It’s a pain ray AND a crop yield increaser!

So, you know that microwave ‘pain ray’ thing that Raytheon invented, and that journalists keep insisting on trying out for some bizarre reason*?  It turns out that using microwaves to heat an area can be used… to heat an area.  Specifically, an area filled with crops that need to be protected from sudden frosts.

Tempwave sits atop a 25 feet pole and is powered by the grid. When its sensors detect weather conditions that may result in frost, its low-level microwave delivers energy directly to the crop without wasting energy on heating the intervening air. As long as the Tempwave system has enough power delivered to it, frost protection is guaranteed.

(Via Fark Geek) The article uses grapes as an example, but oranges and other citrus crops are also vulnerable to sudden frosts, too; these gadgets could expand the range of some fairly profitable agricultural products.  Plus, of course, you can still use them to disperse blackshirt anarchists, assuming they start spreading out from their natural habitat (pretentious urban enclaves).  Which they probably won’t; the poor things are a bit of an evolutionary dead end…

Moe Lane

*Seriously, what is up with that?  Every time the story comes up, the result is the same: a reporter goes ‘Ow’ and runs in the other direction from the pain ray (which is, of course, what sensible people do when hit with a pain ray).  I understand that you want to make sure that the device works, but here’s the thing: the device works.  You don’t have to keep bathing in the microwaves every six months or so, just in case the laws of physics have changed or something.

Maybe it’s an initiation thing: you aren’t really on the military reporting beat until you’ve done the Pain Ray.  Hrm.  That would make it a bit more justifiable, actually: associations should be allowed a little leeway on their tribal rituals.


  • matt says:

    Journalists are a silly breed, just look at the number that have been shot with a Taser for a story.

    • Moe_Lane says:

      Precisely, Matt: what the heck is up with *that*? Do they think that getting shot with a Taser has somehow magically started sucking *less* in the last six months?

  • Cameron says:

    Actually, the people who are using the Tasers don’t like reporters, so they assure them that this is the more gentle version that won’t hurt as much. Works almost every time.

  • Michael N. says:

    Stories are assigned by editors, who (in the fine tradition of supervisors everywhere) do not always hold their subordinates in the highest regard. Come, let us speak truth with one another — if you could have ordered some of your direct reports to get hit with a pain ray, you’d have been filing stories like that every couple of months (if not even MORE frequently), just to make sure that everyone who deserved it got that experience.

    If the Army comes out with a “rigid sigmoidoscopy” ray sometime, there will be just as many reporters getting hit with it, I guarantee.

  • Michael N. says:

    It’s the “rigid” part that should really inspire wincing. I’ve heard it described as “Why don’t you use the Chrysler Building, it would be smaller!”

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