Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Douglas Adams invented a point of view gun for the film of A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It caused your target to see the world from your perspective and it was the only funny thing in that dreadful movie. Now, it seems, we have a non-lethal weapon that gives you an overwhelming urge to say goodbye. Known as the Active Denial System, it is a beam that causes agonising burning pain accompanied by, unsurprisingly a sudden desire to run away or, as it were, say goodbye. I think I was being used as a test subject at a dinner last night. The curious thing about non-lethal weapons is they have to undergo extensive safety tests; your victim, after all, might sue. They can also produce amusingly unexpected results - 'Tasers can become dangerous if they are used on subjects who have previously been doused with flammable pepper spray.' (And, they might add, subsequently hit by a plastic bullet while being deafened by a rape alarm.) In the case of the Goodbye Gun, testing seems to have been one long comedy routine with subjects being given vodka to see if it helped them endure the pain. The good news is that wrapping yourself in layers of tinfoil like a turkey would provide some protection. All of which made me nostalgic for good, old-fashioned weapons like nukes, which, it seems, Tony Blair, sentimental old fool that he is, has decided to keep.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 8:03 am