This just went on my list: War is Beautiful: The New York Times Pictorial Guide to the Glamour of Armed Conflict*. In this interview, photobook author David Shields discusses the aesthetics of human conflict and how photojournalism is all too frequently "a swoon to war's beauty."
Laser weapons, long the staple of sci-fi movies, are getting closer to becoming military reality. This article in Nature discusses where we stand in the quest to destroy more shit with light.
The "problem," apparently, is that light doesn't make enough noise:
“The engagements happen quickly, and unless you're staring at a screen 24–7 you'll never see them,” Blount says. “So we've built sound in for whenever we fire the laser. We plan on taking advantage of lots of Star Trek and Star Wars sound bites.”
This was the bit that media picked up on, much more so than "hey, before long we might be able to incinerate anything we can get a line of sight on."
- I assume Boeing will have to pay licensing fees to the trademark holders for the respective franchises. I'd love to see the contract that specifies how much money each gets paid for the funny noise produced when people get killed. And BTW I have to believe that "rolling over in his grave" doesn't even begin to describe how Gene Roddenberry would greet this news.
- I'll leave it to others to explore the obvious, but still extremely troubling observation that this is another milestone in the progress toward the gamification of warfare - or "war by wire" as I just decided to call it.
- There is a failure of creativity here. Come up with your own distinctive power-chord of hellfire, Boeing.