If you're feeling alone and vulnerable in a big, troubled world, Amazon has this "Damascus FX1 FlexForce Modular Hard Shell Full Body Crowd Control System," which will provide you with the physical protection and the emotional distance necessary to beat, gas, and detain your fellow human beings. All for a mere $545.95!
The FX-1 FlexForce Modular Hard Shell Crowd Control System is the ultimate high-threat level riot control, domestic disturbance, and cell extraction suit. The FlexForce design provides substantial protection from blunt force trauma without sacrificing the fit or comfort. The suit is lightweight and ranks highest in easy to put on or take off in a moments notice. The front and back hard shell panels have a modular flex design allowing for all shapes and sizes to fit comfortably with out sacrificing much needed mobility. The forearm guard offers a much more comfortable elbow portion of the pad, which allows more flexibility. The knee/shin guard has a non-slip surface, which keeps you planted in position. The FX-1 is a considerably improved fitting system compared to competitor models and is worn by forces worldwide.Upper Body and Shoulder Protection.Hard shell front and back panels feature a unique Damascus 3-panel flex design for optimum movement, fit and comfort.
I love that it's a "system" and not a "Hallowe'en costume for terrified control-freaks and mall-ninjas."
Damascus FX1 FlexForce Modular Hard Shell Full Body Crowd Control System, Medium
(via Red Ferret)
From a 1961 British Pathe newsreel called "Beat The Bandit", a remarkable anti-theft system for a briefcase:
As the man runs off with the case three telescopic poles spring out of it making the case impossible to manage, as well as crushing the man's hand pressing it into the handle of the case. It then has to be unlocked and deactivated with a key!
Amazing Anti-Thief Security Case!
Before the "Nintendo wars" of the early 21st century, there were these toys, which invited young children to practice accurately releasing atom bombs. I'm not sure that the skills you learned with this gadget would translate into real A-bombing practice, though, which probably disappointed some youngsters.
Wyoming state representative Lorraine Quarberg (R-Thermopolis) has proposed Wyoming House Bill 85, which will prepare Wyoming for the day that the USA collapses. It includes an amendment proffered by Rep. Kermit Brown, which establishes a task force to investigate "conditions under which the state of Wyoming should implement a draft, raise a standing army, marine corps, navy and air force and acquire strike aircraft and an aircraft carrier."
The state does not have a whole hell of a lot of water, to be honest. It appears that its largest lake is Yellowstone Lake, which on average is about 140 feet deep. (Yes, it's in a national park now, but that wouldn't matter, would it?) The draft of a Midway-class carrier, which you can probably find on eBay for cheap, was only 33 feet; even the biggest carrier available (Nimitz-class) only needs about 40 feet of water to float. So yes, assuming they could find one and figure out a way to get it in there, the people of Wyoming could potentially have their own aircraft carrier. It might not have much room to putt around in, but still.
I wouldn't get too cocky, though, even then. Dry as they are, most if not all the neighboring states seem to have at least one lake that could float a carrier, and since Wyoming has the fewest people of any U.S. state, it'd be heavily outnumbered, too.
Wyoming to Consider Buying an Aircraft Carrier
(Image: Modellbaumesse-Köln_2008-11-08 14-56-20, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from schwenke's photostream)
The makers of a "non-blinding" laser claims an unnamed UK police force is set to trial the weapon as a means of "controlling riots." According to the manufacturer -- who developed the weapon for use against pirates in Somalia -- the laser can "temporarily" blind its victims at 500m. It is meant to provide "an intimidating visual deterrent" because "If you can't look at something you can't attack it."
My friend Sulka, who brought this to my attention, has some informed speculation about what "non-blinding" might mean. He notes that the UK is a signatory on the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons (I didn't know this existed, and I'm both glad and sad that it does), whose definition of blindness "is
where your eyesight goes worse than 20/200, meaning you can't see the
*largest* letter in a Snellen chart when looking at it with *both* eyes."
So that means that this weapon wouldn't run afoul of international law if it (merely) reduced your vision to the point where you were impaired but not legally blind, permanently.
Meanwhile, Twitter wags are already predicting a resurgence of mirrorshades among protesters, which means that everything the cyberpunks predicted in the mid-80s is finally coming true. I always thought that Anon was basically an analog to the Panther Moderns.
Police test for riot laser that can temporarily blind
(Image: Redfest reject, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from gwdexter's photostream)
(Image: London riot police, November 2010, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from hozinja's photostream)
Amy Goodman interviews Kamran Loghman, inventor of modern pepper spray and developer of police procedures for its use. Loghman regrets his work today, and says it's "fashionable" to use chemical agents on "people who have an opinion":
It is becoming more and more fashionable right now, this day and age, to use chemical on people who have an opinion. And that to me is a complete lack of leadership both in the police department and other people who cannot really deal with the root of the problem and they want to spray people to quiet them down. And it’s really not supposed to be that. It’s not a thing that solves any problem nor is it something that quiets people down.”
Pepper Spray Developer: It Has Become Fashionable to Use Chemicals on People with Opinions
(via Naked Capitalism)
The Gun Snuggler. "Because happiness is a warm gun." Comes in sizes to fit everything from handguns to assault rifles! This began as a funny internet joke, but so many people took it seriously that it is now being offered as an actual thing that you can really buy for real. (Thanks, Marque Cornblatt!)
A prisoner in Wales made these astounding Final Fantasy weapons out of toothpicks, only to have them confiscated because they were so realistic that the prison authorities felt that they constituted a threat to safety. It's this kind of dogged, enthusiastic creativity that makes dinners with my Welsh in-laws so exciting!
Prisoner Builds Final Fantasy Swords out of Matchsticks
Photos: Sukhoi; U.S. Air Force photo by Scott Wolf
Russia's new Sukhoi T-50 stealth fighter (right) may remind you of something else. [via Metafilter]