(Remember the people sniffer bombs deployed into trees along the Mekong Delta? One scent of uric acid and ammonia excreted from the human body, and booooom. Good Night, Charlie.)
You be the judge of these military experiment posted by Wired. And if there are any ingenious Wonderment weapons missing from the list, send me your bonafide all-stars and we will gladly feature them.
"Squirting jihadists with sticky foam may seem like a silly plan, but the Army did explore the option of using goo guns on enemy combatants, if only briefly. Since then, the government has awarded a contract to Adherent Technologies, a materials-research firm. That firm aims to develop an adhesive polymer that could stop vehicles in their tracks, without harming its occupants..."
"Toward the end of World War II, the Air Force was looking for a better way to burn Japanese cities to the ground. A dental surgeon contacted the White House, and suggested strapping small incendiary devices to bats, loading them into cages shaped like bombshells and dropping them over a wide area.
According to the plan, millions of bats would escape from the bombshells as they parachuted toward earth, and the flying mammals would find their way into the attics of barns and factories, where they would rest until the charges they were carrying exploded..."
"In the early 1990s, a Russian military officer allegedly trained several dolphins to attack enemy ships. He conducted tests to show that they could recognize different vessels by the sounds of their propellers. In theory, the mammals could be used to drag explosives up to enemy ships, while leaving friendly boats unharmed..."
"Navy researchers tried to develop a pill that would allow troops to see in the dark, or at least make out flashes of infrared that could be used to send secret messages. Some animals have pigments in their eyes that allow them to see those wavelengths, which are longer than visible light. But the human retina does not ordinarily produce those molecules.
To give human volunteers raccoon vision, researchers fed them a chemical similar to vitamin A, with the hope that it would turn into the night vision pigment..."
"Tests of the Active Denial System, a ray gun that shoots painful millimeter waves, have ranged from terrifying to laughable. The Air Force released a carefully censored report in 2007, after an airman was burned by an unusually strong beam. He was playing the role of an enemy scout during an exercise that was meant to evaluate the weapon, and got blasted at full power for four seconds..."
"Late last year, Darpa launched lightning cannons that could smite enemy bombs with crackling blasts of electricity. After a series of scandals, the company changed its name to Applied Energetics, and decided to repackage its questionable technology as a means of disabling vehicles or destroying improvised explosive devices..."
"The CIA amassed enough LSD During the Cold War to supply every jam band concert in the world for a dozen generations. An assortment of defense and intelligence agencies tested the acid on soldiers and civilians, and some researchers decided to try it on themselves.
In his memoirs, Army psychiatrist James Ketchum told the story of a colleague who used himself as a guinea pig. The researcher was wandering around in his underwear with a concave piece of glass taped to his arm. Under the glass was a mixture of LSD and ethylene glycol. He wanted to know if the psychedelic formula could penetrate the skin, and nonchalantly said that it wasn't working..."
"Terrorists disguised as plumbers kidnapped General James Dozier from his home in Verona, Italy, in 1981 and held him hostage in a secret location. During the first days of the situation, the Italian government would not agree to cooperate with an investigation or rescue effort.
Desperate to find Dozier, the military turned to psychics who were working as part of the Grill Flame program, an experiment in which psychics were rigorously evaluated and then asked to gather reliable intelligence information..."
"A few years ago, Todd Pedersen, an Air Force physicist, sat in the snow and watched as auroras — similar to the famous northern lights — began to glow above his base in the Alaska wilderness. But these luminous forms weren't created by nature. Pedersen had made them himself, with the help of an enormous array of antennas that can hurl several megawatts of radio waves into the upper atmosphere, creating brilliant light shows in the sky..."
"In the 1960s, the Army had more than two thousand guns meant for launching small nukes, each with a maximum range of only 2.5 miles. The Army lit one of those firecrackers in the Nevada desert during the summer of 1962 while Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy watched. It exploded only 1.7 miles from where it was launched, and was the last above-ground nuclear explosion conducted by the United States..."