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Letters It's a funny old game, the IT news business. We ran a piece yesterday on the US's Pulsed Energy Projectile device - capable of knocking down a charging rhino from over a mile - on the off-chance that it might be of some interest to our beloved readership.

What we didn't expect, though, was the pulsed energy burst of scorn aimed at those scientists who condemned the project because it "might be used for torture". Read on:

Whenever anything none lethal comes out people always go ooo it could burn, ooo it could cause heart attacks... ooo it could cause long term psychological damage... whatever, it's better then being dead. But then I'm all for the kill em all and let god sort em out approach, less hassel and no chance of the corpse coming back to sue you or being a drain on resources.

(is miserable as he is one of the apparent 0.02% on a ADSL enabled exchange who can't have broadband, Milton Keynes sess pit of the universe)

Matt


Lovely article! I can't help but think that Iraqis (and many others) would far prefer the US to be attacking with painful but non-lethal PEPs than with high explosives, however intelligently guided. I also found the protestations that "it could be used for torture!" almost comic. Imagine the scene: black-hooded inquisitor sits slumped on a stool, facing into the sunset. Behind him lies a rack full of the usual prods, scalpels, axes, drills; the full arsenal of torturers of old. His thought? "Alas! Without PEPs, what am I to do?" =]

Cheers,

Alan


According to Arah Leonard of University of Common Sense, John Wood of University College London can kiss my asterisk. How _horrible_ that the US Navy is researching a non-lethal PEP weapon to disable a combatant without those quaint side-effects like blood, death, and berieved families.

I suppose those opposed to this kind of research would be happier if the US Navy spent their money researching a laser weapon that could instead cut a person in half from a mile away, because what the world _really_ needs are even more effective devices to cause death and dismemberment. Perhaps they would just be happier of the PEP only delivered an annoying shove with no pain at all, because _that_ would sure protect a soldier from people shooting at him/her. Or even better, maybe the US Navy should instead put all of that funding towards enlistment advertising so that there are even more soldiers bullying around the world with antiquated slug-throwers that are quite prone to leaving gaping holes in people's flesh. That's _always_ a winner, right?

God forbid someone try to use technology to make war a lot less lethal because then someone might only feel pain instead of push up daisies. Bloody know-it-all wankers. How about we aim a PEP and a M-16 at each and every one of them and give them the choice of which to support then?

Arah


Hi Lester,

<sarcasm> I agree completely with these experts! It is totally unethical to inflict non-fatal pain on an advancing mob of civilians! What does the taxpayer buy guns for the army for, if they're not used? I say shoot them all, you've got guns and bullets... use them!

This may also help to protect the environment because once you've killed the civilians once, they won't be joining another mob tomorrow. As opposed to the plasma gun thing that may have to be used again thus draining our energy resources.

Any why we're on the subject of things that MAY be used for torture I have complied a list of things that should also be banned/investigated because they may be used for torture.

Pliars - nail pulling Neddles / Knives - general stabbing Fire - burning Pairs of house bricks - e.g. [BRICK] nads [BRICK] Water - water torture Rope - tying people up while you torture them with random items </sarcasm>

Good grief, when are these cry-baby hippies going to learn? Although they may not like it sometimes you have to use violence, and surely non-fatal crown control is better than a hail of bullets? Speaking of which, are they going to ban guns because they can inflict pain and death?

Just letting off some steam.

Tom


The portable version of this monstrosity, which is certain to emerge, should be used on the people who developed it at least once a week for at least 5 consecutive seconds for the remainder of their lifetime.

why are you worrying about torture [for which this item is a self-evident use, they might as well be sold directly to <dictator.bananarepublic>] bank robbers will use this muggers will use this the maffia will build a factory for these things every lunatic will have one drunken mothers will fire at will adolescants will use it for the hell of it

For inventing stupid stuff like this, the species really deserves a level 10 event on the Torino Scale. We really are not fit for this world.

Jorge


On a (slightly) lighter note, here's a bit of feedback to the news that Sony has slain Beatles-Metallica hybrid Beatallica because of alleged breach of Sony's Beatles copyright:

About 18 months ago I came across this music on the internet, a really fun garage band in the US was making songs of theirs available. The music was a delightful parody of the Beatles and Metallica, fused into one. Unfortunately their web page was gone and the songs existed in a few scattered locations around the web. I gathered them together and put up a page. Not long afterwards one of the band contacted me and told me it was great the stuff was still on the net and the music was meant to be free and given to anyone that wanted it, and they were working on getting hosting for their site sorted out. I guess that's when beatllica.org/.com came about.

After seeing your story, my archive of their older stuff is now offline. I'm scared of Sony. It's a disgrace that they suppress genuinely creative artists like this, especially when their PR line when suing file sharers is that they are looking out for artists and protecting the creative process from bankrupcy. It's obvious they don't care for anything but their own bottom line.

Sony should be signing them, not suing them.

(please don't print my email address anywhere)

David


You know what really bugs me about C&D like this. "Substantial and irreparable harm". WHAT FLIPPIN HARM!!!!

The generic weasel words are all that is necessary because, although using such words inappropriately could be slander/libel or even fraudulent misrepresentation (and is in any case intimitation), there's NO WAY you could get that stuck, 'cos NO solicitor wants to be held to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help us, God.

You are now under criminal investigation for corporate GBH, but without the knowledge of what you did that is considered GBH.

Just like the T&C or ToS "agreements" that state all sorts of guff they have no right to ask for, but have no consequences for asking for because they are allowed to say roughtly "if any clause is unenforceable, then that clause only is affected and is reduced by the minimum ammount appliccable by law". Get rid of that clause and have the T&C invalidated in its entirety at the discretion of the one signing it (there isn't any way for them to get it ammended, and the writer should know enough about contract law before writing a contract...), then you'll see a lot more reasonable "agreements" being used.

But I suppose that is another request to hold the legal profession to a professional standard, with the expected chance of success....

Mark


Our lawyers are right now attempting to completely decipher the inner meaning of this final letter this week, but you get the gist. Have a relaxing, pain-free weekend. ®

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