Posts tagged bombs
Posts tagged bombs
File this under: Unsafe Handling.
We were going through folders tonight looking for a set of pix for a story in works, and tripped over this memory, of a Syrian friend who had stepped away from the car for a few minutes and came walking back with a pair of unexploded submunitions he had found in a ditch.
No matter how emphatically we asked him to put them down, he just kept walking around with them. Finally, slightly amused, he heaved back and threw them, baseball-style, one by one, toward those shrubs you can see over his right shoulder.
This is a too-common behavior in Syria.
Never handle unexploded ordnance. Leave it alone, mark the area near it, warn others of its presence and notify the authorities, an NGO or a professional who can evaluate next steps.
Produced by MAG (Mines Advisory Group) in conjunction with the UN Mine Action Service, UNICEF and other Mine Action implementing agencies, the film is currently being played in refugee camps in Iraq, with plans to target other conflict-affected Syrians through broadcast on media outlets in the region.
"UXO" is short for "unexploded ordnance" — explosive weapons such as bombs, rockets, missiles, mortars and grenades that did not explode when they were used, and that still pose a risk of detonation.
The SiN-VAPOR sensor is placed in a device to identify chemical compounds.
(Photo: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory/Jamie Hartman)
Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, are homemade bombs that can both injure and kill civilians and service members. For the Department of Defense, one solution to the problem of IEDs is to find them before they explode by detecting the chemicals used in the explosives. Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have developed a technology, using silicon to fabricate a sensor that may revolutionize the way trace chemical detection is conducted.
The sensor, called Silicon Nanowires in a Vertical Array with a Porous Electrode, or SiN-VAPOR, is a small, portable, lightweight, low power, low overhead sensor that NRL researchers hope can be distributed to warfighters in the field and to security personnel at airports across the globe.
SiN-VAPOR is an example of nanotechnology. “Nanoscale is 1x10-9 meters,” explains Dr. Christopher Field, the NRL scientist leading this research. “So, let’s assume that the diameter of a human hair is 100 microns. If you can take the diameter of a human hair, cut it, and look at the cross section area. We can fit a million of our nanowires in the cross section area of a single human hair.”
The most interesting man in the world helps MAG.
Government operations against rebels continue, despite peace talks.
Some 21,155 bombs have been planted on roads, bridges and in schools in Colombia this year, it’s reported.
And they’re just the ones its army has found. The figures - contained in a summary of the country’s military operations - showed how “thousands of lives were put at risk” by rebel groups, according to the Cali-based El Pais newspaper. It said the military seized 509 assault weapons, 474 revolvers and 391 pistols, as well as decommissioning 172 mortars and 23 rocket-propelled grenades.
The Children Experiment
The Children Experiment (9:45) is a short documentary investigation in which replicas of cluster bomblets are placed in Virginia playgrounds as surveillance cameras secretly record the reaction of local children. Around the world, children are tragically attracted to these kinds of small, unexploded bombs — do American children possess the same impulse?
Employing a mix of interventionist art, ethnography, and reportage, The Children Experiment explores the relationship between cluster bombs, children, and western complicity with immoral weaponry. While the U.S. traditionally produces and sells the bulk of the world’s cluster munitions weapons that result in alarmingly high casualty rates for children and other civilians — few Americans know or care. Would this be the case if it were American children at risk?
RAINY SEASON is an intimate story about a family’s unexpected change of fate, set in the larger context of post-war Vietnam. A rubber tree-farming family in central Vietnam comes to grips with life after their youngest son finds a leftover American mortar while searching for grasshoppers. With unprecedented access and shot over five years, RAINY SEASON captures the land’s sumptuous beauty and reveals the far-reaching sorrow that it harbors.
A Sandia engineer who trained U.S. soldiers to avoid improvised explosive devices (IEDs) has developed a fertilizer that helps plants grow but can’t detonate a bomb. It’s an alternative to ammonium nitrate, an agricultural staple that is also the raw ingredient in most of the IEDs in Afghanistan.
Sandia has decided not to patent or license the formula, but to make it freely available in hopes of saving lives.
Ammonium nitrate fertilizer is illegal in Afghanistan but legal in neighboring Pakistan, where a quarter of the gross domestic product and half the workforce depend on agriculture. When mixed with a fuel such as diesel, ammonium nitrate is highly explosive. It was used in about 65 percent of the 16,300 homemade bombs in Afghanistan in 2012, according to government reports. There were 9,300 IED events in the country in 2009.
Did NATO Kill These Afghans With Air-Burst Ordnance?
Alissa Rubin (@alissanyt) examines the deaths of at least 17 women and children in Kunar Province; their bodies were discovered after a vicious firefight on April 5 and 6 in which a CIA officer was killed and his unit pinned down and nearly overrun. A glimpse at a failed joint CIA-Afghan operation, which went “catastrophically awry,” ending in blood, recrimination and sorrow.
NATO’s rules for airstrikes allow Western and Afghan forces to call for ordnance with air-burst fuzes, which convert a standard air-delivered bomb (a weapon that with guidance systems and delayed fuzing can be extraordinarily precise and reasonably discriminate) into a much more dangerous and often indiscriminate means of killing. But these weapons are almost never the first choice. They are typically used when a ground unit is desperate and wants many targets hit or suppressed at once. The downside is that ordnance configured in such fashion carries grave risks to any friendly units or civilian lives and property nearby.
To clear up the many lingering questions, NATO might release all of the weapons systems video from the airstrikes in this fight, and might explain which fuzes and fuze settings were used for each piece of ordnance. Thus far, its denials of responsibility — and its insistence that the Taliban may have smothered the victims (an allegation presented without evidence) — are unconvincing.
ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPH
By Meer Afzal/European Pressphoto Agency.
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, dogs seemed to pop up everywhere. Not just any canines, of course: highly trained detection dogs, at the side of police officers or federal agents. While it’s too early to say exactly what kind of permanent changes we might see as a result of the bombing, one good bet is that the presence of these kinds of dogs at almost any event at which a large number of people gathers in a relatively small amount of space will become a regular occurrence. Many people will feel reassured just seeing them. But the public has only a tenuous grasp on just what the dogs are capable of.
Walking through a busy international airport may lead you not only by explosive-detection dogs but also by dogs trained to detect bed bugs, drug-detection dogs, and dogs sniffing for illegal guava and other agricultural products being brought back into the U.S. by foreign travellers. But each is trained specifically on particular molecules or compounds, and pays other odors no mind at all. The guava dog will pass right over T.N.T. (For more on the training that dogs go through for work like this, see Burkhard Bilger’s February, 2012, article from the magazine on New York City’s canine units.)