Category:
Weapons

Bollywood-Style Arms Video

Thanks to Josh Klein for submitting this video, which has been described as a "catastrophic collision of Bollywood and the arms industry." Produced by an Israeli arms company to drum up business in India, it features actors in Bollywood costume dancing around surface-to-air missiles.

But dammit, I now have the idiotic jingle from the video looping endlessly in my head: Dinga Dinga, Dinga Dinga, Dinga Dinga, Dinga Dinga Dee...

Please make it stop!

Posted By: Alex - Fri Mar 13, 2009 - Comments (4)
Category: Video, Weapons

Albert Bacon Pratt’s Helmet Gun


In 1916 Albert Bacon Pratt of Lyndon, Vermont was issued patent No. 1183492 for a "gun adapted to be mounted on and fired from the head of the marksman." The wearer fired the gun by blowing into a tube. Most of Pratt's patent application is fairly dry and technical, but here he offers his thoughts on some of the advantages of his invention:

The weapon described has many advantages. The gun is automatically aimed unconsciously and incidentally to the turning of the head of the marksman in the direction of the target. In self-protection, one immediately, instinctively turns the head in the direction of attack to see the enemy, or, in hunting, toward any sound made by nearby game. Thus the gun is automatically directed toward the mark in the course of the first instinctive movement. With the gun thus aimed, the only further operation necessary to fire the same is to blow through the tube and thereby expand the bulb and operate the trigger. This is accomplished entirely from the head of the marksman, leaving his hands and feet free further to defend himself or for other purposes as desired. Under some circumstances the gun can be fired not only without the use of the hands and feet, but also without the use of the eyes of the marksman. For example, in hunting at night if an animal made a sound in underbrush, the head of the marksman would be instinctively turned in the direction of the sound and then the gun would be fired, without the use of the eyes of the marksman.



Pratt then points out that his invention is useful not only in combat, but also in the kitchen:

The crown section of the helmet when detached from the base of the helmet may be inverted and used as a cooking utensil, the elongated hood projecting therefrom for protecting the barrel of the gun serving as the handle therefor.

Pratt claimed he had solved the problem of recoil:

The "blow-back" causes the breech-bolt to retreat and automatically cock the hammer, but the strong spring back of the breech-bolt forces the same so quickly forward again following the recoil, that the two movements naturalize one another so promptly that no discomfort to the wearer results from the recoil.

But I suspect he didn't have all the bugs ironed out, which must be why such a useful invention never caught on.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Feb 20, 2009 - Comments (16)
Category: Inventions, Weapons

Duck and Cover

Posted By: Paul - Fri Feb 13, 2009 - Comments (7)
Category: Education, Government, War, Weapons, Documentaries

The Camisards

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A group of fanatical religious terrorists, holed up in their mountain redoubts and battling an occupying government. Surely this description must apply to some modern-day group and situation, such as in Afghanistan, or perhaps Africa...? And the terrorists will in all likelihood be Islamic, right?

Well, not all the time.

Consider the French Protestant dissenters known as the Camisards.

I learned about this historical incident from reading Robert Louis Stevenson's Travels with a Donkey. (You can find the entire text of the book here.) Stevenson traveled through the region once ruled by the Camisards, and evoked the romance of their rebellion.

There, a hundred and eighty years ago, was the chivalrous Roland, "Count and Lord Roland, generalissimo of the Protestants in France," grave, silent, imperious, pock-marked ex-dragoon, whom a lady followed in his wanderings out of love. There was Cavalier, a baker's apprentice with a genius for war, elected brigadier of Camisards at seventeen, to die at fifty-five the English governor of Jersey. There again was Castanet, a partisan in a voluminous peruke and with a taste for divinity. Strange generals who moved apart to take counsel with the God of Hosts, and fled or offered battle, set sentinels or slept in an unguarded camp, as the Spirit whispered to their hearts! And to follow these and other leaders was the rank file of prophets and disciples, bold, patient, hardy to run upon the mountains, cheering their rough life with psalms, eager to fight, eager to pray, listening devoutly to the oracles of brainsick children, and mystically putting a grain of wheat among the pewter balls with which they charged their muskets.


Pretty weird, huh? And right in Europe, not all that long ago.

The last sentence from Stevenson is particularly intriguing, since it conjures up comparisons to the Mai-Mai rebels in the Congo today, who believe that certain magical charms protect them against bullets; that their own bullets are invulnerable to counter charms; and that ritual cannibalism of their enemies is still a grand idea.

Once Europe had its own Mai-Mai's. Perhaps someday Africa will be rid of theirs.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Jan 22, 2009 - Comments (11)
Category: Cannibalism, Death, Frauds, Cons and Scams, History, Historical Figure, Magic and Illusions and Sleight of Hand, Paranormal, Religion, War, Weapons, Foreign Customs, Africa, Europe, Eighteenth Century

Sabrage

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I've just learned about the art of opening a bottle of champagne with a sword. The practice is called sabrage.

You can watch a video here that teaches you how to do it yourself!

Posted By: Paul - Mon Oct 06, 2008 - Comments (15)
Category: Human Marvels, Inebriation and Intoxicants, Weapons

Palm Pistol

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From the blog of the insanely talented and talentedly insane Warren Ellis we learn of a new item that the world certainly does not need: an easy to conceal and shoot weapon called the Palm Pistol.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Oct 01, 2008 - Comments (8)
Category: Weapons

The 10th Victim

This article in today's NEW YORK TIMES tells us about "Street Wars," a game played in urban environments by players determined to "kill" each other. Several precedents for this game are cited in the article, but the writer misses the most important and primal one: A 1953 story by famed and beloved SF writer Robert Sheckley, titled "The Seventh Victim."

The story was later filmed as THE 10TH VICTIM. Its most famous scene: Ursula Andress using guns concealed in her bra, as seen in the second clip below.



Posted By: Paul - Sat Sep 27, 2008 - Comments (2)
Category: Explosives, Games, Roleplayers and Re-enactors, Geeks, Nerds and Pointdexters, Guns, Literature, Science Fiction, Movies, Sexuality, Sex Symbols, War, Weapons, 1950s, 1960s, Women, Yesterday’s Tomorrows

Survival Under Atomic Attack

A reader named John, commenting on the WHY STUDY SCIENCE? thread, asked to see a film about surviving atomic attack. Here it is, John!

(There's no static image on the screen, but just click the PLAY button on the bottom of the viewing window.)

Posted By: Paul - Wed Sep 24, 2008 - Comments (8)
Category: Armageddon and Apocalypses, Disasters, History, Military, Movies, Patriotism, Technology, War, Weapons, Reader Recommendation, 1950s, Yesterday’s Tomorrows

Radiological Defense

Much of what we define today as "weird" looks to be weird simply because the context that surrounded its creation is no longer in place. As famously said, "The past is another country," and we all know that stuff that happens in other countries is quite often weird.

Once upon a time--in 1961--the staged documentary featured here seemed like the most sober-sided, commonsense bit of educational material. But now--

--well, see for yourselves!

Posted By: Paul - Mon Sep 08, 2008 - Comments (12)
Category: Death, Futurism, Military, Movies, Technology, War, Weapons, 1960s

Li’l Castros

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[From Life magazine for April 13 1959.]

Of course, we all recall personally or at least have heard of the Davy Crockett Craze of the mid-1950's, when Disney's promotional genius had kids everywhere running around in coonskin caps. But who among us lately has dared to summon up memories of the Castro dressup craze from a few years later?

Yes, once upon a time, at the start of his revolution, Castro was received in the USA as a hero of the oppressed peoples of Cuba, and seen as a fit role model for tykes to imitate.

Please click on the image for the full glory of this era, and excuse any flash glare from my poor photo skills. I had to photograph rather than scan, to capture the full impact of the double page spread.

Posted By: Paul - Fri Sep 05, 2008 - Comments (8)
Category: Body Modifications, Facial Hair, Business, Products, Fads, Family, Children, Parents, Government, Military, Pop Culture, War, Weapons, 1950s

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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.

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