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…
*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.