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The Military Communications

Hearing Voices? Could Be the Lasers 225

An anonymous reader sends us to Wired for a piece about some declassified Pentagon research from 1998 that has been revealed in a freedom-of-information filing. Apparently the Pentagon has investigated lasers that put voices in your head, among other non-lethal technologies such as microwave heating. The report suggests the techniques could be useful for controlling crowds or in negotiations. There is no context for the research or any indication whether it has continued, although the microwave heating bit sounds rather like the Active Denial System we have discussed recently.
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Hearing Voices? Could Be the Lasers

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  • I Wouldn't Laugh ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @07:35PM (#22482132) Journal

    Torture isn't a reliable means to obtain information. I know...I have a great idea... Lets make them crazy.
    Yeah, that's funny--although I would mod it insightful. Although perhaps you should read Mikhail Bulgakov's works that were satires of how the Soviet Union tortured him indirectly []. From the Wikipedia entry on his most famous work []:

    A memorable and much-quoted line in The Master and Margarita is: "manuscripts don't burn" (Russian: ). The Master is a writer who is plagued by both his own mental problems and the oppression of Stalin's regime in 1930s Moscow. He burns his treasured manuscript in an effort to hide it from the Soviet authorities and cleanse his own mind from the troubles the work has brought him. There is an autobiographical element reflected in the Master's character here, as Bulgakov in fact burned an early copy of The Master and Margarita for much the same reasons.
  • Could that governor have been the guy discussed in this article []. He sure sounds like the mind-ray fearing type...
  • Not a laser. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @07:52PM (#22482352)
    Laser = light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.
    In the article they talk about using microwaves.

    As far as I know there in no way to make a coherent beam of RF energy.
    Or can it be done using a dipole aerial array like they use for radar?
    It's still not light anyway.
  • by serialdogma ( 883470 ) <> on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @08:31PM (#22482764)
    Blondie didn't do a "I Touch Myself" cover, the original song was done by Australian rock band the Divinyls.
  • by tsotha ( 720379 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @10:20PM (#22483636)

    The trouble with torture is ultimately there is no real way to tell the difference between some who is supressing information and someone who simply doesn't know. Either will deny knowing. And either will give you false information -- the former in defiance, the latter because that's all they've got, and you don't let up until they give you SOMETHING.

    And that's why it's not effective in every situation. Yes, you need some way of corroborating the data. As you pointed out, in the case of bombs it's pretty easy, since you can just go look to see if there's a bomb. And yeah, if you pick up a guy who doesn't know anything it's gonna be a long couple weeks, especially for him. But that's the way intelligence works in general - you put lot of time and effort into finding things out and most of the time you're in a blind alley.

    Torturing people until they confess crimes is stupid. There's no court in the world that would take that kind of evidence unless the whole thing is a show trial anyway.

    In the case of conspiracies, though, I think you're wrong. Conspiracies have all sorts of physical evidence. In a bomb plot, depending on how far along it is you'll have bomb-making materials, receipts, phone calls, residues, funny smells remembered by the neighbors, weapons, bank transactions, and maybe even actual explosives. You can't have a bomb plot without physical evidence. The point isn't to bring in the guys your victim names and torture them too - that would be pointless. It's that you now have a place to look for physical evidence.

    People who say torture doesn't work watch too many movies. Sure, it doesn't work the way Hollywood protrays it, but then again neither would many of MacGuyver's little creations. Virtually every government in the world uses torture, or has used it in the past. There may be lots of reasons not to do it, but "it doesn't work" isn't a valid one in my opinion.

  • by tunabomber ( 259585 ) on Tuesday February 19, 2008 @11:39PM (#22484138) Homepage
    Why even try to satirize the U.S. military when they satirize themselves? They actually did this at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib []. It seems Metallica was the most popular torture music, but occasionally they'd crank Barney the Dinosaur when they wanted to play hardball.

APL hackers do it in the quad.