The video is a hoot, what with a deranged bird and the famous "Kung Fu Grip." But I am also intrigued by the descriptions of the control panel buttons. Did the set come with labels so you could change the button names? I suspect not. So..."Washington" is a given. Stay in touch with HQ. "Code X7" is suitably mysterious. But "Jungle" and "Arctic" are ultra-generic, whereas "Burma" and "Tibet" are ultra-specific. Why those two countries anyhow? Commie (Cobra) hotspots?
According to info on quora.com, there's been a long, ongoing effort to develop armored shorts. However, soldiers inevitably find them uncomfortable, even though they appreciate the effort to protect their private parts.
Such shorts are sometimes referred to as 'tactical diapers' or 'battle nappies'.
I like the detail that the armored shorts (below) developed during the Korean War were "capable of deflecting about 65 per cent of all missiles."
A 1943 AP story about a jeep that traveled around the Pacific tied to a submarine became the centerpiece of an ad for ice cream the following year. The somewhat tenuous connection between the two was that the submarine crew eventually sold the jeep to a warship in exchange for three gallons of ice cream.
1978: Hannelore Nelson was fired from her job as a translator with the U.S. Army in Germany for not wearing a bra while attending an asparagus banquet in Mainz, where she was translating for Gen. David Martin. At least, the General thought she wasn't wearing a bra. Nelson protested that she definitely had been wearing one, and she got the Mayor and Police Chief of Mainz to back her up ("Both said they saw nothing"). She eventually received $20,000 in compensation for wrongful termination.
to determine, by means of a well-developed scientific methodology, whether there are unique signatures in emanations that can be used to identify and distinguish specific high-level-of-interest individuals within groups of enemy troops or combatants, and if so, to develop enabling technology for detecting and identifying those specific signatures. The program consists of an interdisciplinary team of performers using state-of-the-art techniques to evaluate the statistical, biological and chemical nature of individual emanations. Once the nature of the chemosignal has been characterized, performers will determine the impact of non-genetic factors (e.g., diet, stress, health, age) on the signal in order to determine whether the signal can be robustly extracted from a complex and varied chemical background. If an exploitable robust signature is identified, the program will then pursue detector development.
I haven't been able to find out what's become of the program since 2007. Though I'd wager that the U.S. government hasn't completely abandoned the idea since being able to identify people by their smell would be a hard-to-defeat surveillance technology. (Assuming that we all really do have a unique 'odortype' that can't be camouflaged with fragrance or by eating stinky food).
However, I did find a report on the program from 2005 that included the interesting detail that they field-tested the technology on seven sets of twins at Williamsburg, VA and Research Triangle Park, NC:
a field study was planned and conducted by RTI. In this study, identical twins and a family member (sibling or parent) were recruited. Each group went to either Williamsburg, VA, or Research Triangle Park, NC, for a four-day stay at a hotel. During this stay, daily sweat samples were collected onto polydimethylsiloxane membranes, as described in earlier reports to DARPA/ARO. A total of seven sets of twins were recruited. The goal was 30 twin pairs. Given the relatively poor response rate and the need for project resources to adequately address the data processing and statistical analysis needs of the overall USD program, the field study was terminated.
Where cumbersome, insecure, and unreliable wireless sets, along with telephones, signal lights, and flares failed, pigeons succeeded. When human runners could not pass through walls of barrage fire, pigeons rose above the explosions and the gas and flew swiftly to their lofts, bearing dispatches in tiny cylinders attached to their legs.
A pigeon about to be thrown from a tank during World War I
During World War I the British Navy attempted to train seagulls to reveal the presence of German submarines. The idea was to use a dummy periscope "from which at intervals food would be discharged like sausage-meat from a machine." The birds would, hopefully, learn to associate periscopes with food and would then fly around approaching German submarines, revealing where they were.
Initial tests were conducted by Admiral Sir Frederick Inglefield in Poole harbour in Dorset. Inglefield tried to train the birds not only to fly around periscopes, but also to poop on them.
Subsequent tests were briefly conducted in 1917, but then the Navy abandoned the idea.
One private inventor, Thomas Mills, refused to give up on the idea. In 1918 he patented what he called an "apparatus for use in connection with the location of submarines" (Patent GB116,976). It was basically a dummy periscope that disgorged ribbons of food.
Unfortunately for Mills, the development of sonar then made submarine-detecting seagulls unnecessary.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.