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07/26/2005 Archived Entry: "Blinding them with our technology"
The Iraqi people are now going to be guinea pigs for 15 new "non-lethal" weapons: the Vehicle-Mounted Active Denial System, which blasts 95 GHz microwaves at people in order to heat their skin, thus inflicting pain. You'll note they don't say "non-destructive."
"[H]eating a layer of skin 0.3 mm thick to 50 °C in just one second", as this system does, requires, by my estimate, 1.63 watts per square centimeter. Read on: "A study published last year in the journal Health Physics showed that exposure to 2 watts per square centimeter for three seconds could damage the corneas of rhesus monkeys." The design range of the weapon is 700 yards; victims at half that range will receive approximately four times the power. (Slightly less, because the radiator isn't a point source.)
I guess blinding someone -- quickly or slowly -- is "non-lethal."