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Killer Drones, Nano-technology:
Turing Machines & Bankruptcy
|by Gaurang Bhatt, MD|
The US and Israel initially developed unmanned aerial vehicles for reconnaissance and photographic espionage. Earlier Nazi Germany had developed and used V2 rockets to bombard England. These were incendiary self-destructive devices. Israel with US support used drones to probe Syrian air defenses. The intruding drones led to Syria switching on its air defense radars to target the drones with its Russian surface to air missiles. The Israeli fighter jets, which closely followed the drones, fired their anti-radiation air to ground missiles like HARM to attack, destroy and neutralize the Syrian radars. This left the Syrian SAMs and ant-aircraft guns without radar guidance and thus blind and relatively ineffective. By these methods Israel achieved air superiority and was able to destroy Syria’s military assets on the ground.
An obvious next step was to arm the unmanned air vehicle or drone and give it the acronym UCAV, © for combat. Israel’s UAV Heron and UCAV Harop (Harpy) have been purchased and integrated by the Indian armed forces. Harpy morphs from a surveillance UAV into a self-destructive bomb and is unavailable for reuse. Israel and India are working on a reusable UCAV, which is what the US space shuttle was to space flight. The US had a series of UAV capable of high endurance (24 to 48 hours or more) reconnaissance vehicles like the Global Hawk which flew successfully from the US to Australia. It went on to develop the Reaper series and both of these together with blimps have been used in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for tactical advantage and to protect troops from ambush and improvised explosive devices. By arming the Reapers with a variety of missiles, they can be used to target and eliminate insurgents, training camps and other terrorist hideouts and facilities, with no risk to troop or of air personnel loss in areas, where air defenses have been eliminated or are absent and total air superiority has been achieved.
The Reaper is armed with HARM or anti-radiation missiles to destroy radar sites, but can have Paveway-2 laser guided bombs, AGM-114 air to ground Hellfire missiles, AIM Sidewinders, air to air Stinger missiles and even smaller deep penetrating bunker busters. In addition there are cameras, synthetic aperture radars and infra-red vision on it with ability to utilize GPS. This makes it such a versatile and useful tool in the US arsenal that it is one of the fastest and steepest rising cost item in the acquisition budget with UCAV numbers approaching thousands. There is an unmanned rotary wing project under way labeled Fire Scout. Countries with smaller defense budgets like India are seriously looking into converting their older relatively obsolete fixed and rotary wing aircraft like MiG-21, Cheetah and Alouette into unmanned combat air vehicles.
So the devoutly religious Indians decided to meditate and fast unto death until one or all their gods including the lesser and foreign ones were appeased enough to bestow their blessings on them. After 30 years the pantheon spontaneously appeared before the Defense Research & Development Organisation, who were doing the penance on behalf of and at the behest of the religiously obsessed, but ethically challenged and morally bankrupt nation, and proclaimed in divine chorus, “Ask and you shall receive”. The devout supplicant DRDO chorus asked for a nano-technology UCAV which was cheap and capable of self assembly (so no PSU would screw up the assembly). “Tathastu -so be it” said the pantheon and thus the gods of nature gave India the mosquito, as Rudyard Kipling would have written in his just so story.
You, my dear reader seem shocked and flabbergasted, so let me elaborate. The mosquito is about 16 millimeter in size and weighs 2.5 mg. It can fly non-stop for four hours and cover a range of 7.5 miles. It has a wide range of vision from its compound eyes and is undetectable by radar. It is so light and its mouth parts are honed so sharp that when it alights on its target sight the victim is unaware of its presence. Its ordnance would not be effective on the surface so its antenna penetrates the surface without the victim’s being aware and then delivers its lethal luggage underground, I mean under the skin. Isn’t that why the US uses used uranium points in our shells to penetrate enemy tanks so the explosion occurs inside the vehicle, killing the occupants? Isn’t that is why, we developed the bunker busters to knock out Iran’s underground enrichment centrifuges? Furthermore when the mosquito bites, its saliva releases chemicals which prevent clotting of blood, dilate the blood vessels. It suppresses TNF-alpha (tumor necrosis factor alpha which causes inflammation and recruits defensive white blood cells to combat foreign invaders), interleukin-2 and interferon-gamma (both for defense) and thus fulfills SED (suppression of enemy defenses).
The mosquito like the killer drone carries one of a plethora of ammunition ranging from malaria parasite, viruses for Dengue, Chickengunya, yellow fever, equine encephalitis, West Nile fever and others. It is tactically as smart as Saddam’s insurgents. They planted caches of ammunition at multiple places all around Iraq to give insurgents quick and easy access to ammunition for the making of improvised explosive devices. The mosquito sets up many different mobile depots of parasites or viruses in the victims, which it can access to replenish its lethal stores and pass them on to other pristine targets. And to top it all, the female mosquito does all this to have great sex. Not only were Indians overjoyed by this gift from their gods, but when the Pentagon heard about this they though that this new weapon was a must have and would have made Abu Ghraib such a lively place and deserving of the Lyndie England award, a new military honor.
On a serious note, bats use sonar to detect prey, air defenses use radar to detect attacking planes, what does the mosquito use to find its prey and what countermeasures can we use to fool mosquitoes? What follows is from the works of John R. Carlson, Allison E. Carey and others. They found sixty of the genes which code for olfactory receptors in the fruit fly. From another colleague they obtained a mutant fruit fly missing one odorant gene Or22a. They then inserted a single receptor gene into a defective neuron and connected it to an intracellular electrode and a loud speaker and exposed the receptor to different chemicals one at a time. If the chemical stimulated the receptor, the neuron fired and the speaker emitted a staccato of clicks rat-tat-tat–. With infinite painstaking work (one definition of a genius) they recorded the response of many types of receptors to many chemicals and found that it was the specific combination of different receptor responses to a single chemical which gave it an identifying pattern or signature.
With other collaborators they found 79 types of receptors in the olfactory neurons of A.gambiae, a mosquito carrying malaria. They then inserted 50 genes of the mosquito, one by one into the mutant fruit fly lacking odor receptors and tested 110 chemicals, getting 5500 odor receptor combination results which they analyzed. Several receptors which reacted strongly to only one single or a few compounds were probably the beacon for the mosquito’s quest for human blood. Those compounds which elicited a strong and selective (high sensitivity and specificity) response were components of human sweat. One chemical which produced a very strong response in one of the receptors was 4-methylphenol, which smells like used gym socks. Another was 1-octen-3-ol (see my article Deceit As Strategy) common in human and animal odor.
Lawrence J. Zweibel and colleagues have grown mosquito odorant receptor cells in petri dishes and implanted electrodes and exposed them to different chemicals while recording neuron firing. This is a quick way to find chemicals which bind to odor receptors (see my article on Competitive Inhibition & Allostery) and use them to confuse the mosquito and to use the chemicals to attract and thus, as Obama would say, disrupt, dismantle and defeat mosquitoes which kill two million people every year. When Obama heard how many persons, mainly children in Africa, mosquitoes kill every year, he was worried that America, under his leadership, in spite of being the greatest and the best, was unable to match the mosquitoes and vowed to be competitive and outdo George W. Bush, who had initiated programs like Africa Command, No Child Left Behind, Guantanamo, Rendition, Abu Ghraib, Iraq &Afghanistan wars, torture, trashing the Constitution and Civic rights. He vowed to attack more Muslim nations, suppress democracy in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Pakistan, UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Morocco, Algeria, Honduras, Haiti and everywhere else, until he was given the Nobel Peace Prize every year until eternity, even if he was labeled fiscally irresponsible and bankrupted the nation, as he did not want the Republicans to have the exclusive credit for destructive bad policies.
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