View Full Version : The magic bullet as reality- coming soon.

Magda Hassan
06-05-2009, 11:56 PM
Murder by Maxwell's equation - or how I learnt to love the magic bullet (http://dissidentscience.blogspot.com/2009/06/murder-by-maxwells-equation-or-how-i.html)

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_ZFddlnsaLjk/SikpHV_6WjI/AAAAAAAAACk/e-VH1LNI7DA/s320/gijoe_dollhouse.jpg (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_ZFddlnsaLjk/SikpHV_6WjI/AAAAAAAAACk/e-VH1LNI7DA/s1600-h/gijoe_dollhouse.jpg)Science magazines have become pop savvy in recent times. They dress up fairly mundane stories in provocative titles like "Hunks get more sex" (New Scientist) or "Secrets of the Phallus: Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?" (Scientific American). So I was only mildly piqued when I stumbled across "Radio-controlled bullets leave no place to hide (http://http//www.newscientist.com/article/mg20227116.900-radiocontrolled-bullets-leave-no-place-to-hide.html)" on the New Scientist site today.Far from this title being a snappy cover for say a new type of flu vaccine its rather banaly about, well, radio controlled bullets. The science content of the article is a standard application of Maxwells Laws. The said bullets, being rifled, rotate in the earth's magnetic field. A little loop inside the bullet has an AC current induced which radio receives the distance travelled in combination with the gun's 'smarts' - that's the electronic rangefinder - not the grunt who pulled the trigger. It gives the soldier "another tool in his kitbag". Now all we have to do is find someone capable of pointing it in the right direction.

From a scientific point of view it might have been a vaguely interesting article if it had gone on to discuss the effect of turbulence or whether the rotation speed, or pointing it north or south makes much difference to the range accuracy. Instead it read like a boring version of an arms fair advert
"the XM25 rifle to give its troops an alternative to calling in artillery fire or air strikes when an enemy has taken cover and can't be targeted by direct fire. "This is the first leap-ahead technology for troops that we've been able to develop and deploy," says Douglas Tamilio, the army's project manager for new weapons for soldiers."
The "X" stands for Xtremely smart bullet which after passing through the Afghan mudhut window (if it had one) dodges all the kiddies and takes out the wayward father sitting on the couch reading a copy of "Al Qaeda Monthly". Even if our smart bullet is unable to perform this feat of magic it can simply explode - and since the final range offset is +/- 3 metres - presumably with some force.
Oh did I mention that the bullet explodes? Yes, that's the idea. You can't actually see who is in the room, so better just to cause an explosion, killing or maiming everyone inside. Now the clue as to why this "tool" is any different from the current ones is given in the text:

"You could shoot a Javelin missile, and it would cost $70,000. These rounds will end up costing $25 apiece. They're relatively cheap," Tamilio says."
Now that's a word to the wise in our current economic troubles - carnage on the cheap. The best method (if a little bit of an overkill) would be just to nuke every town in Pak/Afghan/Iraq-istan, but have you seen the price of plutonium recently? That market has gone to the dogs since the North Koreans and Iranians cornered it..
As a little marketing aid, a helpful diagram of how the XM25 carries out its mission is enclosed (and reproduced here for your consideration).http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ZFddlnsaLjk/Sikp3A8NKUI/AAAAAAAAACs/-LD63QatVeU/s320/killer_rifle_graphic.jpg (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_ZFddlnsaLjk/Sikp3A8NKUI/AAAAAAAAACs/-LD63QatVeU/s1600-h/killer_rifle_graphic.jpg)
Our do-gooder marine, outnumbered 2-to-1 by the dastardly foes is wisely prone behind his smart-rifle. Evil-doer number one is taking a rest in his trench after a hard morning studying the suicide bomber manual. Our smart bullet sails over the trench wall and explodes, gently showering our baddie in a black rain (thats the clue that lets you know it actually hurts). Evildoer number two after seeing the fate that has befallen number one flees - in case his uniform also gets wet from the black rain. We then quickly take out the retreater and his cowardly mates with a fuel air or DIME bomb.
As our advertising brochure picture rather gleefully informs us, "trenches aren't safe anymore"... because we know how safe they were in WWI where millions of soldiers idled about on banana lounges, sipping cocktails and writing casual postcards home. And the trenches in the first Gulf War were also notably safe. There an older technology was employed - we simply drove giant tractors to the edge of the trenches and buried many tens of thousands of poor Iraqi conscripts alive. But at least they didnt get their uniforms wet from black rain.
From an earlier article in 1999, also strangely from the New Scientist (amazing what 10 years and a change of sub-editors can do) we have a more realistic description of what happens when an exploding bullet strikes flesh

"WHEN Red Cross surgeon Robin Coupland needs to demonstrate the horrific effect of outlawed weapons, he produces a slightly smudged photo of a wounded man on a stretcher. Your eyes widen as you realise what you're seeing. Like a cartoon character chomped by a shark, there's a beach-ball sized semicircle where his shoulder used to be. The man's arm is still attached to his trunk by a perilously thin strip of tissue. The grotesque injury provides ample evidence that an illegal exploding bullet has been used."
"Outlawed". Yes, thats right, by the St Petersburg Declaration of 1868, the Hague Declaration of 1899 and Article 35 of the Geneva protocols. But the world's remaining superpower saw fit to dispense with the Geneva convention sometime ago when it became clear that they only faced rag tag foes with nothing else much except for 50 year old kalashnikovs. That shouldn't be good enough for New Scientist though. How about some small disclaimer at the bottom of this banally amoral article saying that editors don't endorse the breaking of international law?
Perhaps I should go further...what the hell is something out of Dr Strangelove's laboratory notes doing in a science magazine?

Ed Jewett
06-06-2009, 02:57 AM
Yes, I saw that, and wondered:

#1: Was Arlen Specter a primary investor?

#2: How can a bullet be smart? (I am thinking of the remarks of the Dalai Lamai recently when he asked them to work on technology designed for his sensitivities:

"The Dalai Lama had some imaginative ideas for MIT scientists to work for peace.

"You could invent an injection for compassion," he said. "I would want that."

And maybe commerce could contribute: "You could have shops selling compassion. In a supermarket, you could buy compassion."

A student asked about ethics and the weapons industry. The Dalai Lama, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his nonviolent campaign for Tibetan rights, said he hoped this would be the century for global demilitarization.

But a good start, he said, would be for institutions like MIT to invent a bullet "that misses ordinary people but hits the decision makers," waving his arm in the path of a wiggling bullet to laughter and applause. "That kind of bullet needs to be developed. Wonderful."


Magda Hassan
06-06-2009, 04:38 AM
#1 Well, Arlen did do rather well out of that magic bullet didn't he? It paid well for many years and still does.

#2 Well, far be it for me to be able to know if a bullet is smart or dumb. They all look the same to me. You might try and ask those who have encountered these smart bullets what they think. But they may be unresponsive due to rigor mortis and decomposition. You know, the general silence of the dead type thing. :saint:

David Guyatt
06-06-2009, 08:13 AM
A more worrying weapon is the railgun which uses electrical current to send a projectile upon its way at a speed approaching Mach 10, as opposed to the puny 930 m/s muzzle speed of the M16 (sorry to sound like a techy here, I assure you I'm not).

The kinetic energy impact of being hit by a projectile travelling at Mach 10 would cause a severe headache. And possibly a nosebleed too.

But to be fair there is a lot of advanced gun technology out there. Like kit that can fire a bank of bullets electrically at different elevations and differet times and have them all arrive at exactly the same space at exactly the same time.

I think it's based on a traffic jam. :D

Btw, where can I subscribe to Al Qeada Monthly? Sounds great. Is it a porn magazine?

Magda Hassan
06-06-2009, 10:56 AM
Some Australian with waaaay to much time on his hands has come up with this little toy to improve the quality of life on earth. It was bought by the US military and he has retired a multi millionaire I am told.

Metal Storm
http://www.futurefirepower.com/wp-content/photos/thumb_metal_storm_weapons_7.jpg (http://www.futurefirepower.com/wp-content/photos/orig_metal_storm_weapons_7.jpg)Introducing Metal Storm, a breakthrough technology developed by a company whose namesake bestows the western world with a capability never seen before on the battlefield. Developed by Metal Storm Limited in Australia, the flagship idea of the Metal Storm array of weapons is the concept of stacked projectiles, which eliminate the moving parts of traditional guns. In fact, Metal Storm could be poised to eliminate the classic monicker of “machine gun” because this technology eliminates the moving parts necessary for traditional firing mechanisms. http://www.futurefirepower.com/wp-content/photos/thumb_MetalStorm.jpg (http://www.futurefirepower.com/wp-content/photos/orig_MetalStorm.jpg)http://www.futurefirepower.com/wp-content/photos/thumb_AICW.jpg (http://www.futurefirepower.com/wp-content/photos/orig_AICW.jpg)Likewise, the absense of moving parts is exactly what allows the Metal Storm weapons to theoretically deliver up to 1 million rounds per minute. Also, less maintenance is required to keep the weapon firing, aside from fixing the trigger after overuse from bouts of uncontrollable annihilation. Expectedly, the Metal Storm idea of stacked projectiles has found its way into myriad applications, from area denial systems to missile defense to assault rifles, this technology could prove to revolutionize the battlefield capabilities of western nations fortunate enough to share the common values of innovation, perserverance, and moderation in all things. Indeed, this system has recieved much attention from the US military’s weapons procurement staff, and will likely find its way into all sorts of unexpected and imaginative applications.

Ed Jewett
06-06-2009, 12:14 PM
All these war toys express a cultic attachment to death... a new spin on the ancient "I am become Death", but instead "You will become dead, and I will enjoy bringing it to you because I can". (It's a mystery to me, because I always thought life was neat and worthy of possession, celebration, protection.)

One of my favorite 'things', a talisman, was given to me by the conscientious objector whose name I gave to my first-born. It is a basic standard mortar shell, a large bullet-shaped finned shell, a heavy hunk of metal with an empty hole for the fuse and an empty core for the absent explosives. It rests on my desk (and gets occasionally used as a paperweight). It is a constant reminder of the choice, my mission ..


Peter Lemkin
06-06-2009, 12:43 PM
'Smart' (sic) bullets put new meaning to 'this one has your name on it'! Soon, they'll be able to fire/launch something that will simply find you wherever you are and kill you....simple as that....immoral as that. What ever happened to trying to end war and ONLY fight in self-defence when all other options had been exhausted. The warriors increasingly are gaining - a sure mark of the upsurge of fascism/militarism/corporatism/oligarchy.