Daily Illuminator

January 2, 2007: It's The Agonizer!

The Air Force has been been testing a beam that can create great pain at a distance, with - they say - little or no actual damage. They intend it as an "area denial" weapon, to disperse mobs without the use of lethal force. SF fans will recognize the principle of the Klingon agonizer, as well as the "pain box" the Bene Gesserit used to test Paul Atreides. Now, why didn't the science fiction writers think of building a big one? Truth can be scarier than fiction.

Read the Wired story for more information. Slant alert: the author spends so much time deploring the historical failures and misuses of other nonlethal weapons that you have to wonder if he'd prefer that we went back to, say, grapeshot.
-- Steve Jackson

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