiction and free software convention in Michigan -- this weekend, and my top dealer's room find were the wooden armaments of Ancient Artillery. These handcrafted wood catapaults, crossbows, arbaleses and trebuchets use taut string and precision-shaped wood to fire mini-marshmallows and nerf darts all over the room. They're quite gorgeous, and work like a charm. Read the rest

Bad-ass Catholic weapons

Robot Mountain Benito Cereno has compiled a partial list of the bad-ass weapons of Catholocism, which include Durendal, "which had in its hilt one of St Peter’s teeth, St Basil’s blood, a hair of St Denis, and a scrap of cloth that belonged to the Virgin Mary." Read the rest

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