Car Wars Internet Newsletter
Vol. 13, No. 2
February 15, 2010


Hello again autoduellists. Thanks to a persistent sinus infection two weeks ago this issue is being published later than planned.

Last week I was finally able to have high-speed cable Internet installed. Having an Internet connection at home that is faster than my one at work is a strange experience. Although I am using Comcast for cable Internet, I will continue to keep Seanet to provide my e-mail address and Web site space.

Ideas for Litko AeroSystems Token Sets

If you have not looked at Litko AeroSystems yet, the company has several tokens that would be useful for Car Wars and Formula D.

Litko AeroSystems - Token Sets

Mini Smoke Marker: Vehicle on Fire
Mini Flame Marker: Vehicle on Fire
Micro Smoke Marker: Vehicle on Fire
Flaming Wreckage: Wreck on Fire
Weather Effect Marker Set: Weather Conditions in Formula D (Formula De) and Really Nasty Motor Racing Game

Battle Metal: Street Riot Control

Team 6 Game Studio announced in November it is producing an automotive combat computer game called Battle Metal: Street Riot Control. The game will be intended for Europe. Information on releasing the game in the U.S. or other regions has not been released.

Team 6 Game Studio

First Screenshots From Battle Metal: Street Riot Control
Voodoo Extreme

Battle Metal: Street Riot Control
Gamers Hell

Battle Metal: Street Riot Control' Announced - Screens
Worth Playing

Battle Metal: street riot control PC video game

octaNe RPG

The printed version of the octaNe RPG by Memento Mori is now out of print. The game is available for purchase as an Adobe Acrobat file.

octaNe: premium uNleaded
Memento Mori Theatricks

octaNe: premium uNleaded
Drive Thru RPG

octaNe: premium uNleaded

Review of octaNe: premium uNleaded

octaNe RPG Review
Flames Rising

d20 Apocalypse

The d20 Apocalypse supplement by Wizards of the Coast is out of print. The salvage rules in the book are useful for Chassis and Crossbow campaigns using Car Wars or GURPS Autoduel. The cost of the book is literally reaching astronomical levels online.

Car Wars Articles from Pyramid

When Pyramid Magazine Third Edition was started last year, the Pyramid Archive was removed from the Internet. All of the Car Wars articles published in Pyramid Second Edition are now available again. A subscription to Pyramid Third Edition is not required to access these articles which include Uncle Albert's 2050 Catalog Update, a file previously available only to Pyramid subscribers. The URLs of these articles can be obtained from SWAT HQ.

SWAT HQ - Links to Links - Car Wars Articles in Pyramid Magazine

2010 WADA Car Wars League

Is anyone playing Car Wars besides talking about Car Wars? I have not received duel reports for this year's tournament. Please send me results of games.

Until next month, Drive Offensively!

Michael P. Owen


New Omaha Vehicular Association (NOVA)
Bellevue, Nebraska

Subject: NOVA's 25th Anniversary
Date: Sat, 06 Feb 2010 20:52:27 -0600
From: Nova-CW
To: Michael P. Owen (Seanet)

Hi, Michael. In April NOVA will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Any thoughts about this event? We'll be posting an article on the Web site in April about it.

Your friend,

Norman McMullen
NOVA President

DragonSlayers, Inc. (DSI)
Leeds, United Kingdom

Subject: Re: DragonSlayers Web Site: January 2010 Status
Date: Sat, 02 Jan 2010 00:45:23 +0000
From: David Hudson
To: Michael P. Owen (Seanet)

Hi, Michael. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

The DSI site was hosted by Compuserve, but they've closed pretty much everything down now.

Rather than set up a replacement Web site, I'm planning to put everything up on a group page I recently started on Facebook. We're almost ready to start our new season of Car Wars events - once we've had a play or two of Speed Rally and my new Formula D(e) tracks . . .

Best wishes for 2010,

David Hudson
DSI President


Atomic Highway: Post-Apocalyptic Roleplaying

Badass Gunslingers and Lethal Combat Cars 1

Badass Gunslingers and Lethal Combat Cars 2

octaNe: premium uNleaded
Memento Mori Theatricks

octaNe: premium uNleaded
Drive Thru RPG

octaNe: premium uNleaded

Review of octaNe: premium uNleaded

octaNe RPG Review
Flames Rising

Post-Apocalyptic Paper Miniatures Set



Axles and Alloys II: Dork Future

Subject: Axles and Alloys 2‏
From: Glenn Jupp
Sent: Sat 1/30/10 8:44 PM
To:  SWAT HQ: Michael P. Owen <owenmp AT>

Hello, Michael.

I've been out of the automotive combat circles for the last little while, but I still poke my nose in once in a while. I just learned that Owen Cooper has a new blog up, and new rules for Axles & Alloys 2.

Still driving offensively,
Glenn Jupp


Axles and Alloys II: Dork Future Blog

Yahoo! Groups

Yves's Gaming Corner - Axles and Alloys

Warlands Raiders by Dmitrys

Matt's Gaming Blog

Warlands: The Soundtrack

Radioactive Ape Designs

Roadwarriors: War on the Autobahn
Military Miniatures Magazine

GenCon 2008 Warlands Overview Video
Tabletop Gaming News

Car Wars Command Module
TI-99/4A Videogame House

Yahoo! Groups

Mechanical Mules
Yahoo! Groups

User Profile for Sederick

spark_ml: SPARK Mailing List
Yahoo! Groups

Aaron Allston's Game Credits
Aaron Allston's Official Web Site

1:64 Battle Machines Photo Gallery
Jada Toys

Civilian Gun Trucks in Iraq Photo Gallery

Gen Con 2009 Images
Fear the Boot Podcast

Groove Champion Biography
Bio and Lyrics

Shannon Appel's Index to Pyramid Magazine Issues 1-15

Interstate '76 (Video Game, 1997)
Internet Movie Database


More Warlands

Mik's Minis Blog
March 13, 2009

[Redline] Dyson ToeCutter, Wasteland Bandit

RPG Characters Blog
September 9, 2009

Interstate '76 Poems

Jeff Wofford's Blog
May 21, 2009

Axles and Alloys 2

Jim's Wargames Workbench
January 26, 2010

Car Wars: Matchbox/Hot Wheels Cars for Axles and Alloys 2

John's Wargames Minis Blog
January 31, 2010

Happy New Year: 2046

Garage Games Blogs
June 23, 2008


Car Wars-Hot Wheels-Stripping/Painting

RPGnet Forums
March 15, 2004

Car Wars 5e Vehicle Design

Steve Jackson Games Car Wars Discussion Forum
October 20, 2008

Car Wars Recap

RPGnet Forums
August 8, 2003

Comments for Car Wars Arena Book (1988)

February 14, 2010

Post-Apocalyptic Board Games?

The Wargamer Forums
February 13, 2008

Two Quick Games in the Double Barrel Arena

January 12, 2006

How would YOU make Car Wars into a video game?

Indiegamer Developer Discussion Boards
February 16, 2009

One Reason to play PnP D&D

Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited Forums
July 8, 2008

Sell me a ruleset for . . . Interstate '76

RPGnet Forums
January 29, 2006

Interstate '76 like setting

Alternate History Discussion Board
January 17, 2009

Axles and Alloys Dropped Weapons

The Miniatures Page
February 11, 2010

Car Wars 15mm Weapon Sprues (Matchbox Size)

RPGnet Forums
February 3, 2010

Car Wars 5e Vehicle Design System

Steve Jackson Games Car Wars Discussion Forum
October 20, 2008

Editor's Note: This URL was obtained from Google instead of the Steve Jackson Games Discussion Forums. This URL connects to posts not easily found when using the SJ Games Web site.


Interstate '76 and the Principle of Harmony
Designers Notebook

Roadwar 2000 Walkthrough
Car Battlers

Blood Car 2000
Armor Games

Five Classic Commodore 64 Games I Want Remade
Gaming Nexus

OMFG! I Got Interstate '76 to Run in WinXP!
Quarter to Three Forums

Fast Racer 2 and Crazy Max
Mike Kersey's Video Games

Rock N' Roll Racing

Rock N' Roll Racing

Upshift StrikeRacer
Atomic Gamer

Team 6 Game Studio

First Screenshots From Battle Metal: Street Riot Control
Voodoo Extreme

Battle Metal: Street Riot Control
Gamers Hell

Battle Metal: Street Riot Control' Announced - Screens
Worth Playing

Battle Metal: street riot control PC video game

Earache Extreme Metal Racing

Mad Cars
Realore Studios

Mad Cars


Deathride: Betrayal

Deathride: Betrayal ($0.99)

Touch Arcade Forums
November 6, 2009


Top 50 Famous Cars

Knight Rider 2010

Knight Rider 2010
Internet Movie Database

Review: Close the 'Book of Eli'

Mad Max Clothing
AbbyShot Clothiers


Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 Season 1 Volume 1


Interstate '76
Last FM

Last FM

Arion Salazar
Last FM

Warlands: The Soundtrack CD
CD Universe


Review: Steve Jackson Games Car Wars

Review: Steve Jackson Games Truck Stop

Deathride: Betrayal Preview

The Retro Job: Death Rally


Millionaire Hit With $290,000 Swiss Speeding Ticket,2933,582394,00.html

Fox News
January 7, 2010

St. Gallen, Switzerland -- A Swiss court has slapped a wealthy speeder with a chalet-sized fine -- a full $290,000.

Judges at the cantonal court in St. Gallen, in eastern Switzerland, based the record-breaking fine on the speeder's estimated wealth of over $20 million.

A statement on the court's Web site says the driver — a repeat offender — drove up to 35 miles an hour faster than the 50-mile-an-hour limit.

Court clerk Heidi Baumann-Becker said Thursday the unidentified driver can appeal the decision, handed down in November, to the Swiss supreme court.

The Blick daily newspaper in Zurich reported the fine was more than twice the previous Swiss record of about $107,000.

Spray-On Liquid Glass

February 2, 2010

bLanark writes with news of a new substance that can be sprayed on for a durable, easy-to-clean film on almost any substance, hard or soft. The liquid glass is essentially pure silicon dioxide, and it goes on in a layer 15 to 30 atoms thick. It is breathable and flexible, but waterproof and resistant to bacterial growth. The patent is held by a German company, Nanopool, which is in discussion with many parties about a wide range of uses: keeping public spaces sanitary, keeping restaurants clean, and keeping cars or trains clean. "The spray forms a water-resistant layer, meaning it can be cleaned using only water. Trials by food-processing companies showed that sterile surfaces covered with a film of liquid glass were equally clean after a rinse with hot water as after their usual treatment with strong bleach."

Liquid glass: the spray-on scientific revelation

Liquid glass, a revolutionary invisible non-toxic spray that protects against everything from bacteria to UV radiation, could soon be used on a vast range of products.
Nick Collins
The Telegraph
February 1, 2010

The spray, which is harmless to the environment, can be used to protect against disease, guard vineyards against fungal threats and coat the nose cones of high-speed trains, it has been claimed.

The versatile spray, which forms an easy-clean coating one millionth of a millimetre thick -- 500 times thinner than a human hair -- can be applied to virtually any surface to protect it against water, dirt, bacteria, heat and UV radiation.

It is hoped that liquid glass, a compound of almost pure silicon dioxide, could soon replace a variety of cleaning products which are harmful to the environment, leaving our world coated in an invisible, wipe-clean sheen.

The spray forms a water-resistant layer, meaning it can be cleaned using only water. Trials by food-processing companies showed that sterile surfaces covered with a film of liquid glass were equally clean after a rinse with hot water as after their usual treatment with strong bleach.

The patent for the technology is owned by a German company, Nanopool, which is in discussions with UK companies and the NHS about the use of liquid glass for a wide range of purposes.

Several organisations are said to be testing the product, including a train company in Britain, which is using liquid glass on both the interior and exterior of the train, a luxury hotel chain, a designer clothing company and a German branch of a hamburger chain.

Key to the product's versatility is the fact it can be sold in a solution of either alcohol or water, depending on what surface needs to be coated. The layer formed by the liquid glass is said to be flexible and breathable.

Neil McClelland, Nanopool's UK project manager, told The Independent: "Very soon almost every product you purchase will be protected with a highly durable, easy-to-clean coating ... the concept of spray-on glass is mind-boggling."

East Bay custom automobiles made mad to the max

Oakland Tribune and BNET
November 27, 2006

Airborne laser shoots down missile in test, Pentagon says

W.J. Hennigan
Los Angeles Times and The Seattle Times
February 12, 2010

Los Angeles, California -- A flying Boeing 747 equipped with a massive laser gun shot down a Scud-like missile over the Pacific late Thursday, marking what analysts said was a major milestone in the development of the nation's missile-defense system.

The test shoot-down over a military test range near Point Mugu is expected to renew debate over spending billions of dollars for a system that seemed so far behind schedule that the Pentagon decided to significantly curtail its budget last year. The test, which Pentagon officials described as a success, could be a major boon to Southern California, where much of the high-tech system has been developed and tested.

"Proving this technology is game-changing," said Loren Thompson, a military-policy analyst for the Lexington Institute, a think tank in Arlington, Va. "The program's funding has been hanging on by a thread. A successful shoot-down of a ballistic missile will demonstrate to Capitol Hill that the airborne laser has potential."

The airborne laser is designed to defend against ballistic missiles by shooting them down while they are in the boost stage, or when they are lifting off.

During the experiment, a 747-400F took off from Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert. The laser, affixed to the 747 and powered by chemicals loaded into the aircraft, shot a superheated, basketball-size beam that traveled at 670 million mph to incinerate a missile that was moving at 4,000 mph, Pentagon officials said.

It took just a few seconds for the beam to create a stress fracture in the missile, triggering it to split into pieces.

Although Boeing is the prime contractor for the Airborne Laser Test Bed, much of the laser development work has been done by Northrop Grumman engineers in Redondo Beach, Calif. Lockheed Martin developed the beam and fire-control system. Boeing provided the aircraft, the battle-management system and overall systems integration and testing. Modification and testing of the aircraft have taken place at Edwards Air Force Base, home to many aviation firsts.

Obama's Got a New Caddy, Backed by a Mini Gun Equipped GMC Yukon

AutoAnything Blog
January 8, 2009

You might have heard about the new presidential whip that Cadillac is making for Obama. It’s basically a stretched Cadillac DTS adorned with a variety of Caddy parts; Escalade headlights in the front and STS tails to bring up the rear. Ultra thick doors constructed from steel plating is estimated to be up to 8″ thick. It’s basically a tank with windows…windows made of 5″+ thick bullet proof glass. It’s been speculated that the chassis isn’t even taken from a Cadillac, but rather a medium duty truck. Bystanders have commented on the engine note, saying that it sounds like there’s a diesel under the hood. Sporting the latest technologies and the most comfortable interior ever offered to the POTUS, the Cadillac One promises to be a big step forward for the safety and comfort of our President.

If that isn’t enough to protect our future presidents, here's a video of his backup crew in action . . . I pitty the fool who messes with Obama!

Editor's Note: YouTube has removed the video from its Web site because of Terms of Service violations.

Porsche Unveils 911 Hybrid With Flywheel Booster

February 12, 2010

MikeChino writes "Porsche has just unveiled its 911 GT3 R Hybrid, a 480 horsepower track vehicle ready to rock the 24-hour Nurburgring race this May. Porsche's latest supercar will use the same 911 production platform available to consumers today, with a few race-ready features including front-wheel hybrid drive and an innovative flywheel system that stores kinetic energy from braking and then uses it to provide a 160 horsepower burst of speed. The setup is sure to offer an advantage when powering out of turns and passing by other racers."

Porsche Unveils 911 Hybrid With Flywheel Speed Booster

Mike Chino
February 12, 2010

Green racing fans rejoice! Porsche  has just unveiled its 911 GT3 R Hybrid, a 480 horsepower track vehicle ready to rock the 24-hour Nurburgring race this May. Porsche’s latest supercar will use the same 911 production platform available to consumers today, with a few race-ready features including front-wheel hybrid drive and an innovative flywheel  system that stores kinetic energy from braking and then uses it to provide a 160 horsepower burst of speed.

Set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show this March, Porsche’s 911 GT3 R Hybrid will be supercharged for LeMans-style endurance racing. The vehicle features two electric motors that power the front wheels in addition to a 480hp gas engine that drives the rear wheels. The hybrid system stands to offer significant fuel savings, reducing the need for pit stops and cutting down on the vehicle’s weight.

Rather than relying upon heavy lithium-ion batteries, the high-performance vehicle has a flywheel generator mounted in its passenger seat that can spin at up to 40,000 rpm. This generator stores energy each time the vehicle brakes, and then for 6-8 seconds afterward the driver can release a 160hp boost by tapping a button on the steering wheel. The setup is sure to offer an advantage when powering out of turns and passing other racers.

Porsche is developing the vehicle as a "racing lab" to try out new technology, so there's no plans for street legal production as of yet. Rather, "The intent is to provide hands-on know-how for the subsequent use of hybrid technology in road-going sports cars."

Directed Energy Weapon Downs Mosquitos

February 12, 2010

wisebabo writes "Nathan Myhrvol demonstrated at TED a laser, built from parts scrounged from eBay, capable of shooting down not one but 50 to 100 mosquitos a second. The system is 'so precise that it can specify the species, and even the gender, of the mosquito being targeted.' Currently, for the sake of efficiency, it leaves the males alone because only females are bloodsuckers. Best of all the system could cost as little as $50. Maybe that's too expensive for use in preventing malaria in Africa but I'd buy one in a second!" We ran a story about this last year. It looks like the company has added a bit more polish, and burning mosquito footage to their marketing.

Using Lasers to Zap Mosquitoes

At the annual TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., Nathan Myhrvold presented a laser, built using common consumer electronic parts, that shoots down mosquitoes.

Jennifer Lee
The New York Times
February 12, 2010

Can consumer electronics be used to combat malaria?

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft’s former chief technology officer, thinks so. His company, Intellectual Ventures, has assembled commonly available technology — parts used in printers, digital cameras and projectors — to make rapid lasers to shoot down mosquitoes in mid-flight. If bed nets are the low-tech solution to combat the deadly disease — caused by a parasite transmitted when certain mosquitoes bite people — the laser is a high-tech one.

He gave the first public demonstration of the laser, which was cobbled together from parts found on eBay, at the annual TED conference in Long Beach, Calif., which features lectures and demonstrations by experts in a wide range of fields, including technology, politics and entertainment.

After hundreds of mosquitoes (which were kept in the hotel bathroom until showtime) were released into a glass tank, a laser tracked their movements and slowly shot them down, leaving their carcasses scattered on the bottom of the tank. While the demonstration was slowed down for public viewing, Mr. Myhrvold said that normally the lasers could shoot down anywhere between 50 to 100 mosquitoes per second.

Mr. Myhrvold played a slow-motion recorded video that showed what happened to a representative mosquito. As the insect flew, a sudden light beam struck it, disintegrating parts of its body into a plume of smoke. It fell, even as its wings continued to beat.

Mr. Myhrvold said the software detects the speed and size of the image before deciding whether to shoot. It would reject a butterfly or a human, for example, and more powerful laser blasts could be used for locusts. In regions afflicted by malaria, the lasers could be used to create protective fences around clinics, homes, or even agricultural fields as a substitute for pesticides.

The idea was born from a 2008 brainstorming session held on strategies for killing malaria-bearing mosquitoes, a particular interest of Mr. Myhrvold’s friend and former boss, Bill Gates, who has made the illness one of priorities of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (to the point that Mr. Gates released mosquitoes into the audience at last year’s conference).

The idea of lasers -- a miniature “Star Wars” weapons system -- was thrown into the mix. “Everyone was like, ‘C’mon, be serious,’” Mr. Myhrvold said in an interview after the demonstration. After doing a little bit of research, he said, his team concluded that “this is feasible. We can actually do it. So we did.”

The breakthrough relied on understanding how the technology that guides the precision of laser printing could be combined with the image-detecting charge-coupled devices, or C.C.D.’s, used in digital cameras and powerful image processing software. Mr. Myhrvold said he thinks there is particular potential in the Blu-ray laser technology, because blue lasers are more powerful than red ones and there are a lot of them being made cheaply now.

He estimates that the devices could potentially cost as little $50, depending on the volume of demand. However, his company would not manufacture them. Rather, it built the technology mostly as a proof of concept. (Among other things, his company is also working on cooking technology.) Other companies would have to take the laser technologies to market, so the timeline for seeing the lasers in common use is uncertain.

The laser detection is so precise that it can specify the species, and even the gender, of the mosquito being targeted. “The women are bigger. They beat at a lower frequencies,” Mr. Myhrvold said. Since it is only the female mosquitoes who bite humans, for the sake of efficiency, his system would leave the males alone.

New Laser System Targets Mosquitoes

March 16, 2009

An anonymous reader writes "In the Cold War the so-called 'Star Wars defense system' proposed using lasers to destroy incoming Soviet missiles. In a 2007 brainstorming session aimed at combating malaria, Dr. Lowell Wood, the architect of that system, proposed modifying his original idea to kill mosquitoes. The cover of today's Wall Street Journal contains an article that highlights this initiative as well as a few others, like using a giant flashlight to disrupt mosquitoes' vision and using the insects to vaccinate, in the war against malaria. The system is intelligent enough to avoid noncombatants like humans and butterflies and can even tell the difference between females, the blood-drinkers, and males. My favorite quote: 'We'd be delighted if we destabilize the human-mosquito balance of power.'"

Rocket Scientists Shoot Down Mosquitoes With Lasers

Humans, Butterflies Remain Unharmed; The 'Star Wars' Connection

Robert A. Guth
The Wall Street Journal
March 14, 2009

Bellevue, Washington State -- A quarter-century ago, American rocket scientists proposed the "Star Wars" defense system to knock Soviet missiles from the skies with laser beams. Some of the same scientists are now aiming their lasers at another airborne threat: the mosquito.

In a lab in this Seattle suburb, researchers in long white coats recently stood watching a small glass box of bugs. Every few seconds, a contraption 100 feet away shot a beam that hit the buzzing mosquitoes, one by one, with a spot of red light.

The insects survived this particular test, which used a non-lethal laser. But if these researchers have their way, the Cold War missile-defense strategy will be reborn as a WMD: Weapon of Mosquito Destruction.

"We'd be delighted if we destabilize the human-mosquito balance of power," says Jordin Kare, an astrophysicist who once worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the birthplace of some of the deadliest weapons known to man. More recently he worked on the mosquito laser, built from parts bought on eBay.

The scientists' actual target is malaria, which is caused by a parasite transmitted when certain mosquitoes bite people. Ended in the U.S. decades ago, malaria remains a major global public-health threat, killing about 1 million people annually.

Efforts to eradicate the disease languished for years until recently.

Big-money donors like Bill Gates, the United Nations, the U.K. and non-profit such as Malaria No More re-launched the war on malaria, devoting billions of dollars to vaccines, methods of prevention and novel ways to kill mosquitoes.

"You can say we are very lucky -- the right place at the right time," says astrophysicist Szabolcs Márka, a Columbia University specialist in black holes. He has a grant to develop a "mosquito flashlight" designed to knock out the bugs' eye-like sensors.

Scientists around the world are testing ways of thwarting mosquitoes with microwaves, rancid odors, poisoned blood and other weapons that disrupt the sense of sight, smell and heat mosquitoes use to find their prey.

There's work on genetically altering a bacterium to infect and kill a mosquito, and a project to build a malaria-free mosquito genetically enhanced to overtake the natural kind.

There's also a researcher in Japan who thinks mosquitoes can be a force for good. He is working on transforming them into "flying syringes" that deliver vaccines with every bite.

The mosquito laser is the brainchild of Lowell Wood, an astrophysicist who worked with Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb and architect of the original plan to use lasers to shield America from the rain of Soviet nuclear arms.

President Ronald Reagan embraced the idea in the 1980s, dubbing it the Strategic Defense Initiative.

Senator Edward Kennedy mocked it as "Star Wars." Eventually it became a footnote in history.

Its rebirth as a bug killer came thanks to Nathan Myhrvold, a former Microsoft Corp. executive who now runs Intellectual Ventures LLC., a company that collects patents and funds inventions. His old boss, Mr. Gates, had asked him to explore new ways of combating malaria. At a brainstorming session in 2007, Dr. Wood, the Star Wars architect, suggested using lasers on mosquitoes.

Soon Dr. Wood, Dr. Kare and another Star Wars scientist teamed with an entomologist with a Ph.D in mosquito behavior and other experts. They killed their first mosquito with a hand-held laser in early 2008.

"We like to think back then we made some contribution to the ending of the Cold War" with the Star Wars program, Dr. Kare says. "Now we're just trying to make a dent in a war that's actually gone on a lot longer and claimed a lot more lives."

The scientists envision their technology might one day be used to draw a laser barrier around a house or village that could kill or blind the bugs. Or, laser-equipped drone aircraft could track bugs by radar, sweeping the sky with death-dealing photons.

They now face one big challenge: deciding how strong to make the weapon. The laser has to be weak enough to not harm humans and smart enough to avoid hitting useful bugs. "You could kill billions of mosquitoes a night, and you could do so without harming butterflies," says Mr. Myhrvold.

Demonstrating the technology recently, Dr. Kare, Mr. Myhrvold and other researchers stood below a small shelf mounted on the wall about 10 feet off the ground. On the shelf were five Maglite flashlights, a zoom lens from a 35mm camera, and the laser itself -- a little black box with an assortment of small lenses and mirrors. On the floor below sat a Dell personal computer that is the laser's brain.

The glass box of mosquitoes across the room is an old 10-gallon fish tank. Each time a beam strikes a bug, the computer makes a gunshot sound to signal a direct hit.

To locate individual mosquitoes, light from the flashlights hits the tank across the room, creating tiny mosquito silhouettes on reflective material behind it. The zoom lens picks up the shadows and feeds the data to the computer, which controls the laser and fires it at the bug.

In a video, researchers showed what happens when they deploy deadly rays.

A mosquito hovers into view. Suddenly, it bursts into flame. A thin plume of smoke rises as the mosquito falls. At the bottom of the screen, the carcass smolders.

There's ready supply of fresh recruits nearby, where an intern feeds a saucer of goat blood to a colony of Anopheles stephensi, one species of mosquito that transmits malaria.

Not only can the laser target a mosquito, it can also tell a male from a female based on wing-beat.

That's a crucial distinction, since only females feed on blood and thus transmit disease. Males in the wild eat sugary plant nectar. (In the lab they get raisins.)

"If you really were a purist, you could only kill the females, not the males," Mr. Myhrvold says. But since they're mosquitoes, he says, he'll probably "just slay them all."

Write to Robert A. Guth at

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A1

Snow tank blows away pass closure times

KOMO TV 4 Seattle
February 15, 2010

If you go to Snoqualmie Pass, you'll find an old M-60 tank at the top of the mountain. It's the Washington State Department of Transportation's new weapon to help take care of avalanche control. Unlike the recoiless rifle they have used to fire into loose snow packs in the past, the tank is faster to reload. So far they haven't had to use it this year, but there's also one at Stevens Pass that's been used for avalanche control for years.


Console Game Review: Hot Wheels Battle Force 5

Common Sense Media
January 2010

Citi's Institutional Investors Will Have To Sell

Business Insider
November 21, 2008

Jackal vs. The Jackal

Tsr's NES Archive
January 25, 2005