Four-legged bomb detectors still top dog

Paul Raven @ 22-10-2010

After research and development to the tune of US$19bn, the Pentagon concludes that nothing detects bombs more effectively than a well-trained dog; Uxo would be proud.

Despite a slew of bomb-finding gagdets, the American military only locates about 50 percent of the improvised explosives planted in Afghanistan and Iraq. But that number jumps to 80 percent when U.S. and Afghan patrols take dogs along for a sniff-heavy walk.

Technology isn’t the answer to every problem… unless that problem is “how can we squander billions of dollars that could be better used in other ways”, I suppose.


Nuclear bomb blast videos redux!

Paul Raven @ 03-02-2010

Tobias Buckell’s brief 2007 post of a video snippet showing a Russian weapons test described as the world’s biggest ever nuclear blast has long been the most popular post on this site for search engine traffic. And rather than kvetch about people not coming here for more high-brow entertainment (!), I’m gonna make like a Roman emperor and give out more bread and circuses… pageviews is pageviews, AMIRITE? 😉

So thanks to Wired for rounding up a bunch of video clips from assorted atomic weapons tests; there’s eight over there, if you include the rather harrowing one about the Hiroshima after-effects (which you should surely watch, if only to balance any OMGZ-awesome-big-explosionz!! vibe you get from the others). These two are my personal favourites, though – this one because the mushroom cloud formation is rather beautiful (albeit in a horrifying way):

And this one because it takes you right inside the physical brutality of the blast (not to mention reminding me of a movie about the atomic test programs that I watched as a teenager, the name and basic plot of which is long gone, but the imagery of which haunts me to this day – a Futurismic big-helper gold star to anyone who can point me in the right direction):

Aren’t you glad the prospect of nuclear war is a thing of the past? Oh, wait…