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Archive for the ‘weapons’ category

Mar 15, 2018

Why Earth’s History Appears So Miraculous

Posted by in category: weapons

The strange, cosmic reason our evolutionary path will look ever luckier the longer we survive.

I t was hard times for the bomber pilots that floated over Europe, their planes incinerating cities below, like birds of prey. Even as they turned the once-bustling streets beneath to howling firestorms, death had become a close companion to the crews of the Allied bombers as well. In fact, surviving a tour with the Bomber Command had become a virtual coin flip. While their munitions fell mutely from bomb bays, an upward sleet of fire from smoldering city grids and darkened farmland shot the planes out of the sky like clay pigeons. For recruits encountering the freshly empty bunk beds of dead airmen, morale was sapped before they could even get in the cockpit. Hoping to slow this attrition, Allied officers studied the pattern of bullet holes in returning aircraft for vulnerable parts to reinforce with armor.

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Feb 15, 2018

New form of light: Newly observed optical state could enable quantum computing with photons

Posted by in categories: computing, particle physics, quantum physics, weapons

Try a quick experiment: Take two flashlights into a dark room and shine them so that their light beams cross. Notice anything peculiar? The rather anticlimactic answer is, probably not. That’s because the individual photons that make up light do not interact. Instead, they simply pass each other by, like indifferent spirits in the night.

But what if could be made to interact, attracting and repelling each other like atoms in ordinary matter? One tantalizing, albeit sci-fi possibility: sabers — beams of light that can pull and push on each other, making for dazzling, epic confrontations. Or, in a more likely scenario, two beams of light could meet and merge into one single, luminous stream.

It may seem like such optical behavior would require bending the rules of physics, but in fact, scientists at MIT, Harvard University, and elsewhere have now demonstrated that photons can indeed be made to interact — an accomplishment that could open a path toward using photons in quantum computing, if not in lightsabers.

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Dec 31, 2017

The fourth state of matter, plasma: A technology to improve bone healing?

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, food, life extension, weapons

Cold plasma looks like the glow from the “Star Wars” blue lightsaber but this beam of energy, made of electrons that change polarity at micro-second or nanosecond speeds, could help bones heal faster, according to a study published August 11th in the Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine.

Most people interact with plasma every day. It’s in our TVs, fluorescent lights, lightning, the aurora borealis, and the sun. However, these are all examples of hot or “thermal” plasmas. Since the discovery of , about 20 years ago, it has been used in agriculture to sterilize the surface of fruit without damaging the delicate edibles. More recently, scientists have been performing experiments treating living animal cells and tissues with cold plasma to learn more about its potential applications in medicine.

“We’ve previously studied how different applications of cold plasma can either directly kill cells, such as in skin cancer, or help them grow, as in developing bones. In this study, we asked how cold plasma would affect the area surrounding cells, known as the extracellular matrix,” says lead author Theresa Freeman, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery in the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University. The extracellular matrix around cells is made of collagen and other proteins that interact with the cells and can influence their growth and behavior. For example, the extracellular matrix can either promote or inhibit or cancer cell growth and metastasis.

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Dec 20, 2017

Graphene-based armor could stop bullets

Posted by in categories: particle physics, weapons

While bullet-proof body armor does tend to be thick and heavy, that may no longer be the case if research being conducted at The City University of New York bears fruit. Led by Prof. Elisa Riedo, scientists there have determined that two layers of stacked graphene can harden to a diamond-like consistency upon impact.

For those who don’t know, graphene is made up of carbon atoms linked together in a honeycomb pattern, and it takes the form of one-atom-thick sheets. Among various other claims to fame, it is the world’s strongest material.

Known as diamene, the new material is made up of just two sheets of graphene, upon a silicon carbide substrate. It is described as being as light and flexible as foil – in its regular state, that is. When sudden mechanical pressure is applied at room temperature, though, it temporarily becomes harder than bulk diamond.

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Feb 21, 2017

This Lightweight Origami Shield Can Withstand Gunshots from a 9mm

Posted by in category: weapons

In Brief

  • A team of engineers at Brigham Young University have designed a bulletproof shield prototype that is inspired by origami.
  • This new prototype is much lighter weight than previous models and could prove extremely useful in the field.

A new origami-inspired bulletproof shield prototype that can withstand shots fired from 9mm, .357 Magnum, and .44 Magnum pistols was created by a team of engineers from Brigham Young University (BYU).

Most bulletproof shields or barriers weigh almost 100 pounds, making them difficult to use and transport. A lightweight version would a useful alternative. Weighing only 55 pounds (25 kilograms), this new shield is made up of 12 layers of Kevlar with an aluminum core, and it is so light it can be folded.

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Jan 31, 2017

Millimeters-Thick Metal Foam Armor Obliterates Incoming Bullets

Posted by in category: weapons

Foam armor for the future.

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Dec 10, 2016

Mind Controlled Bionic Limbs

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, robotics/AI, transhumanism, weapons

In the George Lucas classic Star Wars, hero Luke Skywalker’s arm is severed and amputated during a lightsaber fight and consequently fitted with a bionic arm that he can use as if it were his own limb. At the time the script was written, such a remedy was pure science fiction; however, the ability to manufacture bionic arms that have the functionality and even feel of a natural limb is becoming very real, with goals of launching a prototype as soon as 2009. Already, primates have been trained to feed themselves using a robotic arm merely by thinking about it, while brain sensors have been picking up their brain-signal patterns since 2003. The time has come for implementing this technology on paralyzed human patients and amputees. This article will provide a brief explanation of the technology, its current status, and the potential future it holds.

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Aug 19, 2016

The Force is most definitely with this ultra-detailed 3D-printed lightsaber

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, weapons

Want your own lightsaber? with this printer you can have your own.


This 3D-printable custom lightsaber is truly a thing of beauty. Here’s how you can make your own.

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Aug 16, 2016

Regenerative Medicine: Plasma Being Used To Improve Bone Healing

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, nuclear energy, space travel, weapons

Scientists have just found a way to make use of plasma, the fourth state of matter, to improve bone development. Using cold fusion, researchers were able to initiate increased bone growth.

It is a bit ironic that plasma is the least known state of matter, when in fact it is the most abundant in the universe. It is found in our Sun and all other stars, lightning, in our TVs, fluorescent light, and neon signs, and (purportedly) even in our favorite fictional weapon in the Star Wars universe, the lightsaber.

Plasma can be classified according to the degree of ionization, temperature, etc, but whatever form it may take, plasma has been used in various fields, such as in spacecraft propulsion, agriculture, and quite recently, in medicine.

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Apr 21, 2016

What Should the World Do With Its Nuclear Weapons? — By Joseph Cirincione | The Atlantic

Posted by in categories: geopolitics, governance, government, nuclear weapons, policy, weapons

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“At the possible brink of a new nuclear arms race, questions answered during the Cold War will need to be reopened.”

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