A Dermabond Evening
Asim Khwaja: “The nice thing about computers is that they don’t go into shock."

Weaponizing Sound the Old Fashioned Way

photo of a US plane making a sonic boom from the NASA websiteFurther to the subject of sonic weapons, Noah Schachtman at Defensetech writes about how the Israeli military is blasting the old fashioned way: with sonic booms produced by jets: Israeli Jets in Gaza Soundclash (This is contrast to the newer, more, shall we say, energy efficient technique available: using sonic blasters, aka "Long Range Acoustic Devices.") Photo to the right: US plane producing a sonic boom; from the NASA website.

(I'm a Seattle girl so I remember when the Seattle economy went down the tubes with the cancellation of the SST; I remember that billboard on I-5 that read Will the last person out of Seattle please turn out the lights? Accidental sonic booms were not permissible over inhabited areas and so Boeing had a huge layoff. Surely the world shouldn't be expected to accept the idea that it's OK to boom some of the people some of the time on purpose?)

The BBC has an interesting article on the problem: Medics condemn Gaza sonic booms

Doctors' groups have filed a petition at the Israeli Supreme Court seeking to halt air force jets from breaking the sound barrier over the Gaza Strip.
The UN says the tactic is an abuse of human rights, causing widespread fear especially among children, and medics say it induces miscarriages.

The sonic booms from Israeli jets are designed to be a show of force to militant groups, correspondents say. . . .

The joint Israeli-Palestinian petition filed in the Supreme Court by the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel says that according to international law, "the booms are collective punishment against the civilian population and thus illegal."

In my previous post on sonic weapons, I argued that such use violates the UN Convention Against Torture.

(For more on sound used as a weapon, see Noah Schachtman and Xeni Jardin. UPDATE: And see Xeni today.)

11/6 UPDATE: Defeat pirates with sound!
11/7 UPDATE: See also Noah Schachtman's new post, Sonic Boom Redux.