The first step is admitting you have a problem

As Say Uncle points out:

Admitting you have a problem is the first step.

Kevin and Zendo Deb contribute their thoughts on this article too.

I’ve been pushing the similarities between the gay rights movement and the gun rights movement for some time now and trying to get some cross pollination (so to speak). I even have gotten some attention from the press for my efforts:

Gays take up self defense; Organization teaches safety, protection with handguns (Lewiston Morning Tribune)
Pink Pistols chapter begun in Moscow to protect gays (AP version of the above story)
Pistol-packing proponents of gun-owner tolerance (Seattle Times editorial)

I believe putting guns into the hands of lesbian, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals, etc. (LGBTs) is a very powerful meme. In addition to helping save lives that tend to be at higher risk (from “gay-bashing”) here’s what it does for us:

  • It helps fracture the alliance between anti-gun bigots and the Democrats (or between the LGBTs and the Democrats–whichever way you want to look at it)
  • It gets guns in the hands of more voters (and the LGBT community tends to be more politically active than the straight population) who are motivated to keep them and carry them
  • It helps fracture the stereotype of gun owners as being rednecked, racist, gay hating, KKK types

We need to encourage this alliance as much as possible. And the alliance we have now is a fragile one. It only takes one jerk to undo a lot of work and we need to police our own to maintain this alliance.

It’s nice to know I got his attention

The anti-gun bigot that runs the so-called Freedom State Alliance website paid my blog a visit today:

Host name:
Date: 1/31/2007
Time (UTC): 20:32:29
IP Address:
Page: /2006/10/26/Imitation+Is+The+Sincerest+Form+Of+Flattery.aspx
User agent: Mozilla/5.0+(Windows;+U;+Windows+NT+5.1;+en-US;+rv:

It’s nice to know he stops by every once in a while.

All grown up but still my baby

Our daughter Kim called me today. She was having a really rough day. She and her fiancée were having problem with the bank and problems with their van which caused cascading failures in other aspects her life. I could hear it in her voice before the first word was out of her mouth. I asked what was wrong and as she started explaining she started crying. A few seconds later I closed the door to my office and started crying with her.

She is 20 years old and hundreds of miles away and although I was able to help solve some of her problems more than anything I wanted to hold her on my lap and rock her just like she was two years old and had skinned a knee or had some other minor injury. I suppose those feelings will still be there when she is 40 and I’m in my 70’s.

I wonder who is sorry

Once I had all the log files organized and added the new ones I received from my web host I did a little more looking just for the fun of it. And right off the bat I found something that gave me the giggles. The main website investigator (probably Michael Sutherland) for PNNL used the machine “” as he or she committed their felony. My search in a friend’s 2005 log files resulted in this little gem:

Machine name: 
Date: 6/22/2005 
Time (UTC): 20:18:50 
IP Address:  
Referral URL:

This visit took place early on the afternoon of June 22, 2005 about two and half weeks after I was fired. The funny part is the search string they used: “joe huffman sorry”.

It’s a little bit ambiguous what they were looking for. Were they to see if I said something about being sorry for my contribution to what had happened? Or were they sending me a subtle message that they were sorry?

I was never sorry for anything I did. I wasn’t the one committing a felony. And if they were “sorry” that was a pretty sorry attempt at apologizing and it doesn’t cut it. I’ll believe they are sorry after they have spent a few months being rented out by the quarter hour to fellow inmates to the guy with the most cigarettes.

If it’s natural it’s got to be better

This book, even though I hate the title, addresses one of my hot buttons:

One of the great myths of alternative medicine and the health food industry is that natural things are better than artificial or synthetic things because natural is natural and Mother Nature wouldn’t want to hurt us. Wouldn’t she just? Plants and animals have had many millions of years to evolve ways of protecting themselves against predators and competitors for resources. Humans have had about 100,000 years of hunting and gathering to evolve natural resistance and about 10,000 years of agriculture to breed out the nastiness, and these times are just not long enough to make much difference. We are surrounded by plants and animals which can do us great harm if we are not careful about what we eat, and also by a myriad of fungi which delight in making safe foods unsafe.

People, with great pride, will say something to effect of “It’s all natural” as if that proves the goodness of something. To date my best response to this sort of idiot talk is, “Botulism is all natural too.” But, being idiots, they will insist that even natural poisons are good too because that is how you control insect pests or some such thing. They just don’t get it. If “all natural” poisons exist as well as “all natural” food/drink/shampoo/whatever then there must be a continuum. Hence by saying some food is “all natural” does give us any information about it’s fitness for consumption.

I would like to suggest they have a nice meal of raw mad-cow brains, marinated in a salmonella broth, with rhubarb greens on the side, and washed down with oleander tea. But I’d be afraid they would actually do it and the police would arrest me on some charge like “engaging in a battle of wits with an unarmed person”.

Put this in your ‘Big Box’

Every once in a while I read a dead tree newspaper.  Someone wrote a letter to the editors of the Moscow/Pullman Daily News this last weekend that could not go unanswered.  I wont bore you with its contents, but you’ll get a good idea of it by reading my response, submitted today to the same newspaper:

Dear Editors,

Regarding Mark Winstein’s letter entitled “Lets Not be a Big Box Town” printed in last weekend’s edition:  I will point out to your good and thoughtful readers that in Mr. Winstein’s opinion, the last people who should be making decisions about land use are the actual land owners, the last people who should decide what is and what is not a “sustainable approach to the economy” are those who have their own capital at risk in a given venture, and by rights, the very last people on Earth who should decide where to shop are the shoppers themselves.

Apparently, there is a new field of study at the U of I, known as “Helping Make the Economy More Reflective of Ecological Values”.  I might like to meet one of the Doctorate Professors in this new Helping Make the Economy More Reflective of Ecological Values Department.  However, between taking care of my family and minding my own business instead of advocating the use of force in minding other people’s business, it would be hard for me to justify the time.

Now I want to propose an entirely new concept– one that Winstein may not have ever considered:  Maybe we could advocate the protection of other people’s rights (even if we dislike them).  It might be interesting if people could make their own decisions in what I will call a “Free Society” (I might enjoy entertaining the Dean of a “Free Market Solutions to World Problems” College).  I understand that this is a new and terrifying proposal (for some) but it may be worth considering, given that if our neighbors have the Right to Choose, perchance it would follow that we too would be afforded the same right at some stage.

For anyone who’s been held captive in a North Korean prison camp for the last ten years:  “Big Box” means Wall Mart.

I’m going to be using the term, “Free Market Solutions” more often in the future, most especially because no one ever seems to think in those terms.  The Left, naturally, always views a free market as the problem rather than any sort of solution to anything, and naturally, they couldn’t be more wrong if they tried.

Does the law apply?

Vi Ry and Reason. A 80 year old man was shot and killed by undercover police after he told them to leave his property. He brandished a gun and they shot and killed him. Witnesses say the officers never told him they were undercover. What would the law do if it had been real drug dealers that had shot and killed him? Would they be prosecuted? Almost for certain. Assuming the witnesses are correct, what law says the police are held to a different and lower standard? Will they be held to the same standard as any other person that did the same thing?

Don’t count on it. The police are out of control and a good portion of the reason is because of the war on some recreational drugs. It’s time the legislature declared victory and gave it up.

Update: More info on the case (thanks to Steph for the link):

Police are now conceding that Singletary was completely innocent. The Jacksonville sheriff describes him in this article as an “honest citizen trying to do good.”

Which means that two undercover officers trespassed onto Singletary’s property. They then invited criminals onto his property to engage in criminal activity with them. Mr. Singletary, recognizing the trespassers as drug dealers, then properly demanded they leave. He brought a gun along to defend himself, not an unreasonable action, given the circumstances. For this, he was shot to death.

These police officers should be treated exactly the same as any other private citizen who shot to death a private citizen under similar circumstances. I.e. trespassing while engaging in a transaction involving illegal drugs. “The kings men” do not have special, unwritten privileges that places them above the law–both legal and moral law.

They make my head spin

This guy is totally incomprehensible to me:

Progressives can close this gun gap and make significant inroads with gun owners by staking out an aggressive position on guns that reflects both the majority view of gun owners and non-gun owners, and responsible policy positions to keep America safe.

This moderate view supports the Second Amendment, new laws like those designed to close the gun show loophole, and the strenuous enforcement of existing gun laws.

  • By a margin of 92-7%, voters support improving the background check system to make instant checks faster and more accurate (90-9% among gun owners). 
  • By a margin of 90-9%, voters support closing the gun show loophole (85-13% among gun owners, and 83-16% among those who have attended gun shows!).
  • By a margin of 77-21%, voters support renewing the assault weapons ban (66- 32% among gun owners).

Moreover, for every one of these proposed laws, voters overwhelmingly believe that a progressive can support each measure and still be a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.

If this is “strong support” for the 2nd Amendment I’d hate to see what opposition to the 2nd Amendment would be. Of course he doesn’t say actually say they are supporters of the 2nd Amendment. He just says voters will believe it.

It reminds me of the first “User Friendly” software came out in the late 80’s. The software vendors had a bunch of labels made up that said, “User Friendly!” and slapped them on all the boxes in the warehouses. The great majority of the people weren’t fooled then and we shouldn’t be fooled by this shyster either.

Update: I’ve been asked where the survey data is. What survey showed such numbers? I don’t know anything more about this particular survey that what is on the website I linked to. What I do know is that almost for certain the questions asked were carefully chosen to give the desired results. For more details on how this is done please see the, very technical and scientific, article Sorry, Wrong Number; Why Media Polls on Gun Control are so Often Unreliable (scroll down or do a search on the page).

Media spin on guns

The headline reads (from Canada so don’t get excited about this being in the U.S.), “Conservatives still looking at lifetime gun licence Despite college shooting”. You never read a headline or even something in the text along the order of “Socialists and facists still pushing gun control despite it’s failure to reduce crime every time it has been tried.” Just One Question you bigots. Just answer my one question and then tell me again why you want to take our guns.

Quote of the day–Lord Acton

Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.

Lord Acton
[PNNL has a problem with this. They have defied every Freedom of Information Act request I have made–in some cases blatantly lying say, “No such document exists.” when I created the documents and knew they must still exist. Someday someone will punish them for their illegal acts. When that happens I, and many others, will be there helping to make sure that punishment makes up for all the times they got away with it.–Joe] 

Quote of the day–William O. Douglas

Free speech is not to be regulated like diseased cattle and impure butter. The audience that hissed yesterday may applaud today, even for the same performance.

William O. Douglas
[A similar thing can be said of guns. The type of gun that was used for a terrible crime yesterday may be used to save many lives the next. The government that protects you one day may next year send you to the gulags–unless you and your kind own and know how to use guns.–Joe]

Quote of the day–Thomas Jefferson

Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them…

Thomas Jefferson
Letter to Van der Kemp
[Although Jefferson wasn’t referring to gun control it certainly applies. Keep that in mind when people in high crime rate areas with oppressive gun laws insist others in low crime rate areas enact more gun control with the claim such gun control will reduce the crime rates in the area of the first person. I’m thinking of a certain set of mayors here that should be laughed all the way back to some tiny closet in their respective offices ashamed to show their faces until they have been booted from office, dragged out to the street, and given a swift boot to send them on their way to the dustbin of history.–Joe]

Quote of the day–U.S. Department of Justice

…each Federal employee has a responsibility to the United States Government and its citizens to place loyalty to the Constitution, laws, and ethical principles above private gain. The public deserves and should expect no less.

U.S. Department of Justice
Departmental Ethics Office
Justice Management Division
[If they are required to have a loyalty to the Constitution then how do they get away with working for agencies such as the ATF that are enforcing blatantly unconstitutional laws? Oh, that’s right, the constitution and law doesn’t apply to them unless they want it to.–Joe]

This is what happens with victimless crimes

Via Say Uncle we get this bit of ATF humor. Here is a teaser:

It has come to our attention that an opposable thumb commonly located on a person’s hand can be used in conjunction with a semi-automatic firearm, when placed in a belt loop, can cause said semi-automatic firearm to fire at a higher rate of fire than we originally intended for it to be allowed to fire at.

What happened here was that once machine guns were heavily restricted the ATF had to define what a machine gun was. Human creative being what it is the freedom loving “gun nuts” kept coming up with inventions that bypassed the definitions the ATF came up with. Just recently the ATF went almost absurd in their definition and some smart-ass took it to the logical conclusion. I actually have some sympathy for the ATF in this case. They didn’t write the law they are just trying to make sense of it and give us definitions they can enforce to. It’s the bigoted politicians that are at fault. Even if all the existing ATF people people did the right thing (most of them should find legitimate jobs) there would be others more than willing to take their place. We need to destroy them at their root–the politicians that encourage them by giving them laws, money, and guns.

It’s fairly easy to define a crime when there is a victim. It can be done in terms of the actual injury. Was there more than $1000 of property stolen? Was the victim permanently injured? But try and define an “assault weapon” or a machine gun, prostitution, or recreational drugs (enumeration is possible but creative chemists come up with things not on the list) and they run into problems.

Laughter and humiliation may be the best weapon we have against these anti-gun bigoted politicians and their hired thugs. Let ’em have it with both barrels.

Quote of the day–Xenia Huffman-Scott

I’m not procrastinating, I still have 25 minutes.

Xenia Huffman-Scott
[Xenia was working on a Government worksheet before school that she thought was due the next period that had a question about Microsoft lawsuits. A friend of mine testified in one of the lawsuits and she was hoping I could give her a quick brain dump and she’d be, essentially, done. She was wrong. She had all of winter break to work on it and I told her to go do her own research as best she could with the available time. It turned out the assignment wasn’t due until the next day but it would have served her right if had been just 25 minutes and she wasted two of those minutes talking to me.–Joe]

A cure for the urge to smoke

There is one very well known guaranteed cure for smoking–death. However another one has just been discovered–brain injury:

Scientists studying stroke patients are reporting that an injury to a specific part of the brain, near the ear, can instantly and permanently break a smoking habit, effectively erasing the most stubborn of addictions. People with the injury who stopped smoking found that their bodies, as one man put it, “forgot the urge to smoke.”

This is great news. We may be able to find or create a drug or other means to “flip the switch” and help people from implementing the “universal cure”.

I find this very ironic–I always figured you must have had a dysfunctional brain to start smoking in the first place.

I think I see a pattern here

Search engines are a wonderful thing. I’m sure the felons at PNNL thought they were great and wonderful as they went searching for information on me (see for example the use of Google on this day).

But search engines are double edged swords. For example doing a Google search for Battelle fraud (Battelle is the contractor that manages Pacific Northwest National Laboratory–PNNL) yielded these pages (E835 and E836) in the Congressional Record:

  • Dr. Laul is a nuclear chemist and a nuclear engineer, with a Ph.D. from Purdue University. He spent 15 years at Hanford working on nuclear waste and environmental cleanup problems, analyzing whether that site was suitable for permanent storage of high-level nuclear waste.
  • Dr. Laul is also a whistleblower, and a friend of the taxpayers, who put his career on the line when he blew the whistle on fraud and mismanagement by Batelle, Inc., a DOE contractor. Five days after disclosing that Batelle inappropriately and illegally used equipment paid for by the Government, Batelle fired Dr. Laul, saying he had improperly disposed of a hazardous waste–a violation DOE later said Batelle used as an excuse to lay him off and silence him.
  • After losing his job, Dr. Laul brought a False Claims Act suit against Batelle and won, resulting in Batelle reimbursing DOE $330,000. Today I submit for the Record an article describing the case and reporting on Dr. Laul’s vindication, and thank him for the important and honest work he did on behalf of this country. Dr. Laul lost his job because he had the nerve to stand up for what was right.

You might say that’s all well and good for the taxpayers. But if you read further you might have cause to change your mind about that:

U.S. government investigators agreed that scientist Jagdish C. Laul was fired for turning in his managers for fraud.

A federal appeals court agreed Laul could sue the Hanford contractor for whom he worked for wrongful termination.

The government made the contractor, Battelle’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory pay back $330,000 for double-billing lab equipment–and even recommended Battelle managers be criminally prosecuted for fraud.

But who picked up the $750,000 tab for defending Battelle against Laul’s lawsuit?

U.S. taxpayers.

Laul’s case is the most recent example of a system that allows private nuclear contractors to rack up huge legal bills fighting whistleblowers–even when the contractor’s in the wrong.

Battelle settled with Laul in January to head off a federal jury trial in Spokane.

The cost of his case to taxpayers includes the $250,000 settlement paid to Laul; $400,000 in legal fees to Battelle’s outside law firm, Davis Wright Tremaine of Seattle; and about $100,000 in legal work and other Battelle costs to fight Laul.

If Laul had won at trial, taxpayers would have paid that bill, too. That’s because of a Cold War agreement in which the U.S. government promised to pay all legal costs of its nuclear weapons contractors when they agreed to run the government’s weapons plants.

The agreement, called indemnification, is still in effect today. It applies to Battelle, which works on Hanford cleanup and other government nuclear programs.

Isn’t that nice? Battelle paid $330,000 for the fraud which sounds like was the amount they had illegally charged the government to begin with. And the Federal government has to pay all the legal costs of Battelle’s defense. So… assuming Battelle decides to engage in some illegal activity to increase their bottom line the worst case scenario is that Battelle comes out even in the end because the Feds are required to pay the legal bills. Best case is they get away with it.

In my case the Feds will, assuming I win, pay Battelle’s legal bill and any settlement I get from them. Battelle is held financially harmless by the Federal government. Just so you know. Perhaps your congress critters would like to know that as well.

Continuing the search engine exploration… So what happens if we do a search for Battelle whistleblower? That was interesting… We end up with this story which with a little more searching results in this and digging a little deeper yielded this (UT-B means the partnership between the University of Tennessee and Battelle that manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory [ORNL]):

In my settlement, I made sure that DOE and UT-B explicitly agreed that I had won the case. There were two reasons for this. One was that I did not want UT-B to be able to claim that I “dropped the case” or any such thing. But the other was that back in 1995 at PNNL, following a settlement in which Battelle paid their fired former employee J. C. Laul a sizeable amount for a whistleblower case that Laul was very likely to win if it had played out to the last act (legally speaking), PNNL head and later ORNL head Madia characterized the payout as “a straightforward business decision with the best interest of the US taxpayer in mind”. But as a Government Accountability Project lawyer pointed out, Battelle spent over $400,000 of taxpayer money defending against Laul’s whistleblower action, plus the $330,000 it had to return to the government for the fraudulent action that Laul (accurately) reported. Madia stated that the message of the settlement was “Don’t sue us [Battelle]”, but of course the true message was “We will get away with whatever we can”.

So what our search engines report for us with just a little looking is that Battelle has a history of making stuff up and firing people. I was telling Barb this new information and she said, “You would think they would learn.” Well yes, but there wasn’t much to learn and it’s a different lesson than the one we want them to learn. They have learned they can commit criminal acts and the worst that will happen is they come out even in the end–guaranteed by the contract they have with the Federal government. There are more amazingly great terms in their contract that I’ll save for another day. I wouldn’t want you to burst a vessel from a blood pressure spike.

Here are some of the lessons being taught to Battelle. This is right after being dinged for the first fraud case I mentioned above:

Battelle is expecting to receive an “outstanding” rating for fiscal year 1999 from the Department of Energy for its performance in operating Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland.

The rating is to become final and be announced in late December.

Last year, Battelle also received an outstanding rating. Even though its 1998 score fell just barely shy of the number needed for the top rating, DOE awarded the outstanding rating because of Battelle’s strong efforts in key areas.

This year, Battelle expects to be well above the minimum score needed for an outstanding rating, based in part on the lab’s self-assessment, outgoing lab Director Bill Madia said Wednesday during a meeting with the Tri-City Herald editorial board.

The real problem here is that Battelle/PNNL has no incentive to be responsible for their actions. It’s like a child that gets in trouble at school and the parents intervene in such a way the child is totally protected from any punishment. There is no downside for their misbehavior–there is only upside. That’s one of the ways criminals are created. After sufficient criminal activity they eventually get caught and then they go to prison. Which is has been my end goal from the beginning in then case. The PNNL felons need to spend some time being rented out by the quarter hour to fellow inmates bidding the most cigarettes for a few years and perhaps then the behavior of their previous co-workers will improve.

The above is just the tip of the iceberg. Battelle has other “skeletons in it’s closet” that are most likely to come tumbling out soon. I don’t have enough details to really be comfortable in talking about it even if I was at liberty to discuss it. I have been assured that I will be among the first to know when the details become public.

I’ll keep you posted.

Update: A reader pointed out one of my links was broken. That is fixed now.

Also worthy of update is another source that is more readable and has the potential to be less biased is the actual ruling of the DOE in Westbrook’s case:

There is evidence in the record that suggests that the RIF sheets, which contained the objective information on which the termination selections were to be made, were not given serious attention, and were drawn up to favor a pre-selected individual. I have reviewed the criteria set out on the RIF sheets and find troubling inaccuracies and manipulation.

In my view, the Company’s use of this criterion [transferability of skills] to assess whether an employee is flexible enough to “satisfy” or “get along with” customers is so strained that it suggests a manipulation of the system to reach a predetermined result. …. That leads me to believe its use was an afterthought, one designed to downgrade Westbrook and target her for termination. As such, it detracts from Battelle’s position that the RIF was performed impartially with respect to Westbrook.

PNNL/Battelle has been served

I received an email from my lawyer today about my lawsuit against Pacific Northwest National Laboratory:

We do have service on Battelle. It was served on 1/22/07.

Whoo hooo!! Full speed ahead!

Of course that is in “legal time” rather than in “Internet time” like what I’m used to.

I also received a phone call yesterday from someone that heard about my case. They had lots of interesting information about other illegal activities Battelle has been involved with. He is sufficiently upset about it that he is taking it up with some government officials. I shared what I could with him. I’m not sure his information will be that useful to me but I hope to soon be posting some of it here or on my website. He claims some pretty egregious and illegal stuff.

It’s not too surprising I guess. I did have a guy at the lab tell me and another fairly new employee, “See this badge? This means the law doesn’t apply to us.” That same “fairly new employee” recently sent me email saying, “I can definitely atest to a pattern of illegal and unethical activities at the lab” and “I do think it is my obligation as a citizen to see justice prevail.”

The guy I received a phone call from had first called over two weeks ago. I put him in touch with “fairly new employee” and that contributed to the update yesterday about his plans to talk to the GAO, Congressional oversight committees, and the DOJ in the near future.

I have some hints that my previous plans to avoid getting former co-workers involved may not be possible. Now might be a good time for some of my friends that still work there to get new jobs (hint, hint). Things will be much more comfortable for them if they don’t have to worry about getting fired for reporting information that is embarrassing to Battelle after being deposed. Also I’ve been hearing rumors of business being a little tight for them right now. If certain government agencies become displeased with all the illegal activities Battelle has been engaged in then business could get much worse soon.

Some numbers in the PNNL case

I’ve been working for several days on the log files requested in the interrogatories for the PNNL lawsuit (no, I’m not converting them to EBCDIC although I gave it a few seconds of thought just for the amusement value). I only had a subset of the logs they wanted in a reasonably well organized manner. They wanted more than what I had organized, some of which I didn’t have, lots of logs weren’t in my preferred organization, many of the websites were hosted simultaneously on two different servers at the same time for a while, and the logs came from at least four different servers. It’s been a lot of work but I’m nearly done with that part of it.

I obtained more log files from my old web-hosting provider last night and although there will be a few tweaks to the numbers the following is pretty close:

  • Websites: ~30
  • Directories: ~170
  • Files: ~170,000
  • Size: ~6 Gbytes

I realize they asked for this mostly to cause me pain, almost for certain they won’t bother to do their own analysis, their own internal email and testimony will make this irrelevant, but I have been wanting to organize this stuff for several years anyway. I want to finish my web log analysis program (NoDooce) and this data set will be very useful for both development and testing. And besides, being the Aspergers type, I actually enjoy this type of work. I hope they find some expert witness to look at everything, pay him outrageous amounts of money, and he has as much fun as I have had with the data.

This is just the log files. There are also hundreds of pages of notes, documents I have obtained, and emails. I can’t wait to start digging into the stuff they have to supply to me.

Set your phaser to stun

It’s a little large to put it in your pocket or hip holster but you could mount it on your starship or even your Humvee:

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, GA. — The military calls its new weapon an “active denial system,” but that’s an understatement. It’s a ray gun that shoots a beam that makes people feel as if they are about to catch fire.

The technology is supposed to be harmless — a nonlethal way to get enemies to drop their weapons. Military officials say it could save the lives of civilians and service members in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan.

The weapon is not expected to go into production until at least 2010, but all branches of the military have expressed interest in it, officials said.

During the first media demonstration of the weapon Wednesday, airmen fired beams from a large dish antenna mounted atop a Humvee at people pretending to be rioters and acting out other scenarios that U.S. troops might encounter in war zones.

The device’s two-man crew located their targets through powerful lenses and fired beams from more than 500 yards away. That is nearly 17 times the range of existing nonlethal weapons, such as rubber bullets. Anyone hit by the beam immediately jumped out of its path because of the blast of heat. Though the 130-degree heat wasn’t painful, it was intense enough to make participants think their clothes were about to ignite.

The system uses electromagnetic millimeter waves, which can penetrate only 1/64 of an inch of skin, just enough to cause discomfort. By comparison, microwaves used in the common kitchen appliance penetrate several inches of flesh. The millimeter waves cannot go through walls, but they can penetrate most clothing, officials said. They refused to comment on whether the waves can go through glass.

Early in my career as an electrical engineer I worked with millimeter waves some. I’m sure it will go through most glass although it is possible to make glass it won’t penetrate. It is also trivial to make clothes that block it. That doesn’t mean it’s useless but it will cause adversaries to spend time and money to acquire and utilize the necessary protective equipment.

As it is currently shown it’s vulnerable to a well placed bullet. My advice is to armored that spot a little bit better before going to production with it. Otherwise a single agitator could disable it and enable a crowd to riot (whatever).