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January 31, 2007


Gene Branaman

Jimmy, have you ever seen the show on the Discovery channel called Future Weapons? Very interesting, at times, especially from a POV of using weapons to keep wartime killing to a minimum. Often, though, the show focuses on weapons that cause destruction & mayhem, which would lead to casualties. But the tech behind the weapons is frequently very interesting.


Might they possibly end up looking something like the following? :

Rev.9:7 And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle: and on their heads were, as it were, crowns like gold: and their faces were as the faces of men. 8 And they had hair as the hair of women; and their teeth were as lions: 9 And they had breastplates as breastplates of iron, and the noise of their wings was as the noise of chariots and many horses running to battle. 10 And they had tails like to scorpions, and there were stings in their tails; and their power was to hurt men five months.

John F. Kennedy


Your analogy reminds me of Saurman’s use of the birds searching for the Fellowship.


Each of these articles reminds me of a particular science fiction novel (no real surprise there). The first reminds me of this:


the second of this:


The Diamond Age is a great book that I'd recommend to anyone who likes sci fi. I'm afraid I can't make a similar recommendation about the Vonnegut.


I fail to see the point.



They need to have wings that are less flexible on the front and more flexible on the back.

Duh! you can tell that by looking at a bumblebee's wing!

Isn't the Stealth bomber fashioned after the Stingray?

Sometimes "new" ideas seem to be such a simple translation from natural things (animals or other) or an "obvious" improvement to an existing concept. However, in practice that is not always the case. It might not always be readily apparent earlier in development because of lack of technology (e.g. some that is both flexible enough and strong enough, etc.).


When 9/11 happened, I wanted our forces to release thousands of tiny, bird- or bumblebee-sized aircraft to swarm over the landscape in Afghanistan to search of Usama bin Laden.

Would something that small be capable of covering adequate ground or have sufficient range, for that matter?

It would probably be more effective in domestic spying versus a more long-range, sweeping operation as that in Afghanistan.

Actually, weren't there several spy planes already in Afghanistan even prior to the tragic 9/11 event?

Certainly, there were others deployed, such as:


Brian Day

Of course, if this type of technology development isn't controlled, we could end up with this: Prey


Re: the Active Denial System

A friend of mine was at the Air Force's internal air show last year, and was invited by the folks at the program's booth to try out the feel of it. (Which I can well believe, what with the laser guys and that stovepipe with the burned-through hole they keep hauling around....)

He tried very hard to keep his hand under the "ray", but couldn't manage it. His pain nerves just kept telling his hand to get out, and it did! Yowch!

So use this power for good and not for evil, folks.

The Engineer

"These systems, which are non-lethal, will change the face of warfare and result in it producing even less casualties than it does now, which is far smaller than in the past. Ironically, as our ability to make war has grown, a smaller and smaller chunk of the population has ended up dying due to warfare. These types of systems hold the promise of helping us get to the next level in non-lethalness."

This stuff scares me, and I am one of the guys that designs these weapons! Yes, war will have less casualties...however, it will be much easier to do assasinations. The fear of war and mass casualties has stopped a lot of death, but with these weapons, the Government will have no problem sniping anyone they want with not much to stop them or even know about it.

Secondly, and more importantly, what happens when the sci-fi weapons are out to get YOU!?!?

In the 20th century alone, 170,000,000 men, women and children were murdered by their OWN government.

Be careful what you call "good."



Often, though, the show focuses on weapons that cause destruction & mayhem, which would lead to casualties.
Our country spends much much more money studying how to reduce collateral damage and reduce the loss of civilian life than any other country. Its a point conveniently overlooked by other countries and those cynical of ours.

Aside from the rare abuses that the news media would predictably be very quick to pick up on, these weapons of mass destruction and chaos would only be used when and where they would be of maximum effect with minimal loss of both life and property. I work at a company that does that sort of analysis. Trust me, these nasty weapons aren't being engineered and deployed with no thought to the repercussions of doing so.

And as far as the bumblebees go, it IS harder to engineer something like that then you'd think. There's a reason 747's don't flap their wings.


There's a reason 747's don't flap their wings.

Of course, they do if the landing is hard enough.


I always laugh at the bumblebee, I personally think it's God's little joke. I've heard several times that scientist insist that the bee is incorrectly built to fly yet somehow God did it!


Of course, if this type of technology development isn't controlled, we could end up with this: Prey

Strangely, this reminds me of Dean Koontz's Watchers.


I've heard several times that scientist insist that the bee is incorrectly built to fly yet somehow God did it!

That's to demonstrate the fact that with God, anything is possible!


The problem with the intense-pain causing weapon is that it would be so much easier to use that on political demonstraters here in the US.

And it won't be 100% non-lethal. People with pacemakers will be killed, for instance.

As to the bumblebees, all I can say is "one step closer to the panopticon" What does Catholic thought say about -that-?

Josiah, it reminds me of another S-F novel: 1984.

Dean Steinlage

With Maureen's story, the ADS reminds me of Dune.



Long, sleek and heavy.

The appeal has never left.


Somebody pointed out a long time ago that from an engineering standpoint, a bumblebee cannot fly. But nobody told the bee!


It is very cool. I can think of dozens of applications besides military that would be cool. Imagine the crazy shots you could get on those wild life shows or even in an action movie.

But like any technology, it could be used by the bad guys too. How easy would it be to put explosives on them and use for assassinations (our guys will probably do that too). Or use them to widely disseminate some biological agent to cause an epidemic.

Marty Helgesen

Even before I saw dino's comment I thought of the story, widely circulated when I was younger, that scientists had proved that bumblebees can't fly. Here's a fuller account:

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