Feeds

DARPA scientists demand lightning on tap

'Live, my beauty! Live! Ah-hahaha! They said I was mad. Etc'

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Sometimes it's not so easy being a mad scientist. Narrow-minded colleagues disparage your theories using harsh terms like "crackpot" and "ethically dubious". Persons in charge of critical supplies vital to your experiments - morticians, gravediggers, the people who run the brain depositary* - refuse to cooperate. Even once these hurdles are overcome, and your creation lies ready on the slab awaiting only a lightning bolt to add the vital spark of life, you must often wait weeks or months for the necessary thunderstorm.

Well, not any more. Enter those splendid brainboxes from DARPA, the US military research bureau where every lab assistant is hunchbacked, every burst of laughter is hysterical and where living disembodied brains in bubbling jars are de rigueur office accessories. DARPA have now decided that proper scientific enquiry requires that lightning be made available on tap.

According to a DARPA announcement issued last week (Word docx):

Experimental Set-up for Triggering Lightning: Bidders should fully describe how they would attempt to trigger lightning and list all potential pieces of equipment necessary to trigger lightning, as well as the equipment necessary to measure and characterize the processes governing lightning initiation, propagation, and attachment.

The project to provide lightning on tap is known as "Nimbus".

According to DARPA, Nimbus lightning-triggering equipment is in no way intended for differently-sane researchers to jumpstart enormous, powerful monsters assembled from assorted body parts and directed by brains recovered from criminal psychopaths. No, it's all about protecting property from lightning damage, or "advances in... science relating to lightning".

But then, DARPA claimed that packet-switched networking was all about military communications or something of that sort: whereas in fact it turned out to be predominantly a vehicle for global distribution of pornography. So it would be unwise to believe what they say this time around.

It may be time for local residents in the vicinity of DARPA headquarters to start getting out the pitchforks and flickering torches. ®

*After 5pm please slip brains through slot in door.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?