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When the Slugs Attack You Feel a Burning Sensation

Spencer Ackerman's description to CNN of the feeling of being hit in the body by the Defense Department's "Active Denial System," dubbed "the pain ray," may be the first instance of someone quoting classic gangster rap group Mobb Deep on a cable news...
March 16, 2012, 4:06pm

Spencer Ackerman’s description to CNN of the feeling of being hit in the body by the Defense Department’s “Active Denial System,” dubbed “the pain ray,” may be the first instance of someone quoting classic gangster rap group Mobb Deep on a cable news channel. Kristie Lu Stout doesn’t seem to know what hit her.

Note: the headline of the CNN story is “Bringing the Pain” – a nod to Method Man’s classic jam.

But poetic license aside, the “pain ray” – which was tested in Afghanistan in 2010 and then pulled from the country, only to be added to the exotic weapon cache of the LAPD – does not use “slugs.” To silently and invisibly blast targets with a burning, stinging sensation, the machine sends a blast of energy through a magnetic field and towards its target, generating millimeter waves. The resulting 12 joules of energy per square centimeter heat the water molecules under a person’s skin, reportedly without destroying tissue (the military has tried and failed to use it for another crucial Forward Operating Base need: cooking a turkey).

The technique could make the ADS a useful tool for, say, “non-violently” disbanding future Occupy protests – that is, if it didn’t take 16 hours to start up or need to be carted around on a truck with four axles. That makes it sound less befitting of Mobb Deep than Dr. Octagon.