Air Force Tech Can Hit With the Impact of a Nuclear Weapon With No Fallout

Lazy Dog Bombs

The Vietnam War began in 1955 and wouldn’t see its conclusion until 1975. One can only imagine the number of weapons used over the twenty years before the conflict came to an end. Yet one weapon in particular — used by the United States — didn’t utilize fire or gunpowder to do damage. All it needed was gravity and a bit of metal.

Dubbed “Lazy Dog” bombs, these kinetic weapons were small, missile-shaped tubes of metal about 2 inches in length and less than an inch in diameter. Outfitted with fins, they would be dropped by the hundreds on U.S. enemies, who were almost certainly ill-prepared for such a bombardment.

As reported by We Are The Mighty, these Lazy Dog bombs would be dropped by planes from thousands of feet in the air, and would reach speeds up to 500 mph. From a height of 3,000 feet, they’d be capable of punching a 9-inch-deep hole into concrete. Needless to say, you wouldn’t want to be hit by one.

Lazy Dogs bombs don’t have a monopoly on this concept; if you want to count weapons that simply relied on gravity, look no further than the trebuchet. Task & Purpose writes that U.S. Army veteran and Boeing enginner Jerry Pournelle also had a similar idea, though his involved using longer pieces of metal, and dropping them from sub-orbital heights. Interestingly enough, Pournelle had these thoughts in the 1950s, in the early years of the Vietnam War.

Project Thor

Pournelle’s idea came to have the name “Project Thor,” though it was eventually given the much more menacing title of “rods from god.” Regardless of the name used, the potential destruction was enormous. As explained by Popular Science, the rods from god were tungsten rods made to be nearly 20 feet in length and a foot in diameter. A pair of satellites would be placed thousands of miles above the earth, with one controlling the targeting and communications, while the other would carry an untold number of rods.

Starting with those on the ground monitoring and controlling the satellites, and ending with the rods’ impact, the whole ordeal could play out within 15 minutes. The rods from god could achieve speeds multiple time the speed of sound; the nine inches of penetration the lazy dog bombs could achieve pales in comparison to hundreds of feet their larger counterparts could travel.

Best of all? Project Thor could impact with the force of a nuclear weapon, without the nuclear fallout that would affect the surrounding environment and any people unfortunate enough to be there.

The Modern Day Equivalent

Project Thor was never turned into a real weapon, as they were simply too expensive to launch, but the concept of a weapon based on kinetic energy hasn’t gone away. In fact, it’s seeing a bit of a resurgence. In 2013, the U.S. Air Force 846th Test Squadron test fired a “Kinetic Energy Projectile warhead” that moved 3,500 feet per second, or three times the speed of sound. Earlier this month, the Navy tested a long-range electromagnetic rail gun and its electromagnetic hyper velocity projectile. According to Scout, it can fire a kinetic warhead “at speeds greater than 5,000 miles an hour.”

Speaking to Task & Purpose, Matt Weingart, weapons program development manager at Lawrence Livermore, explained that while a traditional bomb relies on chemical explosives to do damage, kinetic weapons only need speed and mass.

Before and after of a test conducted by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory using kinetic weapons, in the form of aeroshells made from carbon composite panels.
Before and after of a test conducted by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory using an aeroshell made from carbon composite panels. Image Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

“[For traditional bombs] the violence comes from the chemical explosive inside that bomb sending off a blast wave, followed by the fragments of the bomb case,” said Weingart. “But the difference with kinetic energy projectiles is that the warhead arrives at the target moving very, very fast — the energy is there to propel those fragments without the use of a chemical explosive to accelerate them. The more mass, the more violence.”

It’s unclear how much money the U.S. military might save from switching to kinetic weapons, as well as just how far away we are from practical applications of kinetic weaponry in real world scenarios. Yet at the rate that technology is advancing, it’s only a matter of time before we incorporate space into warfare, and likely find new ways to increase the power of our weaponry as we do.

The post Air Force Tech Can Hit With the Impact of a Nuclear Weapon With No Fallout appeared first on Futurism.

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Author: Kyree Leary

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OK Go lets printers do the dancing in new music video

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A New Debit Card Is Poised to Make Spending Crypto a Breeze

Spendable Crypto

Cryptocurrencies such as ether and bitcoin are surging in popularity thanks to their many benefits over traditional currencies, but they still lag behind those currencies in one key way: they are not easy to spend in physical stores. People can spend USD and euros using a plethora of debit, credit, and gift cards, but their options are severely limited when it comes to spending bitcoin or ether using a cryptocurrency debit card.

That’s starting to change, though. The Centra Card can be used just like a debit card to spend bitcoin, ether, dash, and several other popular cryptocurrencies. Token Card is another cryptocurrency debit card, and soon, London startup London Block Exchange (LBX) will launch a prepaid Visa debit card that will act in the same fashion.

The Dragoncard from LBX. Image Credit: London Block Exchange

The Dragoncard will allow people to convert their bitcoin, ether, ripple, litecoin, and monero to sterling (aka the British pound) at the time of purchase, thereby making it significantly easier for those currencies to be spent in stores throughout the United Kingdom, including ones that have yet to accept alternative forms of payment.

Business Insider reports the cryptocurrency debit card will be issued by pre-paid card provider Wavecrest, and it comes alongside an app people can use to buy and manage cryptocurrencies on LBX’s own exchange. When someone uses the Dragoncard, LBX will pay the retailer in pounds first, then take the equivalent amount from the shopper’s cryptocurrency wallet.

Before rushing off to get a Dragoncard when it debuts in December, though, interested crypto owners should know a few things. First, the card itself is £20 ($26.33). Second, they will be charged a 0.5 percent fee whenever they buy or sell cryptocurrencies on LBX’s platform. Lastly, provider Wavecrest charges a small fee for ATM withdrawals — it is a debit card, after all.

The Path to Acceptance

Despite the fees, the Dragoncard and other cryptocurrency debit cards have the potential to help crypto become widely accepted and, more importantly, understood.

The Dragoncard also arrives at a time when bitcoin is experiencing quite a growth spurt. With schools, companies, and even nations starting to embrace bitcoin, the currency is poised to continue increasing in value and popularity, and with the Dragoncard, LBX is hoping to help Londoners join that ever-growing segment of crypto supporters.

“Despite being the financial capital of the world, London is a difficult place for investors to enter and trade in the cryptocurrency market,” LBX founder and CEO Benjamin Dives reportedly said in a statement. “We’ll bring it into the mainstream by removing the barriers to access, and by helping people understand and have confidence in what we believe is the future of money.”

“We’re offering a grown up and robust experience for those who wish to safely and easily understand and invest in digital currencies,” said LBX’s executive chairman Adam Bryant. “We’re confident we’ll transform this market in the U.K. and will become the leading cryptocurrency and blockchain consultancy for institutional investors and consumers alike.”

Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.

The post A New Debit Card Is Poised to Make Spending Crypto a Breeze appeared first on Futurism.

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Author: Kyree Leary

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